Friday Jan. 26 & weekend updates

SURPRISE!
Putin rival arrested!
AFP
Russian police on Sunday detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow as thousands rallied across the country against a March election expected to extend Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin term.
Heeding a call by Putin’s bete noire, thousands braved freezing temperatures to stage rallies in dozens of cities to protest upcoming “pseudo-elections,” as Navalny and his supporters refer to them.
In Moscow, Navalny chanted “Swindlers and thieves” at a rally in the city centre before several police officers pounced on the 41-year-old opposition politician, knocking him to the ground and dragging him on to a bus.

alexei-navalny-4-1

THE FOLLOWER FACTORY
Everyone wants to be popular online.
Some even pay for it.
Inside social media’s black market.
NY Times
Athletes, entertainers, “social influencers” all buy Twitter followers for as little as a penny apiece.
… an obscure American company named Devumi has collected millions of dollars in a shadowy global marketplace for social media fraud. Devumi sells Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, businesses and anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online. Drawing on an estimated stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts, each sold many times over, the company has provided customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers.


“Why should the richest man in the history of the world get money to open his business?”

amazon-taxesPaint store owner in Washington State wonders why cities would divert her taxes to aid Amazon, her most daunting competitor.
New York Times

Promising Billions to Amazon: Is It a Good Deal for Cities?

Indeed, tax incentives tend to flow overwhelmingly to big, established companies, rather than to the local start-ups that research has shown are a more significant source of job growth. And some who have studied the issue say incentives rarely work: Companies will play cities and states off one another to save money, but ultimately base site-selection decisions mostly on other factors.


Google’s internecine diversity war:
White & Asian men vs. everybody else 

Wired
… diversity advocates at Google say that they are being targeted by a small group of their coworkers in an effort to silence discussions about racial and gender diversity.
… they also say that by trying to stay neutral, Google is being exploited by instigators, who have disguised a targeted harassment campaign as conservative political thought.

It’s back! The vinyl-record jukebox NPR
… repairman has had influx of calls from younger folks who are stocking vintage jukeboxes with garage rock songs and other obscure 45s. In an era when all the world’s music is available at our fingertips, it appears there are those drawn to the novelty of the machines and the chance to share their specific musical tastes.
juke

Hard as it may be to believe, a casino mogul and
top Republican is being accused of sexual misconduct.
wynnx> Steve Wynn, a Las Vegas casino mogul who now serves as finance chairman for the Republican National Committee, paid out $7.5 million to ensure a woman whom he allegedly raped would keep quiet.
> The Wall Street Journal reports that a manicurist at Wynn’s flagship casino in 2005 told one of her colleagues that Wynn had forced her to have sex with him.

Police state gathers momentum
Immigration cops about to start tracking license plates

The Verge
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has officially gained agency-wide access to a nationwide license plate recognition database, according to a contract finalized earlier this month. The system gives the agency access to billions of license plate records and new powers of real-time location tracking, raising significant concerns from civil libertarians.

Illinois would ban kids under 12 from tackle football
Black Christian News
dave-duerson-concussion-movieThe Dave Duerson Act to Prevent CTE is named for the Chicago Bears defensive back who was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy after he killed himself at the age of 50. Duerson shot himself in the chest so his brain could be studied for signs of the disease that has been linked to concussions or repeated head trauma.

Washington State bill would demand replaceable batteries in tech
Motherboard
A wave of so-called right-to-repair or fair repair bills that would prevent companies from having repair monopolies have been introduced in states around the country. Last year, 12 states introduced bills that would require electronics manufacturers to make repair information available to consumers and third-party repair shops and would require them to sell replacement parts for electronics. It would also prevent them from using software locks to prevent repair or from remotely bricking electronics that use aftermarket parts. Already in 2018, 17 states have introduced fair repair bills.

Dutch spies informed FBI that Russia was hacking US election The Hill
The Volkskrant newspaper is reporting that officials with the Netherland’s AIVD, the General Intelligence and Security Service, penetrated networks used by Russian hackers in 2014 and observed them subsequently breaking into networks used by the Democratic National Committee.

