[The Point] Collegium Civitas, a Polish University based in Warsaw in partnership with Green World Natural Solution in The Gambia over the weekend convened a free open day for university students and media with the aim to start recruiting Gambian students with a possible European scholarship for the most outstanding students.
allafrica.com | 9/15/17
Chancellor Angela Merkel's Social Democrat (SPD) challenger said on Sunday (10 September) his party would not form any alliances after the 24 September election unless fair wages, free education, secure pensions and a commitment to a democratic Europe were guaranteed.
www.euractiv.com | 9/11/17
Britain's vote to leave the European Union risks causing a steep drop in the number of EU students attending the country's universities.
www.foxnews.com | 9/8/17
European member states have cut their education budgets continuously since 2009, according to Eurostat data.
www.euractiv.com | 9/7/17
Europe’s soft drinks industry has announced it will stop selling sugary beverages in all schools in the European Union from late 2018. Health campaigners have welcomed the move but said more needs to be done to promote healthy eating in schools.
www.euractiv.com | 9/6/17
Britain must seek to protect research funding for its universities when it leaves the European Union or risk losing its leading role in innovation, one of the country's main employer groups said on Wednesday (6 September).
www.euractiv.com | 9/6/17
Excerpt from my Internet Law casebook discussing transborder content removal orders, including the Equustek case.
From the Internet's earliest days, the tension between a global communication network and local geography-based laws has been obvious. One scenario is that every jurisdiction's local laws apply to the Internet globally, meaning that the country (or sub-national regulator) with the most restrictive law for any content category sets the global standard for that content. If this scenario comes to pass, the Internet will only contain content that is legal in every jurisdiction in the world — a small fraction of the content we as Americans might enjoy, because many countries restrict content that is clearly legal in the U.S.
Perhaps surprisingly, we've generally avoided this dystopian scenario — so far. In part, this is because many major Internet services create localized versions of their offerings that conform to local laws, which allows the services to make country-by-country removals of locally impermissible content. Thus, the content on google.de might vary pretty substantially from the content on google.com. This localization undermines the 1990s utopian vision that the Internet would enable a single global content database that everyone in the world could uniformly enjoy. However, service localization has also forestalled more dire regulatory crises. So long as google.de complies with local German laws and google.com complies with local U.S. laws, regulators in the U.S. and Germany should be OK...right?
Increasingly, the answer appears to be "no." Google's response to the European RTBF rule has highlighted the impending crisis. In response to the RTBF requirement that search engines to remove certain search results associated with their names, initially Google only de-indexed results from its European indexes, i.e., Google would scrub the results from Google.de but not Google.com. However, European users of Google can easily seek out international versions of Google's search index. An enterprising European user could go to Google.com and obtain unscrubbed search results — and compare the search results with the localized edition of Google to see which results had been scrubbed.
The French Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) has deemed this outcome unacceptable. As a result, it has demanded that Google honor an RTBF de-indexing request across all of its search indexes globally. In other words, if a French resident successfully makes a de-indexing request under European data privacy laws, Google should not display the removed result to anyone in the world, even searchers outside of Europe who are not subject to European law.
The CNIL's position is not unprecedented; other governmental agencies have made similar demands for the worldwide suppression of content they object to. However, the demand on Google threatens to break the Internet. Either Google must cease all of its French operations to avoid being subject to the CNIL's interpretation of the law, or it must give a single country the power to decide what content is appropriate for the entire world — which, of course, could produce conflicts with the laws of other countries.
Google proposed a compromise of removing RTBF results from its European indexes, and if a European attempts to log into a non-European version of Google's search index, Google will dynamically scrub the results it delivers to the European searcher. As a result, if the European searcher tries to get around the European censored results, he or she will still not see the full search results. (Of course, it would be easy to bypass Google's dynamic scrubbing using VPNs). CNIL has rejected Google's compromise as still unacceptable.
If CNIL gets its way, other governments with censorious impulses will demand equal treatment. But even Google's "compromise" solution — walling off certain information from being available in a country that seeks to censor that information — will be helpful to censors. In effect, the RTBF ruling forces Google to build a censorship infrastructure that regulators can coopt for other censorious purposes. Thus, either way, the resolution to the RTBF's geography conundrum provides a preview of the future of global censorship.
The Equustek Case
The local violation/global removal debate is taking place in other venues as well. In 2017, the Canada Supreme Court ordered Google to globally remove search results based on alleged Canadian legal violations. Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc., 2017 SCC 34.
In that case, Datalink, a competitor of Equustek, sold products that allegedly infringed Equustek's intellectual property rights. After Equustek sued Datalink, Datalink relocated to an unknown location outside of Canada, putting it out of the reach of Canadian courts. Equustek asked Google to deindex Datalink's website. Google partially deindexed the site from google.ca, but Equustek sought more relief. The Canada Supreme Court ordered global deindexing of Datalink's website:
The court noted that Google admitted it would be easy to deindex Datalink's domain name, and the court noted that Google regularly deindexes content for other reasons, such as the DMCA online safe harbor.
The court dismissed the risk of international conflicts-of-laws because everyone apparently accepted that Datalink would violate Equustek's IP rights under other countries' laws. However, the court was surprisingly unspecific about the alleged IP violations, which apparently included trademarks and trade secrets. Due to the ambiguities about the alleged IP violations, the court avoided some subtle IP issues, such as the scope of Equustek's trademark rights (usually trademark rights don't reach beyond a country's borders, so a Canadian court could not order a defendant to stop infringing trademark rights in other countries) and the likelihood that Canadian trade secret laws and remedies differ from the laws and remedies of other countries. See Ariel Katz, Google v. Equustek: Unnecessarily Hard Cases Make Unnecessarily Bad Law, ArielKatz.org, June 29, 2017.
Because the court sidestepped the international conflicts-of-laws issue, the Equustek case's facts do not implicate the more problematic situation where Datalink's content violates Canadian law but is legal in other countries, yet a Canadian court order under Canadian law prevents the content from being available in countries where it was legal. (The CNIL-demanded rule would reach this outcome, because RTBF-scrubbed content illegal in Europe would be almost certainly legal in the U.S.). The court said that Google could challenge the injunction in Canadian courts if the injunction violates other countries' laws — but will Google really spend substantial money and time to defend a third party content by going back to a Canadian court to adjudicate the content's legitimacy?
In response to the opinion, Canadian law professor Michael Geist wrote:
Michael Geist, Global Internet Takedown Orders Come to Canada: Supreme Court Upholds International Removal of Google Search Results, MichaelGeist.ca, June 28, 2017.
Does the Equustek ruling mean that plaintiffs (both Canadian and non-Canadian) will flock to Canadian courts to sue non-Canadian defendants solely to get global deindexing orders?
Note that Equustek ruling (and the CNIL dispute) avoid an underlying jurisdictional issue because Google has substantial physical presence in both Canada and Europe. Would Canada or Europe have jurisdiction over an Internet service that operates exclusively from the United States?
I encourage you to do a thought exercise: project yourself 20 years in the future. What do you think will be the state of the law on global removals based on local violations? Do you think most countries will have embraced the Equustek approach broadly? If so, do you think the Internet (however you define it) will be better or worse as a result?
* * *
After I wrote this, Google sought legal relief in US courts from the Equustek ruling. For useful perspective on Google's move, read Daphne Keller's analysis.
Written by Eric Goldman, Professor, Santa Clara University School of Law
www.circleid.com | 9/5/17
On the first of September we commemorate the 78th anniversary of the beginning of World War II. Although much time has passed, the interpretations of historians and commentators vary widely on many aspects. The conflict began with Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland, followed by five years of harsh occupation. As a result of war and German and Soviet repression, more than six million Polish citizens perished (over one fifth of the total population).
VoxEurop presents three different narratives related to this tragedy. In the first article, Italian historian Lorenzo Ferrari describes the controversies surrounding the newly created Museum of World War II in Gda?sk. The Museum presents the suffering of Polish population in connexion with war experiences of Europeans, while the current authorities maintain that these experiences are incomparable. According to the author, this position results from the "nationalist" discourse of the Law and Justice (PiS) party.
Although we disagree with the historical interpretation of the Beata Szyd?o’s government, we do not share the opinion of the Italian journalist who considers PiS as a party with nationalist tendencies. Too often — as rightly pointed out in his polemic Bogdan Zalewski, a well-known journalist of RMF FM, the largest Polish commercial radio station — the adjective "nationalist" is being overused by western reporters describing the situation in Poland.
