As the EU Copyright Directive was approved, Germany admitted it requires copyright filters, putting it on a collision course with the EU-Canada trade deal

The EU Copyright Directive was voted through the Parliament because a handful of MEPs accidentally pushed the wrong button; this week, it passed through the Council -- representing the national governments of the EU -- and as it did, the German government admitted what opponents had said all along: even though the Directive doesn't mention copyright filters for all human expression (photos, videos, text messages, code, Minecraft skins, etc etc), these filters are inevitable. Read the rest

Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

A fire at Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral was reportedly started by accident, and is related to ongoing work, according to France 2 News which cites police. The Paris bureau chief for Reuters said the news “is terrible and a hideous blow to the symbolic heart of the city.” Read the rest

Leaked, "highly classified" French report shows that the slaughter in Yemen depends on US support

Last September, the French Directorate of Military Intelligence prepared a "highly classified" report on the Saudi war in Yemen to brief the "restricted council" of cabinet-level officials; the report has been obtained by the French media organization Disclose, which has published it jointly with The Intercept and four other French media organizations. Read the rest

After months of insisting that #Article13 doesn't require filters, top EU Commissioner says "Article 13 requires filters"

The months of debate over Article 13 of the new EU Copyright Directive (passed in a tragicomedy of errors when some MEPs got confused and pushed the wrong buttons), the most contentious issue was whether the rule would require online service providers to spend millions on copyright filters, which are known to be error-prone and the source of mountains of algorithmic censorship, as well as being easily abused by would-be censors who can make false copyright claims with impunity and use them to prevent images, videos, sounds and words from ever appearing on the internet. Read the rest

Mystery solved: why has a beach in France been blighted by washed-up parts for toy Garfield phones for more than 30 years?

For more than thirty years, the beaches of France's Iroise Marine Nature Park have been blighted by a seemingly endless stream of a highly specific form of washed-up plastic waste: part of a toy Garfield telephone -- more than 200 pieces in all.

Read the rest

An astounding gigapixel panorama of Paris affords "an eyeful of the Eiffel"

[Editor's note: Gigapixel panorama impressario Jeffrey Martin (previously) offers us "an eye full from Eiffel" in this astounding gigapixel pano of Paris -Cory]

I shot this gigapixel photo in autumn 2018 from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Using an SLR camera and a variety of telephoto lenses, I shot a few thousand photos from both levels of the Eiffel Tower. The image you see here was shot from the top level, and you can actually see the Eiffel Tower itself in the image. Read the rest

Costa Rican measles outbreak traced to unvaccinated French tourists

Costa Rica had been measles-free for five years, until Feb 18, when visiting French tourists took their unvaccinated five-year-old son to a doctor to investigate a "rash" that turned out to be measles -- the boy's mother was also unvaccinated. Read the rest

French TV cuts Facebook Live video from desecrated Jewish cemetery due to anti-Semitic troll swarm

On Wednesday, the TV network France 3 was forced to cut off a live Facebook broadcast from a desecrated Jewish cemetery in eastern France when trolls swarmed the feed and filled it with anti-Semitic hate comments. Read the rest

As the German Government Abandons Small Businesses, the Worst Parts of the EU Copyright Directive Come Roaring Back, Made Even Worse

Last month, it seemed like Europe had been saved from a dangerous attempt by corporate lobbyists to hijack copyright legislation in order to add a few points to their balance sheets, at the cost of a free, fair, open internet. Now, thanks to Germany's decision to turn its back on small European tech companies, the EU is poised once again to hand permanent control over Europe's internet to the United States’ Big Tech sector, snuffing out the small- and medium-sized enterprises of Europe.

The new European Directive on Copyright in the Single Market is a grab-bag of updates to EU-wide copyright rules, which have been frozen in time since their last refresh, in 2001. But the Directive been imperiled since last spring, when German MEP Axel Voss took over as rapporteur, and promptly revived two controversial, unworkable clauses.

To remain credible, the EU must reject this haggling between giant commercial interests—and put the public good first.

Voss's deadly pet ideas were, first, a proposal to let news sites decide who could link to them and to charge for the privilege (Article 11); and second, a proposal to require every platform for public communication to invent and deploy copyright filters that would prevent any user from infringing copyright, even momentarily, by suppressing any communications that appeared to contain a copyrighted work of any kind (Article 13).

