NYC’s transit workers approve strike authorization

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NYC’s transit workers approve strike authorization

Sunday, December 11, 2005

New York City is on track to grind to a halt on December 15 when the Transport Workers Union Local 100 contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority expires. Union members gathered at Jacob Javits today and unanimously approved a strike authorization if the negotaions between the TWU and MTA fail. Among the many disagreements are the MTA’s employee rules and salary increases.

MTA employees have complained about the rule that requires them to call and alert a supervisor prior to taking a bathroom break of no more than ten minutes. Workers have pointed out that supervisors are not always accessible, especially during the overnight shifts. Another rule in dispute is the employee’s uniform: “Sikh workers, whose religion requires they wear a turban, must wear one made of TA-issued fabric with the TA logo front and center.”[1] But the major sticking point has been the pay raises. The union has demanded an 8% increase per year for the next three years, but the MTA has offered 5% over two years. The MTA was running a deficit during the previous contract negotiation in 2002, forcing the TWU to accept what the MTA offered. But now, reportedly US$1 billion in the black and offering free rides for the holidays to its riders, the union is looking to cash in on the MTA’s good fortunes.

The TWU began broadcasting radio advertisements on the news stations 1010 WINS-AM and 880 WCBS-AM to gain public support. Part of it goes “MTA bosses are making buses run faster, while carrying more people, and don’t even give the operators enough time for a bathroom break” and “Security alert levels are still high, but MTA bosses are taking conductors off trains, closing token booths and installing turnstiles that make emergency evacuation very difficult.”Michael Bloomberg had stressed in the negotiations of 2002 that the city would enforce the Taylor Law, which prohibits public employees from striking and fines strikers two days wages each striking day. Echoing his previous position three years ago, Mayor Bloomberg said “They should stay in a room until they come to an agreement.” Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo said a strike could cost as much as US$10 million a day in police overtime and other expenses.

The last transit strike was in April 1980, and lasted for eleven days. TWU President Roger Toussaint called the proposed health provisions, pension givebacks, and wage increase “an insult to our members”, and went on to suggest that the odds of a strike were 50/50. Both Toussaint and chief MTA negotiator Gary Dellaverson said they were confident that a strike could be averted, but union members made clear that they will strike if – or as most commuters fear, when – the negotiations fail and the deadline is passed.

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Man arrested in connection with Honolulu toddler death

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Man arrested in connection with Honolulu toddler death

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Matthew Higa, 23, has been arrested in connection with the death of a 23-month-old boy. Higa is alleged to have thrown the child from a pedestrian overpass into oncoming traffic on Honolulu’s H-1 Freeway.

The local coroner’s office noted that the child died on impact after falling 30 feet (9 meters) from the overpass. This occurred during Thursday’s lunch rush hour in the heart of downtown. Upon impact, several cars struck the child, which caused traffic to grind to a halt.

The toddler, Cyrus Nainoa Tupa?i Belt, was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:07 p.m. (2207 UTC), approximately 27 minutes after being allegedly being ejected from the overpass by Higa. The portion of H-1 was closed for approximately five hours with traffic diverted to side streets. The freeway was reopened in time for the evening commute.

At first the relationship between Higa and the child was unclear, but later reports stated that Higa lived adjacent to him and had babysat him on previous occasions. The boy’s mother was out of town at the time of his death, but it was revealed that the child was supposed to be in the custody of his father and not with Higa.

Higa graduated from Roosevelt High School in 2003. In the summer of 2004 Higa was involved in an incident where police reports indicate a three-car race resulted in the death of a friend. Higa has since had a criminal history, with more than a dozen arrests but no convictions, and reports from neighbors of erratic behavior.

Queen’s Medical Center, which houses a psychiatric ward in Honolulu, noted that he was a patient there as recently as December 11, 2007. When arrested, Higa was wearing hospital scrubs, which were not immediately conducive to whether Higa was a patient in Queen’s psychiatric wing in the last couple of days. A representative of Queen’s declined to comment on whether Higa was admitted in the last week.

