With the South China Morning Post, Jack Ma’s personal politics will move into a global spotlight, for anyone to see and read in English.
Josh Horowitz writes: After lengthy negotiations, Alibaba founder Jack Ma may be close to an investmentin the publisher of the South China Morning Post, according to reports in Bloomberg, the New York Times, and Caixin.
Neither party has commented publicly about a deal, and it is unclear whether Ma would buy all or some of the SCMP Group. He already has a media empire that rivals Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and has invested in two US-based social media apps—Tango and Snapchat. But the maybe-pending SCMP bid has already attracted nearly as much attention as any of those done deals.
That’s because with the SCMP, Ma’s personal politics will move into a global spotlight, for anyone to see and read in English.
The SCMP was once the English-language paper of record for reporting on China. Founded in 1903 as the “printing house for the Chinese revolution,” it covered far more than just Hong Kong. Throughout the fifties and sixties, it was often the first source for information about the famines and political clashes of the Mao era. After the country opened up, its multi-national staff would regularly break stories about political scandals and human rights abuses on the mainland, even after Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997.
Its reporting was rewarded financially. In 1997 it earned HK$805 million (over $200 million) in net profits, about $420 in profit per-reader. Read the rest of this entry »
“Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.”
— Statement from the State Department
“Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.”
— State Department warning
“…Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services. In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali. ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.”
Alyssa Zauderer reports: The department says all U.S. citizens should remain vigilant when in public places or using transportation.
Belgian police have made 16 arrests in anti-terror raids but suspected Paris attacks gunman Salah Abdeslam remains at large, the authorities have said.
A total of 22 raids were carried out on Sunday across Brussels and Charleroi, Belgian prosecutor Eric van der Sypt told a news conference.
“Salah Abdeslam is not among the people arrested”
— Eric Van Der Sypt
Police fired two shots at a car during an operation in Molenbeek, injuring one suspect who was later arrested.
More than 130 people died and some 350 were injured in the attacks in Paris.
No weapons or explosives were found during the searches on Sunday, Mr van der Sypt said.
Brussels will remain on the highest level of terror alert, Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel said. Universities, schools and the city’s metro system will also remain shut.
BBC News reports: Brussels has been on lockdown all weekend amid a manhunt for Abdeslam, who is suspected of being among the assailants who killed 130 people in Paris on Friday.
Mr Michel told reporters that authorities feared “an attack similar to the one in Paris, with several individuals who could also possibly launch several attacks at the same time in multiple locations”.
Eric Van Der Sypt: “Salah Abdeslam is not among the people arrested”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) November 22, 2015
Meanwhile, the BBC understands that another of the suspected attackers – pictured in a new French police appeal issued on Sunday – arrived in Greece under the name of M al-Mahmod.
The BBC’s Ed Thomas has matched the image released by French police with a photo on the arrival papers of a man who reached the Greek island of Leros on 3 October.
French police have asked for more information about the man, whom they say was the third suicide bomber to strike the Stade de France on 13 November.
Earlier, Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said the danger to Belgium was not tied to Abdeslam alone.
“The threat is broader than the one suspected terrorist,” he told Flemish broadcaster VRT. Read the rest of this entry »
Poll: ‘Two Thirds of Registered Voters we Surveyed say President Obama Hasn’t Been Aggressive Enough in Fighting ISIS’Posted: November 22, 2015
This shield was used by French Police when they entered the Bataclan Theater to rescue the victims and stop the carnage. Despite taking withering fire, the police continued charging the threats until they were shot dead or detonated their suicide belts.
The right to privacy is usurping the public right to know in Asia’s financial hub.
Financial hubs depend on the free flow of information, and nowhere more so than in Hong Kong, gateway to the opaque China market. So a recent case in which an appeals board upheld the censorship of a court judgment to protect the supposed privacy rights of the litigants sets a bad precedent. The territory is following Europe’s lead toward extreme privacy protection at the expense of access to information.
“The right to be forgotten affects more than media freedom. It prevents investors and entrepreneurs from conducting due diligence and managing business risks, and helps people hide from public scrutiny. That may be good for the reputations of the rich and powerful, but it will hurt Hong Kong’s reputation for transparency.”
