News briefs:May 15, 2010

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Law center helps defend open source

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Eben Moglen, Columbia University Law Professor, will head the newSoftware Freedom Law Center (SFLC). An initial 4 million dollars has been provided by Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) to fund the project.

The law center will provide free legal service for open source projects and developers. In 2004 OSDL established a separate $10 million Linux Legal Defense Fund providing legal support for Linus Torvalds, Linux kernel creator and end user companies subjected to Linux-related litigation by the SCO Group. The new law center will not be affiliated with the OSDL.

“This is about taking care of the goose that laid the golden egg and not letting wolves come in the middle of the night and steal it away,” Moglen said during a press conference. “This is a legal firm not involved so much in litigating and defending as it will be for counseling and advising and nurturing non-profits and to prevent millions of dollars in litigation.”

Moglen will serve as chairman and director-counsel of the non-profit organization. Also on board as directors are: Lawrence Lessig, law professor at Stanford Law School; Daniel Weitzner, director of the World Wide Web Consortium‘s technology and society activities; and Diane Peters, general counsel at the OSDL. Daniel Ravicher, executive director of the Public Patent Foundation, will help manage as legal director.

Moglen, one of the world.s leading experts on copyright law as applied to software, will run the new Law Center from its headquarters in New York City. The Law Center will initially have two full-time intellectual property attorneys on staff and expects to expand to four attorneys later this year. Initial clients for the Law Center include the Free Software Foundation and the Samba Project.

Other services provided by the SFLC include: asset stewardship, to avoid intellectual property claim conflict; license review and compatibility analysis; legal consulting and lawyer training.

2006 “Stolenwealth” Games to confront Commonwealth Games in Melbourne

Friday, March 3, 2006

The possibility of large-scale protests in the face of the 3,000 journalists covering the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, has event organisers and the Government worried.

The group “Black GST” – which represents Indigenous Genocide, Sovereignty and Treaty – are planning demonstrations at prominent Games events unless the Government agrees to a range of demands including an end to Aboriginal genocide, Aboriginal Sovereignty and the signing of a treaty.

The Black GST say they hope the focus of the world’s media will draw attention to the plight of indigenous Australians during the Games. Organisers say supporters are converging from across Australia and from overseas. Organisers say up to 20,000 people may take part in talks, rallies, colourful protests and many cultural festivities designed to pressure the Federal Government on Indigeneous rights issues. They want the Government to provide a temporary campsite for the supporters, saying “organised chaos was better than disorganised chaos.”

The 2006 Stolenwealth Games convergence, described by organisers as the “cultural festival of the 2006 Commonwealth Games,” was virtually opened on March 2nd with the launch of the official “Stolenwealth Games” website. Scoop Independent News and Perth Indymedia reported that the launch was held at Federation Square in Melbourne. The site contents were projected via wireless laptop by the Stolenwealth Games General Manager, and a tour of the website was given on the big screen. He said “overwhelming amusement was the response from the audience.” The group say permanent access points to the website are being set up at public internet facilities across Victoria during the coming weeks.

“Interest in the Stolenwealth Games is building all over the world and this fresh, exciting and contemporary site will draw in people from Stolenwealth Nations around the globe to find out about the latest news and events,” said a Stolenwealth Games spokesperson. “We have been getting many requests from around the world wanting to know about the Stolenwealth Games. We have provided many ways that individuals and organisations can support the campaign by spreading the word.”

The Victorian Traditional Owner Land Justice Group (VTOLJG) which represents the first nation groups of Victoria, has announced its support to boycott the 2006 Commonwealth Games until the Government “recognises Traditional Owner rights.” The group asserts that culture has been misappropriated in preparation for the Games.

Organisers of the campaign say they welcome the formal support from the Traditional Owners. “While some seek to divide and discredit Indigenous Australia, this support is further evidence that the Aboriginal people are united in opposition to the ongoing criminal genocide that is being perpetrated against the Aboriginal people” said Black GST supporter and Aboriginal Elder, Robbie Thorpe.

“We now have endorsement from the VTOLJG and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy for the aims and objectives of the Campaign and we are looking forward to hosting all indigenous and non-indigenous supporters from across Australia in March,” he said. The Black GST group have said “the convergence will be held as a peaceful, family-focussed demonstration against genocide, and for the restoration of sovereignty and the negotiations towards a Treaty.”

