News briefs:June 30, 2005

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News briefs:June 30, 2005

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Contents

  • 1 Bodies found at crash site of US helicopter in Afghanistan
  • 2 Flash floods hit Australia’s eastern coast
  • 3 Undercover investigation into protests planned for July’s G8 summit
  • 4 Rwandan businessmen sentenced for War Crimes
  • 5 Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announces cooperation between KDE Group and Wikimedia
  • 6 OhmyNews forum discusses experiences in citizen journalism
  • 7 Sharapova knocked out of Wimbledon 2005 in semi-final
  • 8 Brazil wins Confederations Cup
  • 9 Football: Kežman goes to Madrid
  • 10 Closing comments

Posted by 5MD3yc on December 14th, 2018

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Robber holds retired NYC police officer at gunpoint during convention

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Robber holds retired NYC police officer at gunpoint during convention

Sunday, March 29, 2009

John Comparetto, a retired New York City Police Department lieutenant, was held at gunpoint on Friday morning by an armed nineteen year old in a hotel bathroom who demanded Comparetto’s money and cellphone.

Comparetto handed over both to the thief. When the criminal took off with the money, Comparetto drew his gun from an ankle holster and immediately chased after the robber. Comparetto asked the hotel desk clerk which way the suspect went, and told the clerk to alert officers at a police convention that a fellow policeman was “in need of assistance”.

A police officer’s convention was being held at the Holiday Inn near Harrisburg Friday for 300 narcotics police officers in attendance from Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The teen departed the scene in a taxi cab outside the hotel.

Comparetto said, “I stopped the cab at gunpoint. Ten other cops came running out and we arrested probably the dumbest criminal in Pennsylvania.”

Jerome Marquis Blanchett is being held at Dauphin County Prison following his arrest.

Posted by 5MD3yc on December 14th, 2018

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ADP says US economy lost 742,000 jobs in March

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ADP says US economy lost 742,000 jobs in March

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

According to the payroll services company ADP, United States private sector employers cut 742,000 jobs in in March. The figures were almost 80,000 more than the average analyst prediction of 663,000 losses. This is the largest monthly payroll decline since January 2001, when the ADP began tracking job activity.

ADP also updated its job loss statistics for February, from 697,000 to 706,000.

“The sharp employment declines among medium- and small-size businesses indicate that the recession continues to spread aggressively beyond manufacturing and housing-related activities to almost every area of the economy,” said Joel Prakken, the chairman of the company that conducts the ADP survey, Macroeconomic Advisors LLC.

“Despite some recent indications that stock prices, consumer spending, and housing activity may be bottoming out, employment, which usually trails overall economic activity, is likely to remain very weak for at least several more months,” he added.

The US Labor Department‘s report for employment statistics for March is due to be out on Friday. Analysts predicted that the department will announce the unemployment rate increased to 8.5% with 660,000 jobs eliminated in March. However, the bad news from ADP has prompted some to think that the current forecasts are too optimistic.

Posted by 5MD3yc on December 14th, 2018

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Nokia appoints Microsoft Business Division Head as chief executive

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Nokia appoints Microsoft Business Division Head as chief executive

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Finnish communications corporation Nokia announced that its Head will change on September 21. The previous chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo will continue to chair in non-executive capacity. The head of Microsoft Business division Stephen Elop will take the position. It is the first time a non-Finn becomes Nokia president and chief executive.

The change follows Nokia’s fall in world markets. It includes a decrease in Nokia’s American market share to less than ten percent after failed negotiations with a number of leading American phone providers. An analyst at a market analyst company Canalys Pete Cunningham said, “Despite holding 38 percent market share of the smartphone market, Nokia’s failure to compete with the iPhone and high-tier Android devices, combined with its lack of progress in gaining significant traction in the United States, has led to press and investor dissatisfaction.”

Some commenters suggested that Nokia chose Mr. Elop partly because he is a Canadian, following criticism of American candidates by the Finnish press. However a Nokia spokesman rejected this, saying, “Nationality was not a selection criteria.”

Stephen Elop was president and CEO of the graphics and web-development software house Macromedia prior to its acquisition by Adobe in 2005. He then joined Microsoft as President of Microsoft’s Business Division in January, 2008. Commenting on his new role he said, “Nokia has a unique global position as well as a great brand upon which we can build. The Nokia slogan clearly states our key mission: Connecting People, which will acquire new dimensions as we build our portfolio of products, solutions and services.”

In the announcement the Chairman of the Nokia Board of Directors Jorma Ollila stressed an expected shift of focus from hardware to software. “His [Stephen Elop’s] strong software background and proven record in change management will be valuable assets as we press harder to complete the transformation of the company. We believe that Stephen will be able to drive both innovation and efficient execution of the company strategy in order to deliver increased value to our shareholders”.

