All posts by netadmin@trn.tv

Canada Votes For Net Neutrality 

By: Jordan Pearson 

On Thursday afternoon, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the country’s federal telecom regulator, dropped a bombshell ruling on the status of net neutrality—the principle that all web services should be treated equally by providers. And, blessedly, it’s good news.
The CRTC ruled that “[internet] service providers should treat data traffic equally to foster consumer choice, innovation and the free exchange of ideas,” a CRTC news release states. What this means is that service providers won’t be able to privilege certain services over others—say, YouTube or Apple Music—by letting you use them without dinging your data plan. This is a practice generally known as “zero-rating” or differential pricing.

Differential pricing contradicts the principle of net neutrality because it allows service providers to leverage their privileged position to decide which services are most attractive to their customers, effectively discriminating against others.
The CRTC’s decision is welcome news as its sister organization in the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is right now starting to roll back some of its previous commitments to net neutrality.
The CRTC ruling originated from complaints against Quebec-based provider Videotron’s unlimited music streaming service, which launched in 2015. The service allowed subscribers to stream music from third-party apps without it counting against their data plans.
Those complaints sparked a series of hearings on the practice of differential pricing. At the time of the hearings in the fall of last year, two of Canada’s “big three” telecom providers came out in support of differential pricing—Telus and Bell—while Rogers was the sole dissenting voice among the trio.

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U.N To Reveal War Crimes Documents That May Rewrite History 

By: Owen Bowcott of The Guardian 

War crimes files revealing early evidence of Holocaust death camps that was smuggled out of eastern Europe are among tens of thousands of files to be made public for the first time this week.

The once-inaccessible archive of the UN war crimes commission, dating back to 1943, is being opened by the Wiener Library in London with a catalogue that can be searched online.

The files establish that some of the first demands for justice came from countries that had been invaded, such as Poland and China, rather than Britain, the US and Russia, which eventually coordinated the post-war Nuremberg trials.

The archive, along with the UNWCC, was closed in the late 1940s as West Germany was transformed into a pivotal ally at the start of the cold war and use of the records was effectively suppressed. Around the same time, many convicted Nazis were granted early release after the anti-communist US senator Joseph McCarthy lobbied to end war crimes trials.

Access to the vast quantity of evidence and indictments is timed to coincide with the publication on Tuesday of Human Rights After Hitler: The Lost History of Prosecuting Axis War Crimes by Dan Plesch, a researcher who has been working on the documents for a decade.

The documents record the gathering of evidence shortly after the UN was founded in January 1942. They demonstrate that rape and forced prostitution were being prosecuted as war crimes in tribunals as far apart as Greece, the Philippines and Poland in the late 1940s, despite more recent suggestions that this was a legal innovation following the 1990s Bosnian conflict.

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Tensions Rise Between U.S and North Korea Over Nuclear Testing and Potential War

By: WILLIAM M. ARKIN, CYNTHIA MCFADDEN and KENZI ABOU-SABE of NBC

The U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test, multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.

North Korea has warned that a “big event” is near, and U.S. officials say signs point to a nuclear test that could come as early as this weekend.

The intelligence officials told NBC News that the U.S. has positioned two destroyers capable of shooting Tomahawk cruise missiles in the region, one just 300 miles from the North Korean nuclear test site.

American heavy bombers are also positioned in Guam to attack North Korea should it be necessary, and earlier this week, the Pentagon announced that the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group was being diverted to the area.

The U.S. strike could include missiles and bombs, cyber and special operations on the ground.

The danger of such an attack by the U.S. is that it could provoke the volatile and unpredictable North Korean regime to launch its own blistering attack on its southern neighbor.

“The leadership in North Korea has shown absolutely no sign or interest in diplomacy or dialogue with any of the countries involved in this issue,” Victor Cha, the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies told NBC News Thursday.

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Yet Another Company Caught Plotting To Raise The Price Of Cancer Drugs For Profit

By: Katie Forster of The Independent 

Leaked internal emails appear to show employees at one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies calling for “celebration” over price hikes of cancer drugs, an investigation has revealed.

Staff at Aspen Pharmacare reportedly plotted to destroy stocks of life-saving medicines during a price dispute with the Spanish health service in 2014.