But the campaign has received flak in mainstream media, such as Melbourne’s Herald Sun, who wrote: “the proposal to allow BlackGST to set up an Aboriginal tent embassy at a site well away from the Commonwealth Games will be interpreted by some as the State Government caving in to a radical protest group. A major concern for the Government… is to protect the event from disruption… no chances should be taken…”

The Black GST has been planning the convergence for months, calling for Aboriginal people and their supporters to converge on Melbourne. The Melbourne-based Indigenous rights group have called on thousands of people concerned about the plight of indigenous Australians to converge on Melbourne during the Games, which they have dubbed “the Stolenwealth Games”. But the choice of Kings Domain has made conflict almost inevitable, as the area is one of the areas gazetted by the State Government as a “Games management zone”.

Under the Commonwealth Games Arrangements Act, any area gazetted as a management zone is subject to a range of specific laws – including bans on protesting, creating a disturbance and other activities. The protest bans will be in effect at different times and places, and offenders can be arrested. A spokeswoman for the Black GST, which advocates peaceful protest, said the site had been chosen because it was close to where the Queen will stay on March 15. “We figured that she is only in Melbourne for 27 hours or something like that so we thought we would make it easy for her to come next door and see us,” she said. “We are a very open, welcoming group, so she will be welcome to come and join us.”

Kings Domain is the burial site for 38 indigenous forefathers of Victoria. Black GST elder, Targan, said trade union groups have offered to install infrastructure at the site. The group initially worked with the State Government to find a suitable camp site, but the relationship broke down when the Government failed to meet a deadline imposed by the protesters. “While we are disappointed the ministers were not able to meet deadline on our request, we thank them for their constructive approach towards negotiations and the open-door policy exercised,” said Targan.

A spokesman for Games Minister Justin Madden said the Government was still investigating other sites. Victoria Police Games security commander Brendan Bannan said he was not convinced the Black GST represented the views of most indigenous people. “We are dealing with the Aboriginal community and they don’t seem to support it at all … the wider Aboriginal community don’t support disruption to the Games at all,” he said.

The Government was told that Black GST supporters would camp in Fitzroy Gardens and other city parks should it fail to nominate a site. A spokesman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gavan Jennings said the Government was taking the issue seriously, but had not been able to finalise a campsite before the deadline.

Under special Games laws, people protesting or causing a disturbance in “Games management zones” can be arrested and fined. While prominent public spaces such as Federation Square, Birrarung Marr, Albert Park and the Alexandra Gardens fall under the legislation, such tough anti-protest laws cannot be enforced in the nearby Fitzroy Gardens.

Games chairman Ron Walker has urged the group to choose another date for its protest march through the city, which is currently planned to coincide with the opening ceremony on March 15. The group believes that an opportunity to gain attention for indigenous issues was lost at the Sydney Olympics and has vowed to make a highly visible presence at the Games.

The Black GST said the Australian Aboriginal Tent Embassy’s sacred flame, burning over many years at the Canberra site will be carried to Melbourne before the Games, and its arrival would mark the opening of the protest camp from where a march will proceed to the MCG before the Opening Ceremony.

Black GST claims supporters from all over Australia, including three busloads from the West Australian Land Council, will gather in Melbourne during the Games for peaceful protests.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gavin Jennings had offered Victoria Park to the protesters. Victoria Park, former home of Collingwood Football Club, where one of the strongest statements of Aboriginal pride, when St Kilda star Nicky Winmar in 1993 raised his jumper and pointed to his bare chest after racial taunts from the Collingwood crowd.

Black GST, which has labelled the Games the Stolenwealth Games, said the State Government had failed to find a suitable venue. Black GST may encourage protesters to camp in prominent parks such as Fitzroy Gardens and Treasury Gardens. Graffiti supporting the action has also appeared in central Melbourne.

Melbourne City councillor Fraser Brindley has offered his home to the Black GST organisers. “I offered my home up to people who are organising visitors to come to the Games,” he said. Cr Brindley will be overseas when the Commonwealth Games are held and has offered the free accommodation at his flat at Parkville. He said he agreed with the protesters’ view that treaties needed to be signed with indigenous Australians. “I’m offering it up to the indigenous people who are coming to remind Her Majesty that her Empire took this land from them,” said Cr Brindlley. Nationals leader Peter Ryan said: “This extremist group has no part in the Australian community.” Melbourne councillor Peter Clarke said the actions were embarrassing and that he would try to discourage him. “It’s not in the spirit of the Games,” he said.

