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Hong Kong Protesters Stage Another ‘Umbrella Marathon’ Run

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Gregor Stuart Hunter reports: For protesters sleeping on the streets of Hong Kong, the past three weeks have at times felt like a marathon. Now, they have a real one. Sort of.

“At a dire time like this, when we’ve been camped out for 19 days, this really helps boost morale.”

On Thursday night, runners returned for the second “Umbrella Marathon” following Sunday’s inaugural event, and named after the symbol of the city’s pro-democracy protests. The route is on downtown roads that are temporarily pedestrianized as a result of the sit-in, and just 2.5 miles compared to a regular marathon’s 26.2-mile slog.

Participants ran waving illuminated mobile phones in the nighttime air and cheered “Hong Kong, Hong Kong” as the students watching from the surrounding tent city broke into applause.

“Running is synonymous with freedom.”

“At a dire time like this, when we’ve been camped out for 19 days, this really helps boost morale,” said Nikki Lau, one of a handful of volunteers who organized the event in a single day after being inspired by a blog post.

The event drew a wide mix of Hong Kong society, including professionals and expatriates who said they had been looking for a role to play in supporting Hong Kong’s democratic aspirations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protesters Split After Call to Retreat

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Amid Few Leader Directives a Mood of Resignation

HONG KONG—An absence of clear directives from organizers threw pro-democracy protests into confusion as some demonstrators called a retreat from two stronghold protest areas on Sunday evening.

“We are not afraid of the government and we are not afraid of the police. We just don’t want to see any more violent acts against residents.” 

Many protesters ignored the call to decamp to the city’s main protest site near government offices, which came as the clock ticked closer to a government ultimatum to clear the streets.

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But the division in the ranks appeared to drain strength from the crowds.

“They don’t represent me. It’s my own decision to come here to demonstrate and I’ll stay until the government answers our calls.”

—  A 22-year-old university graduate, who identified himself only as Tin

In Mong Kok, a working-class neighborhood, police appeared to control the barricades leading to a crucial intersection where protesters had set up camp and where some of them seemed ready to make a last stand. One speaker said, “Tonight we’re outnumbered. We’re going to lose.”

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“Frankly, I haven’t been able to sleep well… I’m worried that we will be on the verge of more serious incidents if this continues.”

— Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang

Protesters holding microphones and speaking to crowds and television reporters in Mong Kok and in the shopping district of Causeway Bay tried to get crowds to leave and join protests at the Admiralty government offices, the epicenter in the 10-day wave of protests. Read the rest of this entry »


How Jennifer Lawrence’s Boobs Broke the Internet: Fake Links to Nude Celebs Overload New Zealand’s Telecommunications Network

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Malware trap Brings New Zealand’s Internet to its Knees

AFP – It is believed a handful of computer users clicked links on Friday evening believing they would take them to the illicit images, but instead they inadvertently installed malware triggering a crippling Internet attack.

“For obvious reasons, clicking on links to ‘naked celebrity’ photos, or opening email attachments would be a very bad idea right now, expect criminals to ride this bandwagon immediately.”

It took telecommunications giant Spark, the rebranded Telecom Corp., until Sunday to fully repair what it termed a “dynamic” cyber-attack that overloaded its system covering more than 600,000 customers.

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“Our scanning brought to our attention some freshly-concocted schemes targeting those looking for the photos borne from the aforementioned leak.”

[Also see – The CELEBRIGEDDON of 2014: Jennifer Lawrence Requests Nude Pics Investigation]

[More – Coconuts: Kirsten Dunst Leads Celeb Anger at Apple Over Stars’ Nude iCloud Images Stolen]

[More – Social Media Goes Cuckoo Bananas Over Massive Celebrity Nude Photo Leak]

The intimate celebrity photos, which included actresses Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, and singers Avril Lavigne and Rihanna, were stolen from a cloud storage system.

Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong Democracy Movement Losing Mojo

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A police officer looks out over a highway in Hong Kong’s Central district on Sept. 1. Hong Kong activist group Occupy Central says some of its support is weakening.  Bloomberg News

HONG KONG—Chester Yung and Isabella Steger report: A co-founder of the activist group at the center of threats to paralyze Hong Kong’s business district with anti-Beijing protests adopted a somber tone on Tuesday, saying its goal of securing a representative voting system in the city was “close to failure.”