However, he tends himself to assuage the pre-war reality, when he writes that ‘Roman Dmowski's Endecja (National Democracy)’ cannot be compared to German nationalist socialism, that is Nazism, because it did not have ‘totalitarian and criminal elements.’ Yes, it is hard to make such comparisons, because Endecja never ruled in Poland, but it does not mean that if it did, it would not unveil these ‘elements’. All the more so because many Endecja’s members and followers openly declared anti-Semitism and sympathized with fascism (it is enough to read the writings of J?drzej Giertych, one of Endecja’s ideologists).
The real irony of fate is that the mono-ethnic Polish state, the unreachable dream of that party, finally turned into reality as a result of German aggression, Holocaust, years of suffering of the Polish nation and political betrayals of the allies.
Concerning editor Zalewski’s criticism of the current exhibition in the Gda?sk Museum of the Second World War, it is difficult to regard it as impartial. The author refers exclusively to the authorities (Prof. Jan ?aryn, PiS Senator and Piotr Gli?ski, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education) and media related to the ruling camp. His text is devoid of any references to the opinions and arguments put forward by the opposition or publications critical of the government (suffice to mention Polityka or Newsweek Polska weeklies or the daily Gazeta Wyborcza, as well as the Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny, which is trying to keep its distance fromboth conflicting political camps). Of course, as a columnist, Zalewski has the right to do so. This fact, however, illustrates the deep divisions that have taken place on the Polish political scene and in the minds of millions of Poles. Poland's reality has become black and white, entirely lacking any shades of grey, and the only thing that seems to count is whether one is with or against PiS.
Bartosz Brzezi?ski, the author of the third article, also seems to be falling into the trap of selective outlook when he argues that the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the current government directly relates to interwar anti-Semitism. He greatly exaggerates, formulating a shaky thesis that the far right politicians in pre-war Poland did not encounter resistance when they openly called for the expulsion of all Jews from Poland. It is true that the slogan ‘Jews to Madagascar!’ was chanted at the demonstrations of nationalists, that there were brutal attacks of ONR (National Radical Camp) hit squads on Jewish students and that there were bench [dont know what this means] ghettos at universities. But we must remember that this was met by political opposition from PPS (Polish Socialist Party), from which Józef Pi?sudski, the father of Polish independence, came, not to mention communists and Jewish political groups such as the Bund or Poalej Syjon.
It is also hard to agree with Brzezinski's claim that ‘most Poles looked the other way’, and only ‘a handful’ saved Jews during World War II. If it was just a ‘handful’, as the author suggests, there would not be so many Polish trees in Jad Vashem (most of all nations) to pay tribute to those who helped the Jewish people. Brzezinski also seems to forget about the existence of the Underground Council to Aid Jews and the Home Army’s pursuit of those who have away the location of hiding Jews and their rescuers or those who blackmailed them with denunciation for high ransom [dont know what this lady bit means]. And above all, he does not mention the fact that in Poland, as opposed to the countries of the Western Europe occupied by Germany, helping Jews was punishable by death.
Although we do not agree or fully accept the theses contained in these three articles, we have decided to publish them on our website without any editorial interventions, so that our readers, especially non-Polish readers, could get some knowledge of the extremely varied points of view on issues which for a long time delineated divisions in our country. Some may decide that Mr. Zalewski's text is anti-Semitic, others that Mr. Brzezinski's article is anti-Polish. We think that readers of VoxEurop should judge for themselves. It is much better when the discussion takes place in an open to all democratic space than on the street.
Photo: People fleeing the city on Poniatowski bridge during Warsaw siege, in September 1939 – Julien Bryan
www.voxeurop.eu | 9/1/17
[Observer] The European Union delegation to Liberia has begun the distribution of the book "Legends of Liberia," a compilation of stories based on the cultural practices of earlier Liberians, their gods and goddess, heroes and heroines, and their tribal origins. The distribution, which has been ongoing for about two weeks now, has so far been donated to the libraries of all universities, community colleges, rural teacher training institutes and the teachers' colleges of Liberia, public libraries, reading centers and
allafrica.com | 8/31/17
2,956 satellites orbiting at altitudes of 970, 1,034 and 1,086 km at inclinations of 45°, 55° & 88° (Source).I recently posted updates on the satellite Internet service projects of SpaceX and OneWeb. OneWeb and SpaceX have received a lot of publicity, but there is a third entry in the global satellite Internet race — Boeing.
Boeing has applied for a license to launch a constellation of 2,956 Internet-access satellites orbiting at an altitude of 1,200 km. (In a subsequent amendment, the orbits were lowered to three different levels). They outlined a two phase plan — the first 1,396 satellites would be operating within six years, and another 1,560 would be launched within 12 years as demand justified.
There has also been speculation that Apple may be funding and collaborating with Boeing on satellite Internet-service provision. (If you follow this link, read the comments).
Small cells around Washington DCBoeing will use beam-forming, digital processing and instantaneous handoff between overlapping satellite footprints to generate thousands of narrow spot beams, dividing the Earth's surface into 8-11 km diameter (50-95 km2) cells as illustrated here. Each cell will have 5 GHz bandwidth and, if a cell contains both user terminals and Internet gateways, time-division algorithms will enable frequency re-use to serve both. These are very smart radios!
In reviewing the FCC filings, I was struck by the degree of cooperation between the competitors. When Boeing proposed 1,200 km orbits, OneWeb filed a comment saying that would interfere with their design which also called for 1,200 km orbits. In response, Boeing met with OneWeb and altered their plan, lowering altitudes to 970, 1,082 and 1,030 km.
There were also concerns that waivers Boeing requested might lead to radio interference and SpaceX responded by stating that:
These companies value engineering as well as business. (Tesla has shared their patents — might SpaceX do the same)?
In researching this post, I came across two other Boeing filings — one for 60 high-altitude satellites (shown here) and another for a low-Earth constellation of 132 satellites and 15 high-altitude satellites. I imagine these smaller constellations will complement the larger constellation somehow but have not been able to learn how they will interact.
Sixty high-altitude satellites launched in three phase: the Amercas, Europe and Africa and Asia and Australia. Click to enlarge. (Source)
Boeing, OneWeb and SpaceX are from different generations. OneWeb and SpaceX are relatively recent startups and Boeing is venerable. The startups may have less legacy overhead and have gotten off to a faster start, but Boeing has been thinking about providing Internet service using a satellite constellation for over twenty years — they were the prime contractor for Teledesic's failed attempt in the late 1990s.
We have three potential global Internet service providers — SpaceX, OneWeb and Apple(?)/Boeing. I hope they all succeed, giving us some competition in the Internet service market. That might one day help current Internet customers who have only one choice for their service provider (like me), but it would surely be a boon for people with no terrestrial Internet access today.
Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University
www.circleid.com | 8/30/17
The 2017 New York Film Festival has added a conversation with Kate Winslet, documentaries about Steven Spielberg and Bob Dylan and four new films by “Shoah” director Claude Lanzmann, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced on Monday.
The programs will take place during the 55th annual NYFF, which will kick off on September 28 and run through October 15 in New York City.
Winslet will do an onstage Q&A dealing with her career and her performance in Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel,” which will close the festival. That film’s cinematographer, Vittorio Storaro, will also do a “Master Class” in collaboration with “Wonderstruck” cinematographer Ed Lachman.
Three documentaries will be presented as New York Film Festival special events: Susan Lacy’s “Spielberg,” about the veteran director; Jennifer Lebeau’s “Trouble No More,” which includes rare concert footage from Dylan’s 1979-80 concert tour during his controversial Christian music period; and Susan Froemke’s “The Opera House,” about New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.
Claude Lanzmann will premiere four new films that are drawn from interviews he did for his monumental “Shoah.” The new films, “The Hippocratic Oath,” “Baluty,” “The Merry Flea” and “Noah’s Ark,” are based on conversations with four different Eastern European women who survived the Holocaust.
As part of a retrospective marking the 100th anniversary of Robert Mitchum’s birth, NYFF will also present a work-in-progress screening of “Nice Girls Don’t Stay for Breakfast,” a documentary about Mitchum from photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber.
The festival will also screen “Without a Net,” a new documentary by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Rory Kennedy that deals with schools around the country that are technologically underserved; and a new restoration of G.W. Pabst’s silent film “Pandora’s Box.”
