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  1. Other than Daiso rising their prices, food prices are hitting its highest even when not considering the Russia-Ukraine war is disrupting food and fuel prices. Inflation are estimated to hit 2.5% to 3.5% by the 3rd quarter of 2022. Even Indonesia has stop exporting palm oil to keep for their domestic use. We will see prices of cooking oil, shampoo/soap, snacks like chocolate rise. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/hawkers-say-they-have-raise-prices-survive-rising-cost-ingredients-hits-hard-2653076 If hawkers are affected so will the rest of the F&B establishment. Eating at a cafe or restaurant will set your bill higher as they are struggling not only with operational cost (power/gas bills), food/ingredient prices but also manpower issues. Our pay isnt rising enough to cope with this inflation. Things like medical insurance are rising annually. Bills like power and water have risen significantly over the past couple of years and it is going to rise some more. Knnbccb.
  2. here, we go again...after russia special military operations. Israel PM "At War" After Surprise Attack From Gaza "Citizens of Israel. We are at war, not an operation, not an escalation, a war. "This morning Hamas launched a murderous surprise attack against the state of Israel and its citizens. We've been at it since early morning. "I convened the heads of the security system, first of all I instructed to cleanse the settlements of the terrorists who had infiltrated - this operation is being carried out during these hours. "At the same time, I ordered an extensive reserve mobilization and a retaliatory war with a strength and scope that the enemy had never known. "The enemy will pay a price he has never known. In the meantime, I call on all citizens of Israel to strictly obey the instructions of the army and the instructions of the Home Command. "We are in a war and we will win it."
  3. If I was the taliban I would get all my young men to join the army for the last 5 years. Imagine 300,000 men getting a salary for the last 5 years and know all the army secrets. Then now just stand there and let their taliban brothers walk in and take all the big cities!
  4. https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Taiwan-tensions/Taiwan-report-sounds-alarm-over-China-hybrid-warfare-capabilities?utm_campaign=GL_asia_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_source=NA_newsletter&utm_content=article_link&del_type=1&pub_date=20220901123000&seq_num=11&si=44594 Taiwan report sounds alarm over China hybrid warfare capabilities Taipei warns it will counterattack if Chinese forces enter territorial waters or airspace This Taiwanese air base on the Penghu Islands in the Taiwan Strait is on high alert amid China's ongoing provocations. (Photo by Yu Nakamura) YU NAKAMURA, Nikkei staff writerSeptember 1, 2022 00:09 JST TAIPEI -- China plans to use hybrid warfare, including cyberattacks and disinformation along with conventional armed forces, in its efforts to unify Taiwan with the mainland, the Taiwanese defense ministry warns in a new report. The annual report on Chinese military capabilities finds that Beijing is already capable of using electronic warfare to damage Taiwanese infrastructure and cut off some military communications. It also expresses concern over military buildup around the Taiwan Strait and notes that China has been expanding military airfields along the coast within its Eastern Theater Command, which covers Taiwan, and the Southern Theater Command, which includes the South China Sea. The report was submitted Wednesday to the Legislative Yuan. In a news conference that day, the ministry discussed the recent state of so-called gray zone operations by China -- tactics that aim to harm Taiwan without going as far as an armed attack. It confirmed that Chinese drones have repeatedly flown near areas including the Kinmen Islands -- Taiwan-controlled islets near the Chinese mainland. If Chinese military aircraft or ships come within 12 nautical miles of Taiwan, Taipei will "exercise the right of self-defense," said Maj. Gen. Lin Wen-huang, head of planning at the defense ministry. Taiwan fired warning shots Tuesday at Chinese drones flying near the Kinmen Islands -- a first for Taipei in this context. Amid mounting pressure from Beijing, Taiwan's government proposed Aug. 25 a record defense budget of 586.3 billion New Taiwan dollars ($19.3 billion) for 2023, a 13.9% increase from this year.
