Hi everybody ! So I was going to make a post about the political situation in Turkey, but obviously Kickass is on everyone's lips today. I read about it this morning and it was also on Euronews headlines as well. So for those who haven't read that article yet ( TorrentFreak) here it is. I've added a few links for our friends from Kat who arrive in here already. Do not hesitate to contact mods and uploaders or old users if you need any help. The chat is still buggy unfortunately. And we don't have walls. But the pm box works perfectly. I didn't think that I would say that one day , it is a sad day indeed for the pirate world. Nevertheless: Welcome aboard.
CAN KICKASSTORRENTS MAKE A COMEBACK? ( TorrentFreak)
Yesterday the U.S. Government delivered a massive blow to KickassTorrents. With its alleged founder arrested and pretty much the entire site's operation compromised, it's not obvious that there will be a Pirate Bay style comeback anytime soon.
kickasstorrents_500x500Founded in 2009, KickassTorrents (KAT) grew out to become the largest torrent site on the Internet with millions of visitors a day.
As a result, copyright holders and law enforcement have taken aim at the site in recent years. This resulted in several ISP blockades around the world, but yesterday the big hit came when the site’s alleged founder was arrested in Poland.
Soon after the news was made public KAT disappeared, leaving its users without their favorite site. The question that’s on many people’s minds right now is whether the site will make a Pirate Bay-style comeback.
While it’s impossible to answer this question with certainty, the odds can be more carefully weighed by taking a closer look at the events that led up to the bust and what may follow.
First off, KickassTorrents is now down across all the site’s official domain names. This downtime seems to be voluntary in part, as the authorities haven’t seized the servers. Also, several domains are still in the hands of the KAT-team.
That said, the criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago does reveal that KAT has been heavily compromised (pdf).
According to the feds, Artem Vaulin, a 30-year-old from Ukraine, is the key player behind the site. Over the years, he obfuscated his connections to the site, but several security holes eventually revealed his identity.
With help from several companies in the United States and abroad, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent Jared Der-Yeghiayan identifies the Ukrainian as the driving force behind the site.
The oldest traces to Vaulin are the WHOIS records for various domains, registered in his name early 2009.
“A review of historical Whois information for KAT….identified that it was registered on or about January 19, 2009, to Artem Vaulin with an address located in Kharkiv, Ukraine,” the affidavit reads.
This matches with records obtained from domain registrar GoDaddy, which indicate that Vaulin purchased three KAT-related domain names around the same time.
The agent further uncovered that the alleged KAT founder used an email address with the nickname “tirm.” The same name was listed as KAT’s “owner” on the site’s “People” page in the early days, but was eventually removed in 2011.
The HSI agent also looked at several messages posted on KAT, which suggest that “tirm” was actively involved in operating the site.
“As part of this investigation, I also reviewed historical messages posted by tirm, KAT’s purported ‘Owner.’ These postings and others indicate that tirm was actively engaged in the early running of KAT in addition to being listed as an administrator and the website’s owner,” the HSI agent writes.
Assisted by Apple and Facebook the feds were then able to strengthen the link between Vaulin, tirm, and his involvement in the site.
Facebook, for example, handed over IP-address logs from the KAT fanpage. With help from Apple, the investigator was then able to cross-reference this with an IP-address Vaulin used for an iTunes transaction.
“Records provided by Apple showed that [email protected] conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address 188.8.131.52 on or about July 31, 2015. The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook Account.”
In addition, Apple appears to have handed over private email conversations which reference KAT, dating back several years. These emails also mention a “kickasstorrent payment,” which is believed to be revenue related.
“I identified a number of emails in the [email protected] account relating to Vaulin’s operation of KAT. In particular, between on or about June 8, 2010, and on or about September 3, 2010,” the HSI agent writes.
More recent records show that an IP-address linked to KAT’s Facebook page was also used to access Vaulin’s Coinbase account, suggesting that the Bitcoin wallet also assisted in the investigation.
“Notably, IP address 184.108.40.206 accessed the KAT Facebook Account about a dozen times in September and October 2015. This same IP Address was used to login to Vaulin’s Coinbase account 47 times between on or about January 28, 2014, through on or about November 13, 2014.”
As for the business side, the complaint mentions a variety of ad payments, suggesting that KAT made over a dozen million dollars in revenue per year.
It also identifies the company Cryptoneat as KAT’s front. The Cryptoneat.com domain was registered by Vaulin and LinkedIn lists several employees of the company who were involved in the early development of the site.
“Many of the employees found on LinkedIn who present themselves as working for Cryptoneat are the same employees who received assignments from Vaulin in the KAT alert emails,” the complaint reads.
Interestingly, none of the other employees are identified or charged.
To gather further information on the money side, the feds also orchestrated an undercover operation where they posed as an advertiser for “a website purportedly advertising a program to study in the United States.” This revealed details of several bank accounts, with one receiving over $28 million in just eight months.
“Those records reflect that the Subject Account received a total of approximately €28,411,357 in deposits between on or about August 28, 2015, and on or about March 10, 2016.”
Finally, and crucially, the investigators issued a warrant directed at the Canadian webhost of KickassTorrents. This was one of the biggest scores as it provided them with full copies of KAT’s hard drives, including the email server.
“I observed […] that they were all running the same Linux Gentoo operating system, and that they contained files with user information, SSH access logs, and other information, including a file titled ‘passwd’ located in the ‘etc’ directory,” the HSI agent writes.
“I also located numerous files associated with KAT, including directories and logs associated to their name servers, emails and other files,” he adds.
Considering all the information U.S. law enforcement has in its possession, it’s doubtful that KAT will resume its old operation anytime soon.