The Film Comment Presents section, an annual feature at NYFF for the last five years, will present Sergei Loznitsa’s “A Gentle Creature,” a new film inspired by a Dostoevsky short story, along with a series of panels and discussions.
The festival also announced a lineup of short films. Additional information can be found at at the New York Film Festival website.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 8/28/17
Muslims have come a long way towards integration into Western Europe, particularly in terms of language, education and work, but remain on the margins of everyday social acceptance, a study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung revealed on Thursday (24 August).
www.euractiv.com | 8/24/17
Launched in 1987 with only 3,200 students in its first year, Erasmus has developed over the last 30 years into a leading scholarship programme benefitting almost 300,000 higher education students per year.
economictimes.indiatimes.com | 8/24/17
From France and Germany to Poland and Scandinavia, education options for Indian students have exploded in EU
While the US is still a favourite, with some 1,65,918 Indian students in 2015-16, European countries are fast playing catch-up.
economictimes.indiatimes.com | 8/19/17
Californian Killed in Barcelona Attack While Celebrating Wedding Anniversary ‘Didn’t Live a Life Afraid’ of Terrorism
In the weeks leading up to his wedding anniversary trip through Italy, France and Spain, the adventurous Jared Tucker was “so excited, really excited he finally got to go to Europe, it was his first time,” good friend Billy Claraty told PEOPLE.
Thursday night, Tucker, 42, and wife Heidi Nunes-Tucker, 40, were in the popular Las Ramblas area of Barcelona, enjoying drinks in an outside restaurant before a van began plowing through pedestrians. Tucker, of California, was one of 13 people killed in the terror attack.
By Friday night, Claraty, 41, was en route to Spain with Nunes-Tucker’s father, Mike Nunes, to help Nunes-Tucker deal with the aftermath of the fun-loving man’s death.
Tucker, who was excited to share this special anniversary trip with his soul mate, never mentioned any hesitation about visiting Europe, despite it being the target of a series of deadly terror attacks in recent years.
“He didn’t live a life afraid, he didn’t have fear of anything,” says Claraty, who attended the same high school as Tucker in Walnut Creek, California. “He took things head on all the time and thought he would get through it. They were just out to celebrate one year and have a great time and see some friends.”
Dan Tucker, Jared’s dad, received pictures from Heidi as the couple’s journey unfolded.
“When I look at the pictures Heidi sent to us, even the day before the tragedy, he was happy,” says Tucker. “I could just tell he was really really enjoying himself.”
Tucker saw the awful images of the attack, and believes the accident was so severe that Jared was either killed instantly or never regained consciousness.
“In my heart,” he says, “I feel he died a happy person.”
Jared Tucker’s joie de vivre was contagious.
“Jared is probably the nicest guy anybody could meet, if you talked to any one of his friends they would say they would call him their best friend,” says Claraty, an electrician.
“He is the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back, open his house up to you at any time, drop what he is doing to come over and do any kind of project you needed.”
No one could resist Tucker’s big, fun personality, one that made everyone want to hang out with him.
Claraty described Tucker, who had a swimming pool resurfacing business with his father, as a fearless lover of life — a devoted father to his three teenage daughters and an outdoorsman who felt the ocean was “his happy space.”
Tucker surfed in Costa Rica, off Mexico and in the Pacific, fished, and dove for abalone. “He loved the outdoors,” says Claraty, “and getting dirty.”
As large as Tucker’s love for the outdoors was his devotion to his friends. When Claraty had issues with relationships and needed a place to stay, Tucker opened up his home for months at a stretch.
“He said, ‘Stay with me, I’m here for you,'” Claraty recalls. “Anything you need, I’m here.'”
In September of 2012 at an art and wine festival in Lafayette, California, Tucker opened his heart to Nunes, a teacher and the mother of a teenage son.
“When he met her, it was immediate, they both knew,” says Claraty. “Heidi was his total life, they had a great, amazing relationship. He had a bumpy road for awhile with past relationships and once he met Heidi that turned around for him.”
A website set up for his wedding to Nunes shows they were married on Aug. 6, 2016, after becoming engaged on Sept. 10, 2015.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Tucker’s family to cover funeral costs and help raise money to go towards his daughters’ education.
people.com | 8/19/17
Substantial coal power expansion in Europe has been significantly scaled back in recent years after utility companies realised they bet on the wrong horse, according to a new study by the University of Oxford.
www.euractiv.com | 8/14/17
[Foroyaa] A 2.6 million Euro, equivalent to about D120 million Bio-fortification project funded by the European Union and to be implemented by United Purpose, formerly Concern Universal, has been launched on Tuesday 1 August 2017, at the Regional Education Office in Brikama, West Coast Region.
allafrica.com | 8/8/17
Almost every country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) has had some kind of rough and clumsy start at its sunrise. Internet was young, everything was new, and whoever took the national TLD first, got power over it. The situation eventually sorted out, and now most ccTLDs are drama free, well-operated for the benefit of people and the Internet communities in those countries. Unfortunately, not in Slovakia.
DOT SK has been in some kind of trouble since its beginning. After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, which at that time operated its own .CS TLD, two new countries were created: Czech Republic with .CZ TLD, and Slovakia with .SK TLD.
Slovakian TLD was managed by a non-profit organization called Eunet Slovakia, seated at the Comenius University. Those were good times. However, certain people decided to rename their company to Eunet Slovakia, s.r.o. (s.r.o. means Ltd., note the almost exact name). Then in 1999 they purposely misguide ICANN to change .SK ownership to this company, which was immediately afterward sold to the foreign investors. ICANN executed delegation record update in good faith, not knowing that ownership was in fact transferred from a non-profit to private business. In effect, .SK was stolen.
As disturbing as this sounds, it continues to be the case. We in Slovakia deal with the consequences every day. I do not want to dig much into the history, as it would be certainly a good topic for a separate article. If you are curious more about this, look at the story by Ondřej Caletka. The story is based on my speech given at the IT17 conference in Prague a few weeks ago.
Now, it is not impossible to run a ccTLD through private ownership if reasonable policies are in place that meet the satisfaction of the government, citizens and the community. This is the case in many countries. Let's look at how it is in Slovakia.
The system we operate now was created in 2002 when a major pre-registration occurred. Since then, there have been only fractional changes to this system. Whatever you see on www.sk-nic.sk now, was pretty much what you would have seen 15 years ago. During all this time, SK-NIC was purely focused on its profit. There were no significant changes, no updates, no investments back to TLD. Selling a unique commodity without any competition is indeed a great business.
There is no API, so registrars need to emulate browser clicks to automate domain operations. Also, DNSSEC is missing. Domain changes and transfers are not done online as you would expect, but they need a signed paper document to be sent to SK-NIC for an actual confirmation.
Foreign personnel and companies are forbidden to register .SK, so they had to use local proxy contacts, which is usually a registrar company. As an outcome of those neglected domain rules, we ended up with more than 50% of all .SK registrations having inaccurate owner data on file.
In other words: take any random existing .SK domain, and you have only 50% chance to know who the real domain owner is.
All this irresponsibility would be a valid reason for looking into alternate solutions for managing .SK. However, it is not that easy. SK-NIC, a.s., as a follow-up company of aforementioned Eunet Slovakia, s.r.o., has a valid contract with the Government of Slovak republic. And such contract is non-revokable. It cannot be terminated without SK-NIC consent. Something like this would definitely be considered blatant operation today, but this agreement is the result of corrupt environment that existed in the wild 90's and early 2000's. At that time, former post-communist Eastern European countries looked more like the wild west than a well-arranged society. Shady businesses and corrupt behavior were common.
While the situation could be considered bad, it gets even worse. People who run SK-NIC now also own the fourth Slovakian cellular phone carrier. They decided to focus on other investments, thus sell SK-NIC to investors. Like if ccTLD operation was some merchandise for sale. Surely, selling ccTLD managing company has attributes of stealthy redelegation, but when we pointed this out earlier this year, ICANN only wished us a good luck dealing with local authorities.
And who is about to be stealthily redelegated for the .SK? One of the world's largest registry service providers, a London-based company CentralNic.
CentralNic is a ccTLD nightmare. The way how they operate entrusted ccTLD registries is something no one would like to see in their country. Let's consider two examples:
Whatever mess is happening now with the .SK TLD was not planned. The
Campaign for .SK
Petition website NašaDoména.sk (OurDomain.sk) was created, demanding to return .SK back to people. The ultimate goal is to establish an independent non-profit organization for .SK management, and release ccTLD from the long-time seizure of a single private company.
