Giovedì 17 Gennaio 2019 – 80ª Seduta pubblica : Comunicato di seduta

Seduta
Ora inizio: 15:03

La seduta è dedicata allo svolgimento di interrogazioni a risposta immediata.

Il Ministro dell’interno Salvini ha risposto all’interrogazione n. 509, illustrata dal sen. Durnwalder (Aut), concernente la riserva di posti per il personale bilingue nelle forze di polizia in provincia di Bolzano: la legge di bilancio ha stanziato risorse per un piano triennale di potenziamento dell’organico delle forze dell’ordine; è già in atto un concorso per l’assunzione di 500 allievi e le procedure terranno conto della riserva di posti per personale bilingue. Il Ministro Salvini ha poi risposto all’interrogazione n. 514, illustrata dal sen. Grasso (Misto-LeU), concernente l’agguato mafioso avvenuto a Pesaro il 25 dicembre 2018: al momento sono sottoposte a programma di protezione 6031 persone ed è in corso una riorganizzazione del centro di protezione, prevista dal decreto sicurezza che dispone una gestione separata di testimoni e collaboratori. Il Ministro dell’interno ha risposto all’interrogazione n. 510, illustrata dal sen. Iannone (FdI), concernente la realizzazione di un piano straordinario per la sicurezza dell’area di Castelvolturno: è già in fase di realizzazione un piano di riqualificazione, seguito dal prefetto, che ha dato risultati tangibili; il decreto sicurezza prevede ulteriori strumenti, quali l’incremento della videosorveglianza e, nell’ambito dell’operazione strade sicure, sono stati assegnati 230 militari alla provincia di Caserta. Il Ministro Salvini ha risposto, infine, all’interrogazione n. 508, illustrata dal sen. Emanuele Pellegrini (L-SP), riguardante l’arresto di Cesare Battisti e la ricerca di latitanti all’estero: l’arresto di Battisti rappresenta un cambio di passo per la ricerca di tutti i latitanti che hanno trovato rifugio all’estero.

Il Ministro dell’istruzione, dell’università e della ricerca Bussetti ha risposto all’interrogazione n. 511, illustrata dalla sen. Iori (PD), concernente il fabbisogno di docenti di sostegno nel primo ciclo di istruzione: il Governo, che intende tutelare pienamente il diritto all’istruzione degli alunni con disabilità, ha stanziato risorse per la formazione dei docenti di sostegno e ha dato forte impulso all’attuazione delle norme per l’inclusione scolastica. Il Ministro Bussetti ha poi risposto all’interrogazione n. 512, illustrata dalla sen. Masini (FI), riguardante il mancato funzionamento degli impianti di riscaldamento delle aule scolastiche: la manutenzione degli impianti di riscaldamento delle aule scolastiche spetta agli enti locali; il Governo sta comunque sbloccando risorse per l’edilizia scolastica. Il Ministro dell’istruzione ha risposto, infine, all’interrogazione n. 507, illustrata dalla sen. Russo (M5S), concernente l’insegnamento degli strumenti jazz nei licei musicali: pur non essendo previsto uno specifico indirizzo jazz nei licei musicali, la tematica dei diplomi sarà oggetto di attenzione; i docenti di strumenti jazz possono partecipare ai concorsi a cattedra.

Tratto da www.senato.it

Nota sul Copyright: L’utilizzo, la riproduzione, l’estrazione di copia, ovvero la distribuzione delle informazioni testuali e degli elementi multimediali disponibili sul sito del Senato della Repubblica è autorizzata esclusivamente nei limiti in cui la stessa avvenga nel rispetto dell’interesse pubblico all’informazione, per finalità non commerciali, garantendo l’integrità degli elementi riprodotti e mediante indicazione della fonte.

Solus 4 e Budgie 10.5 arrivano in Primavera

Joshua Strobl ha annunciato attraverso il blog ufficiale l’arrivo di Solus 4 e del desktop environment Budgie 10.5 per la prossima primavera.

È passato un anno da quando il eader del Progetto Solus, Ikey Doherty, ha promesso il rilascio di Solus 4. Dopo diversi delay e varie tribolazioni il team è ora pronto a continuare da dove avevano lasciato.

