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Cryptocurrency Price Forecast: Trust Is Growing, But Prices Are Falling

Trust Is Growing…
Before we get to this week’s cryptocurrency news, analysis, and our cryptocurrency price forecast, I want to share an experience from this past week. I was at home watching the NBA playoffs, trying to ignore the commercials, when a strange advertisement caught my eye.

It followed a tomato from its birth on the vine to its end on the dinner table (where it was served as a bolognese sauce), and a diamond from its dusty beginnings to when it sparkled atop an engagement ring.

The voiceover said: “This is a shipment passed 200 times, transparently tracked from port to port. This is the IBM blockchain.”

Let that sink in—IBM.

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Cryptocurrency Price Forecast: Trust Is Growing, But Prices Are Falling

Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More

Cryptocurrency News
On the whole, cryptocurrency prices are down from our previous report on cryptos, with the market slipping on news of an exchange being hacked and a report about Bitcoin manipulation.

However, there have been two bright spots: 1) an official from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that Ethereum is not a security, and 2) Coinbase is expanding its selection of tokens.

Let’s start with the good news.
SEC Says ETH Is Not a Security
Investors have some reason to cheer this week. A high-ranking SEC official told attendees of the Yahoo! All Markets Summit: Crypto that Ethereum and Bitcoin are not.

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Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More

Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens

Cryptocurrency News & Market Summary
Investors finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel last week, with cryptos soaring across the board. No one quite knows what kicked off the rally—as it could have been any of the stories we discuss below—but the net result was positive.

Of course, prices won’t stay on this rocket ride forever. I expect to see a resurgence of volatility in short order, because the market is moving as a single unit. Everything is rising in tandem.

This tells me that investors are simply “buying the dip” rather than identifying which cryptos have enough real-world value to outlive the crash.

So if you want to know when.

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Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens

Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto

Cryptocurrency News
This was a bloody week for cryptocurrencies. Everything was covered in red, from Ethereum (ETH) on down to the Basic Attention Token (BAT).

Some investors claim it was inevitable. Others say that price manipulation is to blame.

We think the answers are more complicated than either side has to offer, because our research reveals deep contradictions between the price of cryptos and the underlying development of blockchain projects.

For instance, a leading venture capital (VC) firm launched a $300.0-million crypto investment fund, yet liquidity continues to dry up in crypto markets.

Another example is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s.

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Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto

Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack

Another Crypto Hack Derails Recovery
Since our last report, hackers broke into yet another cryptocurrency exchange. This time the target was Bithumb, a Korean exchange known for high-flying prices and ultra-active traders.

While the hackers made off with approximately $31.5 million in funds, the exchange is working with relevant authorities to return the stolen tokens to their respective owners. In the event that some is still missing, the exchange will cover the losses. (Source: “Bithumb Working With Other Crypto Exchanges to Recover Hacked Funds,”.

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Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack

Cryptocurrency News: New Exchanges Could Boost Crypto Liquidity

Cryptocurrency News
Even though the cryptocurrency news was upbeat in recent days, the market tumbled after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected calls for a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF).

That news came as a blow to investors, many of whom believe the ETF would open the cryptocurrency industry up to pension funds and other institutional investors. This would create a massive tailwind for cryptos, they say.

So it only follows that a rejection of the Bitcoin ETF should send cryptos tumbling, correct? Well, maybe you can follow that logic. To me, it seems like a dramatic overreaction.

I understand that legitimizing cryptos is important. But.

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Cryptocurrency News: New Exchanges Could Boost Crypto Liquidity

Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETF Rejection, AMD Microchip Sales, and Hedge Funds

Cryptocurrency News
Although cryptocurrency prices were heating up last week (Bitcoin, especially), regulators poured cold water on the rally by rejecting calls for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). This is the second time that the proposal fell on deaf ears. (More on that below.)

Crypto mining ran into similar trouble, as you can see from Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.‘s (NASDAQ:AMD) most recent quarterly earnings. However, it wasn’t all bad news. Investors should, for instance, be cheering the fact that hedge funds are ramping up their involvement in cryptocurrency markets.

Without further ado, here are those stories in greater detail.
ETF Rejection.

