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Last updated 20 Apr, 08:30 PM

BBC News - Home

Lyra McKee: Killing has led to 'palpable change' in community sentiment towards policing - Journalist Lyra McKee was shot as she was observing rioting in Londonderry on Thursday night.

Extinction Rebellion: Met Police asks for 200 extra officers - The Met, which has requested 200 extra officers, clears Extinction Rebellion from Oxford Circus.

Sudan crisis: Cash hoard found at al-Bashir's home - Prosecutors launch an inquiry after cash in several currencies is found at Omar al-Bashir's residence

UK weather: Hottest day of the year, says Met Office - And the UK is set for record-breaking temperatures over the rest of the Easter weekend.

Yellow vest protests: Paris police fire tear gas at demonstrators - Police in the French capital fire tear gas as a number of motorbikes are set on fire by protesters.

The Register

Wannacry-slayer Marcus Hutchins pleads guilty to two counts of banking malware creation - 'I regret these actions and accept full responsibility for my mistakes' Marcus Hutchins, the British security researcher who shot to fame after successfully halting the Wannacry ransomware epidemic, has pleaded guilty to crafting online bank-account-raiding malware.…

Defense against the Darknet, or how to accessorize to defeat video surveillance - Boffins from Belgium break people recognition software with a colorful placard A trio of Belgium-based boffins have created a ward that renders wearers unrecognizable to software trained to detect people.…

Not one of the 12 steps: Rehab patients' details exposed in publicly visible database - Researcher disturbed at availability of very personal data More than two years of billing records from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center were made freely available on the internet, a security researcher has discovered.…

Double trouble for Lyft after share price drop sparks class action lawsuits claiming hype - Rideshare company lied about market share, claim investors Rideshare company Lyft has been hit with two class action lawsuits by investors who claim the company lied about its market share.…

UK comms watchdog mulls 5G tweaks: Operators want moooooar power - Oh and remove the guard bands, would you Ofcom? Ofcom is amenable to technical tweaks that mobile operators have requested to 5G rules, launching a consultation yesterday.…

New Scientist - News

Baby boom for the kakapo, New Zealand’s critically endangered parrot - There are fewer than 150 adult kakapo in New Zealand, but this year’s bumper crop of almost 90 chicks renews hope that the bird can be saved from extinction

How maths could fix the problems with India’s voting machines - The world’s biggest election is under way in India. Trust in the machines used to vote is low, but better maths could spot manipulation or errors, says Edd Gent

Did the ancestor of all humans evolve in Europe not Africa? - A study of some 8-million-year-old teeth found in Greece suggests a controversial idea: that hominins arose in Europe and then moved into Africa later

David Attenborough finally talks climate change in prime time BBC slot - The BBC is finally putting global warming in TV’s spotlight in an hour-long film, but is it too little, too late from the corporation?

An interstellar rock may have hit Earth in 2014 but nobody noticed - In 2017 astronomers spotted the first interstellar object in our solar system, ‘Oumuamua, but our planet may have been hit by a meteor from another star in 2014

