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Comment Re:Some helpful context: (Score 1) 406

This is not an accurate description of the law of the sea. Building artificial islands does nothing to increase a state's territorial waters or to expand any other maritime zones it can claim (see Article 121 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which China is a party and which the USA considers customary law). China's building activities do not expand its territorial waters, although it may be difficult to prove later which parts were natural and which were artificial. The building activities do strengthen Chinese presence there. This makes it easier for China to assert its claim to certain "historic rights" in the Sea. China also has disputed claims on a number of features with other states there, such as the Spratlys and Paracels, which leads to differring perceptions of what are territorial and what are international waters in the area.

I agree with the rest of what you say, but I thought it would be good to clarify the legal terminology.

Comment Re:Pointless (Score 3, Interesting) 165

You're confusing courts here. The Hague Invasion Act is directed against the International Criminal Court (ICC), which was only established in the late 1990s to try individuals charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and/or war crimes. The ICJ has been in existence since 1946 (and has a predecessor, the PCIJ or Permanent Court of International Justice set up under the League of Nations) and only tries inter-state cases, like the one you mentioned by Nicaragua in the 1980s.

Comment In the Netherlands, the currency is the euro (Score 1) 104

The article is in The Guardian, so it makes sense for the price of the paintings to be mentioned in pounds, but they could have changed it to euros for the summary. After all, that is the currency in the Netherlands. A bit of googling yielded more details and a price of € 25,000 (about US$ 33,500) for each replica.

Comment Re:Lazy Intelligence? (Score 4, Informative) 179

But pretty much irrelevant to this story. The neighbourhood in which they found the cabinet is far removed from where the international institutions are and from where the internationals live. As mentioned by previous posts, the Schilderswijk is a low income area with a large immigrant population. The purpose of the cabinet is most likely to help a police investigation into anything between organised crime or jihad recruitment, and on Dutch websites some have already pointed out that exposing this method effectively renders it useless in the future, but police have been doing it for at least ten years. This kind of surveillance was most likely done with the permission of a public prosecutor, unless it was the intelligence services in which case another law applies.

Comment My Q&D human translation of the Dutch article (Score 4, Informative) 288

Researcher builds bomb out of articles from airport shops

To demonstrate the futility of current airport security, next week a security expert will demonstrate a remotely controllable bomb. All the materials were bought at the airport once past security.

The detonation mechanism will be presented at security conference Hack in the Box in Amsterdam. It is the result of two years of research by security expert Evan Booth.

“There are all kinds of things we cannot take with us and security checks for those. But it turns out that this doesn’t make much sense,” says Booth.

The detonation mechanism is the result of more than two years of research into deficient security at airports and available materials which are sold the in stores which are located ait airports behind customs.


To build the mechanism, Booth has used a Zippo lighter, disposable lighters, adhesive tape, dental floss and a remote controlled drone. “Which can be opreated with a mobile phone through a wireless network”, claims Booth.

He used the engine from the drone to operate the zippo lighter. With disposable lighters, it is possible subsequently to create a blowtorch. By doing this, it would be possible to cause a fire, but at the conference Booth will present a more developed concept which even enables the detonation of a bomb.


“The trick is to prove that you can have dangerous weapons on board without carrying any forbidden items with you”, Booth has stated to

Apart from a bomb, Booth also managed without much effort to create a bow and arrow out of items he had bought in a shop at an airport. For this, he used an umbrella, a hairdryer, socks, a leather belt and condoms. He did not want to further develop things were too obvious, such as using a lighter and deodorant as an alternative gas burner.

Also remarkable is a club he created out of a souvenir, some magazines, dental floss, a leather belt and adhesive tape. During a test, this club turned out to be so solid that a single strike sufficed to break a coconut into several pieces.


“Airport security has not been done well for a while now. What annoys me, is that we spend a lot of money on it and, for example, violate people’s privacy with body scanners. In the meantime, it turns out it doesn’t work well”, explains Booth.

