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Fri, 08 Dec 2023
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Microsoft publishes Wi-Fi data collection code

'Look at us! We're not Google!'

Microsoft has published code for the software that its roving vehicles use to collect wireless network information. The move is an apparent attempt to make Microsoft look good next to Google.

On Tuesday, the software giant proudly told the world that it had published some of the code used by the Microsoft vehicles that drive around slurping data on Wi-Fi access points and cell-tower locations. This data fuels the location-based services included with Windows Phones and other Microsoft products.

In the past, Google used its fleet of Street View vehicles to collect similar data. But at one point, Google admitted that it had been collecting not only network identifier but Wi-Fi payload data as well, and it no longer collect any Wi-Fi data.

Display

Anonymous widens target base, takes on GM foods

GM giant Bayer AG has an enemy

FRIEND OF FUTURE FOOD Bayer AG has earned itself the attention of the hactivist group Anonymous and might want to prepare for some web site downtime and public relations scurrying.

In an open letter Anonymous accused Bayer of having committed crimes, and said that it would not let it go unpunished, so it has started Operation Green Rights.

"You have won our attention after decades of greedy abuses of humanity and nature. Bayer - we see you profiting off of death and destruction! We see you escape unscathed from justice!", it said.

Vader

Israel Deports Pro-Palestinian Activists

Image
© Reuters
Several French and Belgian pro- Palestinian activists who arrived via Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport have been deported in recent days, local daily Ha'aretz reported Wednesday.

The five were said to be the first arrivals of the pro- Palestinian fly-in campaign, according to the report.

The Israel police spokesperson was unavailable for comment at the moment.

Organizers of the "Welcome to Palestine" have said that hundreds of mostly European activists are planning to fly to Israel in the next several days, in order to take part in events in the West Bank.

Israeli officials are readying for the prospect of upwards of 1, 000 protestors declaring at the terminal's customs checkpoints that they have arrived in order to visit the West Bank. If they are allowed in, they plan to take part in Palestinian solidarity events.

Bad Guys

Palestine's Last Village Faces Bulldozers

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© unknown
The village of Lifta today
Lifta to be Razed for Israeli Vacation Homes

On a rocky slope dropping steeply away from the busy main road at the entrance to West Jerusalem is to be found a scattering of ancient stone houses, empty and clinging precariously to terraces hewn from the hillside centuries ago.

Although most Israeli drivers barely notice the buildings, this small ghost town -- neglected for the past six decades -- is at the centre of a legal battle fuelling nationalist sentiments on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

Picking his way through the cluster of 55 surviving houses, their stone walls invaded by weeds and shrubs, Yacoub Odeh, 71, slipped easily into reminiscences about the halcyon days in Lifta.

He was only eight years old in January 1948 when the advancing Jewish forces put his family and the 3,000 other Palestinian villagers to flight.

Over the coming months, as the Jewish state was born, they would be joined by 750,000 others forced into exile in an event that is known by Palestinians as the "nakba", or catastrophe.

Despite the passage of time, Lifta's chief landmarks are still clear to Mr Odeh: the remains of his own family's home, an olive press, the village oven, a spring, the mosque, the cemetery and the courtyard where the villagers once congregated.

Chess

Qaddafi Seeks Exit Guarantees: Russian Envoy

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© Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images
Muammar Qaddafi attends a ceremony for the Italia - Libya friendship day at Salvo D'Acquisto barracks, on Aug. 30, 2010 in Rome.
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi will have to receive security guarantees to relinquish his four decades of rule over the North African nation, said Mikhail Margelov, Russia's envoy for negotiating Qaddafi's departure.

"Qaddafi will be interested in getting guarantees about his personal security," Margelov said in a phone interview from Harare today after holding talks with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

Qaddafi is willing to surrender power in exchange for security guarantees, Moscow-based Kommersant reported today, citing an unidentified high-level Russian official. President Dmitry Medvedev yesterday discussed an African Union plan to resolve the conflict in Libya with his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Russia's resort of Sochi.

"The meeting was very effective because Mr. Zuma set out his vision of how to achieve a political solution in Libya," Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to NATO and a participant in the talks, said by phone today from St. Petersburg.

