Monday 30 April 2012

Yogi To The Rescue!

Hiker saved by bear after lion attack

A hiker has revealed how a bear saved his life from a lion attack.

Robert Biggs, 69, was on a hike in north-central California when he found a mother bear and her newborn 40 feet away from him.

After watching the animals for a few minutes, he turned back on his trail, only to be suddenly attacked by a lion, who grabbed his backpack.

"He grabbed me from behind and knocked me to the ground," Biggs told
The Huffington Post. "I was on my knees. I had my rock pick out because i was on a steep incline, and I smashed the cat in the head with it. He screamed, but he didn't let go.

"That's when a blur on my left side grabbed the lion by its throat - turns out it was the momma bear. I heard a tremendous screeching, some growling noises."

Biggs explained that the animals clashed for a further 15 seconds before the cat ran away.

The mother bear soon also left Biggs behind, who had bite marks, scratches and bruises. He added that he owes the bear his life.

"I'm 100% sure it did want to save my life," he said. "We made eye contact. I'd seen the bears before and I know she knew who I was."

Sunday 29 April 2012

Your Five A Day??

Bus driver 'sacked for eating a grape'

A 66-year-old man has allegedly been sacked by National Express Coaches for eating a grape.
Michael Shephard, who claims he was not driving while munching the fruit, is shocked and riled by his dismissal for breaking company regulations.
Shephard is quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying: "I am so angry. I thought I would be given a disciplinary for eating a grape, but not sacked.
"I don't eat or drink while I am driving but I was just sat stationary at the bus terminus in Bedworth for a few minutes and took a grape to wet my mouth a bit."
Revealing his health complications, he added: "I had a heart bypass 12 months ago and the medication dries your mouth so I just take a sip of water or a grape sometimes when I'm sat at the station or terminus.
"I had already eaten my lunch so there was only a few grapes left in my lunchbox. And rather than getting off the bus to eat the grape I just stayed sitting in the cabin.
"I explained why I needed to have a sip of water or a grape every hour or so but they said it is still against the rules. They are just taking the rules to the next level."
A National Express spokesman said: "The driver in question hasn't exhausted the disciplinary process that we have as a company and as a result we cannot make any public comment.
"However we do hold ourselves to high levels of safety and customer care standards."

Saturday 28 April 2012

ISP’s Chocking The Pirates?

Largest American ISPs Will Choke Pirate’s Pipe

A number of the country’s major Internet service providers have finally reached an agreement with the music and movie copyright outfits RIAA and MPAA, and are going to soon apply a kind of “three-strikes” regime in order to discourage online piracy.
Since this July, some of the largest US broadband providers, including Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable, are going to introduce a graduated response system, which will focus on stopping repeat infringers by throttling their broadband connection. The names of the Internet service providers involved in the move was recently published at the Association of American Publishers’ annual meeting by the RIAA’s head Cary Sherman.

This will work as following: at first case of infringement the subscriber will get a notification, informing them about piracy, copyright infringement, and breaching the agreement with the broadband provider. For the second case of infringement, they will receive another notification, this one asking the user to acknowledge receipt and sign a “pledge” to stop downloading unauthorized material. Finally, the third case of infringement will make the user face a Mitigation Measure Copyright Alert, which means that his Internet connection will be downgraded. However, nobody still can suspend VOIP, e-mail address, security or TV service.

However, the program itself isn’t enough to catch the copyright offenders, and that’s where the copyright owners come in to play. After finding an infringing torrent, they will notify the Internet service provider, who in response must pin-point the IP address and take action.

The scheme seems to be easy enough, and some may believe that this can help to entirely solve the piracy problem. However, the truth is that it can’t. Not only that it is virtually impossible for copyright owners to track every single torrent file in the Internet, but also an IP address can’t say for sure who exactly is behind it. Considering the fact that the music industry used the technique of “someone else using the IP” when caught pirating, anyone else can use the same excuse now.

This summer we will probably see how feasible this program is. The experts believe that VPNs, proxies and other ways of hiding your identity will be used widely, thus mocking this idea like they always did.

Friday 27 April 2012


Sweden May Kill off Banknotes

Sweden, known as the first country to introduce bank notes back in the 17th century, is about to follow its pop star’s advice and replace the cash with cyber transactions.
According to the American press reports, Bjoern Ulvaeus, an ex-member of Abba, has been instrumental in lobbying the authorities to give up banknotes and move to electronic cash.

Indeed, in most Swedish cities, the public transport doesn’t accept cash. Instead, the tickets are prepaid or bought through a mobile phone text message. A number of businesses also accept only cards. Even some bank offices have refused to handle cash altogether – this is more convenient and they may be confident that they won’t have to get themselves robbed.

However, this electronic new world isn’t for everybody. Curt Persson, the chairman of the country’s National Pensioners’ Organization, claims that there’s a trouble for elderly people in rural areas that either don’t have credit cards or have no idea how to use them to withdraw money. This can lead to a crisis, as people won’t be able to buy food or flat pack furniture.

