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March 20, 2015

Supreme Court of Sweden agrees to try Bildkonst Upphovsrätt i Sverige versus Wikimedia Sverige

Supreme Court of Sweden agrees to try Bildkonst Upphovsrätt i Sverige versus Wikimedia Sverige

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Friday, March 20, 2015

The highest court in Sweden, the Supreme Court, agreed on Monday to try the case “Ö 849-15” between Bildkonst Upphovsrätt i Sverige (BUS, Visual Arts Copyright Society in Sweden) and Wikimedia Sverige (Wikimedia Sweden). The jurisprudence could result in Freedom of Panorama being effectively overturned in Sweden, requiring websites such as Wikimedia Commons, which is maintained by the Wikimedia Foundation, to delete thousands of images.

Not long after Wikimedia Sverige created the website offentligkonst.se to publish images and metadata about artworks placed in public spaces in Sweden, BUS, a pro-copyright lobby, advocated that it constituted infringement on the artists’ copyright. The current lawsuit opposes the interpretation of Wikimedia — that artwork permanently installed in public space should be subject to the Freedom of Panorama exception that is in effect in Sweden — to that of BUS — that is creation (avbilda) of images and videos of an artwork in a public space is allowed, their distribution (återge) remains prohibited.

Anna Troberg, an author and former leader of the Swedish Pirate Party which advocates copyright reform, commented on her blog, “In a time when everyone has a high-grade camera in their phone, it is more than a little naive to think one can place one’s work in public space without it being photographed and posted online.”((sv))

Images over which BUS are suing Wikimedia Sverige



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December 11, 2014

Google shuts down Google News Spain

Google shuts down Google News Spain – Wikinews, the free news source

Google shuts down Google News Spain

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  • Supreme Court of Sweden agrees to try Bildkonst Upphovsrätt i Sverige versus Wikimedia Sverige
  • Wikinews interviews Asaf Bartov, Head of Wikimedia Grants Program and Global South Partnerships
  • Google shuts down Google News Spain
  • Wikinews interviews Mario J. Lucero and Isabel Ruiz of Heaven Sent Gaming
  • Parts of internet break as ‘512k day’ reached by routers

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Google news logo.

Flag of Spain.

On its blog, Google, a U.S. headquartered multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products, announced it would be shutting down the Spanish version of Google News, effective from December 16 of this year. The shutdown came in direct response to amendments to the Spanish intellectual property law —Ley De Propiedad Intelectual— imposing a compulsory fee for the use of snippets of text to link to news articles, by online news aggregators that provide a search service.

The Spanish intellectual property law passed the Senate on October 15, passed Congress on October 30, and would take effect starting in January 2015. Spain made the right to payment inalienable, so that even the news organization quoted is not permitted to waive it. Google News did not run ads on its news service, so did not profit directly, and said continuing to run the service would not be sustainable.

A similar fee had been first introduced in German law in 2013, where it was described as an “ancillary copyright” — Leistungsschutzrecht. International copyright law preserves the right to make quotations without remuneration, the only such mandatory limitation to copyright. In Germany publishers willingly forfeited their right to payment from Google, given how much traffic they would lose from not being indexed on Google News.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) had expressed concerns that “these ancillary copyright laws form part of a broader trend of derogation from the right to link.” They continued, “This can be seen when you examine the other parts of the Spanish copyright amendments that take effect in January […] — notably placing criminal liability on website operators who refuse to remove mere links to copyright-infringing material.” EFF quoted the recent introduction of the so-called “right to be forgotten” legislation allowing removal of entries from Google web search results.



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February 26, 2013

Amilton de Cristo

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Please check whether this article is OR before userspaceifying or deleting it. (It is tagged as OR, but I don’t see it.) –Gryllida 08
24, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Brazil
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a Christian pastor Amilton de cristowas quoted in the Sunday spectacular about the controversy of falling in the Spirit. Wikinews also learned that one of the churches he had preached in videos showing alleged persons falling within the spirit YouTube

“Hang in spirit, the cult that attracts more and more followers in Brazil and the world, draws attention for exposing his followers the rites dangerous and intriguing. Controlled by a religious leader, the faithful remain motionless, fall and struggle, in a trance, on the ground, and often all at once.

In exclusive chat with reporter Heloise Vilela, the Sunday Spectacular TV Record), one of the founders of the movement, Paul Gold, sorry, reveals that the practices run counter to the Holy Scriptures.

– In two years, about two million people worldwide visited the Toronto Airport Church, to receive this spirit, these demonstrations and that “blessing”. TOday I would say that this is something somewhat macabre.

Paul has emerged as the details go. He led the prayers and rituals of ‘bandeau’. It was one of the leading names in the church, but during a service, he realized that there was something wrong in all this. He says that people imitated dogs and behaved like drunkards.

– Today I believe that this spirit is a false spirit, a deceiving spirit and not the spirit of the sacred scriptures

Gold says he was in a trance when a thought came that it was wrong.

– At the same time, my heart was convinced and at the same time I asked the Lord Jesus to forgive me for being so stupid, so ridiculous.

Gold decided to shut down the church and wrote a letter that says “the devil uses the ‘fall in spirit’ to blind people, the move violates the Scriptures.” The pastor ended up getting sick. It was then that he realized how much he had been mistaken.

