• 123 Posts
Joined 2M ago
Cake day: Apr 10, 2023


China refused to recognize ex-Soviet republics as independent states as its French ambassador recently said. Beijing rowed back after heavy critics from several governments, but this is not very credible. If China wants to end the war, their officials should rather sit in Moscow convincing Russia to leave Ukraine.

The secretive prisons where Russia hides and tortures Ukrainian civilians
Over the last 14 months, Russia has abducted thousands of Ukrainian civilians, from volunteers and journalists to former soldiers and officials, and locked them in Russian prisons. Most of them are not allowed to communicate with their lawyers or loved ones and without knowing reasons for their incarceration. Now Ukrainians who have been released from the facilities, as well as with their relatives and lawyers, talk about how this clandestine prison system works.

In recent years, the Azerbaijan government has been intensifying crackdowns against its LGBTQ+ community. In 2017, at least 83 people were detained by the police for being gay or transgender. The detainees reported being tortured and blackmailed. The same year, at least four Azerbaijani citizens who identified as LGBTQ+ committed suicide. According to ILGA Europe, an global NGO advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, Azerbaijan occupies the last place among 49 countries on the organization's Rainbow Index consecutively for three years in a row.

“We need them now more than ever”: UN calls for protection of climate activists following crackdown in Germany
Protesters had been instrumental at "crucial moments in pushing governments and business leaders to do much more, and global climate goals would already be out of reach without them," UN Secretary-General António Guterres' spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told the German press. "Climate activists - led by the moral voice of young people - have continued to pursue their goals even in the darkest days. They need to be protected."

The XSS vulnerability can be leveraged to obtain unauthorized access to a website and can lead to user data theft or a full site takeover.

Security expert says that “law enforcement isn’t yet ready for climate change”
Detlef Schröder, former Executive Director of the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), claims that law enforcement needs a "holistic review of its approach" to the challenges posed by climate change. "When climate change is mentioned in European law enforcement circles, it is often in reference to the management of environmental protests or even workplace policies, but rarely law enforcement’s direct role in climate change mitigation and the reduction of climate crime."

Too smart for their own good: Russia is waging a war against its own scientists
An increasing number of high-calibre researchers are being accused of treason in today’s Russia, mostly without official charges, landing behind bars for decades. And the main beneficiary of their imprisonment is the Federal Security Service (FSB), which deprives them not only of their freedom and ability to work, but sometimes of their lives.

Rightwing group takes aim at US retailer Target for offering Pride-themed merchandise
The retailer moved its Pride displays — including rainbow-striped collared shirts, yellow hoodies reading “Not a Phase” and baby clothing and accessories — from the entrances of some stores around the country and placed them in the back. Target said it was concerned “about threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work” after some customers had screamed at employees and thrown the Pride-themed merchandise on the floor.

A dozen poor countries are facing economic instability under the weight of hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign loans, much of them borrowed from China under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). An analysis has found paying back this debt is consuming an ever-greater amount of the tax revenue needed to keep schools open, provide electricity and pay for food and fuel. In Pakistan, millions of textile workers have been laid off because the country has too much foreign debt and can’t afford to keep the electricity on and machines running. In Kenya, the government has held back paychecks to thousands of civil service workers to save cash to pay foreign loans. The president’s chief economic adviser tweeted last month, “Salaries or default? Take your pick.” Since Sri Lanka defaulted a year ago, a half-million industrial jobs have vanished, inflation has pierced 50% and more than half the population in many parts of the country has fallen into poverty. Inflation in Zambia has since soared 50%, unemployment has hit a 17-year high and the nation’s currency, the kwacha, has lost 30% of its value in just seven months. A United Nations estimate of Zambians not getting enough food has nearly tripled so far this year, to 3.5 million.

Head of Russia’s Wagner mercenaries says children of Russian elite “shook their arses” in the sun while sons of the poor are returned in coffins
Yevgeny Prigozhin said 20% of the 50,000 convicts Wagner had recruited, and a similar number of its regular troops, had been killed over several months in the fight for Bakhmut.

Russian hypersonic scientist accused of betraying secrets to China
Alexander Shiplyuk, head of Siberia’s Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ITAM), is suspected of handing over classified material at a scientific conference in China in 2017. The 56-year-old maintains his innocence and insists the information in question wasn’t classified and was freely available online, while Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said security services were watchful for possible cases related to “betrayal of the motherland”.

Chinese internet trolls are adopting American racism to taunt Black users
While the Chinese government and social media companies have denounced racism, it remains pervasive online. News about Black people in China regularly triggers xenophobic comments directed at what some fear to be an influx of Black immigrants. Chinese women who date Black people or have mixed-race children have also drawn sexist attacks online. It’s unclear what has driven the recent spike in racist speech.