Still, the reports say that even the churches have started installing card readers instead of the traditional collection plates. According to the statistics, cash makes up only part of 3% of the national economy, while this figure is around 9% in Europe and 7% in the United States. The question was why Bjoern Ulvaeus was so interested in a cashless society, and the answer may be found in the movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, which you might have already downloaded from us. The Sweden, as shown in the movie, is full of guns, violence, nazis, and open sandwiches. Ulvaeus confirmed in the interview that it was all an issue of security.

Ulvaeus’ son has already been robbed 3 times, so he wants Sweden to move to a digital economy in order to make life harder for thieves. The country’s Bankers’ Association admits that the shrinkage of the cash economy has led to the number of bank robberies reducing from 110 in 2008 to 16 last year. In addition, electronic transactions will make it difficult to hide cash, bribe people, or get engaged in shadow economy activities.

On the other hand, this has led to an increase in cybercrime, but Ulvaeus doesn’t seem to be too concerned over this issue.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Out Foxed?

15st man 'mugged by fox'

A fully-grown man has told how he was mugged by a fox, which cornered him and forced him into handing over his dinner.

Seb Baker, 29, weighs 15 stone but was attacked by the common red fox as he walked home from the supermarket.
The civil servant has revealed the wily fox, which had been sitting on a kerb at the side of the road, followed him into an alleyway.
There, he told the Sun newspaper, the aggressive animal leapt at him, circling him like prey and trying to snatch his shopping bag.
Despite making attempts to escape, the fox persisted and carried out a sustained attack on the food he had just bought from Tesco.
Eventually, Mr Baker claims, he resorted to offering the animal his loaf of garlic bread and the fox scampered off.
Mr Baker, from Orpington, Kent, told the Sun: “I had expected it to run away. I thought a fox would be scared of a 15-stone man.
“But the fox started circling me and then jumped up, trying to grab my shopping bag.
"Eventually I opened the bag and gave it a garlic loaf. He grabbed it and ran off.”
Wildlife expert John Bryant said foxes were getting bolder but were not generally interested in humans, and confirmed attacks like this are rare.
He advised: “If a fox is jumping at your shopping bag you need to shout at it and chase it off, not just give it the food.
“The best thing to use is a water pistol.”
In October 2011, five-year-old Marius Rook was mauled by a fox in his own bedroom in Hackney, London. Police used a noose to remove the animal from his home, after it it tried to bite his head.
In 2010, mother Pauline Koupparis told how a fox found its way into the upstairs bedroom of her nine-month-old twins, in her east London home.
The twins were left with severe injuries following the vicious attack.

Monday 23 April 2012

Beanz Meanz……..

Man killed buried under 20-foot mound of pinto beans

A 56-year-old man was killed when he was buried under a 20-foot mound of pinto beans at a warehouse in Colorado, police said.

Raymond Segura Jr. was pronounced dead at the Brush, Colorado, facility of the Kelley Bean Company after efforts to reach him alive were unsuccessful, Morgan County Undersheriff Dave Martin said.
"We moved several tons of beans to get to him," Martin said.
Martin said emergency personnel were summoned to the site at 11:30 a.m. on reports of a worker trapped in a pile of loose pinto beans. Martin said dozens of rescue workers and even four inmates from the county jail spent an hour digging through a 20-foot high mound of the legumes to get to the trapped worker, but he was dead when crews reached him.
Segura was a longtime resident of the area and had worked at the warehouse for between 12 and 15 years, Martin said.
The cause of the accident, how the victim became trapped and the exact cause of death are under investigation, he added.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Search & Download

New Tool for Searching and Downloading

The new instrument allows for torrent search links for a number of torrent trackers, including The Pirate Bay, Google Torrent, iMDB, Demonoid, AllSubs, Rotten Tomatoes, and YouTube Trailer search links.
Noah Keller, known for his work as a developer for Greasemonkey, has written a script named The Pirate Helper. This new tool adds search links to the largest BitTorrent trackers like TPB, Demonoid, Google Torrent, AllSubs, iMDB, and others, thus making downloading both user-friendlier and smarter.

Upon installing The Pirate Helper, the user will be able to search for films, read their reviews, watch the trailers, and even read the list of the cast and crew. In addition, the tool will add torrent search links for the most popular trackers. Among the features of the new instrument there are automatic updates, auto remove torrents with no seeds on The Pirate Bay, UI Tweaks, and many others.

Google Chrome users can simply visit the download page, press the button saying “Install” and follow the steps as described on the page. Firefox users will have before installing to add the GreaseMonkey Extension to the browser.

The official website of The Pirate Helper lists the following features:

- automatic checks for updates every day, so the user will always have the latest version;
- making search form order by seeds from highest to lowest by default on TPB;
- auto removing torrents with zero seeds on TPB;
- random UI Tweaks on TPB;

When you view a film on iMDB or Rotten Tomatoes, it would open the results in a new tab if you click the favicon link.
In order to update the tool manually, visit a site that supports it, right-click on the GreaseMonkey icon, choose “User script commands…”, “Update ‘The Pirate Helper’” and that’s it.

