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Sat, 01 Apr 2023
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Hollywood wages war against legitimate Megaupload customers

police line tape @ megaupload
© n/a
A federal judge is considering how legitimate users of the Megaupload online storage site may be allowed access to files hosted on seized servers, but Hollywood is still adamant about doing everything possible to prevent that from happening.

Kyle Goodwin says he uploaded personal files to the Megaupload.com cyber locker that were vital to his small business, but he's been unable to access that data ever since authorities shut-down the site and arrested its founder, Kim Dotcom of New Zealand, in January. Ten months after the fact, Goodwin can't access his files and is now being represented by attorneys from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"The government engaged in a overbroad seizure, denying Mr. Goodwin access to his data, along with likely millions of others who have never been accused of wrongdoing," EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels says in a statement this week. "Access to the government's warrant application and related materials can help us learn how this could have happened and provide assistance in our efforts to get Mr. Goodwin his property back."

A judge is now being tasked with deciding if those court files can be opened to assess the situation fully, but the Hollywood bigwigs who were opposed to the site say that might not be the best idea.

Brick Wall

New York mulls $6 bln water gate in the wake of Sandy

© Agence France-Presse/Don Emmert
As New York City remains devastated from the destruction brought on by Superstorm Sandy, officials are optioning the installation of barriers that could prevent further catastrophes - at a cost estimated in the billions.

Now that this week's storm has proven that Manhattan and the other boroughs of New York aren't impermeable to Mother Nature, scientists are looking to find solutions that could keep another Sandy from shutting down the city. The answer, some say, might be a system of barriers jetting into the bodies of water surrounding New York that could help stop any future frankenstorms.

"With the kind of protection that has been considered so far, you cannot protect a multimillion-inhabitant city that runs part of the world economy," Piet Dirck of the Dutch engineering firm Arcadis tells the Associated Press.

Oceanography professor Malcolm J. Bowman from Long Island's Stony Brook University tells the AP that he has warned what could happen to New York for years if a storm such as Sandy moved up the East Coast. He's also advocated for a barrier and implies now that the time is finally right for officials to start heeding his call.

"The time has come. The city is finally going to have to face this," he says.

Heart - Black

Surveillance video shows man beaten, robbed in NYC as Hurricane Sandy struck

Warning: Video Contains Graphic Content

Disturbing video posted online
shows a man being beaten by a group of men as Hurricane Sandy struck New York City.

The incident happened Monday in the Crown Heights section of New York.

NyDailyNews.com identified the victim as 21-year-old Jeremy Furchtgott.

Furchtgott can be seen in surveillance video posted by CrownHeights.info being assaulted by at least five men.

According to the article, Furchtgott was forced to turn over his iPhone and money to the assailants.

Police, at this time, have no suspects.


Homeland Security worker charged with soliciting kids on Facebook

Robert B. Rennie Jr.

Robert B. Rennie Jr.
A 43-year-old Department of Homeland Security worker allegedly used Facebook to solicit more than 70 area children for sexual acts, according to authorities.

Robert B. Rennie Jr., a Loudoun County resident, was charged Oct. 24 with five counts of using a computer to solicit a child under the age of 15, after a school resource officer was tipped off to suspicious activity on a Mercer Middle School student's Facebook page.

The student, a young girl, had accepted a friend request from someone she believed was a fellow Mercer student: an account under the name Kyle Kirts, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.

The girl's parents alerted school officials that "Kirts" had solicited sexual activity from the girl in conversations on Facebook, authorities said. The school in turn alerted the Sheriff's Office.

An investigation revealed that Rennie, who worked for the agency's National Protection and Programs Directorate, was the sole user of the fictitious account, which under the name Kirts had friended mostly young girls.


Why East Coast gas shortages may not end for a week

Power outages at hundreds of gas stations and a distribution bottleneck due to flooding damage and power loss has caused a gasoline shortage in the New York metropolitan area that may not be cleared up for at least a week, according to industry experts.

What was a problem for drivers when Super Storm Sandy ended two days ago has become a nightmare for frazzled motorists who find themselves in gas lines that can stretch on for hours. Some lines were hundreds of cars long in sections of New Jersey and New York Thursday, and in a number of locations police monitored the lines which interfered with traffic flow in some areas.

The problem is not gasoline supplies, but the ability to distribute it, especially from the critical terminal area around Linden, N.J., which lost power and was hit by storm surge. An estimated 75 percent or more of the gas stations in New Jersey were closed either because they had no gasoline, no power or both, said Sal Risalvato, executive director of the N.J. Gasoline, Convenience, Automotive Association. His organization represents about 1,000 gasoline stations in N.J.

