We’re not looking forward to this.

ICANN Senior Advisor Responsible for Egyptian Internet Shutdown

Trying to turn down the heat in the Ukraine.

Ukraine’s interior minister has warned pro-Russian activists who have taken over state buildings in eastern cities to enter talks to find a political solution or face “force”.

Arsen Avakov said the situation would “be resolved in 48 hours” either way.

Earlier, some of those who had been inside security service offices in Luhansk since Sunday left the building.

The EU, Russia, US and Ukraine are to meet next week in the first four-way meeting since the crisis erupted.

And in an interesting read:

Many Germans feel a special bond to Russia. This makes the Ukraine crisis particularly dangerous for Berlin because it raises important questions about the very nature of German identity. Are we as deeply rooted in the West as most believe?

An Iowa City With A Population Of 7,000 Will Receive Armored Military Vehicle

These things normally cosy $500,000, but will be given to Washington, Iowa for free under a Defense Department program that gives surplus military equipment to domestic law enforcement.

Matthew Byrd writes in the Daily Iowan that:

Sometimes the news is just so drearily awful that you have to sit back and almost appreciate the pure comedy induced by it.

Take this item from Washington, Iowa, where the local police have recently acquired an MRAP vehicle (short for Mine Resistance Ambush Protected) through a Defense Department program that donates excess vehicles originally produced for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to local police departments across the United States, including other Iowa towns such as Mason City and Storm Lake.

The MRAP weighs an impressive 49,000 pounds, stands 10-feet tall, and possesses a whopping six-wheel drive. Originally designed to resist landmines and IEDs, it sure seems like the MRAP will come in handy for the notorious war zone otherwise known as Washington County, Iowa.


Why Starbucks doesn’t live up to recycling promises:

What went wrong? The failure derives less from Starbucks’ lack of commitment than to the almost totemic belief that just because something can be recycled doesn’t mean it can be recycled economically. Put differently: Good intentions don’t turn used Starbucks cups into new ones – profit motives do. And for now, there’s no money in it.

Composting keeps the cups out of landfills, but it generates greenhouse gases while destroying the recycling value packed into the cup’s fibers. Reusable cups are a nice idea, but one that consumers simply don’t embrace. In 2008, for example, the company set a goal of serving 25 percent of all beverages in personal, reusable tumblers by 2015; in 2011, it served just 1.9 percent in personal tumblers, and lowered the 2015 goal to 5 percent, despite making available low-cost tumblers (which have their own recycling issues).

Stranger and stranger

The Palestinian ambassador to Prague who died in a blast in January was most likely killed by a decades-old charge of Semtex plastic explosive concealed in a book, a newspaper reported on Tuesday citing a police investigator.

Police had decided Jamal al-Jamal was not assassinated, but had simply unwittingly opening a book booby-trapped years earlier, the source told daily newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes.

“It was an unfortunate accident. The ambassador was a thorough man who wanted to put some old things in order, and among them there were two books with explosives,” the paper quoted the source as saying.

It did not explain why such a book might have been left at the embassy in Prague.

But past statements by police had suggested al-Jamal may have been killed by a device used to secure an old safe.

Officers investigating the explosion found other explosives and firearms at the mission dating back to the Cold War.

Looking forward to this as well.

Cuban authorities say they have eliminated more than 100,000 jobs in health care, considered one of the pillars of the 1959 revolution.

The cuts come as President Raul Castro tries to streamline government as part of a broader economic reform package.

The weekly labor newspaper Trabajadores said Monday that 109,000 health care positions have been cut.

Two years ago, Cuba said more than 50,000 jobs in that sector had been slashed. Most of the cuts came in less-skilled positions such as ambulance drivers and hospital support staff.

Cuba’s health care sector is entirely run by the state. Authorities have said that like other areas of the economy it is plagued by inefficiency, redundancies and bloated payrolls.

About 400,000 islanders are currently working independently of the state under Castro’s reforms.

RC bomb delivery.

A Moroccan national living in Bridgeport, Conn. was arrested Monday after allegedly plotting to bomb a university and federal building using a remote-controlled toy airplane.

A complaint charges El Mehdi Semlali Fathi with making a series of false statements in an asylum claim. In it, however, an FBI agent details his effort to target the public buildings.

In recorded conversations, Fathi “claimed that he has been ‘studying’ the bomb attack operation for months.” He added that “everything available [to make the bomb] was available in Southern California on the border.”

Fathi claimed that he made a chemical bomb while attending high school in Morocco, adding “there are three things that scare people in the United States: causing harm to schools, the economy, and their sense of security.”

Fathi was ordered deported from the U.S. in 2009 after his student visa expired. He later won asylum in after claiming he faced persecution if sent back to Morocco.

Going to jail?


Car tipping.

Good idea.

Nanoengineering researchers have unveiled a potentially scalable method for making one-atom-thick layers of molybdenum diselenide — a material that is similar to graphene but has better properties for making certain electronic devices like switchable transistors and light-emitting diodes.

On this day in history.

On this day in 1942, Major General Edward P. King Jr. surrenders at Bataan, Philippines–against General Douglas MacArthur’s orders–and 78,000 troops (66,000 Filipinos and 12,000 Americans), the largest contingent of U.S. soldiers ever to surrender, are taken captive by the Japanese.

The prisoners were at once led 55 miles from Mariveles, on the southern end of the Bataan peninsula, to San Fernando, on what became known as the “Bataan Death March.” At least 600 Americans and 5,000 Filipinos died because of the extreme brutality of their captors, who starved, beat, and kicked them on the way; those who became too weak to walk were bayoneted. Those who survived were taken by rail from San Fernando to POW camps, where another 16,000 Filipinos and at least 1,000 Americans died from disease, mistreatment, and starvation.