Solus 4 e Budgie 10.5 in arrivo

2019 is going to be a transformative year for #Solus. Read about some of the things we have planned at https://t.co/0F3NynJHbK pic.twitter.com/b87bYasLm1

— Solus (@SolusProject) 14 gennaio 2019

Secondo Joshua Strobl, la versione di Solus 4 è in arrivo e Budgie 10.5 è già praticamente pronto:

Budgie 10.5 è completo a parte alcune traduzioni, sarà disponibile in poche settimane. Anche Solus 4 sarà rilasciato a breve, usciremo definitivamente dallo sviluppo della versione 3.x. abbiamo annunciato lo scorso anno che avremmo implementato Weblate nella nostra infrastruttura: Sono felice di annunciarvi che la nostra istanza Weblate è pronta.

Dopo Budgie 10.5 dovrebbe arrivare una piccola point release, Budgie 10.5.1 parallelamente a Solus 4.1. A seguire arriverà Budgie 10.5.2.

La 10.5.x dovrebbe essere l’ultima release della serie 10.x, dopodichè gli sviluppatori si concentreranno sulla versione 11. Lo sviluppo di Budgie 11 inizierà in primavera e ad Agosto dovrebbe arrivare una prima alpha. La final release è fissata entro la primavera del 2020.

Solus è una rolling release, il che significa che verrà rilasciata una semplice ISO con tutti i pacchetti aggiornati e i fix di sicurezza. E’ una buona cosa dare agli utenti una ISO aggiornata, se non altro per evitare il download di centinaia di MB di aggiornamenti.

Gli sviluppatori nei prossimi mesi concentreranno i loro sforzi nel migliorare i seguenti aspetti di Solus: Software Center, package manager, infrastruttura web, Linux Hardware Qualifier tool e altri tools developer-oriented.

Possiamo finalmente dire che il team di Solus è tornato.

 

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Vi ricordiamo che seguirci è molto semplice: tramite la pagina Facebook ufficiale, tramite il nostro canale notizie Telegram e la nostra pagina Google Plus. Da oggi, inoltre, è possibile seguire il nostro canale ufficiale Telegram dedicato ad Offerte e Promo!

Nel campo qui sotto è possibile commentare e creare spunti di discussione inerenti le tematiche trattate sul blog.

L’articolo Solus 4 e Budgie 10.5 arrivano in Primavera sembra essere il primo su Lffl.org.

Tratto da: https://www.lffl.org/feed
lffl linux freedom by LffL is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione – Non commerciale – Non opere derivate 3.0 Unported License.

Nigerien man stranded at Ethiopian airport for months

Eissa Muhamad, from Niger, has been stranded at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for two months now. Photo by Eissa Muhamad, used with permission.

Eissa Muhamad, from Niger, says he has been stranded in the transit section of Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for more than two months, starting on November 6, 2018. Muhamad, 24, was deported from Israel where he lived for eight years as a migrant.

I met Muhamad on December 12, 2018, at Bole International Airport while in transit in Addis Ababa.

Muhamad tells me he has been deported twice from Israel in 2018. When he returned to Niger the first time, Muhamad's Israeli travel documents were still valid, so he turned around and booked another flight back to Israel. When he arrived in Israel, authorities confiscated his travel documents and deported him again back to Niger. When Muhamad returned to Niger the second time, authorities requested proof of citizenship but he failed to produce valid documents, either Israeli or Nigerien, to support his citizenship.

Muhamad remained in Nigerien custody for eight days before being deported back to Israel via Ethiopia on an Ethiopian Airlines flight. When he arrived at Bole International Airport in Ethiopia, Ethiopian authorities, in collaboration with the Israeli government,  prevented him from boarding his connecting flight to Israel. They informed him that Israel was not willing to accept him, and since then, he has been stranded inside the airport, stuck between Niger and Israel.

I slept on the chairs, sometimes I slept in the mosque, I didn’t take [a] shower for two months because [the] airport [has] no place for a shower, I only wash my face, my hands and my legs, that’s all.

Muhamad has attempted to contact the Niger embassy in Addis Ababa, but because he was not able to provide valid documents to prove his Niger citizenship, Muhamad says they were unable to assist him.

Eissa Muhamad's Israeli travel documents were valid for a time, but they are no longer valid and he is stuck between nations as a migrant. The validity of these documents could not be verified.

As of 2018, Israel currently has 34,000 African migrants who undertook perilous journeys to Israel in search of a better life. But Israel claims many are economic migrants who have put a strain on the economy. Opting to stay meant jail time and significantly fewer resettlement options. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the right-wing Likud party remain focused on targeting those deemed “infiltrators.” Israel Democracy Institute study says 66 percent of Israelis support government policies to deport African immigrants. 

Muhamad claims that he was legally living in Israel and worked in a factory, and told me the government took away his residency status and threw him out of the country.

