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Turkey adopts ‘Orwellian’ internet curbs

2019年7月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Turkish MPs have adopted new internet legislation roundly criticised as a fresh assault by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on freedom of expression, access to information and investigative journalism.


The proposals come amid parallel moves by Erdogan to push through contentious judicial reforms as he fights to keep the lid on a deeply damaging corruption probe entangling some of his closest allies.

After hours of debate, during which opposition MPs blasted the bill as “censorship”, the measures were adopted in the chamber, where Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) dominates with 319 of the 550 seats.

The bill extends what are already hefty internet curbs in place under a controversial 2007 law that earned Turkey equal ranking with China as the world’s biggest web censor according to a Google transparency report published in December.

The text notably permits a government agency, the Telecommunications Communications Presidency (TIB), to block access to websites without court authorisation if they are deemed to violate privacy or with content seen as “insulting”.

Yaman Akdeniz, law professor at Bilgi private university in Istanbul, said the powers given to the TIB were “Orwellian”.

This body will also be able to request users’ communications and traffic information from hosting providers – obliged to retain up to two years’ worth of data – without a court order, Akdeniz said.

The measures, Akdeniz said, will “move Turkey away from the European Union in terms of internet policy, perhaps a few steps closer to China”, where the web is heavily censored by the communist authorities.

At the start of the debate, opposition lawmaker Hasan Oren had harsher words, comparing Erdogan to Hitler.

“When you came to power you talked of enhancing democracy in Turkey, Now you are trying to implement fascism,” Oren said.

“Remember that Adolf Hitler used the same methods when he rose to power.”

The amendments, which form part of a so-called omnibus bill containing a mishmash of other measures, add to an already draconian approach under the 2007 law.

Under that existing legislation, websites including blogging tool Wordpress and video-sharing services DailyMotion and Vimeo have been blocked temporarily by court orders, while YouTube was off limits for two years until 2010.

Reporters Without Borders said the aim is “to reinforce cyber-censorship, government control of the internet and surveillance”.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called it a “slide into internet authoritarianism” in a country that is the “leading jailer of journalists worldwide”.

SPC, Howes a gift to Abbott on IR

2019年7月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

When Tony Abbott returned to Australia from Nelson Mandela’s memorial service he flew into a political storm over the flagged closure of Holden.


It would have been a stretch at the time to regard the car maker’s loss as an opportunity to tackle industrial relations.

Nor could he have expected that several weeks later he would be given a leg-up from the most unlikely of supporters – high-profile trade union boss Paul Howes.

A set of unrelated circumstances, that started with Holden and included travails at Toyota – so far the only car maker that will be operating in Australia after 2017 – and ailing fruit processor SPC Ardmona, has gifted the Abbott government an opening to push workplace changes.

All three created an opportunity to strike out at over-generous “sweetheart deals” between business and unions, and talk up the need for greater workplace flexibility.

The coalition is adopting a nip-and-tuck approach to industrial relations in a campaign of skirmishes rather than a full-frontal assault, learning from the experience of Work Choices, which alienated workers during the Howard years.

It has turned on its head the traditional alliance it enjoys with big business attributing equal blame for their part in the perceived failures of Australia’s industrial relations system.

Employment Minister Eric Abetz could not have been clearer when he addressed the Sydney Institute in late January.

Big employers, he said, needed to say “no” to unaffordable union demands.

Mr Abetz lashed out at what he called “sweetheart deals” between “weak-kneed” employers and “unreasonable” unions.

He lamented business would come to him advocating for workplace relations reform, effectively blaming the system for their own shortcomings.

A few days later, Abbott cited an over-generous enterprise agreement with workers as one of the reasons his cabinet rejected a $25 million lifeline for SPC Ardmona.

Treasurer Joe Hockey went further, describing reported clauses of the agreement as “astounding”.

“If that is what they negotiate, then please do not come to the government asking for other taxpayers’ money when those agreements fail,” he said.

Mr Abbott is not backing away from his criticism despite finding himself in a messy stoush with one of his own MPs – Sharman Stone whose electorate will suffer most from SPC’s possible closure.

The decision was tough, but “defining” he said, as he drew a line on entitlements and cushy enterprise agreements.