After purchasing five different cancer drugs from British firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the company tried to sell the medicines in Europe for up to 40 times their previous price, reported The Times.

In 2013, the price of one pack of a chemotherapy drug called busulfan, used to treat leukaemia, rose from £5.20 to £65.22 in England and Wales, according to the newspaper.

The other four drugs, including leukeran, also used by leukaemia patients, and melphalan, for skin and ovarian cancers, also became up to four times more expensive.

Price rises for generic cancer drugs, such as those acquired by Aspen, cost the NHS in England around £380m a year for prescriptions dispensed outside hospitals, the European Cancer Congress has estimated.

In a confidential email published by The Times, an Aspen employee appeared to write: “We’ve signed new reimbursement and price agreement successfully: price increases are basically on line with European target prices (Leukeran, a bit higher!)… Let’s celebrate!”

When bargaining over drug prices in Spain, the pharmaceutical giant is said to have threatened to stop selling the cancer treatments unless the Health minister agreed to price rises of up to 4,000 per cent, reported Spanish daily El Confidencial Digital at the time.

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Syrian President Al Assad Claims Video Of Gas Attack Was Fabricated (Fake News) 

By: Bethan McKernan

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has reiterated that his government had nothing to do with the chemical gas incident in a rebel-held village last week that killed more than 80 people.

Allegations that his forces had deliberately poisoned civilians were ”100 per cent fabrication”, the president said on Thursday, adding that the Syrian government gave up its chemical weapons stocks as part of a 2013 agreement. 

“Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists. They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack,” he said.

Assad made the comments in an interview broadcast by AFP, his first since the US struck a Syrian airbase with missiles in retaliation for the events in Idlib province. 

The international community has condemned the deaths in the village of Khan Sheikhoun, which most Western intelligence services believe occurred thanks to a deliberate attack carried out by the Syrian government. 

Damascus and allies in Moscow have denied the regime attacked the village with chemical weapons, maintaining that the casualties were caused by gases released after an al-Qaeda-affiliated ammunitions depot was hit by conventional munitions in a legitimate government air raid. 

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North Korea Sends 600,000 People Out The Capital City To “Purify” The Population  

By: Lee Young-Jong of Meng News 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently ordered the deportation of nearly 600,000 Pyongyang residents to the suburbs, a local source told the JoongAng Ilbo Monday. 

The deportation represents one-fourth of Pyongyang’s current population of 2.6 million. It is not known when they will be forced to move or to where. 

“Population control was the pretext of the latest order,” said the source, who asked for anonymity, “but in reality, the purpose is to ‘purify’ the North Korean capital and allow only the loyal elite class to live there.” 

Among those who were chosen by authorities to move are people whose relatives defected to South Korea, had been jailed in a prison camp, used drugs or counterfeit money, and produced, distributed or sold pirated films from the South. 

Those who were caught selling other illegally imported goods in a jangmadang, or North Korean black market, were excluded because such cases have become so prevalent that it is no longer considered a serious crime, the source said. 

The State Security Department and People’s Safety Agency are screening the candidates. 

A South Korean government official said the North has sporadically kicked a few dissidents out of the capital in the past, but never a group as large as this. 
Kim’s order comes as the leader is spending most of the country’s resources in modernizing districts in the capital. In 2012, shortly after he rose to power, Kim constructed Changjon Street, a high-rise apartment complex. 
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Axon To Offer Frew Body Cameras For All Police In America 

By: Jessica Anderson of The Baltimore Sun

Taser International, the company that manufactures stun guns and body cameras, announced this week that it was launching a program to provide free body cameras to “every police officer in America.”

The company, now called Axon, said it will also provide supporting hardware, software, data storage, training, and support to police departments free of cost for one year.

It’s unclear how the offer will affect the Baltimore City and Baltimore County police departments, which have already signed multimillion-dollar contracts with the company to equip their officers with body cameras.

“We are continuing to explore those options with Axon,” said Baltimore Police spokesman Detective Jeremy Silbert.

An Axon spokesman said the deal is available to all departments, including those with existing contracts with competitors and current Axon customers that might want to upgrade to newer cameras.

