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Censorship

Australian AvP Ban Reversed 71

Earlier this month, we discussed news that Sega's new Aliens vs. Predator video game had been refused classification in Australia, effectively banning it. After a scathing response from the developer saying they wouldn't censor the game, and later news that the classification scheme may be updated to include an R18+ rating, it now seems that the Classification Board has seen fit to give the game a green light after all. Sega's Darren Macbeth told Kotaku, "We are particularly proud that the game will be released in its original entirety, with no content altered or removed whatsoever. This is a big win for Australian gamers. We applaud the Classification Review Board on making a decision that clearly considers the context of the game, and is in line with the modern expectations of reasonable Australians."
Games

Heavy Rain Previews Show Promise 84

As the February release date for Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain nears, several publications have gotten a chance for some hands-on time with the game and seem to be intrigued by what they saw. Quoting the Opposable Thumbs blog: "The game grabs you during the quiet moments where nothing 'happens.' When you look at a picture your child drew. When you're questioning someone about a crime. When you're trying to figure out how to react to a violent situation. The preview we were sent put me in different situations as I played a small handful of characters, and each one provided a few tiny moments that were surprising in terms of storytelling or subtlety." Eurogamer's previewer had a similar reaction: "To my great delight as well — Heavy Rain isn't a mature game because it has unhappy families and moody lighting, it's a mature game because it anticipates an adult response from the player and is prepared to receive it."
The Courts

22 Million Missing Bush White House Emails Found 326

ctmurray writes "Computer technicians have found 22 million missing White House e-mails from the administration of President George W. Bush, and the Obama administration is searching for dozens more days' worth of potentially lost e-mail from the Bush years, according to two groups that had filed a lawsuit — which has now been dropped — over the failure by the Bush White House to install an electronic record-keeping system. Earlier we discussed the Obama White House's opposition to the lawsuit that led to this discovery." The related links reflect our discussions about the missing emails over two years.
Government

Submission + - 22 Million missing emails from Bush Administration (foxnews.com)

GNUALMAFUERTE writes: "Twenty-two million missing e-mails from the Bush White House have been found, according to two groups that are settling lawsuits they filed over the issue. A former Bush spokesman, though, dismissed the claim as overblown.

The announcement came from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive, both of which were settling lawsuits they filed in 2007 over the failure of the Bush White House to install an electronic record keeping system. The groups said computer technicians uncovered the missing e-mails.

Meredith Fuchs, general counsel to the National Security Archive, said "many poor choices were made during the Bush administration and there was little concern about the availability of e-mail records despite the fact that they were contending with regular subpoenas for records and had a legal obligation to preserve their records."

"We may never discover the full story of what happened here," said Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director. "It seems like they just didn't want the e-mails preserved.""

Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft China seems to rip off Plurk

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft China seems to have copied the microblogging website Plurk, which is popular in Asia.

From Plurk: "Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but blatant theft of code, design, and UI elements is just not cool, especially when the infringing party is the biggest software company in the world. Yes, we’re talking about Microsoft. Blerg."

Find the differences at http://blog.plurk.com/2009/12/14/microsoft-rips-plurk/
Censorship

Submission + - Australian Internet Filtering Scheme Gets Green Li (theage.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: Yes, folks, it's true: the Australian Government, on the back of the technical trials, has declared that it will be introducing legislation to make Internet filtering mandatory for all Australian ISPs. Watch the speed of Australian 'net access slow significantly; innocent websites get blocked; and the bad guys accessing the stuff they want regardless. Sigh. Anybody have a good job going in New Zealand, by any chance?
Censorship

Australia Could Finally Get R18+ Games 143

angry tapir writes "Australia may finally get an adults only, R18+ classification for computer games, with the federal government releasing a discussion paper summarizing the key arguments for and against an R18+ classification. Submissions are currently being sought from the community on whether the Australian National Classification Scheme should include an R18+ category for computer and video games. In the past the board responsible for classifying games and movies has banned some titles outright because of the lack of an adults only classification — Aliens Vs. Predator is just the most recent in a long line. The Attorney-General's report on the issue is available online."
Science

LHC Reaches Record Energy 347

toruonu writes "Yesterday evening the Large Hadron Collider at CERN for the first time accelerated protons in both directions of the ring to 1.18 TeV. Even though the 1 TeV barrier per beam was first broken a week ago, this marks the first time that the beam was in the machine in both directions at the same time, allowing possibly for collisions at a center of mass energy of 2.36 TeV. Although the test lasted mere minutes, it was enough to have detectors record the very first events at 2.36 TeV. LHC passes Tevatron (the particle collider at Fermilab that operates at 1.96 TeV) and becomes the highest energy particle collider in the world (so far it was effectively just the highest energy storage ring...)"
Censorship

Scientology Charged With Slavery, Human Trafficking 802

eldavojohn writes "A formal complaint was filed in California (caged PDF) last week by John Lindstein naming David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology International as defendants. Lindstein claims that for sixteen years (from age 8) he was forced to work as a slave at Gold Base, a secret CoS site run by Golden Era Productions with 'razor wire, security guard patrols, surveillance posts, and three roll calls each day.' The pay was $50 a week. The allegations include 'Violations of wage and hour laws as well as unfair/illegal business practices actionable under California B&P 17200 Et. Seq.' and a complaint under the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution, which abolished slavery. Members of the group Anonymous praised the summons."

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