Boghound's World News

A Humorous Look At News Events And Life Around The World

Archive for August, 2012

World Order In New York!

Posted by Boghound on August 31, 2012

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A Bad Apple??

Posted by Boghound on August 30, 2012

Apple Started Censoring Books Mentioning Rivals

The software giant decided that the best way to address the rivalry is to censor all books mentioning its competitors. That’s a weird decision, but the company has already enforced the policy based on it. Now, for instance, if you want an ebook to be used in the iTunes store, you can’t mention anything related to Amazon.

According to author Holly Lisle, she found this out the hard way. Holly Lisle has been writing a series of Internet writing guides, and was very surprised when her “How To Think Sideways Lesson 6: How To Discover (Or Create) Your Story’s Market” wasn’t accepted by Apple’s iBooks store.

Surprisingly enough, the work wasn’t rejected due to the wrong title – Apple rather spiked it because it had “live links” to Amazon. Holly Lisle removed the links and then resubmitted her book, but even then Apple again rejected it, claiming that they don’t want to sell her book because it mentions Amazon.

Of course, Lisle was miffed. She made an official announcement that she didn’t think this could be seen as professional behaviour on a professional market. Perhaps, if Harry Potter had been looking for the Horcruxes on Amazon instead of running around in caves full of dead people, Apple would have been deleted this book too.

Actually, the company basically wanted Holly Lisle to write a writing course which included information on publishing and self-publishing without mentioning Amazon. In fact, it’s just the place where writers were going to make most of their cash. Holly Lisle announced she was pulling all of her books from the iBookstore.

As for Amazon, it remains calm about the competition and continues selling a lot of Apple stuff.

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Don’t Mention The War!!

Posted by Boghound on August 29, 2012

Italian Hitler wine bottles ‘offensive’

Wine bottles featuring Adolf Hitler on the label have been called "offensive" after complaints from US tourists in the Italian city of Garda.

Michael Hirsch, a lawyer from Philadelphia, complained to local media after he found a supermarket near his hotel was stocking wine bottles with Hitler in various poses and another bottle featuring an image of Pope John Paul II.

"It is very shocking and startling to us," Mr Hirsch told The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday. "We would think of it as neo-Nazism It makes you wonder about the sympathies of the local people."

One bottle features Hitler with his arm raised in the Nazi, another is labelled ‘Mein Kampf" and another was labelled "Ein volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer" (one people, one empire, one Fuhrer), Mr Hirsch said.

Local prosecutors said they have opened an inquiry into the sale of the wine bottles.

"I want to reassure our American friends who visit our country that our Constitution and our culture rejects racism, anti-Semitism and Nazi fascism," said Andrea Riccardi, the Italian integration minister. "This offends the memory of millions of people and risks compromising the image of Italy abroad."

Mr Hirsch and his wife Cindy are travelling through northern Italy on holiday and arrived in Garda on Monday.

He said he noticed the bottles when he was purchasing items at a supermarket and complained to a store employee.

"He told me ‘It’s just history, like Mussolini like Che Guevara.’ I put the bottle down on the counter and left the store."

The father of Mr Hirsch’s wife Cindy was born in Czechoslovakia and is an Auschwitz survivor. Her aunt, grandparents, and other family members died there.

"I was shocked," Mrs Hirsch said. "It is not only an affront to Jews, even if my husband and I are Jewish. It is an affront to humanity as a whole".

Prosecutor Mario Giulio Schinaia told news agency ANSA that inquiries were under way.

"The only crime that could be currently attributable to this is that of apologising for fascism," prosecutor Mario Giulio Schinaia told Ansa. "At this point though it would be opportune to invent the crime of human stupidity".

Italy made apologising for fascism a crime in 1952.

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World Order In Mexico!

Posted by Boghound on August 28, 2012

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It’s Ours….Go Away!!