Saturday 21 April 2012


Dog mess could be subjected to DNA testing under plans being considered by a council

Dog mess could be subjected to DNA testing to identify the pets and owners responsible, under plans being considered by a council.

Officials in Lancashire are in discussions with a forensic vet over plans to analyse dog dirt found on pavements and in parks.
The scheme has been used effectively in Europe and the United States and is seen as an option to help tackle the growing problem of dog fouling.
Last year, Hyndburn borough council voted to call on the Government to increase the maximum fixed penalty notices for dog fouling from £75 to £1,000.
Ken Moss, a councillor who proposed the scheme, said talks about DNA testing are at an “early stage”.
If it goes ahead, it would be one of the first schemes of its kind in the country.
Mr Moss, who is chairman of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, said: “I am led to believe there are only two of these vets in Britain and they work by analysing the samples and identifying the dog by DNA. It’s something that has been used in tourism hot spots on the Continent and is something they are looking to get a foot hold of here in England.
He added that he did not know what the project would cost. “It would probably rely on some database,” he said. “It might be that it’s unrealistic and cost too much or rely too much on voluntary information from the public.”
Similar schemes in the US and Germany have relied on a DNA database with either fur or saliva samples being taken from dogs in a local area. Any dog faeces found in public places are then tested and checked against the DNA database to identify the offenders.
Harvey Locke, the former president of the British Veterinary Association and a practising vet, said current legislation would make it difficult to introduce a dog DNA database.
He said: “It is possible to identify dogs from a faeces sample, but you need to have a database with all the dogs in the area to identify a particular dog.”
He added that there were legal issues to be taken into account. “If somebody has seen a dog fouling and wants to report a particular dog, you would need to take a sample and that would require the owner’s consent,” said Mr Locke. “I am not aware of any legal framework that would allow this to happen.”
The proposals are the latest in a series of measures being taken by the council to help tackle the amount of dog mess in the streets. Police community support officers are being urged to issue dog fouling fines and extra dog warden patrols have been arranged.

Thursday 19 April 2012

More Web Restrictions??

Google and Microsoft Asked for Internet DRM

There seems to be dark murmurings on the W3C HTML mailing list, because a number of Internet giants, including Google, Microsoft and Netflix, announced that they are willing to bring copy protection mechanisms to the Internet.
Titled the Encrypted Media Extensions, the suggestion defines a framework for enabling the playback of protected media material in the Internet browser. One will understate the issue when saying that such a concept is controversial – indeed, it looks like the largest web corporations will have a fight to get this document adopted. There are people who believe that the proposed framework is entirely insecure. Mozilla has asked the developers about whether it could be possible to introduce such a proposal in an open-source Internet browser.

Still, there’s a kind of dispute even among the organizations as to whether it should go through. For instance, Ian Hickson from Google, the WHATWG HTML specification editor, said that the Encrypted Media proposal is at least “unethical” and wouldn’t even meet the necessary technical requirements.

The industry experts confirm that the proposal is similar to a DRM platform, but it could provide the needed components for a generic key-based content decryption system. The platform would work with pluggable modules running the decryption mechanisms. In addition, it would require for a new set of API extensions for HTMLMediaElement.

Still, even if the document is stomped on, it indicates that there are moves to have some form of material protection for online films. As for Netflix, the company needs to abandon plugins in favor of standards-based HTML5 video. However, Netflix has been stuffed by the lack DRM mechanisms that the entertainment industry requires before it releases the films to them.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

A Change of Mind?

Bulgaria Changed Its Mind Over ACTA

Bulgaria decided to no longer adhere to the terms of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement it signed a month ago after a wave of protests under the view that the online surveillance and prison terms it draws up infringe basic human rights.
Bulgaria refused to endorse ACTA treaty in any way, and announced that it wouldn’t participate in it until EU clarifies its position on the pact that is targeted at subduing digital theft of copyrighted material. The country’s Economy Minister admitted he was a pessimist when it came to regulating an industry that failed to adapt to the digital age via sanctions rather than market tools. He believes that copyrights shouldn’t be placed above fundamental human rights.
The treaty was signed by the United States, Australia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, and Morocco. ACTA delineates civil and criminal measures committed by signatory countries to carry out against threats to copyright. The treaty brings forth the strategies targeted at strengthening relations between customs authorities and conjures up a special body to track implementation of the treaty.

Bulgaria was among 21 EU countries that signed ACTA last month in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Germany, Estonia and Slovakia refused to sign the pact, and the Czech Republic and Poland have removed their endorsement. Bulgaria claims it changed its mind upon the lack of unanimity on the matter in the European Union. It promised not to take any action about implementing the agreement, including endorsement, until all European states have reached a consensus.

The media reports describe massive street protests last week in a number of countries throughout the Europe, including Spain, Germany, Romania, and Poland. Internet users demand transparency and their righteous say in the issue, things that are no more than natural attributes of the “democracies” held as supreme in the above mentioned countries and refuse to tolerate the fact that the treaty that will infringe their privacy and basic right to freedom of speech was signed without public debate.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

A “New” Dictionary?

The Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tongue: do you know your 'abbess' from your 'elbow shaker'?

It was first available when Britain was under threat from Napoleon but it has now been re-published for free at the Project Gutenberg online digital library.

It was a runaway success when published in 1811 by soldier Francis Grose, but now the Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tongue can be viewed online. Here is our round up of the best words:

ABBESS: Mistress of a brothel.
BABES IN THE WOOD: Criminals in stocks or pillory.
BLIND CUPID: Backside.
BOB TAIL: Lewd woman. Also an impotent man or a eunuch.
BREAD AND BUTTER FASHION: One upon the other. "John and his maid were caught lying bread and butter fashion."
COLD PIG: Punishment inflicted on "sluggards" who lie too long in bed — pulling off all the bedclothes and throwing cold water on them.
DOCK: Lie with a woman.
DUGS: Woman's breasts.
ELBOW SHAKER: A dice player.
GLAZIER: Someone who breaks windows to steal goods for sale.
HEMPEN WIDOW: One whose husband was hanged.
HOYDON: Romping girl.

JOLLY: The head.
KING'S PICTURES: Coin, money.
LEFT-HANDED WIFE: Concubine. Based on an ancient German custom where, when a man married his concubine, or a woman greatly his inferior, he gave her his left hand.
NOISY DOG RACKET: Stealing brass knockers from doors.
OVEN: Great mouth.
PIECE: Wench. A girl who is more or less active and skilful in the amorous congress.
POISONED: Big with child.
QUEER PLUNGERS: Cheats who throw themselves into the water in order that they may be taken up by their accomplices, who carry them to one of the houses appointed by the Humane Society for the recovery of drowned persons, where they are rewarded by the society with a guinea.
RESURRECTION MEN: Persons employed by the students in anatomy to steal dead bodies out of churchyards.
RUM DOXY: Fine wench.
SHOOT THE CAT: Vomit from excess of liquor.
SHY COCK: One who keeps within doors for fear of bailiffs.
TIT: Horse or smart little girl.
TWIDDLE POOP: Effeminate-looking fellow.
UNLICKED CUB: Rude, uncouth young fellow.
VAMPER: Stockings.
WINDOW PEEPER: Collector of window tax.
XANTIPPE: Socrates's wife, a shrew or scolding wife.
ZEDLAND: Great part of the West Country where the letter Z is substituted for S.

Monday 16 April 2012

World Police At It Again!!!

America Will Switch off Millions of PCs

The United States might have to switch off around 3 million of PCs all over the world that are infected with the DNSChanger trojan. That is, unless the court gives it an extension.
The government of the United States doesn’t actually want to do so, and decided to approach the courts to allow it to manage servers able to be connected to the DNSChanger Trojan. Nevertheless, if a court refuses, the services may go dark and the uses of the affected computers may lose their broadband connections.

6 individuals accused of operating and profiting from the botnet are likely to be extradited from their native country (Estonia) to face charges in the US. The DNSChanger trojan can modify settings on a host computer which tells the PC how to find online services on the web. The malware hijacks users’ search results and prevents them from visiting security websites that could help detect and delete the infections.

A New York district court ordered a private American firm to assume control over these servers. The plan was that Internet service providers and organizations would have time to identify and clean infected computers.

According to security experts, the surrogate control servers will operate until the 8th of March, but the cleanup process is expected to take much longer than expected. Over 3 million systems across the globe, including 500,000 in America, are still infected with the trojan. That’s why the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and NASA, is asking the judge to extend the deadline by over 4 months to provide broadband providers, private companies and the authorities with more time to clean up the mess. However, there are people believing that extending the deadline isn’t a good idea, because nothing will focus the people’s minds on cleaning up their PCs as well as a computer that doesn’t work.

Sunday 15 April 2012

Yeh Right!!!

The entertainment industry is again celebrating – a study into French anti-piracy legislation revealed that it appeared to be working. Regardless of the fact that the agency responsible for tracking the cases of copyright infringement, HADOPI, only sent its first cases to the courts last week, the research indicated that the appeal of piracy has reduced in the country since the law was passed.
According to the results of the study, digital sales that were previously slow to start in France, are now growing and music industry profits are starting to stabilize. The head of Universal Music France confirmed that French citizens started to realize that content creators should get paid for their work. The reason is that a lot of people have friends who have received a notification saying that they could be cut off, which creates a buzz and causes an educational effect.

HADOPI had sent over 800,000 notifications by email to alleged infringers by the end of last year. There were also 68,000 second warnings that had been issued through registered mail. Finally, as many as 165 cases reached the 3rd stage, where the courts are allowed to both impose fines of $1840 and to suspend broadband connections for a month.

The representatives of HADOPI believe that the relatively low number of 3rd-stage infringers proved that the system had succeeded. The pro-copyright outfit was given a budget of almost $15 million and employs 70 people. HADOPI claims that it has been watching a sharp decline in file-sharing in the country.

