Category: News

ONE-SIDED ARGUMENT GOP’s Tillis only NC Senate candidate at ‘debate’

Cities need more power, says study

Allowing UK cities to make their own decisions on tax and spending could boost economic growth by £79bn a year by 2030, a year-long study concludes.
BBC News – UK

France, Germany hold talks on EU approval of France’s 2015 budget

Paris and Berlin are working on a behind-the-scenes deal for intensified, long-term austerity measures against the working class.

Potato party time in Belarus at Draniki Fest

Thousands of Belarussians attended a festival dedicated to the humble potato pancake. Sunday marked the first ever celebration of the Belarus…


After #GamerGate tweet, Adobe distances itself from Gawker “bullying”

On Tuesday, Adobe used its official Twitter account to post a condemnation of Gawker Media over accusations of “bullying.” In a confusing move, an Adobe employee tweeted roughly an hour later that the company’s original post was “mistaken,” but as of press time, the original post in question had yet to be taken down or modified.

(As this back-and-forth involves the latest wave of activity attached to the #GamerGate hashtag, you’ll want to study up if you’ve missed out on the hashtag’s rise in recent months.)

On Tuesday morning, a user tweeted at Adobe with #GamerGate hashtags and accusations that Gawker “endorses bullying and hate speech,” along with a call for the company to remove its advertising from Gawker’s network. The tweet didn’t specify where that “endorsement” came from, but another post from that user’s Twitter account pointed to tweets made by Valleywag editor Sam Biddle last week, including statements such as “bring back bullying” and “I’m getting a raise because I made gamers cry.”

These posts came after other jokes and criticism Biddle had posted about #GamerGate. In particular, Biddle criticized a YouTube video that had purported to sum up the hashtag’s concerns about game journalism ethics, but the video relied heavily on recent, refuted accusations while brushing off violent, anonymous threats linked to #GamerGate. Biddle also later apologized for his tweets, and Gawker followed that by distributing an internal memo about the incident, telling its employees, “when a tweet could be innocently misinterpreted, don’t tweet.”

Mistaken identity?

Adobe’s official account posted a response indicating that it was not actively advertising on the site and had asked Gawker to remove its logo (presumably from the company’s “Partners” page, which no longer exists on the network’s advertising hub), then added, “Adobe stands against bullying.”

The tweet attracted a wide variety of responses, alternating between support from active #GamerGate participants and accusations that Adobe was allying with a “hate group.” People who made the latter statement linked to a recent Gawker network report breaking down statements and tactics that had been linked to #GamerGate.

Adobe product manager Divya Manian later responded to the Adobe tweet by saying, “We are working on it; it was a case of mistaken identity,” without clarifying whose identity was mistaken (as the post came from Adobe’s confirmed, blue-checkmark Twitter account.) Manian also retweeted a comment by threatened game developer and #GamerGate critic Brianna Wu that read, “I just got off the phone with Adobe. Stay tuned,” implying that a reversal of course would follow.

This was the second major story in the past month linking tech companies and pulled advertising campaigns, following Intel’s decision to pull ads from game development and criticism site Gamasutra after being targeted by an e-mail campaign known as Operation Disrespectful Nod. It also followed a rise in mainstream #GamerGate coverage from outlets such as the New York Times and MSNBC. That coverage has largely focused on the public faces of #GamerGate, almost exclusively women in the game industry who have faced threats and harassment.

We have reached out to Adobe with questions about its Gawker tweet and Manian’s related tweet. We will update this report with any response.

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Ars Technica

UN announces Gaza war inquiry

Ban Ki-moon says attacks on UN facilities during Israel’s assault on Gaza Strip during July-August will be investigated.

US facing sanctions after defying WTO trade rules

Reuters / Nacho Doce

On Monday, the WTO decided against the US and said the nation’s country-of-origin labeling law is in violation of international fair trade rules.