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Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETF Rejection, AMD Microchip Sales, and Hedge Funds

Cryptocurrency News: What You Need to Know This Week

Cryptocurrency News
Cryptocurrencies traded sideways since our last report on cryptos. However, I noticed something interesting when playing around with Yahoo! Finance’s cryptocurrency screener: There are profitable pockets in this market.

Incidentally, Yahoo’s screener is far superior to the one on CoinMarketCap, so if you’re looking to compare digital assets, I highly recommend it.

But let’s get back to my epiphany.

In the last month, at one point or another, most crypto assets on our favorites list saw double-digit increases. It’s true that each upswing was followed by a hard crash, but investors who rode the trend would have made a.

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Cryptocurrency News: What You Need to Know This Week

Cryptocurrency News: Vitalik Buterin Doesn’t Care About Bitcoin ETFs

Cryptocurrency News
While headline numbers look devastating this week, investors might take some solace in knowing that cryptocurrencies found their bottom at roughly $189.8 billion in market cap—that was the low point. Since then, investors put more than $20.0 billion back into the market.

During the rout, Ethereum broke below $300.00 and XRP fell below $0.30, marking yearly lows for both tokens. The same was true down the list of the top 100 biggest cryptos.

Altcoins took the brunt of the hit. BTC Dominance, which reveals how tightly investment is concentrated in Bitcoin, rose from 42.62% to 53.27% in just one month, showing that investors either fled altcoins at higher.

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Cryptocurrency News: Vitalik Buterin Doesn’t Care About Bitcoin ETFs

About – The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class statusdenied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. Since its publication in 2010, the book has appeared on theNew York Timesbestseller list for more than a year; been dubbed the secular bible of a new social movement by numerous commentators, including Cornel West;and has led to consciousness-raising efforts in universities, churches, community centers, re-entry centers, and prisons nationwide. The New Jim Crow tells a truth our nation has been reluctant to face.

As the United States celebrates its triumph over race with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of black men in major urban areas are under correctional control or saddled with criminal records for life. Jim Crow laws were wiped off the books decades ago, but today an extraordinary percentage of the African American community is warehoused in prisons or trapped in a parallel social universe, denied basic civil and human rightsincluding the right to vote; the right to serve on juries; and the right to be free of legal discrimination in employment, housing, access to education and public benefits. Today, it is no longer socially permissible to use race explicitly as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet as civil-rights-lawyer-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander demonstrates, it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways in which it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once labeled a felon, even for a minor drug crime, the old forms of discrimination are suddenly legal again. In her words, we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.

Alexander shows that, by targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.

The New Jim Crowchallenges the civil rights communityand all of usto place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

Click here to read an excerpt from the Introduction.

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About – The New Jim Crow

A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance

This video from hip hop legend Jay Z and acclaimed artist Molly Crabapple depicts the drug wars devastating impact on the Black community from decades of biased law enforcement.

The video traces the drug war from President Nixon to the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws to the emerging aboveground marijuana market that is poised to make legal millions for wealthy investors doing the same thing that generations of people of color have been arrested and locked up for. After you watch the video, read on to learn more about the discriminatory history of the war on drugs.

Many currently illegal drugs, such as marijuana, opium, coca, and psychedelics have been used for thousands of years for both medical and spiritual purposes. So why are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today? It’s not based on any scientific assessment of the relative risks of these drugs but it has everything to do with who is associated with these drugs.

The first anti-opium laws in the 1870s were directed at Chinese immigrants. The first anti-cocaine laws in the early 1900s were directed at black men in the South. The first anti-marijuana laws, in the Midwest and the Southwest in the 1910s and 20s, were directed at Mexican migrants and Mexican Americans. Today, Latino and especially black communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate drug enforcement and sentencing practices.

In the 1960s, as drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent, the government halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy.

In June 1971, President Nixon declared a war on drugs. He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants.

A top Nixon aide, John Ehrlichman, later admitted: You want to know what this was really all about. The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what Im saying. We knew we couldnt make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.

In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.

Between 1973 and 1977, however, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession. In January 1977, President Jimmy Carter was inaugurated on a campaign platform that included marijuana decriminalization. In October 1977, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

Within just a few years, though, the tide had shifted. Proposals to decriminalize marijuana were abandoned as parents became increasingly concerned about high rates of teen marijuana use. Marijuana was ultimately caught up in a broader cultural backlash against the perceived permissiveness of the 1970s.

