Israel has carried out an airstrike on a Hamas site in Gaza, its first against the Palestinian territory since this summer’s war, which ended when a truce was signed in August.
The Israeli military said the airstrike, in the early hours of Saturday morning, was on what it called a “Hamas terror infrastructure site” in the southern Gaza Strip.
Israeli military officials said they had acted in response to a rocket having been fired from Gaza into southern Israel on Friday without causing any injuries.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman, said Israel’s military “will not permit any attempt to undermine the security and jeopardize the well-being of the civilians of Israel. The Hamas terrorist organisation is responsible and accountable for today’s attack against Israel.”
Note: Caonima = grass mud horse/F your motherChina’s netizens are well aware that the government pays commenters to make favorable remarks on Internet forums about the Party and its leaders. Allegedly, the propagandists are paid half a yuan (5 mao or 50 cents, in American terms) per comment, so collectively they are known as the “50-Centy Party”, or as wumao.
A Chinese blogger managed to hack into the email system of a local propaganda bureau, and published the email directives to the local wumao on his blog. (It’s in Chinese.)
Among the hacked documents are instructions to paid commenters, their posting quotas, and summaries of their activity. The emails reveal hundreds of thousands of messages sent to Chinese microblogging and social media services like Sina Weibo, Tencent, and various internet forums, including working links to the actual posts. All told, they demonstrate the Chinese state’s wide reach on the internet, even at the lowest levels of government.
Zhanggong’s propaganda department comes across as surprisingly large, yet comically unsophisticated. To get a sense of its inner workings, Quartz examined emails related to a single event: an online Q&A with the local Communist Party secretary earlier this year. What we found was a Potemkin online village of adoring citizens posting favorable messages and easy questions—all manufactured by the propaganda department.
Most of the 300 wumao or wangpingyuan (Internet commentators) on this city’s payroll just copy and paste the suggested emailed comments to meet their daily quota, and receive their payments. Others get a little more creative, while still maintaining the unquestioning, loyal, even fawning tone of the pro-government remarks.
Here’s an example from the Quartz article, referring to the local party secretary:
2. (Link to forum) I really admire Party Secretary Shi, what a capable and effective Party Secretary! I hope he can be the father of Ganzhou for years to come.
It’s quite likely China employs English-speaking wumao to troll English websites and Twitter. So, the next time you see an over-the-top patriotic remark about China, it may have come from a paid agent of the Chinese government.
Teahadis may complain about the IRS targeting politically incorrect groups but in Canada it is actually happening.
But the teahadis up will not complain. In fact they’ll think it is deserved and long past due.
Sigh. My country is committing suicide by slow poison.
“We have not caved,” Sony CEO Michael Lynton said today, defending his company from President Obama’s comment that the studio had “made a mistake” in bowing to terrorist demands over the North Korea-skewering The Interview. “We have not caved. We have not given in. We have persevered, and we have not backed down. We have always had every desire to have the American public see this movie.”
So who let the terrorists win? Lynton shifted blame for The Interview’s cancelled release to exhibitors who shied away from showing the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy after hackers threatened the safety of moviegoers. Sony left the decision to play The Interview - or not - to the theater chains, who started pulling out one by one this week.
Nebraska’s Legislature is supposedly unicameral & non-partisan, but looking at their Wiki page (which provides party affiliation “for informational purposes only”) it seems to be very red, This move to put a nativity scene in the Capitol Rotunda strikes me as very right-wing. It strikes me as such not only because of the religious aspect, but also because of the involvement of its very anti-choice stance. You can read more about them on Wikipedia, but visiting their website (donotlink.com) will give you a much better idea of just how far right they are.
Nebraska is not alone in this display—a nativity scene is also displayed in the Illinois Capitol Rotunda and has been since 2008 (the Thomas More Society was also involved in that one). That year, the nativity scene there was also joined by a menorah, a Festivus pole, and a sign containing an atheist message (which was stolen). I didn’t look into what has happened in the intervening years. The Illinois State Legislature is bicameral and has a Democratic majority.
Apparently, this has been framed as a free speech issue and there are several other states that allow it. A quick Google search indicates that Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (where the FSM made an appearance) have followed suit—there may very well be others that I missed.