Another study, conducted by Wellesley College in Massachusetts and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh revealed that HADOPI gave a boost to the Apple iTunes store. Although there was no evident proof that the boost was caused by anti-piracy law, the case for a link was demonstrated by the fact that sales of musical genres suffering from high levels of piracy, such as hip-hop, increased significantly more than the sales of low-piracy genres, such as Christian and classical music.

The estimations are that HADOPI gave Apple over $18 million per year worth of iTunes music sales in the country. The “three-strikes” law was brought in by the President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who believes that post-SOPA supporting such rules is creating opposition. His opponents claim that HADOPI infringes on civil rights and they are actually getting a lot of support.

Saturday 14 April 2012

What We All Knew?

Acting not a proper job, say passport office

An actor has been left outraged after passport office staff told him that he did not have "a proper job".

Michael Sheldon countersigned a passport application for his daughter's boyfriend, but the request was rejected due to him being deemed an unsuitable referee.

An investigation was launched when Malcolm Sinclair, president of the actor's union Equity, wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May about the incident.

The Stage magazine, he described the snub as "staggering and something I felt I had to challenge", adding that it had caused "dismay, even outrage" amongst Equity members.

"Unless we are told otherwise, we must take it that the views of a clerk in the passport office represent those of the Government," he said.

"If it is the Government's opinion that 'acting is not a proper job' then I think they should come out with it."

A spokesman for the Identity and Passport Service confirmed: "We will be investigating and looking at whether further staff training is required.

"We provide a list of occupations solely as a guide to assist customers. The occupation of the counter-signatory is not a determining factor in considering a passport application."

The passport was also rejected due to an unsuitable photograph, according to
The AP

Friday 13 April 2012

Grannie Gets A Fine!!

Gran fined £75 after thread of cotton falls off glove

A grandmother in South Wales was fined for littering after a thread of cotton fell off one of her gloves.

Valerie George, 71, was out shopping when a council environmental enforcement officer approached her with the £75 fixed penalty fine.

George, from Brynmawr, Gwent, was stunned, particularly as she lives on a pension of £105 a week.

"It's ridiculous. I caught my watch on my glove and didn't even notice the cotton fall," George said according to
The Mirror.

Blaenau Gwent Council decided to withdraw the fine yesterday.

A spokesman said that an offence "was committed" but that pursuing the fine was "not in line" with its priorities.

Thursday 12 April 2012


Woman sues over 'sex-crazed' roommate
Claiming that her complaints about a sexually overactive roommate went unheeded by her former college, a woman is suing the school for not doing enough to rescue her.
According to, Lindsay Blankmeyer said in a federal lawsuit that she suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder before she enrolled at Stonehill College, near Boston, but was driven into a suicidal depression after school officials wouldn't give her housing alternatives to get her away from her roommate.
Blankmeyer, who graduated last year, said her roommate had sex with her boyfriend while she was trying to sleep just feet away and also participated in "sexually inappropriate video chatting" while Blankmeyer was in the dorm room.
In the lawsuit, Blankmeyer says the college offered her two options: One was moving to another dorm, where she would live in a room that was previously used as a study lounge and was a "small cubicle-like space." The other option was to move to a dorm with a reputation as a "party dorm" to live with a girl Blankmeyer did not know.
"Stonehill refused Lindsay's request for a single room, and in the following weeks and months Lindsay fell into a dark and suicidal depression, requiring her to take a leave of absence from school and undergo extensive psychiatric and medical treatment," the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston states.
Stonehill spokeswoman Kristen Magda said in the report the college responded "swiftly and professionally" to Blackmeyer's complaints about her roommate, first trying to resolve the dispute through mediation with a residence director, then by giving Blankmeyer "multiple options" for campus housing, including a private room.

"At no time did the student notify college staff that her concerns involved her roommate's sexual activity," Magda told

Wednesday 11 April 2012


Texas Family Wins Fight to Keep Baby Kangaroo

Homeowner's association says it did not know Joey was for therapy purposes

A Texas couple has prevailed in their fight to keep their special needs’ daughter’s beloved kangaroo pal “Mike” in the family.
The Estates of Legends Ranch Homeowners Association in Spring Thursday reversed its position that Jeni and Nick Dreis had to give up their daughter’s 6-month-old, 10-pound marsupial companion, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The Dreis family has said they are creating a wildlife preserve, organic farm and education center in Conroe, Texas to serve special needs children, including their daughter Kayla, who has Down's syndrome.
They only planned on keeping the Joey at their home for a year until he's ready to be transferred to the preserve, they said.
Since the story broke, the family has been hit with national media requests and will appear on the Animal Planet network in June, according to the Chronicle.
"The letter should never have been sent," HOA representative Jeff Crilley told the paper. "They were unaware that the kangaroo was being used for therapy purposes. We trust that the family is going to be working in good faith to find a more suitable home for the animal."

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Gambling Grannies!!