“This will apply to any and all agencies that want to test and evaluate,” spokesman Steve Tuttle wrote in an email.
For existing customers, such as Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Tuttle wrote, “we are also offering current customers to get sufficient discounts that are the equivalent or better to get a free year of Evidence.com [digital evidence management solution]. We knew this offer was coming and we made appropriate accommodations.”
Baltimore signed an $11.6 million contract with Taser to equip 2,500 officers with body cameras by January 2018. The city chose Taser after a pilot program in which the city tested body cameras on 150 officers from Taser, Atlantic Tactical Inc. and Brekford Corp. Nine others companies submitted proposals.

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Tesla Has Officially Been Deemed The Most Valuable Auto Maker In The U.S   

By: Robert Ferris of NBC

Tesla’s market capitalization is now bigger than General Motors’, making it the largest U.S. based automaker by that metric.

Investors are clearly betting on Tesla’s potential, and are undeterred by factors such as Tesla’s loss of $773 million in 2016, and the fact that it sells only a tiny fraction of the cars delivered annually by established competitors.

General Motors sold about 10 million cars in 2016 compared with Tesla’s roughly 76,000.

Tesla has only had two profitable quarters in its history as a public company, while GM earned a profit of more than $9 billion last year.

Tesla shares were up more than 3 percent to over $312 in midafternoon trading Monday, after receiving the highest price forecast ever issued for the stock by an analyst at a major firm.

On Monday, PiperJaffray analyst Alexander Potter published a note upgrading his rating on the stock from neutral to overweight and raising his price target from $223 to $368.

In his note, Potter said Tesla has a “captivating impact on consumers and shareholders alike” that will be difficult for competitors to replicate, and that although bears may have rational arguments against the stock, those “probably won’t matter.”

“In many ways, TSLA seems to play by its own rules,” Potter wrote. For instance, the company burns through cash at a rate “better-established companies would likely be crucified for,” devises “unreasonably fast” production timelines and “spurns industry norms,” by doing things such as choosing to sell directly to customers, rather than through dealers.

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Trump Budget Cuts To Burden The Very Community That Propelled Him Into Office   

Compliments of Mass Transit

The National Association of Rail Passengers denounced the budget outline released by the Trump Administration, which slashes investment in transportation infrastructure. These cuts to Amtrak, transit, and commuter rail programs, and even air service to rural towns, would not only cost construction and manufacturing jobs, but place a disproportionate amount of pain on rural and working class communities.
“It’s ironic that President Trump’s first budget proposal undermines the very communities whose economic hardship and sense of isolation from the rest of the country helped propel him into office,” said NARP President Jim Mathews. “These working class communities — many of them located in the Midwest and the South — were tired of being treated like ‘flyover country.’ But by proposing the elimination of Amtrak’s long distance trains, the Trump Administration does them one worse, cutting a vital service that connects these small town economies to the rest of the U.S. These hard working, small town Americans don’t have airports or Uber to turn to; they depend on these trains.”
“What’s more, these proposed cuts come as President Trump continues to promise that our tax dollars will be invested in rebuilding America’s infrastructure,” continued Mathews. “Instead, we have seen an all-out assault on any project — public and private — that would advance passenger rail. These cuts and delays are costing the U.S. thousands of good-paying construction and manufacturing jobs in America’s heartland at this very moment.”
Mathews was referring to the decision by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to indefinitely suspend a grant that would allow California to proceed with a commuter rail electrification project. Caltrain, the agency overseeing the project, estimates the project would create 9,600 total direct and indirect jobs. The delay also threatens the construction of a new railcar assembly plant planned for Salt Lake City, which would generate sustainable, family-wage jobs for 550 employees.

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Potential Terrorist Attack In Sweden As Truck Driver Plows Into Pedestrian 

Compliments of BBC

A lorry has smashed into a store in central Stockholm, killing at least three people, Swedish police say.

Several people were also injured in the incident on Drottninggatan (Queen Street), one of the city’s major pedestrian streets.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said everything pointed to an act of terrorism.

Local media reported one arrest, but police have said no-one is being held.

The lorry was hijacked earlier on Friday, its owner said.

The crash happened at the Ahlens department store just before 15:00 local time (13:00 GMT).

Swedish brewery Spendrups said its lorry had been stolen on its way to a restaurant delivery.

“Someone jumped into the driver’s cabin and drove off with the vehicle while the driver was unloading,” a brewery spokesperson told the TT news agency.

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