Íngrid Betancourt returns to France

Friday, July 4, 2008

Freed hostage Íngrid Betancourt arrived in France today, two days after being rescued from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who had kept her captive in the Colombian jungle for more than six years.

Standing alongside President Nicolas Sarkozy at a military air base southwest of Paris, Betancourt said, “I cry with joy.” The Colombian-French politician was greeted at the air base by the President and the First Lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, along with some supporters.

“I have been dreaming for seven years of this moment. I owe everything to you,” she said, thanking France for pressuring Colombia to “think of other than military options”. She added, “France is my home and you are my family.” Sarkozy said her safe return shows people in difficult situations that “there is hope, light at the end of the tunnel.”

After the welcome at the air base, which was broadcast live on national television, Betancourt went to the Élysée Palace, the President’s official residence. Again accompanied by Sarkozy, she recounted her experiences as a hostage in the Colombian jungle, describing the lack of sunlight and hostile conditions.

“It’s a completely hostile environment with dangerous animals,” Betancourt said. “The most dangerous, of course, is man. Those men who were behind me with huge rifles, pushing me, telling me to walk, telling me to walk more quickly. And in this world of hostility where everything is an enemy, dangerous, against you, there is God. And above all, there was you.”

She called on Sarkozy to continue working toward freeing the hostages who were left behind. “We cannot leave them there where they are suffering, where they are alone,” she stated, saying that some of them are contemplating suicide. In response, Sarkozy said, “We will carry on working to free them.”

Betancourt was one of the 15 hostages rescued on July 2 by the Colombian army, who tricked FARC into handing over the hostages by pretending to be part of a non-governmental organization. She was kidnapped in February 2002 while campaigning for President of Colombia.

At a press conference, her third public event in the hours since returning to France, Betancourt condemned the actions of FARC. “I think the whole world is aware of the fact that FARC inflicts suffering on human beings”, she said, calling on the guerrilla organization to “accept defeat gracefully” and “stop being terrorists.” She called on the international community to help end the “terrible trend of kidnapping in Colombia”.

Betancourt also rejected the idea that the rescue operation was staged to cover up ransom payments to FARC. “I think what I saw was certainly not a staged event,” she said. “There was a degree of tension.”

Apple unveils new Intel-based Mac

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Apple Computer announced on Tuesday the first generation of their products to use Intel processors. The iMac and the new MacBook Pro – a notebook computer replacing the PowerBook – are said to be up to four times faster than their predecessors (up to two times faster in the iMac, four times for the MacBook.)

These new lines of computers have been set up to support the newest collection of Mac software entitled iLife, which has added internet publication software to its high-end graphics, video, and sound tools.

British company designs Paris Hilton protest panties

Sunday, June 3, 2007

With photographers and media gathering for an appearance by Paris Hilton, who is sentenced to serve jail time, the fashion industry has joined the ‘free or jail Paris Hilton debate.’

British company Mio Destino designed a line of prison-striped lingerie embroidered with the words ‘Free Paris’ in support of Hilton. A ‘Jail Paris’ embroidery was later added to the lingerie following intense demand.

The 45 day jail sentence is scheduled to begin on Tuesday at the Century Regional Detention Center in suburban Lynwood, Los Angeles County after Hilton was convicted of driving recklessly for traveling at a speed of 70 miles per hour in a 35 miles per hour zone with no headlights after dark in February this year. The offense occurred while her driver’s license was suspended after a driving under the influence conviction last November.

Hilton added her signature to an online petition, Free Paris Hilton, hosted by iPetitions, that appealed to California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for a pardon. The petition states that Hilton “didn’t hurt or kill anyone, and she has learned her lesson. She is sincere, apologetic, and full of regret for her actions as she explained tearfully to the Judge handling her case in court yesterday. She is distraught and understandably afraid.” The petition has garnered over 30,000 signatures.

A counter petition, again hosted by iPetitions, calling for Hilton’s imprisonment received 87,715 signatures as of Sunday.

With good behavior while serving time, Hilton may be able to get out of jail in 23 days.