“Our goal to achieve genuine universal suffrage in 2017 and a reform of the system is close to failure.”

— Chan Kin-man, one of Occupy Central’s co-founders

Chan Kin-man said some of its support is waning after Beijing’s decision on Sunday that effectively allows China to determine who can govern Hong Kong. The group had led a pro-democracy charge demanding popular input on candidates in Hong Kong’s next elections.

“Many people in Hong Kong are being pragmatic…We need to sustain our civil society.”

“Our goal to achieve genuine universal suffrage in 2017 and a reform of the system is close to failure,” said Mr. Chan. He said he only expects a few thousand people, below the number originally expected, to join planned sit-in protests.

Read the rest of this entry »


Beijing: China Legislature Rules No Open Nominations for Hong Kong Leader

Civil Human Rights Front Gather For July 1st Marches

Occupy Central has threatened to shut down the city’s financial district with a massive sit-in if Beijing doesn’t allow completely open elections for chief executive

Jimmy Lai, Chairman and Founder of Next Media (Reuters)

BEIJING (AP) — China’s legislature on Sunday ruled against allowing open nominations in elections for Hong Kong’s chief executive, a decision that promises to ignite political tensions in the Asian financial hub.

Left: Jimmy Lai, Chairman and Founder of Next Media (Reuters)

The legislature’s powerful Standing Committee ruled that all candidates for chief executive must receive more than half

of votes from a special nominating body before going before voters. Hong Kong democracy activists have held massive protests demanding that Chinese leaders let the city’s voters choose their chief executive from an open list of candidates.

Activists have also decried the nominating committee held up by Beijing as beholden to Chinese leaders and were mobilizing to stage massive protests against the decision.

“Since the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and the sovereignty, security and development interests of the country are at stake, there is a need to proceed in a prudent and steady manner,” the Standing Committee said in their decision. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Earthquake Strikes China’s Southwestern Yunnan Province

Xinhua:Zuma Press

This photo taken by cellphone on Sunday shows an earthquake-hit area in Ludian county in Chinas southwestern Yunnan province. A 6.5-magnitude earthquake jolted the remote area at 4:30 p.m. local time Sunday, the China Earthquake Networks Center said…(see moreChina Real Time Report – WSJ

Xinhua/Zuma Press


Israel Drops Leaflets Warning of Northern Gaza Airstrikes

Handout / Israel Defense Forces Image: IDF leaflets warning residents of northern Gaza that airstrikes are imminent

Handout / Israel Defense Forces
Image: IDF leaflets warning residents of northern Gaza that airstrikes are imminent

TEL AVIV – Israel’s air force dropped leaflets on northern Gaza early Sunday, warning residents to evacuate ahead of a new wave of airstrikes in the coming hours, military officials said. “To the residents of Beit Lahiya, the [Israeli Defense Force] intends to attack terrorists and terror infrastructures in the area east of Al-Atatra and Al-Salatin St., and in the area west and north of Ma’bscar Jabalyia,” the leaflets said. “Israel is currently attacking, and will continue to attack, every area from which rockets are being launched at its territory.”

The warning came ahead of what Israel’s military spokesman described as a “short and temporary” campaign against northern Gaza to begin sometime after 12 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET). Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] More From The Hammer: Benghazi Emails ‘a Classic Cover-Up of a Cover-Up’

From NROCharles Krauthammer called the new emails showing White House involvement in briefing U.N. ambassador Susan Rice before she spoke about the Benghazi attacks on the Sunday shows “a serious offense” and “a classic cover-up of a cover-up.”

“We now have the smoking document, which is the White House saying, ‘We’re pushing the video because we don’t want to blame it on the failure of our policies,’ which is what anybody who looked at this assumed all the way through.”

Krauthammer said. Read the rest of this entry »


Mad Men Returns to Lowest Premiere in Years

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What worked for Breaking Bad might not work for Mad Men

AMC unveiled the first half of Mad Men‘s split final seventh season to the lowest debut audience since the show’s second year. But unlike the cable network’sBreaking Bad — which climbed in the ratings with every season, including its similarly split two-year final run — only 2.3 million viewers watched Don Draper’s return Sunday night at 9 p.m. The acclaimed period drama then had two repeats for a grand total of 4.4 million. This marked the first of seven episodes that will air this year, with the final seven planned for 2015.

