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Punchy Italian kartist gets 15-year ban for trackside rampage… and other stories • The Register

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Welcome back for another compendium of tomfoolery from this week for those who enjoy a bit of light-hearted piffle. And let’s face it, who doesn’t?

Scrappy Italian kartist loses rag, loses licence

A petulant Italian kart racer has had a 15-year ban from all professional motorsport upheld by the FIA’s International Court of Appeal, the final appeal tribunal for international motor racing.

Luca Corberi, 23, originally had the ban imposed by the FIA’s International Tribunal following a bizarre rampage last October, during and after the 2020 FIA Karting World Championship Final at the Lonato circuit in Northern Italy.

Corberi was racing in the KZ class at the meeting, featuring 125cc racers capable of up 110mph (180kph). He was running around 15th position when he came together with fellow Italian Paolo Ippolito on lap 9, pitching Corberi heavily into the barriers and ending his race. This was especially unfortunate, since his father owns the Lonato venue where the meeting was being held.

He appears at this point to have succumbed to some kind of Hulk-like rage, ripped the front plastic fairing from his stricken kart and took it to the edge of the track. There he waited until Ippolito came round on his next lap, at which point he threw the fairing at him [see below].

Youtube Video

Corberi then stormed off across the diminutive circuit, despite the race still being underway, shrugging off marshalls and officials attempting to guide him away from the track, for his own safety and that of his competitors.

Finally, to top off his day, the video showed a figure who looked like Corberi appearing to attack Ippolito while the karts were lined up in the post-race parc ferme, leading to a brawl involving numerous participants.

The video was later distributed on social media, leading to condemnation from leading motorsport figures including former F1 world champion Jenson Button, himself a former kartist [see below]. Corberi apologised for his furious outburst and declared he would never race again, but later changed his mind and appealed against the ban.

Corberi’s father Marco was later suspended by the Italian motorsport governing body, the ACI, in the aftermath of the punch-up. The Lonato circuit also had its licence revoked.

Despite supposedly being a non-contact sport, motor racing has had its fair share of scuffles. Probably the most famous occurred when reigning F1 world champion Nelson Piquet laid into Chilean back marker Eliseo Salazar, after he knocked Piquet out of the lead of the 1982 German Grand Prix while being lapped [see below].

Youtube Video

Mustang Silly

Remaining on four wheels for a moment, we now bring you a surprising vehicular development from India.

Replica cars have long been a niche in the motoring world, encompassing everything from kit-based AC Cobra copies to high-end “continuations” of famous sports and racing cars like the Ford GT40 and Jaguar D-Type.

But rarely does a car get a replica treatment which starts off as far from its intended destination as the latest creation from Dream Customs India, which attempts to recreate the brutal 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1, using as a base car… a 2009 Hyundai Accent?

Having myself been an owner of a Hyundai Accent – admittedly an earlier model – I can confidently say that it is an odd choice for a donor to remake the mighty V8-engined Detroit muscle car.

The Accent, while a perfectly adequate small family runabout, is very notably lacking in the power and heft which marked out the classic Ford.

The Dream Customs India promotional video for the baffling conversion [see below] is light on detail, but it certainly does not seem to include the installation of a V8 of between 302 and 428 cubic inches in capacity (5 to 7 litres), which is really the whole point of having a Mustang.

Youtube Video

Dream Customs India have not revealed how much this obviously painstaking but deeply peculiar lash-up will cost, but they are reportedly now taking orders and suggest each conversion will take up to four months.

So please form an orderly queue, everyone.

Gold toilet traffic officer surprisingly accused of corruption

Finally in this week’s unexpectedly vehicle-based roundup, authorities in Russia have arrested a senior police officer whom they allege was the head of a massive bribery and corruption scandal.

“An allegedly corrupt police officer?” I hear you cry. “In Russia? Surely not!”

I know. It’s hard to believe. But the officer allegedly in charge of the scheme may not have done himself any favours with his choice of interior decoration.

When authorities from Russia’s Investigative Committee raided the home of the officer in question – Colonel Alexei Safonov from the city of Stavropol – they found he lived in a vast, elaborately decorated mansion, complete with fine china collections, a games room with billiard table, piles of cash and extravagant furniture more suited to the palace of Versailles than the home of a humble traffic officer [see below].

Youtube Video

Perhaps most impressively, Safonov’s home also included a lavish bathroom featuring a tasteful gold-trimmed toilet and bidet set.

Safonov’s gang of six accomplices are accused of issuing permits which allowed grain transporters to ignore regional laws and bypass police checkpoints in exchange for bribes, according to Sky News. ®



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What is COP26 and what can we expect from climate talks?

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Shelley Inglis from the University of Dayton explains how global climate negotiations work and what’s expected from the upcoming Glasgow summit.

Click here to visit The Conversation.