The presidency of Ronald Reagan marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war. The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.

Public concern about illicit drug use built throughout the 1980s, largely due to media portrayals of people addicted to the smokeable form of cocaine dubbed crack. Soon after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, his wife, Nancy Reagan, began a highly-publicized anti-drug campaign, coining the slogan “Just Say No.”

This set the stage for the zero tolerance policies implemented in the mid-to-late 1980s. Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who believed that casual drug users should be taken out and shot, founded the DARE drug education program, which was quickly adopted nationwide despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness. The increasingly harsh drug policies also blocked the expansion of syringe access programs and other harm reduction policies to reduce the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.

In the late 1980s, a political hysteria about drugs led to the passage of draconian penalties in Congress and state legislatures that rapidly increased the prison population. In 1985, the proportion of Americans polled who saw drug abuse as the nation’s “number one problem” was just 2-6 percent. The figure grew through the remainder of the 1980s until, in September 1989, it reached a remarkable 64 percent one of the most intense fixations by the American public on any issue in polling history. Within less than a year, however, the figure plummeted to less than 10 percent, as the media lost interest. The draconian policies enacted during the hysteria remained, however, and continued to result in escalating levels of arrests and incarceration.

Although Bill Clinton advocated for treatment instead of incarceration during his 1992 presidential campaign, after his first few months in the White House he reverted to the drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors by continuing to escalate the drug war. Notoriously, Clinton rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences.

He also rejected, with the encouragement of drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, Health Secretary Donna Shalalas advice to end the federal ban on funding for syringe access programs. Yet, a month before leaving office, Clinton asserted in a Rolling Stone interview that “we really need a re-examination of our entire policy on imprisonment” of people who use drugs, and said that marijuana use “should be decriminalized.”

At the height of the drug war hysteria in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a movement emerged seeking a new approach to drug policy. In 1987, Arnold Trebach and Kevin Zeese founded the Drug Policy Foundation describing it as the loyal opposition to the war on drugs. Prominent conservatives such as William Buckley and Milton Friedman had long advocated for ending drug prohibition, as had civil libertarians such as longtime ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser. In the late 1980s they were joined by Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Federal Judge Robert Sweet, Princeton professor Ethan Nadelmann, and other activists, scholars and policymakers.

In 1994, Nadelmann founded The Lindesmith Center as the first U.S. project of George Soros Open Society Institute. In 2000, the growing Center merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to create the Drug Policy Alliance.

George W. Bush arrived in the White House as the drug war was running out of steam yet he allocated more money than ever to it. His drug czar, John Walters, zealously focused on marijuana and launched a major campaign to promote student drug testing. While rates of illicit drug use remained constant, overdose fatalities rose rapidly.

The era of George W. Bush also witnessed the rapid escalation of the militarization of domestic drug law enforcement. By the end of Bush’s term, there were about 40,000 paramilitary-style SWAT raids on Americans every year mostly for nonviolent drug law offenses, often misdemeanors. While federal reform mostly stalled under Bush, state-level reforms finally began to slow the growth of the drug war.

Politicians now routinely admit to having used marijuana, and even cocaine, when they were younger. When Michael Bloomberg was questioned during his 2001 mayoral campaign about whether he had ever used marijuana, he said, “You bet I did and I enjoyed it.” Barack Obama also candidly discussed his prior cocaine and marijuana use: “When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently that was the point.”

Public opinion has shifted dramatically in favor of sensible reforms that expand health-based approaches while reducing the role of criminalization in drug policy.

Marijuana reform has gained unprecedented momentum throughout the Americas. Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Washington State, and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults. In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legally regulate marijuana. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans legalize marijuana for adults by 2018.

In response to a worsening overdose epidemic, dozens of U.S. states passed laws to increase access to the overdose antidote, naloxone, as well as 911 Good Samaritan laws to encourage people to seek medical help in the event of an overdose.

Yet the assault on American citizens and others continues, with 700,000 people still arrested for marijuana offenses each year and almost 500,000 people still behind bars for nothing more than a drug law violation.

President Obama, despite supporting several successful policy changes such as reducing the crack/powder sentencing disparity, ending the ban on federal funding for syringe access programs, and ending federal interference with state medical marijuana laws did not shift the majority of drug policy funding to a health-based approach.