Invisibility shield gets blueprint

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Two engineers, Andrea Alù and Nader Engheta of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia have come up with a ‘plasmonic cover’ which they claim could render objects “nearly invisible to an observer”.

The idea is still in its infancy, but it is said not to violate any obvious laws of physics. John Pendry, a physicist at Imperial College in London, UK: “The concept is an interesting one, with several important potential applications. It could find uses in stealth technology and camouflage.”

Earlier attempts at constructing an invisibility screen resulted in the chameleon-principle: screens were coloured to match their background, rendering them hard, but not impossible to see, but usually from only a limited point of view.

The principle on which the technology is founded can be explained as follows: an object can be seen because light scatters from its surface back to our eyes. If the scattering of light could be prevented, the object could not be seen. By making a screen resonate in tune with the light, scattering of light would be prevented. This can be achieved by using plasmons, waves of electronic density caused by electrons in a metalic surface moving in sync. If the frequency of the light is close to that of the shield, the light scattered by the object will be negligible compared to the light scattered by the shield. For visible light, silver and gold can be used as metals, for other frequencies, such as infrared and ultra-violet, other metals will have to be used.

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

Apple introduces iPhone and Apple TV

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Apple Inc. today has introduced the much-anticipated iPhone at the Macworld Conference in San Francisco.

The iPhone is claimed to be “a revolutionary mobile phone” as stated on the Apple website. The device appears to be running a mobile version of the Apple operating system Mac OSX. It is approximately the same size as a 5th generation iPod, it has a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen display that is used to access all features of the phone including number dial, as well as making phone calls. The iPhone plays music, movies, displays pictures and is able to connect to a wireless network.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the device by walking onto the stage and taking the iPhone out of his jeans pocket. During his 2 hour speech he stated that “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone, We are going to make history today”.

Today Apple also released their Media Center device – Apple TV. It will directly compete with Microsoft’s Media Center operating system. Apple has taken a different approach to the media center market; rather than storing content (such as movies, music and photos) on the device, Apple TV connects to a computer (Mac and Windows) over a wirless network connection and plays all content stored on that computer. This makes it substantially easier for users to organize their media content.

Messi makes new record as Barça beats Real Madrid 3-2 in LaLiga

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

On Sunday, in Spanish LaLiga’s El Clásico clash, FC Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 3–2, with Lionel Messi scoring two goals at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. Messi scored his 500th goal in the Catalonian colours, in the ending moments of the game, becoming the top scorer of the El Clásico in the league with sixteen goals surpassing Alfredo Di Stéfano’s fourteen.

Messi was left on the ground, bleeding after Marcelo’s elbow hit his face in a clash. The Argentine was taken off-pitch, and later continued the game with a tissue paper in his mouth to stop bleeding. Just before the thirty minute mark, Los Blancos captain Sergio Ramos hit the woodwork from Marcelo’s freekick, but the deflection was converted into a 1–0 lead by Casemiro. Five minutes later, Messi levelled for Barcelona dribbling against two Madrid defenders from Rakiti?’s assist.

Messi had not scored in the last six Clásicos. In the 39th minute, Welsh forward Gareth Bale, who became the third Briton to reach 100 appearances landmark in La Liga, was substituted following an injury. Marco Asensio replaced the Briton. Bale was out for the last two matches due to injury. David Beckham and Gary Lineker, former forwards of Madrid and Barcelona respectively, previously made over 100 appearances in La Liga. At half time, Madrid had six attempts on target, as compared to Barça’s one.

Madrid striker Karim Benzema missed a chance to score in the 52nd minute when Barcelona’s shot-stopper Marc-André ter Stegen played a goal kick to Benzema. A minute later, ter Stegen stopped Benzema’s six yard header from finding the nets. Ronaldo missed a chance to put Madrid in front in the 67th minute from Asensio’s assist. Minutes later, Casemiro was subbed off for Mateo Kova?i?. Barcelona brought on André Gomes for Paco Alcácer. Casemiro was booked early in the match for bringing down Messi. He later fouled the Argentine in the 45th minute, but got away without receiving a second yellow.