Ethiopian authorities have not arrested Muhamad and have provided meals for him while staying at the airport. Technically, Ethiopia is a signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol as well as the 1969 Organization of African Unity (OAU) Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, and nearly all refugees entering Ethiopia are granted asylum on a prima facie basis, but Muhamad told me he is not willing to apply for asylum in Ethiopia. 

In this video interview, Muhamad explains to me what it has been like to stay trapped at the airport in Addis Ababa without a clear idea of the future:

Written by Faaris Adam · comments (0)
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La programmazione energetica nel Clean energy package: i Piani nazionali per l’energia ed il clima

Tratto da: www.camera.it
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Commissione Ambiente, interrogazioni a risposta immediata – Oggi alle 14,30 diretta webtv

Oggi, alle ore 14,30, la Commissione Ambiente svolge interrogazioni a risposta immediata su questioni di competenza del Ministero dell’Ambiente. Risponde il Sottosegretario Salvatore Micillo. L’appuntamento viene trasmesso in diretta webtv.

Tratto da: www.camera.it
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Norme costituzionali sull’iniziativa legislativa popolare, respinte le questioni pregiudiziali

La Camera, dopo aver respinto la questione pregiudiziale di costituzionalità Sisto n. 1 e la questione pregiudiziale di merito Migliore n. 1 presentate, ha proseguito l’esame della proposta di legge costituzionale: Modifiche all’articolo 71 della Costituzione, in materia di iniziativa legislativa popolare, e alla legge costituzionale 11 marzo 1953, n. 1 (C. 1173-A e abb.).

Tratto da: www.camera.it
Nota sul Copyright: L’utilizzo, la riproduzione, l’estrazione di copia, ovvero la distribuzione delle informazioni testuali e degli elementi multimediali disponibili sul sito della Camera dei deputati è autorizzata esclusivamente nei limiti in cui la stessa avvenga nel rispetto dell’interesse pubblico all’informazione, per finalità non commerciali, garantendo l’integrità degli elementi riprodotti e mediante indicazione della fonte.

Esame delle norme costituzionali sull’iniziativa legislativa popolare

Oggi in Aula l’esame della proposta di legge costituzionale (previo esame e votazione della questione pregiudiziale di costituzionalità e della questione pregiudiziale di merito presentate): Modifiche all’articolo 71 della Costituzione, in materia di iniziativa legislativa popolare, e alla legge costituzionale 11 marzo 1953, n. 1 (C. 1173-A e abb.).

Tratto da: www.camera.it
Nota sul Copyright: L’utilizzo, la riproduzione, l’estrazione di copia, ovvero la distribuzione delle informazioni testuali e degli elementi multimediali disponibili sul sito della Camera dei deputati è autorizzata esclusivamente nei limiti in cui la stessa avvenga nel rispetto dell’interesse pubblico all’informazione, per finalità non commerciali, garantendo l’integrità degli elementi riprodotti e mediante indicazione della fonte.

Meet Nigeria’s presidential candidates of 2019

The 2019 Nigerian presidential candidates [Collage by Nwachukwu Egbunike].

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, will hold presidential elections on February 16, 2019. Although there are about 35 presidential candidates, the race for Aso Rock — the seat of Nigeria's presidency — will be between two major contenders and candidates from the so-called “third force,” a group of hopefuls who are relatively new to Nigerian politics.

The two major Nigerian parties, All Progressive Congress and Peoples Democratic Party, will, of course, be fielding their candidates:

Muhammad Buhari, president of Nigeria. Creative Commons.

Muhammadu Buhari

The incumbent candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Buhari won the 2011 presidential election after defeating former president Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's ascendance to power was based on his integrity and perceived ability to curb corruption and the Boko Haram militancy. However, under his watch, Nigeria has witnessed continued insecurity with pastoral conflicts between herders and farmers as herders from the north move further south in search of arable lands. Also, human rights have taken a nose drive in his administration, with impunity and corruption at the highest levels of government.

Atiku Abubakar [Image from Campaign Organisation Website].

Atiku Abubakar

Abubakar is the former vice president and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party. He has tried in the past to win presidential elections but has not been successful. However, his campaign received a major boost with the reconciliation with his boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo — who had described Buhari's administration as a failed government. As vice president, Abubakar oversaw the privatization and sale of hundreds of loss-making and poorly managed public enterprises.