Russia sends untrained conscripts to defend its border in Belgorod, officials threaten relatives calling for authorities to “pull their sons out” with prosecution
While the Belgorod conscripts aren’t officially participating in the war, they regularly come under fire; many have suffered injuries, and at least seven have been killed. At the beginning of the war, the country’s leadership, including President Vladimir Putin himself, promised that no conscripts would be involved in the “special military operation.”

Chinese state-sponsored hackers attack “critical” cyber infrastructure in Guam, experts worry that real target is Taiwan
Microsoft detected what they say is intrusive computer code appearing in telecommunications systems in Guam and elsewhere in the United States. Guam, with its Pacific ports and vast American air base, would be a centerpiece of any American military response to an invasion or blockade of Taiwan by the Chinese government.

Tina Turner, Queen of Rock & Roll, Dies at 83
“Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock’n Roll’ has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland,” her family said in a statement Wednesday. “With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”

The daughter of Nikolai Gusev, director of the Vympel Design Bureau, which designs and produces the missiles used by the Russian army, has been living in Florida since 2021. The 20-year-old student Natalia Guseva rents an appartment in Miami for $3,500 a month, while a year of study at the University of Miami costs the family close to $60,000. Guseva drives a BMW, plays golf professionally and competes in tournaments around the world, Navalny LIVE has revealed. Another investigation into the family of Boris Obnosov, head of the Tactical Missiles Corporation, of which the Vympel Design Bureau is a subsidiary, has shown that Obnosov's son-in-law, Rostislav Zorikov, is the owner of a four-story home and a penthouse in Prague. Both properties are worth over €9 million ($9.7 million).

If a country’s political mood is judged by popular participation, then Moldovans are earnest pro-Europeans. A May 21 rally spearheaded by President Maia Sandu to support Moldovan entry to the European Union (EU) attracted more than 75,000 people, according to police. An anti-government protest by a pro-Russian party in March drew around 4,500.

Under pressure from the outside world and increasingly fearful of internal resistance, Wladimir Putin’s system is turning increasingly to the old Soviet dictatorial playbook. A search for enemies, external and internal, is central and denunciation is its tool. The state encourages the lowest human traits and builds upon its repressive system.

Comedian Nigel Ng, who lives in the UK, found his accounts Weibo and Bilibili, a video-sharing platform, frozen over the weekend after sharing a video joking about China's government. Ng, while not directly referencing the matter, said in a tweet on Monday in which he re-shared the video: "For some reason this clip got a ton of views this weekend. I wonder why".

Human rights activists launch ‘Kidmapping’, a project to find kids deported from Ukraine
Russian authorities do not publish any open reports or list about deported children which prompts the team to use open sources to track them: news, reports, social media platforms, video hostings, and others. An interactive information map that helps to track children forms the basis of the project.

One year without Iryna: The father of one of 2,000 Ukrainian civilians in Russian captivity refuses to lose hope
Iryna Gorobtsova was abducted by Russian forces from the home where she grew up in Kherson. She has now spent a year in a Crimean prison, with virtually no contact with the outside world.

JPMorgan Is Freezing Customers’ Bank Accounts and Discriminating Against Clients, Law Enforcement Officials in 19 US States Say
"It is clear that JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Chase) has persistently discriminated against certain customers due to their religious or political affiliation," the law enforcement officials, led by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, wrote in a letter to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. "This discrimination is unacceptable. Chase must stop such behavior and align its business practices with the anti-discrimination policies that Chase proclaims.”

EU: Tens of thousands of Moldovans rallied to support pro-Western government’s drive towards Europe amid alleged Russian efforts to destabilise the country
President Maia Sandu has accused Russia of seeking to sabotage its European integration by fuelling anti-government protests and propaganda. Moscow denies meddling in Moldova's affairs. "Moldova does not want to be blackmailed by the Kremlin," President Maia Sandu has said at the rally, which was organised by her government and packed a central square.

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. Soros indeed seems to be part of Nazi and " tankie" conspiracy theories. It’s another thing the two extremists groups share.

An article about different methods of saving, storing, and packaging a trained machine-learning model, along with the pros and cons of each method.

According to official figures in China, more than 64,000 students – from kindergartens to secondary schools – withdrew from the local education system in the past two years. In the last academic year (2021-2022), more than 33,600 students, or 4% of the total student population, left school – a 10% increase from the year before. Local media reported that at least five schools face closure in coming years after they failed to reach the minimum 16 enrolments in the first grade.