Now, the new administration is threatening to take us backward toward a 1980s style drug war. President Trump is calling for a wall to keep drugs out of the country, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear that he does not support the sovereignty of states to legalize marijuana, and believes good people dont smoke marijuana.

Progress is inevitably slow, and even with an administration hostile to reform there is still unprecedented momentum behind drug policy reform in states and localities across the country. The Drug Policy Alliance and its allies will continue to advocate for health-based reforms such as marijuana legalization, drug decriminalization, safe consumption sites, naloxone access, bail reform, and more.

We look forward to a future where drug policies are shaped by science and compassion rather than political hysteria.

Originally posted here:

A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance

Political crime – Wikipedia

In criminology, a political crime or political offence is an offence involving overt acts or omissions (where there is a duty to act), which prejudice the interests of the state, its government, or the political system. It is to be distinguished from state crime, in which it is the states that break both their own criminal laws or public international law.[1]

States will define as political crimes any behaviour perceived as a threat, real or imagined, to the state’s survival, including both violent and non-violent oppositional crimes. A consequence of such criminalisation may be that a range of human rights, civil rights, and freedoms are curtailed, and conduct which would not normally be considered criminal per se (in other words, that is not antisocial according to those who engage in it) is criminalised at the convenience of the group holding power.

Thus, there may be a question of the morality of a law which simply criminalises ordinary political dissent,[2] even though the majority of those who support the current regime may consider criminalisation of politically motivated behaviour an acceptable response when the offender is driven by more extreme political, ideological, religious or other beliefs,

At one extreme, crimes such as treason, sedition, and terrorism are political because they represent a direct challenge to the government in power. Espionage is usually considered a criminal act.[3] But offenders do not have to aim to overthrow the government or to depose its leaders to be acting in a way perceived as “political”. A state may perceive it threatening if individuals advocate change to the established order, or argue the need for reform of long-established policies, or engage in acts signifying some degree of disloyalty, e.g. by burning the nation’s flag in public. But the scope of such crimes can be rather less direct.

Structural functionist criminologists recognise that states invest their resources in maintaining order through social conformity, i.e. a particular culture is encouraged and maintained through the primary social discourses which may include religious, economic, social, or other less formal concerns. Any interference with the media of communication or the sets of meanings embedded in the communications themselves may be perceived as a threat to the political authority of the state. Hence, whether in hard copy or electronically, if individuals distribute material containing uncensored information which undermines the credibility of state-controlled news media, this may be considered threatening.

Moreover, even an offence against non-governmental institutions, persons, or practices may be deemed political. Violence or even discrimination against an ethnic or racial group, as well trade union strikes or picketing against private employers, can be perceived as a political crime when those in power see such conduct as undermining the political (and economic) stability of the state. In this context, note that the Law Enforcement Code of Conduct passed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police says in part: “The fundamental duties of a police officer include serving the community, safeguarding lives and property, protecting the innocent, keeping the peace and ensuring the rights of all to liberty, equality and justice” (cited in Robinson, 2002). This code requires that police behave in a courteous and fair manner, that they treat all citizens in a respectable and decent manner, and that they never use unnecessary force. When they do, it is argued that this constitutes a crime (e.g. as an assault) and, if it is institutionalised, then over time, the use of unnecessary force become a state crime.

Marxist criminologists argue that most political crime arises from the efforts of the state to reproduce the structures of inequality: racism, sexism, ethnic preference as well as class advantages. Thus, states will protect property rights and reduce the rights of trade unions to represent the interests of the poor. Even war could be grounded in the problems of local capitalists in wealthy countries in the effort to move raw materials, profits and jobs in a globalised political economy, and opposing such a war will be a political crime. Marxists do not dispute that, for a society to function efficiently, social order is necessary. But they consider that, in all societies, one class, usually characterised as the “ruling class”, gains far more than other classes. Marxists agree with functionalists that socialisation plays a crucial role in promoting conformity and order. However, unlike the latter, they are highly critical of the ideas, values and norms of “capitalist ideology”. Modern Marxists point to education and the media as socialising agencies, which delude or “mystify” the working class into conforming to a social order, which works against its real interests. Thus, all controls which directly or indirectly explit the criminal law to control access to the discourses are political crimes.

