censorship on tiananmen anniversary cripples chinese net
from threat level: June 4 isn’t just the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China, it’s also known as Chinese Internet Maintenance day. That’s because many Chinese services are facing so much pressure from the government to keep their users from talking about that bloody day, they are just shutting down comment boards, or claiming their services are closed for unspecified upgrades. For instance, FanFou.com, a popular Twitter-like service, shut its doors for the week, and says it will re-open on June 6. Meanwhile, the so-called Great Firewall of China is blocking Twitter, human rights groups’ websites and blogging services hosted outside of China. At a well-timed panel at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in Washington, D.C., Thursday, Hu Yong, a popular Chinese blogger and an associate professor at Peking University, quoted EFF co-founder John Gilmore’s famous saying that the “internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it… If he lived in China, he could not say this,” Hu said.
israel preps for possible iran missile attack
from npr: Israel has begun its largest-ever national drill to test the response of emergency services to potential missile attacks, bombings and natural disasters. The aim is to make sure the country is prepared for attacks. The Israeli military confirmed this is the first time the army will be simulating strikes from Iran.
uk admits use of controversial ‘enhanced blast’ weapons in afghanistan
from guardian: British pilots in Afghanistan are firing an increasing number of “enhanced blast” thermobaric weapons, designed to kill everyone in buildings they strike, the Ministry of Defence has revealed. Since the start of this year more than 20 of the US-designed missiles, which have what is officially described as a “blast fragmentation warhead“, have been fired by pilots of British Apache attack helicopters. A total of 20 were also fired last year after they were bought by the MoD from the Americans last May.
gates warns north korea
from telegraph: Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, delivered a stark warning to North Korea on Saturday, declaring that America would not “stand idly by” while the regime threatened to “wreak destruction” with nuclear weapons. Instead, Mr Gates urged “tough sanctions” against North Korea and pledged that Washington would not accept its possession of a nuclear arsenal. Kim Jong-il’s regime was, he said, starving its own people in order to develop weapons of mass destruction. Mr Gates’s unequivocal message came during a conference of Asian defence ministers in Singapore. In his audience were representatives of the countries most threatened by Mr Kim – South Korea and Japan – and a delegation from China, North Korea’s only ally. “Dependent on the charity of the international community to alleviate the hunger and suffering of its people, North Korea’s leadership has chosen to focus the North’s limited energies and resources on a reckless and ultimately self-destructive quest for nuclear weapons,” said Mr Gates. “The policy of the United States has not changed: our goal is complete and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, and we will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state.”