Luciana Wong Wai-lan, who now serves on several government advisory panels, participated in a matrimonial case in the early 2000s. In 2010 Ms. Wong requested that the court remove the judgments from its online reference system. The court made them anonymous, but hyperlinks to the judgments placed on the website of local shareholder activist David Webb still revealed her name.
Ms. Wong wrote to Hong Kong’s privacy commissioner for personal data in 2013, and the commissioner ordered Mr. Webb to remove the links pursuant to Data Protection Principle 3 (DPP3) of the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance. Read the rest of this entry »
Alana Abramson reports: Former President Jimmy Carter believes the Obama administration “waited too long” to act on ISIS, allowing the group to shore up the funding and resources for its success in taking over parts of Iraq.
“First of all, we waited too long. We let the Islamic state build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria.”
“First of all, we waited too long. We let the Islamic state build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria,” Carter said in an October 7 interview with the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, “Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn’t object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned.”
“Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn’t object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned.”
Carter said ground troops could enable the mission to succeed, but that troops would only help Iraq, not Syria, where ISIS originated.
“I really object to the killing of people, particularly Americans overseas who haven’t been brought to justice and put on trial.”
Carter’s comments come as ISIS forces advance further into Kobani, a Kurdish town in Syria bordering on Turkey. Gen. Martin Dempsey told ABC’s Martha Raddatz on October 7 he is “fearful” a full ISIS takeover of Kobani could be imminent.
“I noticed that two of his secretaries of defense, after they got out of office, were very critical of the lack of positive action on the part of the president.”
Carter’s dissatisfaction with Obama’s ISIS strategy may be indicative of his feelings toward the president’s Middle East policy as whole, which he implied lacked focus.
“It changes from time to time,” Carter told the Star Telegram. “I noticed that two of his secretaries of defense, after they got out of office, were very critical of the lack of positive action on the part of the president.” Read the rest of this entry »
Gary Langer reports: With terrorism fears near a post-9/11 high in a new ABC News-Washington Post poll, majorities of Americans back increased use of military force, including ground forces, against the Islamic State, and more than half oppose admitting Mideast refugees to the United States.
[Also see – Barack Obama: Worst. President. Ever.]
Seventy-three percent support increased U.S. air strikes against the Islamic State, or ISIS, and 60 percent back more ground forces, double the level of support for ground forces from summer 2014. One reason: Eighty-one percent see a major terrorist attack in the United States in the near future as likely, a level of anxiety that has been higher just once since 9/11.
Fifty-four percent oppose admitting refugees from Syria and other Mideast countries, while 43 percent are in favor. Opposition in part reflects skepticism about the U.S. government’s ability to screen out terrorists; 52 percent are dubious, and they’re especially likely to oppose entry.
That said, if refugees are admitted, an overwhelming 78 percent of Americans say all should be considered equally, without regard to their religion. Just 18 percent favor special consideration for Christians, proposed by Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz.
…Perhaps most fundamentally, 59 percent of Americans in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, say the United States is at war with radical Islam, which is little changed from a poll earlier this year but another indication of the public’s mindset in the post-9/11 world….
Fifty-four percent disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the threat of terrorism in general, up 9 points since January to the worst rating on terrorism of his career. Fifty-seven percent disapprove of his handling of the Islamic State in particular. “Strong” disapproval on both is quite high, 43 and 46 percent, respectively…
Fewer than half of Americans, 45 percent, are confident in the government’s ability to prevent further terrorist attacks in the United States. That’s near the average since 9/11, and helps explain the level of public concern about an attack occurring.
Not all views have changed substantially. In a Fox News poll of registered voters in January, 56 percent said they thought the United States was at war with radical Islam. A similar number says so now, 59 percent of all adults (and 60 percent of registered voters).
In terms of a response to the Paris attacks, 73 percent of Americans say the United States should play a role in military action against ISIS. Likely given the attacks’ locus on French soil, however, those who favor action say by more than 2-1 that the United States should take a supporting role in responding, not the leading role.
