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It’s always windy somewhere: Balancing renewable energy in Europe

Putting wind in the Balkans and Scandinavia would get Europe consistent power.

Panama Papers: Denmark to pay $1.3M-plus for leaked data to probe...

EnlargeTim Bartel reader comments 19 Share this story Tax officials in Denmark are reportedly paying an unknown source around £1 million (~$1.3M) for secret financial information on hundreds of Danish nationals. Their names appear in the Panama Papers, leaked earlier this year, which consist of 11.5 million files from the database of Mossack Fonseca—the world's fourth biggest offshore law firm. This is the first time, according to Danish newspaper Politiken, that Denmark has agreed to buy information on possible tax evaders in this way. Denmark also seems to be the first country to admit that it's acquiring data from a source with access to the leaked Mossack Fonseca documents. [Update: apparently Iceland made an earlier deal—see comment below.] Politiken reported that the unusual deal was the result of secret negotiations conducted with an unknown seller. What seems to have clinched it was a "free sample" that was sent to prove the value of the data. An official with Denmark's tax office explained: This [sample] convinced us of the quality of the documents. They are real and they contain information that is very relevant to us. Both of specific individuals, and especially super interesting knowledge about the methods used by advisers and the middlemen they use. This can give us a breakthrough in the investigation of tax havens. In return for the payment, the Danish government will apparently receive data from the Panama Papers relating to about 320 cases involving 500 to 600 Danes. The tax authorities expect to have the relevant files at the end of September. Although Politiken reported that the country's tax minister "discreetly secured the backing of a majority in parliament" to conclude the negotiations, the deal is not without its critics. Another article in the newspaper, written by the national secretary of Denmark's Young Conservatives, asked: "If I bought a set of documents which I knew was stolen, then I would be convicted of receiving stolen goods. Why is it different because the taxman is involved?" Despite that controversy, Denmark's move might clear the way for other countries to make similar deals. As noted by the Guardian, government officials in Germany paid under €1 million (~$1.1M) for a significantly smaller Mossack Fonseca leak in 2014. Customers of Germany's second largest bank, Commerzbank, were later raided on suspicion of tax evasion. The lucrative nature of the deal might also encourage others to leak information that could be considered in the public interest. The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament wants to encourage responsible leaking by bringing in legal protection for whistleblowers, and the organization has published a draft version of its proposed EU whistleblowers Directive. A German website reported that more than 100 MEPs have signed an open letter supporting the idea of better legal safeguards. This post originated on Ars Technica UK

Trump's 'extreme' anti-terrorism vetting may be H-1B nightmare

Donald Trump’s call for "extreme vetting" of visa applications, as well as the temporary suspension of immigration from certain countries, would raise fees and add delays for anyone seeking a visa, including H-1B visas, immigration experts said. In particular, a plan by Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, to stop issuing visas -- at least temporarily -- "from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world" may make it difficult for a significant number of people to get visas. Data assembled by Computerworld through a Freedom of Information Act request shows foreign workers come from all corners of the world, including "dangerous and volatile regions." Trump outlined his immigration enforcement plan in a speech Monday. In 2014, the U.S. approved more than 370,000 H-1B applications.
Some were new entries, and others were for previously approved workers who were either renewing or updating their status. Of that number, 2,234 of the H-1B visa holders were from Pakistan, a country that might appear on a Trump list.

Another 1,102 approved visa holders were from Iran.