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Save Store Space And Sell More Merchandise With Slatwall Display Fixtures

By Tom Tran

The retail economy has become obviously competitive. The times have gone when shop owners can easily stack their products the way they see. As shoppers effortlessly become knowledgeable when we talk about choosing their purchases, most processes have turned superior instantly. People have become meticulous in ensuring that they get value for the money that they spend especially with these trying times. Everyone is taking more thought into consideration the things that they actually need as opposed to the things that they want. As a retail shop business owner, you know you need to revamp the way you promote your products when you see that you are not selling enough with your margins. Remember that you should be able to understand how important it is to arrange your goods and showcase them properly. Even if your have limited space in your store, you can still sell more goods so long as you have the correct displays used.

Fixture stands are basically the key racks that hold the products. Purchasers have come up with a number of ways of marketing products. This is through the utilization of slat wall racks that help in increasing product visibility when people drop by your shop. Be sure that all specifications of your displays are cautiously accounted for. You dont want to be putting a huge slat wall fixture racks as permanent fixtures in a cramped area. Since your goods may become little when placed stuck between large stands or your tall slat wall stands may seem very obtrusive when pushed placed between normal fixture units.

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Make sure that you calculate the total weight that you will be classifying on your slatwall racks. A stand can only hold a minimum weight in a particular period. With meticulous space planning, you can add the number of products that can be held in a single stand. Since slatwall display racks are usually prepared in very minimal spaces, the products that are displayed should fit correctly. If your goods are big and frail, just be sure that your custom slat wall display merchandise are durable enough. Occupying room in a retail floor location usually means extra expense to the manufacturers. Place Management is the answer to this issue. Proper and methodical space management will reduce other unnecessary costs.

If the products to be promoted are not always in season, the slatwall stand should only be brief therefore you can find displays that can easily be moved right away. However, for everlasting retail racks, the fixtures should be very sturdy enough to hold all the merchandise for a long time. Knowing these situations help you to pick on what slatwall display to set up.

Reviewing on how to promote your merchandise should not be as complex as it seems. Your products do not have to be placed in traditional shelves anymore. You can find ways to reinvent them with the use of great slat wall racks that will aid to promote your business. Save storage space and use slatwall display stands to market your merchandise.

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Predictable random number generator discovered in the Debian version of OpenSSL

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Predictable random number generator discovered in the Debian version of OpenSSL

Friday, May 16, 2008

A major security hole was discovered in the pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) of the Debian version of OpenSSL. OpenSSL is one of the most used cryptographic software, that allows the creation of secure network connections with the protocols called SSL and TLS. It is included in many popular computer programs, like the Mozilla Firefox web browser and the Apache web server. Debian is one of the most used GNU/Linux distributions, on which are based other distributions, like Ubuntu and Knoppix. The problem affects all the Debian-based distributions that were used to create cryptographic keys since the September 17, 2006. The bug was discovered by Luciano Bello, an argentine Debian package maintainer, and was announced on May 13, 2008.

This vulnerability was caused by the removal of two lines of code from the original version of the OpenSSL library. These lines were used to gather some entropy data by the library, needed to seed the PRNG used to create private keys, on which the secure connections are based. Without this entropy, the only dynamic data used was the PID of the software. Under Linux the PID can be a number between 1 and 32,768, that is a too small range of values if used to seed the PRNG and will cause the generation of predictable numbers. Therefore any key generated can be predictable, with only 32,767 possible keys for a given architecture and key length, and the secrecy of the network connections created with those keys is fully compromised.

These lines were removed as “suggested” by two audit tools (Valgrind and Purify) used to find vulnerabilities in the software distributed by Debian. These tools warned the Debian maintainers that some data was used before its initialization, that normally can lead to a security bug, but this time it was not the case, as the OpenSSL developers wrote on March 13, 2003. Anyway this change was erroneously applied on September 17, 2006, when the OpenSSL Debian version 0.9.8c-1 was released to the public.

Even though the Debian maintainer responsible for this software released a patch to fix this bug on May 8, 2008, the impact may be severe. In fact OpenSSL is commonly used in software to protect the passwords, to offer privacy and security. Any private key created with this version of OpenSSL is weak and must be replaced, included the session keys that are created and used only temporary. This means that any data encrypted with these keys can be decrypted without a big deal, even if these keys are used (but not created) with a version of the library not affected, like the ones included in other operating systems.