– The Holy Spirit, the name says, is holy. He will never encourage people to do something that is not sacred. People, humanity made in the image of god, because God depreciate mankind by making people look animals?

At reporter Heloisa Vilela, the founder of the movement ‘bandeau’ sent a message to Braziilians.

– Please pastor, not adopt it. Do not think that is a good thing. This is not of God. This is a scheme of the devil. And that will bring destruction to men, women and children who embrace it.

For the neurologist Marcelo Sogabe, there is a medical explanation for the declines in series.

– This is given the technical name of pareidolia, which for some reason the brain is conditioned to react, as everyone will react. The brain needs to search for images and when the search and view all falling, it also affects the person doing it.

Repentant

In the city of Araraquara (SP), Cecilia Moura, gospel for over thirty years, participated for four years in cults who adopted the “fall spirit, but realized that for the achievements of cults, something strange happened.

– We fall, was laughing, rolling on the floor, but it brought me a challenge in terms of outcome. What it brought to my life? Nothing.

Disillusioned, Cecilia decided it was time to abandon the movement.

– There’s something I have to do and there’s something I have to do for me. And it certainly was not falling on the floor laughing and that my life would change.

Today, she and her husband abhor this practice and says cured of deceptions imposed by preachers.

Clemilda da Conceição also used to hang in the church. She sought comfort after a traumatic separation. She sought comfort in the church, but did not understand and did not like the feeling.

– I could not understand, because what I sought was not falling. I sought the Holy Spirit, I sought changes. I fell, but nothing changed. I did not have the gifts of the spirit that the Bible says that you must have. And realize it was important to set me free.

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July 5, 2012

On the campaign trail, June 2012

On the campaign trail, June 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, June 2012

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

The following is the eighth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, a Green Party presidential candidate who announced his 2012 plans to Wikinews four years ago speaks to Wikinews once again, the candidate leading the California American Independent Party presidential primary discusses his campaign, and Wikinews explores whether Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky will be selected as the Republican Party vice presidential nominee.

Summary

In June, California held presidential primary elections for both the Democratic and Republican parties. President Barack Obama was uncontested on the Democratic ballot, and easily won; as did presumptive nominee Mitt Romney on the Republican side. Other presidential primaries in California involved the American Independent, Peace and Freedom, Green, and Libertarian third parties, though not all of these were binding. In the binding Green primary, physician Jill Stein edged comedienne Roseanne Barr to secure enough delegates to become the party’s presumptive presidential nominee. As for other primaries in June, the Republican Party held its final contest in Utah late in the month with Romney easily claiming victory. Afterwards, Fred Karger, the first openly gay presidential candidate for a major party’s nomination, officially ended his campaign.

Starting off, the Obama campaign had a few difficulties in June: a jobs report for the previous month showed a spike in the unemployment rate; Democrats failed to win a recall against the Republican governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin, bolstering Romney’s prospects in the state; Romney called Obama “out of touch” for his remark that “The private sector is doing just fine”; and despite Obama’s position against extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, former Democratic president Bill Clinton suggested during a CNBC interview that in current circumstances, extending the Bush tax cuts would be “probably the best thing to do right now.” Clinton’s spokesman later clarified that Clinton backed the president’s position. However, consumer advocate and frequent presidential candidate Ralph Nader speculated that Clinton was “undermining Obama…to appear with Hillary as very friendly to business” in order to lay the groundwork for a 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential run.

Former president Bill Clinton campaigns in Wisconsin in June 2012.
Image: marctasman.

The Romney campaign faced a few challenges of its own: reports surfaced that Romney impersonated police officers in his youth; Obama attacked him for his investments’ alleged outsourcing of jobs; and vice president Joe Biden discussed his Swiss bank account, portraying him as an elitist at odds with the middle class. Nevertheless, a large amount of Romney coverage in June focused on his search for a running mate. After ABC News reported that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was not being vetted as a possible vice presidential candidate, Romney disputed the report and claimed that in fact Rubio was being vetting for the nomination. Additionally, two prospects, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, both took their names out of consideration for the spot, though Rice reportedly ‘stole the show’ at a Romney retreat. At the end of June, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio received increased mention as a potential nominee after Senator John McCain jokingly told a group of Portman interns, “now you can say you interned for Vice President Portman.”

