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Explosions and Multiple Shootings In Paris, Possible Hostages (cnn.com) 965

An anonymous reader writes: Multiple sources are reporting that at least 18 people are dead across three shootings in central Paris. The Associated Press reports as many as 26, as of this writing. Some victims were at a restaurant, while others were at a nearby theater. Early reports indicate there may be a hostage situation with more people at that theater. Police have also confirmed an explosion at a bar near Stade de France stadium, where a football match was underway between France and Germany. There are reports of other explosions heard at the stadium as well, but no details yet. "The attack comes as France has heightened security measures ahead of a major global climate conference that starts in two weeks, out of fear of violent protests and potential terrorist attacks." The attacks occurred not far from where the Charlie Hebdo shooting happened in January. "French news media reported that Kalashnikov rifles had been involved in the shootings — a favored weapon of militants who have attacked targets in France — and that many rounds had been fired."

UK May Blacklist Homeopathy (bbc.co.uk) 287

New submitter Maritz writes: Vindication may be on the horizon for people who defer to reality in matters of health — UK ministers are considering whether homeopathy should be put on a blacklist of treatments GPs in England are banned from prescribing, the BBC has learned. The controversial practice is based on the principle that "like cures like," but critics say patients are being given useless sugar pills. The Faculty of Homeopathy said patients supported the therapy. A consultation is expected to take place in 2016. The total NHS bill for homeopathy, including homeopathic hospitals and GP prescriptions, is thought to be about £4m.
United States

Justice Officials Fear Nation's Biggest Wiretap Operation May Not Be Legal (usatoday.com) 118

schwit1 writes with news about a vast wiretapping program and questions about its legality. USA Today reports: "Federal drug agents have built a massive wiretapping operation in the Los Angeles suburbs, secretly intercepting tens of thousands of Americans' phone calls and text messages to monitor drug traffickers across the United States despite objections from Justice Department lawyers who fear the practice may not be legal. Nearly all of that surveillance was authorized by a single state court judge in Riverside County, who last year signed off on almost five times as many wiretaps as any other judge in the United States. The judge's orders allowed investigators — usually from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration — to intercept more than 2 million conversations involving 44,000 people, federal court records show."
United States

US Spends $1bn Over a Decade Trying To Digitize Immigration Forms, Just 1 Is Online (washingtonpost.com) 305

Bruce66423 writes: A government project to digitize immigration forms succeeded in enabling exactly one application to be completed and submitted after 10 years of work because of the botched software and implementation. The Washington Post reports: "This project, run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was originally supposed to cost a half-billion dollars and be finished in 2013. Instead, it’s now projected to reach up to $3.1 billion and be done nearly four years from now, putting in jeopardy efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration policies, handle immigrants already seeking citizenship and detect national security threats, according to documents and interviews with former and current federal officials."

The FCC Says It Can't Force Google and Facebook To Stop Tracking Their Users (washingtonpost.com) 127

An anonymous reader writes: The FCC announced that it will not prevent Facebook, Google, and other websites from not honoring users' Do Not Track requests that make it difficult for them to track online activities. The Washington Post reports: "The announcement is a blow to privacy advocates who had petitioned the agency for stronger Internet privacy rules. But it's a win for many Silicon Valley companies whose business models rely on monetizing Internet users' personal data. It's also the latest move in an ongoing battle to defend the agency's new net neutrality rules, which opponents warned would result in the regulation of popular Web sites and online services. By rejecting the petition, the FCC likely hopes to defuse that argument. The rules, which took effect this summer, allow the FCC to regulate only providers of Internet access, not individual Web sites, said a senior agency official."
Social Networks

Israel 'To Review' Top Appointment After Facebook Controversy (bbc.com) 351

HughPickens.com writes: BBC reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will "review" the appointment of his new communications director, Ran Baratz, over comments Baratz made on Facebook accusing President Obama of anti-Semitism and describing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as having a "mental age" of no more than 12. U.S. state department spokesman John Kirby said Mr. Baratz's Facebook posts were "troubling and offensive." "Insults, certainly, aimed at individuals doesn't do anything to help advance and deepen the relationship. We learn in kindergarten about name-calling, and it's simply not a polite thing to do," Kirby said. The Facebook posts emerged shortly after Netanyahu announced the appointment of philosophy lecturer Mr. Baratz as his chief spokesman. In March, Baratz described President Obama's criticism of Netanyahu's opposition to the Iran nuclear deal as "the modern face of anti-Semitism in Western and liberal countries."

Netanyahu quickly distanced himself from the comments but indicated the appointment remained valid. "I have just read Dr Ran Baratz's posts on the internet, including those relating to the president of the state of Israel, the president of the United States and other public figures in Israel and the United States," Netanyahu said in a statement. "Those posts are totally unacceptable and in no way reflect my positions or the policies of the government of Israel. Dr. Baratz has apologized and has asked to meet me to clarify the matter following my return to Israel." Baratz, in a Facebook post Thursday night, apologized for "the hurtful remarks" and for not informing the prime minister of them. Baratz said the posts "were written frivolously and sometimes humorously, in a tone suited to the social networks and a private individual." Baratz added, "It is very clear to me that in an official post one has to behave and express oneself differently."


Surry Nuclear Reactors To Extend Lifespan To 80 Years (richmond.com) 148

QuantumPion writes: Dominion Virginia Power today will formally seek a second license extension for its Surry nuclear power plant, becoming the first utility in the U.S. to try to push the operating range for nuclear reactors to 80 years. If successful, the utility's pair of reactors in Surry County would be eligible to operate past 2050. The Surry plant, along with its North Anna sister site in Louisa County, were initially granted 40-year permits and operate today on 20-year renewals. Those two plants provide about 40 percent of Virginia's electricity.
Open Source

Busybox Deletes Systemd Support 572

ewhac writes: On 22 October, in a very terse commit message, Busybox removed its support for the controversial 'systemd' system management framework. The commit was made by Denys Vlasenko, and passed unremarked on the Busybox mailing lists. Judging from the diffs, system log integration is the most obvious consequence of the change.

Finland Begins To Shape Basic Income Proposal (yle.fi) 674

jones_supa writes: The Finnish social insurance institution is to begin drawing up plans for a citizens' basic income model. If eventually deployed after an experimental phase, the model could revolutionize the Finnish social welfare system. Under basic income all citizens would be paid a taxless benefit sum free of charge by the government. The proposal's director Olli Kangas says that the model would see Finns being paid some 800 euros a month in its full form, 550 euros monthly in the model's pilot phase. The full-fledged form of the model would make some earnings-based benefits obsolete, but in the partial pilot format benefits would not be affected, and housing and income support would remain as separate packages. We first mentioned this plan a few months ago, and at the start of the year touched on a program that tied a basic income program with the Fimkrypto cryptocurrency.
The Military

US Tech Giants Increasingly Partner With Military-Connected Chinese Companies 100

theodp writes: The New York Times reports that analysts and officials in the American military community are increasingly examining a recent trend among U.S. tech companies of forming new partnerships with Chinese firms that have ties to the Chinese military. Critics are concerned that the growing number of such deals could inadvertently improve the fundamental technology capabilities of the Chinese military — or worse, harm United States national security. "One Chinese technology company receives crucial technical guidance from a former People's Liberation Army rear admiral," notes the Times. "Another company developed the electronics on China's first atomic bomb. A third sells technology to China's air-to-air missile research academy. Their ties to the Chinese military run deep, and they all have something else in common: Each Chinese company counts one of America's tech giants — IBM, Cisco Systems or Microsoft — as a partner." A blurring of the lines among many companies that supply military and commercial technology makes it difficult to know what cooperation might result in technology ultimately being used by China's military. "The Chinese companies are required to do the best for their government. American companies say they are only answerable to their shareholders," said James McGregor of the consulting firm Apco Worldwide. "So who is looking out for the United States?"

Europe's 'Net Neutrality' Could Allow Throttling of Torrents and VPNs (torrentfreak.com) 161

An anonymous reader writes: TorrentFreak reports that the European Parliament is approaching a vote on new telecom regulations that aim to implement net neutrality throughout EU member states. Unfortunately, the legislation hinges on a few key amendments, and experts are warning about the consequences should those amendments fail to pass. "These amendments will ensure that specific types of traffic aren't throttled around the clock, for example. The current language would allow ISPs to throttle BitTorrent traffic permanently if that would optimize overall 'transmission quality.' This is not a far-fetched argument, since torrent traffic can be quite demanding on a network." That's not the only concern: "Besides file-sharing traffic the proposed legislation also allows Internet providers to interfere with encrypted traffic, including VPN connections. Since encrypted traffic can't be classified though deep packet inspection, ISPs may choose to de-prioritize it altogether."

Secret Service Allowed To Use Warrantless Cellphone Tracking (myway.com) 104

mi writes: A mere belief in there being a threat against the President or any other protected person is now sufficient for the U.S. Secret Service to use cell-site simulators (commonly known as "stingrays"). In certain "exceptional circumstances," the stingrays can be used without a judge-signed warrant and even without probable cause. When asked whether this essentially granted a blanket exception for the Secret Service, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Seth Stodder said the exemption would not be used in routine criminal probes, such as a counterfeiting investigation. I suppose, the personal verbal assurance of an executive-branch government employee should put all fears of the citizenry to rest.

Bank's Severance Deal Requires IT Workers To Be Available For Two Years (computerworld.com) 602

dcblogs points out this story at Computerworld about a severance agreement that requires laid-off IT employees to be available to help out for two years. The article reads in part: "SunTrust Banks in Atlanta is laying off about 100 IT workers as it moves work offshore. But this layoff is unusual for what it is asking of the soon-to-be displaced workers: The bank's severance agreement requires terminated employees to remain available for two years to provide help if needed, including in-person assistance, and to do so without compensation. Many of the affected IT employees, who are now training their replacements, have years of experience and provide the highest levels of technical support. The proof of their ability may be in the severance requirement, which gives the bank a way to tap their expertise long after their departure. The bank's severance includes a 'continuing cooperation' clause for a period of two years, where the employee agrees to 'make myself reasonably available' to SunTrust 'regarding matters in which I have been involved in the course of my employment with SunTrust and/or about which I have knowledge as a result of my employment at SunTrust.'"

Beware: FBI, Other Agencies Might Go After Your Voluntary DNA Records (theneworleansadvocate.com) 132

Kashmir Hill reports at Fusion that DNA results from companies like 23andMe are being requested by law enforcement agencies, something that is likely to start happening more and more. From the article: Both Ancestry.com and 23andMe stipulate in their privacy policies that they will turn information over to law enforcement if served with a court order. 23andMe says it's received a couple of requests from both state law enforcement and the FBI, but that it has "successfully resisted them." ... Ancestry.com would not say specifically how many requests it's gotten from law enforcement. ... "On occasion when required by law to do so, and in this instance we were, we have cooperated with law enforcement and the courts to provide only the specific information requested but we don’t comment on the specifics of cases,” said a spokesperson. (Related Wired article here.)

Twitter To Begin Layoffs (nytimes.com) 138

An anonymous reader writes: Just a few days ago, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey returned to the company and took over the role of CEO. Now, the NY Times reports that the company will be facing layoffs as he cuts the company's costs. Twitter somehow manages to employ over 4,100 people across 35+ offices, so many investors are thrilled with the news. "Twitter's spending has been rising. In the last quarter for which Twitter reported financial results, costs and expenses totaled $633 million, up 37 percent from a year earlier. The layoffs will most likely affect multiple areas of the company, including the engineering and media teams, according to the people with knowledge of the plans." The company is also dropping plans to build a 100,000 square-foot expansion to its headquarters.

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.