Hacker News

We Don't Have a Talent Shortage. We Have a Sucker Shortage - Comments

Joe Armstrong has died - Comments

Show HN: Tetris Implemented in ClojureScript - Comments

France's Basque Region Creates Its Own Currency - Comments

Nana: A modern C++ GUI library - Comments


An Interstellar Meteor May Have Hit Earth - Two Harvard researchers believe a small meteor that struck earth in 2014 was from another solar system, saying it's "like getting a message in a bottle from a distant location." CNN reports: Dr. Abraham Loeb, the chair of the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University, and his co-author Amir Siraj, studied the velocity of objects entering the Earth's atmosphere, which can be used to predict whether the object was traveling in relation to our sun's orbit... Of the three fastest objects on record, the fastest was clearly bound to our sun. The third-fastest couldn't be clearly categorized. But the second-fastest, Loeb says, bore all the hallmarks of being literally out of this solar system. "At this speed, it takes tens of thousands of years for a object to move from one star to another," he says. Since they don't know exactly where it originated, they can't say exactly how old it is, but it could be downright ancient. "To cross the galaxy it would take hundreds of millions of years." Of all of the possibilities wrapped up in this relatively small object, perhaps the most exciting is the idea that, theoretically, interstellar objects could carry life from other solar systems. "Most importantly, there is a possibility that life could be transferred between stars," Loeb says. "In principle, life could survive in the core of a rock. Either bacteria, or tardigrades (a microscopic, water-dwelling animal); they can survive harsh conditions in space and arrive right to us..." [A]lthough the object detailed in this paper is the first recorded interstellar meteor to hit Earth, the study estimates such objects enter earth's atmosphere every ten years or so, which means there could be a million different interstellar objects floating around our solar system, just waiting to be examined. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Canada Civil Liberties Group Argues Toronto Shouldn't Be 'Google's Lab Rat' - "A civil liberties group in Canada is suing three tiers of government over potential privacy issues posed by Sidewalk Labs's plan to develop a 12-acre smart city in Toronto, which will be approved or denied later this summer," reports Fast Company. The fight centers around a taxpayer-funded organization jointly created by the federal, provincial, and municipal governments: The Canadian Civil Liberties Association claims that Waterfront Toronto, let alone Sidewalk Labs, doesn't have the jurisdiction to make rules about people's privacy. The government "sold out our constitutional rights to freedom from surveillance and sold it to the global surveillance mammoth of behavioral data collection: Google," said Michael Bryant, the executive director and general counsel of the CCLA, in a press conference.... "Our job at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is to say to all three levels of government that Canadians should not be Google's lab rat. This lab needs to be shut down and reset...." Ann Cavoukian, the former Information and Privacy Commissioner for the Canadian province of Ontario who joined the project early, quit in October 2018. The reason? Sidewalk Labs had decided not to require that all data collected by third parties in the development be instantly de-identified at the source, which would mean that sensitive data like people's faces or license plates could still potentially be used for corporate profit. "I knew the smart city of privacy wasn't going to happen," she says. "That's why I resigned: I said, I can't go along with it...." "If I was still involved, I'd want more decentralized models of data where the individual could truly retain control of the data," she says, citing a new, privacy-centric model from the web's father, Tim Berners-Lee, to decentralize the web and take back control from the corporations that run it. In a statement Sidewalk Labs said they favor a data trust run by an independent third party partnering with the government to benefit the community and "spur innovation and investment" while protecting privacy. "Sidewalk Labs fully supports a robust and healthy discussion regarding privacy, data ownership, and governance. But this debate must be rooted in fact, not fiction and fear-mongering." But the CCLA's web site argues that unlawful surveillance "is wrong whether done by data profiteers or the state." The article also quotes their general counsel's complaint that the government has "outsourced our privacy rights and the supervision of our privacy rights and our surveillance to the very company that's doing the surveillance." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Corporate Surveillance: When Employers Collect Data on Their Workers - An anonymous reader quotes CNBC: The emergence of sensor and other technologies that let businesses track, listen to and even watch employees while on company time is raising concern about corporate levels of surveillance... Earlier this year, Amazon received a patent for an ultrasonic bracelet that can detect a warehouse worker's location and monitor their interaction with inventory bins by using ultrasonic sound pulses. The system can track when and where workers put in or remove items from the bins. An Amazon spokesperson said the company has "no plans to introduce this technology" but that, if implemented in the future, could free up associates' hands, which now hold scanners to check and fulfill orders. Walmart last year patented a system that lets the retail giant listen in on workers and customers. The system can track employee "performance metrics" and ensure that employees are performing their jobs efficiently and correctly by listening for sounds such as rustling of bags or beeps of scanners at the checkout line and can determine the number of items placed in bags and number of bags. Sensors can also capture sounds from guests talking while in line and determine whether employees are greeting guests. Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said the company doesn't have any immediate plans to implement the system. Logistics company UPS has been using sensors in their delivery trucks to track usage to make sure drivers are wearing seat belts and maintenance is up to date. Companies are also starting to analyze digital data, such as emails and calendar info, in the hopes of squeezing more productivity out of their workers. Microsoft's Workplace Analytics lets employers monitor data such as time spent on email, meeting time or time spent working after hours. Several enterprises, including Freddie Mac and CBRE, have tested the system. A senior staff attorney for the EFF argues that new consumer privacy laws may not apply to employees. The article also cites a recent survey by Accenture in which 62% of executives "said their companies are using new technologies to collect data on people -- from the quality of work to safety and well-being" -- even though "fewer than a third said they feel confident they are using the data responsibly." Yet the leader of Accenture's talent and organization practice argues that workforce data "could boost revenue by 6.4%. This has encouraged workers to be open to responsible use of data, but they want to know that they will get benefits and return on their time." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