There are 17 web hosting companies behind the petition, 13 of TOP 15 .SK registrars, maintaining more than 73% of all registered .SK domains. Along with that, the campaign is supported by major telecommunication companies and Internet service providers, as well as non-profit organizations and local opinion leaders.
It makes the situation a bit difficult to grasp that Slovakian registrar companies are asking so loudly for the change. Currently, they need to employ a bunch of workarounds to deal with the obsolete SK-NIC system. With CentralNic coming, those no longer will be necessary, thus registrars will profit the most from this change. But it has drawbacks. The whole CentralNic investment will need to pay back. Say goodbye to lower domain prices, and say hello to furious profit hunting, backed by questionable business practices such as those mentioned above.
Sometimes you just need to do what is right, regardless of outcome profit or loss. Therefor Slovakian registrars have boarded a prickly journey. They demand a major change, following the proven model from other countries. For example, in nearby Czech Republic, their .CZ is operated by CZ.NIC, a non-profit organization with an open membership for everyone. On top of their regular TLD agenda, they maintain several interesting open-source projects and contribute to national cybersecurity.
CentralNic utilizes a huge marketing budget. It is probably no surprise, that biased articles popped online, showing only CentralNic's point of view. This was quite expectable, as there are millions of Euros at stake. Less understandable is, how serious online magazine can publish an unbalanced material without giving the other side any possibility to comment.
As written in those articles, they can label us as a political lobbyist, or business personals, or just naive kids. But they can hardly cover how all this .SK transition is happening without a proper discussion in place. Even against the will of Slovakian people and the community.
Written by Ondrej Jombík, Managing Director at Platon.net, Chairmain of Slovakia Web Hosting Assoc.
www.circleid.com | 8/2/17
[Vanguard] Uyo -An expert in snake management and Associate Professor, Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Edem Archebong Eniang, has raised the alarm, that Ghana, Togo and Republic of Benin, had appropriated Nigeria's annual export quota of 2000 baby-pythons to Europe, causing the country a huge loss in foreign revenue.
allafrica.com | 8/1/17
Mario Moretti Polegato is one of Italy's most successful businessmen. Despite the EU institutions' constant talk about smart growth, he believes Europe has a lot to do to catch up with the US.
www.euractiv.com | 7/28/17
The research by "FIX the FIXING", a project co-funded by the European Union's Erasmus project at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, surveyed more than 600 athletes about whether they had experienced manipulation of results in their sports.
www.dnaindia.com | 7/25/17
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-techniques to map the brains of over 200 teenagers aged 14-18 years, researchers from the University of Bath (UK) and several other European universities conducted the most comprehensive study ever to analyse differences in brain development between children with conduct disorder (CD) and a group of typically-developing children (the control group).
www.dnaindia.com | 7/22/17
[SNA] Khartoum -The Deputy Chairman of the National Council of Ministers, the Minister of Investment, Dr. Moubark Al -Fadil al Mahdi, met Thursday, at his office Mr. Jean-Michel Dumond the ambassador of the European Union to Sudan and discussed with him a number of issues and projects the EU intends to implement in the coming phase, including projects of education support and food security.
allafrica.com | 7/21/17
The Erasmus programme has been one of Europe’s most successful instruments of education and integration. Its structure, range and funding are currently going through another round of development, with a massive budget increase likely.
www.euractiv.com | 7/14/17
Congress is a tad busy these days, what with various committees investigating the Trump campaign for admittedly seeking dirt from Russia on candidate Hillary Clinton. Not to mention the turbulent fight to pass a health care bill.
So, it’s unlikely that Congress will give immediate relief to a newspaper alliance seeking an anti-trust exemption to collectively negotiate a bigger cut of online ad revenues from digital advertising giants Google and Facebook.
Even in “normal times,” it’s “rare” for Congress to grant any industry an anti-trust exemption, law professor Herbert Hovenkamp told TheWrap.
“These things cook around for years and decades and they are almost never granted,” said Hovenkamp, a law professor specializing in anti-trust law at the University of Pennsylvania.
“In current times, I’d say there’s practically no chance. Congress is not very patient or happy about the press,” said Hovenkamp, a law professor specializing in anti-trust law at the University of Pennsylvania. “I don’t see them giving the institutional press any favors.”
The News Media Alliance, a newspaper trade group that represents more than 2,000 American newspapers, published an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal on Monday calling on Congress for an antitrust safe harbor against Google and Facebook, which the group considers a “digital duopoly,” according to the alliance website.
Paul Boyle, senior vice president of public policy at the newspaper group, acknowledges that “in this political environment it is difficult to get anything done.”
“But, there is definitely an interest from policymakers on the impact of the duopoly on local news organizations and concern that with this online dominance there may not be a path forward to fund local journalism over the long-term,” Boyle told TheWrap.
Boyle noted that Congress passed the Newspaper Preservation Act in 1970, granting newspapers an anti-trust exemption by allowing two papers in the same city to combine business operations but keep separate newsrooms.
Federal anti-trust laws prevent companies from banding together and fixing prices for consumers or dictating worker salaries. The newspaper group wants an exemption to join forces and collectively negotiate better deals with the two internet giants.
“Because of this digital duopoly, publishers are forced to surrender their content and play by their rules on how news and information is displayed, prioritized and monetized,” the newspaper group said on its website.
A “duopoly” is like a monopoly, except two businesses dominate a particular market instead of just one. Before the internet, newspapers collected 100 percent of the revenues from ads placed in their papers. Now that newspapers have migrated to the internet, they are forced to share a larger and larger cut of their digital ad revenues controlled by Google and Facebook.
“CBS’s net profit margin is 10 percent and Google’s is around 30 percent,” University of Southern California professor emeritus Jonathan Taplin told TheWrap.
“What’s the difference? CBS pays a lot to create content. Google doesn’t. Google is a free-rider,” said Taplin, author of the book, “Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy.”
Even if Google and Facebook are duopolies, they are not violating anti-trust laws unless they collude together to fix prices, which is not being alleged by the newspaper group.
“Even if they are selling ads at a high price, that is not illegal under the anit-trust laws,” Hovenkamp said.
Google and Facebook are monster digital advertising companies that collectively earned 85 percent of all new digital advertising revenue in 2016.
Tim Worstall, a fellow at the free-market think tank the Adam Smith Institute in London, said he was “howlingly sceptical [sic]” of the request for anti-trust exemption relief.
“The industry is being gutted, that’s entirely true, but then it should be,” he wrote in a recent in an Forbes article. “No to the antitrust exemption therefore, let the newspaper industry adapt to the changing economic geography, don’t prop it up.”
Goggle has not escaped anti-trust crack-downs. Last month, the European Union slapped Google with a $2.7 billion fine for favoring its own services in search engine results.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 7/13/17
The Commission opened an infringement procedure against Hungary on Thursday (13 July) for its new law on foreign-funded NGOs, and went a step further in another infringement it had launched in April over the Higher Education Law, that seeks to close the Central European University (CEU), founded by George Soros.
www.euractiv.com | 7/13/17
The United Kingdom won't actually leave the European Union until 2019, but there are already signs British employers could lose crucial foreign workers, from university professors to apple pickers.
The United Kingdom won't actually leave the European Union until 2019, but there are already signs British employers could lose crucial foreign workers, from university professors to apple pickers.
The United Kingdom won't actually leave the European Union until 2019, but there are already signs British employers could lose crucial foreign workers, from university professors to apple pickers.
The creation of a campus on the European continent would be a post-Brexit first for a UK university. UK universities have been struggling with declining applicant interest and the prospect of EU funding losses.
www.dw.com | 7/9/17
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist who was the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner when she received the honor in 2014, joined Twitter Friday to celebrate graduating high school. By day’s end, she was pushing 400,000 followers.
She overcame incredible odds to make it to school at all: In October 2012, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for demanding that girls have the right to an education, in defiance of the extremist group’s wishes. She recovered and went on to attend school in the UK.
“Today is my last day of school and my first day on @Twitter,” tweeted Yousafzai, who wrote about her experience in the 2013 book “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.”
“Graduating from secondary school (high school) is bittersweet for me. I’m excited about my future, but … I know that millions of girls around the world are out of school and may never get the opportunity to complete their education,” she also tweeted Friday.
“Next week, I will be back on my #GirlPowerTrip to meet girls in Middle East, Africa & Latin America,” she continued. “Each girl’s story is unique ?– ?and girls’ voices are our most powerful weapons in the fight for education and equality … On and off Twitter, I’m fighting for girls –? will you join me??”