NATO must end its campaign against Qaddafi's forces to allow the political process to go forward, Rogozin said.
Unfreezing Assets

Countries including France have signaled they may meet Qaddafi's conditions by unfreezing his assets and providing immunity from the United Nations war tribunal in The Hague if he cedes power peacefully, Kommersant reported.

Megaphone

US: At New Hampshire Town Hall, Romney Says Obama Has Made the Economy Worse

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© The Washington Post
Wolfeboro - Mitt Romney again said Tuesday that President Obama has made the economy worse, speaking during a visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire and reclaiming an argument that seemed murky last week.

Calling Obama "a very nice fellow . . . who didn't have a track record that we could look at" during the 2008 campaign, Romney blamed the president for the economy's deterioration since he took office in 2009.

"The president came in, and he didn't cause the recession, as you know . . . but he didn't make it better, he made things worse," Romney said, speaking at Bayside Grill & Tavern in Wolfeboro. "And he made things worse through a series of actions which hurt the economy at a time when it needed to be taking off. The recovery is extraordinarily anemic, again, because things he did made that recovery worse."

The former Massachusetts governor took his campaign message to his own back yard Tuesday morning, holding a wide-ranging town hall with about 200 of his neighbors in this resort town near his vacation home and laying out his vision for the economy, health care, foreign policy and immigration.

The 2012 Republican front-runner had seemed to backtrack on a similar claim about Obama and the economy last week, and his critics have seized on that as proof of flip-flopping - an accusation that hurt Romney during the 2008 GOP nomination race.

Bad Guys

Propaganda Alert! US warning of airline plot to implant bombs in people

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© Agence France-Presse
US officials have warned airlines terror groups may be mulling implanting bombs under the skins of passengers, reports said Wednesday, but stressed the alert was not linked to any specific threat

US officials have warned airlines terror groups may be mulling implanting bombs under the skins of passengers, reports said Wednesday, but stressed the alert was not linked to any specific threat.

The Los Angeles Times said the US administration had warned airlines that extremist groups were considering surgically implanting explosives into people to try to beat enhanced airport security measures.

Passengers flying to the United States could now face even tougher screening procedures, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, Nicholas Kimball, told the daily.

"These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same activity at every international airport," Kimball said, adding existing methods could not detect plastic explosives under the skin.

Megaphone

Misery Lit: Unhappy Julian Assange Changes Mind on Memoirs

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© Lewis Whyld/PA
Julian Assange has indicated that he no longer wished to write the kind of book that was initially envisaged.
WikiLeaks founder thought to have told publishers book could give ammunition to US prosecutors

The million-pound book deal signed by Julian Assange to write his memoirs has collapsed, the Guardian has learned, after the WikiLeaks founder became unhappy with the process.

Assange signed a high profile deal for his memoirs in December with the Edinburgh-based publishers Canongate and US firm Alfred A Knopf, for a reported sum of £930,000. The rights have subsequently been sold in 35 countries.

At the time, Assange said he hoped the book "would become one of the unifying documents of our generation". But he also indicated that the deal was critical in helping to fund his legal fight against extradition to Sweden to face accusations of rape and sexual assault.

According to publishing sources, however, the contract has fallen through, at least in its original form, after Assange indicated he no longer wished to write the kind of book that was initially envisaged.

Radar

US: Union Workers Replaced With Prison Labor Under Scott Walker's Collective Bargaining Law

While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) law dismantling collective bargaining rights has harmed teachers, nurses, and other civil servants, it's helping a different group in Wisconsinites - inmates. Prisoners are now taking up jobs that used to be held by unionized workers in some parts of the state.

As the Madison Capital Times reports, "Besides losing their right to negotiate over the percentage of their paycheck that will go toward health care and retirement, unions also lost the ability to claim work as a 'union-only' job, opening the door for private workers and evidently even inmates to step in and take their place." Inmates are not paid for their work, but may receive time off of their sentences.

Bad Guys

Psychopaths often lack insight into their nature: "Sexy Israel" gets treatment for flotilla nightmares and exposes her pathology in the process

(Update below: Actress is Israeli and appears to have been commissioned on Hasbara gig)

I'm somewhat of a fool for excruciatingly bad Hasbara videos, but this one surely takes the cake: