On Wednesday, a company in Yiwu, eastern China Zhejiang Province, has finally launched their first batch of catering robots that can deliver food to customers, and other types of robots such as security robots after a three-year endeavor. Such gorgeous-looking robots are expected to be available in the market very soon. These robots basically consist of human simulations and chasses, through which they can discern the chromatism on the floor and thereby make moves. Catering robots are able to endure weight of more than 35 kg while security robots patrol on their own.
Mission: Control online discourse, reduce U.S. influence
SHANGHAI— James T. Areddy writes: As social media helped topple regimes in the Middle East and northern Africa, a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army publicly warned that an Internet dominated by the U.S. threatened to overthrow China’s Communist Party.
Ye Zheng and a Chinese researcher, writing in the state-run China Youth Daily, said the Internet represented a new form of global control, and the U.S. was a “shadow” present during some of those popular uprisings. Beijing had better pay attention.
Four years after they sounded that alarm, China is paying a lot of attention. Its government is pushing to rewrite the rules of the global Internet, aiming to draw the world’s largest group of Internet users away from an interconnected global commons and to increasingly run parts of the Internet on China’s terms.
“Many Western companies are surrendering to Beijing’s rules so they can build a position in China, with an online population nearing 700 million.”
It envisions a future in which governments patrol online discourse like border-control agents, rather than let the U.S., long the world’s digital leader, dictate the rules.
“Ye Zheng and a Chinese researcher, writing in the state-run China Youth Daily, said the Internet represented a new form of global control, and the U.S. was a “shadow” present during some of those popular uprisings.”
President Xi Jinping—with the help of conservatives in government, academia, military and the technology industry—is moving to exert influence over virtually every part of the digital world in China, from semiconductors to social media. In doing so, Mr. Xi is trying to fracture the international system that makes the Internet basically the same everywhere, and is pressuring foreign companies to help.
“Four years after they sounded that alarm, China is paying a lot of attention.”
On July 1, China’s legislature passed a new security law asserting the nation’s sovereignty extends into cyberspace and calling for network technology to be “controllable.” A week later, China released a draft law to tighten controls over the domestic Internet, including codifying the power to cut access during public-security emergencies.
Other draft laws under consideration would encourage Chinese companies to find local replacements for technology equipment purchased abroad and force foreign vendors to give local authorities encryption keys that would let them control the equipment.
Chinese officials referred questions about Internet policy to the Cyberspace Administration of China, a recently formed government body. That agency declined to make an official available to comment for this article. Read the rest of this entry »
“The police shot at the car in self-defense, but it was able to drive away, the official said. No one was hurt, and police are searching for the car.”
The incident is not believed to be related to terrorism, he said.
The official, who did not give his name as a matter of standard policy, said the car initially hit another vehicle. When stopped by the police, the driver refused to obey orders and proceeded instead to drive toward police officers in the Place de la Concorde who were placing a safety barricade for the Tour de France bicycle race. Read the rest of this entry »
Terrorists want to use the unmanned machines – available for as little as £100 on the high street – to drop explosives on large crowds at popular sporting and cultural gatherings.
Defence chiefs fear they could launch a multi-drone attack carrying several bombs, even using airborne cameras to film the bloody carnage below for twisted propaganda videos.
“Isis is obsessed with re-creating the horror of 9/11 and believes this may be possible by launching a multi-drone attack on large numbers of people in a synchronised attack.”
Senior MI5 figures believed that Isis has already tested how much plastic explosive the flying machines can carry, getting as far as experimenting with detonation devices.
“They want the spectacular devastation of such a raid, which would cause murder and maiming in a crowd, while filming it for a sick video.”
A counter-terrorism source said: “Islamist plotters have been trying to launch a drone-borne bomb attack for some time, as these machines are getting more hi-tech every year. Read the rest of this entry »
The ISIS attack on Kobane began with militants detonating a car bomb, followed by an assault from dozens of fighters from a number of directions.
Islamic State fighters have attacked the Syrian city of Kobane, months after being driven out in a symbolic battle that made international headlines.
They detonated car bombs and launched an assault. Kurdish media say at least 50 civilians have been killed, including 20 in a nearby village.
ISIS has recently suffered a string of defeats to Kurdish forces.
