Showing posts from February 20, 2015

The Great SIM Heist; How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle

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[Long, scary story based on documents acquired via Edward Snowden about GCHQ and the NSA stealing encryption keys from Dutch company Gemalto that will allow them to hack into global private cell phone communications. *RON*]

By Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley, The Intercept, 19 February 2015

AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQdocument, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, i…

Greece defiant as Germany tears up last-ditch EMU compromise on austerity

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[Paul Krugman is now arguing that Germany is unequivocally pro-Grexit. 'There is no macro-economic argument for further fiscal tightening. The only reason for doing so is on punitive grounds,' says Greece's Yanis Varoufakis. Greece is trying to maintain some wiggle room on the issue but it looks like even that is too much for Germany. This is also an important confrontation on the meaning of democracy, since Syriza has a perfectly clear mandate from the Greek people. *RON*]

 By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph, 19 February 2015

Greece has vowed to reject any demands for further austerity at a last-ditch meeting with eurozone creditors on Friday, even though the country risks running out of money by next week without a deal.

Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, said there can be no agreement if the EMU creditor powers continue to insist that Greece sticks to the terms of its EU-IMF Troika bail-out and increase its primary bu…

BoC Sees 'Negative Inflation' Coming To Canada, Just Don't Call It Deflation

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["Rest assured — even if inflation turns negative for some time that would not constitute deflation." I'm glad to see that austerity program is working out well for you Mister Harper. *RON*]
By Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 19 January 2015

OTTAWA - The turbulence of the global oil slump could briefly nudge Canadian inflation into negative territory, but the Bank of Canada sees no reason to worry about outright deflation, one of its senior officials said Thursday.

Deputy governor Agathe Cote tried to get ahead of any concerns that could surface if the annual rate dips below zero this spring, saying true deflation would only follow a sustained period of widespread price declines.

"Rest assured — even if inflation turns negative for some time that would not constitute deflation," Cote said in prepared remarks of a speech she delivered in Mont-Tremblant, Que., north of Montreal.

"When inflation expect…

Harper Announces Tax Breaks For B.C. LNG Industry

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[A desperate election-time bend-over-and-grin effort to attract an industry that won't accept anything less than highway robbery as adequate compensation for its efforts. And they are still flogging that tired "Oh and it will create so many really good jobs!" line of baloney. *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 19 February 2015

SURREY, B.C. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced tax breaks Thursday for British Columbia's liquefied natural gas industry, though not a single project has yet reached a final investment decision.

Harper, who made the announcement at a technical university in Surrey, B.C., said companies will receive a capital cost allowance of 30 per cent for equipment used in natural gas liquefaction and 10 per cent for buildings at a facility that liquefies natural gas.

Tax relief will be available for capital assets acquired between now and 2025.

Harper said the tax incentives will provide the right cond…

Child-Porn Policing Program Suffers From RCMP Underspending

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[The RCMP has also said it can't afford to investigate missing or murdered Aboriginal women for the same reason. I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand it is true enough to say, "Well, of course we can't afford this! We need $11 million of public money to spend on advertising telling us what a swell job Stephen Harper is doing!" On the other hand, though, the RCMP are free to cut their budget wherever they choose to, and they seem very adept at choosing politically strategic and news worthy areas to make their cuts. *RON*]
By Dean Beeby and Rosemary Barton, CBC / Huffington Post, 18 February 2015

RCMP have been holding back millions of dollars from the force's vaunted program to fight online child pornography, partly to help the Harper government pay down the federal deficit.

CBC News has learned that over a five-year period, Canada's national police force Mounties withheld some $10 million in funds earmarked for it…

What pushes scientists to lie? The disturbing but familiar story of Haruko Obokata

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[On the one hand we have huge swathes of the public waiting for (or hoping to help bring about) the apocalypse. On the other we have increasingly untrustworthy scientists captured by hubris. Is the Enlightenment completely done and over with? *RON*]
John Rasko and Carl Power, The Guardian, 18 February 2015
The year 2014 was one of extremes for Haruko Obokata. A year of high highs and even lower lows. Barely 30 years old, she was head of her own laboratory at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe, Japan, and was taking the male-dominated world of stem cell research by storm. She was hailed as a bright new star in the scientific firmament and a national hero. But her glory was short-lived and her fall from grace spectacular, completed in several humiliating stages.

Obokata shot to prominence in January 2014 when she published two breakthrough articles in Nature, one of the world’s top science journals. She and her colleagues had d…

Fossil fuel era drawing to a close…except in Canada

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[On how Stephen Harper, daddy's little oil boy that he is, will never see green. *RON*]
by Will Dubitsky, Common Sense Canadian, 17 February 2015
The following is the sequel to an earlier story by Will Dubitsky on the growing green economy and Canada’s failure to take advantage of it.

In the first part of this story for The Common Sense Canadian, I discussed how Canadian and Quebec leaders are largely ignoring the potential of high job creation, high growth green sectors, while China, Europe and the US are showing real leadership. Here, I will dig deeper into the policies and organizations that are foolishly banking on the Canadian resource-based economy as the key to economic development. Sadly, while President Obama sits poised to veto the Keystone XL pipeline, signalling the accelerating transition into a new era, Canada is being left behind.
Up to a trillion dollars in stranded fossil fuel investments

In keeping with Einstein’s definition of…