Aboriginal elder, Targan, said the possibility of securing Victoria Park was delightfully ironic. “There’s a lot of irony going on,” Targan, 53, a PhD student at Melbourne University, said. “GST stands for Genocide, Sovereignty and Treaty. We want the genocide of our people to stop; we want some sovereignty over traditional land, certainly how it is used, and we want a treaty with the government,” Targan said.

Fake impotence drugs linked to low blood sugar outbreak

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An article in the February 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reports on an unusual cause for an outbreak of low blood sugar among men in Singapore: illegal use of sexual performance enhancement drugs that were contaminated with a diabetes drug.

Between January and May 2008, 149 men and one woman between 19 and 97 (mean age 51) were admitted to five public hospitals for unexplained low blood sugar. Similar cases were reported in media reports from Hong Kong. Seven Singaporean patients remained in a coma because of prolonged sugar starvation of the brain, and four subsequently died. The diabetes drug glyburide was found in blood and/or urine samples in 85% of cases; 30% admitted having used illegal sexual performance enhancers.

The contaminated products were a counterfeit version of the drug Cialis (meant for the treatment of genuine erectile dysfunction), and three purported herbal preparation (the affected brands included Power 1 Walnut and Santi Bovine Penis Erecting Capsule). All four preparations additionally contained Viagra in varying concentrations. Two herbal products contained traces of the weight loss drug sibutramine, a compound related to amphetamines.

The drug packaging mentioned names of non-existent overseas production facilities, so the source of the contamination with the diabetes drug could not be established.

The authors underline the risks that is known to be associated with purchasing drugs from unreliable providers or from online resellers. The clandestine use of impotence drugs as sexual performance enhancers seems to have provided a good illustration of this problem. They further call for more efforts by national and international health and law enforcement agencies to curb the manufacturing, international transport and sales of untrustworthy medication.

Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Local caterers get ready for big business, as almost three thousand fans converge on the David L. Lawrence Convention Center over the Independence Day weekend for the world’s largest ever furry convention, Anthrocon 2007.

Many hope to renew acquaintances, or meet new friends. Others look to buy from dealers and artists, or show off new artwork or costumes. Some attend to make money, or even learn a thing or two. But one thing unites them: They’re all there to have fun.

Contents

  • 1 Costly expansion
  • 2 Programming and entertainment
  • 3 Audience
  • 4 Art show and dealers
  • 5 Charity and volunteers
  • 6 Local impact
  • 7 Related news
  • 8 Sources

Australian government provides $15.8 million for North Adelaide Technical College

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Australian Minister for Vocational Education and Training, Gary Hardgrave has announced the government will provide AU$15.8 million to establish an Australian Technical College in North Adelaide. The minister said the government was entering into a partnership with the Archdiocese of Adelaide and consortium of industrial and manufacturing companies.

The North Adelaide college will be located in Elizabeth and be operated as an independent non-government school. The college is one of 25 to be established across the country.

Enrolments at the college will begin in 2007 and will offer courses in areas where identified skills shortages exist in the North Adelaide region, specifically – engineering, construction, electronics and cooking.

Mr Hardgrave said that the proposed college had been popular among the North Adelaide business community. “This important initiative has been well received by North Adelaide business and industry, and will help to address skills needs and provide opportunities for those in greatest need, including a lot of Indigenous students in the region,” Mr Hardgrave said.

“The fact that this College is being led by local employers, local government and other key stakeholders, means it will be truly industry and community driven,” he said.

Australian Technical Colleges were established to cater for year 11 and 12 students who wish to do an apprenticeship as part of their school education.

The Australian Education Union has expressed a number of concerns about the model put forward by the government. In a report, they claim that trade facilities at TAFE colleges (operated by state governments) will deteriorate as funding is diverted to the ATCs. The union is also concerned that ATCs are supposed to be selective VET schools. According to the union they will have selective entry and preferential funding. It is feared that teachers will be lured away from schools and TAFE colleges to higher paid positions in ATCs.

The Education Union suggested that the government invest in schools that already offer vocational education programs.