Data collected from Twitter and Telegram shows that there is increased use of slurs against Ukrainians, calling for violence and celebrating the death of Ukrainians, despite platform policies that are meant to stop, or at least mitigate this activity, the Centre for Information Resilience says. The dataset collected and analysed in the research resulted in 1585 accounts with more than 2500 interactions from Twitter, and 15655 results from more than 480 channels on Telegram. Twitter accounts that were found to be using hate speech include accounts that are verified with a blue tick were also targeting the LGBTQI+ community and sharing memes and messages related to conspiracy theories. The accounts analysed on Telegram include channels that took videos of Ukrainian funerals, or from Ukrainians who had visited graves, and reposted them with degrading and dehumanising comments. Other channels specifically focus on looking for dead or captured Ukrainians and celebrating the circumstances around that imagery. The content circulated in these channels was reposted on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. The phrasing and language seen in the content uncovered in this research can be compared to similarities in language used in other scenarios where hate speech has incited and/or fuelled violence, the report says. Historically, hate speech has been used to justify, incite and fuel violence against groups, minorities and ethnicities such as in the Holocaust, by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, in Rwanda against the Tutsi people and in Myanmar against the Rohingya.

Yeah, and he must maintain good relationships with politicians. Musk wants to transform Twitter into a AI company enabling him to offer more ‘services’ before elections as we have seen in Turkey.

Chinese authorities raided three advisory firms over the past few months which offered investigative and strategic analysis for the Chinese market to foreign investors. Their staff -all Chinese nationals- were detained, one of them was sentenced to six years in prison for “stealing national secrets”. Alfred Wu, a researcher based in Singapore, said that it is unclear why the authorities recently took intensive moves against foreign companies, when Beijing has said it was seeking to boost the economy after the lifting of harsh anti-Covid measures.

Musk has learned that free speech absolutism doesn’t help him to grow richer.

I would love to see tech companies respecting copyrights when they use other people’s content to train their LLMs on.

And, btw, what does The Statesman say about the use of Cloudflare? Aren’t we screwed again?

Clearview fined again in France for failing to comply with privacy orders
The overdue penalty payment of €5.2 million has been issued by the French regulator, the CNIL — on top of a €20 million sanction it slapped the company with last year for breaching regional privacy rules. Clearview refuses payment as it "is not subject to the GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation]", the company argues. However, the GDPR applies to the personal data of EU citizens, so Clearview would need to have never scraped locals’ selfies off the Internet for the bloc’s data protection law not to apply, and it does not say it has never processed Europeans’ data.

Once Again, ‘Free Speech Absolutist’ Elon Musk Caves To Authoritarian Censorial Bullies
So far, Musk has shown a willingness to bow down to authoritarian censors. The latest is yet another example of that. Just as the Turkish election was about to take place, the government demanded that Twitter censor content critical of authoritarian strongman, gollum-lookalike, and world’s most thin skinned leader, Recep Erdogan. And Elon caved.

"Knowing how the Russian regime operates, I can say that the employees there have a habit of lying to their bosses because the bosses don’t like to receive unvarnished accounts of the real situation. If you provide them with embellished stories, you will live in an illusion. The Russian system is built on everyone bluffing. Those few who try to convey the real picture are mentally eaten out by the system.”

“If the Baltic states were not part of Nato, they would have been invaded by now”: Leaked documents show how Russia plans to disrupt the Baltics
Drawn up in 2021 by the Kremlin's Directorate for Cross-Border Cooperation, the Kremlin's plans do not focus on cooperation. “This is the old KGB method: ‘We should weaken our enemies. And the best way to weaken them is from inside, not from outside.’ What they are good at is dividing societies, creating problems, creating conflicts", says Marius Laurinavičius, a Lithuanian expert on international affairs.

“Significant gap between the reality in the Middle East and what the West understands about it”: Facebook puts human rights defenders at risk
In 2017, Facebook, Twitter, and Google found that Russian hackers had bought ads and used fake news on their platforms to influence the American presidential elections of 2016. In order to prevent such manipulation in the future, they overhauled their policies. But now authoritarian regimes use exactly these rules as a weapon to crack down on people’s freedom, as the case of Egypt shows. "The policies for such companies cannot be developed based on the desires and needs of only the American public", a human rights activist says.

It’s not “only” about language as leaked documents (‘China Cables’) have shown not long ago. Among others, the BBC reported that

… the China Cables made clear that the camps were intended to be run as high security prisons, with strict discipline and punishments.

People who have managed to escape the camps have reported physical, mental and sexual torture. Women have spoken of mass rape and sexual abuse.