Miller says that one of the defining characteristics of power in modern history has been the rationalisation and bureaucratisation of law. Legal codification, or at least debates over the merits of legal codification, became an almost global phenomenon in the nineteenth century as state power was centralised. In particular, the rationalisation of criminal law standardised not just the concept of crime, but was adopted as the means to eliminate the “deviant” as a threat to a modern, uniform, moral standard. In this, the religious establishment began to play a new role in defining “evil” in which threats to the political or social norm became as dangerous as threats to religious orthodoxy. Thus, political speech became one of the most likely activities to be criminalised. The freedom of association and to meet may also be criminalised if the purpose is to express oppositional political views.

Because a political offender may be fighting against a tyrannical government, treaties have usually specified that a person cannot be extradited for a political offense. Thomas Jefferson wrote:[4]

People convicted or suspected of certain crimes classified as terrorism by the government of their country (or some foreign countries) reject that classification. They consider that their fight is a legitimate one using legitimate means, and thus their crimes should be more appropriately called political crimes and justify special treatment in the penal system (as if they were soldiers in a war and therefore covered by the Geneva Convention). States tend to consider the political nature of the crimes an aggravating factor in the sentencing process and make no distinction between the terrorists and “ordinary” offenders, e.g. the convicted murderers of Action Directe consider themselves political prisoners.

Where there is no clear separation between the state and the prevailing religion, the edicts of the church may be codified as law and enforced by the secular policing and judicial authorities. This is a highly functionalist mechanism for enforcing conformity in all aspects of cultural life and the use of the label “crime” adds an extra layer of stigma to those convicted.

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Political crime – Wikipedia

Environmental Crimes – UNICRI

Environmental crimes

UNICRI considers environmental crime, including its links with other forms of crime, a serious and growing danger for development, global stability and international security.

Since 1991, UNICRI has contributed to combating crimes against the environment and related emerging threats through applied research, awareness and capacity-building initiatives. UNICRI has built a strong international network of experts and practitioners from major international organization, law enforcement agencies, NGOs and academic entities active in the field.

Environmental crimes encompass a broad list of illicit activities, including illegal trade in wildlife; smuggling of ozone-depleting substances (ODS); illicit trade of hazardous waste; illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing; and illegal logging and trade in timber. On one side, environmental crimes are increasingly affecting the quality of air, water and soil, threatening the survival of species and causing uncontrollable disasters. On the other, environmental crimes also impose a security and safety threat to a large number of people and have a significant negative impact on development and the rule of law. Despite these issues, environmental crimes often fail to prompt the appropriate governmental response. Often perceived as victimless and incidental crimes, environmental crimes frequently rank low on the law enforcement priority list, and are commonly punished with administrative sanctions, themselves often unclear and low.

The involvement of organized criminal groups acting across borders is one of many factors that have favoured the considerable expansion of environmental crimes in recent years. Led by vast financial gains and facilitated by a low risk of detection and scarce conviction rates, criminal networks and organized criminal groups are becoming increasingly interested in such illicit transnational activities. These phenomena fuel corruption and money-laundering, and undermine the rule of law, ultimately affecting the public twice: first, by putting at risk citizens health and safety; and second, by diverting resources that would otherwise be allocated to services other than criminal activities.

The level of organization needed for these crimes indicates a link with other serious offences, including theft, fraud, corruption, drugs and human trafficking, counterfeiting, firearms smuggling, and money laundering, several of which have been substantiated by investigations. Therefore, environmental crimes represent today an emerging form of transnational organized crime requiring more in-depth analysis and better-coordinated responses at national, regional and international levels.

The first research projects conducted by UNICRI addressed the issue of environmental law, and in particular explored the limits and potentials of applying criminal law in crimes related to environment. In June 1998, UNICRI organised in Rome a seminar on international environmental conventions and the administration of criminal law. Since then, the Institute has focused on the involvement of organized criminal groups in environmental crime.

To increase awareness of the threat of environmental crime, UNICRI contributed to the organization of the conference entitled Illicit trafficking in waste: a global emergency (Rome, December 2011), with the participation of the Ministry of the Environment of Italy, parliamentarians, international partners such as the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), and many stakeholders involved in countering trafficking in and dumping of toxic waste. To enhance understanding of the dynamics of environmental crime, the Institute implemented a research and data collection project focused on the dumping of illegal waste and hazardous materials, including e-waste, and the involvement of organized crime.