Before she starts college in the fall, she’s on a mission to spend as much time as possible meeting girls around the world and fighting for their future. She kicked off her Girl Power Trip in April, visiting with girls in North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Information about her next stops can be found on her website by clicking here.
Social media welcomed her with open arms, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who tweeted, “You continue to inspire me, @Malala. Thanks to you, young women around the world can dream of a brighter future for themselves.”
But there was one virtual hug that took some of her new followers by surprise…
… until everyone realized it wasn’t posted by @realDonaldTrump (the POTUS’ account), but rather by a parody account called @niceDonaldTrump.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 7/8/17
[New Dawn] The Development Education Network Liberia DEN-L with support from the European Commission through the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development CAFOD is conducting a three day capacity building for Civil Society Organizations and community members in Voinjama.
allafrica.com | 7/7/17
King's would be first British university to open a European campus, in the wake of the Brexit vote.
www.bbc.co.uk | 7/7/17
A New York hospital has offered to admit Charlie Gard, the terminally ill baby at the center of a controversy that has elicited reactions from President Donald Trump and Pope Francis.
New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center offered to admit Charlie “provided that arrangements are made to safely transfer him to our facility, legal hurdles are cleared, and we receive emergency approval from the FDA for an experimental treatment as appropriate,” according to a statement given to The Washington Post.
Another option was given to Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Andy Gard, and to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie is currently being treated. The U.S. hospital said it could supply the experimental drug the boy’s parents wanted to try to the U.K. hospital, and provide instruction on how to administer it to an 11-month old baby.
Charlie has a rare genetic disease and resulting brain damage that has left him without the ability to move his arms and legs, eat or breathe on his own. He suffers from infantile onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS), according to The Telegraph.
The family’s story has made headlines worldwide, with Pope Francis and President Donald Trump offering support to the grieving parents.
“The Holy Father is following with affection and emotion the situation of little Charlie Gard and expresses his closeness to his parents. He is praying for them, in the hope that their desire to accompany and care for their own child until the end will be respected,” the director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, said in a statement Sunday.
On Thursday, it was reported that the Pope wanted to give Charlie a Vatican passport so he can be treated there.
President Trump tweeted his support earlier this week, saying, “If we can help little Charlie Gard, as per our friends in the UK and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”
A White House spokesperson alluded to the possibility of having the baby treated in the United States on Monday.
“Upon learning of baby Charlie Gard’s situation, President Trump has offered to help the family in this heartbreaking situation,” Helen Ferre, the director of media affairs at the White House, said in a statement. “Although the President himself has not spoken to the family, he does not want to pressure them in any way, members of the administration have spoken to the family in calls facilitated by the British government. The President is just trying to be helpful if at all possible.
“Due to legal issues, we can not confirm the name of doctor or hospital where the baby could be treated in the United States.”
His parents fought against the decision to take him off of life support because they wanted to take him to the U.S. for an experimental treatment.
British courts ruled against that, believing Charlie should be allowed to die after doctors asserted that Charlie had no chance of survival.
The case was taken all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, which decided against hearing the case Tuesday and upheld previous court rulings that it was in the child’s best interests to withdraw life support.
A spokesperson for the hospital told The Washington Post in a statement that the decision to postpone Charlie’s death has allowed his parents to spend more time with their son.
Andy Gard, the father of 11-month-old Charlie, spoke out in a Facebook post this week about the support he has received — and the opposition from London courts — as he and the child’s mother push to take Charlie to the U.S. for medical treatment.
“Fight for love and honesty, not the state and corruption. Fight for truth. It’s #charliesfight. When you’ve seen him in the flesh you’d know, you will have no doubts. No one ever has,” Gard wrote alongside an article by The Sun which alleges that British Prime Minister Theresa May is prepared to battle with Trump to oppose Charlie’s trip to the U.S.
people.com | 7/7/17
Serbia's first female prime minister pledged on Wednesday (28 June) to reform education and push for the digitalisation of state administration to take the country closer to European Union membership.
www.euractiv.com | 6/29/17
Donald Trump exhibited some “bizarre” behavior on Tuesday for someone who talks so much about hating the media.
Caitriona Perry, the Washington Correspondent and U.S. Bureau Chief with RTÉ News Ireland, posted a video on Twitter Tuesday afternoon of an exchange between her and the president.
“Video of the bizarre moment when President @realDonaldTrump called me over during his call with Taoiseach @campaignforLeo Varadkar,” she captioned the footage.
Leo Varadkar is the Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, of the Republic of Ireland. Trump can be seen talking to him on the phone, saying, “Well we have a lot of your Irish press watching us.” He then points to Perry, and asks, “Where are you from? Come here. We have all of this beautiful Irish press.”
Perry walks over to answer, and Trump says, “Caitriona Perry. She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well.”
Perry also posted a photo of the encounter to her Instagram, saying, “One of the more bizarre moments of my time as #rte Washington Correspondent…being called over by President #Trump as he is in the middle of speaking to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. #thisjob #thistown #thereisnohashtag.”
“Usually we would shoot from outside the window of the White House and that’s what we were expecting today but instead we were invited inside to witness the President’s call to the Taoiseach. When we went in he was already on the phone but I caught his eye and he called me over,” she said to RTE Entertainment.
Perry hasn’t yet replied to TheWrap’s request for comment.
So who is this woman whose smile the president admires? A journalist who covers more than her Washington correspondent title would suggest.
“There is an awful lot of jetting around…officially I’m RTE’s ‘Washington Correspondent’ but it’s really more like ‘U.S. Correspondent’ and I rarely spend one full week in DC,” she told Evoke.ie in 2016. “I’ve been known to get through four or five states in a week….it’s a bit mad, but it’s fantastic at the same time. I do feel very privileged to have this opportunity. I worked hard to get it, so I’m making the most of it. My goal is to get around all 50 States while I’m here. I’m at 33 after two years in the job so I’m not doing too badly.”
According to Perry’s website, she has been working as a broadcast journalist since 2000. In 2015, she won the National Justice Media Merit Award for TV News, and has been named one of Dublin City University’s distinguished alumni–where she completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Her website also says that “in addition to her home country of Ireland, Caitriona has reported on news stories across the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Australia.”
She told the Irish Examiner in April that being a Washington correspondent has been her dream job since journalism school. “Washington correspondent is the plum gig, it’s a very competitive field and I was up against equally good colleagues,” she said.
On working in the White House, she said “it is very surreal not being told the truth in such a formal environment. You can accept people make mistakes but there is a sustained pattern there. You can’t take anything as accepted fact. So the need for journalism comes into play more than ever.”
Perry’s exchange with President Trump has incited chatter on social media about being a woman in a male-dominated industry. “It’s hell to be objectified,” one Twitter user said. “Your success is more than a smile.”
But others failed to see what was wrong with giving a compliment in the workplace.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 6/28/17
Europe's growing inequality is highly destabilising and needs to be tackled with education, innovation and investment in human capital, particularly jobs for young people, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Monday.
www.dnaindia.com | 6/26/17
Image Source: Getty / Samir Hussein
From safari drives deep in the heart of Africa and European sunshine breaks to raucous ski trips and declarations of love in the Indian Ocean, Prince William and Kate Middleton have had some pretty memorable vacations over the course of their 14-year relationship! Ever since they were spotted kissing on the ski slopes of the Swiss Alps in 2004, they have tended to go away twice a year together, heading once to the sun and once to the snow. However, there has been a fair bit of switching things up over the past few years that reflects their changing lives. These days, the couple makes a point of going away for a reboot break ahead of every royal tour they undertake, and times have certainly changed since the births of Prince George and Princess Charlotte.The Alps
Klosters in Switzerland has always been Prince Charles's favorite ski resort, so it's no surprise it was William's choice too for many years. He and Kate have vacationed in the picturesque chocolate-box town a handful of times with Charles and other family members, as well as with their own friends. It was the backdrop for that first snowy kiss and also where Prince Charles took them as part of a small group ahead of his wedding. In recent years, though, William and Kate have moved on from the old-school resort and mostly favored buzzier destinations in the French Alps. They have been to both Méribel - a Middleton favorite and the location of Pippa's bachelorette trip - and Courcheval, which is where they took Prince George and Princess Charlotte last year. Additionally, William headed to the Swiss resort of Verbier earlier this year for his infamous boys' trip.