  5. SINGAPORE - Retiree Steven Chia placed an order for a Mercedes-Benz GLB from authorised agent Cycle & Carriage last September, and waited seven months for it to be delivered - more than double the usual time. Mr Chia, 62, said: "I was supposed to collect my car last December or January this year, but I was told that because of the Covid-19 lockdowns and the war in Ukraine, shipment was delayed. I finally got my car on April 23." For motorists looking to buy a new car, be prepared to wait - possibly as long as Mr Chia, if not longer. Carmakers reeling from supply chain disruptions brought about by the pandemic are now facing another whammy - the prolonged war in Ukraine. The Eastern European country invaded by Russia in February is a major supplier of automotive parts - from electronic components to seats to wire harnesses, which bundle kilometres of electrical wires in a vehicle. The conflict is disrupting production, and this is affecting more than a dozen vehicle manufacturers, including Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Renault. Unlike the chip shortage, which manufacturers could overcome by leaving out certain features, a vehicle cannot be assembled without wire harnesses. While Japanese and Korean manufacturers are less affected, the war also has other indirect consequences like raw material costs, which is impacting the entire industry. Associate Professor Tan Yan Weng, head of the Logistics and Supply Chain Management Programme at the Singapore University of Social Sciences' (SUSS) School of Business, said car buyers can expect delays of new model launches as well as longer delivery timelines. "For certain makes of cars, a lead time of three months may now be six to eight months," said Prof Tan. A senior manager at a major dealership said: "Almost every other month, there's an update of production delay or new model launch delay. Everything is so fluid. "It is still manageable now as we have ample existing stock to sell. But things may worsen towards the last quarter of the year." Volkswagen Group Singapore managing director Ricky Tay said the company currently has a "sufficient supply of cars to cater to sales". "It is a blessing in disguise because demand has fallen with high COE prices," said Mr Tay, but he admitted there was uncertainty ahead. He reckons that electric cars are bearing the brunt of the supply chain disruption, echoing what Volkswagen Group chief executive Herbert Diess has said. Mr Diess said in a recent interview with Financial Times that the economic risks posed by the Russian-Ukraine war were "very much worse" than those posed by the pandemic. His German counterparts, however, were more coy when asked about the impact the latest supply chain crisis had on the Singapore car market. An Audi Singapore spokesman said two new electric models due to be launched next year are now "pushed back by two years". Two other models - the SQ7 and SQ8 - which were due here in the first quarter of this year are also slightly delayed. But she said the latter was not because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but because of another ongoing supply chain disruption: insufficient shipping capacity. Other new car arrivals that are delayed include the Toyota Corolla Cross (from third quarter to fourth) and the BMW 8-series range (second quarter to third). BMW Group Asia managing director Lars Nielsen said: "The war in Ukraine is impacting the country's automotive supply industry. Combined with the ongoing semiconductor bottlenecks, these supply limitations can lead to production adjustments and downtimes at our European plants. "While we do not foresee any immediate impact on our business in Singapore, we are faced with a positive challenge of more demand than supply." A Daimler South East Asia spokesman said delays in the delivery of Mercedes-Benz cars here cannot be ruled out. "In Singapore, we are working intensively with our authorised dealer Cycle & Carriage to ensure our customers receive their new vehicle as soon as possible. However, since the situation remains volatile, partial delivery time shifts for individual vehicle models cannot be ruled out completely." Porsche admitted that there is a longer waiting time for delivery of some models, but did not elaborate. "We view the armed conflict in Ukraine with great concern, and the degree of impact on our business activities is still continuously determined by experts in a task force team in Germany," said a spokesman for Porsche Asia Pacific. Ms Jasmmine Wong, chief executive of Toyota and Suzuki dealer Inchcape Greater China and