But in another attack on Thursday, it seized parts of the key north-eastern city of Hassakeh.
Raqqa is the de facto capital of the caliphate whose creation IS announced a year ago after it captured large swathes of northern and western Iraq.
Kobane still matters to ISIS. It was never important strategically, but this latest attack shows that its loss, after five months of heavy street-to-street fighting and coalition aerial bombardment, still hurts ISIS.
As was the case last November when a huge vehicle bomb exploded at the same spot, questions are being asked if the attackers made it in from the Turkish side, and if so, why Turkey didn’t stop them.
Thursday’s assault is a reminder, too, that ISIS, despite recent losses in the area, is still very much active and capable of offensives. Overnight they also attacked Hassakeh to the east, a far bigger prize.
Despite the narrative of the last few weeks, ISIS is far from being on the back foot.
The ISIS attack on Kobane began with militants detonating a car bomb, followed by an assault from dozens of fighters from a number of directions. Read the rest of this entry »
[PHOTO] New #ISSCrew member @Astro_Kjell waves during ascent to space. R2D2 doll hangs inside #SoyuzPosted: July 22, 2015
Of Course They Do
Adam Taylor writes: As America stumbles its way through the early stages of Donald Trump’s unlikely and uncomfortable bid for the presidency, some here are wondering what exactly Trump says about the nation.
“Do other national cultures create men like Donald Trump?” Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg asked on Twitter. “Asking for the United States.”
Goldberg probably asked that question in jest, but there may be real concern behind it. To many, Trump’s political career seems to combine three ugly undercurrents of US politics: the outsize role of money, the never-ending campaign season, and America’s embrace of reactionary celebrity figures.
So do other countries really have their own Donald Trumps? Well, yes, of course they do. When Goldberg asked his question, there was a flood of responses from foreign readers, who pointed to their own rich and rude political figures. Some comparisons don’t quite seem fair (you may dislike Dominique Strauss-Kahn or Nigel Farage, but their faults and virtues are different from Trump’s), many, many other suggestions did seem apt.
Trump is a product of American society, but he’s not unique. His mixture of murky wealth, extreme arrogance and vulgar chauvinism can be found all over the world, albeit with local spins. Here are just a handful of the world’s other Donald Trumps.
One of the best-known examples of a foreign Trump might be Silvio Berlusconi, the business magnate who was Italy’s prime minister for about nine years in total. Berlusconi, like Trump, espoused an entrepreneurial spirit but soon became better known for his misdemeanours and odd behaviour: One time, he hid behind a monument and jumped out to scare German leader Angela Merkel, shouting, “Coo-coo” (“She enjoyed it,” Berlusconi later said). Like Trump, he even has an intriguing hairstyle….(read more)
Clive Palmer, an Australian billionaire, certainly creates Trump-size headlines. He has plans to construct a replica of the Titanic. He wants to open his own “Jurassic Park.” He has accused his political opponents of being funded by the CIA. He has called Chinese officials “mongrels” (and later apologised).
The similarities between the two go beyond headlines and money, however….(read more)
China is a country full of very rich people, and often these very rich people have deep political ambitions. However, it’s possible that Chen Guangbiao is the only one who can match Trump for sheer arrogance.
There are numerous examples of how big Chen’s ego is, including his audacious and doomed attempt to buy The New York Times and his insistence on singing at media events. Perhaps the best example of Chen’s ego, however, is a business card he handed to me in 2013….(read more)
While Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the loud-mouthed Russian politician who founded the Liberal Democratic Party in 1990, may lack the business credentials of Trump (his background is in the military), he has a habit of making statements that suggest a kinship with the American businessman.
For example, he suggests arming every single person in Russia so they can kill birds….(read more)
In many parts of Central and Eastern Europe, business success and political populism mingle, creating fertile grounds for local variants of Trumps. Read the rest of this entry »
MADRID—One of Spain’s “ghost airports”—expensive projects that were virtually unused—received just one bid in a bankruptcy auction after costing about €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) to build. The buyer’s offer: €10,000.
Ciudad Real’s Central airport, about 235 kilometers south of Madrid, became a symbol of the country’s wasteful spending during a construction boom that ended with the financial crisis of 2008, the year the airport opened. The operator of the airport went bankrupt in 2012 after it failed to draw enough traffic.