For example any web server running under any operating system may use a weak key created on a vulnerable Debian-based system. Any encrypted connection (HTTPS) to this web server established by any browser can be decrypted. This may be a serious problem for sites that requires a secure connection, like banks or private web sites. Also, if some encrypted connection was recorded in the past, it can be decrypted in the same way.

Another serious problem is for the network security software, like OpenSSH and OpenVPN, that are used to encrypt the traffic to protect passwords and grant the access to an administrative console or a private network protected by firewalls. This may allows hackers to gain unwanted access to private computers, networks or data traveled over the network, even if a not affected version of OpenSSL was used.

The same behavior can be applied to any software or protocol that use SSL, like POP3S, SSMTP, FTPS, if used with a weak key. This is the case of Tor, software used to offer strong anonymity on the TCP/IP, where about 300 of 1,500-2,000 nodes used a weak key. With 15-20% of weak Tor nodes, there is a probability of 0.34-0.8% circa to build a circuit that has all tree nodes weak, resulting in a full loss of anonymity. Also the case of only one weak node begin used may facilitate some types of attack to the anonymity. The Tor hidden services, a sort of anonymous public servers, are affected too. However the issue was speedily addressed on May 14, 2008.

The same problem also interested anonymous remailers like Mixmaster and Mixminion, that use OpenSSL to create the remailer keys for the servers and the nym keys for the clients. Although currently there is no official announcement, at least two remailer changed their keys because were weak.

Posted: October 18th, 2018 by

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High school football coach shot dead at school gym in Iowa

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High school football coach shot dead at school gym in Iowa

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

An American football coach has been shot at his school gym in Iowa, United States. Ed Thomas was shot in front of his students at around 8.00 am local time. Thomas was in the weight room at the time of the shooting. An adult male has been arrested suspected of his murder.

Thomas was the head football coach at Aplington-Parkersburg High School. He had coached 37 seasons of High School football in his career and has a career record of 292-84 of which 156-31 is with Aplington-Parkersburg. He led Parkersburg to 19 state playoffs and won state titles in 1993 and 2001. He was named NFL High School Coach of the Year in 2003 and previously coached four active NFL players including Brad Meester, Jared DeVries, Casey Wiegmann and Aaron Kampman.

Thomas was well known in the local community for his work. When Parkersburg was hit by a tornado in the summer of 2008 Thomas worked endlessly to restore the damaged football field. County Sheriff Jason Johnson said that “Coach Thomas is the pillar of the community. Anything that affects him affects Parkersburg.”

No students were injured during the shooting.

Posted: October 17th, 2018 by

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Adobe to Purchase Macromedia for $3.4 Billion

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Adobe to Purchase Macromedia for $3.4 Billion

Monday, April 18, 2005

Adobe Systems, Inc. announced today that they will acquire Macromedia, Inc. for an estimated $3.4 billion in stock. Bruce Chizen, the chief executive officer of Adobe said that “Customers are calling for integrated software solutions that enable them to create, manage and deliver a wide range of compelling content and applications — from documents and images to audio and video. By combining our powerful development, authoring and collaboration software — along with the complementary functionality of PDF and Flash — Adobe has the opportunity to bring this vision to life with an industry-defining technology platform.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the fall, subject to approval by the stockholders of both companies and regulatory approvals. Under the terms of the agreement holders of Macromedia stock will receive 0.69 shares of Adobe stock for every share of Macromedia stock. Macromedia stockholders are expected to own approximately 18 percent of the combined company.

The two companies have in the past been rivals and some of their products compete in similar niches. For example, both Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Fireworks are graphics editing programs, and both Adobe GoLive and Macromedia Dreamweaver are webpage design applications.

In the combined company, the current CEO of Adobe, Chizen will continue as CEO. Stephen Elop, president and CEO of Macromedia, will become president of worldwide field operations. The combined company will keep the name “Adobe”, and will focus on integration and growth.

Additional details are available from Adobe Investor Relations.

Posted: October 17th, 2018 by

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Somali pirates hijack Indonesian tugboat and Turkish container ship

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Somali pirates hijack Indonesian tugboat and Turkish container ship

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Two more vessels have been hijacked in Somalia. Pirates have captured an Indonesian tugboat with a barge that was working for French oil firm Total and a Turkish container ship.

