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Libyan Gov't Doubts Russia's Turnaround Stance Over Conflict

© Xinhua/Reuters
Libya's Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim speaks during a news conference in Tripoli May 27, 2011.
The Libyan government doubts Russia will change its stance on Libya's situation and side with NATO, Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said Friday.

Earlier in the day, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said at a Group of Eight (G8) summit in Deauville, France, that Russia could act as a mediator to solve Libya's domestic crisis, but Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has no right to lead the country any longer.

The two-day summit ended with a unanimously-adopted declaration which said "Gaddafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfill their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy."

"He (Gaddafi) must go," it stressed.

Disturbed by Russia's change of position, Kaim told a press conference in Tripoli that the Libyan government is in contact with the Russian side to make its position clear.


Egypt Pulls the Plug on a Failed U.S.-Israeli Gaza Strategy

Rafah crossing in Gaza
© Unknown
Rafah crossing in Gaza
It might have been easy, amid the raucous cheering at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Capitol Hill pep rally on Tuesday, for Israelis to ignore President Obama's earlier warning of a gathering storm on Israel's horizon. But Wednesday's announcement that Egypt plans, on Saturday, to effectively end the siege of Gaza by permanently opening the Rafah border crossing brought home the harsh truth of Israel's increasingly isolated position. (Obama, the same day, got a non-commital response from Prime Minister David Cameron in London when urging Britain to join the U.S. in opposing a September U.N. vote recognizing Palestinian statehood.)

Obama, in his Sunday speech at AIPAC, had warned Israel that the wave of democracy reshaping the Arab world meant that that "a just and lasting peace can no longer be forged with one or two Arab leaders... millions of Arab citizens have to see that peace is possible for that peace to be sustained." While the U.S. would stand by Israel unconditionally, Obama warned that "the march to isolate Israel internationally -- and the impulse of the Palestinians to abandon negotiations - - will continue to gain momentum in the absence of a credible peace process and alternative. And for us to have leverage with the Palestinians, to have leverage with the Arab States and with the international community, the basis for negotiations has to hold out the prospect of success."

Evil Rays

Oppose PROTECT-IP Act: U.S. Government Wants To Censor Search Engines And Browsers

Tell Congress to Kill COICA 2.0, the Internet Censorship Bill

UPDATE: Great news. We don't always see eye-to-eye with Google, but we're on the same team this time. Google CEO Eric Schmidt just came out swinging against PROTECT IP, saying, "I would be very, very careful if I were a government about arbitrarily [implementing] simple solutions to complex problems." And then he went even further. From the LA Times:
"If there is a law that requires DNSs, to do X and it's passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president of the United States and we disagree with it then we would still fight it," he said, according to the report. "If it's a request the answer is we wouldn't do it, if it's a discussion we wouldn't do it."
Big content is irate. The Motion Picture Association of America released a statement saying, "We've heard this 'but the law doesn't apply to me' argument before - but usually, it comes from content thieves, not a Fortune 500 company. Google should know better."

Evil Rays

Medvedev Says Russia Won't Support Attempts to Control Internet

Russia opposed attempts to control public use of the Internet, President Dmitry Medvedev told investors at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Such attempts lead to "stagnation," Medvedev said.


Russia Disagrees with G8 on Control of Internet - Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev
© RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentiev
Russia's stance on internet development and intellectual property rights differs from that in the final joint declaration of the G8 leaders, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday.

The summit in Deauville was the first G8 summit when discussions on the issue of internet were included in the agenda.

"The declaration reflects an absolutely conservative position that intellectual property rights should be protected according to the existing conventions. No one questions that, but I have repeatedly stated that, unfortunately, those conventions were written 50 or almost 100 years ago, and they are unable to regulate the whole complex of relations between the copyright owner and users," Medvedev said.


Germany rejects Sarkozy call for internet regulation

© Unknown
Not right in the head
Hamburg - German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich rejected on Wednesday calls by French President Nicholas Sarkozy for governments to regulate the internet, saying Germany had demonstrated a better way with self-regulation by web companies.

Sarkozy's insistence on tougher privacy and copyright laws, which are on the agenda of this week's G8 summit in Deauville, France, has been opposed by both web libertarians and business leaders.