In mid-June, Obama injected the issue of immigration into the campaign when he announced by decree that illegal immigrants at most 30 years old who entered the United States before the age of 16 and remain in good standing in their communities, would no longer be deported. During the announcement, Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro interrupted the president to ask how the move would affect American workers. A frustrated Obama acknowledged the interruption, and responded, “It’s not time for questions, sir…Not while I’m speaking.” The interruption threatened to overshadow Obama’s announcement, which analysts suggested was aimed to solidify support among Hispanics. Romney did not explicitly respond to the announcement, but said during an interview with Face the Nation that he instead would implement “a long-term solution”. About two weeks after the announcement, Washington Post analyst Aaron Blake of Chris Cillizza‘s The Fix examined polls from Quinnipiac University and reported that though many voters in the swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio favored the new policy, those concerned about the issue were much more likely to oppose it. Blake concluded that the new policy would likely help Obama in the Latino-heavy swing states of Colorado and Nevada, but might possibly hurt him in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Other political events shaped the campaign as June came to a close. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a tax. Though deemed a political victory for President Obama, Romney proclaimed that the ruling brought a “greater urgency” to the election, explaining to his base that repealing the health care bill now required Obama to be voted out of office. In the first three hours after the ruling, the Romney campaign raised one million dollars, a spokesman reported. On the same day as the decision, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. President Obama claimed the documents fell under executive privilege. Many congressional Democrats walked out during the vote and accused Republicans of playing politics. Pollsters said Holder was the most unpopular member of the Obama administration but predicted groups outside the Romney campaign would focus on the issue, in order to not divert Romney from his message on the economy. The Romney campaign ran ads at the end of June that used footage of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, polled as the most popular member of the Obama administration, criticizing Obama during the 2008 primaries for “perpetuating falsehoods”, concluding with “Shame on you, Barack Obama.” On June 30, Obama led Romney in the national RealClearPolitics average, 47.5 percent to 43.8 percent.

Wikinews interviews Green Party candidate

Kent Mesplay at an Earth Day event in 2008.
Image: Kent Mesplay.

In addition to Jill Stein and Roseanne Barr, Kent Mesplay, an air quality inspector from San Diego, participated in June’s California Green Party presidential primary. He finished the contest in third place with 10.8 percent behind Stein’s nomination-clinching showing of 49.3 percent and Barr’s second place 39.9 percent. In the aftermath of the primary and ahead of the July 12–15 Green National Convention, Wikinews reached out to Mesplay.

Mesplay, who serves as a delegate to the Green National Committee, had previously sought the Green presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008, falling short both times. Wikinews first interviewed Mesplay during his second presidential campaign in June 2008, when he announced his intentions to seek the Green Party’s 2012 presidential nomination. During his 2012 bid, Mesplay has campaigned on his support for sustainability, indigenous rights, campaign finance reform, and reductions in military spending. He has received the endorsements of party co-founder John Rensenbrink, 2004 Green Party vice presidential nominee Pat LaMarche, and Green activist Kat Swift.

With Wikinews, Mesplay discusses his thoughts on Stein and Barr, Green policies in general, and his future political plans.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png With the outcome of the California primary, physician Jill Stein has secured enough delegates to be the Green Party presumptive presidential nominee. What are your thoughts on Stein and her policy proposals? How do they compare to your own and have you discussed the vice presidential nomination with her?

Mesplay: The focus of Stein’s campaign has been a “Green New Deal,” which is a federal public jobs program funded by anticipated military cuts and by updated taxes. I support the stated goals of the program, although I question the practicality of relying upon such anticipated funding sources. Our campaigns agree on the severity of the crises to be responsibly addressed: climate change, economic melt-down, crumbling infrastructure, torn social safety-nets. We need to transform toward being a sustainability-driven culture, rather than one that liquidates our natural resources to our collective peril, and green jobs play a central role in this. I introduced the Green New Deal in campaign flyers in 2008; the idea has been floating around Green circles for a decade or so.
Rather than emphasize an apparently centralized, federal, “top-down” approach to improving our governance, my role in the 2012 Green Party presidential campaign season has been to emphasize a “ground-up” approach, making the case for volunteerism, local currency and scrip, and direct, immediate citizen involvement with local solutions to “fund” the transformation. More than just a complementary approach, direct citizen action is practical in that one does not need to wait for a Green President or Congress. At the federal policy level, we would see more success and less resistance by, say, gradually transforming the military to lead the fight in climate-change through re-training. However we go about it, we should be growing food wherever we can, and we should be better prepared and able to quickly meet the health and safety basic needs of masses of people. My “stamp” is an argument for sustainability as security-enhancing emergency preparation. I am also an outspoken advocate for Native Americans, having this as part of my ancestry and upbringing.
I have not directly discussed the vice presidential nomination with Jill Stein, although I have expressed such interest when Skyping in to a recent Michigan Green Party state meeting. I will support Jill Stein as the Green Party nominee in whatever way I can.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Comedienne Roseanne Barr, who finished second in California, seems to be hinting that she may continue her campaign as an Independent after the National Convention. What is your reaction to Roseanne and her campaign? Has she had a positive influence on the Green Party?

Mesplay: Roseanne is an entertainer. Jill and I privately conferred right after Roseanne entered the race, “for real,” knowing that Roseanne’s behavior could draw the party unwanted negative publicity. We were aware of Roseanne’s self-appointed title of (virtual) Prime Minister of Israel in an online parliamentary project and were concerned about her antics. In getting to know her, I now consider her a friend. She is intelligent, thoughtful, well educated and genuinely concerned about societal and environmental problems, and has been a strong advocate for Native people. When helping to shape the effect of Roseanne’s entry into the race, I said, “Roseanne needs to get serious and we [Jill and I] need to have more fun [with our deathly-serious issues].” Over-all, Roseanne has brought positive attention to the Green Party, has helped register voters and has increased our exposure to the media. She entered the race too late to be a serious threat to Jill’s campaign, and early enough to make it more interesting. And (watch out), she is making a movie about her run for president. She says it’s funny.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png When we last interviewed in June 2008, it was under similar circumstances: you were seeking the Green Party presidential nomination; the National Convention was just a few weeks away; and like Stein, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney had already secured enough delegates to be the party’s presumptive nominee. At the time, you mentioned that you were “taking the steps to begin running for the 2012 presidential race.” Now, at this point in the 2012 race, do you have similar plans to run for president in 2016?