The Turkish vessel’s seizure was confirmed by a US Fifth Fleet spokesman. MV Bosphorus Prodigy is a 330 ft (100 m) container vessel flagged in Antigua and Barbuda. It is owned and operated by Isko Marine Company based in Istanbul.

The Fifth Fleet could not confirm the tugboat’s seizure, but an anonymous official with Total in Yemen could. He explained the boat and barge were headed to Malaysia from the Yemeni port of Mukalla. He said the crew consisted of both Indonesians and other nationalities, and that the vessels, which had been hired by a subcontractor, were not carrying any oil at the time.

The new hijackings came as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime asked for greater policing in the area by international bodies, and for the signing of agreements that allowed the arresting officer to take pirates back to the officer’s country for prosecution.

“Pirates cannot be keelhauled or forced to walk the plank, nor should they be dumped off the Somali coast,” said the office’s head Antonio Maria Costa. “They need to be brought to justice”.

Posted: October 16th, 2018 by

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Australian government concedes the federal budget may be forced into deficit

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Australian government concedes the federal budget may be forced into deficit

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told the House of Representatives that the federal budget may need to fall into “temporary deficit” if the global economic crisis impacts upon Australia further. The Prime Minister said it would draw upon its budget surplus to stimulate growth and jobs.

The Prime Minister said the Australian economy had changed significantly over the past few months and warned that there were hard times to come for many people. Mr Rudd said the situation will worsen before it gets any better.

Mr Rudd said that the government will go into temporary deficit and spend on infrastructure to stimulate growth if required and not to do so would be irresponsible.

“If Australian economic growth slows further because of a further deepening of the global crisis then it follows that Australian Government revenues will reduce further,” he said.

“Under those circumstances, it would be responsible to draw further from the surplus and if necessary to use a temporary deficit to begin investing in future infrastructure needs including hospitals, schools, TAFEs, universities, ports, roads, urban rail and high speed broadband.” He added, “Such action would support growth would support families and jobs and would be undertaken in the national interest.”

If the budget fell into deficit, it would be first time the federal budget has gone into deficit since 2001. Previously, the government has refused to concede the budget would go into deficit, contrary to predictions by economists.

The admission by the government follows claims on the weekend by the Prime Minister that he did not expect the budget would go into deficit “in the current circumstances.” Today Mr Rudd told parliament that the global economic crisis is accelerating.

“The world economy is deteriorating rapidly,” Mr Rudd told parliament.

“The impact of the global financial crisis … has grown from a trickle to a flood. It is now sweeping across the world from China to Chile, from Germany to Japan.”

The government slashed its budget surplus forecast earlier this month by AUD15 billion to $5.1 billion and revised down revenue for the next four years by a further $40 billion. Mr Rudd blamed part of the downgrade to falling commodity prices.

Figures recently released by the OECD predict that Australia will manage to avoid a recession this year; economic growth is predicted to be 1.7%.

Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull used the Prime Minister’s announcement to attack the Rudd government’s economic credentials. He said any deficit would be regarded by voters to be a failure in economic management.

Mr Turnbull asserted that it is unlikely that any deficit would be temporary. “Experience and history tell us that Labor deficits are never temporary,” he told parliament. “The last Labor deficit lasted for six years. It only came to an end with the election of a coalition government.”

Mr Turnbull said the government had remained focused on inflation for longer than they should have.

“It was the only government in the developed world that was ignoring the global financial crisis…and was declaring its own war on inflation, when much darker storm clouds were on the horizon.”

The Liberal leader took aim at comments made by Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner and Prime Minister Rudd on the weekend that said the budget would not be allowed to fall into deficit.

“Forty-eight hours [later] and that has been completely abandoned,” said Turnbull.

Posted: October 16th, 2018 by

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Posted: October 15th, 2018 by

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British ISPs restrict access to Wikipedia amid child pornography allegations

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British ISPs restrict access to Wikipedia amid child pornography allegations

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wikinews has learned at least six of the United Kingdom’s main Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have implemented monitoring and filtering mechanisms that are causing major problems for UK contributors on websites operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, in addition to 1,200 other websites. The filters appear to be applied because Wikimedia sites are hosting a Scorpions album cover which some call child pornography. Scorpions are a German hard rock band who have used several controversial album covers and are perhaps best known for the song Rock You Like a Hurricane.