Technically it won’t be hard to orchestrate a Pirate Bay-style comeback, as there are probably some backups available. However, now that the site has been heavily compromised and an ongoing criminal investigation is underway, it would be a risky endeavor.
Similarly, uploaders and users may also worry about what information the authorities have in their possession. The complaint cites private messages that were sent through KAT, suggesting that the authorities have access to a significant amount of data.
While regular users are unlikely to be targeted, the information may provide useful for future investigations into large-scale uploaders. More clarity on this, the site’s future, and what it means for the torrent ecosystem, is expected to become evident when the dust settles.
Turkey sacks 15,000 education workers in purge after failed coup. More than 1,500 university deans asked to resign and 257 PM’s office staff dismissed, with 35,000 public servants now affected. “The sheer number of arrests and suspensions since Friday is alarming and we are monitoring the situation very closely,” Amnesty International said in a statement. “The coup attempt unleashed appalling violence and those responsible for unlawful killings and other human rights abuses must be brought to justice, but cracking down on dissent and threatening to bring back the death penalty are not justice.”Human Rights Watch said: “While the government has the complete right to hold to account those involved in the coup, the speed and scale of the arrests, including of top judges, suggests a purge rather than a process based on any evidence. Turkey’s citizens who took to the streets to defend democracy deserve a response that upholds the rule of law and protects media freedom.”
Wishing you all a great Thursday morning, afternoon, evening and good luck for tomorrow !
Hi Chocolatemilk, thanks for your feedback So a little post to wish you all a great week end. And since it has been a lot about keeping names or changing names lately in the pirate world.. I found that story rather appealing today.. I've added some trailers, sorry I'm a bit late this time.. And again, some useful links on ET for our new members coming from Kat. So let's go.
My name is Michael Caine … actor changes name due to Isis
His name is – now officially – Michael Caine.
The legendary British actor, born Maurice Micklewhite, has legally changed his name to the showbiz moniker he adopted in 1954 because of the rise in airport security checks prompted by Islamic State.
“An airport security guard would say, ‘Hi, Michael Caine,’ and suddenly I’d give him a passport with a different name on it,” Caine said. “I could stand there for an hour. So I changed my name.”
The 83-year-old began his acting career on the Sussex stage as Michael Scott. He was required to change his handle after moving to London, where another Michael Scott was already treading the boards. During a harried call to his agent he looked outside the telephone box and saw a poster for the Humphrey Bogart naval drama The Caine Mutiny.
“I was opposite the Odeon and I looked up, and my favourite actor is Humphrey Bogart, and there it was,” Caine said.
Caine, who had hinted he might retire after his appearance in the magician crime caper Now You See Me 2, has signed up to play General Anton Vincent in the US comedy Coup d’Tat. Vincent is a dictator who, after being ousted by his people, turns up on the doorstep of a US high-schooler who wrote to him as a homework assignment.
Hi everybody ! A little extra for today ! Yep, I totally forgot about Comic Con this year.. Um, sorry about that, so a little late again obviously, I post the new trailers and this article..
Edward Snowden at Comic-Con: 'I live a surprisingly free life' NSA whistleblower participated in a Q&A via a webcam at his home in Russia and revealed he finds a film about him to be an uncomfortable experience
The director Oliver Stone got a rare chance to talk to whistleblower Edward Snowden in front of an audience at a Q&A session on Thursday evening, and in so doing, compared Snowden’s anxiety over his own appearance in the film to another amateur actor who was cut from one of his films six years before.
“I directed Donald Trump,” Stone said to an invitation-only audience at San Diego Comic-Con. “It was an outtake in [Wall Street:] Money Never Sleeps.”
Stone said Snowden had gone through a number of takes for his own brief appearance in the new film, and his anxiety was a stark contrast to Trump’s unshakable confidence. “After every take he jumped up and said, ‘Wasn’t that great?’ Honestly, Donald, no. That’s the confidence that’s allowing him to run. I think we did something like nine takes with him, too.”
Snowden, speaking with a delay of several seconds on the same screen that had held the movie, laughed and averred. “I’d like to avoid that association,” he said.
San Diego Comic-Con plays host to a number of unusual celebrities, both in person and over the internet, but perhaps its strangest to date was Thursday’s unofficial inclusion via satellite connection to a Russian webcam of Edward Snowden himself, projected at several times life size on the screen that had just recently shown Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the man himself in a film version of the last 10 years of Snowden’s life.
The screening was almost a secret: only press and people associated with the film were invited, and though there are movie premiere venues galore in the convention center and around San Diego, the event was held on the fifth floor of a nondescript mall. Attendees were searched with black Garrett metal-detector wands before being allowed into the venue.
“The FBI gets a copy of this talk because it’s through Google Hangouts,” Snowden quipped after declining to go into more detail about how the data he passed to the Guardian was removed from the NSA station in Hawaii where he worked. “Anybody basically who asks nicely gets a court order.”
Snowden also offered a rare glimpse into his own personal life, years after his revelation of the NSA’s secret dragnet surveillance of the American public’s internet activity resulted in criminal charges under the Espionage Act that led to his exile in Russia.
“I can confirm that I am not living in a box,” Snowden said. “I actually live a surprisingly free life. This was not the most likely outcome. I didn’t actually expect to make it out of Hawaii. I thought it was incredibly risky. I had a lot of advantages in doing what I did; I worked for the CIA on the human intelligence side, I worked for the NSA on the signals intelligence side, and I taught counterintelligecene. This is not something that’s covered that well in the media. I was about as well placed as anybody could be, and I still thought I was going to get rolled up at the airport and that there were going to be knocks on the doors of the journalists.”
