How an Italian judge made the internet illegal

Italian bloggers are up in arms at a court ruling early this year that suggests almost all Italian blogs are illegal. This month, a senior Italian politician went one step further, warning that most web activity is likely to be against the law.

The story begins back in May, when a judge in Modica (in Sicily) found local historian and author Carlo Ruta guilty of the crime of “stampa clandestina” – or publishing a “clandestine” newspaper – in respect of his blog. The judge ruled that since the blog had a headline, that made it an online newspaper, and brought it within the law’s remit.

Read moreHow an Italian judge made the internet illegal

Thailand Cancels Flights as Protesters Storm Airport

Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) — Thai authorities warned of flight chaos for thousands of passengers and damage to the tourism industry after anti-government protesters stormed the main terminal at Bangkok’s international airport, closing it down.

Four people were injured by a grenade this morning at the airport, TPBS television station reported. Parnthep Pongpourpan, a spokesman for the protesters, said the injuries weren’t serious and the People’s Alliance for Democracy group will wait for the return of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, whose resignation they are demanding.

The demonstrators, who want Somchai to take responsibility for deadly clashes with police last month, may force him to declare a state of emergency to prevent escalating violence. The prime minister, set to return today from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Peru, has rejected the resignation calls and police have avoided using force since the Oct. 7 clash in which two people died and 470 were injured.

“Tens of thousands of tourists will be stranded here as we stopped departure flights,” Porntip Hirunkate, secretary-general of the Tourism Council of Thailand, told Thai PBS television late yesterday. “This will hurt our tourism in December, which is our high season. The impact may go further to next year too.”

Read moreThailand Cancels Flights as Protesters Storm Airport

Pirates Demand $25 Million Ransom for Hijacked Tanker


An undated handout photo, provided to the media on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008, shows the Sirius Star Saudi oil supertanker. Source: U.S. Navy via Bloomberg News

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) — Somali pirates are demanding $25 million in ransom to release an oil-laden Saudi supertanker seized off the East African coast, and called on the ship’s owners to pay up “soon.”

“What we want for this ship is only $25 million because we always charge according to the quality of the ship and the value of the product,” a man who identified himself as Abdi Salan, a member of the hijacking gang, said in a telephone interview from Harardhare. The town is in Somalia’s semi-autonomous northern Puntland region close to where the ship is anchored. He didn’t give a deadline or say what would happen if the money isn’t paid.

The Sirius Star, which belongs to Saudi Arabia’s state-owned shipping line, Vela International Marine Ltd, and its crew of 25 were seized about 420 nautical miles (833 kilometers) off Somalia on Nov. 15. It is carrying more than 2 million barrels of crude valued at about $110 million. Very Large Crude Carriers cost about $148 million new.

Read morePirates Demand $25 Million Ransom for Hijacked Tanker

Cheney and Gonzales indicted for organized crime

A grand jury in South Texas indicted U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and former attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Tuesday for “organized criminal activity” related to alleged abuse of inmates in private prisons. The indictment has not been seen by a judge, who could dismiss it.


US Vice President Dick Cheney (L) and former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (R). According to November 18, 2008 media reports, US Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have been indicted by a South Texas grand jury on charges relating to alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County’s federal detention centers. Picture: AFP

The grand jury in Willacy County, in the Rio Grande Valley near the U.S.-Mexico border, said Cheney is “profiteering from depriving human beings of their liberty,” according to a copy of the indictment obtained by Reuters.

The indictment cites a “money trail” of Cheney’s ownership in prison-related enterprises including the Vanguard Group, which owns an interest in private prisons in south Texas.

Former attorney general Gonzales used his position to “stop the investigations as to the wrong doings” into assaults in county prisons, the indictment said.

Cheney’s office declined comment. “We have not received any indictments. I can’t comment on something we have not received,” said Cheney’s spokeswoman Megan Mitchell.

The indictment, overseen by county District Attorney Juan Guerra, cites the case of Gregorio De La Rosa, who died on April 26, 2001, inside a private prison in Willacy County.

The grand jury wrote it made its decision “with great sadness,” but said they had no other choice but to indict Cheney and Gonzales “because we love our country.”

Texas is the home state of U.S. President George W. Bush.

Read moreCheney and Gonzales indicted for organized crime

Half of primary-care doctors in survey would leave medicine

Experts say if many physicians stop practicing, it could be devastating to the health care industry.
Experts say if many physicians stop practicing, it could be devastating to the health care industry.

(CNN) — Nearly half the respondents in a survey of U.S. primary care physicians said that they would seriously consider getting out of the medical business within the next three years if they had an alternative.

The survey, released this week by the Physicians’ Foundation, which promotes better doctor-patient relationships, sought to find the reasons for an identified exodus among family doctors and internists, widely known as the backbone of the health industry.

A U.S. shortage of 35,000 to 40,000 primary care physicians by 2025 was predicted at last week’s American Medical Association annual meeting.