Nokia stated in an official blog post, “Nokia is transitioning from a hardware manufacturer of mobile devices to a software and solutions business. …Stephen’s background in the software industry is one of his key strengths.”

Posted by 5MD3yc on December 14th, 2018

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Vestas delays closure of Newport plant

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Vestas delays closure of Newport plant

Friday, July 31, 2009

Vestas Wind Systems, whose closing wind turbine blade manufacturing centre in Newport, Isle of Wight, England remains the site of a occupation now in its 11th day, has suddenly announced that the consultation period preceding the closure of the plant has been extended, and that the plant will remain open until mid-August.

The announcement, which was reported not by Vestas but by the RMT, was described by RMT General Secretary Bob Crow as “another significant milestone in the fight to save the factory and 625 skilled manufacturing jobs in green energy.” The plant had been due to close today.

News of the delay comes hours after confused reports that Vestas was withholding redundancy payment for at least 525 of the workers whose jobs were lost. According to a report by the local newspaper the Isle of Wight County Press, cheques which employees had been expecting today did not arrive; instead, workers who contacted Vestas management were told they would not receive payment until an interview process had been completed, and that if they began new jobs before the interview process was over they would not receive their money. However, according to Ventnorblog, a local Isle of Wight blog which has been following the Vestas closure closely, the layoff process was being delayed because a majority of the Vestas employees were refusing to agree to the management’s redundancy plan.

The delay of the closure allows more time for the negotiation of potential solutions for the Newport plant to remain open. The Vestas occupiers and labour groups continue to favour nationalisation of the plant, with Socialist Party spokesman Nick Chaffey saying:

The courageous stand of the Vestas occupation and the huge support that stands alongside it from Vestas workers and beyond has rocked management and the government. With the vital support of the RMT and wider support from the trade union movement including PCS, POA and FBU, the workers’ demand for nationalisation is the only way to resolve this crisis.

In addition to the Vestas occupiers’ proposal that the factory be nationalised, Caroline Lucas, the MEP for South East England and a member of the Green Party, has proposed that Vestas employees should form a workers’ co-operative with government aid in order to keep the plant running. The Tory-dominated Isle of Wight Council has unanimously endorsed a resolution saying that the plant should stay open, and has called for new investors to take the Vestas plant over, as was done at a smaller Vestas plant in Scotland recently.

The news of the delay comes as workers at the plant accused Vestas management of harassing the families of the 24 remaining occupiers of the plant. Families of some occupiers were served with legal papers at their homes. One of the occupiers, Luke Paxton, left the factory on Thursday night in order to be re-united with his family; Paxton was checked for malnutrition and low blood sugar by paramedics but was not hospitalized, instead opting to go home. Paxton complained that Vestas management, while now providing hot food to the occupiers, were still under-feeding them; the RMT, which is providing legal aid to the Vestas workers, has accused Vestas management of violating the Human Rights Act by attempting to “starve the workers at Vestas into submission”.

Protesters in fancy dress were successful in sending food into the plant yesterday. Protesters dressed as a fantasy wizard and can-can dancers distracted police and company security guarding the fence which has been erected around the site while other protesters flung a bag of food and an electric kettle onto the balcony outside the office which has served as the occupiers’ home base inside the factory. No arrests were made but the protesters were removed from the factory grounds.

Requests for comment from Vestas management received no reply.

Posted by 5MD3yc on December 12th, 2018

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ACLU, EFF challenging US ‘secret’ court orders seeking Twitter data

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ACLU, EFF challenging US ‘secret’ court orders seeking Twitter data

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Late last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed objections to the United States Government’s ‘secret’ attempts to obtain Twitter account information relating to WikiLeaks. The ACLU and EFF cite First and Fourth amendment issues as overriding reasons to overturn government attempts to keep their investigation secret; and, that with Birgitta Jonsdottir being an Icelandic Parliamentarian, the issue has serious international implications.

The case, titled “In the Matter of the 2703(d) Order Relating to Twitter Accounts: Wikileaks, Rop_G, IOERROR; and BirgittaJ“, has been in the EFF’s sights since late last year when they became aware of the US government’s attempts to investigate WikiLeaks-related communications using the popular microblogging service.

The key objective of this US government investigation is to obtain data for the prosecution of Bradley Manning, alleged to have supplied classified data to WikiLeaks. In addition to Manning’s Twitter account, and that of WikiLeaks (@wikileaks), the following three accounts are subject to the order: @ioerror, @birgittaj, and @rop_g. These, respectively, belong to Jacob Apelbaum, Birgitta Jonsdottir, and Rop Gonggrijp.