The program’s moderator, Dave Karger, asked Snowden what he thought of Gordon-Levitt’s performance, much to the latter’s chagrin. “This is one of the things that’s kind of crazy and surreal about this kind of experience: I don’t think anybody looks forward to having a movie made about themselves, especially someone who is a privacy advocate,” Snowden said. “Some of my family members have said, ‘He sounds just like you!’ I can’t hear it myself but if he can pass the family test he’s doing all right.”
Snowden said he agreed to do the film because he thought it could raise awareness in ways his own advocacy couldn’t: “I’m not an actor,” he said, “I don’t think anybody in politics is charismatic enough to connect with people on these issues.”
And Snowden himself still longs for change. “I still can’t come home,” he said. “And we don’t know when that’ll change.”
Hi everybody , I hope that you all had a great start of the week so far ? So I could obviously make a post about what's happening again here and there , all that violence.. But that's exactly what they are looking for , some kind of propaganda ... And the fact that those killers have been filming themselves preaching in Arabic in front of the altar.. Like the killer in Nice attacks recently who has taken a selfie also.. And I was actually thinking about that last night before going to bed, after talking about it with a friend here, the impact of social medias. And don't ask me why, but I woke up this morning and you know how the brain works sometimes , so all of a sudden the selfie of Barack Obama just popped up again in my little brain.. with a feel of disgust really.. You probably all remember the scandal around that selfie at Nelson Mandela's funeral. Any psychoanalyst would tell you probably that you can see Thanatos in action here, a death drive. I mean , I wouldn't take a selfie at my grand father's funeral smiling , how sick is that really ?
The "Culture" of Narcissism.
So I was thinking , is there a correlation between an increase in social media use and an increase of narcissistic personality disorder ( NPD) ?
In terms of personality disorder, I wouldn't imagine social media being the cause, but an expression. If you're a narcissist , you're looking for a positive reflection of yourself , the world is your mirror and you're constantly looking for affirmation. For this reason , you're probably curating your own life very heavily on social media. You dream of unlimited success, crave attention from other people , show few warm feelings in return, choose friends based on their prestige and status rather than personal qualities. You have a deep need for admiration , an inflated sense of one's importance and a lack of empathy for others.
It's obviously easy to draw parallels between the way people behave on social media and narcissistic traits.
Social media adds a layer of pressure to an already complicated time and can encourage people to overshare.
Selfies encourage exhibitionist behavior in a culture prone to narcissism. Hyper individualism is sinking into everything around us.
And naturally I remembered that painting and the myth afterwards..
Echo and Narcissus. John William Waterhouse - 1903
Several versions of the myth have survived from ancient sources. The classic version is by Ovid, found in book 3 of his Metamorphoses (completed 8 AD); this is the story of Echo and Narcissus. One day Narcissus was walking in the woods when Echo, an Oread (mountain nymph) saw him, fell deeply in love, and followed him. Narcissus sensed he was being followed and shouted "Who's there?". Echo repeated "Who's there?". She eventually revealed her identity and attempted to embrace him. He stepped away and told her to leave him alone. She was heartbroken and spent the rest of her life in lonely glens until nothing but an echo sound remained of her. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, learned of this story and decided to punish Narcissus. She lured him to a pool where he saw his own reflection. He didn't realize it was only an image and fell in love with it. He eventually recognized that his love could not be reciprocated and committed suicide. ( Source Wikipedia).
More than ever I believe in real human interactions. Of course, we all build our identity at a young age and we need role models, but worshipping the false idols won't make you better people nor free thinkers. I didn't grow up with social medias. I read a lot and listened to music and I had proper conversations with friends and grown ups about politics too. And I learnt very quickly that there's nothing innocent in the way governments are using medias. If Sergei Chakhotin was still alive he would be able to tell you about the disastrous effect of propaganda on the psychology of the masses and he would warn you against their techniques.
I hope that I won't have lost all my readers today with this. But somehow I needed to do this and I was thinking about it regularly.
For those who are interested if you want to dig in a bit more :
"The Rape of the Masses, the psychology of totalitarian political propaganda" 1940, Sergei Chakhotin).
And for those who were really bored , some trailers now !!
Wishing you all a great Tuesday morning, afternoon, evening and good luck for tomorrow, stay safe !
Hi dear Jazzy, thank you for the lovely quote and your prayers. It has been indeed some strange scary week again.. It's very difficult to adjust to that kind of cruelty and random violence.. So you will excuse me my faithful readers, I'm not going to talk about politics this week end. A little break. I spotted that amazing story just today, don't ask me why but I found those stories of survivors very comforting these days. And that man got really lucky indeed. I never had the chance to meet one of those under water and I'm glad that I didn't. And I've added plenty of trailers afterwards.. So let's go !
Experience: I was stung by one of the deadliest creatures on Earth
I moved to Sydney, Australia, after finishing my master’s degree at Nottingham University. I was winging it: I just turned up with a suitcase. I got a couple of jobs, in internet marketing and as a private tutor, and met an Australian woman, Chloe. About a year after I arrived, I was off work on a beautiful summer’s day and fancied some peace and quiet, away from all the tourists who flock to Bondi. Chloe had told me about Gordons Bay, a small, secluded beach nearby, and I was looking forward to listening to music, reading and relaxing.
There was hardly anybody there and I settled on some large rocks to sunbathe. It was postcard perfect: serene, azure sky and a calm, green sea. It was the hottest part of the day and, after reading for a while, I decided to cool off and jumped into the water. It was warm and I remember feeling happy. I swam away from the rocks and kicked back to float, looking at the sky. That’s when the pain struck.
My first thought was that a shark had taken my right leg. I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew I was in danger. I expected to see my blood billowing around me in the water, but there was nothing. This magnified my panic; I didn’t know what was causing the pain or which direction to swim to avoid it.