Mesplay: I was the first declared Green candidate in 2012. My challenge is to raise enough money that I can take time off work to actually run, full-time. To date, I have not been able to actively participate in a more visible, effective, competitive manner. I am undecided as to whether I will run, again.

American Independent Party primary results

AIP primary results by county: Noonan (blue violet), Roth (red), Riekse (green), No votes (black)
Image: William S. Saturn.

The American Independent Party (AIP), a paleoconservative group formerly affiliated with the Constitution Party that has guaranteed ballot access in California, listed three presidential candidates on its ballot for June’s California primary: the party’s former chairman Edward C. Noonan; radio talk show host Laurie Roth; and former United States Army Lieutenant Colonel “Mad” Max Riekse.

In the tally last updated on June 26, Noonan led Roth 16,625 votes (38.8 percent) to 16,044 (37.4 percent) with Riekse polling 10,227 votes (23.8 percent) for third place. Wikinews tried to contact the leading two candidates, but only successfully connected with Noonan.

Noonan, who ran for both Governor of California in 2006 and U.S. Senate in 2010 as the AIP nominee, told Wikinews that the “only purpose” for his run was to “have standing” in a lawsuit against President Barack Obama. Noonan, who refers to Obama as “Mr. Soetero”, said his most recent suit questioning Obama’s citizenship was dismissed in court. He believes Obama’s birth certificate “is forged and a fraudulent document” due to “multiple layers of different typewriter font sizes”, signatures in “multi-colored [ink] and sliced into the document in different patches.” Furthermore, he says that without a legitimate birth certificate, Obama “cannot prove that he is an American citizen [because his]…birth father was a foreign national from Kenya”. Noonan says that this disqualifies Obama from being president.

As a candidate, Noonan has sent out press releases and made numerous attempts to spread his message through the internet; however, he has received very little media attention. He argues that people are indifferent to politics and that the “corrupt news media” ignores third party candidates such as himself. Additionally, he sees the two major parties as corrupt and refers to them as “two heads from the same beast.” He describes his opponent Roth as “a Republican traitor” and feels the AIP made a mistake by listing such a non-member on the primary ballot.

Roth, who says she feels God has called her to seek the presidency, unsuccessfully sought the Constitution Party presidential nomination earlier this year. On her website, she calls for the institution of a two percent consumption tax, the eventual repeal of all other taxes, and the elimination of the national debt in four to five years. Ahead of the primary, she received the endorsement of notable birther activist Orly Taitz. Wikinews has made numerous attempts to contact Roth, but has thus far received no response.

Former congressman Virgil Goode, the Constitution Party’s presidential nominee, and Tom Hoefling, the America’s Party presidential nominee, are both also reportedly seeking the AIP nomination despite not being listed on the primary ballot. The nominating convention is scheduled to take place August 11.

Might Rand Paul be the GOP VP nominee?

After Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky endorsed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in June, speculation spread that Romney might select Paul as his running mate. However, according to two political analysts, the scenario is unlikely and may not be strategically wise for Republicans.

Paul, who holds libertarian views similar to those of his father, Congressman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas, announced his endorsement of Romney on Hannity. He cited Romney’s support for a Federal Reserve audit, a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act as rationale for the move. However, Paul did not mention his policy disagreements with Romney on such issues as the War on Drugs, the USA PATRIOT Act, and the foreign policy of the United States.

Paul speaks at a Tea Party Express event.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Some libertarians and supporters of Ron Paul reacted angrily to the decision. The Libertarian Party released a statement saying “no true libertarian, no true friend of liberty, and no true blue Tea Partier could possibly even consider, much less actually endorse or approve of, the Father of Obamacare, Big Government tax and spender, Republican Mitt Romney.”

Nevertheless, some saw it as an attempt for Paul to position himself as a potential vice presidential candidate. Paul said it would be “a great honor” for Romney to consider him as a running mate. Proponents of this idea, such as Daniel McCarthy of The American Conservative, say Paul would help steer Republicans and the possible Romney administration away from statist and interventionist policies. Others do not view this as sound campaign strategy.

According to North Star Opinion Research strategist Dan Judy, the endorsement was simply Paul’s “way of supporting the Republican team and hoping to curry some favor with the Romney folks in hopes of getting his dad a speaking slot at the convention“. Though Judy held that the pick would help Romney with those concerned about Romney’s conservatism such as the “hard core Tea Party base”, he sees Paul’s political inexperience, questionable appeal to political independents and moderates, and the lack of any geographic advantage for the ticket as reasons that the scenario has “virtually no shot”.

Political analyst Kyle Kondik of Sabato’s Crystal Ball largely agrees, stating that the selection would be a “real surprise” and that though “supporters of Ron and Rand Paul are a vocal part of the Republican Party, they are but one small constituency, and their views, particularly on matters of war and peace, are too different from Romney and the Republican mainstream to imagine Rand (or Ron) in the No. 2 slot on the ticket.”