"What I'm seeing is there's a combination of problems. Power is at the root of it. That means gasoline that is already in inventory, already refined in those big tanks you see along the side of the turnpike, they can't get that gasoline into the delivery trucks without power," said Risalvato.


NYC looters dress like Con Edison workers to gain access to houses

New York is still struggling with getting back to work and cleaning up. Here are some of the more notable stories from the storm: Crystal Park interviews New York correspondent Vasili Sushko on the state of the city:

With limited metro access, New Yorkers had some of the worst commutes imaginable today. Thousands of people lined up at bus stops to try to get into Manhattan, and cars without three passengers weren't allowed into the city to try and cut down on traffic.

As of this recording, 600,000 in New York City are still without power. The local power company, Con Edison, is working on areas with the highest population first.

Looters have taken advantage of the confusion and desperation by dressing as Con Edison workers and breaking into houses on the pretext that they were doing electrical repairs. Sushko reports that around 15 people have been arrested for looting.


Staten Island Borough President: Don't give money to the Red Cross

red cross
At a press conference this morning on Staten Island, a host of local officials, including Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, gathered to highlight the needs of the hard-hit borough in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. And, although many pols spoke, no one was more impassioned than Borough President James Molinaro, who called the Red Cross an "absolute disgrace" and even urged the public to cease giving them contributions.

"Because the devastation in Staten Island, the lack of a response," Mr. Molinaro said to explain his comment to NBC after the press conference. "You know, I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm. People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need. Their housing was destroyed. They were crying. Where was the Red Cross? Isn't that their function? They collect millions of dollars. Whenever there's a drive in Staten Island, we give openly and honestly. Where are they? Where are they? I was at the South Shore yesterday, people were buried in their homes. There the dogs are trying to find bodies. The people there, the neighbors who had no electricity, were making soup. Making soup. It's very emotional because the lack of a response. The lack of a response. They're supposed to be here....They should be on the front lines fighting, and helping the people."

Several other local officials agreed with Mr. Molinaro's rage over Staten Island's situation, although they did not call out the Red Cross specifically.


Staten Island residents plead for help while police prepare for NYC marathon

© John Moore/Getty Images
The residents of Staten Island are pleading for help from elected officials, begging for gasoline, food and clothing three days after Sandy slammed the New York City borough.

"We're going to die! We're going to freeze! We got 90-year-old people!" Donna Solli told visiting officials. "You don't understand. You gotta get your trucks down here on the corner now. It's been three days!"

Staten Island was one of the hardest-hit communities in New York City. More than 80,000 residents are still without power. Many are homeless, and at least 19 people died on Staten Island because of the storm.

One of the devastated neighborhoods was overwhelmed by a violent surge of water. Residents described a super-sized wave as high as 20 feet, with water rushing into the streets like rapids.

Heart - Black

Land grab: Families uprooted to make way for luxury villas

© Lao Voices
At least 500 people have been uprooted from their homes to make way for luxury villas where European Union foreign ministers, including William Hague, will stay during a summit in Laos on Monday.

The "Asia-Europe Meeting" will bring together 48 EU and Asian countries on Don Chan island in the centre of Laos's capital, Vientiane. To allow the construction of 50 villas and two conference centres, the authorities have moved 102 families who once lived on the island and worked its green paddy fields. The new facilities will be used for this and future summits.

The former inhabitants have been dumped 15 miles away, with minimal compensation, at a new location without enough fertile land to replace their old livelihoods. "I cannot produce rice and other crops for survival," said one person who was displaced. "How can my family and I live? Other people have the same problems as well. I do not have a stable income - my land is grabbed and I cannot grow crops."

Land seizures of this kind are a growing problem in Asia, where booming economies have spurred unchecked development. In total, about 15 per cent of the entire surface area of Laos, a country of 6.2 million people in South-East Asia, has been seized for development. In the process, tens of thousands of people are believed to have been displaced.

People 2

China to move 2M people in largest relocation in history

© Tom Phillips/ telegraph.co.uk
Mountain homes in Guizhou province
It is billed as the "final offensive" against extreme poverty in China's poorest province.

Between now and 2020, two million people are to be moved from their isolated mountain homes in Guizhou province as part of one of the single largest relocations in recent Chinese history.

It is a gargantuan task and one that will cost billions. But provincial authorities claim resettlement is the only way to eliminate the grinding rural poverty that continues to blight China's countryside even after one of the greatest economic booms in human history.

"Even if we build roads to reach them, provide drinking water to them and work to alleviate poverty there for another 50 years, the problem might not be addressed," Guizhou's party secretary, Zhao Kezhi, said earlier this year.

"[The mountains] ... barely provide the conditions for sustaining life."