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Battle For Jerusalem, Keystone Flops, Bob Marley's Cannabis

805 million people across the globe are undernourished, a new UN report reveals.
805 million people across the globe are undernourished, a new UN report reveals.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The United Nations’ human rights committee has called on the Security Council to refer North Korean leaders to the International Criminal Court over allegations of crimes against humanity, the BBC reports. The resolution approved late Tuesday was based on a report published earlier this year which documented state-sponsored abductions, forced labor, starvation, rape, forced abortion, infanticide, torture, and summary executions. According to CNN, Russia and China, who hold veto powers in the Security Council, said the measure was politically manipulated and could set a bad precedent.

After yesterday’s attack on a synagogue in West Jerusalem that left 4 worshippers and a policeman dead, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country was engaged in a “battle over Jerusalem, our eternal capital,” and vowed to “settle the score with every terrorist and their dispatchers,” The Independent reports. His Economy Minister, Naftali Bennett, who is also the leader of the far-right Zionist party Jewish Home, went further and urged Israel “to move from defense to attack” and to launch a military operation in the West Bank, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Two Palestinians, including a 16-year-old boy were seriously injured in separate attacks in Ramallah and North Jerusalem, while Israeli forces arrested 12 relatives of the two perpetrators of the synagogue attack. Security forces also destroyed the family home of the man who ran over and killed two people last month at a tram stop in Jerusalem.

Spanish lawmakers meanwhile voted a symbolic motion urging their government to recognize a Palestinian state, though it would only happen after the two parties have found a solution to the conflict. Israel’s Foreign Minister responded in a statement, saying that the motion “only pushes away further the chances of reaching an agreement.”

Thirty-three years after Bob Marley's death, the Jamaican singer's family is launching Marley Natural, which they hail as "the world's first global cannabis brand."

One vote is all it took for U.S. Senate Democrats to defeat legislation that would have forced President Barack Obama to approve the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, an important victory for environmental activists, The Washington Post reports. The rebuff is however a dangerous defeat for one Democrat Senator, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who was counting on the measure’s approval to boost her reelection campaign ahead of a Dec. 6 runoff. But with the GOP vowing to return to the fight when it takes control of the Senate next year, The New York Times writes that Obama might use the pipeline project as a “bargaining chip” for one of his own policies. A bill that would have greatly restricted the NSA’s data collection programs was also blockedin yesterday’s session.

According to Reuters, Obama is planning to protect from deportation millions of undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or of permanent legal residents in an executive order that could come as early as this week.

As the Second International Conference on Nutrition begins today, a report by a UN nutrition expert reveals that 805 million people across the globe are undernourished.

The possibility of war between the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" and Kiev becomes ever more likely with each passing day, writes Martin van Creveld in Die Welt: “As Putin is reported to have said, his forces are strong enough to occupy all of Ukraine, or at least its major cities, in a matter of weeks. Such an occupation is possible but unlikely because, as Putin certainly knows, it would lead to years of war similar to the Russian wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya, but on a much larger scale. If he were to lose the war, it could mean the dissolution of the Russian Republic.”
Read the full article, Putin Would Risk Everything In A War With Ukraine.

Japanese film legend Ken Takakura, of Black Rain fame, has died at age 83.

A doctor a Sierra Leone infected with Ebola died yesterday, becoming the seventh doctor killed by the virus in the West African country, Reuters reports. At least 128 medical staff has been infected so far in Sierra Leone, one of the worst affected countries alongside Guinea and Liberia, with the death toll in the three countries now above 5,000. Reporting from Guinea, The Guardian explains that the outbreak is forcing agencies to change their roles, with the World Food Programme now building treatment centers instead of delivering food. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation meanwhile announced a $5.7 million pledge for the production of experimental treatments.


Dozens of masked protesters in Hong Kong stormed the city’s Legislative Council early this morning, with the police responding with pepper spray, batons and riot shields. Four men were arrested. According to the South China Morning Post, Occupy Central leaders and pan-democratic lawmakers denounced the protesters’ actions, saying it had “violated the principle of peace and nonviolence underlying the umbrella movement.”

Surfing on the success of the Rosetta mission, a UK-led consortium is launching a crowdfunding campaign to land a robotic probe on the Moon in 10 years. In exchange for their pledge, donors will be able to send their own pictures, videos and even DNA in a memory box that will be buried there.

In a much closer-to-home new project, with its own crowdfunding drive, this new device touted as a way to hear your music more loudly without the ever increasing risk of hearing loss from traditional earphones.

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Look At This Crap! The "Enshittification" Theory Of Why The Internet Is Broken

The term was coined by journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the fatal drift of major Internet platforms: if they were ever useful and user-friendly, they will inevitably end up being odious.

A photo of hands holding onto a smartphone

A person holding their smartphone

Gilles Lambert/ZUMA
Manuel Ligero


The universe tends toward chaos. Ultimately, everything degenerates. These immutable laws are even more true of the Internet.

In the case of media platforms, everything you once thought was a good service will, sooner or later, disgust you. This trend has been given a name: enshittification. The term was coined by Canadian blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the inevitable drift of technological giants toward... well.

The explanation is in line with the most basic tenets of Marxism. All digital companies have investors (essentially the bourgeoisie, people who don't perform any work and take the lion's share of the profits), and these investors want to see the percentage of their gains grow year after year. This pushes companies to make decisions that affect the service they provide to their customers. Although they don't do it unwillingly, quite the opposite.

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Annoying customers is just another part of the business plan. Look at Netflix, for example. The streaming giant has long been riddling how to monetize shared Netflix accounts. Option 1: adding a premium option to its regular price. Next, it asked for verification through text messages. After that, it considered raising the total subscription price. It also mulled adding advertising to the mix, and so on. These endless maneuvers irritated its audience, even as the company has been unable to decide which way it wants to go. So, slowly but surely, we see it drifting toward enshittification.

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