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February 12, 2012

Anti-ACTA activists protest across Europe

Anti-ACTA activists protest across Europe

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Internet
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  • Parts of internet break as ‘512k day’ reached by routers

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Anti-ACTA protestors on the steps of Trafalgar Square outside the National Gallery in London.
Image: Tom Morris.

Guy Fawkes masks were on display in cities across Europe yesterday as part of a protest against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), an international trade agreement on copyright and intellectual property that opponents believe will limit free speech online.

Organisers of the protest said about 100,000 people turned up in German cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Hanover. In Berlin, police estimated 6,500 protestors. Protests also took place in Paris, Sofia in Bulgaria, Vilnius in Lithuania, Valetta in Malta, Tallinn in Estonia, and Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. In London, about 200 people protested outside some major copyright holders’ offices. Last month, there were major protests in Poland when that country signed ACTA, which has led to the Polish government deciding not to ratify the agreement, for now. Latvia and Slovakia have both delayed the process of joining ACTA.

Jim Killock from the Open Rights Group, a UK digital civil liberties campaigning group, said ACTA was “undemocratic”, “lacked scrutiny”, and was “setting up dangerous new pressures to censor the internet”.

The United Kingdom have signed ACTA, along with 21 other EU countries. Germany and the Czech Republic have held out on agreeing to it, awaiting a debate on the matter in the European Parliament in June. Baroness Wilcox, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, claims signing the treaty was important to help bring about “common enforcement standards and more effective international cooperation” in intellectual property law.



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  • “Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012#EU official resigns over anti-piracy treaty” — Wikinews, January 28, 2012

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February 3, 2012

On the campaign trail, January 2012

On the campaign trail, January 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, January 2012

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Friday, February 3, 2012

The following is the third in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, the challengers to President Barack Obama react to the results of the New Hampshire Democratic Party primary, two new political parties choose their first presidential nominees, and an economist who announced his intentions to seek the nomination of Americans Elect answers a few questions for Wikinews.

Summary

Mitt Romney on the eve of the Iowa Caucus.
Image: Iowa Politics.

Initially, it was reported that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucus by eight votes over former Senator Rick Santorum, who surged in the polls just days ahead of it. Several weeks later it was revealed that Santorum actually won. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann dropped out of the race as the result of her sixth place finish. Romney went on to win the New Hampshire Primary the next week, with Ron Paul placing second. Jon Huntsman, Jr., who finished third, dropped out and endorsed Romney.

Ahead of the South Carolina primary, Texas governor Rick Perry ended his run and endorsed Gingrich. Gingrich received praise for his debate performances in South Carolina, and won the primary by a large margin over Romney despite a highly publicized interview with his ex-wife just before. By this point, the campaign had turned negative with Gingrich attacking Romney for his business past, and with Romney referring to Gingrich as a “failed leader”.

President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address on January 24. It was widely viewed as his “campaign kickoff” for re-election, and included a populist message that labeled the nation’s tax code as “rigged for the super wealthy”. Following the address, Obama traveled to five campaign battleground states.

Just ahead of the Florida primary, Gingrich won the endorsement of former candidate Herman Cain. Nevertheless, Romney held a five-to-one spending advantage and was able to win the state and all fifty of its delegates. He solidified his position as frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

New Hampshire Democratic Party primary results

Though the Republican Party’s first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary received the bulk of media attention earlier in January, the Democratic Party held a primary in the state as well.

Second place finishers by town.
Cowan (blue), Supreme (red), Terry (yellow), Haywood (purple), Freis (yellow orange), Ely (brown), O’Connor (light grey), Richardson (pink), Wolfe (grey), O’Donnell (orange), Greene (green), Jordan (red violet), Tyler (peach), none (white), greater than two (black).

President Barack Obama was challenged by thirteen Democratic Party presidential candidates including performance artist Vermin Supreme, anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, and historian Darcy Richardson. In the end, Obama easily won the primary with 81 percent, which amounted to 49,080 votes. Though the percentage was in the range won by incumbent presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush during their respective parties’ primaries in 1996 and 2004, the vote total was about 5,000 less than Bush received in 2004, and almost 30,000 fewer than Clinton in 1996.

New Hampshire primary runner-up Ed Cowan.
Image: Marc Nozell.

Out of the candidates on the ballot, Ed Cowan of Vermont finished second behind Obama with 975 votes or 1.56 percent. Cowan’s percentage was greater than that achieved by the Republican Party’s 2004 New Hampshire primary runner-up Richard Bosa who finished with 1.2 percent, and greater even than comedian Pat Paulsen‘s 1.1 percent second place finish in 1996.

The result surprised even Cowan, who said “More people voted for me than I actually met… I passed out about 500 copies of my stump speech, 550 at the most. Officially (based on my receipts) I spent $580, but it might have been as much as $650 tops. That resulted in 1.5 votes per dollar spent”. Cowan hopes to enter additional primaries, and hints that he may be thinking about an independent run; “The only vote that matters in the long run is the one on 11/7/12 [U.S. Election Day], and I hope to be on most if not all ballots.”

Vermin Supreme of Massachusetts came in third with 833 votes or 1.37 percent. In response to the results, Supreme exclaimed, “I WON !!!!!” In fact, Supreme has received notice: a recent Gregory Brothers video for the popular YouTube show “Songify the News” included a clip of his glitter bomb of fellow candidate Randall Terry. It has received over one million views.

