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Archive for December 19th, 2009

‘Iranian Cyber Army’ briefly takes Twitter offline world-wide

Raw Story– By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, December 19th, 2009 — 10:43 am

Popular microblogging site Twitter was briefly shut down overnight, its home page replaced with an image claiming the site had been hacked by the “Iranian Cyber Army.”

The website’s official blog acknowledged the disruption but gave no details as to how the site had been disrupted and who was responsible.

“Last night, DNS settings for the Twitter Web site were hijacked,” the site’s co-founder Biz Stone wrote Friday on the blog.

DNS stands for Domain Name System, an Internet protocol used to translate online addresses from long strings of numbers into simple “urls” such as http://www.twitter.com.

Hackers hijacked the settings for Twitter’s website, rerouting about 80 percent of its traffic to another page from shortly before 0600 GMT until 0700 GMT, according to Stone.

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Contrary to popular belief, the US actually has 189,000 personnel on the ground in Afghanistan right now—and that number is quickly rising.

By Jeremy Scahill, RebelReports, Dec 18, 2009

A hearing in Sen. Claire McCaskill’s Contract Oversight subcommittee on contracting in Afghanistan has highlighted some important statistics that provide a window into the extent to which the Obama administration has picked up the Bush-era war privatization baton and sprinted with it. Overall, contractors now comprise a whopping 69% of the Department of Defense’s total workforce, “the highest ratio of contractors to military personnel in US history.” That’s not in one war zone—that’s the Pentagon in its entirety.

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Olivier Morin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images - Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary General, spoke at a press conference in Copenhagen on Saturday.

ANDREW C. REVKIN and JOHN M. BRODER | NYT | December 20, 2009

COPENHAGEN — With the swift bang of a gavel on Saturday morning, a prolonged fight between nations small and large over an international pact to limit climate risks that was forged the night before by the United States and four partners came to a somewhat murky end.

The chairman of the climate treaty talks declared that the parties would “take note” of the document, named the Copenhagen Accord, leaving open the question of whether this effort to curb greenhouse gases from the world’s major emitters would gain the full support of the 193 countries bound by the original, and largely failed, 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The culmination of two weeks of talks here, capping two years of negotiation, came roughly 24 hours after President Obama swept into a conference center full of exhausted negotiators in the final hours of a deadlocked effort to produce a binding agreement curbing the surging global flow of greenhouse gases.

By late Friday night, he and leaders from Brazil, India, South Africa and China produced a short, last-ditch sketch of a nonbinding emissions deal that was also aimed at aiding those most vulnerable to warming.

Other countries, including Britain, quickly sought its approval by the full assemblage of 193 countries. But after dawn on Saturday, a half dozen countries loudly intervened, challenging efforts to approve the accord. Another group, from Venezuela to Sudan, stridently fought the pact.

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We can wait no longer to restart the peace process. The human suffering demands urgent relief

Jimmy Carter, The Guardian/UK, Dec 19, 2009

It is generally recognised that the Middle East peace process is in the doldrums, almost moribund. Israeli settlement expansion within Palestine continues, and PLO leaders refuse to join in renewed peace talks without a settlement freeze, knowing that no Arab or Islamic nation will accept any comprehensive agreement while Israel retains control of East Jerusalem.

US objections have impeded Egyptian efforts to resolve differences between Hamas and Fatah that could lead to 2010 elections. With this stalemate, PLO leaders have decided that President Mahmoud Abbas will continue in power until elections can be held – a decision condemned by many Palestinians.

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Doug Mills/The New York Times - President Obama with Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao, across from him, the prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, right, and other world leaders at the Copenhagen climate summit on Friday.

JOHN M. BRODER
NYT
December 18, 2009

COPENHAGEN — President Obama announced here on Friday night that five major nations, including the United States, had together forged a climate deal. He called it “an unprecedented breakthrough” but acknowledged that it still fell short of what was required to combat global warming.

The agreement addresses many of the issues that leaders came here to settle. But it has left many of the participants in the climate talks unhappy, from the Europeans, who now have the only binding carbon control regime in the world, to the delegates from the poorest nations, who objected to being left out of the critical negotiations.

By the early hours of Saturday, representatives of the 193 countries who have negotiated here for nearly two weeks had not yet approved the deal and there were signs they might not. But Mr. Obama, who left before the conference considered the accord because of a major storm descending on Washington, noted that the agreement was merely a political statement and not a legally binding treaty and might not need ratification by the entire conference.

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Doug Mills/The New York Times - President Obama returned from Copenhagen early Saturday, landing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland amid a major winter storm

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