In partnership with several research institutes, civil society organizations, and municipalities, UNICRI has launched a process for consultation at the international level on the involvement of organized crime in environmental crime, with a view to identify a set of recommendations for more effective policies and actions at the national, regional and international levels. To that end, the Institute, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has organized an international conference in Italy on 29 and 30 October 2012 (see dedicated section).

UNICRI has implemented several international and regional applied-research projects related to the illegal trade and trafficking goods having an adverse impact on the environment, including e-waste, illicit pesticides and precious metals (see dedicated sections).

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Environmental Crimes – UNICRI

Lab-Grown Meat Could Be Worse for the Environment

The benefits of lab-grown meat will depend on scientists' ability to produce it sustainably, and right now, we don't know if that's even possible.

Growing Change

Meat farming is a major contributor of the greenhouse gases driving climate change. To ensure we never have to choose between a livable planet and a juicy hamburger, scientists are attempting to efficiently grow convincing imitation meat in the lab using everything from volcano-dwelling microbes to stem cells.

But new research suggests the efforts of those scientists might be in vain — it turns out that growing meat in the lab might actually do more damage to the environment than producing it the traditional way.

Meat Market

For their study, published Tuesday in the journal Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, researchers from the Oxford Martin School compared the potential impact on the global temperature over the next 1,000 years of three cattle farming methods and four potential methods for growing meat in the lab.

Their comparison revealed that yes, lab-grown meat could be better for the environment — but it won’t be better by default.

“The climate impacts of cultured meat production will depend on what level of sustainable energy generation can be achieved, as well as the efficiency of future culture processes,” researcher John Lynch told the BBC. “If the lab-grown meat is quite energy intensive to produce then they could end up being worse for the climate than cows are.”

Apples and Oranges

The methane emitted by cattle also has a different kind of impact on the environment than the carbon dioxide that scientists might pump into the atmosphere while producing meat in the lab.

“Per tonne emitted, methane has a much larger warming impact than carbon dioxide,” researcher Raymond Pierrehumbert said in a press release. “However, it only remains in the atmosphere for about 12 years whereas carbon dioxide persists and accumulates for millennia.”

Ultimately, this research reveals that it’s still too soon to know whether lab-grown meat could actually solve our agriculture-caused climate woes — which means we might still be headed toward a future in which we need to trade at least some of our steaks for salads.

READ MORE: Cultured Lab Meat May Make Climate Change Worse [BBC]

More on lab-grown meat: To Feed a Hungry Planet, We’re All Going to Need to Eat Less Meat

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Lab-Grown Meat Could Be Worse for the Environment

Japan Sends Robot Into the Nuclear Hell of the Fukushima Reactor

A robot just physically examined the radioactive fuel at the damaged Fukushima Nuclear Reactor. It's the first step toward an ongoing cleanup mission.

Nuclear Probe

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) just sent a robot into one of the reactors of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was destroyed by a tsunami back in 2011.

The robot made contact with the melted fuel, picking it up and putting it back down to determine whether it was solid enough to cart away during a future mission, according to Ars Technica.

Image Credit: TEPCO

The Claw

Fukushima won’t be fully decommissioned for another 30 to 40 years. But this robotic mission is the first step toward determining how other robots will go about cleaning it up.

In this case, the robot was able to pick up small chunks of the radioactive fuel at five of the six test sites, all of which were located inside one of the power plant’s three damaged reactors. TEPCO published a video of the process taken by the robot’s built-in camera, in which you can see a robotic claw position itself around and pick up small pieces of fuel.

Catch and Release

None of the radioactive fuel left the reactor along with the robot when the mission was over. But that wasn’t the plan. Rather, this mission marks the first time that a robot has been able to physically examine Fukushima’s fuel.

The team hopes to start retrieving some of the deadly fuel in 2021, now that they know it can be physically lifted.