Church of Scientology: ‘”Anonymous’ will be stopped”

Monday, February 4, 2008

Claiming that “actions are being taken”, a person replying to emails to the Church of Scientology has responded exclusively to Wikinews regarding the recent attacks on their web sites from the nebulous “Anonymous” group. In an effort to get the Church’s side of the story, Wikinews freelance journalist Brian McNeil located a contact address, knowledge@lrh.org. A “Laetitia” responded, ignoring a detailed list of questions that would have given information on the damage inflicted on the Church and action taken. Instead non-specific comments about how the Church is handling the issue were given. She first started by asking if Wikinews was “part of Anonymous or are you pro-Scientology?”

“Activities of Anonymous have been reported to the Authorities and actions are being taken. Their activities are illegal and we do not approve of them. At the same time, our main work is to improve the environment, make people more able and spiritually aware. … yes, we are taking action,” said Laetitia.

‘Anonymous’ first came to public attention when the group launched denial-of-service attacks against the Church’s website, following the Church’s attempts to remove a promotional video featuring Scientologist Tom Cruise from YouTube. Although YouTube is complying with the requests to remove the video, other sites such as Gawker.com have stated that they will continue hosting the video.

Fielding expert opinions on the Church’s response, Wikinews turned to Andreas Heldal-Lund, the creator of the Operation Clambake project, as well as a former Scientologist who wished to remain anonymous.

“I believe strongly in freedom of speech and, living in the best country in the world, I came to the conclusion that I had to help protest this cult. To me CoS [Church of Scientology] was then, and still is, a fascistic organization and a real threat to our democratic principles,” said Andreas Heldal-Lund, the creator of Operation Clambake.

“The strategy was to disarm the cult; if they took down something I linked to, I had made preparations to link to another copy or host it myself. The more they resisted it the more attention we got, the more the information was spread and the more people got involved. It felt like a cat and mouse game for many years. What for me started as a weekend stunt grew far beyond my initial scope and Operation Clambake became the site most critics linked and referred to,” added Heldal-Lund.

Heldal-Lund states that the effort of the Church to remove criticism of its organization from the web is failing.

“The cult ‘Orgs’ are ‘dead’. Recruiting in most western countries where they once experienced a healthy organic growth is very hard. All their most secret documents are spread beyond recall and easily available for anybody interested. More people than we ever dreamed now know about Scientology and at least that it ‘smells fishy’. All the information we once fought day and night to protect is now easily available for free and on the top of Google. The cult has even given up threatening us,” added Heldal-Lund who also said that there are “no major lawsuits ongoing or pending” against Operation Clambake.

“We are taking action, Anonymous will be handled and stopped, but not to the detriment of us stopping all community outreach activities. We’ve had people throw attacks at us in the past as they do not agree with the betterment of people. History is strewn with such people who start wars, wreak havoc etc. and they never continue to exist in the long run as their purpose is one of destruction. That’s a statistical and historical fact,” stated Laetitia.

Laetitia had earlier stated that Wikinews was not allowed to use the quotes that they provided saying they, “have a problem with [Wikinews] quoting this. You are writing on a help website and it isn’t the right source for the “Scientology opinion,” but later acknowledged that the inquiries were of a press nature stating, “you have made it clear [that you are a journalist] and I appreciate you being upfront on the matter.”

An expert evaluation on the e-mails by a former Church member and expert on the religion reveals that Laetitia may have slipped, providing information that she may not have been authorized to provide.

“The person you were speaking to was from the ‘Planetary Dissemination Org’ (PDO), a unit within the Sea Org responsible for promoting Scientology to new recruits which is responsible for Scientology’s websites. Most probably, the person that you were talking to did not have permission to talk to the press, which is why the person got edgy when publication was talked about. Judging by the way she responded, I am of the opinion that she felt that Wikinews was ‘PTS’ [Potential Trouble Source] as a result of being connected to whoever Scientology believes ‘Anonymous’ is, thus was attempting to handle Wikinews’ suppressive tendencies that they believe would occur as a result. It is also interesting to note that she followed a Scientology training document entitled ‘BTB 10 DEC 1969 REPORTER TRs’,” said the expert who wishes to remain totally anonymous.

“‘Then using different questions, the PRO [Public Relations Officer] gives ‘no answers’. The trick is to appear to answer the question by giving generalized statements in simple terms so that the reporter doesn’t realize his question hasn’t been answered’. Aside from being an obvious filibuster, it also shows she has been trained to deal with reporters,” added the expert who also said that the question the Church asked Wikinews: ‘Are you part of Anonymous or are you pro-Scientology’, “I find this particularly interesting as an example of Scientological for-or-against logic. In other words, if you aren’t pro-Scientology, the writer reasoned, you must be a member of Anonymous because you wouldn’t be writing to her.”