There were 658 H-1B visa holders from Egypt, and 256 were from Syria. (Article continues below chart.) Country of Birth for H-1B Visa Holders Country Frequency INDIA 262,730 CHINA 29,936 CANADA 7,653 PHILIPPINES 6,055 KOREA, SOUTH 5,024 UNITED KINGDOM 3,822 MEXICO 3,216 TAIWAN 2,785 FRANCE 2,570 JAPAN 2,268 PAKISTAN 2,234 NEPAL 1,997 GERMANY 1,895 TURKEY 1,850 BRAZIL 1,831 ITALY 1,497 COLOMBIA 1,491 RUSSIA 1,461 VENEZUELA 1,432 SPAIN 1,329 IRAN 1,102 NIGERIA 1,015 ISRAEL 949 IRELAND 932 KOREA 813 UKRAINE 795 ARGENTINA 778 MALAYSIA 771 SINGAPORE 755 VIETNAM 695 EGYPT 658 ROMANIA 648 BANGLADESH 647 INDONESIA 637 SRI LANKA 608 PERU 583 POLAND 576 AUSTRALIA 564 GREECE 556 SOUTH AFRICA 547 HONG KONG 503 BULGARIA 477 THAILAND 476 LEBANON 462 JAMAICA 461 KENYA 437 NETHERLANDS 432 JORDAN 415 CHILE 395 SWEDEN 374 NEW ZEALAND 353 GHANA 341 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 333 ECUADOR 302 SYRIA 256 PORTUGAL 253 SWITZERLAND 249 BELGIUM 238 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 231 SAUDI ARABIA 205 ZIMBABWE 205 HUNGARY 203 Spain 189 AUSTRIA 179 UNKNOWN 179 DENMARK 174 HONDURAS 171 COSTA RICA 165 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 155 BOLIVIA 150 CZECH REPUBLIC 149 GUATEMALA 149 EL SALVADOR 147 SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO 142 KUWAIT 141 MOROCCO 138 ETHIOPIA 133 CAMEROON 126 FINLAND 125 BAHAMAS 123 MOLDOVA 111 KAZAKHSTAN 108 SLOVAK REPUBLIC 103 CROATIA 102 NORWAY 102 ARMENIA 101 UZBEKISTAN 101 PANAMA 99 URUGUAY 94 ALBANIA 88 UGANDA 88 USSR 87 Serbia 86 LIBYA 84 MONGOLIA 83 TANZANIA 83 BURMA 76 NIGER 74 LITHUANIA 70 GEORGIA 66 GRENADA 58 SENEGAL 58 BARBADOS 57 MACEDONIA 56 LATVIA 54 AZERBAIJAN 52 BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA 51 CYPRUS 51 ST. LUCIA 51 IRAQ 50 SLOVENIA 50 BELIZE 48 ICELAND 47 ZAMBIA 47 GUYANA 45 NICARAGUA 45 PARAGUAY 45 BAHRAIN 43 TUNISIA 43 ALGERIA 42 MAURITIUS 42 DOMINICA 40 USA 39 ESTONIA 35 KYRGYZSTAN 34 HAITI 30 RWANDA 28 BURKINA FASO 26 MACAU 25 TURKMENISTAN 25 CAMBODIA 24 COTE D'IVOIRE 24 TAJIKISTAN 24 CONGO 22 ST. KITTS-NEVIS 22 SUDAN 22 MALAWI 21 OMAN 21 ST.
VINCENT/GRENADINES 21 MALI 20 ANTIGUA-BARBUDA 19 BOTSWANA 18 IVORY COAST 18 BERMUDA 17 BENIN 16 AFGHANISTAN 15 Kosovo 15 QATAR 15 LUXEMBOURG 13 MADAGASCAR 13 Montenegro 13 YEMEN-SANAA 13 TOGO 12 SIERRA LEONE 11 YUGOSLAVIA 11 GABON 10 GAMBIA 10 NORTHERN IRELAND 10 MALTA 8 NAMIBIA 8 SURINAME 8 SWAZILAND 8 BHUTAN 7 FIJI 7 FRENCH POLYNESIA 7 MOZAMBIQUE 7 BURUNDI 6 CUBA 6 GUINEA 6 LIBERIA 6 BRUNEI 5 NETHERLANDS ANTILLES 5 ARUBA 4 ERITREA 4 KIRIBATI 4 LESOTHO 4 MALDIVES 4 MAURITANIA 4 ANGOLA 3 CAPE VERDE 3 CHAD 3 DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO 3 SEYCHELLES 3 UNITED STATES 3 ANGUILLA 2 LAOS 2 SOMALIA 2 ARABIAN PENINSULA 1 CAYMAN ISLANDS 1 DJIBOUTI 1 GERMANY, WEST 1 GIBRALTAR 1 GUINEA-BISSAU 1 MARTINIQUE 1 MONACO 1 REUNION 1 Samoa 1 SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE 1 ST.
VINCENT-GRENADINES 1 STATELESS 1 TONGA 1 TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS 1 VANUATU 1 Source: USCIS data for approved applications in fiscal year 2014 Trump's plan to admit only people "who share our values and respect our people" didn't indicate how it would be applied.
It also didn't say whether all visa holders -- visitor, H-1B and green card -- would be subject to an ideological litmus test. And what is the correct answer to such a question about American values? "If you ask people born in this country what is an American ideology, I'm not quite sure that we would come out with one answer," said Jessica Lavariega-Monforti, a professor and chair of the political science department at Pace University in New York. "The immigration system, as it currently stands, could not process additional vetting without creating backlogs and increasing wait times for applicants.