[Mad Men recap and interview with Neve Campbell]

AMC pointed out to reporters that Mad Men is “the most upscale show on ad-supported television among adults 18-49, and sees significant time-shifting activity.” The network also noted these numbers are not far off from the sixth season’s average.

Read the rest of this entry »


Hammered: Excessive Drinking Hours Before Duty, 3 Secret Service Agents Sent Home

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ABC News‘ Ann Compton reports: Three members of an elite counter-assault team were sent home for excessive drinking hours before President Obama was to arrive in Amsterdam, a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service confirmed to ABC News.

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Secret Service personnel on official trips are prohibited from drinking alcohol 10 hours prior to duty. The counter-assault team members were drinking Saturday evening and Sunday morning ahead of a Sunday briefing – a violation of the rule, the spokesman said.

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Japan Plans Special Force for Island Defense

An amphibious assault vehicle lands during the U.S.-Japan military exercise Iron Fist outside Camp Pendleton in California on Feb. 19. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

An amphibious assault vehicle lands during the U.S.-Japan military exercise Iron Fist outside Camp Pendleton in California on Feb. 19. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

TOKYOYuka Hayashi reports:  Japan plans to establish a 3,000-troop unit specializing in amphibious operations “as swiftly as possible,” the defense minister said, publicly outlining details of the new unit for the first time as tensions with China continue over disputed islands.

“Our nation has numerous remote islands and islands of various sizes, and they give us the basis for our exclusive economic zone that ranks sixth in the world…That makes it important to provide defense for islands over the coming years.”

Japan has undertaken an ambitious project to create a force similar to the U.S. Marine Corps, and Japanese Self-Defense Force Troops have been receiving increasingly frequent training from their U.S. counterparts in the past few years.

A plan to strengthen amphibious capabilities was laid out in Japan’s new defense guidelines released in December. In detailing some of the specifics Sunday, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the new force is expected to include units specializing in handling types of equipment currently unfamiliar to Japanese troops, such as amphibious vehicles and the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

Read the rest of this entry »


Thousands March to Support Press Freedom in Hong Kong

 Ming Pao staff members marched in support of press freedom Sunday in Hong Kong, many carrying banners that read 'They Can't Kill Us All.' Reuters

Ming Pao staff members marched in support of press freedom Sunday in Hong Kong, many carrying banners that read ‘They Can’t Kill Us All.’ Reuters

HONG KONG—Isabella Steger reports:  Thousands of people turned out Sunday in Hong Kong to support media freedom after the condition of former newspaper editor Kevin Lau, who was the victim of a brutal knife attack, took a turn for the better.

Mr. Lau was the editor of respected local Chinese-language daily Ming Pao before being abruptly dismissed in January. He was slashed with a knife on Wednesday near a restaurant he was known to regularly frequent on the east side of Hong Kong’s main island.

He entered the hospital in critical condition and his condition was improved to “serious” on Friday. On Saturday, Mr. Lau’s wife, Vivien Lau, issued a statement saying Mr. Lau had been transferred to the hospital’s general ward from the intensive-care unit.

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Attacked Hong Kong Journalist’s Condition Improves

“However, the reality is the wounds he suffers are deep and serious.…He will have to undergo a prolonged program of physiotherapy and other rehabilitation,” Ms. Lau said.

Mr. Lau was shown on television Saturday flashing an “OK” sign to reporters as he was being moved to the general ward.

Read the rest of this entry »


Senate Democrats Pressure Networks to Increase Coverage of Climate Change

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Robert Wilde reports:  Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) are gathering colleagues’ signatures on a letter to networks ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox expressing their disapproval at the lack of global warming discussion on the channels’ Sunday shows.

According to Sanders, “It is beyond my comprehension… that their shows have discussed climate change in 2012, collectively, for all of eight minutes.” Sanders is using liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America as his source. MMfA‘s data indicates that, in 2009, the Sunday shows covered climate change topics for over an hour, and in 2012, Sunday show coverage dropped to less than eight minutes on climate change.

Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong’s Charlie Brown Cafe

A travel and food blog, Bitten by the Wanderlust Bug, has a great little photo series featuring an unlikely theme for a Hong Kong restaurant. The Charlie Brown Cafe. View the whole series, it’s fun. Here’s some samples:

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Read the rest of this entry »


House Intelligence Chairman: Russian Spies Helped Edward Snowden Hack NSA

NSA leaker Edward Snowden looks down during a press conference at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on July 12. (AP Photo/Human Rights Watch, Tanya Lokshina)

NSA leaker Edward Snowden looks down during a press conference at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on July 12. (AP Photo/Human Rights Watch, Tanya Lokshina)

Joel Gehrke  reports:   National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden had outside help, perhaps from Russian spies, according to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

“This was a thief, who we believe had some help, who stole information the vast majority had nothing to do with privacy.” Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who heads up the intel panel, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in an interview that will air Sunday. “Our ArmyNavyAir ForceMarines have been incredibly harmed by the data that he has taken with him and we believe now is in the hands of nation-states.” NBC released an excerpt of the interview late Saturday.

Read the rest of this entry »


India’s Hefty ‘Naughty Boy’ Rocket Comes in from Cold

dn24821-1_300Jacob Aron  writes:  India’s most powerful space rocket blasted off on Sunday in the vehicle’s first successful launch for a decade. Previously feared unreliable, the rocket could one day allow the fledgling space power to send a robot, and even people, to the moon.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota and used it to put a 2-tonne communications satellite in orbit.

Known as the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), the rocket was first launched in 2001, when it failed to place the satellite it was carrying into the correct orbit. Two successful launches in 2003 and 2004 followed, but then a string of failures left the GSLV as one of the most unreliable rockets in use today. “Some used to call the GSLV the naughty boy of ISRO,” said K. Sivan, the rocket’s project director. “The naughty boy has become obedient.”

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Joy of Hating Communism, Old School: Protesters in Kiev Topple Lenin Statue

Tearing Down Lenin’s Statue in Kiev: Protests in Ukraine’s capital, which have grown steadily for weeks, reached new heights on Sunday when demonstrators toppled a statue of Vladimir Lenin.
English: Vladimir Lenin‘s monument in Borzna, ...

“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”  Vladimir Lenin‘s (former) monument in Borzna, Ukraine Українська: Пам’ятник В.І.Леніну в центрі Борзни, Україна Русский: Памятник В.И.Ленину в центре города Борзна, Украина 

KIEV, Ukraine and  report: Protesters in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, toppled the city’s main statue of Lenin on Sunday and then pounded it into chips with a sledgehammer as a crowd chanted and cheered. The destruction of the statue was a cathartic moment in the biggest day of demonstrations so far against President Viktor F. Yanukovich’s turn away from Europe.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians filled the streets of Kiev on Sunday, first to hear speeches and music and then to fan out and erect barricades in the district where government institutions have their headquarters.

Carrying blue-and-yellow Ukrainian and European Union flags, the teeming crowd filled Independence Square, where protests have steadily gained momentum since Mr. Yanukovich refused on Nov. 21 to sign trade and political agreements with the European Union. The square has been transformed by a vast and growing tent encampment, and demonstrators have occupied City Hall and other public buildings nearby. Thousands more people gathered in other cities across the country.

“Resignation! Resignation!” people in the Kiev crowd chanted on Sunday, demanding that Mr. Yanukovich and the government led by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov leave office.

With the police nowhere to be seen in the city center, protesters in Bessarabia Square toppled the Lenin statue using steel cables and cranks as a crowd gathered to watch. “People were waiting for this for decades,” said one man in the crowd, Leon Belokur. “Now it’s happened.”

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[VIDEO] Intel. Chairs: We’re Less Safe from Terrorism than a Decade Ago

Andrew Johnson writes: The chairs of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees believe the United States is not safer than it was at the beginning of the Afghanistan war. Representative Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) agreed that the risk of a terrorist attack against the U.S. is not only higher, but also more diverse.

“Al-qaeda as we knew it before is metastasizing into something different — more affiliates than we’ve ever had before” Rogers said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “All have them have at least some aspiration to commit an act of violence in the United States or against western targets all around the world.”

Feinstein warned of enhanced weapons technology among terrorist groups, including state-of-the-art bombs that go undetected and have been attempted on at least four separate occasions in the U.S.

The Corner


FEVER: ‘Breaking Bad’ Finale Ratings Hit 10.3 Million

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AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” one week after picking up the top Emmy drama prize, capped its meteoric ratings rise Sunday by surging to series highs in its finale — despite facing formidable season premieres on ABC, CBS, Fox and Showtime.