Birgitta is not the only non-US citizen with their Twitter account targeted by the US Government; Gonggrijp, a Dutch ‘ex-hacker’-turned-security-expert, was one of the founders of XS4ALL – the first Internet Service Provider in the Netherlands available to the public. He has worked on a mobile phone that can encrypt conversations, and proven that electronic voting systems can readily be hacked.

In early March, a Virginia magistrate judge ruled that the government could have the sought records, and neither the targeted users, or the public, could see documents submitted to justify data being passed to the government. The data sought is as follows:

  1. Personal contact information, including addresses
  2. Financial data, including credit card or bank account numbers
  3. Twitter account activity information, including the “date, time, length, and method of connections” plus the “source and destination Internet Protocol address(es)”
  4. Direct Message (DM) information, including the email addresses and IP addresses of everyone with whom the Parties have exchanged DMs

The order demands disclosure of absolutely all such data from November 1, 2009 for the targeted accounts.

The ACLU and EFF are not only challenging this, but demanding that all submissions made by the US government to justify the Twitter disclosure are made public, plus details of any other such cases which have been processed in secret.

Bradley Manning, at the time a specialist from Maryland enlisted with the United States Army’s 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, was arrested in June last year in connection with the leaking of classified combat video to WikiLeaks.

The leaked video footage, taken from a US helicopter gunship, showed the deaths of Reuters staff Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen during a U.S. assault in Baghdad, Iraq. The wire agency unsuccessfully attempted to get the footage released via a Freedom of Information Act request in 2007.

When WikiLeaks released the video footage it directly contradicted the official line taken by the U.S. Army asserting that the deaths of the two Reuters staff were “collateral damage” in an attack on Iraqi insurgents. The radio chatter associated with the AH-64 Apache video indicated the helicopter crews had mistakenly identified the journalists’ equipment as weaponry.

The US government also claims Manning is linked to CableGate; the passing of around a quarter of a million classified diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Manning has been in detention since July last year; in December allegations of torture were made to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the conditions under which he was and is being detained.

Reports last month that he must now sleep naked and attend role call at the U.S. Marine facility in Quantico in the same state, raised further concern over his detention conditions. Philip J. Crowley, at-the-time a State Department spokesman, remarked on this whilst speaking at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; describing the current treatment of Manning as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”, Crowley was, as a consequence, put in the position of having to tender his resignation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Despite his native Australia finding, in December last year, that Assange’s WikiLeaks had not committed any criminal offences in their jurisdiction, the U.S. government has continued to make ongoing operations very difficult for the whistleblower website.

The result of the Australian Federal Police investigation left the country’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, having to retract a statement that WikiLeaks had acted “illegally”; instead, she characterised the site’s actions as “grossly irresponsible”.

Even with Australia finding no illegal activity on the part of WikiLeaks, and with founder Julian Assange facing extradition to Sweden, U.S. pressure sought to hobble WikiLeaks financially.

Based on a State Department letter, online payments site PayPal suspended WikiLeaks account in December. Their action was swiftly followed by Visa Europe and Mastercard ceasing to handle payments for WikiLeaks.

The online processing company, Datacell, threatened the two credit card giants with legal action over this. However, avenues of funding for the site were further curtailed when both Amazon.com and Swiss bank PostFinance joined the financial boycott of WikiLeaks.

Assange continues, to this day, to argue that his extradition to Sweden for questioning on alleged sexual offences is being orchestrated by the U.S. in an effort to discredit him, and thus WikiLeaks.

Wikinews consulted an IT and cryptography expert from the Belgian university which developed the current Advanced Encryption Standard; explaining modern communications, he stated: “Cryptography has developed to such a level that intercepting communications is no longer cost effective. That is, if any user uses the correct default settings, and makes sure that he/she is really connecting to Twitter it is highly unlikely that even the NSA can break the cryptography for a protocol such as SSL/TLS (used for https).”

Qualifying this, he commented that “the vulnerable parts of the communication are the end points.” To make his point, he cited the following quote from Gene Spafford: “Using encryption on the Internet is the equivalent of arranging an armored car to deliver credit card information from someone living in a cardboard box to someone living on a park bench.