Trump’s base turns on him with hoots of “Amnesty Don” AP
Fearing betrayal on a signature campaign issue, President Donald Trump’s loyalists are lashing out against his proposal to create a path to citizenship for nearly 2 million “Dreamer” immigrants.
Trump-aligned candidates from Nevada and Virginia rejected the notion outright. A loyal media ally, Breitbart News, attacked him as “Amnesty Don.” And outside groups that cheered the hard-line rhetoric that dominated Trump’s campaign warned of fierce backlash against the president’s party in November’s midterm elections.
>>> Trump says it’s “fake news” that he tried to fire Mueller VIce News

In-and-Out managers average pay? $160,000 USA Today
> … workers can start at $13 an hour and can work their way up to that $160,000-ish salary without a college degree.  Managers oversee only one location each,  and ultimately become responsible for all aspects of the restaurant, from employee training to the cleanliness of counter tops.
> In-N-Out Vice President of Operations Denny Warnick told the Sun that quality service requires quality employees with quality pay — a vision of the company’s founders, Harry and Esther Snyder.

Has Putin set up military clash between US, Turkey? 
The Atlantic Council
… Russia has gingerly stepped aside in this corner of Aleppo Province, moving its ground forces and vacating the airspace to accommodate the Turkish operation. For Russian President, Vladimir Putin, nothing—not even the full political ascendancy of Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad—would top Turkey and the United States coming to military blows over Syria.
>>> “With support of the Turkish people” Ankara vows war in Syria Sputnik

White House asks for Van Gogh loan –
Guggenheim offers gold toilet instead

The Guardian
goldentoiletThe Guggenheim Museum has reportedly turned down a White House request to borrow a Van Gogh painting, and has instead offered the Trump administration the use of a golden toilet. The White House had asked the Guggenheim, based in New York, to borrow Landscape With Snow, Van Gogh’s 1888 work depicting a man and a dog walking through a field.

How China plans to pull ahead in space exploration Axios
>  China is planning to go to the far side of the moon in 2018 — a mission that has never been done before — and bring back sample moon rocks. Beyond the implications for scientific research, the mission would enhance China’s international profile and show the world how far they’ve come, Notre Dame engineering professor Clive Neal says.
>  China is trying to become an international leader in using the behavior of particles of light to send information securely via quantum-enabled satellites in space, Axios’ Alison Snyder reports. The feasibility of establishing quantum communications networks remains to be seen, but there hasn’t been a commitment to develop the technology at this scale until now.

US Gymnastics board must resign, Olympics demands NPR
USA Gymnastics’ board must resign, the U.S. Olympic Committee says — or it will lose its certification as a national governing body. The deadline is Jan. 31 — one week from the day disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for abusing more than 150 gymnasts.
>>> UPDATE: Entire board resigns The Daily Beast

Collective Amnesia 
The FBI Has Been Political From The Start
NPR
During World War II, Hoover’s bureau caught Nazi saboteurs and spies, but it also pursued people of Japanese descent and jailed those who objected. After the war, the bureau was prominent in pursuit of Communists, which came to mean a wide variety of people with divergent views.
And Hoover collaborated with the notorious blunderbuss Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin, whose years of committee hearings wounded many reputations but wound up unmasking no actual Communists at all.

6 male BBC news anchors agree to pay cuts to match women BBC

The brutal truth behind the cute photos of the cloned monkeys
The Independent
monkeyThe provoking photo of the two cloned monkeys, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, says it all. Look at them clinging to each other nervously, their wide eyes both beautiful and haunting. What have these babies seen in the laboratory where they were created? How has it been for them to have the scientists picking and poking at them? Look into their eyes.
The expensive PR machine behind the project has presented news of the first cloned monkeys as a “breakthrough”. It’s like Doctor Frankenstein has turned spin doctor. But what are the bits they’re not telling us?
Whatever you think of the ethics, the practice of animal cloning leads to enormous suffering for animals. Painful, grotesque deformities and early deaths are very much the norm – 96 per cent do not survive beyond six months

 

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