Naturally, the tolerance for free speech quickly evaporates when the requesting groups aren’t Christian or Jewish (I’m not going to say Judeo-Christian because given the history of antisemitism that term is misleading at best). For example: Last year, after Hindus, Satanists, and animal rights groups requested permission to add their displays, Oklahoma suddenly decided it had enough and stopped taking requests for more.
I don’t know how things panned out in Oklahoma, but last year Florida rejected a Satanic display as “grossly offensive.” Apparently, they failed to grasp the irony in that: free speech protections are in our Constitution precisely because some points of view are unpopular.
This year, when the Satanists brought along their lawyers, Florida relented. Last month, Slate published quite the snarky (but true) article about the kerfuffles, the title & subtitle of which caused me to LOL:
Thanks to conservative Supreme Court rulings, the government must support the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Satanic Temple.
By the way, the Michigan State Capitol will also be getting a Satanist display, presumably after having taken note of what happened in Florida. It looks like there might be a fight brewing in Texas (this is the first year they approved a display).
Anyway, back to Nebraska now, added emphasis mine:
Nebraska State Capitol DomeThe Chicago-based Thomas More Society has received permission to set up a Nativity scene in the Capitol Rotunda in Lincoln.
The display in the seat of state government represents constitutionally protected free speech and expression of religious faith by private citizens in a public forum, Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society president and chief attorney, said in a press release. […]
Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers said the display was one of the worst things he has seen happen while a member of the Legislature. It is especially abhorrent because lawyers are doing it, he said. Not one of them could give a cogent argument justifying the placing of a Christian icon in the Rotunda, he said.
“Except for the fact that I am a man who believes in using legal processes to address inappropriate use of state facilities, I would dismantle it and remove it myself,” he said. […]
There is also a question of whether it will open the door to other religious displays in the building.
Um, NO. There is no question that it will open the doors to other religious displays. Precedent has already been set—it’s too late to close the barn door.
The religious right really needs to think things through more carefully. They should also stop wrapping themselves in the flag and claiming to be patriotic defenders of the First Amendment, then putting their hypocritical intolerance on display for all to see—freedom for me, but not for thee is not how it works.
You didn’t know that there are fundamentalist Buddhists who will imprison you for their equivalent to blasphemy?
A New Zealander and two Burmese men have pleaded not guilty to charges of insulting Buddhism in Myanmar.
The trio, who ran a bar in Yangon, are accused over a flyer promoting a drinks event depicting Buddha with headphones.
The image triggered an angry response online shortly after it appeared on the bar’s Facebook page.
Burmese law makes it illegal to insult or damage any religion. Myanmar, also known as Burma, has seen growing Buddhist nationalism in recent years.
The flyer from VGastro Bar showed Buddha with his eyes shut, wearing large headphones, and surrounded by lurid colours.
Today, the FBI would like to provide an update on the status of our investigation into the cyber attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). In late November, SPE confirmed that it was the victim of a cyber attack that destroyed systems and stole large quantities of personal and commercial data. A group calling itself the “Guardians of Peace” claimed responsibility for the attack and subsequently issued threats against SPE, its employees, and theaters that distribute its movies.
The FBI has determined that the intrusion into SPE’s network consisted of the deployment of destructive malware and the theft of proprietary information as well as employees’ personally identifiable information and confidential communications. The attacks also rendered thousands of SPE’s computers inoperable, forced SPE to take its entire computer network offline, and significantly disrupted the company’s business operations.
After discovering the intrusion into its network, SPE requested the FBI’s assistance. Since then, the FBI has been working closely with the company throughout the investigation. Sony has been a great partner in the investigation, and continues to work closely with the FBI. Sony reported this incident within hours, which is what the FBI hopes all companies will do when facing a cyber attack. Sony’s quick reporting facilitated the investigators’ ability to do their jobs, and ultimately to identify the source of these attacks.
As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other U.S. government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions. While the need to protect sensitive sources and methods precludes us from sharing all of this information, our conclusion is based, in part, on the following:
Technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed. For example, there were similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks.