Charges dropped against gambling grannies
NICOSIA  - Cyprus authorities say they will drop charges against dozens of elderly women for gambling after reports of their prosecution triggered disbelief among the public.
Some 42 women aged between 60 and 98 had received a summons to appear in court this month after police nabbed them playing a local version of gin rummy at a private residence in 2009.
Gambling for even the smallest amounts - in the women’s case, police netted a total figure of about 100 euros ($130) - is banned on the east Mediterranean island.
By contrast, online gambling, an industry which has an estimated turnover exceeding 1 billion euros per year, is unregulated although lawmakers plan to introduce legislation on the matter next month.
“I asked for the file on the case and I immediately gave instructions for prosecution to be suspended,” Attorney-General Petros Clerides told state television.
The women, dubbed “Supergrans” by one newspaper, say their hobby helps keep their minds alert and allows them to socialise.
“What would they have expected us to do when we are 96,” said Eftychia Yiasemidou. Now 98, the former schoolteacher says she still indulges in her favourite hobby. “I only stopped about 20 days ago, temporarily, because of the cold weather,” she told the Politis daily.

Monday 9 April 2012

Film Industry Caught Out!!!

Film Industry Unaffected by P2P

Another research has proved that the entertainment industry falsely claims that it’s suffering from the piracy caused by BitTorrent networks. The research is titled “Reel Piracy: The Effect of Online Film Piracy on International Box Office Sales”, and was conducted by economics researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College.
It turned out that the politicians shouldn’t be in such a rush to surrender their people’s freedoms in order to prop up the film industry. According to the results of the research, the United States box office returns aren’t correlated to BitTorrent sharing. In addition, it turned out that shorter delays between the United States exhibition and overseas releases cause less file-sharing.

The study proved once again that the film industry still fails to realize that an effective marketing campaign for new releases in the United States would only stimulate demand in other countries. Meanwhile, if there is no legal way to satisfy this demand, significant part of the viewers would choose illegal methods, according to the report.

In addition, the results of the study showed that movie studios has been wasting fortunes policing copyrights, though they could save it by releasing the movies at the same time as the United States. Currently, film studios believe they are saving money by releasing films at what they think is “the right time”, while their timing is still ignored by online pirates who prefer to take the movies from BitTorrent instead of waiting.

Consumers in the United States, according to the report, would mostly choose the box office over piracy. In other words, if piracy displaced box office sales in the country, the researchers would have expected the slope of the returns profile to shift more considerably as peer-to-peer networks became more widely adopted.

At the same time, the scientists who carried out the study couldn’t see an irregular drop in returns of the local box office sales that could fault BitTorrent. All in all, the report indicated that the entertainment industry wouldn’t lose so much money if the studios decided to release its flicks internationally simultaneously. The same position, however, has been voiced many times before, but the movie industry for some reason refuses to consider this option.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Australia At It Again!!!

Australia Held Secret Piracy Meetings

The Australian government, which has been trying to introduce some kind of censorship for a while now, is reported to currently be engaged in secret meetings with Internet service providers and the entertainment industry in attempt to see if the country can bring in something before anyone notices.
It seems that the Australians have some weird trend in their government, which believes that there are votes with the Christian Right by censoring the web. Despite the fact that every survey in Australia seems to prove it is only a waste of time, a number of governments have been shelving and re-activating the plans.

The main problem is that any online filter is quite easy to get around, so the Internet service providers refuse to control them. Today the suspicions are that the desire for filtering within the Australian government, coupled with the desire of the entertainment industry to lock up users suspected of file-sharing, have somehow formed an unholy alliance.

Local media reported that the Federal Government of Australia has held a number of closed door meetings between the content and telecommunications industries. The idea of the meetings is to invent a way of locking up file-sharers without the need to find evidence. This will, in the meantime, create a precedent where broadband providers have to police their subscribers.

However, the industry observers point out that it won’t be fair at all. The entertainment industry has been trying to sue the Internet service providers into introducing voluntary agreements where the industry could provide a list of their subscribers and the broadband providers would simply cut them off. Fortunately, thus far the courts have sided with the Internet service providers.

The secret meeting is, of course, stacked with the copyright owners, like the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), the Motion Picture Association (MPA), Foxtel, the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), the Australian Home Entertainment Distributor's Association, the Australian Performing Right Association, Music Industry Piracy Investigations, the Interactive Gaming and Entertainment Association, and the Australian Publishers Association.

Of the Australian Internet service providers Optus, Telstra, the Internet Industry Association, and the Communications Alliance, as well as networking vendor Ericsson have been invited to the meetings.

Saturday 7 April 2012

There’s Hope yet for The Free Web!!

Tribler Is Fighting with Copyright Holders

It turned out that the consistent threats of the rights holders towards online services, their operators and Internet users despite the extent of their legality and legitimacy can also have positive effect. For example, they stimulate the innovative developers to come up with some new and sometimes amazing ideas to guarantee a free web for everyone. One of such ideas is Tribler.
Thanks to its decentralized design, this service can also be considered an invincible file-sharing application. The software designer explained that the only way to take this service down is to take the entire web down. The development of the service took over 5 years, with this piece of software having experienced 100% uptime since its launch, according to the researchers at Delft University of Technology in Holland.