Chinese group Tzaneen International tabled the single bid in Friday’s auction, Spanish news agency Europa Press said. The receiver had set a minimum price of €28 million. If no better bid is received by September, the sale will go through, the news agency said. Read the rest of this entry »
Meanwhile in Germany, Merkel pushes through support for unloved bailout despite repeated suggestions by her finance minister that Greece should quit the Eurozone.
Geoffrey Smith writes: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sacked some prominent left-wing rebels from his government Friday in a cabinet reshuffle following a party revolt against a tough new bailout deal adopted this week.
The 40 year-old prime minister dismissed Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and two deputy ministers after 39 Syriza hardline lawmakers refused to back the government over the measures, which were demanded by Eurozone partners as a pre-condition for beginning talks over a new bailout.
The main economic ministries remain unchanged, with Euclid Tsakalotos remaining in place at the finance ministry and George Stathakis staying at the economy ministry.
But Labor Minister Panos Skourletis, one of Tsipras’ closest allies, will replace Lafazanis in the key energy portfolio, where he will be responsible for sensitive privatization dossiers. Administrative Reforms Minister George Katrougalos will take over at the labor ministry.
The reshuffle had been expected ever since the party rebellion left Tsipras dependent on the votes of pro-European opposition parties to pass the bailout deal but it is not likely to change the uncertain overall outlook for the government.
Former Deputy Finance Minister Nadia Valavani, another bailout opponent who resigned earlier this week before the vote, was replaced by Tryfon Alexiadis, a leading member of Greece’s tax experts’ union.
The new ministers are expected to be sworn in on Saturday. Read the rest of this entry »
Groups of youths among the more than 12,000 anti-reality protesters smashed storefronts and set at least one car on fire
(ATHENS, Greece) — Elena Becatoros and Derek Gatopoulos report: Rioters hurled petrol bombs at police who responded with tear gas as an anti-austerity demonstration outside parliament turned violent Wednesday, while Greek lawmakers began debating contentious measures needed to start negotiations on a new bailout and avoid financial collapse.
“I must tell you, that Monday morning at 9:30, it was the most difficult day of my life. It was a decision that will weigh on me for the rest of my life.”
Groups of youths among the more than 12,000 protesters smashed storefronts and set at least one vehicle alight. The clashes were the first significant protest violence since the left-wing Syriza government came to power in January promising to repeal bailout austerity. Police said at least 50 people were detained.
“I don’t know if we did the right thing. But I know we did something with the sense that we had no choice. Nothing was certain and nothing is.”
— Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos
The protest was timed to coincide with the start of debate on the bill, which includes consumer tax increases and pension reforms that will condemn Greeks to years of more economic hardship.
The bill has fueled anger among the governing left-wing Syriza party and led to a revolt by many party members against Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who has insisted the deal forged early Monday after a marathon weekend eurozone summit was the best he could do to prevent Greece from crashing out of Europe’s joint currency.
“I must tell you, that Monday morning at 9:30, it was the most difficult day of my life. It was a decision that will weigh on me for the rest of my life,” said Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos.
“I don’t know if we did the right thing. But I know we did something with the sense that we had no choice. Nothing was certain and nothing is,” he said as the debate kicked off.
Civil servants protested with a 24-hour strike that disrupted public transport and shut down state-run services across the country. Read the rest of this entry »
Frederick Kagan writes: The nuclear agreement with Iran announced Tuesday is an astoundingly good deal, far surpassing the hopes of anyone . . . in Tehran. It requires Iran to reduce the number of centrifuges enriching uranium by about half, to sell most of its current uranium stockpile or “downblend” it to lower levels of enrichment, and to accept inspections (whose precise nature is yet to be specified) by the International Atomic Energy Agency, something that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had wanted to avoid.
“The main achievement of the regime’s negotiators is striking a deal that commits the West to removing almost all sanctions on Iran, including most of those imposed to reduce terrorism or to prevent weapons proliferation.”
But the agreement also permits Iran to phase out the first-generation centrifuges on which it now relies and focus its research and development by exclusively using a number of advanced centrifuge models many times more efficient, which has been Tehran’s plan all along. The deal will also entirely end the United Nations’ involvement in Iran’s nuclear program in 10 years, and in 15 years will lift most restrictions on the program.