At the same time, it is unclear how these policy changes would increase safety against a terrorist attack," said Lavariega-Monforti. John Lawit, an immigration attorney in Irving, Texas, said the U.S. already has a vetting process that begins as soon as someone applies for a tourist visa.

There are different levels of threat, such as being a citizen of Syria, that trigger a much higher level of vetting, he said. "There is a huge financial commitment that must be made in terms of human resources in order to carry on such a vetting program, and a huge, huge increase in fees,” Lawit said. Requiring oaths of some kind is "a lot of posturing with very little substance," he added, and are ineffective in improving security. Lawit said he once assisted H-1B workers who were employed in non-classified jobs at the Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories.

The processing time for security checks could run months.

That's an example of extreme vetting, while "extraordinary detailed security investigations are conducted," he said. This story, "Trump's 'extreme' anti-terrorism vetting may be H-1B nightmare" was originally published by Computerworld.

Irish court orders alleged Silk Road admin to be extradited to...

AlistairThe Silk Road bust Corrupt Silk Road agent’s lawyer: This appeal is frivolous, I want out Corrupt agent who investigated Silk Road is suspected of another $700k heist Prosecutors say corrupt Silk Road agent has co-conspirators at large Judge: Gov’t can show murder-for-hire evidence in Silk Road trial Prosecutors hit Silk Road suspect Ross Ulbricht with new drug charges View more storiesreader comments 2 Share this story A 27-year-old Irishman who American prosecutors believe was a top administrator on Silk Road named “Libertas” has been approved for extradition to the United States. According to the Irish Times, a High Court judge ordered Gary Davis to be handed over to American authorities on Friday. In December 2013, federal prosecutors in New York unveiled charges against Davis and two other Silk Road staffers, Andrew Michael Jones (“Inigo”) and Peter Phillip Nash (“Samesamebutdifferent”).

They were all charged with narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy. After a few years of operation, Silk Road itself was shuttered when its creator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested in San Francisco in October 2013. Ulbricht was convicted at a high-profile trial and was sentenced to life in prison in May 2015. In March 2015, Nash pleaded guilty and was released after being sentenced to time served two months later. Jones’ case remains pending. Davis, who did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment, can appeal within 10 days. His Twitter account has been silent for days. Last month, prior to the extradition hearings, Davis e-mailed Ars to say that he had not yet formally challenged the seizure of the Icelandic Silk Road server. No challenge in relation to the Silk Road servers has formally been made by me.

The extradition proceedings against me here are just that—proceedings, not a legal case to determine innocence or guilt—and there is no avenue under those proceedings with which I can challenge the FBI’s impossible explanation re: the Iceland server seizure. However, I am currently appealing an obstruction of justice conviction in relation to the raid on my home by An Garda Síochána (the Irish police) at the behest of the FBI. Under the terms of the mutual legal assistance treaty between the US and Ireland, the word of a US law enforcement agency is taken at face value once enough evidence—circumstantial or otherwise—for a search warrant has been provided. Nothing is done to verify the legitimacy of that information, leaving the process wide open to abuse; for instance, if the US government had a political agenda against a person residing in Ireland, [it] could easily fabricate evidence in order to harass that person or damage their reputation with police raids, etc. The above might seem far-fetched but given recent public revelations regarding the conduct of US law enforcement and intelligence agencies, it can be given a lot more weight by the judiciary here. As part of my appeal I hope to be able to challenge the veracity of the information provided to the Irish police force by the FBI and where / how they initially located that information. Whether I can actually do that under Irish or [European Union] law is as yet unknown, but that is one of the avenues through which I hope to pursue my appeal.