In the survey, the foundation sent questionnaires to more than 270,000 primary care doctors and more than 50,000 specialists nationwide.

Of the 12,000 respondents, 49 percent said they’d consider leaving medicine. Many said they are overwhelmed with their practices, not because they have too many patients, but because there’s too much red tape generated from insurance companies and government agencies.

Read moreHalf of primary-care doctors in survey would leave medicine

Identities sold online for £80

Complete identities are being sold online for just £80, internet experts have discovered.


The stolen personal data include credit card details, plus the cardholder’s name, address, passport and driving licence numbers.

Once stolen, the average identity yields online fraudsters around £15,000, researchers found.

Individual pieces of stolen data are available for as little as £5.

A study for Get Safe Online Week found one in five people use the same password for all their internet logins, leaving them wide open to hacking.

Half those surveyed did not update their anti-virus software often enough.

And nearly a quarter did not have any protection against spyware.

Read moreIdentities sold online for £80

Game beware: it’s the return of the poacher

As times get harder in Britain’s cities, armed gangs are heading for the countryside – and stealing deer, salmon and rabbits to feed a burgeoning black market in food. Andy McSmith reports


Masked poachers caught in the act, hunting rabbits on private land

Once, the poacher was a man with big pockets in his raincoat sneaking on to an aristocrat’s land to steal game for his family pot. Now he is likely to be part of a gang from town, in it for hard cash, rampaging through the countryside with guns, crossbows or snares.

Police in rural areas across Britain are reporting a dramatic increase in poaching, as the rise in food prices and the reality of recession increases the temptation to deal in stolen venison, salmon, or rarer meat and fish.

Organised and sometimes armed gangs of poachers are accused of behaving dangerously, intimidating residents, causing damage to crops or to gates and fences. Squads have also been out in the countryside “lamping”, poachers using lights to transfix animals.

Read moreGame beware: it’s the return of the poacher

UK: Most adults think children ‘are feral and a danger to society’

Children are the most excellent mirror of a society!
________________________________________________________________________


Alexandra Frean, Education Editor

Comment: Martin Narey, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s

Public intolerance of young people has reached such levels that more than half of all adults think that British children are beginning to behave like animals, a poll has found.

The poll, commissioned by the children’s charity Barnardo’s, found that 49 per cent of adults regard children as increasingly dangerous both to each other and to their elders, while 43 per cent feel that “something has to be done” to protect society from children and young people.

More than a third of people agree that “it feels like the streets are infested with children”.

The YouGov poll of 2,000 adults suggests that the great strides made towards children’s rights and child welfare through the Government’s Every Child Matters agenda, in which the interests of the child are supposedly put at the heart of all policy, have had little impact on public consciousness.

Read moreUK: Most adults think children ‘are feral and a danger to society’

Poverty, Pension Fears Drive Japan’s Elderly Citizens to Crime


Elderly customers shop in a grocery store in Tokyo, Aug. 12, 2005. Photographer: Haruyoshi Yamaguchi/Bloomberg News

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — More senior citizens are picking pockets and shoplifting in Japan to cope with cuts in government welfare spending and rising health-care costs in a fast-ageing society.

Criminal offences by people 65 or older doubled to 48,605 in the five years to 2008, the most since police began compiling national statistics in 1978, a Ministry of Justice report said.

Theft is the most common crime of senior citizens, many of whom face declining health, low incomes and a sense of isolation, the report said. Elderly crime may increase in parallel with poverty rates as Japan enters another recession and the budget deficit makes it harder for the government to provide a safety net for people on the fringes of society.

“The elderly are turning to shoplifting as an increasing number of them lack assets and children to depend on,” Masahiro Yamada, a sociology professor at Chuo University in Tokyo and an author of books on income disparity in Japan, said in an interview yesterday. “We won’t see the decline of elderly crimes as long as the income gap continues to rise.”

Read morePoverty, Pension Fears Drive Japan’s Elderly Citizens to Crime

Family homelessness rising in the United States


A man sweeps the area outside his tent with a broken broom at “tent city”, a terminus for the homeless in Ontario, a suburb outside Los Angeles, California December 19, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President-elect Barack Obama has vowed to help middle-class U.S. homeowners facing foreclosure, but he has said little about how he will help low-income families made homeless by a worsening economy.

Obama has spoken broadly about boosting affordable housing and restoring public housing subsidies. But with economists forecasting a deep recession in 2009, he may find it hard to find the money to fulfill those promises soon.

At the same time, advocacy groups and the country’s czar for combating homelessness say immediate action is needed to halt the foreclosures of tens of thousands of homes and rehouse thousands of families amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

“President-elect Obama understands the economy will only get back on track if we end the foreclosure crisis. And he realizes that part of ending the crisis is both preventing and ending homelessness for families losing their homes,” said Jeremy Rosen of the National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness.

Read moreFamily homelessness rising in the United States