White House Calls Trump Story False, Cites Things Not Related to News Story

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White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster made a public statement in response to the Washington Post and other news organisations stories this week that Trump told Russian officials information he say he shouldn’t have, denying the news.

McMaster stated:

“The story that came out tonight, as reported, is false. The President and the Foreign Minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two counties, including threats to civil aviation.

“At no time – at no time – were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the President did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of State, remember it being the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources. And I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”

However, none of the news stories had anything to do with the things McMaster said the president didn’t say — the reports were that Trump revealed highly classified intel to an American adversary. Later, when asked, McMaster did not deny that, but said he doubted whether the president “wasn’t even aware of where this information came from. He wasn’t briefed on the source or method of the information either.”

Microsoft Releases Large Update After WannaCry Event

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Microsoft issued a large Windows update days after the WannaCry malware pandemic infected thousands of computers and led to a huge wave of Windows users updating their OSs to close the SMBv1 exploit left open by Windows until March when a leak of NSA intel made the vulnerability, as well as the NSAs exploit tool, public.

The update was unusually large, taking over an hour on some computers.

Most noticeable changes after the update: Microsoft adds a mail icon to the toolbar (currently, more people use Google for mail); OneDrive is added to the tools menu; Windows Defender Security Center also added to toolbar. In “Apps & Features,” Microsoft OneConnect (paid Wi-Fi cellular) is added.” Techies have recommended the removal of OneConnect, which has been part of Windows “Pre-Installed Apps” for a while.

It also “installs” apps that you already have installed, so it is more difficult to find what things Microsoft actually added when you update. However, Windows installed a lot of new apps (their own) in this update.

Microsoft removed the option to set the program to open types of files with. Now, it only opens automatically with Windows new file viewing apps. (This can be corrected by going to “Default Apps” in Start Menu and selecting apps for media types.)

China Making It’s Own Wikipedia, but Public Can’t Edit It

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The government, which enforces strict censorship of media, has decided it needs its own online encyclopedia. Wikipedia, like many other popular free information sources on the internet, is blocked in China.

China’s encyclopedia will not be like Wikipedia, though. It will not allow public edits, and its editors will be hand-picked by the government.

The want to put together 300,000 entries. Analysts have said they do not expect to see subjects China does not like to talk about, such as “Tiananmen Square 1989” and “Falun Gong spiritual group” to be included.

Wikipedia Creator Making News Version: Wikitribune

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Wikipedia creator Jimmy Wales is creating Wikitribune, a news version of Wikipedia where he hopes news will be more fact-based than what he sees elsewhere.

He will be hiring many journalists for the initial phase, and see how things develop from there.

Wikitribune will not focus on doing original journalism. It will use the same community model as Wikipedia to put together long-form contextual articles for news events, as well as finding related questions that can be filled in by people at home.

Regarding whether the venture would succeed, Wales stated, “[O]ne of my main questions is the question of scale – I think if we can get to scale, it will be successful. If we aren’t able to produce enough good work early on to persuade people to contribute further support, I think that means that potentially we are going to struggle to get traction. But the response so far to the announcement has been so positive that I’m feeling ok.”

New Website Tracks Government Money at All Levels: USAFacts

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Info on money — revenues and expenses — at all levels of U.S. government is being made freely available in a new website by former Microsoft CEO and current L.A. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.

The website is USAFacts.org.

Ballmer was not satisfied with the information available through web search. He said the project involved organization and accessible presentation of existing information more than anything else.

The website has interesting presentations of the data. Just for one example, it can be seen how mortgage interest deduction, which can be assessed in terms of how well it promotes home ownership, makes its way to the pockets of the various income brackets.

Facebook: ‘Governments Exploit Us’

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Facebook has acknowledged that they are exploited by governments in manipulating public opinion, and also said they would try to do something about reducing these types of “information operations.”

Governments use Facebook to amplify a view, sow distrust, and spread confusion, according to the company.

Recently, Facebook made an attempt to cut down this use of their platform by suspending 30,000 accounts in France before the French presidential election.

Facebook was a key tool in the campaign of current U.S. President Donald Trump as well, according to his campaign team.

Source: Facebook Newsroom

Turkey Blocks Wikipedia

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A formal judgement has approved the administrative measure, indicating that a permanent restriction is now in place for all language editions of the online encyclopedia in Turkey.

Some are pointing towards Wikipedia’s depiction of Erdogan as a dictator as a cause:

“Erdoğan detractors have noted that under Erdoğan, more journalists have been incarcerated in Turkey than in any other country, including North Korea. Detractors have also pointed out the fact that the April referendum essentially nullified the traditional legal ‘check’ of parliamentary fiscal review, that parliament had previously held over his executive branch of government. Detractors have claimed that Erdoğan’s unceasing efforts at broadening his executive powers while also minimizing his executive accountability may amount to the ‘fall of Turkish democracy,’ and the ‘birth of a dictator.’

“The loss of availability is consistent with internet filters used to censor content in the country,” according to independent, non-partisan network monitoring observatory Turkey Blocks.

“SSL errors are issued for https requests, indicating failing to connect to the authentic servers, while the unencrypted addresses now return an nginx http 404 error indicative of filtering.”