Minutes later Toni Kroos lost mark of Rakiti? as the Croatian faked a shot and scored a 20-yard goal from his left foot, putting the Blaugrana in the lead. In the 77th minute, Ramos was shown a straight red card for bringing down Messi. Barça defender Gerard Piqué missed a chance to make it 3–1 from Gomes’ pass. James Rodríguez was brought on for Benzema, and four minutes later, the Colombian scored from Marcelo’s assist.

With only two minutes added for the injury time, Sergi Roberto’s run from Barcelona’s half was later converted to the match winning goal by Messi from Jordi Alba’s assist scoring his 23rd goal in El Clásico. ter Stegen made twelve saves in the entire match, the most in the league since 2003–2004. Messi was booked for removing his jersey celebrating his 500th goal for Barcelona. He leads the race for the Spanish Golden Boot — Pichichi Trophy — which he last won in 2013.

After the match, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane said, “We can not be happy. We made a lot [of chances] during the whole game. We had many goalscoring chances, but couldn’t bring the game under control. When you don’t kill the game off, this can happen, and it did. We are disappointed with the result, when you get back to 2-2 with 10 men you have to think a little more and defend together.” ((es))Spanish language: ?No podemos estar contentos. Hicimos mucho, durante todo el partido. Tuvimos muchas ocasiones de gol, para llevar el partido a nuestro lado. Cuando tú no matas el partido puede pasar esto y pasó. Estamos decepcionados con el resultado. Cuando logras el 2-2 con diez hay que tener un poco más de cabeza y estar juntos para defender

The Court of Arbitration for Sports turned down Barcelona’s appeal to play Neymar for El Clásico, who received a three-match ban after sarcastically applauding an official after a red card against Málaga CF in a previous La Liga match. Luis Enrique said, “I am prepared to play the match with Neymar or without him. You will have to wait for the game to see if I risk putting him.” ((es))Spanish language: ?Estoy preparado para jugar el partido con Neymar o sin él. Tendréis que esperar al partido para ver si me arriesgo a ponerlo.


April 23, 2017
Real Madrid 2 –3 FC Barcelona Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid Attendance: 81,044 Referee: Alejandro José Hernández Hernández
Casemiro 28’James Rodríguez 86’Sergio Ramos  77’Casemiro 12’Gareth Bale 39’Marco Asensio 39’Casemiro 70’Mateo Kova?i? 70’Karim Benzema 82’James Rodríguez 82′ 1–1 (HT) Lionel Messi 33’Ivan Rakiti? 73’Lionel Messi 90 + 2’Samuel Umtiti 39’Lionel Messi 90 + 2’Paco Alcácer 70’André Gomes 70′

Tennis: Nadal beats Thiem to win eleventh French Open title

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

On Sunday at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, the “King of Clay” Rafael Nadal defeated Austrian tennis player Dominic Thiem 6–4 6–3 6–2 to claim his eleventh French Open title at the Philippe-Chatrier Court. Defending champion Nadal became the second athlete to win a particular Grand Slam event on eleven occasions, the first being Margaret Court at the Australian Open.

24-year-old Dominic Thiem was playing his first ever Grand Slam final while Nadal, who won his first French Open title in 2005 at the age of nineteen, had never lost a French Open final.

Thiem won the toss, choosing to receive the service. In the set lasting just over the one-hour mark, Thiem served two aces. The Austrian missed all four chances to win any of the net points, while Nadal won three out of four net points. Thiem committed three double faults in the set. In the second set, Thiem served three aces and committed just one double fault. Nadal won all but one net points in the second set lasting for 53 minutes. In the last set, Nadal broke Thiem’s serve twice, and won all five net points in the set. The match lasted for two hours and 42 minutes.

Just like last year, Nadal did not drop a single set in the final. Last year, Nadal defeated Stan Wawrinka 6–2 6–3 6–1 in the final to win his tenth French Open. Nadal extended his record at the French Open to 86–2, losing just two matches in fourteen seasons on the French soil.

After the match, Nadal said, “It’s amazing, I can’t describe my feelings because it’s not even a dream to win here eleven times. It’s impossible to think something like this.” Former French Open winner Ken Rosewall, the first player to win the French Open in the open era, presented the awards. Rosewall said, “Words can’t express what we feel for Rafa’s game and what he’s done for the game on a worldwide basis”.

