Today's Featured Article Archive, March-April, 20099

(Sorry, typo. Please read 2009 instead of 20099)

Stars' Popularity...

The gay talk-show queen E. DeGeneres was in 2008 No. 1 on Out magazine's Power 50 list, but this time around she's slipped to No. 2. U.S. Rep. Barney Frank has been crowned this year's king because of the political clout he now carries in U.S. nation's Democratic capital.
DeGeneres isn't the only Hollywood hotshot to make the 3rd annual list.
Neil Patrick Harris made his debut on the list at No. 28. The editors listed How I Met Your Mother, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and the upcoming L.A. stage production of The Importance of Being Earnest among his notable achievements.
Funnylady Wanda Sykes is a first-timer. In 2008, No. 35 came out of the closet, announced Wanda married her girlfriend, and she continued to impress with her comic pitch on The New Adventures of Old Christine. Wanda'll also be hobnobbing next month with the likes of Mr. Frank. She she becomes the 1st openly gay person to headline the 89-year-old White House Correspondents Dinner. Style maven Tim Gunn took a nosedive from 28 down to 45 because Project Runway went on a messy court-ordered hiatus. Tim will gain some points once Heidi Klum & Co return this summer on Lifetime.
Those behind the scenes who made the list include billionaire mogul David Geffen, director Gus Van Sant, Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black, Brian Graden, Greg Berlanti, Scott Rudin, Bryan Lourde and Kevin Huvane, Simon Halls and Stephen Huvane and Michael Patrick King...

April, 2009 & Computer World

In an event that hits the computer world only once every few years, security experts are racing against time to mitigate the impact of a bit of malware which is set to wreak havoc on a hard-coded date. As is often the case, that date is April 1.
Malware creators love to target April Fool's Day with their wares, and the latest worm, called Conficker C, could be one of the most damaging attacks we've seen in years.
Conficker first bubbled up in late 2008 and began making headlines in January as known infections topped 9 million computers. Now in its third variant, Conficker C, the worm has grown incredibly complicated, powerful, and virulent... though no one is quite sure exactly what it will do when D-Day arrives.
Thanks in part to a quarter-million-dollar bounty on the head of the writer of the worm, offered by Microsoft, security researchers are aggressively digging into the worm's code as they attempt to engineer a cure or find the writer before the deadline. What's known so far is that on April 1, all infected computers will come under the control of a master machine located somewhere across the web, at which point anything's possible. Will the zombie machines become denial of service attack pawns, steal personal information, wipe hard drives, or simply manifest more traditional malware pop-ups and extortion-like come-ons designed to sell you phony security software? No one knows.
Conficker is clever in the way it hides its tracks because it uses an enormous number of URLs to communicate with HQ. The first version of Conficker used just 250 addresses each day -- which security researchers and ICANN simply bought and/or disabled -- but Conficker C will up the ante to 50,000 addresses a day when it goes active, a number which simply can't be tracked and disabled by hand.
At this point, you should be extra vigilant about protecting your PC: Patch Windows completely through Windows Update and update your anti-malware software as well. Make sure your antivirus software is actually running too, as Conficker may have disabled it.
Microsoft also offers a free online safety scan here, which should be able to detect all Conficker versions.

From Moscow's Prison

From the Moscow's most notorious prisons, the man who was Russia's wealthiest person awaits a trial. And it will be a critical test of Russian justice and President Dmitry Medvedev's commitment to the rule of law. When oil billionaire Khodorkovsky was first jailed nearly six years ago, Russians saw the downfall of the former Communist activist as a victory over the oligarchs who plundered Russia's prized industrial assets after the Soviet collapse. But some people believe Khodorkovsky's real crime was to challenge Vladimir Putin and Kremlin. This is the new trial, under a new president. It stands to be a challenge for Medvedev's commitment to uprooting what he famously called Russia's "legal nihilism" and infusing greater credibility into a justice system. often criticized as a political cudgel.Lawyer of Vadim Kluvgant, Khodorkovsky's said that logic of this case is impossible to understand. Khodorkovsky's got in trouble first in 2003. He was arrested at gunpoint on a Siberian airport runway.Later, in 2 years, Vadim was sentenced to 8 years in prison for fraud connected to his Yukos oil empire, a company that was Russia's biggest producer and for tax evasion. Since then, until his last week transfer to Moscow's Matrosskaya Tishina along with business partner Platon Lebedev, he was mostly in a Siberian jail. It is about 4,000 miles from Moscow. The Prosecutor General's office announced the new charges, alleging that Khodorkovsky and his partners embezzled and laundered $25 billion from Yukos and related companies.
Some Russians have sympathy for Khodorkovsky and other oligarchs who got rich through shaky business deals in the messy 90s. He was estimated by Forbes magazine to be Russia's richest man with a $15 billion fortune. His lawyer said the allegations of a $25 billion theft border on impossible. His defenders insist Vadim was singled out for funding opposition groups and because he was believed to have political ambitions. He had his oil ambitions to build a pipeline outside of Kremlin control and independently pump Russian hydrocarbons abroad. The new prosecution is designed to keep him behind bars beyond the 2012 presidential election, after his current sentence is over. In August, court rejected his application for parole. Vadim Khodorkovsky has persisted in keeping the case in the public eye, his supporters were publicizing this case.
Last week, a man who claimed to be a cellmate of Vadim Khodorkovsky accused him of making sexual advances. A Moscow court rejected this claim. Vadim's supporters say the accusation is designed to smear Khodorkovsky. Some analysts in Moscow say that probably, those people who put him in prison don't ever want him to get out. They're afraid that time is slipping away... that the situation in the country is changing. The "changing situation" refers to the former law professor Medvedev, elected president a year ago, and his repeated speaches of reforming the justice system. A Moscow jury acquitted 3 men in the killing of celebrated journalist Anna Politkovskaya, and Medvedev appeared to chide prosecutors for not knowing how to argue their case before a jury. Medvedev has signed a law that prohibits jury trials in cases involving terrorism and treason. It is a measure that legal experts say could make it easier to jail opposition politicians. Director of Human Rights Watch's Moscow office saisd that he hasn't made good on his promises. Now, Khodorkovsky's 75-year-old father says that he hopes for a fair trial...

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