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Sun, 28 Nov 2021
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Cloud Lightning

USA: Texas governor calls for prayers for rain amid fires

Image
© Reuters
Texas Governor Rick Perry called on Texans to pray for rain as cooler temperatures on Thursday helped firefighters contain wildfires that have charred more than 1.5 million acres across the state.

Perry, a Republican, sought increased federal help in combating the blazes last weekend and urged Texans to ask the same from a higher power over the Easter holiday weekend.

"Throughout our history, both as a state and as individuals, Texans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer," Perry said in a statement.

"It is fitting that Texans should join together in prayer to humbly seek an end to this ongoing drought and these devastating wildfires."

A wave of moisture and cooler weather had already helped the roughly 1,800 firefighters and support crews contain nine fires and make headway against many more by Thursday morning.

But conditions fueling the fast-moving wildfires that killed two volunteer firefighters and destroyed 200 homes this month would not ease for good, officials warned.

Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Jerry Norton

Vader

Psychopathology in Canadian Politics: Stephen Harper's Ruthless Drive for Power

Stephen Harper - Obey
© unknown
It seems irrefutable to me after 20 years of analyzing the career of Stephen Harper that he is incapable of providing democratic governance. Harper arguably shows some traits of what psychologists refer to as malignant narcissism, a dangerously heightened sense of self importance. Otto Kernberg, a leader in the study of personality disorders, describes malignant narcissism as "extreme self-absorption and insensitivity that often result in a trail of victims -- emotional wreckage left in the narcissist's wake." The victims Kernberg refers to are, of course, individuals, but in our case the principal victim is the Canadian nation -- its humanist accomplishments, its art and culture, the foundation of its science, its international standing and its democratic governance.

Murray Dobbin, Sept 10th 2009, The Tyee
Canada is in the the middle of another federal election, and this time there is a good chance that Stephen Harper's Conservative Party will win a majority government. This is very bad news for the Canadian people and the country as a whole.

From his beginnings as Chief Policy Officer of the western protest Reform Party and President of the ultra right-wing National Citizens Coalition, Stephen Harper has always espoused staunchly conservative views that mirror those of his ideological heroes in the U.S. A closet fundamentalist zealot, he has been consistently supportive of stronger government control and tax cuts for big corporations. He's anti-union, anti-immigration, pro-privatization of health care, pro-military, tough on crime, in favour of building more prisons, cutting funding for the arts, social services and education, an advocate for free trade and establishing closer political, economic and military ties with the United States.

Canada is on the verge of losing its national sovereignty and being ruled by a dictator with a hidden agenda and an iron fist. Yet a large segment of the Canadian public seems dimly aware of the many possible negative consequences as they continue to be in thrall to this proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing.

Black Cat

US: Mysterious Military Choppers Over Miami

If you live in downtown Miami, you've probably noticed something unusual in the sky the past few nights.

Residents have been posting videos on YouTube of unmarked military helicopters flying through Brickell at late night hours, creating lots of noise and a little concern.

The videos, titled "Miami Under Attack" and "POLICE STATE 2011: Homeland Security/ARMY Black Helicopters in Drill Over Downtown Miami," show the black choppers navigating through the high rises, hovering in place and flying pretty low.



Radar

How police have obtained iPhone, iPad tracking logs

peakipad
© cnet
A peek at location data stored on an iPhone.
Law enforcement agencies have known since at least last year that an iPhone or iPad surreptitiously records its owner's approximate location, and have used that geolocation data to aid criminal investigations.

Apple has never publicized the undocumented feature buried deep within the software that operates iPhones and iPads, which became the topic of criticism this week after a researcher at a conference in Santa Clara, Calif., described in detail how it works. Apple had acknowledged to Congress last year only that "cell tower and Wi-Fi access point information" is "intermittently" collected and "transmitted to Apple" every 12 hours.

Cell Phone

No, iPhone location tracking isn't harmless and here's why

Secret Apple database already being tapped by cops

It didn't take long for the blogosphere to pooh pooh research presented on Wednesday that detailed a file in Apple iPhones and iPads unknown to the vast majority of its users that stored a long list of their time-stamped locations, sometimes with alarming detail.

