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Comment Re:Message received (Score 1) 199

Sounds like the Congress could use something like Parliamentary privilege principle:

it allows members of the House of Lords and House of Commons to speak freely during ordinary parliamentary proceedings without fear of legal action on the grounds of slander, contempt of court or breaching the Official Secrets Act.[1][2] It also means that members of Parliament cannot be arrested on civil matters for statements made or acts undertaken as an MP within the grounds of the Palace of Westminster, on the condition that such statements or acts occur as part of a proceeding in Parliamentâ"for example, as a question to the Prime Minister in the House of Commons. This allows Members to raise questions or debate issues which could slander an individual, interfere with an ongoing court case or threaten to reveal state secrets

Comment Re:Likely outcome (Score 5, Interesting) 105

Interesting you raise the point about the "mandate to spy on as much as possible on the off chance that it may prevent some terrorist act".

There is a very interesting article on the BBC blogs indicating just how useless MI5 has been at any sort of intelligence gathering, even the sort that's been painfully obvious over it's entire existence. It's opening gambit: "Maybe the real state secret is that spies aren't very good at their jobs and don't know very much about the world".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/posts/BUGGER

Censorship

Submission + - The 61 Countries Most Vulnerable To An Internet Shutdown (forbes.com)

Sparrowvsrevolution writes: In the wake of Syria’s 52-hour digital blackout last week, the networking firm Renesys performed an analysis of which countries are most susceptible to an Internet shutdown, based simply on how many distinct entities control the connections between the country’s networks and those of the outside world. It found that for 61 countries and territories, just one or two Internet service providers maintain all external connections–a situation that could make possible a quick cutoff from the world with a well-placed government order or physical attack.

Another 72 countries have between three and ten providers that link to the outside world, a situation that makes a cutoff harder but by no means impossible. Egypt managed to black out its Internet last year despite having seven ISPs with external connections, though it took several days for it to track down and cut off all seven.

Twitter

Submission + - Vatican unveils Pope's Twitter account @pontifex (bbc.co.uk)

Big Hairy Ian writes: The Pope is to begin sending Twitter messages using the handle @pontifex as his personal account, the Vatican said.

A spokesman said Pope Benedict XVI wanted to "reach out to everyone" with tweets translated into eight languages.

The first tweet from his account, whose name means both pontiff and builder of bridges, is expected on 12 December.

Last year, the Pope sent his first tweet last year from a Vatican account to launch the Holy See's news information portal.

"We are going to get a spiritual message. The Pope is not going to be walking around with a Blackberry or an iPad and no-one is going to be putting words into the Pope's mouth," Greg Burke, senior media advisor to the Vatican said.

"He will tweet what he wants to tweet," he added, though the leader of the world's 1.2 billion or so Roman Catholics is expected to sign off, rather than write, each individual tweet himself.

Submission + - UK Governement mandate the teaching of evolution as scientific fact (bbc.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: There is a sotory on the BBC website that the Governement has put an extra clause in a funding bill to ensure that any new "free schools" (independant schools run by groups of parents or organisations but publically funded) must teach evolution rather than creationism or potentially lose their funding

The new rules state that from 2013, all free schools in England must teach evolution as a "comprehensive and coherent scientific theory".

The move follows scientists's concerns that free schools run by creationists might avoid teaching evolution.

Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, said it was "delighted".

Sir Paul told BBC News the previous rules on free schools and the teaching of evolution versus creationism had been "not tight enough".

Comment Re:tax minimisation (Score 1) 331

Depends on one's definition of fair. If all multi-national companies in the UK paid the tax they are supposed to*, the UK deficit would vanish. That in turn means benefits for the poor wouldn't need to be cut, nor a squeeze on the health care system, education, investment in science wouldn't need to be reduced. Hey, and maybe everyone could pay fewer taxes if everyone paid what they ought to.

*: By this I mean the corporation tax based on their profit margin as reported to their investors and their regional sales.

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