Our Leaders Are Psychopaths


Backgrounder: How dark web market works?

BEIJING, July 21 (Xinhua) — The world’s largest and third largest dark web markets, AlphaBay and Hansa were shut down due to international law enforcement investigation, the U.S. Justice Department and Europol said on Thursday.
What is a dark web market, and how does it work?
The Internet is actually made up of three different layers: the surface web, the deep web and the dark web.
The surface web are web pages that show up using search engines such as Google, Baidu and other similar websites.
The deep web has pages that normal search engines can’t access and are therefore hidden, accessed via passwords and authorization.
The dark web is a network of untraceable online activity and websites on the Internet. It’s used by many people for different things but it’s infamously used by criminals to hide illegal activity online.
The dark web was originally created by the U.S. government to allow spies to exchange information completely anonymously. The U.S. military researchers developed the technology, known as Tor in the mid-1990s and released it into the public domain for everyone to use.
Therefore, the dark web market thrives online. “Just like the forest, the dark web hides things well. It hides actions and it hides identities. The dark web also prevents people from knowing who you are, what you are doing and where you are doing it,” said Daniel Prince, Associate Director Security at Lancaster University on website The Conversation.
The dark web markets are simply digital marketplaces, created via the same kinds of technologies that typically underpin bitcoin, which they accept as a way of payment. So they aren’t illegal originally.
However, most dark markets may quickly become illegal as soon as they allow the trafficking of drugs, weaponry or other illegal items.
Once the online marketplace breaks the law, it rots away to be an illegal website. And then law enforcement officials will follow to investigate.


EU Parliament to Look Into Resolution on Far-Right Rallies in East Europe

Ukrainian riot police officers block supporters of far-right parties who tried to prevent the Immortal Regiment march, during the Victory Day celebrations in Kiev, Ukraine

© Sputnik/ Stringer
A resolution calling to impose economic curbs on Easter European governments that shut eyes to a rise in far-right sentiments will go to the EU Parliament in fall, a lawmaker from the party behind the initiative has said.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The motion is being prepared by the European United Left — Nordic Green Left parliamentary faction, according to its member, Jiri Mastalka, who spoke with Russia’s Izvestiya newspaper in an interview out Friday.
“European Parliament sanctions against Baltic states are an adequate measure. They could be stripped of EU budget funds. Brussels is currently ignoring the rise of extreme-right sentiments in Europe, not only in the Baltics but also in Ukraine,” Mastalka said.
The resolution will require support from other parliamentary groups to pass, the legislator said. But its consideration will still send a political message and compel those who oppose it to explain why they do not regard Nazism as a threat, Mastalka added.
The leftist parliamentary faction decided to act after the number of rallies and marches organized by far-right groups with permission from Baltic authorities rose in the past years. Estonia and Latvia have been holding annual parades of Nazi vets since the fall of the Soviet Union.


UK rights group in court over Syria drone strikes

Image of a drone

Image of a drone
British Rights group is taking the UK government to court over its refusal to release the legal justification on killing British citizens in Syria, according to Rights Watch UK.
In 2015, former Prime Minister David Cameron publically announced killing two British citizens Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin in a targeted drone strike in Syria.
Rights Watch UK filed a Freedom of Information Act request which was rejected by the UK government, and now seeks to appeal the refusal to attain the legal basis for drone strikes against its own nationals in Syria.
The government has not provided a formal legal justification on its drone programme which currently operates in countries it is not at war with, including Syria. The case before the Upper Tribunal in the UK Courts this week aims to fulfil a public interest action.