Continuing, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) expert explained:

In the first place, the weak point is Twitter itself; the US government can go and ask for the data; companies such as Twitter and Google will typically store quite some information on their users, including IP addresses (it is known that Google deletes the last byte of the IP address after a few weeks, but it is not too hard for a motivated opponent to find out what this byte was).
In the second place, this is the computer of the user: by exploiting system weaknesses (with viruses, Trojan horses or backdoors in the operating system) a highly motivated opponent can enter your machine and record your keystrokes plus everything that is happening (e.g. the FBI is known to do this with the so-called Magic Lantern software). Such software is also commercially available, e.g. for a company to monitor its employees.
It would also be possible for a higly motivated opponent to play “man-in-the-middle”; that means that instead of having a secure connection to Twitter.com, you have a secure connection to the attacker’s server, who impersonates Twitter’s and then relays your information to Twitter. This requires tricks such as spoofing DNS (this is getting harder with DNSsec), or misleading the user (e.g. the user clicks on a link and connects to tw!tter.com or Twitter.c0m, which look very similar in a URL window as Twitter.com). It is clear that the US government is capable of using these kind of tricks; e.g., a company has been linked to the US government that was recognized as legitimate signer in the major browsers, so it would not be too large for them to sign a legitimate certificate for such a spoofing webserver; this means that the probability that a user would detect a problem would be very low.
As for traffic analysis (finding out who you are talking to rather than finding out what you are telling to whom), NSA and GCHQ are known to have access to lots of traffic (part of this is obtained via the UK-USA agreement). Even if one uses strong encryption, it is feasible for them to log the IP addresses and email addresses of all the parties you are connecting to. If necessary, they can even make routers re-route your traffic to their servers. In addition, the European Data Retention directive forces all operators to store such traffic data.
Whether other companies would have complied with such requests: this is very hard to tell. I believe however that it is very plausible that companies such as Google, Skype or Facebook would comply with such requests if they came from a government.
In summary: unless you go through great lengths to log through to several computers in multiple countries, you work in a clean virtual machine, you use private browser settings (don’t accept cookies, no plugins for Firefox, etc.) and use tools such as Tor, it is rather easy for any service provider to identify you.
Finally: I prefer not to be quoted on any sentences in which I make statements on the capabilities or actions of any particular government.

Wikinews also consulted French IT security researcher Stevens Le Blond on the issues surrounding the case, and the state-of-the-art in monitoring, and analysing, communications online. Le Blond, currently presenting a research paper on attacks on Tor to USENIX audiences in North America, responded via email:

Were the US Government to obtain the sought data, it would seem reasonable the NSA would handle further investigation. How would you expect them to exploit the data and expand on what they receive from Twitter?

  • Le Blond: My understanding is that the DOJ is requesting the following information: 1) Connection records and session times 2) IP addresses 3) e-mail addresses 4) banking info
By requesting 1) and 2) for Birgitta and other people involved with WikiLeaks (WL) since 2009, one could derive 2 main [pieces of] information.
First, he could tell the mobility of these people. Recent research in networking shows that you can map an IP address into a geographic location with a median error of 600 meters. So by looking at changes of IP addresses in time for a Twitter user, one could tell (or at least speculate about) where that person has been.
Second, by correlating locations of different people involved with WL in time, one could possibly derive their interactions and maybe even their level of involvement with WL. Whether it is possible to derive this information from 1) and 2) depends on how this people use Twitter. For example, do they log on Twitter often enough, long enough, and from enough places?
My research indicates that this is the case for other Internet services but I cannot tell whether it is the case for Twitter.
Note that even though IP logging, as done by Twitter, is similar to the logging done by GSM [mobile phone] operators, the major difference seems to be that Twitter is subject to US regulation, no matter the citizenship of its users. I find this rather disturbing.
Using 3), one could search for Birgitta on other Internet services, such as social networks, to find more information on her (e.g., hidden accounts). Recent research on privacy shows that people tend to use the same e-mail address to register an account on different social networks (even when they don’t want these accounts to be linked together). Obviously, one could then issue subpoenas for these accounts as well.
I do not have the expertise to comment on what could be done with 4).
((WN)) As I believe Jonsdottir to be involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), what are the wider implications beyond the “WikiLeaks witchhunt”?
  • Le Blond: Personal data can be used to discredit, especially if the data is not public.

Having been alerted to the ongoing case through a joint press release by the ACLU and EFF, Wikinews sought clarification on the primary issues which the two non-profits saw as particularly important in challenging the U.S. Government over the ‘secret’ court orders. Rebecca Jeschke, Media Relations Director for the EFF, explained in more detail the points crucial to them, responding to a few questions from Wikinews on the case:

((WN)) As a worse-case, what precedents would be considered if this went to the Supreme Court?
  • Rebecca Jeschke: It’s extremely hard to know at this stage if this would go to the Supreme Court, and if it did, what would be at issue. However, some of the interesting questions about this case center on the rights of people around the world when they use US Internet services. This case questions the limits of US law enforcement, which may turn out to be very different from the limits in other countries.
((WN)) Since this is clearly a politicised attack on free speech with most chilling potential repercussions for the press, whistleblowers, and by-and-large anyone the relevant U.S. Government departments objects to the actions of, what action do you believe should be taken to protect free speech rights?
  • Jeschke: We believe that, except in very rare circumstances, the government should not be permitted to obtain information about individuals’ private Internet communications in secret. We also believe that Internet companies should, whenever possible, take steps to ensure their customers are notified about requests for information and have the opportunity to respond.
((WN)) Twitter via the web, in my experience, tends to use https:// connections. Are you aware of any possibility of the government cracking such connections? (I’m not up to date on the crypto arms race).
  • Jeschke: You don’t need to crack https, per se, to compromise its security. See this piece about fraudulent https certificates:
Iranian hackers obtain fraudulent httpsEFF website.
((WN)) And, do you believe that far, far more websites should – by default – employ https:// connections to protect people’s privacy?
  • Jeschke: We absolutely think that more websites should employ https! Here is a guide for site operators: (See external links, Ed.)

Finally, Wikinews approached the Icelandic politician, and WikiLeaks supporter, who has made this specific case a landmark in how the U.S. Government handles dealings with – supposedly – friendly governments and their elected representatives. A number of questions were posed, seeking the Icelandic Parliamentarian’s views:

((WN)) How did you feel when you were notified the US Government wanted your Twitter account, and message, details? Were you shocked?
  • Birgitta Jonsdottir: I felt angry but not shocked. I was expecting something like this to happen because of my involvement with WikiLeaks. My first reaction was to tweet about it.
((WN)) What do you believe is their reasoning in selecting you as a ‘target’?
  • Jonsdottir: It is quite clear to me that USA authorities are after Julian Assange and will use any means possible to get even with him. I think I am simply a pawn in a much larger context. I did of course both act as a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in relation to the Apache video and briefly for WikiLeaks, and I put my name to the video as a co-producer. I have not participated in any illegal activity and thus being a target doesn’t make me lose any sleep.
((WN)) Are you concerned that, as a Member of Parliament involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), the US attempt to obtain your Twitter data is interfering with planned Icelandic government policy?
  • Jonsdottir: No
((WN)) In an earlier New York Times (NYT) article, you’re indicating there is nothing they can obtain about you that bothers you; but, how do you react to them wanting to know everyone you talk to?
  • Jonsdottir: It bothers me and according to top computer scientists the government should be required to obtain a search warrant to get our IP addresses from Twitter. I am, though, happy I am among the people DOJ is casting their nets around because of my parliamentary immunity; I have a greater protection then many other users and can use that immunity to raise the issue of lack of rights for those that use social media.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Do you believe the U.S. government should have the right to access data on foreign nationals using services such as Twitter?
Add or view comments
((WN)) The same NYT article describes you as a WikiLeaks supporter; is this still the case? What attracts you to their ‘radical transparency’?
  • Jonsdottir: I support the concept of WikiLeaks. While we don’t have a culture of protection for sources and whistleblowers we need sites like WikiLeaks. Plus, I think it is important to give WikiLeaks credit for raising awareness about in how bad shape freedom of information and expression is in our world and it is eroding at an alarming rate because of the fact that legal firms for corporations and corrupt politicians have understood the borderless nature of the legalities of the information flow online – we who feel it is important that people have access to information that should remain in the public domain need to step up our fight for those rights. WikiLeaks has played an important role in that context.I don’t support radical transparency – I understand that some things need to remain secret. It is the process of making things secret that needs to be both more transparent and in better consensus with nations.
((WN)) How do you think the Icelandic government would have reacted if it were tens of thousands of their diplomatic communications being leaked?
  • Jonsdottir: I am not sure – A lot of our dirty laundry has been aired via the USA cables – our diplomatic communications with USA were leaked in those cables, so far they have not stirred much debate nor shock. It is unlikely for tens of thousands of cables to leak from Iceland since we dont have the same influence or size as the USA, nor do we have a military.
((WN)) Your ambassador in the US has spoken to the Obama administration. Can you discuss any feedback from that? Do you have your party’s, and government’s, backing in challenging the ordered Twitter data release?
  • Jonsdottir: I have not had any feedback from that meeting, I did however receive a message from the DOJ via the USA ambassador in Iceland. The message stated three things: 1. I am free to travel to the USA. 2. If I would do so, I would not be a subject of involuntary interrogation. 3. I am not under criminal investigation. If this is indeed the reality I wonder why they are insisting on getting my personal details from Twitter. I want to stress that I understand the reasoning of trying to get to Assange through me, but I find it unacceptable since there is no foundation for criminal investigation against him. If WikiLeaks goes down, all the other media partners should go down at the same time. They all served similar roles. The way I see it is that WikiLeaks acted as the senior editor of material leaked to them. They could not by any means be considered a source. The source is the person that leaks the material to WikiLeaks. I am not sure if the media in our world understands how much is at stake for already shaky industry if WikiLeaks will carry on carrying the brunt of the attacks. I think it would be powerful if all the medias that have had access to WikiLeaks material would band together for their defence.
((WN)) Wikinews consulted a Belgian IT security expert who said it was most likely companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, would have complied with similar court orders *without advising the ‘targets*’. Does that disturb you?
  • Jonsdottir: This does disturb me for various reasons. The most obvious is that my emails are hosted at google/gmail and my search profile. I dont have anything to hide but it is important to note that many of the people that interact with me as a MP via both facebook and my various email accounts don’t always realize that there is no protection for them if they do so via those channels. I often get sensitive personal letters sent to me at facebook and gmail. In general most people are not aware of how little rights they have as users of social media. It is those of uttermost importance that those sites will create the legal disclaimers and agreements that state the most obvious rights we lose when we sign up to their services.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
((WN)) Has there been any backlash within Iceland against US-based internet services in light of this? Do you expect such, or any increase in anti-American sentiments?
  • Jonsdottir: No, none what so ever. I dont think there is much anti-American sentiments in Iceland and I dont think this case will increase it. However I think it is important for everyone who does not live in the USA and uses social services to note that according to the ruling in my case, they dont have any protection of the 1st and 4th amendment, that only apply to USA citizens. Perhaps the legalities in relation to the borderless reality we live in online need to be upgraded in order for people to feel safe with using social media if it is hosted in the USA. Market tends to bend to simple rules.
((WN)) Does this make you more, or less, determined to see the IMMI succeed?
  • Jonsdottir: More. People have to realize that if we dont have freedom of information online we won’t have it offline. We have to wake up to the fact that our rights to access information that should be in the public domain is eroding while at the same time our rights as citizens online have now been undermined and we are only seen as consumers with consumers rights and in some cases our rights are less than of a product. This development needs to change and change fast before it is too late.

