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28/05/2020 22:16:38  

The price will only go down

The maintainers of OpenSSH, widely used for connecting securely to servers and devices over networks, have warned that the SHA-1 algorithm will be disabled in a "near-future release".…

28/05/2020 22:16:37  

Friday: China passes repressive national security law to clamp down on Hong Kong. Plus, Adam Liaw power-ranks the best dishes of lockdown

Good morning, this is Richard Parkin bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Friday 29 May.

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28/05/2020 22:16:22  

Malfunction caused rocket to shut down about five seconds after ignition

The first launch demonstration of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit LauncherOne rocket ended in failure this week.

The California-based company aims to place small satellites into space using LauncherOne, which is carried under the wing of a converted 747 jumbo-jet aircraft.

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28/05/2020 22:16:20  

Trump has used and abused the platform for long enough. And his latest executive order is just another distraction

The president’s executive order on social media will kick off a heated debate over free speech on the internet that will, in all likelihood, lead to nothing. This manufactured dispute is a distraction for the media, and it will almost certainly be an effective one. It would be in everyone’s interest – including its own – if Twitter pulled the plug on this specious debate, banned Trump for repeated and egregious violations of its rules, and helped us all focus on what’s more important.

More than 100,000 people in the United States have died of Covid-19, more than any other nation in the world. The figure is probably an undercount.

More than 1.7 million people in the US have had confirmed cases of Covid-19, more than any other nation in the world. The figure is almost certainly an undercount.

The US federal government completely botched the rollout of testing for the coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic, and continues to lag in providing adequate testing for its populace.

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28/05/2020 22:16:20  

Sources say force stopped short of definitive statement because cases not tested in courts

Durham police believe Dominic Cummings probably did break lockdown rules following an investigation into his travels around north-east England during lockdown, the Guardian understands.

On Thursday the force released a report saying the prime minister’s special adviser “might have” breached health protection regulations when he embarked on a 52-mile round trip to the town of Barnard Castle with his wife and son on her birthday.

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28/05/2020 22:16:19  

PM gags Vallance and Whitty when they are asked if Cummings breached lockdown

Boris Johnson has blocked his two most senior scientific advisers from answering questions on whether his senior aide, Dominic Cummings, broke the lockdown.

At No 10’s daily press conference, the prime minister twice prevented questions from journalists who wanted to know whether Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, believed Cummings had stuck to the rules.

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28/05/2020 22:16:19  

After nine extraordinary weeks the woman behind the event said Thursday’s should be the last

On Thursday 26 March, Britons stood just inside their front doors, a little unsure if they would be the only ones taking part in a very unBritish ritual. It was three days since Boris Johnson had announced a draconian lockdown, and, in a horrifyingly fearful time, it was not difficult to feel immense gratitude to those health workers risking everything to save lives. But was anyone else really going to turn out to clap?

Few can have predicted the wall of noise that followed that first Thursday night and every Thursday since – the applause rising from doorsteps, the smiles and waves between neighbours who had never previously spoken to each other, the new national ritual that, for many, became the clearest fixed point in the week. Isolated in our homes, we were speaking together as never before.

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28/05/2020 22:16:19  

PM also refuses to allow top scientific advisers to talk about chief aide at daily No 10 briefing

Boris Johnson has brushed aside a growing revolt of almost 100 of his own MPs and defied ongoing calls for Dominic Cummings to be sacked, despite a police investigation that failed to exonerate him for a potential breach of lockdown.

The prime minister was again besieged by questions about his chief adviser as the crisis overshadowed his decision to cautiously ease the lockdown in England, which will require millions of citizens to abide by the letter and spirit of new guidelines.

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28/05/2020 22:15:55  

Amazon plans to offer permanent jobs to about 70% of the U.S. workforce it has hired temporarily to meet consumer demand during the coronavirus pandemic, the company told Reuters on Thursday. From a report: The world's largest online retailer will begin telling 125,000 warehouse employees in June that they can keep their roles longer-term. The remaining 50,000 workers it has brought on will stay on seasonal contracts that last up to 11 months, a company spokeswoman said. The decision is a sign that Amazon's sales have increased sufficiently to justify an expanded workforce for order fulfillment, even as government lockdowns ease and rivals open their retail stores for pickup. Amazon started the hiring spree in March with a blog post appealing to workers laid off by restaurants and other shuttered businesses, promising employment "until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

28/05/2020 22:15:55  

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday designed to limit the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content users post on their platforms. Axios reports: "Currently, social media giants like Twitter received unprecedented viability shield based on the theory that they are a neutral platform, which they are not," Trump said in the Oval Office. "We are fed up with it. It is unfair, and it's been very unfair." The order comes after the president escalated his attacks against Big Tech in recent days -- specifically Twitter, which fact-checked him for the first time this week over an unsubstantiated claim that mail-in voting drives voter fraud. The order focuses on a portion of the Communications Decency Act known as Section 230, which grants broad liability protections to tech platforms from civil suits when it comes to what users post, and would press regulators to create new rules aimed at pulling back that shield, Trump said at the White House Thursday. It also asks the Federal Trade Commission to report on acts of political bias collected by the White House, he added. Attorney General Bill Barr said that the administration is preparing legislation as well. The Trump administration has long mulled reining in Section 230, and the Justice Department convened a workshop earlier this year on the topic. Trump said he expects the executive order to draw a lawsuit.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

28/05/2020 22:15:32  
28/05/2020 22:13:06  

The COP26 UN summit, which was postponed due to coronavirus, will now take place between 1 and 12 November 2021.
28/05/2020 22:13:04  

Shane Lee Mays is accused of killing Louise Smith, 16, who was found dead in a Hampshire woodland.
28/05/2020 22:12:55  

The French carmaker in February reported its first annual loss in a decade
28/05/2020 21:16:42  

Scampering through spring fields, or a cautious dribble seeping under the bathroom door?