On Thursday, a forensics expert who sells software to law enforcement agencies gave a first-hand account why scrutiny of the location-tracking database is crucial. We'll get to that in a moment. But first, let's take a sampling of the rampant naysaying.

The most common criticism was that the contents of the SQLite file, which is stored on the phone and on any computer backups, were wildly imprecise. Blogger and web developer Will Clarke, for instance, used the researchers' freely available software to map the coordinates gathered by his own iPhone during a recent round-trip bike tour he took from Philadelphia to New Jersey. When he compared the results to the actual route, he found that "almost all the points were way off."

Laptop

Stuxnet-like attacks beckon as 50 new Scada threats discovered

Cyber criminals appear to be ramping up their interest in industrial control systems after research from application security management firm Idappcom found 52 new threats in March targeted at supervisory control and data acquisition (Scada) systems of the sort hit by the infamous Stuxnet worm.

Tony Haywood, chief technology officer at Idappcom, told V3.co.uk that hackers could be going for the systems as they are typically less well defended than more mainstream public facing IT systems.

War Whore

Pentagon: Robot War Over Libya Begins in 3, 2, 1 ...

drones
© Wired
Moammar Gadhafi's forces are killing Libyan civilians and pushing back rebel forces, NATO air strikes be damned. So it's time to send in the drones.

Thursday marks the end of U.S. strike missions in Libya. In a press conference, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced that armed Predator drones have been approved for use in Libya. They flew for the first time on Thursday, but "the weather wasn't good enough, so we had to bring them back," Cartwright said.

Laptop

Son of Kaspersky Lab's CEO 'kidnapped'

Held for €3m ransom, says unconfirmed report

The 20-year-old son of Kaspersky Lab's CEO has reportedly gone missing, with kidnappers said to be demanding €3m for his release.

According to Lifenews.ru (via Google Translate), Ivan Kaspersky - the son of Eugene Kaspersky with his ex-wife Natalya Kaspersky - disappeared two days ago. Since then the police, Russian secret service and the Criminal Investigation Department have all been searching for him.

It has been reported that his father, who had been attending the InfoSec event in London, flew to Moscow where Ivan is understood to have been abducted while on his way to work.

However, Kaspersky Lab hasn't confirmed the news report, which was picked up by the BBC today.

Eugene Kaspersky, who founded the anti-virus software company, is considered to be one of the wealthiest men in Russia and was recently ranked just outside the Forbes' 100 rich-list in that country.

His personal fortune is said to be around €800m. Kaspersky's ex-wife Natalya is chairwoman of the firm.

Bad Guys

Iran: US, Israel assist drug dealers

Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar
© unknown
Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar
Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar says Israel and US intelligence agency (CIA) have taken up a campaign to push Iranian youth towards drug addiction.

"The Zionists and CIA agents in the region assist drug dealers at Iran's joint borders with Afghanistan," Mohammad-Najjar said on Thursday.

"These [so-called] advocates of human rights have undertaken the task of investing in the production of industrial drugs from traditional ones and supplying them to Iran's market," IRNA quoted Mohammad-Najjar as saying.

The Iranian minister said Afghanistan is one of the major centers of producing drugs, and Iran's enemies assist drug dealers in exporting narcotics.

Rocket

US drone strike kills 25 in Pakistan

Image
© unknown
At least 25 people have been killed in yet another unauthorized US drone attack on the tribal village of Miranshah in northwestern Pakistan.

Officials reported that the non-UN-sanctioned attack by a US drone took place at 4:30 a.m. (2030 GMT) Friday, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The drone fired six missiles at a house destroying it completely. The death toll may rise as rescue operation is underway to get people from the collapsed building.

The US drone continued flying over the area after the attack, creating panic among the local residents. Miranshah attack raised the number of US drone strikes in North Waziristan Agency to 21 in 2011.

Reports indicate that the unmanned drone strikes in Pakistan's northwest tribal belt have claimed the lives of more than 1,180 people in 2010 alone.