My heart was racing and every one of my muscles tensed, then went into spasm. I was in blinding pain all over. I lost the ability to speak or think. My internal voice had stopped. I could barely breathe. I believed I was going to die.
I tried to swim, but felt very tired. I thought that if I went to sleep, it would all be easier when I woke up. But I went into autopilot and somehow managed to get myself to the rocks. There were thin red lines across my right shin that looked as if they’d been drawn with a pen.
A scuba diver ran over. He said he’d seen box jellyfish in the area. I wouldn’t have been able to see them in the water. I didn’t know then that they are one of the deadliest creatures on Earth. Their tentacles pump venom into the skin that attacks blood cells and can lead to cardiac arrest. He told me I’d been stung by one and needed to get to hospital immediately.
All my conscious decision-making facilities had left me, and I wasn’t able to process what he said. I walked away. He called after me, but my only instinct was to get home. The next thing I knew, I was in my apartment with a bag of peas on my leg.
I still don’t understand the sequence of events. I lay down, and for an eternity I didn’t move. I didn’t feel like I’d been awake or asleep. I couldn’t think of what to do or how to communicate. I was a prisoner in my own body.
After a day or two, the poison began subsiding. My foot had swollen massively – my little toe was the size of a big toe. Those thin red lines had started corroding, and the poison had eaten away at my skin, revealing the muscle and bone underneath. It looked as if someone had taken a jagged axe and tried to chop off my foot. I managed to call Chloe and show her. The next thing I knew, we were on our way to hospital.
The doctor asked why I hadn’t come in sooner. I tried to explain. I asked if there was anything he could do, but he said the toxins had gone through my system: there was nothing they could do except clean the wound. He told me I was lucky the jellyfish had stung me on my leg; if it had been on my chest, I would not have made it.
I left Australia pretty quickly after that. I have a scar, still walk with a limp and have pain in my hip. I wonder about the long-term effect on my brain and body as a result of the toxins, but there’s very little data on this. I think my delay in getting treatment was down to the shock.
Chloe and I are still friends, although the relationship didn’t work out. I now run a startup in Silicon Valley. Sometimes I think about setting up a box jellyfish survivors’ group – Indigenous Australians say that you inhabit the power of any animal that stings you. That makes us pretty indestructible.
Wishing you all a great week end, have fun, take care, stay safe !
Hi everybody ! Just a little post to wish you all a great week ahead. I did read some good articles today, so it was difficult to make a choice. I do not agree with the author completely , I'm probably more pessimistic than he is. But since I was thinking about that last week, so here we go. And my apologies to the movie trailer addicts, I've posted a lot recently, so only one today.
Are we living through another 1930s? (Paul Mason)
Things are happening with machine-gun rapidity: Brexit, the Turkish coup, Islamist massacres in France, the surrounding of Aleppo, the nomination of Donald Trump. From the USA to France to post-Brexit Britain, the high levels of public racism and xenophobia, reflected now in the outpourings of politicians with double-digit poll ratings, have got people asking: is it a rerun of the 1930s?
On the face of it, the similarities are real. Britain’s vote to leave the EU parallels its panicked decision to quit the gold standard in September 1931 – the first major country to quit the global economic system. Labour’s incipient split mirrors the one that left the party out of power for 14 years. And of course the economic background – a depression and a banking crisis – has echoes in the present situation.
But a proper study of the 1930s reveals our situation today to be better and more salvageable in many ways, although in one respect worse.
Following the Wall Street crash of 1929, the economic downturn took hold in 1931, with the failure of banks on both sides of the Atlantic, the imposition of austerity measures on already-weak economies, the resort to tariffs, currency blocks and economic nationalism. The fact that elites advocated mass unemployment, as a downward pressure on wages, created the firewood; overtly militarised and genocidal fascist groups lit the spark. It took just two years from Hitler’s first electoral breakthrough in 1930 for the Nazi party to score 37% in an election.
Then you get the million-strong far-right demonstration in Paris in 1934; the rising of the Asturian miners in Spain, put down by the army; German rearmament beginning in 1935. The Spanish civil war starts in 1936 – while, in the same year, workers in both France and the US stage mass occupations of factories, and Stalin begins the great purge.
It is here that the 30s take their essential shape: the surrender of democracy, the certainty of war – and the march to mass civilian death.
For us today, the single biggest positive difference is that we start from a globalised world economy. We begin from a qualitatively more interdependent economic system, in which autarky is widely understood – even by politicians who would like to try it – as suicide.
It was this realisation that forced the disoriented elites at the London and Cannes G20 conferences in 2009 and 2011 to coordinate extraordinary stimulus measures to stave off a 1930s-style breakdown. Those, myself included, who paced around the edges of these events declaring the action inadequate should admit – despite the inadequacy – that they acted in the right spirit. The elite rejected “pro-cyclical” economics of the kind that plunged the US into depression and Germany into fascism. Everywhere, that is, except Europe – and, even in Europe, far-right extremism has been held at bay until now.
The problem is, politically, we have in one sense gone beyond the 1930s.
Force yourself to listen to the subtexts of social media: the organised hatred against black female actor Leslie Jones, the anonymous racism and misogyny, the habitual fusion of anti-left and anti-Islam hate. Force yourself – maybe just once – to watch what some people are watching every day: black kids murdered by US cops; Syrian kids blown to pieces by Assad, or Russia or the US airforce; bloggers crucified in public by Isis, the mangled bodies of French partygoers on the Nice seafront.
When Franco’s troops took Badajoz, and put 2,000 of its inhabitants against the wall in the early days of the Spanish civil war, the Wehrmacht’s military observer was so disgusted that he advised German troops should never be allowed to serve alongside Franco’s lest they become “brutalised”.