After a lengthy gestation in the Insider Program, the Windows 10 May 2020 Update (aka 2004, aka 20H1) has arrived, replete with a Linux kernel in the form of the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL).…

28/05/2020 21:16:41  

Colour us shocked

A £339 "anti-5G" product billed as the "first to market full-spectrum protection" appears to be nothing more than a bog-standard £5 USB stick with an LED on the end, according to Pen Test Partners.…

28/05/2020 21:16:23  

Foreign secretary did not have the authority to allow driver of the car that killed the 19-year-old to return to US, relatives say

The family of Harry Dunn, the 19-year-old killed on 27 August last year after being hit by a car driven by the wife of a US intelligence officer, intends to bring a private criminal prosecution against the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, the Guardian has learned.

They claim that Raab did not have the authority to allow Anne Sacoolas to return to America after the incident, while there was an ongoing police investigation and while the issue of her diplomatic immunity had not been resolved. They also allege that Raab misled parliament in statements he made about Sacoolas’s return to America. 

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28/05/2020 21:16:22  

PM turns Great Dictator as he silences Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance at daily briefing

Yesterday I wrote that the best way to understand the state the country is in was to consider it a banana republic. I’d meant it as a joke, but at the Downing Street press conference , Boris Johnson went out of his way to prove me right. The UK’s very own dictator might not have much of a reputation left to protect, but Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance most certainly did.

Yet to save what now passes for his career, Boris went out of his way to trash the reputations of both the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser. Just as unbelievably, a plainly terrified Whitty and Vallance just stood there and took it. If either had a smidgeon of self worth, both would have walked out once the questions began.

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28/05/2020 21:16:22  

Labour wants hard-hit industries protected as employers warn of major redundancies

The government will start tapering its furlough scheme from August by forcing those employers taking part to pay 20% of workers’ wages as well as covering their national insurance and pension contributions.

Under plans to be announced by Rishi Sunak over the next few days, the support given by the furlough scheme will be cut back due to government concerns about its spiralling cost and the likely impact on the UK’s growing public spending deficit.

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28/05/2020 21:16:21  

Critics of PM’s chief aide range from former ministers to some of party’s latest intake

Scores of Conservative MPs have criticised Dominic Cummings’ trip to Durham during lockdown. Here is what some have said:

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North, Cabinet Office minister and former defence secretary: “Despite Mr Cummings’ statement, I am personally still not clear of the facts. There are some inconsistencies in his account of events and the reasons behind it.”

Sajid Javid, Bromsgrove, former chancellor: “I do not believe Mr Cummings’ journey to County Durham to isolate on his family’s estate was necessary or justified. I remain unconvinced his visit to Barnard Castle could be considered reasonable. I was also deeply concerned by his decision to return to Downing Street directly after coming into contact with a family member who was ill, potentially with coronavirus.”

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28/05/2020 21:15:59  

Jon Hamilton, reporting for NPR: Mounting evidence suggests the coronavirus is more common and less deadly than it first appeared. The evidence comes from tests that detect antibodies to the coronavirus in a person's blood rather than the virus itself. The tests are finding large numbers of people in the U.S. who were infected but never became seriously ill. And when these mild infections are included in coronavirus statistics, the virus appears less dangerous. "The current best estimates for the infection fatality risk are between 0.5% and 1%," says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. That's in contrast with death rates of 5% or more based on calculations that included only people who got sick enough to be diagnosed with tests that detect the presence of virus in a person's body. And the revised estimates support an early prediction by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force. In an editorial published in late March in The New England Journal of Medicine, Fauci and colleagues wrote that the case fatality rate for COVID-19 "may be considerably less than 1%." But even a virus with a fatality rate less than 1% presents a formidable threat, Rivers says. "That is many times more deadly than seasonal influenza," she says. The new evidence is coming from places such as Indiana, which completed the first phase of a massive testing effort early in May. Further reading: Antibody Tests and Accuracy Issues Leave Some Americans With More Questions Than Answers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

28/05/2020 21:15:58  

Chinese scientists in recent days said they had ruled out both a laboratory and an animal market in the city of Wuhan as possible origins of the coronavirus pandemic, in their most detailed pushback to date against allegations from U.S. officials and others over what might have sparked it. From a report: The director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, at the center of allegations around a potential laboratory accident, Wang Yanyi, over the weekend told China Central Television that the coronavirus was significantly different from any live pathogen that has been studied at the institute and that there therefore was no chance it could have leaked from there. Separately, China's top epidemiologist said Tuesday that testing of samples from a Wuhan food market, initially suspected as a path for the virus's spread to humans, failed to show links between animals being sold there and the pathogen. Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in comments carried in Chinese state media, "It now turns out that the market is one of the victims." The comments, aimed at countering what Beijing perceives as efforts from top U.S. officials to focus solely on China, are unlikely to pacify critics. The Chinese officials didn't address fundamental issues, such as widespread evidence that China initially covered up the extent of the outbreak. In their calls for more global scientific collaboration to track the source of the virus, they also stopped short of endorsing widespread scientific belief that the coronavirus originated in China.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

28/05/2020 21:13:07  

The bowl-shaped monument in the German capital is designed to move when enough people gather.
28/05/2020 21:13:06  

A group of journalists tried to stage single-person pickets in support of a jailed colleague.
28/05/2020 21:13:06  

Myka Stauffer says her son's behaviour became too difficult but critics accuse her of exploitation.