The U.S. Government continues to have issues internationally as a result of material passed to WikiLeaks, and subsequently published.

Within the past week, Ecuador has effectively declared the U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges persona-non-grata over corruption allegations brought to light in leaked cables. Asking the veteran diplomat to leave “as soon as possible”, the country may become the third in South America with no ambassadorial presence. Both Venezuela and Bolivia have no resident U.S. ambassador due to the two left-wing administrations believing the ejected diplomats were working with the opposition.

The U.S. State Department has cautioned Ecuador that a failure to speedily normalise diplomatic relations may jeapordise ongoing trade talks.

The United Kingdom is expected to press the Obama administration over the continuing detention of 23-year-old Manning, who also holds UK citizenship. British lawmakers are to discuss his ongoing detention conditions before again approaching the U.S. with their concerns that his solitary confinement, and treatment therein, is not acceptable.

The 22 charges brought against Manning are currently on hold whilst his fitness to stand trial is assessed.

Posted by 5MD3yc on December 12th, 2018

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How To Get Out Of Credit Card Debt And Repair Your Credit Score After Divorce

By Christina Rowe

Rebuilding your life financially is never easy. Count on spending a lot of time and effort on this, especially if you went into debt during the divorce process. There were times when I paid my attorneys with credit cards. When the dust of my divorce battles finally cleared I was mired in debt. It took me awhile to straighten out my finances, but ultimately I was able to regain my financial health.

Have you rung up huge debts on the plastic? No matter how bad it looks, there are ways out. You just have to find the one that’s most sensible and realistic for you. If you received an asset like the marital home, you could refinance it and then negotiate payoff settlements with your creditors. Usually credit card companies will only talk to you about this option after you have stopped paying your bill each month and it has gone into collection. If it’s clear that you can’t pay it all, most of them will settle for anywhere from 50% to 70% of the debt. But remember if you haven’t been able to make payments, a large amount of what is owed is interest and late fees. You can also call your credit companies and ask them if they have any ‘plans’ for hardship cases. If you tell them your story, they will most likely offer you a plan with reduced monthly payments and a lowered interest rate. If you are in a position to pay your credit card bills, and your credit is still good, make sure you ask for a reduced interest rate. Take advantage of balance transfer offers for lower rates. But be careful to note when these rates will expire. Usually the interest will balloon back up. You will then need to transfer the balance again to a lower rate.