America Reports Its First Cases of A Fungus Resistant To All Major Drugs - An anonymous reader quotes the New York Times: About 90 percent of C. auris strains are resistant to at least one drug, and 30 percent are resistant to two or more of the three major classes of antifungal drugs. However, on Tuesday, the C.D.C. confirmed that it has learned in the last month of the first known cases in the United States of so-called "pan-resistant" C. auris -- a strain resistant to all major antifungals, said Dr. Tom Chiller, head of the agency's fungal division, in an interview. Such cases have been seen in several countries, including India and South Africa, but the two new cases, from New York State, have not been reported previously. Dr. Chiller said that it appeared that, in each case, the germ evolved during treatment and became pan-resistant, confirming a fear that the infection will continue to develop more effective defenses. "It's happening and it's going to happen," Dr. Chiller said. "That's why we need to remain vigilant and rapidly identify and control these infections." It often has been hard to gather details about the path of C. auris because hospitals and nursing homes have been unwilling to publicly disclose outbreaks or discuss cases, creating a culture of secrecy around the infection. States have kept confidential the locations of hospitals where outbreaks have occurred, citing patient confidentiality and a risk of unnecessarily scaring the public. In an interview with CBS News, the reporter stressed that while this was a serious issue, especially in hospitals, it's not yet a threat to the general public: "The people who are susceptible are people with weakened immune systems, the infirm, older folks in hospitals," Matt Richtel said. "So let me put the finest possible point on this: the general public walking down the street [is] not going to be felled by this. You're not gonna get it walking to Walmart. You're not going to get it in your house." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New Device Treats Childhood ADHD With Electric Pulses To Their Foreheads While They Sleep - An anonymous reader quotes CNN: The first medical device to treat childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, was OK'd Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Designated for children ages 7 to 12 who are not currently on medication for the disorder, the device delivers a low-level electrical pulse to the parts of the brain responsible for ADHD symptoms.... The pocket-sized device is connected by wire to a small adhesive patch placed on the child's forehead above the eyebrows. Designed to be used at home while sleeping, it delivers a "tingling" electrical stimulation to branches of the cranial nerve that delivers sensations from the face to the brain. A clinical trial of 62 children showed that the Monarch external Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation System increases activity in the regions of the brain that regulate attention, emotion and behavior, all key components of ADHD. Compared to a placebo, children using the device had statistically significant improvement in their ADHD symptoms, the FDA said, although it could take up to four weeks to see improvement. Authors of the clinical trial called for additional research to examine if the response to treatment will last over time, and its potential impact on brain development with prolonged use.... The device was previously approved for the treatment of epilepsy and depression in Europe and Canada. Studies at UCLA found the stimulation decreased seizure activity by inhibiting overactive neurons in one section of the brain, while stimulating blood flow in the areas that control mood, attention and executive function. CNN reports that the manufacturer's web site says the device costs around $1,000 -- and is not covered by insurance. The FDA added that common side effects could include headache, teeth clenching, and trouble sleeping (as well as fatigue and sleepiness). Read more of this story at Slashdot.