Today, an entire generation of humanity has been brutalised – whether it experiences mass slaughter, rape and torture firsthand, or whether it simply sees the pictures and hears the stories. If you read any memoir from the 30s and the war years, there is almost always a moment of realisation: what a cadaver looks like; that prisoners can be shot; that the Geneva conventions may be flouted.
Sadly, in sheer brutality, we are past the 1930s – and in the struggle between governments and civilian populations the Geneva conventions do not apply.
The worst thing about the present – and millions of people feel it – is the momentum towards catharsis. It is impossible to imagine everything dying back to a boring stasis.
When you watch Erdoğan’s goons marching lifelong democratic journalists to jails where, as Amnesty International reports, beatings, torture and rape are routine, it becomes possible to imagine these things happening in other nominal democracies.
On the face of it, we have two things the 1930s lacked. We have billions of educated and literate brains on the planet; and we have the concept of universal and inalienable human rights.
When, at the start of this unrest, I read Stephane Hessel’s Indignez Vous! (Time for Outrage) – one of the pamphlets that inspired the Occupy protests – I wondered why he dwelt so long on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Hessel had been a French resistance fighter and helped write the 1948 declaration. In an address to the youth of the tent camps in 2008, he spends several long paragraphs explaining why they fought so hard for the word “universal” and not “international”: “That is how to forestall the argument for full sovereignty that a state likes to make when it is carrying out crimes against humanity on its soil.”
Hessel’s generation understood that – even if it were all a figleaf for US hegemony – a global and universal system of human rights would leave a lasting legacy. Today, when a journalist or NGO worker stumbles on the scene of a massacre, they think – if they have been trained right – about evidence-gathering for a court first, the sensational scoop second.
So, no. This is not the 1930s with drones and trolls. We have – and must defend – a resilient global system. One glance at an uncensored social media timeline will tell you what happens if we let go of that.
Wishing you all a great Monday morning, afternoon, evening and good luck for tomorrow, stay safe !
Hi everybody ! So it's that time of the year where the storms are back in France, so I have to make it quick before burning my router... I'll be posting just that story, the best that I've read this week really, no need to watch horror movies anymore.. And it's a bit disappointing regarding the trailers , nothing new exactly, I might be re-posting some that you've seen before I'm afraid so we'll have to be patient so let's go !
Anthrax outbreak triggered by climate change kills boy in Arctic Circle
Salekhard Russia Anthrax outbreak
A 12-year-old boy in the far north of Russia has died in an outbreak of anthrax that experts believe was triggered when unusually warm weather caused the release of the bacteria.
The boy was one of 72 nomadic herders, including 41 children, hospitalised in the town of Salekhard in the Arctic Circle, after reindeer began dying en masse from anthrax.
Five adults and two other children have been diagnosed with the disease, which is known as “Siberian plague” in Russian and was last seen in the region in 1941.
More than 2,300 reindeer have died, and at least 63 people have been evacuated from a quarantine area around the site of the outbreak.
“We literally fought for the life of each person, but the infection showed its cunning,”the Yamal governor, Dmitry Kobylkin, told the Interfax news agency. “It returned after 75 years and took the life of a child.”
The tabloid LifeNews reported that the boy’s grandmother died of anthrax at a nomad camp last week.
Authorities said the outbreak was linked to climate change. For the past month, the region has been experiencing abnormally high temperatures that have reached 95F.
Anthrax spores can survive in frozen human and animal remains for hundreds of years, waiting to be released by a thaw, according to Alexei Kokorin, head of WWF Russia’s climate and energy programme.
“Such anomalous heat is rare for Yamal, and that’s probably a manifestation of climate change,” he said.
Average temperatures in Russia have increased by 0.43C in the past 10 years, but the rise has been more pronounced in areas of the far north. The warmer climate has begun thawing the permafrost soil that covers much of Russia, including cemeteries and animal burial grounds. Thawing permafrost has also led to greater erosion of river banks where nomads often buried their dead, Kokorin said.
“They didn’t bury deep because it’s hard to dig deep in permafrost,” he explained.
According to custom, the Nenets tribe often inters its dead in a wooden coffin on open ground.
The disease from thawing human and animal remains can get into groundwater that people then drink. The boy in Salekhard died from the intestinal form of the disease, which typically results in fever, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
Other reports said a local cemetery was suspected, or infected venison.
Three unusual sinkholes were discovered on the Yamal peninsula in 2014, a phenomenon that many scientists also tied to climate change. Thawing permafrost could have allowed gas in the ground to explode, they said.
This summer, researchers have filmed grassy ground on an island off the Yamal peninsula that appeared to bounce under their feet. The phenomenon was likely caused by “bubbles” of methane and carbon dioxide, they said.
Wishing you a great Thursday morning, afternoon, evening and good luck for tomorrow !
Hi everybody !! A little extra to wish you all a great week end.. And why that ? Well I do have some new trailers ! And apart from that I was going to post some very serious article about Rio, but I mean what's the point of doing it now, it's too late anyway, it's on .. So I chose that story instead.. What a joke right ? Are they like Gods of sex or something ? Sex machines ? What are they going to do with all those condoms.. ?
Rio 2016's record-breaking haul: 42 condoms per athlete The number of condoms provided to athletes suggests that the Olympic Village’s reputation as a hotbed of sexual activity is well-earned. Is that really the case?
Seventeen days, 10,500 athletes, 33 venues, and 450,000 condoms. That’s how many camisinhas (little shirts in Brazilian slang) are being supplied by the International Olympics Committee for the 2016 Rio Summer Games. Forty-two per athlete, to be specific, which, even by Olympic standards, is a hell of a lot.