Image Source: Getty / JOHN STILLWELL/AFPIndian Ocean
In the first flush of romance, William and Kate vacationed on the rustic island of Rodrigues, just off the mainland of Mauritius. William had been there on his gap year working on an environmental project and returned with Kate and some friends when they were at university. He and Kate went back to that part of the world in 2007 when they stayed at the Desroches Island Resort in the Seychelles, which is where they cemented their relationship after their brief breakup. When they returned for their honeymoon in 2011, they stayed on North Island with their own private chef and spent time snorkeling. In 2014, they chose the Maldives ahead of their tour of Australia and New Zealand. The pair left Prince George at home with Kate's parents and had a week together at the Cheval Blanc Randheli Hotel.Mustique
The ultraluxe Caribbean island has been a Middleton family favorite for years, and William and Kate vacationed there for the first time together in Villa Hibiscus, where they played beach games and went for drinks at the Firefly Hotel. Kate's vacation tipple of choice? A piña colada! The couple has also stayed in the spacious Villa Rocina, but most of the time they - along with Kate's family - have stayed in Villa Aurora, which features individual little cottages around a central pool. While there, they usually go scuba diving, play tennis, and have drinks at The Cotton House Hotel. However, since Princess Charlotte was born, they have stayed a little closer to home.France
It seems that a quick one-hour plane journey is now preferable over lengthy flights to the Caribbean once you have two little ones in tow. Last year, instead of joining Kate's family in Mustique as they have in the past, William and Kate took George and Charlotte to France for a week in the sun. Ahead of their tour of Canada, the family of four spent some time at the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz on the French coast before staying with friends and family nearby. William and Kate had also vacationed in France ahead of their tour of Asia in 2012. On this occasion, they stayed in the chateau belonging to David Linley, the son of William's great-aunt Princess Margaret, but what was meant to be a relaxing mini break quickly snowballed into a lengthy court case after topless pictures of Kate were taken.Kenya
The country will forever be associated with the couple after they got engaged there in 2010, although they have actually visited twice. The Summer they finished university was the first time William took his then-girlfriend to experience the country which had captured his heart as a teenager. They stayed with William's friends the Craigs before traveling on to the Mukogodo Hills to stay in the Il N'gwesi Lodge, enjoying safari drives and al fresco dinners during their visit. When they returned in 2010, they again stayed with the Craigs before William whisked Kate to the Rutundu Log Cabin on the slopes of Mount Kenya. There, they went fishing for rainbow trout, cooked for themselves, and enjoyed log fires and evenings lit by hurricane lanterns.
feedproxy.google.com | 6/20/17
The Erasmus programme has celebrated these days its thirtieth anniversary. Launched in 1987, it has allowed over five million students from EU countries and beyond to spend a few months in an university in another European country (Spain tops the ranking) thanks to an EU grant and through agreements between institutions.
Today, Erasmus is considered as one of the EU’s most successful initiatives — probably its most popular — and it contributed more than any other policy to forge the first generation of truly European citizens, the living ambassadors of the European integration and the pioneering heralds of a borderless and mobile Europe and of a European identity.
Learning or perfecting another language, getting in touch with other realities and ways of living and studying, and meeting fellow students from other countries (and sometimes setting up a family together afterwards) has led the so-called “Erasmus generation” be part of a vast network of alumni who now came of age and are building up their career in many top jobs around the continent — in addition to being at the centre of French comedy by Cédric Klapisch L’Auberge espagnole and the starting point and main target of the participatory news platform Cafébabel.
So if Erasmus offered unprecedented opportunities to European students, why not replicate it for professionals, and specifically for journalists? They might also benefit from spending some time in a newsroom in another country. Journalists sometimes collaborate with fellow reporters from other media either on specific projects, like cross-border investigations, or for short visiting periods. But there is no real reporters’ exchange programme.
A new project, nicknamed “Erasmus for Media” aims to meet this need, while also tackling the 20-year long crisis hitting the European media sector, by providing newsrooms with a framework (and a budget) for journalist’s exchange, as its initiator, Euractiv news website's founder Christophe Leclercq — a strong supporter of the Erasmus exchange programme himself in his University days — explains:
"The media sector is in crisis, even more than I thought before I interviewed 30 Editors, Publishers and experts across Europe in the last year and a half as part of the #Media4EU research project. There are many IT-centered projects and new journalistic networks trying to help. But most are not sustainable. And many media are really fragile SMEs, led by people who learned their trade 30 years ago... Hence we wish to boost innovation, by speeding up careers of young 'rising journalism stars', and organising cross-media exchanges around actual projects.”
The Yes! to Erasmus4Media – Support media innovation! project, aims at promoting exchanges among young and talented journalists, who would spend some time in newsrooms in other EU countries, sharing their experience and skills with local reporters, thus contributing to “change” the latter’s mindset to “a more Europe-open one”. The project also targets “marketing and communications professionals, social media managers and IT”. It “has gained moral support from media organisations” — among which VoxEurop — “and professionals, and from some MEPs”, adds Leclercq. The EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and First vice-president Frans Timmermans also recently expressed some interest in it.
As for funding, according to Leclercq, “to be both effective and in line with independence, this project should be supervised by media practitioners, and co-funded by the EU. Some MEPs, from several groups, help us to prepare a pilot project proposal. If assessed positively, it could be voted as part of the EU budget. By the way, this is the general ERASMUS programme started.”
In his White Paper on the future of Europe, Juncker states that “We want to live in a democracy with a diversity of views and a critical, independent and free press”, recognising that a bigger coverage of EU affairs is essential for the European Union to work as an effective democratic organisation. However, notes Leclercq, “those statements of principle sound good, but they are not matched with actions yet. And there’s a real challenge ahead on having a true debate in the media on this issue. A debate that could build on the review of the Digital Single Market, provided it is not dominated by GAFA [Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple] lobbying, and if press associations get their acts together.”
Leclercq will present the “Erasmus for Media” initiative, at the Global Editors Network annual summit in Vienna this week.
Photo: Italian daily La Stampa's newsroom, in Turin.
www.voxeurop.eu | 6/20/17
[Guardian] Diagnosing malaria has been a very time-consuming and error-prone process up to now. Together with his Dutch colleague Jan van den Boogaart, Professor Oliver Hayden from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now developed an automated rapid blood test that provides an accurate diagnosis in almost 100 percent of cases. The researchers were presented with the European Inventor Award, which honors outstanding inventors from Europe and the rest of the world, for the development of the new method on 15 J
allafrica.com | 6/19/17
A team of scientists from all across Europe, including from Southampton University, are working on the 'landmark' £2.3 million study to create a more effective vaccine.
www.dailymail.co.uk | 6/15/17
Lawmakers in Norway on Monday pushed a plan to ban full-face veils in schools and universities, in a move that follows several other European countries.
www.foxnews.com | 6/13/17
More than 600 Palestinian students who received full scholarships for higher education through the European Union were celebrated Monday by the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, with a showcase of their final projects.
www.dailystar.com.lb | 6/13/17
Norway aims to ban face-covering Muslim veils in kindergartens, schools and universities, the government said on Monday, the latest European nation to propose restrictions on wearing burqas and niqabs.
timesofindia.indiatimes.com | 6/12/17
The seams are starting to fray. The strain is showing. We all are starting to crack up under the pressure of a Donald Trump presidency.
This was entirely predictable. As we have been subjected to his daily bullying, Twitter temper tantrums, outright lying and open contempt for our Constitution, of course our nerves are giving up — as is our ability to maintain civility and decency in response to so much coarseness.
The president is setting the tone for the country, and that tone is nasty, aggressive, crude and ugly. There are those who are openly trying to hew to a higher standard. But a lot of us are absorbing the energy of this administration and reflecting it back to the wider culture.
We should not be surprised to see our lower impulses poking through the fabric of civility. Like when Montana political candidate Greg Gianforte body-slams a journalist who merely asked him a question, breaking his glasses. That behavior would have seemed outrageous recently, like last year. This year Gianforte got elected. (He later apologized.)
On television and on social media, we are seeing the downgrading of our public discourse. Kathy Griffin stepped over the line with her unfunny parody of a bloody, beheaded Trump. She too apologized, but CNN still fired her, understandably.
The usually measured Reza Aslan lost control of his emotions and called Trump “a piece of s—,” an embarrassment and a stain on the presidency. Just those last two remarks would have been powerful enough, but Aslan could not restrain himself, apparently, after Trump insulted the Muslim mayor of London in the wake of a horrific terror attack.