Terry finished fourth with 442 votes. He told Wikinews, “we did what we set out to do: we injected the plight of unborn babies into this primary; hundreds of thousands of people in New Hampshire, Maine, and Boston saw the victims of Obama’s policies: dead babies.”

John Haywood was close behind with 423 votes. When asked for his reaction to the results, he stated: “when you’re beaten by a ratio of 115 to 1, you don’t exactly go whoopee, do you? I am, nevertheless, tremendously proud of my platform at haywoodforpresident.com.”

Darcy Richardson, who was interviewed by Wikinews last November, finished with 264 votes. He hypothesized that his ballot position and the fact that he did not travel to New Hampshire contributed to the low vote total. He remarked:

Cquote1.svg

Normally I would feel rather despondent about the results, but then I’m reminded that Eugene McCarthy garnered only 211 votes in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary when he revisited the state in 1992, and State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf of Pennsylvania, who has more experience in elected office than anybody running in either party and who personally spent several days campaigning in the state late last week, polled only 24 votes in yesterday’s Republican primary. Despite our non-presence, we actually made a comparable showing to that of Louisiana’s Buddy Roemer and received a higher percentage of the vote than gay activist Fred Karger, both of whom virtually lived in the state for the past four or five months.

We’ll do much better in future primaries, beginning with Missouri on February 7th.

Cquote2.svg

Of the other candidates, Aldous Tyler received 106 votes, John Wolfe, Jr. received 245, Bob Ely received 287, Craig Freis received 400, Bob Greene 213, Robert Jordan 155, Cornelius O’Connor 266, and Ed O’Donnell 222. There were several thousand write-in votes including 2,289 or 3.77 percent of the total for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, Jr. each also received over one thousand write-in votes.

New parties select presidential nominees

Anderson greets supporters.
Image: Jeremiah Roth.

Both the Justice Party and the American Third Position Party (A3P) selected their first presidential nominees in January.

On January 12, the A3P nominated Independent filmmaker Merlin Miller for president and selected retired professor Virginia Abernethy as his running mate. The party was founded in 2010, and promotes third position politics and white nationalism. According to Miller’s campaign manager Alex Carmichael, it is currently petitioning to appear on the Ohio ballot, and plans to do so in a dozen other states.

The next day, the Justice Party nominated former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson, who had formed the party a few months before. It supports accountability through the removal of corporate money in politics, and is currently on the ballot in several states.

The party did not reach the deadline to file in California, and Anderson decided on January 9 that he would seek the nomination of the socialist Peace and Freedom Party, which has attained ballot access in the state. Others competing for the party’s nomination include Socialist Party USA nominee Stewart Alexander, Party for Socialism and Liberation nominee Peta Lindsay, and Stephen Durham of the Freedom Socialist Party.

Economist running for president

Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff announced in early January that he intends to seek the presidential nomination of Americans Elect, an independent organization hoping to nominate a bipartisan ticket for the 2012 presidential election. The group says it has already achieved ballot access in fifteen states, and hopes to appear on all the rest. Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer has also expressed his interest in the nomination.

Kotlikoff, who filed with the FEC on January 12, has authored fifteen books and is a regular contributor at Bloomberg.com. As an economist, he has consulted for large corporations, central banks, national governments, and international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund. The policy basis of his run is the “Purple plan”, a tax proposal that he believes both Democrats and Republicans can support.

Kotlikoff took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews.

Laurence Kotlikoff in November 2011.
Image: Hung-Ho Vergil Yu.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIf elected president, what specific policies would you promote, and how would you work with a likely Republican congress to implement them?

Kotlikoff: Many of my specific policies are posted at www.thepurpleplans.org. Others are laid out under Issues at www.kotlikoff2012.org.
I can talk to both sides of the isles. I have friends on both sides and can intermediate very well between the two parties. The two sides are often recommending much the same thing, but with different words. I can translate. If you read my Bloomberg columns about health care reform and tax reform, you’ll see this ability to connect the dots for both sides. Plus, if I were elected, it would be on the basis of my proposed policies, not my great looks or personality. The politicians would be on clear notice with respect to what policies the public wants implemented. If they didn’t implement them, they’d have me campaigning against them, regardless of which party they were in.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your views on the Stop Online Piracy Act? How would you address the issue of online piracy as president?

Kotlikoff: On SOPA, I’m concerned with its potential chilling effect of freedom of speech on the Internet. I’m also deeply concerned about online piracy. But we need to be careful not to do more harm with respect to our 1st Amendment rights than good in defending intellectual property rights. As President, I’d bring together the proponents and opponents of SOPA and ask them to listen to each other and respond to the other side’s concerns. If I became persuaded that we could better combat online piracy via new legislation as opposed to enforcing existing legislation, I would ask the two sides to put forward a jointly authored bill.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your thoughts on fellow AE presidential candidate and former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer? If he wins the AE nomination, would you consider running as an Independent?