At 73 percent, support for increased U.S. air strikes against ISIS is similar to its level just more than a year ago, having risen sharply after the ISIS killings of U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Fifty-two percent “strongly” support more air strikes, a continued high level. Read the rest of this entry »
‘We can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target in front of us’
Adam Kredo reports: U.S. military pilots who have returned from the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq are confirming that they were blocked from dropping 75 percent of their ordnance on terror targets because they could not get clearance to launch a strike, according to a leading member of Congress.
“When we agreed we were going to do airpower and the military said, this is how it would work, he said, ‘No, I do not want any civilian casualties. And the response was, ‘But there’s always some civilian casualties. We have the best capability in the world to protect from civilians casualties.’”
Strikes against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) targets are often blocked due to an Obama administration policy to prevent civilian deaths and collateral damage, according to Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Obama’s response was, ‘No, you don’t understand. I want no civilian casualties. Zero.’ So that has driven our so-called rules of engagement to a degree we have never had in any previous air campaign from desert storm to the present.”
The policy is being blamed for allowing Islamic State militants to gain strength across Iraq and continue waging terrorist strikes throughout the region and beyond, according to Royce and former military leaders who spoke Wednesday about flaws in the U.S. campaign to combat the Islamic State.
“Believe me, the French are in there not using the restrictions we have imposed on our pilots.”
“You went 12 full months while ISIS was on the march without the U.S. using that air power and now as the pilots come back to talk to us they say three-quarters of our ordnance we can’t drop, we can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target in front of us,” Royce said. “I don’t understand this strategy at all because this is what has allowed ISIS the advantage and ability to recruit.”
“This has been an absurdity from the beginning. The president personally made a statement that has driven air power from the inception.”
When asked to address Royce’s statement, a Pentagon official defended the Obama administration’s policy and said that the military is furiously working to prevent civilian casualties.
“The bottom line is that we will not stoop to the level of our enemy and put civilians more in harm’s way than absolutely necessary,” the official told the Washington Free Beacon, explaining that the military often conducts flights “and don’t strike anything.” Read the rest of this entry »
UPDATE: Gunmen have taken 170 hostages, killing three so far at the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako. The gunmen are reported to be releasing people that can recite verses from the Quran.
Automatic weapon fire was heard from outside the 190-room hotel in the city-centre where security forces have set up a security cordon, according to Agence France Presse. Security sources told AFP the gunmen were “jihadists” who had entered the hotel compound in a car that had diplomatic plates.
“It’s all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,” one security source said.
Malian soldiers, police and special forces were on the scene as a security perimeter was set up, along with members of the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping force in Mali and the French troops fighting jihadists in west Africa under Operation Barkhane.
French troops are believed to have been stationed at the hotel….
BAMAKO, Mali — Gunmen attacked a popular hotel in Mali’s capital on Friday with guns and grenades, authorities and a witness said.
A staffer at the Radisson Blu hotel who gave his name as Tamba Diarra said over the phone that the attackers used grenades in the assault. He did not have information on casualties or the number of assailants involved, but said he was not aware of hostages having been taken at the hotel.
The U.S. Embassy in Mali asked citizens to shelter in place amid reports of an “ongoing active shooter operation” at the hotel, raising fears of an attack by extremists.
Reports of gunfire surfaced Friday morning on social media, though Lt. Col. Diarran Kone, an adviser with Mali’s defense ministry, says it is not yet clear what has happened….(read more)
PARIS — Belgian jihadi suspected of being the ringleader of the Paris terrorist attacks was killed during a raid on a suburban apartment, officials said Thursday.The
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, died during Wednesday’s operation in Saint-Denis, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office. He was identified by his fingerprints. His body was riddled with bullets, according to officials.
Abaaoud died along with a woman who blew herself up with a suicide belt when elite police forces stormed the scene. Eight other people were arrested.
In addition to being the suspected ringleader of Friday’s coordinated assaults, he had been linked to the thwarted attacks on a Paris-bound high-speed train and a church near the French capital earlier this year.
Abaaoud boasted in ISIS propaganda about avoiding capture and claimed he had been able to travel between Europe and Syria without being noticed.
Source: Weasel Zippers