This month, Afghanistan held parliamentary elections with nearly 2,500 candidates for 249 seats. Turnout was very light under threat of violence from the Taliban, and accusations of fraud are widespread. Afghan President Karzai announced the formation of a 70-member peace council, a step towards formal discussions with the Taliban. And American and Afghan troops have now begun active combat in an offensive to drive the Taliban out of their strongholds surrounding the city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban. With 51 more coalition troops killed this month, the total number of deaths for coalition troops in 2010 reached 541 compared with 521 for all of 2009. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (47 photos total)
A US soldier with the 101st Airborne Division 1-320th Alpha Battery patrols a pomegranate orchard in Chahar Qolbah, a hamlet on the outskirts of the village of Jellawar on September 10, 2010. Pomegranates — found everywhere in Afghanistan, are a beacon of hope for the fractured farming sector. Up to 80 percent of Afghans rely on agriculture, yet the country’s rural economy has been blighted by three decades of conflict. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #
Earlier this month, a concerted denial of service attack by 4chan members against the UK law firm ACS:Law resulted in the disclosure of an enormous trove of internal emails from the firm. The mail archive was quickly packaged up and distributed online through sites like The Pirate Bay, and analyses of their contents have begun to show up online — for example, UK ISP Sky Broadband was upset to discover that ACS:Law’s leak included the personal information of 4,000 of its customers (Sky provided ACS with this information in response to paid requests that ACS made in order to send legal threats to Sky’s customers). Sky says that it will no longer provide ACS with customer data.
This is the heart of the matter: ACS:Law is the last firm in the UK that is in the business of sending "legal blackmail" letters to accused copyright infringers, mostly on behalf of the pornography industry (the "legal blackmail" appellation comes directly from a House of Lords debate over ACS’s tactics). And ACS is attempting to branch out into the USA, where statutory damages for copyright infringement open the doors to even more money.
internetlaser Internets creator slams blight of web disconnection lawsTim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, warned Tuesday of the "blight" of new laws being introduced across the globe allowing people to be cut off from the Internet.
“If a French family can be forcibly disconnected from the Internet by law for a year because one of their children downloaded something that some company asserts that they should not have downloaded, without trial — I think that’s a kind of inappropriate punishment,” Berners-Lee said.
One closing remark that I want to make: It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we’ve got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.
The idea that we’ve got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible.
Everybody out there has to be thinking about what’s at stake in this election and if they want to move forward over the next two years or six years or 10 years on key issues like climate change, key issues like how we restore a sense of equity and optimism to middle-class families who have seen their incomes decline by five percent over the last decade. If we want the kind of country that respects civil rights and civil liberties, we’d better fight in this election. And right now, we are getting outspent eight to one by these 527s that the Roberts court says can spend with impunity without disclosing where their money’s coming from. In every single one of these congressional districts, you are seeing these independent organizations outspend political parties and the candidates by, as I said, factors of four to one, five to one, eight to one, 10 to one.
We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard — that’s what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we’ve got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.
If you’re serious, now’s exactly the time that people have to step up.
A police lieutenant was suspended for one day without pay for inadvertently ordering the destruction of thousands of hours of dashboard video sought by the family of one of the two teens killed when a speeding Milford police cruiser slammed into their car.
Tip: It works great to vaporize annoying ads.