READ MORE: Japanese utility makes first contact with melted Fukushima fuel [Ars Technica]

More on Fukushima: A $320 Million Ice Wall Still Can’t Contain Radioactive Water Near Fukushima

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Japan Sends Robot Into the Nuclear Hell of the Fukushima Reactor

WHO Says UN Should Reclassify Marijuana as Less Dangerous

New Class

Marijuana could soon be reclassified on an international scale.

In 1948, the United Nations (UN) established the World Health Organization (WHO) to serve as its conduit to all things health-related. Now, the agency is recommending that the UN reclassify marijuana to a less restrictive narcotics schedule — a move that could have a huge impact on public health worldwide.

Narcotics Treaty

Under the UN’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, an international treaty that regulates the production and sale of certain drugs, cannabis is listed as a Schedule IV drug. Thats the most restrictive class, reserved for drugs that have “particularly dangerous properties.”

Earlier this month, the WHO published new recommendations to the UN regarding the classification of marijuana in the medical journal The BMJAccording to the WHO, there’s growing evidence that cannabis has medical applications, and the UN should reschedule the plant to take into account these applications.

Medical Marijuana

The WHO’s proposal to reclassify marijuana could go before the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs as soon as March, at which point 53 countries will have the option of voting on it.

Although a vote to reclassify wouldn’t make cannabis legal everywhere overnight, it would mark a major shift in how political leaders view the drug — which could have a huge impact on the drug’s use for medical purposes.

Scientists have already noted potential uses for cannabis to treat everything from psychosis and epilepsy to heart disease and Alzheimer’s, but researching these links hasn’t been easy given marijuana’s legal status.

If governments decide to revisit their cannabis laws in the wake of a UN reclassification, it might be easier for researchers to gain approval — and funding — for their marijuana-focused studies, meaning we could see a dramatic increase in the number of cannabis-based medical treatments in the future.

READ MORE: In Historic Announcement, the World Health Organization (WHO) Proposes Removing Cannabis From Most Dangerous Drug Category [Good News Network]

More on marijuana: New Senate Bill Would Legalize Marijuana Nationwide

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WHO Says UN Should Reclassify Marijuana as Less Dangerous

Trump Signs Directive: Space Force Will Be Run By Air Force

President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive 4 (SPD-4) today, organizing all military space functions under a new Space Force.

Space Force 2.0

U.S. President Donald Trump signed a directive today that organizes all military space functions under a new Space Force. The Space Force will be run entirely under the current U.S. Air Force — at least for the time being.

That means a future Space Force would function more like the Marine Corps, which is part of the Navy, than an entirely separate branch of the military — which is what the Trump administration first suggested back in June.

A More Popular Approach

The news comes after Trump signed an executive order in December, calling for the creation of a “U.S. Space Command” to streamline and consolidate space operations.

The plans still have to receive Congress approval before its creation, but organizing it under the Air Force could be a way to warm lawmakers up to the idea, as Defense News suggests.

Agreeable Idea

The Washington Post points out that the Directive could also be a more agreeable idea to the Pentagon as it would create far less bureaucracy.

Today’s news doesn’t necessarily rule out future plans for a standalone Space Force military branch. But it could save military officials a headache in the near future.

READ MORE: Trump approves plan to create Space Force, but puts it under Air Force control, as Pentagon officials had wanted [The Washington Post]

More on Space Force: The US May Soon Have The World’s First Space Force

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Trump Signs Directive: Space Force Will Be Run By Air Force

Users of Crypto Site Where Dead CEO Lost $196M Are Preparing Suit

QuadrigaCX has about two weeks left to its stay to raise the money it owes before anyone can sue, but a judge just appointed law firms to its customers.

Making Moves

Remember that cryptocurrency exchange that said it lost $196 million of its customers’ money when CEO Gerald Cotten died — prompting conspiracy theories Cotten faked his own death?

Well, those 115,000 customers just lawyered up.

Ticking Clock

Michael Wood, a justice on Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court, issued a ruling Tuesday that QuadrigaCX customers would be represented by two law firms, Miller Thomson as well as Cox & Palmer, in the event of a class-action lawsuit, according to CoinDesk.

So far, no one has filed suit against QuadrigaCX — though the users’ new lawyers can start preparing one, according to CoinDesk. On Feb. 5, the courts approved a 30-day stay at the company’s request. That leaves QuadrigaCX with about two more weeks to settle the matter and come up with $196 million on its own before anyone can sue.