Oh please – haven’t we suffered enough?

This Legislation Would Let Government Take Over U.S. Mortgage Market

In 2009, Congress used nearly $200 billion to bail out the housing finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These companies are still operating under the direct control of the federal government, and taxpayers are underwriting an even larger share of mortgages now than in 2008. Even worse, the U.S. Senate is poised give us Fannie–Freddie 2.0 in the new housing reform bill that Senators Tim Johnson (D., S.D.) and Mike Crapo (R., Idaho) have released.

The Johnson-Crapo bill would wind down the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but would also replace them with a new government agency that expands the federal government’s grip on the housing market. If the Johnson-Crapo housing bill is adopted, the federal government will have effectively taken over the U.S. mortgage market.

More information of the OpenSSL problem.

atomy of a data leakage bug – the OpenSSL “heartbleed” buffer overflow

Mafia making inroads in Germany.

‘I Will Tear His Head Off’: How the Italian Mafia Is Infiltrating Germany

Men’s rights overreach?

A new poster campaign by men’s rights activists has caught people off guard in several cities across Canada.

“Just because it’s your baby doesn’t mean it’s your trash,” the poster reads under the image of a dumpster. “Women can stop baby dumping. Don’t be that girl.”

This is followed by a description of the laws surrounding manslaughter and infanticide, with the implication that women who kill their own babies aren’t being punished enough.

The conclusion: “Chivalry justice has no place in a society where men and women are supposed to be equal under the law.”

Testy .. testy …

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Doha last month accusing Qatar of failing to implement an agreement not to interfere in their internal affairs. The three Gulf states had become increasingly angered over Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi then threatened Qatar with a blockade if Doha continued to back the group, according to a Huffington Post report. Riyadh went on to designate the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.

The fallout was unprecedented in the GCC’s history and while many analysts say it is unlikely that Saudi Arabia would close its border, Qatar’s small size and geography leave it vulnerable to any such action.

Wonder what it would cost to send some my way?

Google says Turkey has been intercepting its internet domain and redirecting users to other sites in the latest battle between Ankara and web giants.

In a weekend post on Google’s security blog, software engineer Steven Carstensen said the company had received “several credible reports and confirmed with our own research that Google’s Domain Name System (DNS) service has been intercepted by most Turkish ISPs (Internet Service Providers).”

Mr Carstensen said the DNS server “tells your computer the address of a server it’s looking for, in the same way that you might look up a phone number in a phone book”.

“Imagine if someone had changed out your phone book with another one, which looks pretty much the same as before, except that the listings for a few people showed the wrong phone number,” he added.

The usual suspects?

Kenyan security forces have rounded up thousands of Somalis or Kenyans of Somali origin, leaving many languishing in a football stadium, amid a major crackdown on suspected Islamists blamed for a string of attacks.

The operation, which local media say has involved more than 6 000 men from the police and from the elite General Service Unit, started on Friday and appeared to have been focused on Eastleigh, an ethnic Somali-dominated district of the Kenyan capital.

The crackdown follows a spate of attacks in Kenya by suspected Islamists and sympathisers of Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shebaab rebels.


Interesting results in work on prostate cancer.

Researchers at the University of Montreal and the INRS-Institut-Armand-Frappier have shown that men circumcised after the age of 35 were 45% less at risk of later developing prostate cancer than uncircumcised men. This is one of the findings that resulted from a study undertaken by Andrea Spence and her research directors Marie-Élise Parent and Marie-Claude Rousseau. The researchers interviewed 2114 men living on the Island of Montreal. Half of them had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2005 and 2009, while the others participated in the study as the control group. The questions covered their lifestyle and medical history, if they were circumcised, and if so, the age at which the operation had been performed.

I guess this had to happen.

Twitter and other social networking services have revolutionized the way people create and maintain relationships. However, new research shows that Twitter use could actually be damaging to users’ romantic relationships. Russell Clayton, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, found that active Twitter users are far more likely to experience Twitter-related conflict with their romantic partners. Clayton’s results showed that Twitter-related conflict then leads to negative relationship outcomes, including emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce.

On this day in history.

An interesting bit of history that plays in today’s crisis..

On this day in 1944, Russian forces led by Marshal Fedor Tolbukhin attack the German army in an attempt to win back Crimea, in the southern Ukraine, occupied by the Axis power. The attack would result in the breaking of German defensive lines in just four days, eventually sending the Germans retreating.

Crimea was the territorial plaything of many great powers, from the Ottoman Turks to the Russia of Ivan III. It had declared its independence in 1918 but was occupied again by Germany in 1941. It was “liberated” by the Russians, only to find itself trapped within the greater Soviet Union. It once again declared itself an independent republic in the 1990s.

Only that silly hard working middle class should be required to pay full freight.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R–Wis.) today acknowledged that his lawsuit against the federal government—filed to prevent special Obamacare-related handouts to members of Congress—faces an uphill battle. Despite the long odds, however, Senator Johnson reiterated his commitment to push the case.

During this morning’s health care panel at The Heritage Foundation, Sen. Johnson announced that “We are working hard now to get members of Congress to sign onto an amicus brief” in support of the suit.

In January, Johnson filed a lawsuit against the head of the Office of Personnel Management—the federal agency that handles the government’s health insurance program—charging that the agency’s decision to give premium assistance to members of Congress and their staff was unlawful.

Chemical weapons used in Syria?

A senior level security official in Israel stated that the rebels claim that Assad’s forces used chemical materials in their attack last week on a Damascus neighborhood, despite Assad signing onto an agreement to dismantle his chemical weapons. He explained that this chemical does not appear on the list of substances that are prohibited under international treaties, so Assad allowed himself to use it.