The measures applied redirect traffic for a significant portion of the UK’s Internet population through six servers which can log and filter the content available to the end user. A serious side-effect of this is the inability of administrators on Wikimedia sites to block vandals, and other troublemakers, without potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of innocent UK contributors who work on WMF sites in good faith.

The filtering is in response to the Internet Watch Foundation‘s list of websites that host content reported to contain inappropriate images of naked children. The IWF considers those images child pornography. However, in the United States, where the websites of the Wikimedia Foundation are hosted, it is not considered obscene under the criteria of the Miller test, which requires that an obscene work lack “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value” – as album art is used to “brand” the album, it is considered to be artistic.

Contributors or individuals attempting to view an affected image or file, depending on their ISP, may get a warning saying, “we have blocked this page because, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), it contains indecent images of children or pointers to them; you could be breaking UK law if you viewed the page.” Other ISPs provide blank pages, 404 errors, or other means of blocking the content. Due to a configuration mistake at one Internet service provider, some users have reported being totally unable to access Wikimedia sites to the Wikipedia technical help desk.

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“The Protection of Children Act 1978 as amended in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, makes it an offence to take, make, permit to be taken, distribute, show, possess with intent to distribute, and advertise indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children under the age of eighteen. The ‘making’ of such images includes downloading, that is, making a copy of a child sexual abuse image on a computer, so, in the UK, accessing such content online is a serious criminal offence,” says the IWF on their website in an article updated on November 28. The IWF say there are at least 800 to 1,200 websites on the list of those who host or contain offensive material. The list is not public and the IWF never notified Wikimedia Foundation about the blocking of Wikipedia content. The affected page does not display any message informing the user about blocked content on most ISPs, instead, a technical error message is shown.

However, Demon Internet redirects users to a block message on the IWF’s site explaining that the page was blocked as the organization suspects child porn or links to it to be present. The IWF states that, “we do not notify site owners that their websites are on our list.”

The concern for Wikimedia is for some images like an album cover from a 1976 record of the Scorpions titled Virgin Killer. It displays an underage girl, posing nude, with a lens crack crossing over her genitals, but nothing blocking out her breasts. The girl appears to be around ten years old. In the U.S., the band later replaced the image with one of the group. The cover was uploaded to Wikipedia in 2006, but Wikinews learned that on May 9, 2008 at (21:17 UTC), despite a result of strong consensus to ‘keep’ in a deletion request, the image was deleted, however for a different reason. It was deleted due to a claim by an administrator that it violated Wikipedia’s policy for dealing with copyrighted images, which require that any images used under the doctrine of fair use must alongside other criteria, “significantly increase readers’ understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding”, with the administrator claiming that the article “lacked meaningful discussion” of the album art. This result was overturned using the deletion review process. Earlier, on December 6, the image was put back up for a deletion request, but it was later closed as Wikimedia “does not censor”.

Another image that is questionable could be a screenshot from the 1938 film Child Bride. Its goal was to bring to light the attempts at banning child marriages. In the article on Wikipedia, a screenshot appears of then 12-year-old Shirley Mills partially naked after skinny dipping. In the photo, at least one of her breasts can be seen.

Other albums featuring nudity below the age of sixteen have previously caused controversy; Blind Faith attracted criticism as did Houses of the Holy, and Nirvana’s Nevermind.

Multiple companies have gone public stating that they implement the recommendations of the Internet Watch Foundation. Not all of these are known to have implemented measures against Wikimedia sites; the major UK ISPs thought to have affected Wikimedia sites are Telefonica O2/Be Unlimited, Virgin Media, Easynet, Plusnet, Demon, and Opal Telecommunications (TalkTalk).

Wikinews has contacted Wikimedia’s legal counsel, Mike Godwin and the IWF for a statement, but neither have replied as of this time.

 This story has updates See Wikimedia, IWF respond to block of Wikipedia over child pornography allegations 

Posted: October 15th, 2018 by

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