With this victory, Nadal now has seventeen Grand Slam titles. Only Roger Federer has three more titles than the Spaniard. Nadal is the only athlete to win a particular Grand Slam on eleven occasions in the open era.

       MEN’S SINGLES FINAL
61′
53′
48′
(1) Rafael NADALESP
6
6
6
(7) Dominic THIEMAUT
4
3
2

Pakistan International Airlines sacrifices goat, resumes ATR flights

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Images of Pakistan International Airlines sacrificing a goat went viral on Monday as the beleaguered state-run airline resumed ATR flights. All ten ATRs in its fleet were grounded last week in the aftermath of a crash near Havelian earlier this month.

PIA ground staff ritually slaughtered the black goat beside an ATR-42, the same type of aircraft lost in the disaster. The move is thought to ward off bad luck in Pakistan. The ATR-42 was the company’s first ATR back in service following the crash. PIA said on December 15 they had chartered a Lockheed C-130 Hercules from the air force to resume cancelled services.

PIA Flight 661, an ATR-42 just under ten years old, crashed into mountainous terrain in the Abbottabad region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa two weeks ago. The crash killed all 47 on board and left burning wreckage strewn for several kilometres.

PIA still operate five ATR-42s and five ATR-72s. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced inspections on December 11. The airline expected disruption to flights to smaller airports. Flight 661 was heading to Islamabad, having taken off from Chitral on a domestic flight. The plane reported engine trouble and lost control before the crash.

PIA sacrificed the goat at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport, ahead of a successful test flight to Multan. PIA stated ground staff acted on their own volition and were not influenced by managers.

Another PIA ATR experienced troubles ahead of takeoff on December 11 and aborted the flight. The airline denied local media claims an engine caught fire. Pakistani media has claimed Flight 661 was operating with some known technical faults. The Aviation Herald reports receiving information to the contrary, and the airline also denies this.

The CAA has left decisions on returning aircraft to service at the discretion of PIA and ATR. A CAA letter to PIA expressed concern over engine failures at the airline, and accused PIA of “shortcomings in maintenance [and] quality assurance.”

The latest crash is the tenth time a PIA aircraft has been written off since 2000. Only one other such accident was fatal, the loss of PIA Flight 688 in 2006. Flight 668, a Fokker F-27, crashed on takeoff. The disaster killed 45. That accident also involved an engine failure and a loss of control.

The ATR-42 can carry up to 48 passengers. It is a twin-engine turboprop capable of using unpaved runways. PIA said the C-130 would be used for flights to Gilgit. With one ATR-42 declared airworthy as of December 15 PIA also said flights to Chitral could be expected to resume soon. A flight on December 15 using the C-130 was postponed by one day.

Please have me shifted to Islamabad where I can study and fulfil my parents’ dream

Chairman Azam Saigol quit on December 12 for what he said were personal reasons. He had been drafted in to replace Nasser Jaffer following controversy generated when crews staged strikes to protest planned privatisation. The airline loses around 12-to-15 billion rupees annually, with taxpayers making up the shortfall.

Saigol has been on PIA’s board since 2013. The company said it needed a chair since changing organisational structure under provisions in the Companies Ordinance of 1984. He became chairman in May and is a prominent industrialist nationally, heading up major organisations. Saigol had been working for free, PIA said on December 12 ahead of his resignation.

The government has offered his job to several candidates, all of whom have turned it down.

Another issue for the airline comes in the form of a recently-submitted notice in the Senate. Filed by the People’s Party of Pakistan, it describes an ‘illegal’ sale of a PIA Airbus A-310 to a German firm. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said the jet had a valid certificate of airworthiness and originally went to Malta to be used in a film.

Mandviwalla said the plane ended up in the hands of a German museum and was sold without the PIA board’s consent. Federal Minister Muhammad Zubair said the aircraft was sold for for 290,000 euros despite being worth millions. Mandviwalla has called for a criminal investigation.

In the continuing Safety Investigation Board’s investigation into Flight 661’s crash, a team of French and Canadian experts from ATR reached Islamabad on December 12 and took forensic samples from the wreck site. The team, assisting the safety board, was also there to plan wreckage removal.