What happens at Toyota threatens to become a potent symbol of this guerilla war.

The car maker is seeking to vary its enterprise agreement to improve productivity, including reducing the the Christmas shutdown period from 21 days to 10 days.

Mr Abbott, Mr Abetz and Mr Hockey have attacked the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union for its refusal to negotiate changes.

Mr Hockey in his “end of entitlement” interview this week said unions were “biting off the hand that feeds them” by resisting change.

Toyota legitimately had gone back to the workers and asked them to limit the Christmas shutdown 10 days because it wanted to a guaranteed market in the Middle East, he said.

“The AMWU took them to court and said `No, we want to stop this.'”

The government opened a new front with a submission to a review of the award system requesting the the Fair Work Commission consider whether penalty rates should apply to “particular” sectors.

It wasn’t said out loud, but it was an oblique reference to similar calls being made by the hospitality and retail sector.

The submission unsurprisingly provoked criticism from Labor and the unions, who accused Abbott of wanting to attack the wages and conditions of low-paid workers.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accused the prime minister of being out of touch with ordinary Australians.

“(He) has no idea about how millions of people earn their pay,” he said.

Not so, Mr Abbott said: “If you’re a low-paid, worker one of the things you often love to do is work late nights weekends because it does substantially increase your income,” he said.

But it was Mr Howes who, intentionally or otherwise, put a lid on yet another blazing IR row.

He told the National Press Club in Canberra this week the current system – about which debate had become a “blood sport” – was dragging down the Australian economy.

Since 1998 there had been eight different IR frameworks.

Mr Howes called for a new deal with business and government to move the system beyond the Work Choices and the Fair Work eras. He proposed a “grand compact”, taking a lead from a trade union leader who became the nation’s leader – Bob Hawke.

Mr Abbott was quick to accept the olive branch, keen to let the past – especially Work Choices – be the past.

Labor and the unions were not so accommodating.

Mr Shorten ridiculed the idea, describing as a “fantasy” the prospect of a compact between the prime minister and unions.

“How can you sit down and form an accord with a series of organisations that you want to have a royal commission into?” he asked, referring to a possible expanded inquiry into union corruption.

But that’s another story, and another gift for the government.

Speaker goes, but Vic drama continues

2019年7月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

As one drama ended for the Victorian government with the resignation of embattled Speaker Ken Smith, another quickly unfolded on the floor of parliament that highlighted the perilous situation in which the coalition finds itself.


Balance-of-power MP and former Liberal Geoff Shaw sided with the opposition on Tuesday to stall the government’s business agenda for the week and remind Premier Denis Napthine nine months out from the election how tenuously he grips onto power.

The controversial independent and former nightclub bouncer is blamed by many for the demise of former premier Ted Baillieu and for Mr Smith’s resignation.

Mr Smith, who thinks the maverick member for Frankston is not fit to be in parliament, believes he might not be Mr Shaw’s last victim.

“Who’s he going to turn his sights on next? Who is he going to dislike next,” he asked on Fairfax Radio on Tuesday.

“He will just go after them and nobody should have that sort of power in the parliament.”

Fortunately for Dr Napthine, Mr Shaw declared on Wednesday he is a “reasonable premier”, but he has promised he will treat all future bills on a case by case basis.

“There’s 88 other people in parliament and we’ve all got a chance to call the shots,” he told the ABC.

“I’d like to think that I call some of the shots for Frankston and other people might think that they call the shots for their different electorates.”

University of Melbourne public policy fellow and former Labor adviser Nicholas Reece said the drama will make it difficult for the coalition in an election year.

“Chaos in parliament always hurts the government more than it does the opposition, because the public rightly expect the government to be able to control proceedings in the parliament and advance its legislative agenda,” he told AAP.

“With the government relying on Geoff Shaw’s vote to control the parliament, it finds itself left in an invidious position.

“This is a diabolical situation for the government in an election year and government MPs will be doing everything they can to reach an accommodation with Geoff Shaw that will make for a workable parliament because the other alternatives are politically unpalatable.”

One person who wouldn’t mind the alternatives is Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews.

“I don’t fear an early election,” he declared to reporters on Wednesday.