There was no stopping fans from watching the show live Sunday (or at least same-night, thanks to DVRs), as the conclusion to Walter White’s odyssey  was watched by an average audience of 10.3 million, according to Nielsen, up 3.7 million (or 56%) from its penultimate episode of the previous week (6.6 million). Read the rest of this entry »


Get Jacked For the Breaking Bad Finale With Sparkly, Potent, Super-Tasty Crystal “Meth” Doughnuts

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In the final hours leading up to Sunday’s highly-anticipated Breaking Bad series finale, there are a few things you could do. You could attempt to binge-watch the entire series up to this point. You could take this extremely comprehensive quiz to see just how much of a super-fan you are. Or, you could get yourself to Albuquerque to try an awesome Breaking Bad-themed treat.

A local shop called Rebel Donut has cooked up a few special items dedicated to the hit AMC drama. The most popular? A frosted doughnut topped with candy crystals that look exactly like the blue meth featured on the show. Even Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul himself has given these treats a try, and he definitely seems to approve: Read the rest of this entry »


PHOTOS: Hundreds die in weekend attacks

Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013: Peshawar, Pakistan_Pakistani women grieve over the coffins of their relatives, who were killed in a suicide attack on a church. The suicide bomb attack killed scores of people Sunday, in one of the worst assaults on the country’s Christian minority in years. An assault by Islamic extremists at a Kenya mall, a suicide attack on a Pakistani church and assaults by suicide bombers targeting mourners at Shiite and Sunni funerals in Iraq have killed more than 250 people and injured at least 470 others since Saturday. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013: Peshawar, Pakistan. Pakistani women grieve over the coffins of their relatives, who were killed in a suicide attack on a church. The suicide bomb attack killed scores of people Sunday, in one of the worst assaults on the country’s Christian minority in years. An assault by Islamic extremists at a Kenya mall, a suicide attack on a Pakistani church and assaults by suicide bombers targeting mourners at Shiite and Sunni funerals in Iraq have killed more than 250 people and injured at least 470 others since Saturday. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

A recap of key events:

Saturday, Sept. 21, through Sunday, Sept. 22: Nairobi, Kenya — Islamic extremist gunmen lobbing grenades and firing assault rifles inside an upscale mall in Nairobi kill at least 68 people, wound more than 175 others and hold an unknown number of others hostage.

Saturday, Sept. 21: Baghdad — A wave of attacks, mainly on a Shiite funeral in Baghdad, kill 104 people and wound more than 140 others.

Sunday, Sept. 22: Peshawar, Pakistan — A pair of suicide bombers blow themselves up amid hundreds of worshippers at a church in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 78 and wounding more than 140 others..

Sunday, Sept. 22, Baghdad — Iraqi authorities say a suicide attacker killed at least 16 people and wounded at least 35 others at a Sunni funeral.

Here’s a gallery of photos from the last 48 hours of violence in Kenya, Pakistan and Iraq:

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Typhoon Usagi menaces Hong Kong, China’s southern coast

(CNN) — Typhoon Usagi had Hong Kong and China’s Pearl River Delta in its predicted path Sunday.

At 9 a.m. Sunday (9 p.m. Saturday ET), Usagi was about 242 miles east of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Observatory said. It was expected to move west-northwest at about 11 miles per hour.

The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center said the storm had sustained winds of 115 mph. That was a drop from the 162 mph recorded on Friday, but Chinese authorities were bracing for major effects from landfall expected Sunday or Monday to the east of densely populated Hong Kong. Read the rest of this entry »


China State TV Broadcasts Chilling Confession of Celebrated Blogger Charles Xue

CHINA STRINGER NETWORK/REUTERS - Chinese-American businessman and blogger Charles Xue appeared on Chinese state television and discussed the dangers of the Internet.

CHINA STRINGER NETWORK/REUTERS – Chinese-American businessman and blogger Charles Xue appeared on Chinese state television and discussed the dangers of the Internet.

BEIJINGWilliam Wan writes: Chinese state television on Sunday broadcast a startling video of a famous blogger in handcuffs, renouncing his Web posts and saying how dangerous the Internet would be if left uncontrolled by the government. The 10-minute news report featuring Charles Xue — a Chinese American businessman and one of China’s most popular bloggers — was the latest step in what appears to be a systematic campaign to intimidate online opinion leaders against speaking too freely or critically of the government. Read the rest of this entry »