Kotlikoff: On Governor Roemer, I agree with some statements on his website and differ with others. I believe we agree on much more than we disagree. What I don’t see is much depth or detail to what he proposes. It’s not enough to write a few sentences here and there about our problems. What we need is someone who really knows how to fix them in the simplest, cost-effective manner. The Purple Plans illustrate my ability to formulate real solutions to our pressing problems. The only plan that I saw of the Governor’s (in my admittedly quick look at his site) is his tax plan. I believe it would be less efficient, less conducive to growth, and far less progressive than www.thepurpletaxplan.org. His reference to sales taxes indicate a lack of knowledge on his part or that of his economic advisors of how consumption taxation works and what it really taxes.
I’m an independent now in terms of my political affiliation. If you are asking whether I would run as a write-in candidate for President, the answer is no. I expect to win the AE nomination. I looked a bit more at Governor Roemer’s site. One of the problems we face in the policy formation arena is getting close, but no cigar. The Governor has some good instincts in some areas, some bad ones in other areas, and no real specifics beyond the tax plan, which has, I believe, some very major flaws. In the end, he’s a politician and a banker, not an economist and I really think we need an economist at this point to get to the cigar when it comes to the very many severe economic problems we face. I’ll let you judge for yourself by comparing what’s on my website with his as well as those of other AE candidates who emerge. Knowing we have problems, knowing they aren’t being fixed, and knowing that the two parties are making the problems worse is all fine and good, but knowing precisely how to fix the problems is a different kettle of fish. I don’t suggest that designing economic policy is as tough as brain surgery, but spending decades studying economics makes a difference.



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January 28, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, January 28, 2012.

If you believe any of these stories deserves more in-depth coverage, feel free to write a full article on the issues raised.

EU official resigns over anti-piracy treaty

Rapporteur to the European Parliament Kader Arif has resigned yesterday in protest over the signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) by 22 members of the European Union on Thursday. He said “I will not participate in this masquerade.”

Reaction to the signing treaty, which has still to be ratified, was strong in Poland; thousands protested in Poznan and Lublin, and in the Polish Parliament members of the Palikot’s Movement donned Guy Fawkes masks in protest.

The European Commission website maintains that “Anything you can do legally today is still legal after the ratification of ACTA.”



French troops to end Afghan combat role a year early in 2013

Speaking yesterday after a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced France will end its Afghan combat missions in 2013 — a year earlier than planned.

Following the death of four French soldiers at the hands of an Afghan soldier last week, Sarkozy had threatened early withdrawal of French troops.



United States and Philippines discuss enhanced defense cooperation

The United States and the Philippines are discussing the possibility of enhanced defense cooperation, according to officials of both countries. However, there are no plans for bases along the lines of the former United States bases at Subic Bay and Clark Air Base.

The talks come in the context of a shift of United States strategic focus toward Asia, and Chinese claims in the South China Sea.





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January 20, 2012

U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire comes out against SOPA

U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire comes out against SOPA

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Friday, January 20, 2012

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U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire came out against SOPA yesterday evening at meeting with constituents in Monaca, Pennsylvania.

Altmire announces his opposition to SOPA.
Image: Ragesoss.

The meeting at The Fountainhead Cafe was organized after proprieter John Dalton invited Congressman Altmire via Twitter.

Cquote1.svg this bill is not the answer Cquote2.svg

—Congressman Jason Altmire

After moderating an hour-long discussion about SOPA, file-sharing, copyright, censorship, and related topics, Altmire announced his opposition to SOPA, expressing confidence that it wouldn’t move forward. He called the widespread public outcry against SOPA and PIPA “amazing”, and encouraged the crowd make their voice heard on other issues as well.

Altmire emphasized that “piracy and copyright infringement in foreign countries, especially […] in China and southeast Asia” is a “huge issue”, but that “this bill is not the answer”.



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January 19, 2012

US government, music industry websites taken offline in web attack

US government, music industry websites taken offline in web attack

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

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The day after several major websites staged a mass blackout over proposed United States anti piracy legislation, namely the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) proposals, members of online activist group Anonymous have knocked US Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI), Recording Industry Association of America‘s (RIAA) and Universal Music (UMG)’s websites offline in apparently coordinated web attacks. Several other websites such as BMI.com were also taken offline.

At about 4:15 p.m. EST both www.justice.gov, www.fbi.gov, and www.universalmusic.com went offline. Shortly after 5:00 p.m. the RIAA’s website also went dark. At the time of this report, all three websites are still offline. Just after 6:00 p.m., Universal Music Group shut down their website for “maintenance.” In postings to Twitter, members of Anonymous claim responsibility, saying the attacks are a response to the FBI‘s seizure and shutdown of file-sharing website Megaupload, and in protest against the American anti-piracy laws. The group calls this “the largest attack ever by Anonymous” with over 5,600 people participating in the attack.

“The government takes down Megaupload? 15 minutes later Anonymous takes down government & record label sites. Expect us,” stated a message from ‘YourAnonNews’ on Twitter. Another member of Anonymous told RT News that there are more attacks to come.

Megaupload was a file-sharing website boasting over 50 million visits per day. On Thursday the FBI seized and shutdown the website, arresting its founder and three other people. A total of seven people connected to the website were arrested and indicted on charges that include copyright infringement, racketeering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Authorities say Megaupload allowed individuals to download movies “often before their theatrical release, music, television programs, electronic books, and business and entertainment software on a massive scale.” They also claim the website was costing entertainment industry copyright-holders “well in excess of US$500 million” in damages.