Welcome to the most promiscuous Olympics in history. The provision of 350,000 condoms, 100,000 female condoms and 175,000 packets of lubricant for Rio’s Olympic Village – the usual mix of ripped athletes, condos, shops, bars, clubs and, erm, McDonald’s - is three times higher than the London 2012 allowance of 150,000 condoms, which prompted tabloids to dub it “the raunchiest games ever”.
“It is an absolutely huge allocation of condoms,” admits Olympic rowing gold and silver medallist Zac Purchase, who retired from rowing in 2014 and competed in London and Beijing. “But it is all so far from the truth of what it’s like to be in there. It’s not some sexualised cauldron of activity. We’re talking about athletes who are focused on producing the best performance of their lives.”
So why do they need 450,000 condoms? The record-breaking allocation for Rio is reported to be so high because female condoms are being given away for the first time. The Zika virus, which has spread across Brazil and dominated Olympic discussions, is not being given as a reason but British athletes have been issued with key guidance and the Australian team will arrive armed with antiviral condoms to provide extra protection.
The latex count began in Seoul in 1988, when 8,500 condoms were distributed to athletes and reports of condoms found on the roofs of Olympic residences led the Olympic Association to ban outdoor sex. Since then, the number of condoms provided has jumped around more than a gold-medal gymnast: 90,000 to Barcelona in 1992 and an almost prudish 15,000 by comparison to Atlanta in 1996. In Sydney 2000, Australian organisers ordered 70,000 condoms but a further 20,000 were brought in when they ran out halfway through the Games. In Athens 2004, Durex donated 130,000 condoms “to smooth the performance of the world’s elite sports people in the arena and under the covers”.
All of which oils the reputation of the village as some kind of sex-crazed Woodstock for athletes. According to gold medal-winning Australian target shooter Mark Russell, it is “the most testosterone fuelled place on earth”. In London 2012, Grindr crashed as athletes arrived, and at Sochi 2014, a female Olympic gold snowboarder noted that “Tinder in the Olympic Village is next level”. After Beijing 2008, an Olympic table-tennis player divulged the secrets of the “sex fest” and the “volcanic release of pent-up hedonism” that apparently happens when thousands of athletes at the top of their game come together. (To which you may wonder … aren’t they too knackered?) “It’s a calm place during the competition,” Purchase insists. And afterwards? “There is a lot of celebration, but it’s very controlled.”
Wishing you all a great week end , have fun, take care, stay safe !
Hi everybody , I hope that you all had a great start of the week so far ? So what's up in the world um? I did read a few articles about The Nauru Files obviously today and I was going to post one of those articles, but the reading was so disturbing that I couldn't.. So I chose to tell that story instead. Because this is how I picture the life of a young refugee who once was a child and managed to have a proper education and has found a way to live fully his passion. The monsters who steal children' innocence shouldn't have the right to live in our world amongst us. And I have added 2 pics plus plenty of trailers, so let's go !
Syrian refugee Rami Anis belatedly brings a smile to Rio’s swimming pool
After three days of rancorous competition Olympic swimming needed a good news story. On Tuesday morning it got one. Rami Anis, a 25-year-old from Syria who marched behind the flag of the IOC’s Refugee Team at the opening ceremony, recorded a personal best of 54.25sec in the heats of the 100m freestyle.
So for those few minutes at least no one at the Aquatics Centre had a reason to boo and there was something more important to think about than the rights and wrongs of Russian swimming and the way the sport is being run. The previous night Yulia Efimova, second in the 100m breaststroke, had said that “usually during the Olympic Games all wars stop”, and then compared her own experience here to a “new cold war”. Perhaps she should seek out Anis and ask him how he feels about all that.
Anis grew up in Aleppo and was always a keen swimmer. He was taught the rudiments by his uncle, Majad, who used to compete for Syria, and he learned more by studying YouTube videos of Michael Phelps.
Like Majad Anis grew up to be one of the best swimmers in the country and was bound to be picked for the Syrian team at London 2012. But as the civil war escalated late in 2011, his family decided that he should leave the city to join his elder brother in Istanbul. He did not know then that he would not be coming back, so he packed only a small bag with two jackets, two pairs of trousers, and a couple of T-shirts. “I thought I would be in Turkey for just a couple of months,” he said. He ended up staying for almost four years.
In Istanbul, Anis would practice at the Galatasaray Sports Club. But because he did not have Turkish citizenship, he was not able to compete in the big events. “It was like someone who is studying, studying, studying and he can’t take the exam,” he said. When his coach quit, Anis decided he had to move on too. His father had gone on to Belgium, where he was living in a refugee camp. Anis and his younger brother decided to join him there, though it meant they would be leaving their mother and elder brother behind. The journey started with a night-time dinghy trip to the Greek island of Samos in the eastern Aegean, across the Mycale Strait from the Turkish shore. Anis wore his swimming trunks, just in case.
Out at sea, the dinghy’s motor broke in the heavy swell. There were 40 people in that dinghy and Anis tried to persuade them all to sing to keep their spirits up. After they finally made it to the shore they stopped for an hour and then started the long trip across the continent. After 10 days of travelling by bus and train they fetched up in Ghent. Anis soon found a new coach, Carine Verbauwen, at the Royal Ghent Swimming Club. She had competed at the Olympics twice herself, in 1976 and 1980. When he decided to try to qualify for the Refugee Team, she worked him mercilessly hard, 17 hours a week, because he had fallen out of shape. It was worth it.
When Anis was selected by the IOC in June, Verbauwen told the press that “if he stayed in Syria, if there was no war, he would have been in the Olympic Games. I think it is justice that he goes.” He was unlikely to get through to the semi-finals, she said, so his aim should be to set a personal best. Eight weeks later he has done exactly that. After the race he was sporting the broadest smile and was delighted with what he had achieved. And he has already been thinking about the next Olympic Games. “In 2020,” he said, “I hope I will be able to swim under my own flag.”
