Trump cancels Singapore summit in letter to Kim Jong Un

Source: CNN

“President Donald Trump will not meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month, he announced in a letter to Kim released by the White House Thursday morning, scrapping plans for what would have been a historic diplomatic summit. He said during an appearance from the Roosevelt Room the decision amounted to a ‘tremendous setback’ and warned North Korea that the US military is ready to act should Pyongyang take any ‘foolish and reckless’ action. … The decision ends months of diplomatic advances between the US and North Korea that Trump repeatedly heralded as the likely precursor to a historic peace deal and the denuclearization of North Korea. Now, the detente between Washington and Pyongyang appears in jeopardy, with a return to the bellicose rhetoric that has defined the US-North Korea relationship for much of Trump’s presidency once again peering over the horizon.” (05/24/18)

Syria: Regime claims air defenses intercepted Israeli missile

Source: Jerusalem Post [Israel]

“Syrian state media said a military airport near Homs had come under missile attack which was repelled by its air defense systems on Thursday. ‘One of our military airports in the central region was exposed to hostile missile aggression, and our air defense systems confronted the attack and prevented it from achieving its aim,’ state news agency SANA said. … Eyewitness reports claim that fires are raging in the area outside the Dabaa airport. Reports from the Syrian opposition point to an Israeli attack on a Syrian Revolutionary Guard air missile base at the Dabaa airport west of Homs, by the Lebanese border. A top officer in the Syrian opposition estimated that four missiles destroyed the air defense systems. According to reports, there are a number of dead and wounded.” (05/24/18)

“Internet safety” just means Internet censorship

Source: spiked
by Fraser Myers

“At the end of a week in which the House of Commons defeated Labour’s draconian plans to regulate the press, the Tories revealed their own draconian plans to regulate the internet. The culture secretary, Matt Hancock, has pledged to make Britain ‘the safest place in the world’ to be online. But when the world’s ‘safest’ internet is currently found in China, where access is heavily restricted and censored by the state, it becomes clear how terrifying the government’s safety agenda really could be.” (05/24/18)

Serial liar James Clapper has “no doubt” Russians put Trump in the White House

Source: The Hill

“Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper writes in his new book that he has ‘no doubt’ Russians swung the 2016 presidential election to President Trump. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow read an excerpt from Clapper’s new book, ‘Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence,’ during her Tuesday night show. ‘Of course the Russian effort affected the outcome. Surprising even themselves, they swung the election to a Trump win. To conclude otherwise stretches logic, common sense, and credulity to the breaking point,’ Maddow read from Clapper’s book.” [editor’s note: What stretches logic, common sense, and credulity to the breaking point is the idea that after getting caught lying so many times, Clapper expects to be believed THIS time – TLK] (05/24/18)

Netflix tops Disney as the world’s most valuable media company

Source: CNet News

“Wall Street is a topsy-turvy world, and now Netflix is the media king on top of it. Thursday, Netflix’s market capitalization — finance-speak for the total value of its stock — crested higher than the market cap for Disney, previously the most valuable media company in the world. Netflix is worth about $153.8 billion compared with Disney’s $152 billion, as of recent trading. Netflix surpassed Comcast’s market cap Wednesday, too. In the 15 years since Netflix’s shares first went public, the company has skyrocketed both in market value and operational milestones to become a transformational force in entertainment. Earlier this year, Netflix surpassed 125 million worldwide subscribers, and the competitive threat of Netflix’s $10 billion content budget this year has traditional titans like Disney, Fox, Comcast and Time Warner all scrambling to buy (or be bought by) each other.” (05/24/18)

US stocks book a loss as Trump cancels North Korea summit, energy shares sell off

Source: MarketWatch

“U.S. stocks finished in the red Thursday as a sharp decline in energy-related shares pressured the broader market lower. On a brighter note, the three main equity benchmarks closed off the worst levels of the session after President Donald Trump canceled a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, citing ‘open hostility’ from the country. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 75.05 points, or 0.3%, at 24,811.75, but had been down by as many as 280.91 points, or 1.1%. … The S&P 500 fell 5.53 points, or 0.2% to 2,727.76, with seven of the 11 main sectors closing lower. Energy shares led losses, down 1.7%, with financials not far behind, down 0.7%. The technology-centric Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.02% finished little-changed, off 1.53 points, or less than 0.1%, at 7,424.43.” (05/24/18)

Hacker makes more than $18 million in double-spend attacks on Bitcoin Gold network

Source: BleepingComputer

“An unidentified hacker has mounted several ‘double spend’ attacks on the infrastructure of the Bitcoin Gold cryptocurrency and has managed to amass over $18 million worth of BTG (Bitcoin Gold) coins in the process. According to a post on the Bitcoin Gold forums, the attacks have started taking place since last Friday, May 18. The attacker has been deploying a large number of servers to take control of more than half of the Bitcoin Gold’s network hashrate in what’s known as a ‘51% attack.’ This grants the attacker the ability to modify details of blockchain transactions, an ability he’s been using in the last few days to perform a second attack called ‘double spend,’ which as the name implies, allows him to spend the same amount of coins twice.” (05/24/18)

An extreme case of ignorance or something else?

Source: EconLog
by Pierre Lemieux

“If half the American car markets is now supplied by foreign factories, it is obviously because the latter have a comparative advantage in the lines of vehicles they are selling to Americans. The destruction of this comparative advantage would mean higher costs and higher prices.” (05/24/18)

Mercantilism weakens the economies of countries whose governments practice it

Source: Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux

“When a government diverts more resources to its armies, navies, and air forces, that government does indeed strengthen its military, both absolutely and relative to the strength of other governments’ militaries. In contrast, when a government diverts more resources to export industries and other select firms, that government weakens its economy, both absolutely and relative to the strength of other economies. It does so by starving efficient firms under its jurisdiction of resources while feeding these resources to inefficient firms.” (05/24/18)

StumbleUpon, one of the web’s first content discovery platforms, is throwing in the towel

Source: TechSpot

“Pioneering content discovery engine StumbleUpon is calling it quits after more than 16 years of service. Over its lifetime, the service fed nearly 60 billion websites to more than 40 million users according to co-founder Garrett Camp. StumbleUpon launched in 2001 while Camp was still in graduate school at the University of Calgary as one of the web’s first content discovery / recommendation platforms. … Over the coming months, StumbleUpon accounts will be transitioned into, a service that has been described as something like Pinterest for content. StumbleUpon will officially shut down shop on June 30.” (05/24/18)