As the war between the Internet and Scientology rages on, the owner of 711chan.org says that he is prepared to “re-enter the CoS scene”, and respond to The Regime, a hacker group which attempted to shut down 711chan using keylogging to gain an administrator password to 711chan. Prior to the site coming back online this morning, Plasma, the owner and operator of 711chan.org, had this to say;

“The g00ns, one of our allies, are working on getting “The Regime” and told us to get right back into the CoS scene — which means as soon as 711chan is back online, we will be re-entering raid mode.” Also, despite earlier claims and suspicions that The Regime might have been hired by or be part of the Church of Scientology, Plasma told Wikinews that The Regime “are not part of the Church. g00ns [organization] have a long history with ‘immortal’, and what ‘immortal’ is trying to do is get at g00ns by using 711chan. It’s nothing against us.”

The website came back online this morning, and already over 18,000 posts have been made on its functioning imageboards. The owners have, via a message posted on the homepage of the site, promised to restore the other boards in the coming weeks dependent on which boards the users would like to see revived. One Anonymous user of the site had this to say about the revival, “711 is patched up and ready to take it’s place among the Legion.”

Worldwide protests have been scheduled by ‘Anonymous’ to take place against the Church on February 10, 2008. There are expected to be at least 217 protests taking place on the 10th at Church headquarters around the globe.

In a poll conducted by Wikinews on 816 internet news readers, 80% (660) said that The Internet will win the war against Scientology. 7% (63) said that the Church would win. 8% (66) said neither side will win and 3% (27) didn’t care.

Canterbury farmers to get aid because of snow

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The New Zealand government officials have announced that it will give NZ$160,000 in aid to help farmers who were affected by the huge amounts of snow in Canterbury, New Zealand two weeks ago.

The aid package will provide four regional offices for co-ordination, food supplies and ongoing support.

The Federated Farmers for mid Canterbury say that the aid will be a start to what looks like a tough winter. President of the mid Canterbury Federated Farmers Rupert Curd says, “It is too early to say exactly how much help the relief package will provide.”

The snow has not yet reached a crisis point.

The Insurance Council has estimated the cost of the snow storm has reached $35 million so far. Chief Executive of the Insurance Council says, “There has been damage to homes, commercial premises both on farms and in town and vehicles. Businesspeople who have been without power are also claiming for loss of income.”

The Minister of Agriculture Jim Anderton has said that they are not ruling out giving further aid.

England do enough against Ecuador; through to quarter-final

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A David Beckham free kick was the difference as England went through to the quarter-finals of the 2006 Fifa World Cup after a 1-0 win over Ecuador, Sunday.

For the neutral football fan the game was not especially attractive to look at. There were only 7 shots on target in the 90 minutes and neither team controlled the play well. The scrappy match was broken by up 37 fouls.

The game had temperatures at around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which caused several English players, including Beckham, to suffer from heat exhaustion and dehydration. Beckham was sick on the pitch shortly after his goal and was substituted before the end. [1]

Ecuador had the best of the first 45 minutes. The slow tempo of the game seemed to lead to simple errors of concentration from England and favoured Ecuador’s passing play.

Ecuador had slightly more ball possession over the game and also the first chance. John Terry‘s back header to his keeper fell short but Ashley Cole slid in to deflect Carlos Tenorio‘s shot onto Paul Robinson‘s crossbar.

In the second half England put more pressure on Ecuador’s goal. However, passes into lone striker Wayne Rooney – who played 90 minutes for the first time since he recovered from injury – were often off-target.

England’s best chance to score from free play followed Wayne Rooney trickery on the left touchline. The striker evaded his marker but Frank Lampard spooned Rooney’s cut back high over the bar.

Beckham’s free kick was a trademark fast curled pass from over 30 yards which beat the opposition wall and took a small touch off the fingertips of Cristian Mora before nestling into the bottom right corner of the net. The goal meant David Beckham had broken an English record by scoring in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups, the first English player ever to score in three different World Cups.

England were scheduled to meet the winner of game 52, Portugal, in the quarter-final of the World Cup in Gelsenkirchen on July 1.

Contents

  • 1 Round of sixteen
  • 2 Formations
    • 2.1 England
    • 2.2 Ecuador
  • 3 Officials
  • 4 Related news
  • 5 Sources