Next Steps

Once the stay expires on March 7, the crypto exchange may try to have it extended. But that appeal would come before Judge Wood.

Given his move to prepare QuadrigaCX customers for a potential lawsuit, Wood may decide that QuadrigaCX was given enough time and open up the floor to any lawsuits.

READ MORE: Judge Appoints Law Firms to Represent QuadrigaCX Customers [CoinDesk]

More on QuadrigaCX: Indian Hospital Fires Back at Rumors That Crypto CEO Faked Death

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Users of Crypto Site Where Dead CEO Lost $196M Are Preparing Suit

Elon Musk: Bitcoin Is “Brilliant” And “Paper Money Is Going Away”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk shared his thoughts on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies during a podcast interview with ARK Invest.

“Seriously?”

Elon Musk is talking cryptocurrency. The real Elon Musk, not one of those Twitter scammers.

On Tuesday, Tesla’s CEO sat down for a podcast interview with ARK Invest, a tech investment firm. In addition to chatting about electric vehicles and self-driving cars, the interviewers decided to throw Musk an “off-topic” question about cryptocurrencies.

After an initially incredulous response — “Crypto, seriously?” — Musk went on to elaborate on his thoughts about crypto and Bitcoin in particular — and while he sees the value in both, don’t expect Tesla to get involved in the space any time soon.

Pros and Cons

During the interview, Musk admitted that he thinks “the Bitcoin structure is quite brilliant” and that there might be “some merit to Ethereum as well and maybe some others.”

He went on to discuss the uses of the cryptocurrency with ARK Invest founder Cathie Wood, who noted that “there were $1.3 trillion worth of transactions in bitcoin, and we don’t see it here because it’s not for pizza or Coke.”

“It might be for coke,” Musk deadpanned, in an apparent drug joke, prompting laughs from his interviewers.

“We figure it’s business-to-business in Africa where it is prohibitively expensive to convert from one nation’s currency to another,” Wood continued. “It really is very important. It’s money over IP for them. It’s free transmission of money, and that’s really important to opening up the world.”

“It bypasses currency controls,” Musk said. “Paper money is going away, and crypto is a far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper, that’s for sure. That has its pros and cons.”

Tesla Coin

As for whether Tesla would ever get involved in crypto, Musk doesn’t see that happening any time soon.

His company’s primary goal is to “accelerate the advent of sustainable energy,” according to Musk, and as he noted during the interview, mining cryptocurrencies is computationally energy intensive.

“I’m not sure it would be a good use for Tesla resources to get involved in crypto,” he concluded.

“Just to clarify,” ARK Invest analyst Tasha Keeney asked later, “Tesla’s not going to start selling bitcoin anytime soon?”

“No, we’re not,” Musk replied.

READ MORE: Elon Musk Calls Bitcoin ‘Brilliant,’ Better Than Paper Money for Value Transfer [CoinDesk]

More on crypto: Fake Elon Musks Clutter Twitter With Crypto Scams

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Australian License Plates Can Now Include Emoji

As of March 1, drivers in Queensland, Australia will be able to include one of five emoji in their license plates — a startling break from tradition.

License to Emoji

It’s the natural evolution of the vanity license plate: emoji.

As of March 1, drivers in Queensland, Australia will be able to include one of five emoji in their license plates: laughing out loud, winking face, sunglasses, heart eyes, and the classic smiley face.

“For quite some time we’ve seen that you can support your favourite team or your favourite town with a symbol on your number plate,” Royal Automobile Club of Queensland spokeswoman Rebecca Michael told 7News Brisbane. “And using an emoji is no different.”

Cool Sunglasses Face

If you drive a vehicle in Queensland, you can pre-order your own customized plate right now on the website of government-approved plate vendor Personalised Plates Queensland (PPQ.)

Drivers will like need to pay a fee somewhere between $160 to $500 in Australian dollars to get the new emoji, according to 7News.

Mo’ ‘Mojis, Mo’ Problems

One problem remains: police could be thrown off by the unusual new plates.

“How do you write down the emoji in your number plate after an accident?” Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts asked the Brisbane Times.

READ MORE: Queensland drivers set to get emoji number plates [new.com.au]

More on license plates: A “Smart” License Plate: To Buy or Not to Buy?

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