Aslan was out of line, but Trump pushed him there. CNN fired him too.
And then on Friday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) dropped the F-bomb a bunch of times. A senator? Asked about Donald Trump’s accomplishments in the White House at a forum at New York University on Personal Democracy, Gillibrand said, “Has he kept his promises? No. F— no.”
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has also loosened his language, in April calling Trump’s budget a “s—ty budget.”
Expect more of this kind of thing. Bill Maher looks like he’s barely holding on to his sanity from week to week on his HBO show. In his case, releasing the strain with the F-bomb doesn’t appear to be helping.
The takeaway from the historic testimony by former FBI director James Comey on Thursday was to underscore that our president is a liar. A serial liar. An inveterate liar. A shameless liar.
This is not something that is under great debate. The Guardian this weekend urged the United Kingdom to rescind an invitation to Trump for a state visit. The paper’s assessment: “Trump is an habitual liar, as evidenced again in last week’s sworn congressional testimony by his sacked FBI director, James Comey. Trump is a bully, as Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, among many others, can testify from personal experience. And Trump is a coward.
“Donald Trump is not a fit and proper person to hold the office of president of the United States. That is a view widely held in the U.S. and among America’s European allies, by politicians and diplomats in government and by rank-and-file voters repelled by his gross egoism, narcissism and what Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, has rightly termed his ‘stupefying ignorance.’“
Make no mistake, we are living day by day through history that will be sifted through and revisited again and again in the decades to come. It is why we must pay such close attention to our own conduct, our own language and discourse — even as we try to hold the president to account.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 6/12/17
University of Cambridge's Professor Ross Anderson explains why safety should be higher on the agenda than privacy. (From the Computerphile YouTube channel)
As we increasingly move towards an IoT world, vendors of safety-critical devices will be patching their systems just as regularly as phone and computer vendors do now. Researchers warn that many regulators who previously thought only in terms of safety will have to start thinking of security as well. From a recent project conducted by a research group at Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge for the European Commission, comes a report on what will happen to safety regulation once computers are embedded invisibly everywhere. This will require major changes to safety regulation and certification, the report warns.
— "At present, the regulation of safety is largely static, consisting of pre-market testing according to standards that change slowly if at all. Product recalls are rare, and feedback from post-market surveillance is slow, with a time constant of several years. In the future, safety with security will be much more dynamic; vendors of safety-critical devices will patch their systems once a month, just as phone and computer vendors do now. This will require major changes to safety regulation and certification, made more complex by multiple regulatory goals. For these reasons, a multi-stakeholder approach involving co-vigilance by multiple actors is inevitable."
— "The EU is already the world's main privacy regulator, as Washington doesn't care and nobody else is big enough to matter ... The strategic political challenge facing the European Union is whether it wants to be the world's safety regulator. If it rises to this challenge, then just as engineers in Silicon Valley now consider Europe to be the world's privacy regulator, they will defer to Europe on safety too. The critical missing resource is expertise on cybersecurity, and particularly for the European regulators and other institutions that will have to adapt to this new world."
— "The strategic research challenge will include how we make systems more sustainable. At present, we have enough difficulty creating and shipping patches for two-year-old mobile phones. How will we continue to patch the vehicles we're designing today when they are 20 or 30 years old? How can we create toolchains, libraries, APIs and test environments that can be maintained not just for years but for decades?"
www.circleid.com | 6/8/17
In 1962, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, drawing attention to the impact of DDT on bird populations. Her book inspired most nations to ban DDT by the 1980s. The ban and other protection efforts helped save some bird species from extinction, including the osprey, brown pelican, and white stork. However, fifty-five years after Carson's book, the rate of bird decline has accelerated globally, due to pesticide use, habitat loss, climate change, domestic cats, and other threats.
A Booby bird takes a rest on board the Greenpeace ship, Esperanza. 22 Nov, 2007
In 2004, the Po'ouli or black-faced honeycreeper disappeared from Maui, the last member of its genus Melamprosops. Hawaii also recently lost two species of Nukupu'u honeycreepers, the O'ahu 'alauahio, and the Maui 'akepa. We have bid farewell in recent decades to Australia's masked owl, the Grand Cayman oriole, New Providence yellowthroat, Gonave Island chat-tanager, Santa Barbara song sparrow, and Florida's Dusky seaside sparrow. Gone forever.
Ornithologists face a challenge to know if a species is technically extinct, since it is difficult to confirm that no breeding pairs exist. Some species, known to exist in remnants, appear "functionally extinct," including the Giant Ibis with less than 100 breeding pairs. Birds require specific habitats and diets, are vulnerable to domestic cats and other introduced predators, and serve as a fragile indicator for Earth's general ecological health.
A 2005 Stanford Study analysed all 9,787 known living bird species and 129 extinct species; tracked distribution, ecological function, and life history; and collated 600,000 computer entries. From one of the most comprehensive biological databases ever compiled, the authors of the study estimated that 25% of bird species would be functionally extinct by 2100.
Of highest risk, were species in the northern latitudes and highly specialized species in bounded range with limited food, particularly island birds. In 2008, Worldwatch Institute and the IUCN Red List determined that 1,227 bird species (12 % of known birds) are now threatened with extinction. Among 192 species in critical crisis are the Giant Ibis, India's Forest Owlet, with less than a hundred individuals; the New Zealand Kakapo owl parrot, about 150 individuals; and the New Caledonia owlet-nightjar, that has not been sighted in over a decade.
Richard Inger at the University of Exeter surveyed bird populations in 25 countries over 30 years, and estimated that total population in those nations had declined by 421 million birds between 1980 and 2009. A 2015 review of his study in Current Biology explains that the bird crisis in Europe is not just about extinctions but massive declines among the once-common species, such as sparrows, swifts, and Jackdaws. The most abundant quarter of the species lost 83 percent in 30 years. These massive declines, even if the species survive, effect the functioning of the wider ecosystem.
Birds provide essential, symbiotic services to the ecosystem, including decomposition, seed dispersal, and nutrient recycling. Birds contribute to human agriculture through pollination and pest control. Scavenger birds clean up dead animals, limiting the spread of disease. In the 1990s in India, the rapid loss of vultures led to an explosion of rabid dogs and rats, that feed on carrion. As a result, in 1997, rabies claimed more than 30,000 human deaths in India, more than half of the world's annual rabies deaths.
The Passenger pigeon case provides a lesson in ecology. The Passenger pigeon once swarmed North America in flocks of over a billion birds, but were decimated by human hunters and became extinct by 1914. The pigeons had competed with deer mice for acorns, keeping the mice population in check. With the demise of the pigeons, deer mice populations swelled and became a primary vector of ticks, which carried the Lyme spirochete into the human community, contributing to the modern Lyme disease outbreak that has debilitated thousands of people, especially along the Atlantic coast, where the Passenger pigeon thrived.
A Frigate bird. 1 Nov, 2001
Cortes Island, where I live off the west coast of Canada, sits on the migration path for dozens of species of birds, some that travel between Mexico and the Arctic. We have witnessed a sharp decline in Barn swallows, Tree swallows, Goshawks, Rufous hummingbirds, Great blue heron, Great horned owl, and other species, reflecting a recent demise of birds throughout North America.
The 2016 Partners in Flight Bird population analysis reveals that North America has lost 1.5 billion birds in 40 years. The Rufous hummingbirds have lost 60 percent of their populations, and the Snowy owl and Chimney swift are also in steep decline. Twenty percent of the breeding species appear vulnerable to extinction.
Boreal and polar habitats provide the world's nursery for thousands of bird species. Nature Canada's 2012 State of Birds survey revealed that avian insectivores had declined by more than 60% across Canada in 40 years. Chimney swifts, Field sparrows, Short-eared owls, Snowy owl, and the Oak titmouse, all lost more than half their populations.
Conservation programmes typically focus on charismatic and rare species close to extinction, species that enhance funding appeals: Who cares about a bloody sparrow? But the declines in common species have a dramatic impact throughout the web of life.
The human factors
We know why birds and other species are suffering historic declines: Human sprawl, the unrelenting advance of a single species, Homo sapiens. Habitat destruction appears as the primary cause of bird decline. Bird species evolve into very specific habitats. Most species nest in a particular species of tree, in a particular micro-climate that supports their food supply and protects them from predators. As we drain wetlands, level forests, and sprawl across grasslands and wetlands, we unravel this fragile web.
