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Censored: ISPs Ordered to Block the Pirate Bay

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© Unknown
The Pirate Bay Logo
Looks like the Pirate Bay ship is sailing away from the UK.

British courts have ruled that internet service providers in the United Kingdom must block file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. Back in February, a British High Court ruling found that TPB and users of the service breach copyright on a major scale. Justice Arnold of the British High Court ruled that TPB went "far beyond merely enabling or assisting" copyright infringement. Now it seems access to The Pirate Bay will soon be blocked by ISPs across the country.

The BBC reports that today's ruling orders five major UK ISPs to block subscribers from accessing TPB. Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media will all have to block The Pirate Bay while British Telecom has asked for more time to review the situation. The case is a massive win for the music and entertainment industry as a whole but particularly for the British Phonographic Industry, which requested that the ISPs voluntarily block TPB late last year.

"The High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale," the BBC cites BPI as saying in a statement today. "Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them. This is wrong - musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else."

Speaking about the decision, a spokesperson for the Pirate Party UK said that today's ruling was a step toward web censorship in the UK.

"Unfortunately, the move to order blocking on The Pirate Bay comes as no surprise," Loz Kaye told the BBC. "The truth is that we are on a slippery slope towards internet censorship here in the United Kingdom."

The order to block The Pirate Bay follows similar proceedings that saw access to another file-sharing site, Newzbin2, blocked. ISPs were last year ordered to block access to Newzbin2 following a ruling from Mr Justice Arnold, the same judge that presided over today's Pirate Bay case.

Stormtrooper

Fascist Golden Dawn Aiming High in Greek Elections

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Golden Dawn is looking to take advantage of Greeks' disillusionment of mainstream parties
The boxes are packed with warm clothes, the plastic bags full of long-life food. There is even a teddy bear in tow. All sit piled in a rickety blue van, winding its way through Athens to be delivered to the Greek capital's needy.

Behind the aid is not a humanitarian organisation but Greece's ultranationalist party, Chrysi Avgi - or Golden Dawn. Their critics call them violent extremists. But they are keen to show off their soft side - and it wins votes.

One of the recipients is 76-year-old Katerina Karousi. She breaks down in tears as she talks of battling with cancer.

"Why not vote for Golden Dawn?" she asks. "They're helping us, so I should give them something in return."

But beyond the benevolent facade is a party that strikes fear into many here. With a virulent anti-immigrant line, Golden Dawn are often labelled neo-Nazis.

Better Earth

Protesters out for May Day rallies

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© Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
Workers and activists rally on May Day.
Protesters across the world hit the streets Tuesday on May Day to rally against austerity measures and call for higher wages and more jobs. In the United States, the protests are seen as the biggest test for the Occupy movement since many of its camps were shuttered late last year.

Occupiers in more than 100 cities across the country were expected to protest on the day that traditionally celebrates workers' rights.

Demonstrators in New York will hold a "free university" and a "Guitarmy" will lead a march; in Nashville, they will hold a torchlight procession to commemorate worker struggles and victories; and in Oakland, they plan to occupy Child Protective Services and picket business associations.

"We've got hundreds of people out already and I know a lot of people are going to be trickling in as the day goes along. We've had pickets at the Bank of America, Chase, Disney," Mark Bray of the Occupy Wall Street PR team said as protesters chanted "We are the 99 percent" in the background. "(The) mood is very spirited, the rain is lightening up... ."

Dorian Warren, an assistant professor of political science at Columbia University, said he thought Tuesday would be the "biggest test since the fall of where Occupy is."

Bomb

Entrapment: Five arrested in bridge bombing plot

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© Unknown
The FBI is displaying this map in the room where it will apparently announce the arrests of five people in connection [an alleged plot to blow up a bridge.]
Five people, claiming to be anarchists, have been arrested in Cleveland for trying to blow up a four-lane bridge across the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The public was never in danger from the devices, according to Fox News. The explosive devices were inoperable and controlled by an undercover FBI agent. Charges were against the suspects were filed Tuesday morning in Cleveland.