A few other presidential hopefuls to watch are:

Oby Ezekwesili [Image released by campaign organizers as media resource]

Obiageli [Oby] Ezekwesili 

Ezekwesili, the only major female candidate in this year's race, served as the minister of solid minerals and later education during the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 to 2007. She was also former vice president of the Africa division of the World Bank from May 2007 to May 2012. Ezekwesili has been at the forefront of the call to rescue about 200 school girls who were abducted by the Boko Haram militant Islamic group in 2014. She is a co-founder of the #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) Movement. She is also the presidential flag-bearer of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria.

Kingsley Moghalu [Image from campaign website].

Kingsley Moghalu

Moghalu is a professor of international business and public policy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA. Moghalu had previously worked in the United Nations from 1992 to 2008. He was deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 to 2014, where “he led extensive reforms in the Nigerian banking system after the global financial crisis.” He is the candidate of the Young Progressive Party.

Omoyele Sowore [Screen shot from CNBCAfrica interview, Dec 13, 2018].

Omoyole Sowore

Sowore is the founder and publisher of SaharaReporters (SR), an investigative online newspaper. SR has been described as Africa's Wikileaks. This human rights activist is running under the banner of African Action Congress.

The race is on for Nigeria's future

Buhari and Abubakar are the major contenders in this race. Both men have been constants in the political arena in Nigeria. On the other hand, Ezekwesili, Moghalu, Sowore, the “third force”, are a  group making their first entry into the partisan political space.

Buhari will be running on the “gains” of his administration over the past three years and must contend with the fac that Nigeria was recently ranked as the poverty capital of the world. The Punch newspaper described Buhari’s “parochial appointments” as “unprecedented” and has left the country deeply divided. His fight against corruption appears selective and punitive. The recent move to try the Chief Justice of the Federation — so close to the presidential election — was described by the Nigerian Bar Association as “a pattern of consistent assault on the heads of the two independent arms of government” by the Buhari administration.

Abubakar, on the other hand, is riding on the “gains” of “multiple lucrative business interests”. However, he has an uphill task considering the power of incumbency of his major opponent.

Whoever wins the 2019 elections will face enormous challenges like the strengthening the economy, internal security, restructuring power and power devolution, and ethnoreligious politics.

Written by Nwachukwu Egbunike · comments (0)
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Introducing DigiGlot, a newsletter about languages and tech

Elmo Bautista and his late father Espíritu Bautista digitally record words in the Yanesha language of Peru during a workshop organized by the Living Tongues Institute. Photo by Eddie Avila and used with permission.

Welcome to the inaugural edition of DigiGlot, a bi-weekly collaborative newsletter that reports on how indigenous, minority, and endangered language communities are adopting and adapting technology to increase the digital presence of their languages, and in the process changing the internet landscape by increasing linguistic diversity online. This collaborative publication will be compiled by a team of volunteers. The contributors will be listed at the bottom of each issue.

As this is our first issue, we expect that the format and the content of DigiGlot will evolve over the next few months. We’re always looking for reader feedback as well as suggestions for items to be included in future editions. You can get in touch with us through the Rising Voices contact page.

Tech and digital activism on the roster for the International Year of Indigenous Languages

With the arrival of 2019, the International Year of Indigenous Languages is officially underway. Back in December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2019 the year for an awareness campaign coordinated by UNESCO and focusing on five areas, including capacity building and increasing international cooperation. A consortium of language-related organizations is being formed to highlight the campaign on social media using the hashtag #IYIL2019. As an additional component of the campaign, UNESCO announced a call for research papers, with one of the key topic areas being “Technology, digital activism, and artificial intelligence (e.g. language technology).”

Are “extended” Latin characters slowing the growth of African Wikipedias?

One of the immediate legacies of European colonialism in present-day Africa is a disjointed patchwork of writing systems for local languages. While many African languages have been written using the Latin alphabet for several decades, languages have varied greatly in their use of special and accented letters, or the “extended” Latin characters. Some languages were even written differently on either side of national borders. In this series of essays [parts 1, 2, 3], Don Osborn reflects on four decades of African language standardization and explains how early decisions about orthography may have consequences for digital media production today.

Osborn suggests that the challenge presented by using extended Latin orthographies—those that force users to work their way through unstandardized input interfaces to type the “special” characters in their language—may be limiting the development of some African Wikipedias. His analysis finds that African Wikipedias “written in extended and complex Latin hav[e] on average about a third the number of articles” as those Wikipedias written in a simpler Latin alphabet. While Osborn acknowledges that his analysis is preliminary, his observations usefully highlight some of the complexities of building digital ecologies in local languages.