America’s country-of-origin labeling, or COOL, law mandates that the packages of most beef, poultry, pork and lamb sold in the US clearly list where the animal in question was born, raised and harvested. Canada and Mexico have called this COOL law unfair, however, and said it unfairly discriminates against exports from those countries. Indeed, Reuters noted this week that Canadian pig and cattle exports to the US have diminished since 2009 — one year after the current COOL law was adopted in the US.

In a statement Monday, the WTO sided with America’s neighbors and said that US COOL laws have “a detrimental impact on the competitive opportunities” of livestock that’s imported, “and thus accords less favorable treatment.”

America’s COOL law, the WTO said, “necessitates increased segregation of meat and livestock in the US market, entails a higher record-keeping burden and increases the original COOL measure’s incentive to choose domestic over imported livestock.”

The WTO ruled previously in June 2012 that American COOL laws unfairly discriminated against Canadian and Mexican meat and, in response, told the US to adhere to certain changes. Now with the WTO ruling once again against the US, possible sanctions are now reportedly on the horizon.

“Basically the (WTO) Appellate Body has told them three times now to get rid of mandatory country of origin labeling,” Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz told Reuters. “I don’t see any negotiation, other than how long it’s going to take to make that happen.”

In a statement sent to Canadian media, Ritz saluted the WTO’s latest resolution.

“Today’s WTO compliance panel’s report reaffirms Canada’s long-standing view that the revised US COOL measure is blatantly protectionist and fails to comply with the WTO’s original ruling against it,” Ritz said on Monday. “The WTO’s clear and consistent findings in support of Canada’s position effectively supply a clear message to the US — end this protectionist policy that creates economic harm on both sides of the border and comply with your international trade obligations.”

Trade representatives in the US now have 20 days to appeal the WTO’s ruling, Reuters reported, but, should it fail to adopt new labeling rules, then Mexico and Canada may be given the clear from the group to begin imposing trade sanctions.

Bob McCan, the president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, acknowledged to the Financial Post that the WTO ruling may have a negative effect on American agriculture.

“The announcement today by the WTO dispute panel on the US Country of Origin Labelling rule brings us all one step closer to facing retaliatory tariffs from two of our largest trading partners,” McCan said Monday.

If Canada is given the go-ahead by the WTO to impose sanctions, then Ritz said certain agricultural products will soon be targeted.

We will target everything from California wine to Minnesota mattresses, not to mention the over billion in US beef and pork sales to Canada,” Ritz told The Canadian Press. “We will do whatever it takes to stand up for an integrated North American beef industry and we will not rest until this work is done.”

Canada and Mexico will remain vigilant to ensure the harm generated by the protectionist COOL policy is brought to an end and that international trade commitments are respected,” representatives from both nations said in a joint statement this week. “We remain committed to using the WTO process to reach a satisfactory resolution to our concern, including if and as necessary, seeking authorization to implement retaliatory measures on US agricultural and non-agricultural products.”

RT – Daily news

Police: Ind. serial killer suspect used a cellphone cord

Victim’s body was found in bathtub of hotel room.



USATODAY – News Top Stories

Hong Kong talks fail to break impasse

No progress made as student leaders and government officials hold talks aimed at ending street protests.

‘No way to avoid Total plane crash’

Near a site where a single-engined Falcon aircraft has crashed at Moscow's Vnukovo airport (RIA Novosti / Maksim Blinov)<br />

RT: What are the usual measures to control airport staff and an airport’s readiness for a flight?

Ron Bishop: You see, what they do, is they screen employees very well, they also do drug testing to make sure they are not on any kinds of drugs, they make sure that they do a background check to ensure that none of this is habitual, that they are not used to doing this. Although this is quite concerning because if they are driving a snow-blower or a snowplow machine, the last thing you want is them to drive around under the influence of alcohol. So, very unfortunate and it’s unacceptable, isn’t it?

READ MORE: First video: Total CEO’s Falcon 50 plane crash site in Vnukovo Airport

RT: Does this tragedy mean that there are problems with control systems at Vnukovo Airport? Which service in particular is responsible for the checks before flight?

RB: The biggest thing is ground control. The ground control probably should have been able to notify or…well, air traffic control, or someone in the tower hopefully would have seen them, but if they are doing snow removal, the visibility is probably poor, so that check is not there.