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“Wikipedia, Reddit in ‘blackout’ against SOPA, PROTECT IP laws” — Wikinews, January 17, 2012

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January 18, 2012

Wikinews interviews Sue Gardner on Wikipedia blackout

Wikinews interviews Sue Gardner on Wikipedia blackout

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Image: Ralf Roletschek.

Preparations at the Wikimedia Foundation for the blackout.
Image: Victor Grigas.

Today, the English version of Wikipedia is taking part in a 24-hour ‘blackout’ to protest two proposed U.S. anti-piracy laws, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act. The protest mirrors similar actions from other websites including Reddit and Boing Boing. The White House stated on Saturday that they “will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet”.

In the midst of the Wikipedia blackout, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation Sue Gardner answered some questions posed by Wikinews’ Tom Morris about the effectiveness of, and background to, the blackout.

Wikinews waves Left.pngTom MorrisWikinews waves Right.png Do you think the blackout is going to actually be effective?

Wikinews waves Left.pngSue GardnerWikinews waves Right.png Yes. In my opinion, the blackout has two main goals—to raise awareness about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, and to encourage readers to contact their elected representatives and give their views. The first has already been accomplished: there are already more than 4,000 stories in Google News about the blackout, and it was a trending topic on Twitter almost immediately. So we know we’ve been effective in raising awareness. What remains to be seen how many people will contact their elected officials.

Wikinews waves Left.pngTMWikinews waves Right.png What do you say to people who have decided to leave the editing community as a result of the blackout?

Wikinews waves Left.pngGardnerWikinews waves Right.png I hope nobody stops editing Wikipedia because of the blackout. I watched the community decision-making process unfold on the English Wikipedia, and I thought it was a good one. People first started talking about SOPA more than a month ago. Jimmy started the straw poll in mid-December. Over 1,800 English Wikipedians from many different countries participated in the discussion over the last three days. As the admins who closed it noted, this is by far the largest-ever number of participants in a community discussion on English Wikipedia, and the overwhelming majority of them supported action. So I would hope that anybody who opposes the blackout would also agree that the decision-making process was a good one, and would therefore be okay to accept it, however reluctantly.

Wikinews waves Left.pngTMWikinews waves Right.png How much technical planning went into the blackout before the community consensus was decided on Monday night?

Wikinews waves Left.pngGardnerWikinews waves Right.png Last Thursday Geoff Brigham [Ed: Wikimedia’s legal counsel] asked engineering to do an internal assessment of the technical implementation requirements, because the community discussions at that point were suggesting there would likely be some kind of action. Engineering did an initial assessment based on e.g. the Italian blackout, implications for search engines, etc., and then a lot of work happened over the weekend. The bulk of initial development and testing happened on a sprint on Martin Luther King Day, a public holiday in the United States, and the final launch development and testing sprint happened on Tuesday.

Wikinews waves Left.pngTMWikinews waves Right.png Does the fact that this is affecting only English Wikipedia and not the sister projects and other language projects concern the Foundation?

Wikinews waves Left.pngGardnerWikinews waves Right.png No. My understanding is that the English Wikipedia is the only project and language-version enacting a blackout, but that several other projects and language versions are putting up supportive banners, with the Italian Wkipedians doing a clickthrough informational interstitial. The German Wikipedia decided to put up banners even before consensus was reached on the English Wikipedia, and the Arabic Wikipedia, Italian Wikipedia and Commons later made the same decision. (There may be others, that I don’t know about.) I think that’s fine: each project and each language has different circumstances that argue for different types of action, or for no action. There is no one right answer that fits everybody.

Wikinews waves Left.pngTMWikinews waves Right.png Some have said that the lack of participation by opponents of SOPA in the commercial sector (sites of the size of Twitter, Facebook, Google etc.) is going to hamper the effectiveness of the blackout – is this a concern?

Wikinews waves Left.pngGardnerWikinews waves Right.png No. I don’t think anybody ever expected the big commercial sites to black out: most aren’t in a position to participate in something like this even if they wanted to. For example, they might have shareholders to answer to, participation might cost them significant revenue, or it could break contractual agreements (such as a commitment to maintain a certain level of uptime, or some other service delivery). Most sites are constrained by various commercial considerations: that makes Wikipedia’s participation particularly powerful and important.

Wikinews waves Left.pngTMWikinews waves Right.png Given both the Italian shutdown and the SOPA blackout, is the Foundation going to come up with a policy or set of conditions which limit when these kind of things happen? There are plenty in the community who support the SOPA actions but are concerned that this will set a bad precedent.

Wikinews waves Left.pngGardnerWikinews waves Right.png Yeah, I empathize with those people and to a certain extent I share that concern. The Wikimedia movement does not have a lot of experience with advocacy, and probably mistakes will get made. At this time the Wikimedia Foundation doesn’t have any plans to develop policy governing protests or advocacy work. But, I think it probably does make sense for the Foundation to create venues for these discussions so people can share thinking and expertise. So for example, we may create a mailing list dedicated to advocacy/lobbying. And there is some good thinking starting to happen [on the project-wide protests page on Meta].


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