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Your credit rating is the key to your financial health. Poor credit scores can raise your car and home insurance rates. I got socked with a $4,000 car insurance bill because my credit score had tanked, yet I had never been late on an insurance payment. When I wrote them explaining how my difficult divorce had lowered my credit rating, they reduced my premium. Without good credit you will pay much higher interest on refinancing your home, car loans, or any other loan. In some cases you may need a co-signer.

Divorce sent my credit score into the toilet, and at the time there was little I could do. Even when I started making regular payments and settling debts, the mark remained on my credit. Repairing broken credit takes time, but if you stick with a plan, paying everything on time, it will happen.

But what do you do in the meantime? Everyone needs a credit card for emergencies. If you do not have one the next option is a debit card. Also you might ask a close relative if they would mind making you an additional cardholder on one of their accounts. Assure them this card will be for emergencies only. Always pay for whatever you charge immediately. You can only ask this of someone you are very close to. It’s one of the biggest financial favors one can do for another: putting their credit on the line for you.

If you can do it, take out a secured loan from a bank. Here is an example of how it works; you put $1,000 in a one-year certificate of deposit with your bank. The bank then gives you a $1,000 loan for one year at 9% interest. If you make the payments each month, at the end of the year you can cash your CD in and earn some interest. Current interest rates for a CD are now about 5%. This improves your credit rating because the bank will report to the credit bureaus that you paid off the loan.

When you are starting to rebuild from a credit disaster you should get a current copy of your credit report and check it for errors. Make sure any debts that were ruled to be your ex-husband’s in your final divorce decree are off of your credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report per year, and you can also get a free report if you have been denied a loan, line of credit, or other financial service. You can pay for the report at any time.

About the Author: Christina Rowe is the author of the best selling divorce book “Seven Secrets To A Successful Divorce-What Every Woman Needs To Know”. Find out the survival skills that will save you time, money and heartache during your divorce. For a free chapter of the book go to:

secretsofdivorce.com

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=175659&ca=Womens+Interest

Posted by 5MD3yc on December 12th, 2018

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Augusten Burroughs on addiction, writing, his family and his new book

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Augusten Burroughs on addiction, writing, his family and his new book

Friday, October 12, 2007

I had an unofficial phone call from Gay Talese last Tuesday. He had just flown back from Colombia and he was cranky. “I’m happy to do an interview with you,” he said, “but what the hell could you ask me that’s not already out there? Have you even bothered to look?!”

“Jeez, Mr. Talese, lots of things,” was my response. I lied. The truth is that when I call people to interview them, I do not have a set of preconceived questions. My agenda is to talk to them and gain a sense of who they are; to flesh them out as humans. To find out what they think about the world around them at that moment. With Gay Talese I had little interest in talking about Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and with Augusten Burroughs I had little interest in discussing Running with Scissors. I want to know what they think about things outside of the boxes people have placed them in.

With a memoirist like Burroughs, even this is a challenge. What parts of his life he has not written about himself, other interviewers have strip-mined. When we met for dinner at Lavagna in the East Village, I explained to Augusten this issue. I suggested we make the interview more of a conversation to see if that would be more interesting. “Instead of you in the catbird seat,” I said, “let’s just talk.”

We struck an instant rapport. What set out to be an hour and half interview over dinner had turned into four hours of discussion about our lives similarly lived. I removed half of the interview: the half that focused on me.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s conversation with writer Augusten Burroughs.


Contents

  • 1 On addiction and getting sober
  • 2 On the Turcottes and his mother
  • 3 On his work
  • 4 On the response to his work from addicts
  • 5 On belief in a higher power
  • 6 On the gay community
  • 7 On his new book, A Wolf at the Table, a memoir about his father
  • 8 On women’s breasts and tattoos
  • 9 On losing his hair
  • 10 Sources

Posted by 5MD3yc on December 12th, 2018

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Student arrested over “art” shirt with exposed wiring at Boston Airport

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Student arrested over “art” shirt with exposed wiring at Boston Airport

Friday, September 21, 2007

In Boston, Massachusetts a 19-year-old woman with an LED device attached to her clothing was arrested at Logan International Airport, Terminal-C by the Massachusetts State Police. Massport spokeswoman Lisa Langone described the device as a fake bomb strapped to her chest. The woman was identified as Star Simpson, a second year student from Hawaii attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Simpson was asking for information on her boyfriend’s arriving flight from Oakland at an information desk when the police were notified.

Police say that the device was made from a computer circuit board (in fact a white breadboard as used in MIT course 6.002 (Circuits and Electronics) laboratory kits), LED lights forming a “star” shape, and wiring. The wiring was connected to a 9V battery, allowing the device to light up. According to Maj. Scott Pare of the Massachusetts State Police, Simpson stated that she had created the device as a piece of art that she created to stand out at a career fair. It was attached to the front of a black sweatshirt with a hood that Simpson was wearing, the sweatshirt had “Socket to me, Course VI” written on the back. She was holding Play-doh. She was arrested at about 8:00 a.m. Police say that the device was part of “art” and that Simpson is cooperating with the investigation.