The FBI also observed significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the U.S. government has previously linked directly to North Korea. For example, the FBI discovered that several Internet protocol (IP) addresses associated with known North Korean infrastructure communicated with IP addresses that were hardcoded into the data deletion malware used in this attack.
Separately, the tools used in the SPE attack have similarities to a cyber attack in March of last year against South Korean banks and media outlets, which was carried out by North Korea.
We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there. Further, North Korea’s attack on SPE reaffirms that cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the United States. Though the FBI has seen a wide variety and increasing number of cyber intrusions, the destructive nature of this attack, coupled with its coercive nature, sets it apart. North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves. Such acts of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior. The FBI takes seriously any attempt—whether through cyber-enabled means, threats of violence, or otherwise—to undermine the economic and social prosperity of our citizens.
The FBI stands ready to assist any U.S. company that is the victim of a destructive cyber attack or breach of confidential business information. Further, the FBI will continue to work closely with multiple departments and agencies as well as with domestic, foreign, and private sector partners who have played a critical role in our ability to trace this and other cyber threats to their source. Working together, the FBI will identify, pursue, and impose costs and consequences on individuals, groups, or nation states who use cyber means to threaten the United States or U.S. interests.
Council members agreed with the Federal Medical Council (Bundesärztekammer) that doctors should not routinely be asked to help patients commit suicide.
But they argued that in “exceptional circumstances”, decisions of conscience by a doctor in the context of a “trusting doctor-patient relationship” should be respected.
The decision is a blow to a cross-party initiative to legalize the practice put forward by Bundestag vice-president Peter Hintze of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD) deputy leader Carola Reimann.
“Terminally ill people must have the right to ask their doctor to help end their life in hopeless situations”, the politicians said on Friday.
The cyber terrorists move from terror threats to extortion in short order after Sony’s CEO caved. By demanding that Sony throw “The Interview” down the memory hole, they’ve guaranteed that it will become the most sought after digital property of this decade so far.
The hackers who attacked Sony Pictures are making more demands of the studio following their success in scrapping the release of The Interview, according to CNN. CNN reports that top Sony executives received an email from the hacking group last night with a message saying that it would withhold further data, but only if the studio never let anyone see The Interview or pretty much any sign that The Interview ever existed.
“NOW WE WANT YOU NEVER LET THE MOVIE RELEASED, DISTRIBUTED OR LEAKED IN ANY FORM.”
“It’s very wise that you have made the decision to cancel the release of The Interview. It will be very useful for you,” CNN reports the message as reading. The email concludes, “We will ensure the security of your data unless you make additional trouble.”
Unfortunately for Sony, that “trouble” includes a laundry list of perceived issues: “Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy,” the message reportedly says. It also says, “And we want everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version down from any website hosting them immediately.”
Here’s video shot showing a group of uniformed cops in the process of arresting a 12-year old boy. Then, out of nowhere, an undercover cop begins sucker punching the kid.
Let me repeat this: an undercover cop repeatedly sucker punches a 12-year old for resisting arrest while other cops are trying to cuff the kid. It’s the undercover cop who comes in out of nowhere as other uniformed cops are handling the kid. According to Think Progress:
In the video, the boy, who is identified as 12 years, and his friend repeatedly ask why they’re being arrested, as onlookers yell at the officers. According to an actress who uploaded the video to Facebook, Sarah Doneghy, the two were approached by police for allegedly pushing down a classmate. In the video, the boys are held against two separate vehicles for several minutes before they’re put in the cars in handcuffs.
“This is not a war, this is a 12-year-old kid,” said one woman who identified herself as a lawyer. “They’re animals right?”
The classmate allegedly said that the two boys were not the perpetrators. Officers allege the victims were actually 16 and 17-years-old, and that they were participating in a gang initiation.
The video alone should be a firing offense. Period. I’ve got zero tolerance for this kind of crap, and I can’t wait to listen to the PBA claim that this was somehow justified or that the cop was acting according to proper procedures, even though the video shows the absolute opposite. There was no justification for the punches. None.
Internal Affairs is currently investigating.
Even if the arrest of the two kids were justified, there’s absolutely no justification for the assault by the cop. That’s what is going on here. We’re witnessing an assault by the cop on a 12-year old.