Children protest in the Nauru detention centre. The Nauru files set out as never before the assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government. The Nauru files: cache of 2,000 leaked reports reveal scale of abuse of children in Australian offshore detention. The largest cache of documents to be leaked from within Australia’s asylum seeker detention regime details assaults, sexual assaults and self-harm. More than half of the 2,116 reports – a total of 1,086 incidents, or 51.3% – involve children, although children made up only about 18% of those in detention on Nauru during the time covered by the reports, May 2013 to October 2015. The findings come just weeks after the brutal treatment of young people in juvenile detention in the Northern Territory was exposed, leading to the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announcing a wide-ranging public inquiry.
Paul McCartney and Ranulph Fiennes back Amazon tribe threatened by dams. Artists, poets, film directors and musicians call on Brazilian government and European companies to recognise the rights of the Munduruku people. the group says Brazil’s plan to build four large and many smaller dams on the Tapajós river and its tributaries could destroy thousands of square miles of forest and imperil the Munduruku indigenous people. A delegation of Munduruku chiefs will arrive in Britain this week to seek a formal meeting with European technology giant Siemens, which has been part of a consortium bidding to win contracts to build the dams.
Wishing you all a great Wednesday morning, afternoon, evening and good luck for tomorrow ! Stay safe.
Hi everybody , I hope that you all had a great week so far ? So a little post for the week end. I spotted that article right away, really interesting, you'll see, for those who are watching "Mr Robot", now you just start to wonder.. And I've added one pic , plus the movie trailers. My apologies to the movie trailer fans, I had to make a slight change regarding the presentation, because unfortunately, I had some negative feedbacks from my ET friends, lots of them just see a black screen nearly every time, and so do I, now as well. So I'll post the links from now on and you'll be able to watch the trailers in a separate window if you click on the titles. So let's go !!
Polls suggest Iceland's Pirate party may form next government
One of Europe’s most radical political parties is expected to gain its first taste of power after Iceland’s ruling coalition and opposition agreed to hold early elections caused by the Panama Papers scandal in October.
The Pirate party, whose platform includes direct democracy, greater government transparency, a new national constitution and asylum for US whistleblower Edward Snowden, will field candidates in every constituency and has been at or near the top of every opinion poll for over a year.
As befits a movement dedicated to reinventing democracy through new technology, it also aims to boost the youth vote by persuading the company developing Pokémon Go in Iceland to turn polling stations into Pokéstops.
“It’s gradually dawning on us, what’s happening,” Birgitta Jónsdóttir, leader of the Pirates’ parliamentary group, told the Guardian. “It’s strange and very exciting. But we are well prepared now. This is about change driven not by fear but by courage and hope. We are popular, not populist.”
The election, likely to be held on 29 October, follows the resignation of Iceland’s former prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who became the first major victim of the Panama Papers in April after the leaked legal documents revealed he had millions of pounds of family money offshore.
In the face of some of the largest protests the small North Atlantic island had ever seen, the ruling Progressive and Independence parties replaced Gunnlaugsson with the agriculture and fisheries minister, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, and promised elections before the end of the year.
Founded four years ago by a group of activists and hackers as part of an international anti-copyright movement, Iceland’s Pirates captured five per cent of the vote in 2013 elections, winning three seats in the country’s 63-member parliament, the Althingi.
“Then, they were clearly a protest vote against the establishment,” said Eva Heida Önnudóttir, a political scientist at the University of Iceland who compares the party’s appeal to Icelandic voters to that of Spain’s Podemos, or Syriza in Greece.
“Three years later, they’ve distinguished themselves more clearly; it’s not just about protest. Even if they don’t have clear policies in many areas, people are genuinely drawn to their principles of transforming democracy and improving transparency.”
Propelled by public outrage at what is widely perceived as endemic cronyism in Icelandic politics and the seeming impunity of the country’s wealthy few, support for the party – which hangs a skull-and-crossbones flag in its parliamentary office – has rocketed.
A poll of polls for the online news outlet Kjarninn in late June had the Pirates comfortably the country’s largest party on 28.3%, four points clear of their closest rival, Gunnlaugsson’s conservative Independence party.
That lead has since narrowed slightly but most analysts are confident the Pirates will return between 18 and 20 MPs to the Althingi in October, putting them in a strong position to form Iceland’s next government.
Jónsdóttir said the party was willing to form a government with any coalition partner who subscribes to its agenda of “fundamental system change” – something the Independence party has already ruled out.
“I look at us and I think, we are equipped to do this,” she said. “Actually, the fact we haven’t done it before and that we won’t have any old-school people telling us how, means we’ll do it more carefully. We will be doing things very differently.”
Built on the belief that new technologies can help promote civic engagement and government transparency and accountability, the party believes in an “unlimited right” for citizens to be involved in the political decisions that affect them, with ordinary voters able to propose new legislation and decide on it in national referendums.
It also wants no limit on individuals’ rights to express their views and share information, unless doing so violates others’ rights, and proposes to decriminalise drugs, raise taxes on the rich, and pursue internet freedoms and copyright reform.
Önnudóttir said she could “very easily see” the party winning 20-25% of the vote. “After that, their success will depend on what they can really deliver, how much they make of their first term,” she said. “With numbers like those, you risk becoming a part of the establishment.”