After a media outcry in Germany last year against Google's Street View photo panorama service, top companies adopted a code of good practice for 'geo-data' services. Images of homes and people can now be blurred on request by anyone who feels their privacy is invaded.

In an opinion article for the newspaper Financial Times Deutschland, Friedrich said, 'We'll achieve more for our citizens with the privacy codex than we could have done with an ad-hoc law.


As world burns, G8 leaders fiddle ... with the Internet. Seriously?

© Unknown
Humans... or something else? World leaders gather in France to chart our course towards collective destruction
Sarkozy, Obama, and the other leaders at the G8 should be evaluating the policies that have brought them to the brink of financial ruin. Unfortunately, their attention will be elsewhere: on Internet regulation, for one thing.

President Obama will join other G8 leaders today at the posh, French seaside resort of Deauville. On the agenda: proposed global regulations for the Internet, post-tsunami Japan, and military escapades in North Africa. Bizarrely absent from the top priorities listed by hosting head of state Nicolas Sarkozy is the most urgent issue of all: the need to rein in massive government over-spending and debt.

One needn't travel to France to get a clear view of this problem. Here in the US, for example, federal revenues will top $2 trillion this year, but federal spending will approach double that amount. Such reckless spending has set the stage for a battle royal between Democrats and Republicans over raising the national-debt ceiling.

House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio has correctly warned that increasing the debt ceiling without a firm commitment to slash spending would signal to investors that America still is not serious about kicking its spending addiction.

Control Panel

Sarkozy hails World Revolution, but says now time for tighter Internet control

© Sean Gallup/Getty Images
French police walk past the Deauville International Center, venue of the upcoming G8 Summit, on May 24, 2011 in Deauville, France
The G-8 (Group of Eight) Summit officially opens on Thursday in Deauville, France under very heavy security. This international forum represents eight of the world's major economies, which are France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Russia, the United States, Japan and the UK. This year, the holder of the rotating presidency is Nicolas Sarkozy, whose responsibility is to host and set the agenda of the forum and determine which ministerial meetings will take place.

In a separate, two-day pre e-G-8 session in Paris today, the French President addressed 1500 'movers and shakers' of the Internet, including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Niklas Zennstrom of Skype, Eric Schmidt of Google, executives from Microsoft, Amazon, Ebay and the billionaire head of the News Corp empire and arguably the world's most powerful media mogul, Rupert Murdoch.

Sarkozy is in favor of tougher regulations for the Internet, and knows that he would encounter resistance from the major players. While he lauded the role social websites have played in helping organize revolutions in the Arab World, he also insisted that ground rules were necessary to curb terrorism and child abuse. He balanced his desire for regulation with some strokes:
'You have changed the world . . . it has been a total global revolution. What has been unique in this revolution is that it belongs to nobody; it has no flag, no slogan, it is a common good. What is also unique about this revolution is that it was done without violence. It was not fought on battlefields but on university campuses.'


The End of Hope and Change

© Reuters
President Obama is poised to sign an extension of the PATRIOT Act -- and normalize Bush-Cheney national security policies
It isn't strictly accurate to say that Barack Obama once cared about civil liberties violations in the PATRIOT Act -- he has actually raised detailed objections to the decade old legislation at least twice. In 2005, then-Sen. Obama signed a letter laying out specific concerns that stretched to almost six pages. The next year, the former constitutional law professor took to the Senate floor, where he congratulated his colleagues for "a real, open, and substantive debate about how to fix the PATRIOT Act," and encouraged them to keep up their efforts: "I urge my colleagues to continue working on ways to improve the civil liberties protections after it is reauthorized," he said.


Propaganda Alert! Shrimpers, not oil, causing hundreds of turtles' deaths along Gulf of Mexico, scientists say

The numbers are startling: Hundreds of sea turtles have begun washing up into bays and onto beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. Six hundred of the mottled, soup-plate-shaped reptiles came ashore in just four states in 2010, six times the annual average. This year, 563 have been stranded.

Blame the oil that fouled those waters after the BP spill?

No, government scientists say, there is a more mundane local culprit: shrimpers who are ignoring regulations to prevent endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles from becoming ensnared in their nets.

The tale of the turtles illustrates the complexity of establishing cause and effect in assessing the ecological impact of the spill.

Comment: No, it's real simple actually. BP bought up many scientists in the Gulf region and their job is now to clean up after the paymaster to smooth its return to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.