The Chinese Communist Party has increasingly shifted towards a more authoritarian regime under Xi Jinping, says researcher Elke Spiessens from the Dutch University of Leiden. "You see within the party a tendency to draw more control to Beijing and keep people more under control." Among other things, this new direction manifests itself in China's increasing profile as a nation-state, in which there is no room for an alternative identity, and the Islam appears to be the Chinas government's ideal scapegoat to justify the opression of Uyghurs.

A Jewish president of a mainly Christian land sat down with Muslim soldiers and made a solemn vow as they broke the daily Ramadan fast. “We will return to Crimea,” he said. These were Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s words as he supped with Crimean Tatars on the peninsula — one that is linked by land and international law to Ukraine but by conquest and an 18-kilometre bridge to Russia.

USA: Florida Teacher Under Investigation For Showing Disney’s ‘Strange World’ to Students
Twitter user Carl Zee outlined the situation in a series of May 11 posts accompanied by a memo from the Florida Department of Education. Zee explains, "My friend showed Disney's Strange World in a Florida classroom and one student reported it to their parents. Now she's under investigation by the state. Florida is not safe for teachers, DO NOT MOVE HERE." Here is the thread: https://nitter.net/c350Zee/status/1656715248022241281#r

The number of Russian refugees in the West has always been small, and they were mostly residents of Chechnya, political activists or members of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2022, however, asylum requests from Russians more than doubled in the EU and increased almost 50-fold in the US, and most of them flee their country as they oppose the war, or they are deserters and potential soldiers seeking to avoid military enlistment.

Maybe an action by Elon I-am-a-free-speech-absolutist-as-long-as-you-do-not-say-something-which-is-against-my-interests Musk?

Tim Hamlett, a political editor who now retires from political journalism in Hong Kong after more than 40 years, says that comparatively harmless cartoonists and writers face a "constant flow of official abuse" by the local government, and provides a grim outlook for people's freedom. There are "dangerous times for people who do not share our government’s high opinion of itself", he says. [Edited for a typo.]

China has one surveillance camera for every 2 citizens

People are now being watched at work, on the streets, on public transportation, when they leave their homes and when they return.

These camera checks if people are wearing face mask, crossing the road before the green lights for pedestrians are turned on. If caught breaking rules, people lose their social credit points, are charged higher mortgage, extra taxes and slower internet speed. Not only that, public transport for them gets expensive as well, and the list goes on.

Let’s hope that democratic governance helps to strenghten this development with Brazil rejoining the Escazú Agreement.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took an important step to strengthen protection for environmental defenders across Brazil by sending the Escazú Agreement to Congress for approval on May 11. This historic treaty – the first of its kind in Latin America and the Caribbean – would help shore up Brazil’s role on protecting the environment and its defenders.

Models must “adhere to a particular worldview”: Decoding China’s Generative AI Regulations
In April, China’s top internet regulator proposed new rules for generative AI. The draft contains detailed provisions on user identity registration, the creation of a database of undesirable inputs, and even the generation of “special objects and scenes” that may harm national security.

For years, 'military training programs' targeting children in St. Petersburg and the surrounding region have been organized with a focus on children from boarding schools, troubled adolescents, and cadets from colleges.They maintain close ties to the Russian neo-Nazi organization Rusich, as well as the Union of Donbass Volunteers, whose members have been involved in fighting in Ukraine since 2014 and have repeatedly called for the massacre of Ukrainian prisoners of war.

Abu Zubaydah, a Pakistani citizen, was captured by the CIA in 2002 and renditioned to several CIA dark sites in Poland, Lithuania and elsewhere, until he was transferred to Guantánamo in 2006, where he has been held ever since without charges. The now 52-year old has created a series of 40 drawings showing the torture he endured during his detention. "Abu Zubaydah is the first person to be tortured, having been approved by the [US] Department of Justice based on facts that the CIA knew to be false,” says Prof Mark Denbeaux, one of his lawyers. Last week, the UN called for him to be set free immediately, finding that his ongoing detention may be a crime against humanity. Warning: the images and descriptions of torture in this article are extremely graphic.

“Kept in a cage that looked like it was for an animal”: Tortured in secret Chinese jail, a Japanese man describes his ordeal
Hideji Suzuki, the former President of Japan China Youth Exchange had been locked up in a 'Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location' (RSDL) facility for the seven months. RSDL is a notorious system where the suspect is kept incommunicado without access to a lawyer for months at a time. It is a system that has been condemned by the UN as tantamount to torture. Suzuki was eventually arrested on spying charges and later sentenced at a 'secret tria'l to six years in jail. He vehemently denies these accusations. After being released on October 2022, he spoke to the press.

@jay91 There’s research by the Conflict Intelligence Team, an independent investigative group from Russia.