Dutch Refugee Org, Ice Cream Brand Launch Campaign For Asylum Seekers In Europe

Home Safe Home campaign by VluchtelingenWerk and Ben & Jerry's

Home Safe Home campaign by VluchtelingenWerk and Ben & Jerry’s. Photo: Screenshot / Ben & Jerry’s

By Janene Pieters

Dutch refugee organization VluchtelingenWerk and ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s are working together to try and convince European politicians to take in more vulnerable asylum seekers from shelters across the world. Today they launched a campaign titled Home Safe Home, AD reports.
“This is one of the biggest problems of this moment. We are talking about it in the Netherlands for the first time. We have young supporters and we want to activate them for this”, Laura van Geel, social mission manager of Ben & Jerry’s said to the newspaper.
Annually the Netherlands takes in 500 asylum seekers outside the normal asylum procedure. These involve vulnerable people, like single mothers with children, LGBT people or people who are sick. These asylum seekers have been living in asylum camps for some time, but face risks there too, according to the campaigners. “500 is really too few, many more places are needed, 5,000 would be more logical”, Annemiek Bots of VlugtelingenWerk said, according to AD.
Brussels is working on a new EU relocation proposal for vulnerable asylum seekers this summer. That’s why VluchtelingenWerk and Ben & Jerry’s decided to launch their campaign now. An o was launched on Thursday and later this year Ben & Jerry’s will present a special ice cream flavor. The campaign is also running in Great Britain, Sweden, Germany and Belgium.
Earlier this year the UN refugee organization UNHCR also called for action. According to the organization, there are 1.2 million people in the world who urgently need to be relocated. Last year only 125 thousand places were made available worldwide. Canada and the United States accounted for most of those spots. The EU offered 15 thousand places.
According to AD, the campaign was already met with criticism and a call for a boycott in the Great Britain. “Some customers ask why we don’t just stick to making ice cream”, Van Geel said to the newspaper. “But for 40 years, this company has been busy with social issues in terms of climate and civil rights, and we will not let that go.”



UC Berkeley to receive U.S. Defense Department funds for gene editing research

SAN FRANCISCO, July 20 (Xinhua) — The University of California, Berkeley, said Thursday it will join a research funded by U.S. Defense Department (DOD) to improve the safety and accuracy of gene editing.
The project is one of the seven announced the same day by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of DOD responsible for the development of new technologies for military use with a total 65 million U.S. dollars in funding.
The team led by UC Berkeley included the University of California, San Francisco, and Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California.
DARPA noted that the project is aiming to develop better ways to insert gene-editing molecules, including CRISPR-Cas9, short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats Associated Protein 9, into living cells; explore applications of CRISPR proteins other than the popular Cas9, such as RNA-snipping Cas13a; discover more anti-CRISPR proteins that can be used to keep gene editing under tight control; and employ these tools in the fight against major viral diseases, such as Ebola and Zika.
In addition, the research team headed by UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna, one of the pioneers who worked on CRISPR-Cas9, will investigate whether these tools might someday be capable of disabling bioterrorism threats, such as novel infectious agents or weapons employing CRISPR itself.
Phase 1 funding to UC Berkeley and UCSF will amount to about 1.65 million dollars over two years, with a potential additional two years and 1.64 million dollars of funding. As a partner in this effort, Sandia will receive funds directly from DARPA, under its Safe Genes program.
UC Berkeley is also part of another DARPA project funded by the Safe Genes program. Assistant Professor John Marshall has teamed up with a University of California, Riverside, team to develop robust and reversible gene-drive systems for control of Aedes aegypti mosquito populations. With emphasis on biosafety and reversibility, the DARPA award will also fund preliminary testing in contained, simulated natural environments and in high-throughput, rapidly reproducing populations of yeast as a model system.
Renee Wegrzyn, who manages DARPA’s Safe Genes program, was quoted as claiming Thursday that “DARPA launched Safe Genes to begin to refine those capabilities by emphasizing safety first for the full range of potential applications, enabling responsible science to proceed by providing tools to prevent and mitigate misuse.”
Echoing what Wegrzyn stated, Doudna, a professor of molecular and cell biology and of chemistry at UC Berkeley, noted that “from a biosecurity perspective, we hope that our technologies displace less safe technologies, and by demonstrating that gene-editing activity can be prophylactically or therapeutically shut down, discouraging its potential intentional misuse.”
The other DARPA-funded projects will take place at the Broad Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and North Carolina State University.