Posted by Boghound on August 27, 2012

United States Refused to Give Internet Away

The United States of America, which famously doesn’t even know that it was Tim Berners-Lee who invented the world wide web, has refused to hand over control of the Internet to the United Nations. The latter wants to bring in a global treaty and bring the worldwide web under its control. There were suggestions that the UN would tax large international telecommunication companies to ensure that the world is better connected.

Nevertheless, the news is that the United States will submit its own formal proposal for the December conference held by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union). Terry Kramer, the special envoy for the talks, has opposed the suggestions by Russia, China and other countries to expand the authority of the outfit to cover the web.

Kramer announced that it will introduce regulation, adding that the web has grown because it hasn’t been micro-managed or owned by any government or multinational group. In the meantime, the United States is worried that the December conference, scheduled to be held in Dubai, could seek changes that would threaten the openness of the web and its multi-stakeholder model. The US is afraid that it would grant the governments greater authority to filter or censor data, which is exactly what the Russian Federation and China want, and is also becoming part of policy of such Western countries as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The most worrying part for the big American technology companies is suggestion to the committee to call for taxes on web traffic to pay for a worldwide improvement in infrastructure. Of course, this would hit American businesses which are doing their best to avoid paying tax.

The December conference is aimed at updating a 1998 global telecom treaty, with ITU secretary general highlighting that he would be seeking a “consensus” approach instead of bringing each suggestion up for a vote.

Terry Kramer is hoping that he may lean on the EU to back the plan of the United States to keep control of the worldwide web. Apparently, the rest of the world also accepts the fact that the United States controls the web and has no interest in improving the Internet by taxing rich American companies either.

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Whoops…..It’s Too Expensive!

Posted by Boghound on August 26, 2012

French “Three-Strikes” Appeared Too Expensive and Ineffective

After the country’s “three-strikes” regime, better known in France as HADOPI, was praised by both President Sarkozy and local movie company Gaumont, the Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti suddenly made a shocking announcement. She claimed that HADOPI was not just costing France too much money, but also failed to improve the availability of legitimate content.

As you might remember, HADOPI was suggested by President Nicolas Sarkozy in order to tackle piracy and discourage file-sharing. After the law came in force, Sarkozy was very happy with the results, claiming that 95% of users who got the first notification stopped infringing copyright, according to a report covering the year 2011.

However, it turned out that the country’s new Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti didn’t agree and promised not to support the “three-strikes”. In the interview, the new minister said that the law is actually costing France too much money, particularly with the economic crisis happening around. Aurélie Filippetti pointed out that in financial terms, 12,000,000 euros annually and 60 officers is a very expensive way to send a million e-mails. She promised to ask that funding of HADOPI is greatly reduced as part of budgetary efforts. However, it is unclear how much her “reduced” means. Anyway, that is expected to be established sometime in September 2012.

The French “three-strikes” keeps working: according to HADOPI’s statistics for this past June, 340 unique Internet accounts are already on their 3rd strike and are to be closed under the law. Aurélie Filippetti doesn’t agree with the established kind of punishment and says that the suspension of broadband connection is a disproportionate sanction against the end goal. In addition, the Minister is disappointed with the copyright law failing to promote and create legitimate services in order to reduce the number of infringements.

The Culture Minister has no idea what will become of this institution, but she says that one thing is known for sure: the law hasn’t fulfilled its mission to create alternative legal offers. In the meantime, the experts are looking forward to a meeting to discuss the future of HADOPI, led by former Canal+ director Pierre Lescure, sometime in the following months.

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That Was Close?

Posted by Boghound on August 25, 2012

US Senate Killed Cybersecurity Act

A few days ago the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 reached the US Senate. Apparently, the bill didn’t pass, making activists and privacy rights supporters happy.

The supporters of the bill were urging the Senate to pass the law as national security, but their wish didn’t come true. Before this failure, the media reports said that the risks to the US were real and immediate, adding that the White House didn’t see the bill as a partisan issue, but more as a matter of national security.

If passed, the act would give the authorities the legislative elements it needed to tackle hacker attacks: data sharing between the government and the industry, better protection of critical infrastructure, and the right to unite federal resources to lead the cybersecurity team. The proposed legislation was supposed to enable the authorities to prevent the attacks, not only respond to them. But the American Senate dismissed the bill from the very beginning.