Based on this research, there’s an article on Popular Mechanics.

A video (20 sec) is also available.

You will find more across web.

“If foreign tanks are there under our windows, it means we are at war with an enemy, an interventionist. But if our tanks are in a neighbouring country, and our soldiers are savagely torturing the people, waging an invasive war, then they are damned. Such a war is cursed both by God and man."

While a billionaire receives a crown in a costume party -a dog parade of over 100 King Charles Spaniels included- at taxpayers’ cost, the elected (!) government cuts public spending in the long term with devastating effects for citizens.

And not to forget that the British state is arresting people for “conspiratorially planning to reveal T-shirts and flags” to protest for a fossil-free future.

We can’t really trust parents to raise their children accordingly, so kindergarten should be (a) compulsory and (b) teach social skills and emphasise empathy.

Taking away their kids because you “can’t trust parents” to “raise their children” is not only a generalisation and an insult to the parents, it wouldn’t work either because “compulsory participation does not make them feel heard” as you stated yourself. Such an early compulsory education paved the way to a system similar to the one in China, where parents send their kids to indoctrination camps disguised as schools.

We need more freedom, but for all the people rather than just a few. This means more direct democracy where people have a say, where every child has the freedom to develop individual skills in their own pace, more transparency to hold those in political power accountable, and a lot more things that build the foundation of a truly democratic society.

Scandinavian countries like Finland are often role models when it comes to housing policies, but also many other social security measures. And it is no coincidence that exactly these Scandinavian countries frequently rank top in democracy indices.

Yes, these “moments” have been everywhere, at least in Europe and North America in the last 80 years. I argue that economic growth wouldn’t have been possible after the Second World War without a proper social policy that includes, but obviously goes far beyond housing.

Recently I stumbled upon a very good article which describes the changes in the UK, but I argue that the principles apply to all Western countries.

Successive governments [in the UK] have chosen to mar the childhoods of millions by selling off social homes and failing to replace them. 2 million social homes have disappeared since I [the author] was born into one, with no hint of this government wanting to build them back at the scale needed, or to fund councils and housing associations to keep those left in good repair.

Many years ago I read of a similar incident. An artist used ‘trash as a form of art’, but the exhibition ended up being thrown in the bin after the museum’s cleaners decided that it must be rubbish.

As so many things, art is in the eye of the beholder :-)

Lack of discussion on beehaw (and lemmy)

I have good news: we can change that 😃

For me “the year of Linux” was already in 2022 when I moved there both on desktop and mobile, and whenever I read something like the linked article I’m extremely happy about it 😋

It’s also in sharp contrast to China’s official rhetoric as officials say the country will open after its zero-covid policy, e.g., here. How does China open up without recognizing basic human rights and barring people from leaving the country obviously often without giving a reason?

There’s also a brief article with additional information in the MIT Technology Review:

Hinton has long called out ethical questions around AI, especially its co-optation for military purposes. He has said that one reason he chose to spend much of his career in Canada is that it is easier to get research funding that does not have ties to the US Department of Defense.

You may be interested in The Direct Democracy Navigator, the world’s largest online database for Direct Democracy currently documenting around 2.000 instruments of direct democracy in more than 100 countries on the national, regional and local levels.

"Fifty metres from here [where the missile struck] there is a school, and two kindergartens. Really ‘strategic objectives’,” said one of Babii’s workmates at a local museum, who had come to give her moral support, mixing grief for the dead with anger at the attack.

That’s not specifically an issue for the Fediverse but your entire online life. You may consider a service like Keyoxide.

Edit for an addition: I just noticed that this doesn’t answer the question. Keyoxide helps to protect against impersonation, not how to find out whether that already happens. I don’t know of an easy way to do that, though. You’d probably need to do a lot of research across the web I guess?

Maybe a good approach in case one is still hesitating 😄

do you not know where to prick Russia already?

This is not about Russia or the Russians.

Tell about the lawlessness against blacks by the police? or the fact that in France a white person cannot walk in certain areas without risking life and health…

We report all the time when there is “lawlessness”, no matter where it happens, and unfortunately there’s a lot to do.

I don’t know why you post this picture, btw.

Glad to help. And nice weekend to all. I’m off 🖖

This is one of related reports:

Hong Kong Arrest Encroaches on Free Expression in Japan

Last month, Hong Kong police arrested a 23-year-old Hong Kong woman who had been studying in Japan since 2019 upon her return to the city. Her “crime”? While in Japan she had posted messages online in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protests, according to media reports.

Yes, that’s bad. It’s a first version aiming at a very special target groups, but I do hope they’ll support alternatives in the future.