“This is a circus and it’s being run by Denis Napthine and Victoria’s going backwards.”

Dr Napthine insists he is in charge and won’t be beholden to Mr Shaw about any matters.

“We are the government, I am the premier, and my cabinet and my team and I are calling the shots,” he told parliament.

That statement will be tested over the next nine months as Dr Napthine attempts to get his legislation through, while relying on the support of the unpredictable member for Frankston.

Xbox-sensor guards Korean border

2019年7月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Microsoft’s movement-recognition Kinect software has morphed from virtual shooter gaming to the real-life challenge of guarding the world’s last Cold War border.


The sensor allowing hands-free play on the Xbox is the basis for a security device now deployed along the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea, after being adapted by a South Korean programmer.

Four kilometres wide and 248 kilometres long, the DMZ is a depopulated no-man’s land of heavily fortified fences that bristles with the landmines and listening posts of two nations that technically remain at war.

As a military buffer zone, it remains an area of profound Cold War hostility, but its man-made isolation has also created an accidental wildlife park recognised as one of the best-preserved habitats on Earth.

The Kinect-based software developed by Ko Jae-Kwan, founder-president of Saewan Co, has been taken up by the military because of its ability to differentiate between human and animal movement.

Ko, 39, said on Thursday that his device could detect the sound, movement and direction of anybody attempting to cross the DMZ and immediately alert South Korean border guards.

“Existing sensors, which had been in place along the border, were highly efficient but could not tell the difference between humans and animals, sending wrong signals frequently,” Ko said.

The new sensors have been in place along certain sections of the DMZ since August last year, he added.

“Such devices are established as part of our project to strengthen surveillance with scientific equipment, but we cannot provide details for security reasons,” a defence ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

Despite all the security measures in place along the DMZ, there have been highly publicised incidents of undetected crossings.

Five South Korean generals and nine mid-level officers were removed from their posts or disciplined in 2012 after a defecting North Korean soldier simply walked undetected across the border and knocked on the door of a guard post.

The security lapse was all the more embarrassing as it came at a time of surging military tensions when the South Korean army was supposedly on high alert.

Ko said he planned to update the existing Kinect-based sensors to a version capable of detecting heart rates and reading body temperature, features that Microsoft added to the Xbox One version of the console released last year.

“For its price, the device is very accurate and effective in covering vulnerable areas,” he said.

New Zealand hit back after India strike early

2019年7月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

McCullum was on 71 with Williamson 79 not out, the pair enjoying an unbroken 149-run partnership.


Williamson’s half-century was his sixth in succession against the tourists, having scored one in each of the five one day internationals that preceded the test series.

The 23-year-old Williamson was dropped on 32 by Murali Vijay at first slip off Mohammed Shami, and went on to bring up his half-century from 79 balls with a top-edge six that flew over captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s head.

McCullum, who had initially accelerated the scoring after the break then slowed down, brought up his 29th test half century with a glorious off drive for his ninth boundary from a full-length Zaheer Khan delivery.

The pair scored 125 runs in 27 overs in the session as Dhoni became more defensive in his field placings, pushing fielders deeper and wider, which allowed New Zealand to keep the scoreboard ticking over with easy singles.

They had been thrust together with New Zealand on 30 for three after Dhoni had won his sixth successive toss on the tour and immediately asked the hosts to bat.

His three-pronged pace attack of Shami, Zaheer and Ishant Sharma exploited the green drop-in pitch and cool, overcast conditions to knock the top off New Zealand’s batting and expose their middle order before the break.

Sharma had backed up the initial pressure applied by Shami, whose first six overs cost just five runs, with two wickets while Zaheer, who joined the test side to add some experience to their attack, had dismissed Peter Fulton for 13.

The tall Sharma had Hamish Rutherford well caught by a diving Ajinkya Rahane in the gully for six then had Ross Taylor caught by Ravindra Jadeja at wide mid-off for three.

Taylor’s dimissal reduced the hosts to 30 for three before Williamson and McCullum consolidated, adding another 24 runs before lunch.

India’s bowlers were unable to sustain their disciplined line and length after the lunch and were punished for bowling too short or too full.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ian Ransom)