When you have, we call it ‘the air chain’, it’s like having a chain of events. So when you have something like this happen, basically this chain of events has to line up, almost like all the holes in two pieces of Swiss cheese, for something like this to happen. It’s very unfortunate and what happens is that with this check and balance of being able to see from the tower, with that check and balance to make sure that they don’t drink while on duty – maybe their supervisor making sure that if they have seen them before to make sure to bring that up with them – or even with their supervisor.

All those checks and balances would have had to line up in the opposite way basically and then something like this is able to happen, call it an air chain or the Swiss cheese model. It’s quite sad that this happened, so what we probably need to do is look at more safe checks and balances and also maybe have a vehicle-free zone, and if vehicles go outside this zone, then they need a radio in or tower or the ground controllers who would question the person driving the vehicle.

RT: We heard about various cases when a plane hits something on its way and everything ends up well. In other words, normally such accidents don’t result in deaths. Why is it different this time?

RB: Not normally, but we have to remember that this was on take-off. During take-off there was a few things that happened. The aircraft is configured in such a way that it makes it more susceptible to something like this. So when you are going to take-off using full fuel, lots of fuel on board, if you hit anything – you see, what happens with metal, when it tears or rips or moves or hits other metal, it causes a spark and then that spark along with heat and pressure and anything else that agitates the fuel, sets it alight, also forcing the fuel into, say, the engines by shifting the engines – also can cause that as well – that fuel would ignite and cause issues.

The other thing too is that they were probably going on a fairly good rate of speed because when you are doing take-off you want max speed, so it would be like driving down the highway and hitting a snow removal machine with your car – the same kind of catastrophic events for a car as well. The only thing with a car though, because you are not as limited on weight, cars usually have more protections built-in, whereas an aircraft to make it very light for flight doesn’t have that protection on the ground.

RT: Does every state aviation authority have its own rules?

RB: It is pretty much the same rules because they are going off at the airport that it is all governed by wherever the governing body will be. Here in Australia it is CASA [the Civil Aviation Safety Authority]. In America it’s the Federal Aviation Authority. So what happens is they are all controlled, they all have to get by the same rules. So they would be going by the same rules. The only issue is, it sounds like the visibility might have been poor, so the pilots might not have been able to see the snow-blower until it was too late. The other thing too is – not like a vehicle – once an aircraft is going straight down the runway they really can’t get out the way too easy. What I mean by this is that you can’t swerve like you can in a car, because if you swerve you wind up off the runway and then it is catastrophic as well. Either way they probably would have the same result even if they were in time to slow down or swerve or…get out the way.

RT: In your opinion, was the poor visibility the main reason of the plane crash?

RB: We don’t know what the visibility was like, but if the snow-blowers are out that probably means that visibility is not very good, because of the snow. So you probably wouldn’t be able to see it – or if you were, it’s too late. Even slamming on the brakes, you’re probably going to hit it anyway. And that why it sounds like it was a runway incursion and that is why they have big serious rules about letting vehicles on to an active runway. And that is one of the checks and balances that exists. But like I said before, what happens is that safety error – what usually happens is one wrong thing doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to have an accident. Sounds like with this thing about three to four things lined up which is why they had an accident.

RT: What kind of evidence could help in the investigation of the accident?

RB: The biggest thing that we will be looking at what impact had the snow machine had – where it was located, were there any tire marks, where the snow machine might have tried to stop once they realized the aircraft was going to hit them. Also if there any tire skid marks on the aircraft side, if they tried to swerve or move out of the way. Investigators will look real deep to figure out what is going on, they’ll look at the last 24, 48 [hours] and sometimes a week prior for each pilot to see what they were doing and how their fatigue levels were, if they had any fatigue. And they also look on the side of the driver of the snow machine to find out what was happening with that as well.

They’ll interview everyone and they will put it all together, they’ll pull the flight data recorder and find out what was said what was done on the flight. And then they’ll interview anyone that had witnessed it or was a part of it.

RT – Daily news