Douglas Wright, 26, Brandon Baxter, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 35, were arrested Monday and charged with conspiracy and attempted use of explosive material to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce, according to WEWS-NewsNet5 in Cleveland. Two other men, Connor Stevens, 20, and Joshua Stafford, 23, were also arrested, but not charged, the station reported.

The suspects were targeting the state Route 82 bridge that spans the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, according to WEWS. The suspects had bought fake explosives and placed them near the bridge Monday. The suspects were arrested after 9 p.m. Monday, the station reports.

The suspects had considered a series of plots over several months. Among the alternative targets was the Veteran's Memorial Bridge, according to WEWS. One of the suspects, Wright, had talked about driving a car into the Federal Reserve Bank to blow it up, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

The FBI's Cleveland office is displaying a photo of the apparent bridge in question, according to WEWS-NewsNet5 in Cleveland. The state Route 82 bridge is in Brecksville, south of Cleveland.

Comment: "The suspects had bought fake explosives and placed them near the bridge Monday." From who did they buy the explosives? The "undercover FBI agent" who knew the "explosive devices were inoperable" seems most likely.


Che Guevara

Bob Marley documentary let down by its eurocentrism

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I went to see Marley, the new and highly-publicised documentary about Robert Nesta Marley, at the Rio cinema in the heart of gentrified Dalston. While I enjoyed my green tea and organic chocolate bar (definitely a step up from pepsi and popcorn!), I found that being surrounded by trendy middle-class types only added to my sense of fear that the film was going to be annoyingly eurocentric and patronising.

But let's start with the good parts. Doing justice to the legacy of Bob Marley in the space of two hours and 24 minutes is an impossible task. All things considered, the people behind the film did a pretty decent job. The archive and interview footage is nothing short of incredible. The production team must have gone to extraordinary lengths to get the level of access they got. The interviews with Rita Marley, Bunny Wailer, Lee Scratch Perry, Danny Sims and other important figures in Bob's life are brilliant, and do a lot to explain how this giant of a man came to be who he was. For any fan of Bob Marley, the film is worth watching for the footage alone.

Unfortunately, the film is let down (as I knew it would be) by its eurocentric perspective. Let's face it, the first feature-length documentary on Bob Marley should have been directed by somebody else. Kevin Macdonald is perfectly competent as a film director, but he is a western white liberal. The story of Bob Marley is the story of black suffering and strength inna Babylon; the story a great revolutionary activist; the story of a people stripped of their freedom, languages, religions and traditions, building a voice and a collective identity. In short, it is not a story that Kevin Macdonald is qualified to tell.

Cow Skull

Baby Dolphin Die-Offs Continue in the Gulf

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© NOAA
Researchers perform necropsies and physical exams on stranded dolphins in an aim to determine the cause of death.
An unusually high number of dead dolphins - including stillborn and infant calves - have washed up along the Gulf of Mexico shores in the two years since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded into flames, unleashing tens of thousands of barrels of oil into the ocean.

More than 100 dolphin strandings already this year add to a pattern of death and disease among the marine mammals. In a normal year before the spill, about 74 strandings would be reported in the area. That number has increased eightfold in the past two years. Since February 2010, more than 600 have been found on the shores between the Louisiana-Texas border and the western coast of Florida.

And many of these dolphins have serious health problems -- lung disease, liver problems and low blood sugar -- according to autopsies on the animals and other research.

Scientists suspect oil as a major culprit, but linking the spill definitively with the dolphin die-offs has been tricky. Decomposition causes tissue to decay, making the animals difficult to study.

"In all of the dolphin deaths... only 17 percent are stranded alive or stranded in fresh-dead conditions," said Jenny Litz, a research fishery biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who is studying the die-offs. Decomposition makes it much harder to study tissues during a necropsy (A necropsy is the animal equivalent of an autopsy).

Mail

White Powder Packages Sent to Wells Fargo New York City Branches

Wells Fargo Bank
© The Telegraph
US - A rash of incidents Monday afternoon involving envelopes sent with suspicious white powder had police scrambling around New York City and forced the nation's fourth-biggest bank, Wells Fargo & Co, to shut down five branches around the city.

In one of six cases identified by the New York Police Department, the substance turned out to be corn starch, a police spokesman said. The substance has not yet been identified in the remaining five cases, the spokesman said.