Wikipedia's Universal Language Selector adds three West African languages

Ayokunle Odedere is a Nigerian Wikipedian and coordinator of the Wikimedia Hub in Ibadan, Nigeria. He  organizes and mobilizes activities and campaigns such as the recent AfroCine project. Working on Wikipedia, Odedere noticed that both new and experienced editors were having trouble typing the necessary diacritical marks in Wikipedia articles for national languages such as Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo.

While there are special keyboards such as the Yoruba Name keyboards for Mac and Windows and other virtual keyboards that allow users to display these special characters, they require some degree of technical knowledge to install and utilize. Odedere envisioned a solution built into Wikipedia itself. He put in a request on the Wikimedia Community Wishlist to have Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo incorporated into the Universal Language Selector (ULS), a facility available for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects to “allow users to type text in different languages not directly supported by their keyboard, read content in a script for which fonts are not available locally, or customize the language in which menus are displayed.” The request was granted and the Wikimedia Foundation Language Team included the three West African languages in the ULS. Now Wikipedia editors using a desktop or laptop computer can incorporate the special characters into their texts by typing the tilde (~) character before the corresponding letter.

Modernizing Hawaiian-language text with the push of a button

The Hawaiian language has a long tradition of writing, with more than 125,000 newspaper pages published in the 19th and early 20th century. Unfortunately, most of that text was written in an orthography devised by missionaries which, unlike the standard modern orthography, doesn’t fully reflect the sound system of the language. This means that these older texts are both difficult to read for today’s speakers, and also cannot readily be used for training natural language processing systems. This paper, by researchers at the University of Oxford and Google Deep Mind, describes a system that combines so-called “finite state transducers”, a well-known technology in the field, with deep learning to develop a system for automatically modernizing Hawaiian texts. This approach could possibly be applied to the numerous other languages which have undergone orthographic changes or standardization.

Will Siri and Alexa speak Welsh someday?

The Welsh government's Welsh language minister Eluned Morgan has asserted the importance of smart speakers and voice-driven devices such as Alexa and Siri accommodating speakers of the Welsh language. This goal is part of the government's Welsh Language Technology Action Plan, which was launched on October 23, 2018.

The plan recognizes the role that technology plays in everyday life and the importance for Welsh speakers of being able to use their language when using technology: “We want people to be able to use Welsh and English easily in their virtual lives at home, in school, in work or on the move.” The Welsh Technology Language Act recommends the development of artificial intelligence so that machines can understand spoken Welsh, and the improvement of computer-assisted translation, as part of the government's wider aim of having a million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Voice recognition technologies help to document the Seneca language

A team of researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the United States is developing voice recognition technology to assist with the documentation and transcription of the Seneca language. Seneca is an endangered Native American language spoken fluently by fewer than 50 individuals, hence the urgency of  documenting and preserving the language. As recording and manually transcribing speech is expensive and time-consuming, researchers are seeking to exploit voice recognition technology to assist with this task.

Voice recognition is a technological process that recognizes the sounds produced by the human voice and transcribes them automatically into written form. Develop voice recognition systems for languages with few sources of data is a challenge, as these systems requires a large amount of data to “train” them to recognize the language. For this cutting-edge research the team was awarded $181,682 over four years by the US National Science Foundation.

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

Anna Belew, Derek Lackaff, Kevin Scannell, Claudia Soria, and Eddie Avila contributed to this report with the editing assistance by Georgia Popplewell.

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Netizen Report: Zimbabwe’s internet goes dark amid protests, nationwide strike

Soldiers at an anti-Mugabe demonstration in November 2017. Photo by Zimbabwean Eyes, licensed to public domain.

The Advox Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. This report covers news and events from January 3 – 16.

When the long-standing economic crisis in Zimbabwe reached a tipping point this week, social media sites went dark — and then, internet connections on two of the country’s largest providers went down altogether.

After officials announced a crippling 150 percent hike in fuel prices, trade unions and activists called for a three-day nationwide strike, urging Zimbabweans to refrain from going to work or school starting January 14. Military and security forces have used violent force against protesters and have detained at least 200 people, according to Al Jazeera. Several people have been killed and dozens were injured.

The economic crisis is the result of a massive shortage of foreign currency in the country. Zimbabwe has relied on foreign currency, mainly the US dollar, since 2009 when the government of Robert Mugabe stopped printing Zimbabwean dollars in an effort to quell hyperinflation.

This move has now come back to haunt the still relatively new government of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who only narrowly won the presidency in August 2018.