A version of this article was originally published by The Conversation (CC BY-ND 4.0)

Over two weeks in November, world leaders and national negotiators will meet in Scotland to discuss what to do about the climate crisis. It’s a complex process that can be hard to make sense of from the outside, but it’s how international law and institutions help solve problems that no single country can fix on its own.

I worked for the United Nations for several years as a law and policy adviser and have been involved in international negotiations. Here’s what’s happening behind closed doors and why people are concerned that COP26 might not meet its goals.

What is COP26?

In 1992, countries agreed to an international treaty called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which set ground rules and expectations for global cooperation on combating climate change. It was the first time the majority of nations formally recognised the need to control greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming that drives climate change.

That treaty has since been updated, including in 2015 when nations signed the Paris climate agreement. That agreement set the goal of limiting global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, to avoid catastrophic climate change.

COP26 stands for the 26th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC. The “parties” are the 196 countries that ratified the treaty, plus the European Union. The UK, partnering with Italy, is hosting COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, from 31 October to 12 November 2021, after a one-year postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why are world leaders so focused on the climate crisis?

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report, released in August 2021, warns in its strongest terms yet that human activities have unequivocally warmed the planet, and that climate change is now widespread, rapid and intensifying.

The IPCC’s scientists explain how climate change has been fuelling extreme weather events and flooding, severe heat waves and droughts, loss and extinction of species, and the melting of ice sheets and rising of sea levels. UN secretary-general António Guterres called the report a “code red for humanity.”

Enough greenhouse gas emissions are already in the atmosphere, and they stay there long enough, that even under the most ambitious scenario of countries quickly reducing their emissions, the world will experience rising temperatures through at least mid-century.

However, there remains a narrow window of opportunity. If countries can cut global emissions to “net zero” by 2050, that could bring warming back to under 1.5 degrees Celsius in the second half of the 21st century. How to get closer to that course is what leaders and negotiators are discussing.

What happens at COP26?

During the first days of the conference, around 120 heads of state, like US president Joe Biden, and their representatives will gather to demonstrate their political commitment to slowing climate change.

Once the heads of state depart, country delegations, often led by ministers of environment, engage in days of negotiations, events and exchanges to adopt their positions, make new pledges and join new initiatives. These interactions are based on months of prior discussions, policy papers and proposals prepared by groups of states, UN staff and other experts.

Non-governmental organisations and business leaders also attend the conference, and COP26 has a public side with sessions focused on topics such as the impact of climate change on small island states, forests or agriculture, as well as exhibitions and other events.

The meeting ends with an outcome text that all countries agree to. Guterres publicly expressed disappointment with the COP25 outcome, and there are signs of trouble heading into COP26.

What is COP26 expected to accomplish?

Countries are required under the Paris Agreement to update their national climate action plans every five years, including at COP26. This year, they’re expected to have ambitious targets through 2030. These are known as nationally determined contributions, or NDCs.

The Paris Agreement requires countries to report their NDCs, but it allows them leeway in determining how they reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The initial set of emission reduction targets in 2015 was far too weak to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

One key goal of COP26 is to ratchet up these targets to reach net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century.

Another aim of COP26 is to increase climate finance to help poorer countries transition to clean energy and adapt to climate change. This is an important issue of justice for many developing countries whose people bear the largest burden from climate change but have contributed least to it.

Wealthy countries promised in 2009 to contribute $100bn a year by 2020 to help developing nations, a goal that has not been reached. The US, UK and EU, among the largest historic greenhouse emitters, are increasing their financial commitments, and banks, businesses, insurers and private investors are being asked to do more.

Other objectives include phasing out coal use and generating solutions that preserve, restore or regenerate natural carbon sinks, such as forests.

Another challenge that has derailed past COPs is agreeing on implementing a carbon trading system outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Are countries on track to meet international climate goals?

The UN warned in September 2021 that countries’ revised targets were too weak and would leave the world on pace to warm 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. However, governments are also facing another challenge that could affect how they respond: energy supply shortages have left Europe and China with price spikes for natural gas, coal and oil.

China – the world’s largest emitter – has not yet submitted its NDC. Major fossil fuel producers such as Saudi Arabia, Russia and Australia seem unwilling to strengthen their commitments. India – a critical player as the second-largest consumer, producer and importer of coal globally – has also not yet committed.

Other developing nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa and Mexico are important. So is Brazil, which, under Jair Bolsonaro’s watch, has increased deforestation of the Amazon – the world’s largest rainforest and crucial for biodiversity and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

What happens if COP26 doesn’t meet its goals?

Many insiders believe that COP26 won’t reach its goal of having strong enough commitments from countries to cut global greenhouse gas emissions 45pc by 2030. That means the world won’t be on a smooth course for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and the goal of keeping warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But organisers maintain that keeping warming under 1.5 degrees is still possible. Former US secretary of state John Kerry, who has been leading the US negotiations, remains hopeful that enough countries will create momentum for others to strengthen their reduction targets by 2025.

The cost of failure is astronomical. Studies have shown that the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius can mean the submersion of small island states, the death of coral reefs, extreme heat waves, flooding and wildfires, and pervasive crop failure.