The thing that sets Tribler apart from other applications is that its technology depends on the true power of P2P, which means that it doesn’t need any intermediate servers – the user’s computer will communicate directly with other computers running Tribler. The client’s creator, Dr. Pouwelse, explained that their key scientific quest is facilitating unbounded data sharing. The developers simply didn’t like unreliable servers and proved that with Tribler they had achieved zero-seconds downtime over the past 6 years. All of this was because they didn’t rely on shaky foundations like DNS, Internet servers or search portals.

As you can understand, the efforts of shutting down worldwide known cyberlocker MegaUpload were the first of their kind in the history of free web. Nevertheless, in case of decentralized applications like Tribler, the founder of copyright consulting company called Morganelli Group admitted that using the full power of the P2P technology could forever change the way BitTorrent is regarded today.

Without central location Tribler would make tracking people so much more important. At the same time, the consulting company admitted that this approach hasn’t been too effective earlier. They claimed that the crusade against a normal person has had very little effect because there are millions of people. If it was the central location, it would make for a very easy lawsuit. The service is already available online, but it seems to suffer from its popularity – the site sometimes welcomes new visitors with the apologizing message.

Friday 6 April 2012

ReDigi…A Court Success?

Industry’s Attempt to Shut ReDigi Failed

The motion of the music industry for a preliminary injunction ended up ditched. ReDigi, the first online seller of used digital music in the world, was launched in 2011. Unsurprisingly, the copyright issues that the site stepped right into arouse once the music industry found out about its existence.
Now, the recent news tells the story of a victorious ReDigi service against music label Capitol Records. The latter had accused the site of representing a “clearinghouse” for copyright violation as it allows visitors to buy and sell music that has been previously purchased on iTunes. Two weeks ago the opposition filed a motion of the victorious brief on the preliminary injunction.

In response, ReDigi held up the argument of the “first sale doctrine”. The latter grants the service a right to resell digital music. However, the recording industry insisted that the only method to move music around was to create copies upon copies without actually knowing for sure that originals were being deleted.

Meanwhile, search giant Google allied with the new service in proving why the lawsuit the recording industry filed against ReDigi can’t be regarded as a healthy one for the Internet business. Although the U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan originally dismissed the search giant’s attempts to meddle in the case, he ultimately had to admit that a court ruling favourable to the music industry in this case, which “raises much of technological and statutory issues”, could have created a dangerous ground for the future.

Indeed, the oncoming lawsuit reveals a number of mighty important aspects that could interest not just the music and movie industries and newly emerged business models, but the music consumers and media giants as well.

Thursday 5 April 2012

It’s So Easy To Become A Criminal?

Disagree with RIAA? - A criminal!

The CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America has concluded that everyone who complained about the entertainment industry’s cunning plan to control the web is a criminal.
Cary Sherman has written in the New York Times that the campaign that was launched against the new copyright bills SOPA and PIPA was unfair. He insisted that Wikipedia and other opponents had fed Internet users with misinformation about what the bills really meant. Those have been claiming that SOPA and PIPA led to online filtering which would have put the United States on a par with such countries as China.

Cary Sherman pointed out that it wasn’t really the case. Perhaps, he means that online filtering in China was effected by the state, and the same would have been about these bills if they were enforced by the entertainment industry. Sherman emphasized that there was actually no difference between what was being touted in Stop Online Piracy Act and what happens when a US court, upon an accurate review of evidence, has ruled something to be unauthorized and when the authorities close down a shop fencing stolen products.

In response, industry observers point out that Sherman seems to be missing the fact that the bills in fact didn’t involve any evidence or courts at all. Indeed, the new legislation says that an individual could lose their online connections simply on the say so of the entertainment industry.

Cary Sherman claimed that although some of the opponents of both bills were undoubtedly worried about the way the legislation would be interpreted, most of them were people who believed that the creative content should be free. He wondered how many of the opposing e-mails were from the same users who had previously attacked the websites of the Department of Justice, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and many other outfits supporting anti-piracy laws in revenge to the recent seizure of a cyberlocker giant MegaUpload within the frames of an international digital piracy operation.

Sherman believes and wants everyone else to believe that it was hackers like the worldwide-known group Anonymous who engage in real filtering by stifling the speech of people with whom they disagree.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Ask The Web Owner??

MPAA Called Google “Internet Owner”

The Motion Picture Association of America admitted that it didn’t get the Internet and therefore needed to talk to its owner – Google! Indeed, representatives of the MPAA have had to admit that the idea of the web is too fly for them, so they had to negotiate with its owner (somehow, it turned out to be Google) or just close it down.
The second boss in the MPAA, Michael O'Leary, claimed in the interview that the worldwide web’s owner Google has both out-manned and out-gunned Hollywood. O'Leary explained that the Motion Picture Association of America has been undergoing a process of education about this new fangled web so it could get a greater presence in the Internet environment. The MPAA representative also said that the current fights with everyone about uploading content to the Internet were all about the insecurity that Hollywood has about the web.