Authorities may have ordered ISPs to restrict access, in response to the ongoing protests. As of January 16, the internet was not accessible on TelOne or EcoNet networks in and around the cities of Bulawayo and Harare, the nation’s capital. NetBlocks, a non-profit group that studies internet censorship, published results of technical tests in the country showing the outages.

Writing for TechZim, Tinashe Nyahasha commented:

I am personally embarrassed for our government. Blocking information flow is a cowardly and pathetic thing to do. Zimbabwe is open for business but not open to information flow?

Cubans say state telecom is censoring SMS messages

As they prepare for a nationwide referendum on a new version of the country’s constitution, Cuban activists have observed that SMS messages containing phrases like “yo voto no” (“I vote no”) or referencing abstention are not reaching their intended recipients. Independent media outlet 14ymedio tested multiple versions of such messages with more than 100 people in various regions of the country, all of whom found the same results. The draft constitution preserves Cuba’s one-party system, but legitimizes private business and sets term limits for the presidency, among other changes.

Who’s in charge of Venezuela? Wikipedians go to ‘editing war’, see brief blackout

Wikipedia became inaccessible for most Venezuelans on January 12, following a high-stakes conflict over the legitimacy of two dueling political leaders, President Nicolás Maduro and the National Assembly President Juan Guaidó. After Guaidó publicly invoked a constitutional statute that could position him to assume the presidency until free and fair elections are held, Wikipedians went to war over the question of who should be listed as president of the republic on the site. Wikipedia became wholly inaccessible for several hours on CANTV, the country’s predominant internet service provider, which is majority-owned by the Venezuelan government. It is now accessible again. But the questions driving the controversy remain red-hot.

Myanmar court denied appeal to Reuters reporters

Two Myanmar reporters who were sentenced to seven years prison for violating Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act had their legal appeal of the verdict denied on January 11 by a Myanmar court.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were originally arrested in December 2017 for possessing state documents regarding military operations while covering the killing of Rohingya in Rakhine state. They were sentenced on September 3, 2018, after a nine-month-long trial.

In court proceedings, police testified that they had handed the documents to the reporters without explanation, shortly before the arrest, effectively entrapping them.

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance condemned the decision that rejected their appeal:

The denial of their appeal is an appalling reaffirmation of Myanmar’s rejection of genuine democracy and sends an unmistakable signal that press freedom is in great peril in a country, once a pariah state, that had held out hope that it was making great strides toward democratic reform.

Iranian officials say they plan to block Instagram

Iranian internet regulators say they are prepared to block Instagram, one of the last and most popular foreign social media platforms still accessible in Iran, as Twitter and Facebook have both been blocked in the country for nearly a decade. Just this past year, Telegram messaging service was blocked following large-scale protests over economic hardships and broken promises of the ruling government. Although many Iranians likely will continue using to the service over VPNs, the move will mark another step for Iran in the direction of limiting online connections to services and communities in other parts of the world.

Using a VPN in China? Get ready to pay up.

Two Chinese internet users are currently facing fines for using VPNs and similar tools to access overseas websites that are blocked by China’s Great Firewall. While VPN use is permitted in certain contexts — mainly for government agencies and large private companies — China's vigorous internet control regime has in recent years put significant resources towards preventing people from using these and other similar tools. The 2017 Cybersecurity Law explicitly targeted VPNs, triggering multiple arrests of individuals selling unlicensed VPNs, and compelling Apple to take down VPN apps from its China app store.

The new law does not explicitly address or criminalize the individual use of such technologies, but authorities used the 1996 “Rules for Provisional Regulations of the Administration of International Networking of Computer Information in the People’s Republic of China” to fine the two users. Both cases indicate that, today, the very act of circumventing the internet through an unregistered channel is considered illegal.

Supporters join hunger strike in solidarity with jailed Azerbaijani blogger

Imprisoned Azerbaijani video blogger Mehman Huseynov began a hunger strike in protest of what he says is the latest in a series of bogus charges levied against him by authorities in Azerbaijan. After 12 days without food or water, Huseynov began drinking water and milk, but continues to refuse solid and other foods. Other activists and supporters have joined the strike, including acclaimed journalist Khadija Ismayilova.

Prior to his arrest, Huseynov ran a popular Facebook page where he shared videos on social issues in Azerbaijan, ranging from poor working conditions to the lavish lifestyles of government officials. His page had more than 300,000 followers and is the subject of defamation charges filed against him by the government. He also faces new charges stemming from an encounter with a prison guard, that could result in additional prison time.

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