That translates into many premature deaths, more mass migration, major economic losses, large swathes of unliveable land and violent conflict over resources and food – what the UN secretary-general has called “a hellish future.”

The Conversation

By Shelley Inglis

Shelley Inglis is executive director of the Human Rights Center at the University of Dayton in Ohio. She is a research professor of human rights and law, and previously held various management positions with the United Nations Development Programme.

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Ransomware attacks in UK have doubled in a year, says GCHQ boss | GCHQ

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The head of the UK spy agency GCHQ has disclosed that the number of ransomware attacks on British institutions has doubled in the past year.

Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ, said locking files and data on a user’s computer and demanding payment for their release had become increasingly popular among criminals because it was “largely uncontested” and highly profitable.

His comments, made on Monday to the Cipher Brief annual threat conference, follow warnings that Russia and China are harbouring criminal gangs that are successfully targeting western governments or firms.

“I think that the reason [ransomware] is proliferating – we’ve seen twice as many attacks this year as last year in the UK – is because it works. It just pays. Criminals are making very good money from it and are often feeling that that’s largely uncontested,” he told delegates.

GCHQ has declined to give the exact numbers of ransomware attacks recorded in the UK this year or last. However, a US Treasury report released this month disclosed that suspicious ransomware-related transactions in the US over the first six months of this year were worth around $590m. The top 10 hacking groups believed to be behind criminal activity had moved about $5.2bn worth of bitcoin over the past three years, the report claimed.

Amid growing concerns over China and Russia’s ties to ransomware gangs, Fleming also called for more clarity over the links between criminals and hostile states.

“In the shorter term we’ve got to sort out ransomware, and that is no mean feat in itself. We have to be clear on the red lines and behaviours that we want to see, we’ve got to go after those links between criminal actors and state actors,” he said.

Ransomware is malware that employs encryption to hold a victim’s information at ransom. A user or organisation’s critical data is encrypted so that they cannot access files, databases, or applications. A ransom is then demanded to provide access. It has been used as part of a number of high-profile cyber-attacks in recent years, including the 2017 attack on the NHS.

Specialists believe Russian ransomware will continue to expand given the proliferation of cyber hacking tools and cryptocurrency payment channels.

Lindy Cameron, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said this month that ransomware “presents the most immediate danger” of all cyber threats faced by the UK, in a speech to the Chatham House thinktank.

In May this year, the then foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said states such as Russia could not “wave their hands” and say ransomware gangs operating from their territory had nothing to do with them.

Since then the west has sought to ramp up the pressure on the Kremlin. Joe Biden twice raised the issue with Vladimir Putin over the summer and he hinted that the US would be prepared to attack computer servers belonging to the gangs if nothing was done.

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Windows XP is 20 years old • The Register

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Feature It was on this very day, 20 years ago, that Microsoft released Windows XP to General Availability.

Regarded by some as the cockroach of the computing world, in part due to its refusal to die despite the best efforts of Microsoft, XP found its way into the hands of customers on 25 October 2001 and sought to undo the mess wrought upon the public by 2000’s Windows Millennium Edition (ME). While ME used the Windows 9x kernel, XP was built on the Windows NT kernel, formerly aimed at the business market and a good deal more stable.

It also upped the hardware requirements on its preceding consumer OS. Where ME recommended 64MB of memory, XP wanted at least 128MB. And although masochists could run ME on a VGA screen, XP insisted on a minimum of SVGA. It all seems rather quaint now, but could be a painful jump back in the day.

The user interface was given an overhaul, giving the OS a markedly different appearance to what had gone before, and the Start Menu introduced with Windows 95 was tweaked as well to feature two columns.

Internet Explorer 6 also came in the box, but it wasn’t until 2004’s Service Pack 2 that a Security Center was added as Microsoft sought to bolster the defences of what had turned out to be a highly hackable operating system. Enough to make one, er, Wannacry.

Still, that particular bit of miscreant nastiness was in the future as Windows XP launched. Two editions appeared in 2001: Home, which lacked enterprise features like domain joining, and Professional, which was aimed at corporates and also had the breath-taking ability to support a pair of physical processors.

While mainstream support ended in 2009 (and extended support breathed its last in 2014), Windows XP remained hugely popular until finally being overtaken in popularity by Windows 7 in 2012 (another operating system, Windows Vista, was launched between the pair but proved unpopular). Microsoft has, however, continued to emit the occasional patch for the OS. The last was in 2019, just as mainstream support for the POSReady 2009 version of XP ended.

Although the consumerisation of Windows NT caused a twinge or two – some might regard Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 as the high-water mark for Microsoft’s operating systems – XP signalled a new era for the company. Sure, the default theme might have felt like a child’s toy, but what lurked behind the scenes represented a huge leap forward from Windows 9x.

The same, we fear, cannot be said of Windows 11.

Happy GA day, Windows XP. ®

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