“Experts will debate the value of the concessions Iran has made on the nuclear front, but the value to Iran of the concessions the U.S. has made on nonnuclear issues is immeasurable.”
Even that, though, is not Tehran’s biggest win. The main achievement of the regime’s negotiators is striking a deal that commits the West to removing almost all sanctions on Iran, including most of those imposed to reduce terrorism or to prevent weapons proliferation. Most of the sanctions are likely to end in a few months. Thus the agreement ensures that after a short delay Iran will be able to lay the groundwork for a large nuclear arsenal and, in the interim, expand its conventional military capabilities as much as the regime pleases. The supreme leader should be very proud of his team.
“The Obama administration seems to be betting that lifting sanctions will cause Iran to moderate its behavior in both nuclear and nonnuclear matters. The rhetoric and actions of the regime’s leaders provide little evidence to support this notion and much evidence to the contrary.”
The agreement consists of 159 pages of opaque prose, and key sections are referred to but are not clearly marked. Even figuring out the timeline embodied in the deal is hard, but it appears to run about as follows:
“Finalization Day” was July 14. The agreement stipulates that a resolution will be submitted to the United Nations Security Council “promptly after the conclusion of the negotiations . . . for adoption without delay” that will “terminate” all preceding U.N. Security Council resolutions against Iran. The document doesn’t mention the 60-day window for review by the U.S. Congress, and the language in this section suggests that action in the U.N. will not await any congressional vote. Read the rest of this entry »
Iran’s enemies unsettled by its deal with the West, but Bashar al-Assad of Syria says it is ‘a great victory’
Most telling was the loudest expression of support. “I am happy that the Islamic Republic of Iran has achieved a great victory by reaching an agreement,” President Bashar al-Assad of Syria said in a message to his Iranian opposite number, Hassan Rouhani.
“In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement.”
Israel and the Sunni Arab world have set aside old grievances to stand together against the West’s engagement with Iran.
The more strident denunciations came from Israel, which regards Iran as a direct threat. Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, said the country would not be bound by what he called a “stunning historic mistake”.
“Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran,” he said in a televised address hours after the conclusion of the accord. “Iran continues to seek our destruction and we will defend ourselves.”
Mr Netanyahu, who had condemned the deal even before it had been announced, said its terms failed to achieve the goal of denying Iran the capacity to build a nuclear bomb while, by lifting sanctions, enabled its theocratic rulers to increase their support for groups Israel considers terrorists.
“The bottom line of this very bad deal is exactly as Iran’s President Rouhani said today – the international community is removing the sanctions and Iran is keeping its nuclear programme,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »
3,776 meter high WiFi: Now you can check your email and post a selfie on Instagram from top of Mount Fuji, for free
Alexander Martin writes: Free Wi-Fi has reached a peak in Japan, the nation’s highest peak in fact.
Overseas tourists conquering the summit of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain at 3,776 meters, can now use mobile devices to share their experience via social networking websites or, if so inclined, check their work emails.
Mobile carriers NTT Docomo Inc. and KDDI Corp. have both set up free Wi-Fi hotspots for foreign visitors at the highest spot in Japan. The services, launched last week, will be available until September when the climbing season ends.
Apple’s share of profits is remarkable given that it sells fewer than 20% of smartphones
“Roughly 1,000 companies make smartphones. Just one reaps nearly all the profits.”
UPDATE: ‘Honoring Obama with Torchlight Parade’ Headline an Error; Should Read ‘Iran Torches Effigy of President Obama’Posted: July 10, 2015
We apologize for the error.
Headline Correction: Iran ‘Candlelight Vigil’ Report an Error, Should Be ‘Honoring President Obama with Torchlight Parade’Posted: July 10, 2015
[VIDEO] Kenyan Politician Nearly Lights Himself on Fire in Attempt to Combat Kenya’s Underground Alcohol IndustryPosted: July 10, 2015
What’s more dangerous: drinking illegal, highly alcoholic beverages possibly laced with methanol, or setting those drinks on fire in front of a crowd?
William Kabogo, governor of Kenya’s Kiambu County, figured that one out the hard way this week when he tried to make a point about just how badly he wants to eliminate Kenya’s underground alcohol industry by lighting a big pile of alcohol-filled bottles on fire….(read more)