In 1958, China's Communist leader Mao Tse Tung decided that four "pests" -- mosquitoes, flies, rats, and sparrows (who ate farmers' seeds) -- should be eliminated for public health and agricultural growth. Chinese citizens began to eradicate sparrows until 1960, when Chinese leaders realized that the sparrows had controlled insects. Insects increased, decimating crops, and China's agricultural yields declined. The Chinese Academy of Sciences advised Mao, and he ended the sparrow campaign, replacing them on the "Four Pests" list with bed bugs. "Mao knew nothing about animals," environmental activist Dai Qing told the BBC in 2004. "He just decided that the 'four pests' should be killed."
A bird feather in the Arctic. 23 August, 2012
Human activity that contributes to bird declines includes our agriculture and forestry, pesticide use, power lines, windmills, buildings, vehicles, domestic cats, and climate change. Intense agriculture transforms river deltas, swamps, grasslands, and forests. Our pesticides, particularly from the neonicotinoid family that endangers bees, kill the insects that feed birds.
After habitat destruction, cats and window collisions are the most lethal. A typical house cat that wanders freely might kill a dozen birds in a single night, and studies in North America show that cats kill over two billion birds annually. Cat owners can reduce bird deaths by limiting cat reproduction and providing cats with bright, visible collars and bells.
Collisions with window glass kill over 600-million birds annually in North America and over a billion worldwide. Cars and power lines kill hundreds of millions more. Hunting claims over 100-million birds annually.
The diversity crisis
One of the fundamental laws of ecology states that stability in an ecosystem depends on diversity. We may save a disappearing bird species by breeding a few in a zoo, but this does not buy back the loss of diversity in our ecosystems. The impacts of human sprawl result in diversity loss across all classes of plant and animal life.
In 2008, there were 44,838 species on the IUCN Red List. The World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Index declined by 52 percent between 1970 and 2010. Sixty percent of all amphibians are in dramatic decline due to the loss of wetlands. Forty-two percent of reptiles and 28 percent of all vertebrate species are in decline. According to some European studies, insect declines have reached 80 percent over 25 years.
The current rate of of species loss has reached the order of 1000 to 10,000-times the historic background extinction rate. Over the long march of evolution, about one mammal species disappears every 400 years, and a whole family of species might disappear in a million years. In 2014, a study by Stuart Pimm at Duke University and colleagues at Brown University, estimated that the extinction rate was 1000-times faster than background. Biologist E O Wilson has estimated that the rate is 10,000-times background, and other biologists at IUCN and the Center for Biological Diversity believe he is correct.
In the 1970s, as Greenpeace staged its first campaigns, Norman Myers estimated that Earth was losing one species per day, and this appeared as a tragic crises. Today, after almost fifty years of ecological actions, Earth is now losing about one species per hour.
Resources and Links
National Academy of Sciences, 2005: 25% of bird species functionally extinct by 2100: Stanford.
“Climate change and population declines in a long-distance migratory bird,” C. Both, et. al., University of Groningen, Nature 441, 81-83, 4 May 2006.
Bird populations in steep decline, Eric Andrew-Gee, Globe and Mail, Sep. 14, 2016
Partners in Flight Bird decline analysis
Europe’s bird populations in decline, Michael Gross, Current Biology, 15 June 2015
Global Bird Species in Decline, 2008: Ben Block, Worldwatch Institute.
Leading causes of bird deaths, Environment Canada, CBC, 2013
State of Canada’s Birds, 2012: NABCI
Mao's 4-pest eradication: China Sparrow Campaign
Rate of species loss could reach 10,000 times background, E O Wilson
Species loss 1,000 - 10,000 times background: Center for Biological Diversity:
Extinctions during human era worse than thought: Brown Univ. study, 2014
Stuart Pimm species diversity study, Duke University, Conservation Biology
Where have all the insects gone?, Gretchen Vogel, 2017, Science magazine
feedproxy.google.com | 6/2/17
The Hungarian government said Tuesday it was seeking to engage with New York state about the status of Budapest-based Central European University, founded by billionaire George Soros. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sent letters to Prime Minister Viktor Orban and President Janos Ader advocating for CEU, saying recent changes to Hungary's higher education law "attempts to close the university for no legitimate reason." "CEU is an important collaboration between New...
www.voanews.com | 5/31/17
When Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed last Thursday that the ransom demand for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” was a hoax, Hollywood breathed a momentary sigh of relief. Yet the agita remains, because the entertainment industry knows it is only a matter of time before the next extortion attempt turns out to be very real.
A short time before Disney came into the cross-hairs, someone going by the name of TheDarkOverlord hacked into a postproduction house looking for Hollywood gems, and stumbled across Netflix’ season 5 of “Orange Is the New Black” just weeks before its June release. With this in hand, the content pirate did what any kidnapper would do: Demand a ransom. When Netflix refused to pay, 10 episodes of “Orange Is the New Black” turned up online.
Over in Australia, meanwhile, Foxtel, Village Roadshow and the country’s Motion Picture Association studios were taking swift action to keep their stolen movies off of The Pirate Bay website. In this classic tale of two countries, two very different stories are emerging.
With “Orange” now available in the U.S. from hundreds of infringing sites, can Netflix follow the lead of Village Roadshow across the Pacific? Along with Foxtel and the studios, it came out swinging by blocking The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound and IsoHunt websites, as well as streaming service SolarMovie. Users visiting those sites will see a warning page informing them the site can no longer be accessed. And it didn’t stop there, with Village Roadshow moving to block access to another 41 pirate websites, with more to come until the final knockout blow.
Australia gave Village Roadshow and other copyright holders 21st-century tools to fight piracy even when pirate websites are located outside its own country in nations without effective copyright laws. In order to block a pirate website, the copyright holder needs to:
Australia and the European Union operate under the rationale that ISPs are in the best position to stop widespread distribution of stolen content, and to strike the right balance site blocking must play a critical role.
Back in the U.S., Netflix is not so lucky. Along with broadcast and cable networks, whose IP is also now in the hands of TheDarkOverlord, the company’s copyright enforcement tools are crippled by 20th-century technology. That means it is limited to the Notice and Take Down provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) passed by Congress in October 1998.
Let’s look what was happening nearly two decades ago. Google was founded, Apple just launched the iMac, VHS households were at 80 percent penetration, internet penetration was low and broadband was primarily limited to universities. There was no YouTube, iTunes, Netflix. No Napster, Grokster, Torrents, cyberlockers. More importantly, there was no notion of site blocking, playback control or filtering technologies that could be used to block widespread distribution of infringing content.
In this relatively low-tech Neanderthal digital environment, ISPs and the entertainment industry negotiated the DMCA Notice and Take Down provisions. They are a part of the “safe harbor” given to ISPs, which is intended to protect them against infringement claims for copyrighted content they stored for or transmitted to consumers. No one then ever foresaw The Pirate Bay or TheDarkOverlord.
Netflix’s limited remedies today are compounded, because ISPs long ago discovered that they were better off turning a blind eye to piracy. So long as they do not have actual knowledge of apparent infringing activity, and remain unaware of the facts and circumstances surrounding it, they are free to ignore piracy. Their only responsibility upon learning of copyright infringement is to take down the infringing content. There is no duty to monitor or any responsibility to affirmatively seek facts indicating infringing activity.
“Notice and Take Down” might have been a good solution in 1998 for ISP bulletin boards but today the practice has absolutely no effect on the widespread distribution of pirated content. It is nothing more than whack-a-mole on steroids.
While Village Roadshow is kicking butt against illegal distribution of stolen content in Australia, Netflix’s remedies stateside are severely hampered and its ability to stop the widespread distribution of “Orange” is, well, not happening.
Five years ago, the U.S. Congress was poised to pass legislation that would have given Netflix the same tools we now see in use in the EU and Australia — tools that would block access to websites offering “Orange” wherever they were located if a court found that they were infringing.
Just as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) were racing toward apparent victory in Congress, tech giants Google and Twitter shut down in protest and users flooded lawmakers with phone calls and emails to ditch the bill. Congress blinked and SOPA and PIPA ground to a screeching halt. Their death then leaves Netflix now with no operative means to protect its valuable content from TheDarkOverlord.
Without effective legal remedies in place or widespread use of watermark detection, we can expect more DarkOverlords to hack and steal Hollywood content, acting safely in the knowledge that Hollywood has no actual means to stop online piracy without adopting 21st Century legal and technological solutions.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/30/17