“This is a serious event and was handled quickly and safely. She claims this was art and just wanted to display the art. She didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation and she is lucky we did not use deadly force because we had machine guns on scene,” said authorities during a press conference at 11:00 a.m. today.

“She’s extremely lucky she followed the instructions or deadly force would have been used. And she’s lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue,” said Pare.

Pare later said that, “[Simpson] did seem a bit upset that she was in custody. However, she was rational, and she did answer all questions as required.”

Simpson reportedly arrived to at the airport via the subway. She was wearing the device during her trip on the subway, and had in fact been wearing the device during an MIT job fair the previous day.

Simpson was arraigned today on charges including disturbing the peace and possessing a hoax device. Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Wayne Margolis requested a $5,000 cash bail, stating that Simpson had shown “a total disregard to understand the context of the situation…an airport post-9/11.” Ross Schreiber, Simpson’s defense attorney, called the amount “completely unreasonable” on the grounds that she had not pretended the circuit was anything else and that she was a student in good standing at MIT. Simpson pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on $750 bond.

Fellow MIT classmates reportedly describe Simpson as “impulsive” and “creative.”

Posted by 5MD3yc on December 12th, 2018

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Wikinews Shorts: May 8, 2007

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Wikinews Shorts: May 8, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, May 8, 2007.

Contents

  • 1 Israeli archaeologists find tomb of Herod the Great
  • 2 Woman stable after La Trobe University stabbing
  • 3 Sarkozy criticized over vacation cruise
  • 4 Nigerian rebels force further oil shutdowns
  • 5 NATO forces attacked, civilians caught in the cross fire
  • 6 DOE awards management of US nuclear lab to UC-led team

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced that it has uncovered the grave and tomb of King Herod, who ruled Judea for the Roman empire from circa 37 BCE. The Tomb was found at Herodium, 12 km south of Jerusalem.

Sources


An Australian female science student is in a serious but stable condition at the Royal Melbourne Hospital after being stabbed by another female student at La Trobe University this morning.

The victim, a 27-year-old behavioral science student, was stabbed several times in the chest by a masked female stranger in a toilet block outside the Bundoora campus library. Students quickly evacuated the library after seeing the victim running from the bathroom, screaming that she had been stabbed and leaving a trail of blood behind her. The 23-year-old attacker has been charged with attempted murder. Witnesses to the event are being offered councelling services.

Sources


President-elect of France, Nicolas Sarkozy was criticized for going on a luxury cruise in Malta with his family, right after winning the election on a platform that emphasized hard work.

“It sends a disastrous signal to the country, notably the 53 percent of French people who earn less than 800 euros a month and who voted for him,” said Patrick Menucci, former advisor to Ségolène Royal.

However, Sarkozy last week explained the reasons for taking what was supposed to an unpublicized retreat. He said he needed time to prepare himself for the heavy burden of state.

Sources


Attacks by Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in Nigeria have reportedly forced Italian oil company Eni to shut down production of some 150 thousand barrels of oil per day.

“We intend to destroy between now and May 29 more pipes than we have destroyed in the last one year,” Jomo Gbomo (suspected to be a pseudonym), spokesperson for MEND, said in an e-mail.

Up to 25% of the usual production is said to have been lost last year.

Sources


At around 1am local time NATO forces came under attack from insurgents in Kandahar City, Afghanistan. During the battle one civilian was killed and another two were injured with conflicting reports as to who was to blame. First hand reports lay blame on the NATO troops however there has been no official confirmation either way as yet. The nationality of the NATO soldiers involved in the incident has not been released. Both NATO and the Afghan Police are investigating the civilian death and injuries.

The Associated Press states that 151 Afghan civilians have been killed in combat during the first 4 months of 2007, and that 51 of these died from NATO and/or US fire.

Sources


In Washington DC, Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman announced the awarding of the Management & Operation (M&O) contract for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory today in a press conference. The M&O contract was awarded to a consortium comprised of the University of California, Bechtel National, BWX Technologies, Washington Group International, and Battelle, to be known as Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS) LLC.

“Livermore National Laboratory is a critical part of our nuclear weapons complex and has been for the last 55 years,” Secretary Bodman said. “For the first time since the beginning of the laboratory a new contractor is coming to Livermore. We look forward to working with LLNS as Livermore continues its vital national security work.”

Sources


Posted by 5MD3yc on December 11th, 2018

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