Cambridge, Massachusetts, US. Research scientist Sung-Jin Park displays a tissue-engineered robot on a piece of glass at Harvard University. The stingray-shaped robot, capable of paddling in water after exposure to blue light, has a gold skeleton, silicone fins and the heart muscle cells of a rat. Photograph: Steven Senne
Hi everybody !! I hope that you all had a great start of the week so far ? So what's up in the world ? I was going to make a ppst about climate change, you know, July the warmest month ever recorded, the floods , the wild fires.. But I actually just found this article, a new exciting episode from the invisible life of our tiny friends, the viruses... So let me introduce you to: Yellow Fever.. And you'll find plenty of trailers of movies and clips afterwards, so let's go !
Fears of global yellow fever epidemic grow as vaccine stocks dwindle One of the largest emergency vaccination campaigns ever attempted aims to stop virus taking hold in central Africa
A last-ditch effort to prevent yellow fever spreading through Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and potentially developing into a global epidemic is to be launched using vaccines containing a fifth of the normal dose because the global stockpile is so low.
Yellow fever is frequently lethal, killing half of those who develop severe symptoms. It is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also responsible for the spread of Zika virus. There is a vaccine which protects people for life, but few adults had been immunised in Angola when yellow fever broke out there in December last year, and in the DRC, to where it has spread.
If it takes hold in Kinshasa, a densely packed city of more than 10 million people, it is feared that infected mosquitoes could travel beyond the central African region, which has been experiencing so severe an outbreak that vaccine stocks are almost exhausted.
In Angola, there have been nearly 4,000 suspected cases of yellow fever of which 879 have been confirmed while DRC had 68 confirmed cases and more than 2,200 suspected cases, with about 400 reported deaths in the two countries, mostly in Angola. Almost 19m doses of vaccine have been administered since January, but there are only 5m left in the emergency stockpile. The vaccine takes a year to make, so even with the handful of manufacturers working flat out, stocks cannot be replenished quickly.
“It has got us incredibly worried,” said Ruairidh Villar of Save the Children, which is helping with the vaccination effort. “We’ve just scrambled an emergency team to DRC to support a last-ditch vaccination campaign before the outbreak reaches Kinshasa. Our fear is it is likely to go global if we can’t stop it soon and it hits the city.”
He added: “It is not as fatal as Ebola but it is pretty awful. The symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Some people recover within a few days but a minority become severely ill, suffering organ failure, bleeding from the eyes and death.
Some say the spread of yellow fever shows the world has not learned the lessons of Ebola.
“Yellow fever is something that we know and it is something for which we have the tools to prevent the spread, which is the vaccine,” said Dr Joanne Liu, international president of Médecins Sans Frontières, which is involved in the yellow fever response. “The first cases of yellow fever were in December 2015 and confirmed in January. The first vaccination started a few weeks afterwards, but it could have been a bit more prompt.
“What does it tell us? Even if we have the best surveillance systems and tools, we still need the political will to act at local level, regional level and international level. As with Ebola, when that is not enacted, we always, always have a delay in the response. There were some critical weeks which basically allowed fertile ground for spread.
“This makes me deeply saddened and also a little bit in despair. We need to act – a quick and prompt response.”
There have been reports of 1m doses of vaccine disappearing after being delivered to Angola, but the World Health Organisation denies any doses went missing. The government appears to have used the vaccine elsewhere in Angola.
“Following a review of the first round of vaccination campaigns in Angola, it was found that around 1m doses from the emergency stocks had been used to vaccinate people in other medical facilities that were not part of the initial approved emergency vaccination plans,” a WHO spokesman said.
A mass vaccination campaign in western DRC in May immunised more than 200,000 people, said Heather Kerr, Save’s country director there. But it did not stop the spread. “Now we’re planning a second response with the emergency health unit. We work together with them to support the government. The plan is to vaccinate in all the provinces bordering Angola because the yellow fever originally arrived from Angola,” Kerr said by Skype from Kinshasa.
“Kinshasa is such a huge city. We don’t really know how big it is. We think there are about 10 million people here. Some of the suburbs are very, very crowded. We are close to the Angolan border as well. There have already been cases in Kinshasa – not many, but a few – because of the density of the population and the ability of the mosquitoes to travel far.
“Fortunately for us, we’re in the dry season but there are still people being bitten by mosquitoes and not everybody is sleeping under a mosquito net.”
WHO said that, until now, outbreaks in central Africa had been in rural areas, not crowded urban environments, where mosquitoes thrive in standing water. Time is running out to check the spread, however, because the rains will begin in September.
The emergency vaccination campaign beginning on Wednesday was one of the largest ever attempted, WHO said.
“Working with ministries of health in the two countries, WHO is coordinating 56 global partners to vaccinate more than 14 million people against yellow fever in more than 8,000 locations,” it said in a statement. “The yellow fever outbreak has found its way to dense, urban areas and hard-to-reach border regions, making planning for the vaccination campaign especially complex.”
The decision to give people one-fifth of the normal dose of vaccine – known as fractional dosing – was taken by WHO’s strategic advisory group of experts on immunisation (Sage). There are some small studies that show it gives protection for at least a year and possibly longer.
″Protecting as many people as possible is at the heart of this strategy. With a limited supply we need to use these vaccines very carefully,″ said William Perea, coordinator for the control of epidemic diseases unit at WHO.
To watch the movie trailers and clips , click on the titles:
Good morning Thalestris and all. Thank you for the very interesting post and trailers.
Pretty scarey when you read just how bad these viruses are and if it becomes global how would they cope with vaccines
Good morning Thalestris and all. Thank you for the very interesting post and trailers.
Pretty scarey when you read just how bad these viruses are and if it becomes global how would they cope with vaccines
ooh just seen this trailer and thought i would add it sorry if you have already added it before.
James McAvoy love him and different for him to play this type of character but going by the trailer it looks like it will be a good movie