The crash site is remote, with conventional vehicular access ending several kilometres away. Rescuers had to walk the remainder.

PIA state the aircraft was maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, including engine changes. The airline also say the crashed plane’s engines were inspected, as standard, ahead of its final flight. An airline spokesperson asked journalists to refrain from speculating on the accident’s cause.

Bodies have been identified using DNA analysis, with at least sixteen returned to families. Identification was undertaken by the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).

The dead included six members of the same family, leaving behind a fourteen-year-old girl. Haseena Gul is entitled to tens of millions of rupees (equivalent to hundreds of thousands of euros) in compensation and numerous people have come forward claiming to be her relatives; she had remained with a friend in Chitral to study while her family travelled to Islamabad.

Gul is currently receiving treatment from PIMS for psychological problems. “They will not let me study in Chitral,” she appealed to the government. “Please have me shifted to Islamabad where I can study and fulfil my parents’ dream.”

Also on board was Junaid Jamshed, a celebrated popstar who abandoned music in favour of preaching after joining Tableeghi Jamaat. Jamshed ran a nationally successful fashion business. His wife joined him on the flight. Other passengers included Osama Warraich, who was a senior civil servant in Chitral, and two infants.

On Monday, Flight 898 to Kuala Lumpur diverted to Karachi. A replacement aircraft reached its destination over four hours late. PIA denied media claims the original plane suffered bursts in its hydraulics, but did not clarify what had happened. Also on Monday Flight 764 from from Jeddah to Faisalabad arrived ten hours late. All 130 passengers had their luggage left behind; PIA said it could take up to two days before they were reunited with their belongings.

Lobby groups oppose plans for EU copyright extension

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The European Commission currently has proposals on the table to extend performers’ copyright terms. Described by Professor Martin Kretschmer as the “Beatles Extension Act”, the proposed measure would extend copyright from 50 to 95 years after recording. A vast number of classical tracks are at stake; the copyright on recordings from the fifties and early sixties is nearing its expiration date, after which it would normally enter the public domain or become ‘public property’. E.U. Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Charlie McCreevy is proposing this extension, and if the other relevant Directorate Generales (Information Society, Consumers, Culture, Trade, Competition, etc.) agree with the proposal, it will be sent to the European Parliament.

Wikinews contacted Erik Josefsson, European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.), who invited us to Brussels, the heart of E.U. policy making, to discuss this new proposal and its implications. Expecting an office interview, we arrived to discover that the event was a party and meetup conveniently coinciding with FOSDEM 2008 (the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting). The meetup was in a sprawling city centre apartment festooned with E.F.F. flags and looked to be a party that would go on into the early hours of the morning with copious food and drink on tap. As more people showed up for the event it turned out that it was a truly international crowd, with guests from all over Europe.

Eddan Katz, the new International Affairs Director of the E.F.F., had come over from the U.S. to connect to the European E.F.F. network, and he gladly took part in our interview. Eddan Katz explained that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is “A non-profit organisation working to protect civil liberties and freedoms online. The E.F.F. has fought for information privacy rights online, in relation to both the government and companies who, with insufficient transparency, collect, aggregate and make abuse of information about individuals.” Another major focus of their advocacy is intellectual property, said Eddan: “The E.F.F. represents what would be the public interest, those parts of society that don’t have a concentration of power, that the private interests do have in terms of lobbying.”

Becky Hogge, Executive Director of the U.K.’s Open Rights Group (O.R.G.), joined our discussion as well. “The goals of the Open Rights Group are very simple: we speak up whenever we see civil, consumer or human rights being affected by the poor implementation or the poor regulation of new technologies,” Becky summarised. “In that sense, people call us -I mean the E.F.F. has been around, in internet years, since the beginning of time- but the Open Rights Group is often called the British E.F.F.

Contents

  • 1 The interview
    • 1.1 Cliff Richard’s pension
    • 1.2 Perpetual patents?
    • 1.3 The fight moves from the U.K. to Europe
    • 1.4 Reclaiming democratic processes in the E.U.
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links