The Wells Fargo branches will remain closed pending further investigation by the police, bank spokesman Ancel Martinez said. The branch locations include Third Avenue and 47th Street; Madison Avenue and 34th Street; and Broadway and 85th Street.

Clock

Wrongly Convicted Colorado Man Set Free After 16 Years

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© Colorado Department of Corrections/Reuters
Robert "Rider" Dewey is pictured in this booking handout photo, received by Reuters April 29, 2012.
US, Grand Junction, Co. - A Colorado man wrongly convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of a woman found strangled with a dog leash was exonerated on the basis of new DNA evidence and set free on Monday after spending more than 16 years behind bars.

Robert "Rider" Dewey walked out of a courthouse in Grand Junction, Colorado, a free man after a judge found him innocent of the 1994 killing and said his exoneration marked a "historic day" for the state.

"Mr. Dewey spent 6,219 days of his life incarcerated for a crime he did not do," Mesa County District Judge Brian Flynn said during the brief hearing. "This is a reminder to the entire system that it's not perfect."

Flynn said prosecutors had not committed misconduct, Dewey had been represented by good defense attorneys, and an impartial jury had heard the case but added: "Despite all these things, the system didn't work."

Prosecutors announced earlier on Monday they were seeking an arrest warrant for a new suspect in the 1994 killing who was identified by DNA testing and is already serving a life sentence for a similar 1989 murder.

Bad Guys

BP Sees a Return to Grandeur as Gulf Fishermen Reel From Disaster

The second memorial of the nation's worst oil catastrophe has come and gone, forever linked to Earth Day and seared into the psyches of millions of Gulf residents and fishermen. In recent weeks, the media has unleashed a torrent of stories about the devastating impacts of the nation's worst oil spill disaster; deaths, disease and deformities in the fisheries; a two-year record-setting die off in dolphin populations; medical emergencies and family health crises in coastal communities; and ongoing Congressional wrangling over tens of millions of dollars in fines needed to save and rebuild the rapidly disappearing Gulf coast.

But it won't be long before these stories fade from the consciousness of a nation once riveted by the volcanic well spewing out Louisiana crude a mile below the sea. Instead we will see more stories like this one BP published in the Alabama Press-Register last week: "After Two Years, The Grandeur of the Gulf Is Returning."
These days, we don't see oily sheens and miles of orange containment boom; we see sparkling water and clean sand, dotted with deck chairs and beach towels. On the horizon, we don't see an armada of ships skimming oil; we see fishing vessels at work gathering the day's catch. And, in the skies and on the ground, we don't see planes and large cleanup crews; we see birds and other wildlife at play.

But one thing is clear: Many of the dire predictions for the Gulf, made in the days and weeks after the accident, have not turned out to be true. Indeed, after two years of hard work alongside local, state and federal officials, the scientific community and the people of the region, substantial progress has been made. And the grandeur of the Gulf is steadily returning.

Bizarro Earth

Exxon Mobil shuts Louisiana oil pipeline after leak

* 22-inch line delivers crude to Exxon Baton Rouge Refinery, 4 others

* Spill contained in immediate area around Torbert, LA

* Baton Rouge Refinery is 3rd largest in U.S.

* Exxon says no immediate impact on Baton Rouge production

Exxon Mobil Corp has shut the 160,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) North Line crude oil pipeline in Louisiana after a leak spilled 1,900 barrels of crude oil in a rural area over the weekend, affecting a conduit that supplies the nation's third-largest refinery.

The 22-inch line originates in St. James, Louisiana, and provides shippers with access to oil from the giant Louisiana Offshore Oil Port and crude from offshore platforms, according to Exxon's website.

It was unclear Monday, the second full day the North Line was shut, how long it might be down. The line pumps crude to ExxonMobil's 502,000 barrel per day (bpd) Baton Rouge, Louisiana, refinery as well as a handful of other plants.

The U.S. pipeline regulator said it had sent an inspector to investigate the leak, but has not issued any orders that would prevent Exxon from resuming operations when it is ready. The company said it had contained the oil in the "immediate area".