“It is a difficult problem, but I don’t know if this security makes any sense at all. I believe more in good intelligence and preventing the wrong people from coming to the airport.”

To pre-empt problems with authorities, Booth has contacted the responsible government agencies in the United States in February. “I have offered to demonstrate my research and provide explanations, but I haven’t received any response. In the meantime, I have continued my research.”


Cellphone Privacy In Canada: Encryption Triggers Need For Warrant 111

codegen writes "The Ontario Court of Appeal has just ruled that the police can search your cellphone if you are arrested without a warrant if it is not password protected. But the ruling also stated that if it is password protected, then the police need a warrant. Previous to this case there was no decision on if the police could search your phone without a warrant in Canada."

Comment Re:is this for real? (Score 5, Informative) 915

Thanks. That clarifies things a bit and you also raise an important point regarding the difference between diplomatic asylum and other cases of people seeking refuge in an embassy.

Before we all get too worked up about the US not recognising the concept of diplomatic asylum (too late I guess), there's less here than meets the eye. Diplomatic asylum is a concept that has long been accepted in Latin America, and it developed there in part because of some periods in which there were many coups and people trying to escape from new regimes found refuge in foreign embassies. Diplomatic asylum is however not the same as Chinese dissidents seeking refuge in the US embassy in Beijing or the Cold War cases, as parent points out, and this reflects that outside of Latin America, the concept of diplomatic asylum is not accepted under international law. That's why it's sometimes described as regional international law. Chinese and other dissidents are rather making use of the diplomatic immunity that these places enjoy, which prevents the authorities of the host state from exercising their jurisdiction on the premises but doesn't mean they can leave.

So while Ecuador sees the Assange case as a one of diplomatic asylum, the UK only accepts the immunity of the embassy (and if the story about threats is to be believed, not even that - but that would be a violation of international law). Had the UK accepted the notion of diplomatic asylum under international law, it could also grant safe passage to Assange to leave for Ecuador upon recognition of the diplomatic asylum granted by Ecuador. In any case, both UK practice and the US position reflect longstanding positions of international law, regardless of what we think about all the other aspects of the case.

I'd like to say at this point IANAL, but I can't, since I'm actually an international lawyer.

Comment Mistake in the summary (Score 5, Informative) 158

The summary misstates the person responsible for using Comic Sans in the Higgs boson announcement. The full quote:

Lisa Randall, a Harvard physicist, kindly e-mailed Fabiola Gianotti on my behalf. Gianotti, the coordinator of the CERN program to find the Higgs boson, provided a compelling rationale for why she had used Comic Sans. When asked, she said, “Because I like it.”

I was already wondering why a Harvard physicist would be making the announcement of a discovery by CERN.

Comment Re:Not the first (Score 1) 40

I doesn't seem that anyone was claiming that MIT were the first, but as long as we're looking at prior art: the first Tetris-on-a-builiding was done by electrical engineering students in Delft, the Netherlands, all the way back in 1995, as you can see on this archived webpage. Futhermore, students at Brown University did it in 2000 (BBC article here). Both prior projects, but not Blinkenlights, are mentioned in an article about the MIT project here. It seems to me that each of these projects has something the others didn't, so no need to be competive about it - it's all in good fun.


Submission + - In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad (nyti (

cpotoso writes: In the last decade, Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. However, the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside those plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems.

Comment Groupthink (Score 2) 355

Did anyone notice the unintended irony of the word "groupthink" in the Global Times article?

The economic and social turmoil in the US, Britain and France might trigger a worldwide groupthink and introspection on the boundaries of democracy and freedom of speech.

Comment Re:Heavy Metal Solid Gear? (Score 1) 195

For such a short summary, it sure contains a lot of errors. Kojima is not even a founder of Konami - the company was established in 1969, and Kojima was born in 1963. He only joined Konami's MSX division in 1986, when the company had already been making video games for a while. He did go on to become a VP for a while. And this error isn't even in the original article.

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