The response was swift and decisive: more than a million Europeans promptly wrote to their MEPs to demand that the Directive be voted on clause-by-clause, allowing for Articles 11 and 13 to be amended. Read the rest

As Macron and Merkel meet to rescue the #CopyrightDirective, the world's libraries call for its rejection

The EU's plan to censor the internet with algorithms that block anything that might be a copyright infringement has only days to go before it will be too late for a vote before the upcoming elections, and so far, progress has been stalled thanks to France's unwillingness to accept tiny, meaningless concessions that Germany feels they must win to retain political credibility. Read the rest

Archaeological evidence for the Iron Age practice of embalming your enemies' severed heads with resin and displaying them

Ancient Roman texts and sculptures describe a Celtic practice of severing your defeated enemies' heads, embalming them with resin and plant oils, and displaying them as war trophies: now, archaeologists have unearthed evidence of the practice at Le Cailar, the 2,500 year old walled city near the Rhone. Read the rest

Teen self-injects verses from the Bible and the Koran that have been transposed into DNA

In the first injection in a human being of macromolecules whose primary structure was developed from a religious text a French 16 year old named Adrien Locatelli describes how he paid Vector Builder $1300 to transcode verses from the Bible and the Koran into macromolecules and then injected one verse into each leg (the Bible verse was written into the DNA of an adeno-associated virus and injected into his left thigh; the Koran verse was encoded into DNA but not merged with a virus and was then injected into his right thigh). Read the rest

Facing unpaid overtime, cuts and austerity, French cops threaten to join Gilets Jaunes protesters

When French President (and ex-investment banker) Macron decided to cut taxes for the super-rich and make up the shortfall by taxing diesel fuel (widespread in poor rural areas) but not private jet fuel, he put the already-precarious French treasury into an even more precarious state. Read the rest

Yellow Vests stand for and against many contradictory things, but are united in opposition to oligarchy

From a distance, it's hard to understand the nuance of the mass "gilets jaunes" protests that rocked France; with one in five French people identifying as a yellow vest and more vests marching in Basra, Baghdad and Alberta (and with Egypt's autocrats pre-emptive cracking down on the sale of yellow vests ahead of elections), it's clearly a complicated and fast-spreading phenomenon. Read the rest

Canal+ commits copyfraud, gets Banksy's painting-shredding video removed from Youtube

In October, a delightful prank by the artist Banksy involved a painting of his shredding itself shortly after a Sotheby's bidder committed to spending £1.04m to buy it. Read the rest

Those violent 'yellow jacket' protests in France? Facebook's behind that, too.

Facebook's changes to content display algorithms met with “the fierce devotion in France to local and regional identity,” and the so-called yellow jacket protests in France exploded. Read the rest

Chinese spies attempted to compromise 4,000 French citizens on LinkedIn

With the midterm elections creeping up, everyone in the media's been busier than a cat trying to bury a turd in a marble floor watching for signs of Russian interference. Given the amount of chaos that Russia's cyber operatives have been responsible for over the past few years, this is totally understandable. However, it might be a good idea for the media to keep an eye on China's online comings and goings, as well.

According to a report released by the French government, Chinese cyber operatives have been hard at work attempting to compromise or enlist thousands of well-placed professionals and intellectuals online to leverage in the real world.

From IntelNews:

The report describes Chinese efforts to approach senior French scientists, business executives, academics and others, as “widespread and elaborate”, and warns that it poses an “unprecedented threat against the national interests” of the French state. It goes on to state that nearly 4,000 carefully selected French citizens have been approached by Chinese intelligence operatives via the LinkedIn social media platform. Of those nearly half, or 1,700, have leading posts in French industry, while the remaining 2,300 work in the public sector. In their totality, those targeted are involved nearly every area of industry and government administration, including those of nuclear energy, telecommunications, computing and transportation, said the report.

Uh Oh.

In many cases, the Chinese operatives used fake identities, pretending to be headhunters for overseas corporations and think tanks on LinkedIn. As part of the ruse, the ops would invite their targets on all-expenses-paid trips to China for job interviews or research symposiums – whatever turned their target's crank. Read the rest

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