Michael O'Leary admitted that it was a fight on a platform it wasn’t quite comfortable with, and that’s why he and his colleagues were gathering against, as they say, "an opponent controlling that platform". This means that rather than trying to understand the new platform and get experience of the many entertainers who do understand the web, the MPAA pushed to regulate that which they fear.

Michael O'Leary for some reason strongly believes that the opponent in question, who controls the platform, is Google. So, as he sees it, the search giant not just controls the web, but it also leads the defense of its product. This point of view may explain why the entertainment industry was putting so much effort into closing down the search engine.

All of this sounds stupid for any Internet user. Not only this indicates that despite having studied “Internet for Dummies”, Michael O'Leary still hasn’t realized that nobody controls the Internet, but he also refuses to notice that the search engine came in late to the recent protests again new copyright legislations SOPA and PIPA. Moreover, this can also explain why the movie industry wants to negotiate with the search giant – it simply believes that it is talking to the web’s doorkeeper.

Nevertheless, even if the movie industry managed to make an arrangement with Google, there’s no indication that the rest of the web will follow or won’t adapt.

Monday 2 April 2012

The “Clog Hoppers” Go Daft!!

Holland Will Ban Torrent Trackers

The Dutch government has announced its future plans, which appeared to include fighting file-sharing in cooperation with the ISPs. The draft of new legislation, scheduled to enter the Dutch Parliament by this summer, would force all broadband providers to deny access to any violating online service. In case the ISPs fail to comply, they would be demanded to pay a €10,000/day fine up to a maximum of €250,000.The money will be transferred to BREIN – the Dutch anti-piracy outfit.
Recently, a Dutch court ordered two of the country’s ISPs, ZS4ALL and Ziggo, to block access to The Pirate Bay by the 1st of February. While Ziggo is going to comply with the court’s decision, it will at the same time file an appeal. Industry observers, including consumer and privacy advocates, have already released a warning, saying that the suggested law doesn’t actually differ from the online filtering applied in China and Iran.

Aside from this, BREIN is going to file complaints against some other Dutch Internet service providers (UPC, KPN, and T-Mobile) over the same matter. The two already targeted broadband providers, plus these three, will allow BREIN to target more than 80% of the Dutch market. Although the suggested anti-piracy bill doesn’t incriminate Internet users for file-sharing (because of some home-use exception for end users), uploading unauthorized content is illegal.

By enforcing such legislation, the country’s government is hoping to point Internet users towards legitimate sources of movies, music and other kinds of digital content by simply cutting out their access to unauthorized services.

Thanks to the current anti-piracy legislation of Netherlands, which is not very strict to the infringers, the Netherlands is believed to feature a higher use of illegal websites and file-sharing services than any other European country. A research was recently carried out by the International Federation of the Phonographic. According to its result, around a quarter of European online users are involved in illegal file-sharing. At the same time, some companies in the Netherlands, such as Considerati, have their own estimations of the piracy rate, saying that is as high as 40%. Well, we’ll see what kind of law will finally survive in that country.

Sunday 1 April 2012

I Had To Happen????

File-Sharing Services Fear Seizures

It seems that the entertainment industry may finally win thanks to American police co-operation. Information storage websites started to pull their file-sharing services due to the fears that the authorities will seize domains and arrest owners.
A number of large file-sharing services, including FileSonic, FileServe, and Uploaded, have abruptly stopped sharing of entertainment content and other software right after the American Justice Department shut down MegaUpload.

Now the file-sharing sites’ owners fear of being arrested like the founders of MegaUpload. Everyone knows that cyberlockers allow Internet users to easily upload, store and share big files on their servers in the Internet cloud. The type of content usually uploaded to the web includes films, music, gaming applications, program instruments, and multimedia presentations. However, the problem remains: file-sharing services can’t invent an effective method to prevent pirates from using the service.

Recently, FileSonic started establishing formal distribution agreements with musicians who would have shut out the large record labels while giving content creators more cash. But such contracts would be frozen if the government was to pursue copyright violation actions against FileSonic. The service is based in the United Kingdom, and it seems that it is doing its best to get rid of unauthorized content. Last month, it started scanning user uploads in order to stop illegal files from going on the website.

The alarming fact is that action isn’t being taken due to the cyberlockers’ fears of a civil lawsuit, as well as the fact that the entertainment industry started using the FBI and police as their weapons of choice. If a founder of a file-sharing service gets arrested, they could face jail sentence for ages while extradition hearings and the final case is heard in court. In case of being extradited to the United States, it could appear much worse.

Anyway, it looks like the content industry effectively has been given police authority to enforce its flagging business model. It might have been OK if the United States only meant to enforce its corporate law on its own citizens, but it keeps trying the same tricks in foreign parts. Indeed, the US authorities could list the IP address of any UK file-sharer and demand him to be extradited to the US for sentencing. Bad news for the whole world, then…