Category Archives: Latin America

InSecurityWatch: War, cops, spies, borders


We begin with a warning from the McClatchy Washington Bureau:

Nobel Prize winner Malala told Obama U.S. drone attacks fuel terrorism

The teenager who became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize Friday told President Barack Obama at a White House meeting last year that she worried about the effect of U.S. drone strikes.

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, as well as Kailash Satyarthi of India, for pushing for young people’s rights, including the right to education.

Malala, now 17, made international headlines after being shot in the head by the Taliban on a school bus two years ago for promoting education for girls in Pakistan. After recovering, she took her campaign for children’s education across the world, writing a book and even speaking at the United Nations last year.

Hysteria in Old Blighty, via the London Telegraph:

Security services monitoring ‘thousands’ of terrorism suspects in London, says Boris Johnson

  • Mayor of London discloses that threat from Isil and other terrorist groups is larger than previously known

The security services are monitoring “thousands” of terrorist suspects in London, Boris Johnson has disclosed, suggesting the threat from Islamist extremists may be far greater than has previously been admitted.

Until now, it was thought that the main danger came from around 500 jihadis who have travelled to Syria and Iraq from the UK to join Isil or al-Qaeda fighters, around half of whom have returned to Britain.

But the Mayor of London suggested the threat from home-grown terrorist plots was far more widespread than the relatively small numbers of extremists who have gone abroad to fight.

More from the Independent:

UK terror threat: Police put on special terror alert for their own safety

Britain’s 130,000 police officers were urged to be “vigilant for their personal safety” after counter-terror chiefs warned the threat level against them had increased in the past 24 hours.

Mark Rowley, the national lead for counter-terrorism at the Association of Chief Police Officers, refused to discuss specific intelligence but confirmed the threat level against detectives and support staff up and down the country had been “heightened”.

Police and the intelligence agencies are working around the clock to track hundreds of suspected British jihadists as they return from fighting with Islamic State (Isis) militants in Syria and Iraq.

Assistant Commissioner Rowley said: “The threat level to police officers and staff has been heightened, but we are used to confronting risk and danger; this is what we do on a daily basis, and we are well trained.

“We are informing our officers and staff of the heightened risk and reminding them to remain vigilant and alert to any possible dangers. We are asking them to follow existing policies and good practice. Measures are being put in place to increase the vigilance of officers and staff.

The Japan Times covers motivation:

Ancient prophecies of apocalypse give Islamic State jihadists hope

An infidel horde flying 80 banners meets a Muslim army at the Syrian town of Dabiq in an apocalyptic battle. The Muslims are decimated but ultimately prevail and conquer the world.

This ancient Sunni Muslim prophecy — mentioned in canonical accounts of the Prophet Mohammed’s sayings — has become a rallying cry for Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria, especially since they seized Dabiq in August.

The town itself has negligible military value compared with the strategic Islamic State-controlled cities of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.

But as Islamic State jihadists come under a U.S.-led aerial onslaught to stop their advance, its importance as a symbol has become clear.

Reuters delivers a warning:

U.N. says thousands likely to be massacred if jihadists take Kobani

Thousands of people most likely will be massacred if Kobani falls to Islamic State fighters, a U.N. envoy said on Friday, as militants fought deeper into the besieged Syrian Kurdish town in full view of Turkish tanks that have done nothing to intervene.

U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said Kobani could suffer the same fate as the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, where 8,000 Muslims were murdered by Serbs in 1995, Europe’s worst atrocity since World War Two, while U.N. peacekeepers failed to protect them.

“If this falls, the 700, plus perhaps the 12,000 people, apart from the fighters, will be most likely massacred,” de Mistura said. The United Nations believes 700 mainly elderly civilians are trapped in the town itself and 12,000 have left the center but not made it across the border into Turkey.

From Deutsche Welle, a recruit on trial:

Young man confesses in Germany’s first IS terror trial

A 20-year-old on trial for involvement in a terrorist organization has confessed to fighting alongside the IS in Syria. In a statement, he said he saw it as his duty to defend Sunni Muslims from the tyranny of Assad.

A man on trial in Germany for his alleged involvement in the “Islamic State” (IS) war in Syria has confessed to having joined the militia and fighting in Syria. Twenty-year-old Kreshnik B is on trial for his alleged membership in a foreign terrorist organization.

Born in Hesse to a family from Kosovo, Kreshnik B admitted to going to Syria in 2013 to fight against the Assad regime in his third day of court on Friday, October 10.

In a written confession read out by his lawyer in Frankfurt on Friday, he said, “The inconceivable violence used by the Alawite Assad regime against the Sunni majority was enraging and bewildering. No one wanted to help the people there.”

On to the world of spies and hacks, first with SecurityWeek:

Hackers Show the NSA’s Capabilities Are Not Magic

A group of security researchers, hardware hackers, hardware developers and hobbyists have set out to demonstrate that many of the tools similar to those used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) for surveillance operations can be reproduced on a low budget with open source software and hardware components.

The project, called the “NSA Playset,” came out of a collaboration between security researcher Dean Pierce and Michael Ossmann, founder of Great Scott Gadgets. Shortly after the NSA’s ANT catalog was leaked online, they recruited several others who had already implemented or were working on implementing capabilities that were similar to the ANT tools.

The ANT catalog is a 48-page classified document containing information on the technologies used by the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) unit for cyber surveillance. The document is one of the many files obtained by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

On to the pros, via The Intercept:

Core Secrets: NSA Saboteurs in China and Germany

The National Security Agency has had agents in China, Germany, and South Korea working on programs that use “physical subversion” to infiltrate and compromise networks and devices, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

The documents, leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, also indicate that the agency has used “under cover” operatives to gain access to sensitive data and systems in the global communications industry, and that these secret agents may have even dealt with American firms. The documents describe a range of clandestine field activities that are among the agency’s “core secrets” when it comes to computer network attacks, details of which are apparently shared with only a small number of officials outside the NSA.

“It’s something that many people have been wondering about for a long time,” said Chris Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union, after reviewing the documents. “I’ve had conversations with executives at tech companies about this precise thing. How do you know the NSA is not sending people into your data centers?”

Here’s one of those delightful NSA grahpics accompanying the report:

BLOG NSA

From the Guardian, reunited:

Edward Snowden’s girlfriend living with him in Moscow, film reveals

  • Lindsay Mills, thought to have been deserted by Snowden before NSA revelations, appears beside whistleblower in Citizenfour

The mystery of the whereabouts of Edward Snowden’s long-time girlfriend is solved in a documentary that premiered in New York on Friday night: she has been living with the national security whistleblower in Russia since July.

The surprise revelation in the documentary, filmed by Laura Poitras, upends the widespread assumption that Snowden had deserted Lindsay Mills and that she, in a fit of pique, fled Hawaii where they had been living to stay with her parents in mainland US.

Since Snowden, a former NSA contractor, outed himself last year as being behind the biggest leak in US intelligence history, Mills has remained silent, giving no interviews or any hints of her feelings on the subject of her boyfriend or his actions.

From the London Telegraph, sadly, partly true:

Big companies snoop on public more than GCHQ, says spy chief

  • Sir Iain Lobban, Director of GCHQ, says private firms are the ones who know everything about you and share data

Private firms snoop far more on the public than the spy agencies, the head of GCHQ has said.

Sir Iain Lobban, Director of the intelligence agency, said it was the “commercial companies” who know everything about people and share the data with each other.

There is an ongoing row over the level of snooping powers the police and intelligence agencies should have.

But Sir Iain’s comments came as it emerged three of the UK’s main mobile phone companies automatically provided data on customers to the police if asked.

The Los Angeles Times covers cops misbehavin’:

LAPD ghost cars: Cops lied about officers on patrol, report finds

Los Angeles police deliberately deceived senior officials by artificially inflating the number of officers on patrol, according to an investigation by the LAPD’s independent watchdog.

In a report released Friday, the inspector general for the Police Commission found evidence that officers in at least five of the department’s 21 patrol divisions were said to be patrolling city streets in cars when, in fact, they were at station desks.

The report’s findings bolstered allegations made by union officials that patrol commanders around the city were using the so-called ghost cars to mask the fact that they did not have enough officers on patrol to meet mandatory staffing levels.

And yet more hacking, via United Press International:

Massive Snapchat nude photo leak targeting everyday people underway, Snapchat blames users

“We can confirm that Snapchat’s servers were never breached and were not the source of these leaks,” Snapchat said.

Hackers posting in the online forum 4Chan are actively leaking at least 100,000 nude or compromising photographs obtained from users of mobile picture message app Snapchat.

Initially suspected to be an elaborate hoax by trolls posting on 4Chan, Snapchat confirmed the leak on its official Twitter account and denied any responsibility for security breach, saying the pictures were lifted from third-party apps that allow users to save photos sent via the history-less mobile app.

“We can confirm that Snapchat’s servers were never breached and were not the source of these leaks,” the company tweeted.

Network World covers another hack attack:

Dairy Queen stores hit by ‘Backoff’ malware, payment card data stolen

Dairy Queen said Thursday the “Backoff” point-of-sale malware infected systems at 395 of its stores, stealing payment card data.

The company, which has 4,500 independently owned franchises in the U.S., said in a statement it believes the “malware has been contained.” Most of the stores, including one Orange Julius location, were affected for between three weeks to a month starting in early August, according to a list.

“We deeply regret any inconvenience this incident may cause,” wrote CEO and President John Gainor.

PCWorld covers another one:

Kmart hacked, exposing customers’ card numbers

Sears Holding Corp. said Friday the payment systems at its Kmart retail chain had been breached as a result of malware, compromising shoppers’ credit and debit card numbers.

The U.S. retail chain’s payment systems were infected with a form of malware that went undetected by its anti-virus systems, Sears said. There is no evidence that Kmart shoppers’ personal information, PIN numbers, email addresses or Social Security numbers were stolen, and the malware has since been removed, Sears said.

A forensic investigation indicates that the breach began in early September, Sears said. Kmart’s IT team discovered the breach only this Thursday.

After the jump, Japan orders Google amnesia, more unrest in St. Louis after police shooting, protests in Ferguson, more violence in St. Louis, protests in Ferguson, military misbehavin’ comes home to roost, digital crime in the police station, on to the deepening mystery of the mass graves and missing Mexican students, parental vigils, a missing mayor, and a hunt for masterminds, more murderous criminality, this time military, violence in Brazil, on to Asia and a bloody border battle, a Korean Coast Guard killing of a Chinese fisherman sparks a diplomatic row, Hong Kong protesters hit the street, and Taiwan lends its support. . . Continue reading

EnviroWatch: Ills, pollution, GMOs, nukes


We begin with another outbreak from Global Times:

Guangdong sees over 1,400 new dengue cases

Health authorities of south China’s Guangdong Province said 1,412 new cases of dengue were confirmed in the province on Thursday.

The total number of dengue infections rose to 27,593, over 27 times that of same period last year, said the provincial health and family planning commission on Friday.

The disease, which has killed six people, has been detected in 20 prefecture-level cities in Guangdong. Its capital city Guangzhou was hit worst with 23,484 cases reported.

From the Daily Monitor in Kampala, Uganda, not courting illness:

Court suspends trials over Marburg

  • Proceedings halted. Criminal proceedings have been halted and the court is only handling civil cases which do not involve prisoners

The Magistrate’s Court in Kasese District has suspended proceedings after the Mubuku Prison administration refused to admit more prisoners due to fear of Marburg infection in the country.

On Tuesday, the chief magistrate’s court presided over by Agatonica Mbabazi sentenced four people to three months in jail each in Mubuku Prison.

However, they were later released after prison authorities declined to receive them for custody.

“Four convicts were released immediately after the prison authorities refused to take in more inmates due to fear of Marburg outbreak in the country. I had nowhere to put them,” the chief magistrate said.

And from Punch Nigeria, another African concern:

29 million Nigerians risk Lassa fever –FG

The Federal Government has said that 29 million Nigerians are at the risk of Lassa fever, while 26 states are exposed to the disease.

The government also said the recent outbreak of the disease in the country was a signal that it had not received the expected attention.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, spoke on Friday in Abuja during a press briefing to coincide with the National Lassa Fever Day and public presentation of 5,000 safeguard soaps to the ministry by Procter & Gamble, Nigeria.

And from Public Radio International, another public health tragedy:

Deaths among low-income children are making the US a leader in infant mortality

The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the United States is the worst among developed nations when it comes to infant mortality rates. There are 6.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in the United States; compare that to Finland, which had only 2.3 per 1,000 live births, or even Greece with 3.8.

So what’s the reason?

“It’s the period after a month of life — a month to 12 months — where the US is really doing worse,” says Emily Oster, an economist who helped calculate these figures. “Much of the death rate in that period is not really about medical interventions, it’s about things that are happening in the home.”

And in low-income homes, says Oster, a visiting associate professor of economics at Brown University, there’s a lack of support and resources that may be leading to a high number of deaths among babies. While there are other factors, including questions about how the US calculates infant mortality, she says this is the biggest problem.

And another one, via MintPress News:

A Third Of Schoolchildren Vulnerable To Hazardous Chemicals Facilities

While the conversation on hazardous chemicals facilities tends to revolve around risks to the general public, nearly 20 million schoolchildren go to schools located in vulnerability zones. Many of these schools lack plans in case of a chemical emergency.

One in three U.S. students attends school within the formally designated “vulnerability zone” of facilities involved in the manufacture or storage of large amounts of hazardous chemicals, according to new research.

That would translate into nearly 20 million schoolchildren spending near-daily time within the vicinity of at least one hazardous facility, including refineries, chemical manufacturers and wastewater treatment plants. Further, half of that number attend school near multiple facilities like these. And in 102 counties in 22 states, every single student goes to class within one or more vulnerability zones, most of which are a mile or larger.

“Literally tons of inadequately tested, potentially harmful chemicals and known human toxins are in use in industrial production sites and storage facilities across the country. These stocks of toxic chemicals represent a looming, silent risk in communities nationwide,” a new report from the Center for Effective Government, a Washington watchdog group, states.

Another Chinese accomplishment, via the Guardian:

China pollution levels hit 20 times safe limit

Visibility dropped dramatically as small pollutant particles reached dangerous levels in northern China’s Hebei province

Days of heavy smog shrouding swathes of northern China pushed pollution to more than 20 times safe levels on Friday, despite government promises to tackle environmental blight.

Visibility dropped dramatically as measures of small pollutant particles known as PM2.5, which can embed themselves deep in the lungs, reached more than 500 micrograms per cubic metre in parts of Hebei, a province bordering Beijing.

The World Health Organization’s guideline for maximum healthy exposure is 25.

In the capital, buildings were obscured by a thick haze, with PM2.5 levels in the city staying above 300 micrograms per cubic metre since Wednesday afternoon and authorities issuing an “orange” alert.

From the Guardian, a marine tragedy in the making:

Great Barrier Reef: ‘a massive chemistry experiment gone wrong’

  • Scientists warn that pollution may be dramatically increasing the rate of ocean acidification in inshore areas, threatening coral

It has long been known that pollution is having a devastating impact on the Great Barrier Reef but now scientists are warning that it may also be dramatically increasing the rate of ocean acidification in inshore areas of the region.

Dr Sven Uthicke, a senior research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, has with colleagues this week published a paper in the journal PLOS one, on ocean acidification in the reef. The study compares the reef’s inshore and offshore waters, and information on present-day water quality with 30-year-old data.

The study, Coral Reefs on the Edge? Carbon Chemistry on Inshore Reefs of the Great Barrier Reef,reads as though a massive chemistry experiment has gone wrong on one of the country’s most precious ecosystems.

Another water woe from BBC News:

Brazil drought crisis deepens in Sao Paulo

The governor of the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo has asked for emergency clearance to siphon the remaining water out of the main reservoir serving Sao Paulo city, which has almost run dry.

After nine months of unprecedented drought, 95% of the water has gone.

Geraldo Alckmin, re-elected in last week’s elections, has been criticised for not imposing water rationing to tackle the crisis.

Twenty-nine other Brazilian cities have been affected by the drought.

From NASA Goddard, changing ice poles apart:

The Arctic and the Antarctic Respond in Opposite Ways

Program notes:

The Arctic and the Antarctic are regions that have a lot of ice and acts as air conditioners for the Earth system. This year, Antarctic sea ice reached a record maximum extent while the Arctic reached a minimum extent in the top ten lowest since satellite records began. One reason we are seeing differences between the Arctic and the Antarctic is due to their different geographies. As for what’s causing the sea increase in the Antarctic, scientists are also studying ocean temperatures, possible changes in wind direction and, overall, how the region is responding to changes in the climate

And the Guardian covers a water dilemma:

China’s water dilemma between farming and growing population

Water stressed China faces a dilemma between safeguarding food production and releasing water to a thirsty population, can new technology and policy reforms help?

In an increasingly volatile world, China’s economic growth has proved remarkably resilient. While the economies of Europe and America have stalled or nose-dived since the 2008 financial crash, China’s has continued to expand. The headlines are startling: since the early 1990s, GDP growth per capita has averaged 8.9%, and nearly 600 million people have been lifted out of poverty.

Perhaps less well known is the fact that China’s growth was kick-started by investment in agriculture. This, in turn, catalysed growth in the wider rural economy and, as China’s rural inhabitants got richer, so they moved to growing towns and cities, building – literally – the skylines of Beijing, Shanghai and other megacities.

In the meantime, China’s agricultural economy has motored on. Despite rapid urbanisation, and an economy now driven by industry rather than farming, the country is still able to feed over 20% of the world’s population. Maintaining self-sufficiency in wheat and rice remains ideologically important, even if imports of feed grains for meat production have soared over recent years.

Agence France-Presse covers a GMO confrontation:

Argentine ecologists block construction of Monsanto plant

Program notes:

In Cordoba, Argentina, a group of environmentalists decided a year ago to block the construction of a corn processing plant of US seed giant Monsanto, in opposition of its use of genetically modified crops.

While China may greenlight GMOs, via Global Times:

China may renew certificates for GM rice

Expired safety certificates for two species of genetically modified (GM) rice developed in China may be renewed, said an official with the Ministry of Agriculture on Friday.

“A safety certificate is a precondition for further use. If the rice did not show safety issues during the previous term of the safety certificate, the certificate will be renewed,” said Kou Jianping, head of technology enforcement at the Ministry of Agriculture, “but it depends on the whole review process.”

In 2009 three safety certificates were issued for GM plants, two for rice and one for corn. They all expired on Aug. 17. On June 9, the ministry received an application from Huazhong Agricultural University to renew safety certificates for the GM rice, but has not received any application for the corn, Kou said.

On to the nuclear, starting in Germany with TheLocal.de:

One in three nuclear waste barrels damaged

Inspectors in northern Germany have found that a third of barrels containing radioactive waste at a decommissioned nuclear plant are damaged, the Schleswig-Holstein Environment Ministry said on Thursday.

Vattenfall, the energy company which manages the Brunsbüttel site in Schlewswig-Holstein, reported that 102 of the 335 barrels stored in the site’s six underground chambers were corroded, leaking or had loose lids.

Some of the containers are so deformed that they can no longer be moved, as they no longer fit into the robotic gripping arms installed at the site, the inspectors reported.

And for our final item, a done deal from Reuters:

South Africa signs nuclear agreement with France

South Africa has signed a nuclear power agreement with France, the government said on Friday, three weeks after it reached a similar deal with Russia as part of Pretoria’s first tentative steps towards building up to 9,600 MW of nuclear power.

The Sept. 20 agreement, which Russia touted as a $10 billion contract to build power plants, took many South Africans by surprise, compelling officials to clarify that it was in fact just the early stages of a long procurement process.

Energy officials also stressed that other intergovernmental agreements – with France, China, South Korea, the United States and Japan – were likely to follow.

InSecurityWatch: Wars, spies, hacks, drones, more


From the Associated Press, another current in the war of the moment:

Turkey, Kurd tensions worry US in fight for Kobani

Even as it prods Turkey to step up in the global fight against Islamic State militants, the United States is worried that Ankara might use military action to target Kurdish fighters who are the last line of defense against extremists trying to take over the Syrian border town of Kobani.

In a careful-what-you-wish-for scenario, U.S. officials acknowledge that drawing Ankara into the war could open a new line of attack against a Kurdish movement that has for decades sought greater autonomy inside Turkey.

At the same time, Americans officials fear Turkey could simply choose to remain out of the fray, and let two of its enemies — the Islamic State group and Kurdish guerrillas — fight for Kobani. That would give the militants an opportunity to do as much damage to the Kurdish fighters in Syria as possible.

A parallel development from BBC News:

Turkish action against IS in Syria ‘unrealistic’

Turkey’s foreign minister says it cannot be expected to lead a ground operation against Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria on its own.

Mevlut Cavusoglu also called for the creation of a no-fly zone over its border with Syria after talks in Ankara with new Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg.

Turkey is under intense pressure to do more to help Kurdish forces fighting IS in the strategic Syrian town of Kobane.

From Reuters, the focus of the storm:

Islamic State seizes large areas of Syrian town despite air strikes

Islamic State fighters seized more than a third of the Syrian border town of Kobani, a monitoring group said on Thursday, as U.S.-led air strikes failed to halt their advance and Turkish forces looked on without intervening.

With Washington ruling out a ground operation in Syria, Turkey said it was unrealistic to expect it to mount a cross-border operation alone to relieve the mainly Kurdish town.

The U.S. military said Kurdish forces appeared to be holding out in the town, which lies within sight of Turkish territory, following fresh airstrikes in the area against a militant training camp and fighters.

However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Islamic State, still widely known by its former acronym of ISIS, had pushed forward on Thursday.

The Associated Press covers the newest player:

Australia launches first airstrike in Iraq

Defense officials say an Australian jet fighter has made the country’s first airstrike against an Islamic State target in Iraq since the Australian government committed its air force to combat missions last week.

An Australian Defense Force statement said on Thursday: “Two bombs were dropped from an F/A-18F Super Hornet on to an ISIL facility” overnight.

It added that: “All aircraft exited the target area safely and returned to base.”

And from intelNews, a spooky discovery:

Secret Russian spy base in Syria seized by Western-backed rebels

Rebel forces aligned to Syria’s Western-backed opposition have announced the seizure of a joint Syrian-Russian spy base, which observers say reveals the extent of Russia’s intelligence cooperation with Syria. The base is located at the base of the Tel Al-Hara Mountain, in southern Syria’s Golan Heights region, just south of the border crossing with Israel in the now largely destroyed Syrian city of Quneitra.

The Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) said it took over the spy base on Sunday, following several weeks of fighting against rival groups, including Syrian government soldiers and members of Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.

The FSA said the base, referred to as “Center C” by Russian intelligence, had been under Russian command until it was abandoned at a time and for reasons that remain unknown.

The Mainichi covers Japanese war tourism:

Ex-SDF member took part in battle for Syrian rebel group in 2013

A former member of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) has revealed that he previously joined an Islamic militant group in Syria as a fighter and took part in combat there in 2013.

Yoshifumi Uzawa, a 26-year-old resident of Tokyo’s Ota Ward, said he returned to Japan about two months after joining the rebel group, having suffered heavy injuries, including gunshot wounds to his legs, when he came under attack from an armored vehicle.

Uzawa joined the SDF after graduating from junior high school. When he subsequently succeeded in his own business selling organic vegetables door-to-door, he decided to go to Syria. “I was satisfied with my life, but I wanted to take one more step forward. I don’t have any political or ideological beliefs. I thought I would be able to see something if I became a fighter having a brush with death,” he said.

Domestic InSecurity from the New York Times:

Protests in St. Louis After Police Officer Kills Black Teenager

An off-duty police officer shot and killed a black teenager in St. Louis on Wednesday night, setting off a demonstration just days ahead of long-scheduled protests in Missouri about the use of lethal force by the authorities.

The St. Louis police chief, D. Samuel Dotson III, said at a news conference that the teenager had fired at least three shots toward the officer, a six-year veteran who was working in the city’s Shaw neighborhood for a private security firm.

Chief Dotson said that the officer had fired 17 rounds, but that he did not know how many times the teenager had been hit.

The teenager was identified as Vonderrit D. Myers Jr. by Peter M. Cohen, a lawyer who said had been representing Mr. Myers on charges that included unlawful possession of a weapon.

More from CBC News:

Man killed by off-duty St. Louis officer was unarmed, mother says

  • Police say man had gun, fired three shots at officer

A state senator and other black leaders in St. Louis are calling for the Justice Department to investigate the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by an off-duty police officer.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says the 18-year-old, identified by his mother as Vonderrit D. Myers, shot at the officer Wednesday night. Dotson says the officer returned fire. He didn’t identify the 32-year-old officer.

The shooting led to an angry protest.

Syreeta Myers told The Associated Press by phone Thursday that her son wasn’t armed, as police contend.

At a news conference on Thursday, Democratic state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed questioned why the officer approached Vonderrit Myers in the first place. She called it a clear case of racial profiling.

From the Washington Post, the latest Ferguson revelation:

Ferguson police continued crackdown on protesters after federal, state interventions

Despite federal and state attempts to intervene during the two months since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed, the Ferguson Police Department continued — and even accelerated — efforts to suppress peaceful protests using arbitrary and inconsistently applied arrest policies, according to Justice Department officials who are investigating the department and county police officials who have since taken over for the city.

A Washington Post review of county and state arrest records, and interviews with Justice Department officials, Ferguson and St. Louis County police chiefs, dozens of protesters and several civil rights officials reveal that:

Hundreds of protesters have been arrested since August for violating unwritten rules and committing minor offenses, such as failure to disperse or unlawful assembly, and for violating a noise ordinance. Many have been taken to jail without being told what charges they may face and are often released without any paperwork. For weeks, officers employed a “five-second rule” under which any protester who stopped walking was subject to arrest — a policy ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge this week.

On to the spooky realm with Network World:

Judges spar with attorneys on national security data requests

Federal judges challenged attorneys on Wednesday to clarify the rationale and constitutionality of government data requests, in a line of questioning that may ultimately introduce greater transparency into what is now a tightly cloaked process.

The hearing, held in a federal appeals court in San Francisco, focused on National Security Letters, or NSLs, a type of data request commonly used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to obtain information from companies, ostensibly for the purposes of investigating national security matters. The government issues these data requests to telecommunications and Internet providers such as Google and Verizon without any review by a court, and the letters almost always have a gag order attached to prohibit the recipients from saying much about them.

Wednesday’s hearing followed a ruling last year by the U.S. District Court for Northern California, in which the judge struck down the gag orders as being unconstitutional. The plaintiff in that case, the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, represented an unnamed service provider that argued the NSL it received restricted its free speech rights and was served without adequate oversight. The government appealed the ruling, arguing that the standards around NSLs are in fact constitutional.

The Intercept covers priming:

How The NSA Plans To Recruit Your Teenagers

Kids across America no longer have to wait until college to plan on being a part of the National Security Agency. In fact, they could start preparing for their NSA careers as early as age 13.

The NSA has begun sponsoring cybersecurity camps for middle and high school students, agency recruiter Steven LaFountain told CNBC’s Eamon Javers in a recent interview. Six prototype camps launched this past summer, and the NSA hopes to eventually have a presence in schools in all 50 states.

The camps, LaFountain told CNBC, teach “low-level programming… where most cybersecurity vulnerabilities are” and sponsor activities like a “wireless scavenger hunt” in which 10th graders were dispatched to hunt down “rogue access points.” The general idea is to eliminate “threats out there on the Internet”

“The students are really, really into it,” LaFountain added.

TechWeekEurope covers embarrassment by hackery in Old Blighty:

UCL Students Receive Thousands Of Spam Emails In ‘Bellogate’

  • Student added to mailing lists of PornHub and UKIP as email addresses are compromises in Bellogate

Students at University College London (UCL) were subject to thousands of unsolicited emails after spammers gained access to an all-student mailing list.

UCL was forced to shut down the mailing list at 9:30 this morning following complaints from students who say they were signed up to mailing lists from the likes of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), One Direction fan groups, and PornHub.

Some students have exacerbated the situation by replying to emails or clicking ‘unsubscribe’ to others

Selfish selfies thwarted by Tehran, via the Guardian:

Iran blocks Instagram account of ‘rich kids’ showing off wealth in Tehran

  • The richkidsoftehran group flaunts lifestyle of young Iranian elite, featuring sports cars, luxury goods and expensive homes

Iran has blocked access to an Instagram page devoted to the lifestyle of Tehran’s young elite that stirred indignation and spawned a rival site on how the majority live.

Richkidsoftehran, created in September on the photo-sharing service, attracted almost 100,000 followers, with its contributors saying they wanted to show a different image of Iran from the stereotypes in the west.

Its photo gallery was filled with Ferraris, Maseratis, luxury watches, expensive homes in upmarket northern Tehran – “all the accessories a Persian boy needs”. It also showed parties and women in western dress, despite the ban on alcohol in Iran, where women are obliged to wear headscarves.

Beijing takes exception, via Reuters:

China angered after FBI head says Chinese hacking costs billions

Speaking on CBS’ 60 Minutes program on Sunday, FBI Director James Comey said Chinese hackers were targeting big U.S. companies, and that some of them probably did not even know they had been hacked.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked about Comey’s remarks at a daily news briefing, said China banned hacking and “firmly strikes” against such criminal activity.

“We express strong dissatisfaction with the United States’ unjustified fabrication of facts in an attempt to smear China’s name and demand that the U.S.-side cease this type of action,” Hong said.

“We also demand that the U.S. side cease its large-scale systematic internet attacks on other countries. The United States tries to divert attention by crying wolf. This won’t succeed.”

And from the Guardian, censorship of another sort:

China bans actors with a history of drug use from film or TV roles

  • A state crackdown leading to several arrests is aimed at removing actors who ‘corrupt the social atmosphere’

Chinese stars with a history of drug use or involvement with prostitution will be banned from appearing on film or television in the latest fallout from Beijing’s ongoing moral crackdown, reports Foreign Policy magazine.

Officials from the state administration of press, publication, radio, film, and television (SARFT) are said to have ordered cinemas and TV networks to halt all screenings of movies featuring stars with “morally dubious” pasts. The move follows the 17 September arrest of Jackie Chan’s son, Jaycee, for allegedly smoking marijuana at his apartment. The actor Huang Haibo and director Wang Quan’an were arrested in May and September respectively on suspicion of having sex with prostitutes.

Citing a piece on the Chinese website Netease, Foreign Policy reports that more than 40 performing arts organisations in Beijing have also agreed not to employ actors with an alleged history of drug use. SARFT said it has introduced the new regulations because actors “corrupted the social atmosphere” through their behaviour and created a “detrimental influence on the development of many young people”.

Network World covers a worm infestation:

Android SMS worm Selfmite returns, more aggressive than ever

A new version of an Android worm called Selfmite has the potential to ramp up huge SMS charges for victims in its attempt to spread to as many devices as possible.

The first version of Selfmite was discovered in June, but its distribution was quickly disrupted by security researchers. The worm—a rare type of malware in the Android ecosystem—spread by sending text messages with links to a malicious APK (Android Package) to the first 20 entries in the address book of every victim.

The new version, found recently and dubbed Selfmite.b, has a similar, but much more aggressive spreading system, according to researchers from security firm AdaptiveMobile. It sends text messages with rogue links to all contacts in a victim’s address book, and does this in a loop.

After the jump, more graves found in missing Mexican students mystery as protests mount, another conviction in Argentina’s Dirty War, more U.S. drone death in Pakistan and two more Pakistani journalists killed, Fourth Estate murders in Pakistan, and an increasingly bloody cross-border engagement with India, Hong Knong cancels talks with protesters and how demonstrators avoid social media shutdowns, plus a new call to action, a Chinese cybermilitary defensive move, major Chinese missile plays, speculation about a curious absence, and a push to pujt Pyongyang before a war crimes tribunal. . . Continue reading

EnviroWatch: Oil spoils, toxins, nukes


A short compendium today. . .

First, via the Guardian:

Former oil mogul confirmed as EU climate and energy commissioner

  • Environmentalists outraged as Spanish conservative Miguel Arias Cañete is given top clean energy job in parliamentary horse trade

The Spanish conservative Miguel Arias Cañete was confirmed as the EU’s new climate and energy commissioner on Wednesday after a deal between centre-left and right parties in the European Parliament, despite protests from environmentalists.

The centrist pact saw Liberal former Slovenian prime minister, Alenka Bratušek, overwhelmingly rejected by MEPs as the commission’s new energy union commissioner, but the words ‘sustainability, climate action and energy’ added to the portfolio of Cañete’s boss, the Dutch socialist, Frans Timmermans.

MEPs had demanded this caveat as a condition for supporting Cañete, a former director of two oil companies. But after more than half a million people signed an Avaaz petition calling for Cañete’s rejection, environmentalists were left fuming at a perceived democratic deficit in the EU.

Victorious action in a toxic legacy from the Japan Times:

Asbestos victims win landmark legal battle as state faulted for poor ventilation

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court said Thursday the government acted illegally in failing to mandate ventilation to protect workers at asbestos mills, holding the state liable for ¥330 million in compensation.

It is the first time the top court has indicted the state for asbestos-linked health problems. The ruling is likely to influence similar lawsuits in the future.

It also ends an eight-year struggle for justice by several dozen sufferers from Osaka Prefecture who uncovered divisions between different layers of the judiciary in assessing the state’s culpability.

A victory for indigenous people via BBC News:

Chilean Supreme court orders halt to mine

Chile’s supreme court has halted the development of a gold and copper mine owned by the Canadian conglomerate, Goldcorp, until indigenous communities are consulted.

The court upheld an appeal filed on the El Morro mine by the Diaguita community in northern Chile.

The community said the mine, worth almost $4bn, could pollute a local river.

Several recent mining projects in Chile were blocked after local opposition.

From MIT Technology Review, a notable achievement:

Norwegian Factory Aims to Solve Cement’s Carbon Problem

The waste heat in cement production can drive technologies that can grab at least 30 percent of a plant’s carbon dioxide emissions

A Norwegian cement factory has shown that it’s able to capture much of its own carbon dioxide. If the approach were to become widespread, it could have a significant impact, since cement production is responsible for more than 5 percent of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

The Norcem Brevik cement works, tucked into a scenic harbor south of Oslo, has used waste heat to drive a process called amine scrubbing that, at test scales, removed between 30 and 40 percent of the total emissions from the plant’s flue gases.

“We think we are the first project that is testing technology in real cement-plant conditions,” said Liv-Margrethe Bjerge, project manager for the test at Norcem, which owns the Brevik plant. “It’s the only cement project doing post-combustion capture.”

Next, a Fukushimapocalypse Now! concern from Jiji Press:

Locals Voice Concerns over Restart of Sendai N-Reactors

Local residents voiced concerns Thursday about a possible restart of the operations of two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear plant in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Kagoshima.

At a meeting with locals, which was held in the city of Satsumasendai in the prefecture, officials from the Nuclear Regulation Authority made an explanation about its screenings of the power firm’s measures to protect the nuclear power station in the city from possible disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions.

One of the participating residents asked the NRA whether Kyushu Electric has a measure to protect the plant in the event storm surge and tsunami occur at the same time.

Our final item, via the Asahi Shimbun:

Group to start ‘adoption’ parties for abandoned pets in Fukushima Prefecture

Abandoned pets that were left behind when their owners evacuated after the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will soon be the guests of honor at a monthly party by a local volunteer group.

The group, Lysta, which was set up in September 2011, plans to hold the first adoption party on Oct. 12 in hopes of finding “foster parents” for the animals.

Lysta is currently keeping 11 dogs and 70 cats, including those that were born after the outbreak of the nuclear crisis. Of the 81 animals, two-thirds were taken in near the No. 1 nuclear plant.

EbolaWatch: Alarms shriek, British worries, Africa


And much, much more as events accelerate ominously. . .

First, from the Guardian:

Ebola outbreak a threat to world peace, says UN security council

  • Group unanimously backs emergency resolution as UN secretary general calls for $1bn aid effort to tackle virus

The UN security council has called the Ebola outbreak “a threat to international peace and security” and urged the world to provide health experts, field hospitals and medical supplies.

A resolution adopted unanimously by the UN’s most powerful body at an emergency meeting with an unprecedented 130 countries as co-sponsors reflected the rising global concern at the outbreak.

It was only the second time that the security council has addressed a public health emergency, the first being the HIV/Aids pandemic.

The UN health chief, Dr Margaret Chan, said the “deadly and dreaded Ebola virus got ahead of us” and it was time to urgently catch up. “This is likely the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced,” she said.

The Guardian again, with context:

Ebola: government cuts to the WHO aided delays in dealing with outbreak

  • Health organisation suffered from global austerity, needs urgent overhaul and sounded the alarm too late, experts say

Cuts in government funding to the World Health Organisation contributed to critical delays in responding to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, which allowed the epidemic to spin out of control, disease experts say.

The UK, US and other European governments reduced contributions to the organisation because of global austerity, and also failed to implement much-needed structural reforms, they said. The WHO needs urgent reform, if future global health crises are to be avoided.

The first cases of Ebola occurred in December last year in Guinea, but it was not until late March that the ministry of health notified the WHO of what the Africa regional office described as “a rapidly evolving outbreak of Ebola virus disease in forested areas of south eastern Guinea”. By that time, there had been just 49 cases and 29 deaths.

It took three months to confirm the outbreak because Guinea, having never had a case before, was totally unprepared. “First of all, nobody expected Ebola to pop up in west Africa – you only find what you are looking for,” said Prof Peter Piot, head of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “Then, health information systems in Guinea are extremely poor, as they are in Liberia and Sierra Leone.”

And another alarm from BBC News:

Ebola is ‘entrenched and accelerating’ in West Africa

  • US public health director Thomas Frieden: “This is controllable and this was preventable”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Ebola is now entrenched in the capital cities of all three worst-affected countries and is accelerating in almost all settings.

WHO deputy head Bruce Aylward warned that the world’s response was not keeping up with the disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The three countries have appealed for more aid to help fight the disease.

The outbreak has killed more than 3,860 people, mainly in West Africa. More than 200 health workers are among the victims.

The Hill sounds another warning for the U.S.:

HHS: There may be more Ebola cases

More cases of the Ebola virus could be found in the United States, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Burwell warned Thursday.

“We had one case and I think there may be other cases, and I think we have to recognize that as a nation,” Burwell said at a news conference sponsored by the journal Health Affairs and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Burwell said her agency supports the new airport procedures, but called exit screenings that are already happening in West African airports more crucial.

“The most important place with regard to taking care of screening is actually at the point of departure,” Burwell said. Those screenings have stopped at least 80 people from boarding flights, she said.

More from Reuters:

Fears grow in United States over Ebola’s spread outside West Africa

Fears are growing in the United States about Ebola with about 200 airline cabin cleaners walking off the job in New York and some lawmakers demanding the government ban travelers from the West African countries hit hardest by the virus.

“The nation is frightened, and people are frightened of this disease,” the U.S. cabinet secretary for health, Sylvia Burwell, said on Thursday, a day after the death in Texas of the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell told a news conference that people were frightened because Ebola “has a very high mortality rate. They’re frightened because they need to learn and understand what the facts are about that disease.”

From the Associated Press a Latin American alarm sounds:

Hagel to discuss Ebola with South America leaders

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says that he will discuss the growing threat from the Ebola virus with Central and South American leaders when they meet in the coming days.

Hagel’s comments Thursday came amid concerns expressed by the top U.S. commander for Central and South America about the potential for the Ebola virus to spread into countries there.

U.S. Marine Gen. John Kelly earlier this week said some countries in the Western Hemisphere don’t have the capabilities to deal with Ebola. If there is an outbreak, he said people may try to flee into the United States.

Hagel says the world is getting more interconnected, and the virus can travel quickly, so military leaders must plan and prepare for any possibilities.

And from Want China Times, another shrieking alarm:

Ebola could hit China within three weeks without action: US experts

American experts warn that the lethal Ebola virus could reach China in three weeks and from there spread to Hong Kong and Macau, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.

Taiwan’s Center for Disease Control said there have been no confirmed cases in China and Taiwan and it has been exchanging information with its foreign counterparts to contain the spread of the virus, the paper said.

The experts with the Northeast University in Boston made the report after cross referencing data between airline routes around the world and Ebola’s route of transmission. The virus could spread to Hong Kong and Macau quickly from China and the thousands of airliners entering and exiting the areas, which are major international transit terminals, if the two did not adopt any preventative measures.

And now, the first serious indication that the virus may have reached Britain, via the Guardian:

Briton dies in Macedonia of suspected Ebola – reports

  • If confirmed it would be the first death of a UK national from disease

Foreign Office officials are investigating reports that a British national has died in Macedonia of suspected Ebola.

If confirmed it would be the first death of a UK national from Ebola, although British nurse Will Pooley was cured of the virus last month.

The news came as Downing Street said enhanced screening for Ebola will be introduced at Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Eurostar terminals following advice from the chief medical officer.

The London Telegraph takes another approach:

Ebola crisis: disease may already be in Britain as man dies on business trip

  • The death of a businessman in Macedonia from suspected Ebola has led to fears that the disease may already be in Britain

Ebola may already be in Britain, it was feared on Thursday night, after a businessman who had travelled to Macedonia became the first Briton to die from the disease.

Macedonian officials confirmed that the 57-year-old, who has not been named, had been suffering from fever, vomiting and internal bleeding and that his condition had deteriorated rapidly.

“These are all symptoms of Ebola, which raises suspicions with this patient,” said Dr. Jovanka Kostovska of the health ministry’s commission for infectious diseases.

And the Independent:

Ebola: ‘British man dies of deadly virus in Macedonia and one other taken ill’

Officials are urgently investigating reports that a British man has died of Ebola in Macedonia and another has contracted the disease.

The Britons, who are believed to be friends, had travelled to the country from the London on 2 October, according to a spokesman for the Macedonian Foreign Ministry who confirmed the death.

The Macedonian authorities said the dead man was 57 and his friend is 72.

The patients had been staying at a hotel in the capital, Skopje, when they fell ill. The now-deceased man was admitted to the city’s Clinic for Infectious Diseases at around 3pm local, according to a Macedonian government official. He died around two hours later.

Finally, the London Daily Mail offers a comparatively subdued take:

Briton dies of suspected Ebola in Macedonia – despite NOT having been to Africa: Armed guards outside hotel after virus ‘claims first British victim’

  • The unnamed man is the first UK victim of Ebola, if disease is confirmed
  • The epidemic has killed 3,800 and infected at least 8,000 so far
  • Macedonian authorities confirmed the dead man’s nationality this evening
  • Health officials have also quarantined his friend, who has symptoms
  • The friend said the two travelled to Skopje directly from Britain
  • This raises the terrifying prospect that they contracted it in the UK
  • Paramedics and staff at Skopje hotel where men stayed also in quarantine

From thinkSPain, a report on the first European to catch the illness on the continent:

Ebola update: Teresa ‘critical’ as her organs start to fail

MADRID nurse Teresa Romero’s organs are failing and she is on an artificial breathing machine due to lung problems, reveals her brother.

José Ramón Romero Ramos says there is little hope and that her life is in ‘grave danger’.

“Is there a chance? It’s possible, but the doctor says there’s not much hope, it’s very complicated at the moment,” he told a Galicia TV station mid-afternoon today.

More from the Los Angeles Times:

More people quarantined after Ebola fears in Spain, officials say

Four more people have been placed under quarantine at a Madrid hospital as officials there try to stop the spread of Ebola beyond one confirmed case.

That case, a nursing assistant who was infected after helping care for 69-year-old Manuel Garcia Viejo, was the first known transmission of the disease outside of West Africa in the current outbreak.

The nursing assistant, identified in news reports as Teresa Romero Ramos, was diagnosed Monday and is being treated at the Carlos III Hospital in Madrid. Her husband has also been quarantined there.

In addition to Romero and her husband, one man and one woman, both nurses, were hospitalized Wednesday and are exhibiting “mild symptoms,” officials say. The nurses were part of the team that helped treat Viejo.

A video report from euronews:

Health of Spanish Ebola patient deteriorates

Program notes:

The health of the Spanish nurse being treated for Ebola has deteriorated, according to the Madrid hospital where she is being treated.

Another person, the doctor who first tended to her, has been placed in isolation bringing to seven the number of people in quarantine.

The patient, Teresa Romero, is the only one to have tested positive for the virus.

Authorities insist that the contamination was a result of human error.

From El País, isolation and outrage:

ER doctor who treated Ebola victim taken into isolation for monitoring

  • In his official report, Juan Manuel Parra complains that protective clothing was too small

When Spanish Ebola patient Teresa Romero was taken to her local hospital in Alcorcón on Monday, Doctor Juan Manuel Parra was in charge of her care. Before she was diagnosed with the virus and taken to the Carlos III Hospital, the 41-year-old was the sole person responsible for saving the life of the nursing assistant, who is the first person to be infected with the virus outside of West Africa.

rom 8am on Monday until after midnight the same day, the emergency room doctor took on the risk of dealing with a patient whose status got progressively worse, with symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and chesty coughing.

Doctor Parra had to put on and remove his protective clothing as many as 13 times during the day, but it was not until 5pm that he donned the highest-level protective suit available in the hospital – a suit that, what’s more, was not his size, leaving his bare skin exposed.

“At all times the sleeves were too short,” the doctor wrote in a report. The document, to which EL PAÍS has had access, covers all of the events of those 16 hours and was sent to his superiors.

More from El País:

Nursing staff resign from their posts to avoid treating Ebola cases

  • Workers at Carlos III Hospital in Madrid argue safety measures are not adequate

Carlos III Hospital in Madrid, the health center where Ebola victim Teresa Romero is being treated, is having to draft in extra staff given that nurses are refusing to work with cases – or suspected cases – of the virus, claiming that safety conditions are not adequate.

A number of other patients are being monitored in the hospital after having come into contact with Romero, although none so far has been confirmed as having contracted the virus.

“There are members of staff who are canceling their contracts so that they don’t have to enter [rooms with Ebola cases],” explains Elvira González, provincial vice-secretary of the SAE nurses’ union.

Still more from the New York Times:

Spain Quarantines 3 More in Bid to Contain Ebola

The Spanish health authorities said Thursday that the condition of an auxiliary nurse infected by Ebola had worsened, three days after she became the first person to test positive for the disease in Europe.

The deterioration in the nurse’s condition came as the authorities announced that one more medical staff member had been quarantined, in addition to three others who were isolated overnight at the same hospital.

Altogether about 80 people are being monitored to see if they develop symptoms of Ebola as Spain seeks to prevent the virus from spreading. Seven people are now quarantined at the hospital, Carlos III, that Spain has designated to handle Ebola cases.

And from TheLocal.at, another virus, this one mental:

‘Increase in racism’ due to Ebola fear

The Austrian Red Cross is warning that black people are being unnecessarily stigmatised in Austria because of fears of an Ebola outbreak.

It points to anecdotal evidence such as black children being sent home from school if they have a cough, or neighbours panicking if a black person in their apartment block complains of a fever, according to Die Presse newspaper.

Gerry Foitik, an Austrian Red Cross rescue commander, said their fears are completely unfounded as the virus is transmitted by direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids or organs, and people are only at risk of catching it if they have been in West Africa or had contact with someone who had Ebola. The incubation period can last from two days to three weeks.

More on the lack of urgency in the initial global response from Al Jazeera English:

Ebola-hit states say world response is slow

  • World Bank chief says “perhaps even Africa” is at risk, as more cases of infection are diagnosed worldwide

Leaders of West African nations plagued by Ebola said the deadly virus is outpacing the world’s response to it, jeapordising the future of “perhaps Africa.”

“Ladies and gentleman, unless we quickly contain and stop the Ebola epidemic, nothing less than the future of not only West Africa – but perhaps even Africa is at stake,” Jim Yong Kim, President of World Bank, said on Thursday at a meeting on the Ebola response.

“Our people are dying,’‘ Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma said on Thursday by videoconference at the meeting. Koroma said the world is not responding fast enough as doctors and nurses continue to die.

A Uganda-born doctor, John Taban Dada, died early on Thursday of Ebola at a treatment centre on the outskirts of Liberian capital, Monrovia. He is the fourth doctor to die in the West African country since the outbreak. Over ninety health workers, including nurses and physician’s assistants, were killed by the virus.

And from Associated Press, stating the need:

UN chief: 20 times more Ebola aid needed

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a 20-fold surge in international aid to fight the outbreak. “For those who have yet to pledge, I say please do so soon,” Ban said. “This is an unforgiving disease.”

At the meeting here, President Alpha Conde of Guinea asked for money, supplies, medicine, equipment and training of health care workers.

“Our countries are in a very fragile situation,” Conde said through a translator. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia also appeared by videoconference to seek a rapid increase in aid.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim praised pledges from the United States and the European Commission to evacuate health care workers who become infected while responding to the crisis in West Africa, to encourage doctors and nurses to risk their lives to help.

Here in the U.S., Congress finally loosens the purse strings, via the Associated Press:

Lawmakers approve $700 million to fight Ebola

The Republican chairmen of House panels that oversee the Pentagon signed off Thursday on an additional $700 million to pay for the military mission to help fight Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak.

Thursday’s action by Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon and Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers would permit a total of $750 million in funds leftover for fighting in Afghanistan to be used to provide logistical help for health care workers in West Africa. The first $50 million was released last month.

The administration originally requested $1 billion to send up to 4,000 troops to Africa. In briefings this week, McKeon said Pentagon officials estimate $750 million would cover a six-month mission that would include airlifting personnel, medical supplies, protective suits and equipment such as tents to house Ebola victims and isolate people exposed to the virus.

And another comparison, via BBC News:

Ebola challenge ‘biggest since Aids’

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is unlike anything since the emergence of HIV/Aids, top US medical official Thomas Frieden has said.

A fast global response could ensure that it did not become “the next Aids,” the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

Dr Frieden described Ebola as one of the biggest crises he had seen in his career. “I would say that in the 30 years I’ve been working in public health, the only thing like this has been Aids,” he said.

CBC News covers an advocate:

Ebola virus co-discoverer says ‘we have to push through’ on vaccine

  • Canada has been Ebola research ‘pioneer’ but could do more on the ground, says Dr. Peter Piot

The co-discoverer of the Ebola virus says researchers must “push through” with the full development of drugs and vaccines even after the last patient in the current outbreak “has survived or died” and attention has faded.

Dr. Peter Piot tells CBC’s Jeff Semple he initially thought the current outbreak would remain in a small town or rural area and come under control after a couple of months. He says he knew he was wrong in June, when three countries were affected and the disease was appearing in capital cities.

“You can contain small Ebola outbreaks by isolating the patients, giving them care, quarantining all the contacts,” he says. “You can do that in a small town or so. But at the scale of a whole country, that’s far more difficult.”

A companion video report from CBC News:

Dr. Peter Piot, Ebola co-discoverer

Program notes:

CBC’s Jeff Semple talks to the microbiologist about the Ebola epidemic.

The New York Times covers action in Europe:

European Leaders Scramble to Upgrade Response to Ebola Crisis

When the Ebola virus was first identified in March as the cause of a series of mysterious deaths in the remote forests of Guinea, Europe moved quickly to battle a disease that has now infected more than 7,000 Africans and already killed around half of those. It mobilized more money and health workers than the United States, China or anyone else for West Africa.

But, proud of its long record as the world’s biggest donor of humanitarian aid, Europe has since suffered a blow to its self-image of can-do generosity. Its own efforts to contain the lethal virus have been overshadowed  by President Obama’s announcement last month that he was sending  3,000 troops to West Africa to build hospitals and otherwise help in the fight against Ebola.

While a few left-wingers sneered at the American deployment as yet another example of Washington’s taste for military intervention — and praised Cuba for sending more than 100 doctors to West Africa — many European officials and politicians welcomed the move and wondered why what had been a European-led international effort to contain the virus had clearly not worked.

From the Guardian, following up on the nation’s most prominent fatality:

Quarantined family of Texas Ebola victim left to mourn in isolation

  • Vigil for Eric Duncan at Dallas church turns to memorial after news of his death, but family members forced to stay at home

It had been planned as a vigil, but the service quickly turned into a memorial once the news broke that Ebola had killed Eric Duncan, the virus’s first victim in the US.

Before his condition worsened and he died in a Dallas hospital at 7.51am local time on Wednesday, eight days after his diagnosis was confirmed, Duncan’s last words were spoken to a nurse from the bed in his isolation room: a request to see Karsiah, the son he last saw 16 years ago when the boy was three.

That final hope went unfulfilled. A student in San Angelo, 250 miles away, Karsiah was staying in Dallas and preparing to head to Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in the hope of seeing Duncan at about 9am when his mother called him to tell him his father had died.

The sense of disconnection and distance, even from relatives in the same city, was replicated at Wilshere Baptist church on Wednesday evening at a service that was mainly for Duncan’s close friends and family, but necessarily took place without them.

And they have questions, reports the London Telegraph:

Ebola victim in US’s family: why did white patients live while black patient died?

  • Dallas hospital denies allegations of racial discrimination in the treatment of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first first to die from the disease on US soil

The Dallas hospital that treated the Ebola patient who died this week tried to fend off accusations that it initially turned him away because he was a poor African immigrant without insurance.

An experimental drug called ZMapp, a cocktail of three antibodies that has been used on American patients infected with Ebola while in West Africa, was not used on Duncan because it was not available, the hospital said.

A serum transfusion used on an Ebola patient airlifted from West Africa to a hospital in Nebraska was not used on Duncan either because his blood type did not match the treatment.

From USA Today, costly containment:

Bill for cleanup of Ebola-tainted apartment: over $100K

Hazardous-cleanup companies get a lot of odd requests, but nothing prepared the crew at CG Environmental for this past week.

A 15-person team spent the weekend decontaminating the Dallas apartment where Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, had stayed since coming Sept. 20 to the United States from Liberia. Duncan was hospitalized Sept. 28 but started showing Ebola symptoms four days earlier; he died Wednesday.

“We were the first in, and we really had no clue what we were getting into,” employee Dan Lee said.

Texas anxiety allayed, via Sky News:

Ebola Scare: Tests Negative For Texas Deputy

  • Doctors say a deputy who entered the US ebola victim’s apartment is in good condition after being put in isolation out of caution

A sheriff’s deputy who entered the apartment where the US ebola victim was living does not have the deadly virus, health officials have said.

Michael Monnig remains in good condition a day after he was rushed by ambulance to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas out of an “abundance of caution”.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) confirmed on Thursday that Mr Monnig’s blood samples came back negative for ebola.

Preparations from the Guardian:

US hospitals sending actors with mock Ebola symptoms into emergency rooms

In wake of Dallas patient death, health providers across US are reinforcing and testing infection control procedures

Public hospitals in New York City are so concerned about Ebola, they’ve secretly been sending actors with mock symptoms into emergency rooms to test how well the triage staffs identify and isolate possible cases.

A small Ohio hospital has hung up signs imploring patients to let nurses know immediately if they have traveled recently to west Africa.

And across the US, one of the nation’s largest ambulance companies has put together step-by-step instructions for wrapping the interior of a rig with plastic sheeting.

More of the same across the pond, via the Guardian:

Ebola outbreak simulations to be tested in UK hospitals

  • Department of Health confirms weekend real-time response tests in unnamed hospitals in the north and south of England

War game-style simulations to test Britain’s ability to cope with an outbreak of Ebola will be staged this weekend in hospitals in the north and south of England.

Officials at the Department of Health are drawing up details of at least two simulations which will involve people posing as victims of the deadly virus to assess the real-time response of hospitals, the ambulance service and local authorities. The exercise will take place on either Saturday or Sunday and details of which hospitals will be chosen to handle the mock cases are being kept confidential to minimise disruption to the exercise, an official said.

They may include the Royal Free hospital in north London which has an isolation unit and a dedicated team of nurses, doctors and laboratory staff specialising in dealing with infectious diseases. The Royal Liverpool, Royal Hallamshire hospital in Sheffield and the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne also have infectious disease units that are expected to receive cases. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has acknowledged that it was “entirely possible” Ebola could reach Britain.

And from Reuters, a plane old job action:

Airline cleanup crews walk off job in New York over Ebola concerns

About 200 airline cabin cleaners walked off the job at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Thursday to protest what they say is insufficient protection from exposure to Ebola for workers whose jobs include cleaning up vomit and bathrooms.

Picket lines were set up overnight by non-unionized Air Serv cleaners outside Terminal D at LaGuardia for a one-day strike prompted by fears about the deadly virus, forcing airline crews to clean the planes themselves. Some signs read “Air Serv exposes us to vomit, blood and feces without protection” and “Air Serv puts worker safety at risk.”

The workers, who are trying to join Service Employees International Union, the largest service workers union in the United States, briefly left the strike line to attend an infectious disease training session organized by the union.

The Canadian Press watches the aerial borders:

Ebola screenings to take place at airports in 6 Canadian cities

  • Screenings, more staff for Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Ottawa, Calgary

Canada will step up border screening to try to prevent an Ebola importation to this country, federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose says.

“Our government will be taking the additional step of taking targeted temperature screens,” she told the House of Commons on Wednesday, though she offered no detail about what that would mean or whether it would be only at airports or all border crossings.

The Canadian Press requested an interview with an official of the Public Health Agency of Canada to get clarification on Canada’s plans, but one was not granted. However, several hours after Ambrose made her remark in the Commons, the agency issued a press release providing some detail of what increased screening will look like.

The same, but closer to home from the Christian Science Monitor:

Ebola: Are US airport screenings more about controlling fear than disease?

A new poll found that more than half of Americans are worried about the possibility of an Ebola outbreak. On Thursday, cabin cleaners at LaGuardia Airport walked off the job, citing Ebola fears and concerns about not having proper equipment.

New Ebola screening procedures being put in place at US airports may be designed primarily to calm a jittery public, health officials say, given the low risk of an epidemic.

Health officials have emphasized that the risk of Americans’ contracting Ebola is extremely low – more difficult than catching the flu, experts say. The virus is not airborne and is passed on only through contact with the bodily fluids of those showing symptoms of the disease, making the risk of an epidemic breaking out in the US minuscule.

But a new poll found that more than half of Americans are worried about the possibility of an outbreak. And on Thursday, cabin cleaners at LaGuardia Airport in New York walked off the job, citing Ebola fears and concerns about unsanitary conditions on airplanes.

BBC News covers Britain’s efforts:

UK Ebola screening for arrivals from affected countries

The UK is to introduce “enhanced screening” for Ebola for arrivals from affected countries.

Downing Street said passengers arriving at Gatwick, Heathrow and on Eurostar would face questions and potentially a medical assessment.

Earlier ministers had ruled out screening, saying the UK was following World Health Organisation advice.

And from the London Telegraph:

How the UK will prepare Ebola screening

Program notes:

Defence secretary Michael Fallon and Ebola medical experts shed light on the UK’s strategy for keeping the virus out of the country

From The Hill, congressional panic as the Midterm election nears::

Dems call for Ebola flight ban

A growing number of Democrats are pressuring President Obama to ban flights to Ebola-ravaged countries despite repeated warnings from global health leaders that closing borders could accelerate the crisis.

A group of 27 lawmakers, including three Democrats, signed a letter Wednesday urging Obama to ignore health officials and immediately halt flights from the West African countries worst-affected by Ebola.

The lawmakers accused Obama of attempting to “pass the buck” onto organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), which have advised against travel bans. Obama has said he would not ban travel unless the WHO reversed its position.

But as National Journal notes, some legislators are taking even more extreme stances:

These Politicians Want to Close the U.S.-Mexico Border Because of Ebola

Some lawmakers fear that the virus could enter through the country’s southern border

In a WIRC talk radio interview in August, Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., referenced a conversation he had with Rep. Larry Buschon, R-Ind., in which the pair discussed their concerns that migrant children from South America could bring Ebola to the U.S. In a Tuesday debate with North Carolina Senate hopeful Kay Hagan, Rep. Thom Tillis attacked his opponent for her weak stance on undocumented immigrants. Tillis claimed that “we’ve got an Ebola outbreak, we have bad actors that can come across the border; we need to seal the border and secure it.”

Some lawmakers, like Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, have called for a ban on all travel from West African countries, where the Ebola outbreak is concentrated.

The CDC has repeatedly warned that closing off the U.S. borders won’t help. “I wish we could get to zero risk by sealing off the border,” CDC Director Tom Frieden told Fox News earlier this week. “But we can’t.”

From TheLocal.fr, a false alarm:

Suspected Ebola case near Paris a false alarm

UPDATED: A building belonging to French health authorities was cordoned off on the outskirts of Paris on Thursday after a suspected case of Ebola was reported. Around sixty people were effectively quarantined but authorities later confirmed it was a false alarm.

Ditto in Italy from TheLocal.it:

Suspected Ebola victim tests negative for virus

Italy’s health minister Beatrice Lorenzin on Thursday said that a 53-year-old doctor, who is currently being treated in Rome after coming into contact with a colleague infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone in September, has tested negative for the virus.

After the jump, the crisis accelerates in Africa, UN orders food aid for hard-hit countries, a suspected case in another African country, an African country steps up, tracing the course of infection, a continent on the tipping point, Guinea under stress, on to Liberia with American planes arriving, concern over a presidential big to suspend constitutional rights, elections suspended, orphans abandoned, a battle over bodies, and the Fourth Estate marks its fallen, then on to Sierra Leone and Swedish medics promised, the world’s leaders in public health emergencies are on the scene, a DJ wages his own war on the air as teachers closed school turn to the radio to conduct classes, the UN designates its Sierra Leone point man, the diaspora pitches in, and another form of trauma care pledged, Angola calls for vigilance, Another musician cops out, a soccer player heeds his team’s fears, Silicon Valley joins the fray, and good newqs for a Japanese drug maker. . . Continue reading

InSecurityWatch: War, Hacks, drones, & zones


First, from the Washington Post, bombs away:

Intensified U.S. airstrikes keep Kobane from falling to Islamic State militants

The U.S.-led coalition stepped up airstrikes around the Syrian border town of Kobane on Tuesday after Turkey appealed for help, enabling Kurdish fighters to reverse the advance of Islamic State militants for the first time since the extremists launched their assault about three weeks ago.

The strikes followed the request by Turkey for intensified U.S. efforts to prevent the predominantly Kurdish town, known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic, from falling to the Islamic State, Turkish officials said. Turkey has lined up tanks and troops within view of the Syrian Kurdish fighters defending Kobane but has not sought to intervene — for a tangle of reasons bound up with its complicated relationship with Kurds and its doubts about the goals of the international coalition fighting the extremists.

Turkey insisted, however, that it does not want the town to fall, and a senior official said Ankara asked the United States on Monday to escalate strikes.

Sky News qualifies:

US Military Says Airstrikes Alone May Not Stop IS

  • Islamic State fighters could take control of more towns and villages despite an increase in coalition airstrikes, officials warn

Airstrikes alone may not be able to stop the advance of Islamic State fighters in Syria, US officials have warned.

Barack Obama met military commanders to discuss the campaign against IS in Syria and Iraq amid fears troops would be needed on the ground.

“Our strikes continue, alongside our partners. It remains a difficult mission,” the US President said. “As I’ve indicated from the start, this is not something that is going to be solved overnight.”

Al Jazeera English adds another complication:

Turkish-Kurdish relations threatened by ISIL

  • The stakes are high for Turkey if ISIL took over Kobane, say Turkish analysts

According to analysts, Turkey does not believe that ISIL poses such a major threat.

“ISIL is not Turkey’s concern,” said Soli Ozel, a Turkish political analyst and journalist. “It’s more interested in dealing with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Bashar al-Assad regime. Turkey considers this as an opportunity to accomplish its goal in the region: deal with its two major enemies, and ISIL is not one of them.”

Kobane is a strategically located town, covering a large swathe of land stretching from the Turkish border to Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of Syrian Kurdistan (aka Rojava) on the Euphrates river in Syria.

If Kobane falls entirely under ISIL control, it will not just mark another territorial gain for the group but the acquisition of a key border crossing. ISIL has already taken the industrial regions including Maqtala al-Jadida and Kani Arabane in eastern Kobani after violent clashes with Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters. In Syria, ISIL has control over most cities along the Euphrates River, including Deir el-Zor, Raqqa and al-Aqim in Syria.

From Homeland Security News Wire, hmmmmm:

Four arrested in London in plot to behead people on city streets

Officers from the Metropolitan Police counterterrorism unit early yesterday arrested four young men in London over a suspected terrorist plot to grab people on the streets of London and behead them. One of the four arrested was said to have links to Syria and Islamic State (ISIS). Security analysts have said that ISIS would likely seek to retaliate against the United Kingdom in response to British fighter planes joining the U.S. and Arab states in bombing raids on ISIS targets in Iraq.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police counterterrorism unit early yesterday arrested four young men in London over a suspected terrorist plot to grab people on the streets of London and behead them. One of the four arrested was said to have links to Syria and Islamic State (ISIS).

Counter-terrorism officials said one of the four had access to weapons and, accordingly, the officers who raided his address were heavily armed. This one suspect was subdued by a Taser gun.

From the Associated Press, more bombs on their way:

Canadian Parliament authorizes air strikes in Iraq

  • Following a request from the U.S., Canada’s Parliament has voted to authorize airstrikes against the Islamic State militant group in Iraq

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party introduced the motion last week and it was debated this week. Harper has a majority of seats in Parliament so the vote was all but assured. The motion passed Tuesday 157-134.

The motion authorizes air strikes in Iraq for up to six months and explicitly states that no ground troops be used in combat operations.

While the Canadian Press covers Northern anxieties:

RCMP investigating dozens of suspected extremists who returned to Canada

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney says the RCMP is investigating dozens of Canadians who have returned from fighting extremist wars overseas.

A recent federal report said the federal government knew of more than 130 individuals with Canadian connections who were abroad and suspected of supporting terror-related activities.

Blaney also told the Commons public safety committee Wednesday that the government will bring forward new measures to help monitor suspected terrorists, but he offered no details.

And the Washington Post looks South:

Tom Cotton: Terrorists collaborating with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate Arkansas

There’s been a ton of chatter to the effect that Republicans are on offense against Democrats on immigration and national security alike. Yet to convert these issues into political gain, some Republicans apparently believe they need to go to extraordinary lengths to conflate terrorism and illegal immigration into one giant, terrifying, hydra-headed threat to the country.

Exhibit A: GOP Rep. Tom Cotton, who is running for Senate in Arkansas. The Congressman told a tele-town-hall meeting that the Islamic State is actively working with Mexican drug cartels who are looking to expand into the terrorism business — and that the groups, working in tandem, could infiltrate the country and attack people in Arkansas.

While the McClatchy Washington Bureau chills out:

No Islamic State fighters coming from Mexico, Homeland Security says

The Department of Homeland Security is trying to shoot down reports that terrorist fighters are operating in Mexico and that some already have been caught attempting to cross the United States’ southern border.

Homeland Security officials said Wednesday that there was no truth to reports that fighters affiliated with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, have been apprehended on the border.

“The suggestion that individuals who have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground,” Marsha Catron, DHS press secretary, said in a statement.

From RT, bringing the war home to Europe:

Pro-ISIS radicals with machetes, knives attack Kurds in Germany

Peaceful protests against IS in Syria and Iraq organized by Kurdish nationals in several German cities ended with serious clashes with pro-jihadist Muslims in Hamburg and Celle. Police had to request reinforcements to restore order.

Police in Hamburg, a port city of 1.8 million people, used water cannons, batons and pepper spray late Tuesday to disperse crowds of warring Kurds and pro-jihadist Muslims, armed with knives and brass-knuckles, following a protest against Islamic State militants who are attacking the Kurdish town of Kobani in Syria near the Turkish border.

In most of the cities, protests went off peacefully and were virtually trouble-free, but in Celle police failed to prevent clashes.

The first brawl between about 100 Kurds and Muslims on each side took place Monday, but police in Celle, a town of 71,000, with the help of colleagues from Hannover, Oldenburg and Wolfsburg, prevented serious clashes between the two groups.

On Tuesday, however, the two sides, armed with stones and bottles, attempted to break through police lines to attack each other.

intelNews covers a mystery:

Iran silent about deadly blast that ‘lit up sky’ near Tehran

The government of Iran is refusing to comment on a reported blast at a secretive military facility that some sources say “lit up the sky” last week. The blast is said to have taken place on Sunday night at the Parchin military complex, located approximately 20 miles southeast of Iranian capital Tehran.

The semi-official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on Monday that the explosion had been caused by a “fire [that] broke out in an explosive materials production unit” east of Tehran, and that two people had died. Interestingly, however, the news agency did not specify the precise location of the blast, nor did it identify the “explosive materials production unit” in question. There was also no mention of the cause of the fire that allegedly resulted in the blast.

A few hours later, the Iranian-language news site SahamNews, which is politically linked to the Iranian opposition, claimed that the blast happened at Parchin and that it was a “massive explosion” that “lit up the evening sky” and caused windows to shatter as far as 9 miles away from the complex. It is worth noting that the blast was reported just hours after Israeli officials accused Iran of conducting nuclear implosion tests at a host of nuclear facilities, including Parchin.

From CBC News, covering up to the north:

Federal scientists muzzled by media policies, report suggests

  • Defence scores highest for openness, while Natural Resources Canada among lowest

Canadian government scientists face far more restrictions on talking to the media than their U.S. counterparts, a new analysis has found.

The study of media policies from 16 federal departments was released today by Evidence for Democracy, a non-profit group that advocates for evidence-based public policy. The group organized rallies across the country in support of federal scientists in 2013.

The analysis, led by Karen Magnuson-Ford, a researcher at Simon Fraser University who has a master’s degree in biology, found that all but one department performed worse than the average for U.S. government departments in similar analyses in 2008 and 2013.

Onto the world of spooks and hacks, first with The Hill:

Google chief on NSA: ‘We’re going to end up breaking the Internet’

The integrity of the Internet could be at risk if Congress does not act to rein in the National Security Agency, Google head Eric Schmidt warned on Wednesday.

Speaking alongside other tech executives and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) at a Silicon Valley event, Schmidt said the revelations about U.S. surveillance could prompt countries to wall off their networks.
“The simplest outcome: We’re going to end up breaking the Internet,” Schmidt said, “because what’s going to happen is governments will do bad laws of one kind or another, and eventually what’s going to happen is: ‘We’re going to have our own Internet in our own country, and we’re going to do it our way.’ “

“It is fundamentally about breaking the Internet,” echoed Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch. “The Internet is a medium without borders, and the notion that you would have to place data and data centers and the data itself [in a particular location] … is fundamentally at odds with the way the Internet is architectured.”

The Guardian covers the reality of Gitmo:

Guantánamo use of olive oil in force feedings ‘astonishing’, doctor tells court

  • Testimony on second day of court challenge to force feedings focuses on long-term health effects on detainees after procedure

The methods used by the US military to feed inmates in Guantánamo Bay against their will presents a long-term risk to their health, a federal court heard on Tuesday.

Steven Miles, a doctor and professor of medical ethics at the University of Minnesota, told a courtroom that lubricating the feeding tubes at Guantánamo, used on hunger-striking detainees, can cause a form of chronic inflammatory pneumonia, and questioned whether the force feeding was medically necessary.

The condition, resulting from olive oil reaching the lungs due to misplaced insertions, would be hard to detect by physicians for released or transferred detainees, as it might look on x-rays like tuberculosis or lung cancer, Miles testified, calling the olive oil lubrication “astonishing to me”.

“There’s simply no debate about this. All the medical literature I’ve found said the [lubrication] had to be water-soluble. One doesn’t have to make very many salads to know olive oil is not water soluble,” Miles said.

And Threatpost covers hacking at the money spot:

Tyupkin Malware Infects ATMs Worldwide

Criminals in Eastern Europe have evolved their attacks against automated teller machines, moving beyond solely targeting consumers with card skimmers that steal debit card numbers, to attacks against banks using malware that allows someone to remove money directly from an ATM without the need for a counterfeit or stolen card.

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab, in conjunction with Interpol, today said they have detected the Tyupkin malware on more than 50 machines; only ATMs from a particular manufacturer running a 32-bit version of Windows are impacted.

Most of the Tyupkin submissions to Virus Total are from Russia (20) with a limited number of samples (4) reported from the United States.

From Network World, hooking up:

Windows XP flaws help Russian ‘Qbot’ gang build 500,000 PC botnet

The Russian gang behind the obscure Qbot botnet have quietly built an impressive empire of 500,000 infected PCs by exploiting unpatched flaws in mainly US-based Windows XP and Windows 7 computers, researchers at security firm Proofpoint have discovered.

A year or two ago, what the Qbot (aka Qakbot) campaign has achieved in the roughly half dozen years the actors behind it have been operating would have been seen as a major concern. Recently, standards have gone up a notch.

These days Russian hackers are grabbing headlines for altogether more serious incursions such as the recently revealed attack on US bank JPMorgan Chase, and botnets sound like yesterday’s problem.

And then there’s spying of another sort, a Windows on your soul, perhaps. From TechWorm:

Microsoft’s Windows 10 has permission to watch your every move

As more and more users are jumping the queue to download the Windows 10 through the Windows Insider Program, almost all of them have forgotten to check the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions users accept while downloading the Windows 10.  If you study the privacy policy you will be startled at the amount of freedom you are giving Microsoft to spy on you.

“Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage.”

The above stuff may or may not be used against any user and forms the standard of any privacy policy by any Applications maker but study a bit further and you may get more and more surprised.  In a way by accepting the Windows 10 Technical Preview installation you are giving Microsoft unhindered access to your behavioural habits

“We may collect information about your device and applications and use it for purposes such as determining or improving compatibility” and “use voice input features like speech-to-text, we may collect voice information and use it for purposes such as improving speech processing.”

More of the same from DeepLinks:

Adobe Spyware Reveals (Again) the Price of DRM: Your Privacy and Security

The publishing world may finally be facing its “rootkit scandal.” Two independent reports claim that Adobe’s e-book software, “Digital Editions,” logs every document readers add to their local “library,” tracks what happens with those files, and then sends those logs back to the mother-ship, over the Internet, in the clear. In other words, Adobe is not only tracking your reading habits, it’s making it really, really easy for others to do so as well.

And it’s all being done in the name of copyright enforcement. After all, the great “promise” of Digital Editions is that it can help publishers “securely distribute” and manage access to books.  Libraries, for example, encourage their patrons to use the software, because it helps them comply with the restrictions publishers impose on electronic lending.

How big is the problem? Not completely clear, but it could be pretty big. First, it appears Adobe is tracking more than many readers may realize, including information about self-published and purchased books. If the independent reports are correct, Adobe may be scanning your entire electronic library. Borrowing a copy of Moby Dick from your public library shouldn’t be a license to scan your cookbook collection.

After the jump, more on those student murders in Mexico including eyewitness accounts, pressure on government, and Uncle Sam’s own ties to the killers, death squad target Colombia reporters, Raging artillery and an exodus on the Indo/Pakistani border and a ceasefire demand from New Delhi, a protest fizzle in Hong Kong, Japanese/American military plans move forward and China reacts, while an Abe aide hints government will nullify the Comfort Women apology, another official act of historical revisionism, and the foreign press reacts to a government refusal to disavow racists, a Stalinist admission from Pyongyang, and Seoul arrests a Japanese reporter for lèse majesté. . . Continue reading

Chiquita goes bananas over terrorism suits bill


Yep, they’re fighting a bill to allow 9/11 survivors to sue corporations sponsoring terrorist organizations because, well, what else to do when your company did just that in Colombia?

Fusion has the details:

Chiquita: Corporate Terrorism Gone Bananas

Program notes:

A recent article by The Daily Beast revealed that Chiquita lobbied aggressively against a bill, supported by 9/11 victims, that would have made it easier for U.S. terror victims to sue companies that sponsor terrorism. Why would a banana company do such a thing? Well, maybe it’s because of Chiquita’s conduct during Colombia’s decades long civil war.