Republicans who opposed to the law claimed that the proposed cybersecurity standards would have allowed for too much government regulation. When the legislation was passing through the Senate, one of its articles cause the panic, because Internet service providers could have been able to block such tunneling services as TOR and VPNs.

In the meantime, the bill’s opponents asked citizens to contact their representatives and talk about their civil rights and how the legislation may affect them. After getting about 500,000 responses, the senators decided to prioritize the privacy rights of the users.

So, the bill failed to achieve cloture, which means it won’t proceed to a final vote. In the past months, members of the civil liberties and online freedom outfits had sent over half a million emails to the Senate urging the legislators to stand up for online freedom and privacy when discussing cyber-security bills. The matter is that the privacy activists were concerned about potential for the bill to allow ISPs to monitor their subscribers’ data. They pointed out that there was a newly empowered base of online activists across the country, and alongside them stood a newly-strengthened corps of pro-privacy senators whom they looked forward to working with to fight any future online attacks.

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On The Beach?

Posted by Boghound on August 24, 2012

For Italy mafia fugitive, trip to the beach proves costly

Alleged mafia boss Roberto Matalone evaded the police for two years, but a trip to the beach in southern Italy on Thursday proved to be his undoing.

Accused of being part of the inner circle of the Pesce clan, one of the most powerful branches of the Calabria mob, he is married to the sister of boss Francesco Pesce, who was arrested last year hiding in an underground bunker.

But Matalone, 35, turned out to be less shy than his brother-in-law. Surveillance footage released to the media on Friday showed him heading to the beach in shorts and a baseball cap, with a towel over his shoulder.

Police arrested him as he raised his umbrella soon after arriving at the beach in Joppolo, in the toe of Italy, with his family.

The arrest is the latest in a crackdown by Italian police on the ‘Ndrangheta mafia, which according to Italian authorities controls 80 percent of drug trafficking into Europe in a business worth 27 billion euros a year.

According to the website of Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, his beach reading material was prophetic – a book called "Mafia Hunters" about how Italian police track mafiosi.

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Don’t Disturb!

Posted by Boghound on August 23, 2012

Sleeping Swimmer Mistaken for Drowning Man

Onlookers reported seeing the man floating face-up in a lifejacket

A man floating on a central Pennsylvania river was mistaken for a drowning victim — until he sat up.

WNEP-TV reports police and a coroner arrived at the scene Thursday along the Susquehanna River near Williamsport.

Onlookers reported seeing the man floating face-up in a lifejacket just below a dam. The area has seen drownings before.

Turns out the man had fallen asleep while cooling off on a hot summer day.

Swimmer Joseph DeAngelo says he had no idea what was going around him until a dragonfly landed on his nose. Then he sat up.

DeAngelo apologized for the confusion, but says he was living life the best way he knows how.

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Good Vibrations?

Posted by Boghound on August 22, 2012

Vibrator giveaway in NYC back on after premature withdrawal

A condom company’s free vibrator giveaway is back on after it had to prematurely withdraw the promotion in New York City.

Hundreds of women – and some men – came out to get the free Trojan sex toys, 10,000 of which were being distributed from "pleasure carts" at hot spots around the city.

But a city official showed up at one of the giveaway locations and pulled the plug because the size of the crowd had swelled to the point it was impeding pedestrian and street traffic, according to the New York Post.

The mayor’s office said in a statement to the paper that the event was stopped because it didn’t have a permit.

Thousands were left empty-handed when Trojan announced on its Facebook page around 5 p.m. the giveaways had been "postponed."

But the company will get to finish what it started.

Trojan posted an update , saying it had "official NYC permits in hand" and had reloaded the pleasure carts.

"(Wednesday) was just the foreplay…our toe-curling, record breaking Trojan Vibes giveaway will climax today at 5 p.m," the post said, with an invitation to pick up a complimentary vibrator while supplies last: "First come, first served."

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