Singapore, said customers who bought two recently launched models - the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Lexus NX450h+ - will experience a "slightly longer waiting time". "We still have stock for customers who do not insist on certain colours," she said, but otherwise, the wait will be "three to four months" versus "one to two months" previously. Ms Wong added that the delay is not because of Ukraine, but the ongoing supply chain disruption. Over at Tesla Singapore, there is still no word on when the Model Y will go on sale here despite the car having been inspected and approved for sale by the Land Transport Authority back in early January. It is understood that the delay is because of Shanghai's latest Covid-19 lockdown in March. Tesla registered only one car in April - down from a monthly average of 60 units in the first quarter, and around 150 a month when it started delivering cars from July last year. Source: Straits Times
  6. https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Markets/Brent-crude-hits-130-a-barrel-Nikkei-plunges?utm_campaign=GL_coronavirus_latest&utm_medium=email&utm_source=NA_newsletter&utm_content=article_link&del_type=10&pub_date=20220307150000&seq_num=11&si=44594 Brent crude hits $130 a barrel; Nikkei plunges U.S., Europe ban on Russian products and delayed Iran nuclear talks spark fears Brent was quoted $12.73 higher at $130.84, while U.S. crude rose $9.92 to $125.60. © Reuters March 7, 2022 09:12 JSTUpdated on March 7, 2022 11:54 JST SYDNEY (Reuters) -- Oil prices soared and shares sank in hectic trading on Monday as the risk of a U.S. and European ban on Russian products and delays in Iranian talks triggered what was shaping up as a major stagflationary shock for world markets. The euro extended its slide, hitting parity against the safe haven Swiss franc, and commodities of all stripes were on the rise as the Russian-Ukraine conflict showed no sign of cooling. Russia calls the campaign it launched on Feb. 24 a "special military operation", saying it has no plans to occupy Ukraine. Having surged more than 10% in wild early action, Brent was last quoted $7.90 higher at $126.01, while U.S. crude rose $6.67 to $122.35. That jump will act as a tax on consumers and the potential blow to global economic growth saw S&P 500 stock futures drop 1.5%, while Nasdaq futures shed 1.9%. U.S. 10-year bond yields also dropped to their lowest since early January. EUROSTOXX 50 futures dived 3% and FTSE futures 2.5%. Japan's Nikkei sank 3.2%, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 1.6%. Chinese blue chips shed 0.8% amid a sea of red across Asian markets. Having climbed 21% last week, Brent crude was further energized by the risk of a ban of Russian oil by the United States and Europe. Read full story "If the West cuts off most of Russia's energy exports it would be a major shock to global markets," said BofA chief economist Ethan Harris. He estimates the loss of Russia's 5 million barrels could see oil prices double to $200 a barrel and lower economic growth globally. And it is not just oil, with commodity prices having their strongest start to any year since 1915, says BofA. Among the many movers last week, nickel rose 19%, aluminium 15%, zinc 12%, and copper 8%, while wheat futures surged 60% and corn 15%. That will only add to the global inflationary pulse with U.S. consumer price data this week expected to show annual growth at a stratospheric 7.9%, and the core measure at 6.4%. All of which complicates the policy picture for the European Central Bank when it meets this week. "Given the potential for stagflation is very real, the ECB is likely to maintain maximum flexibility with its asset purchase program at 20 billion euros through Q2 and potentially beyond, thus effectively pushing out the timing of rate hikes," said Tapas Strickland, an economist at NAB. "Higher CPI forecasts, though, mean rate hikes will be needed on the horizon." The near-term prospect of a more dovish ECB combined with safe-haven flows to drive German 10-year bond yields down a huge 32 basis points last week. U.S. 10-year yields were down at 1.69%, having already dropped 23 basis points last week. Fed fund futures were also gaining as the market priced in a slower pace of rate rises from the Federal Reserve this year, though a March hike is still seen as a done deal. With the outlook for European growth darkening, the single currency took a beating and fell 3% last week to its lowest since mid-2020. It was last down 0.8% at $1.0834 and in danger of testing its 2020 trough around $1.0635. The euro was also tumbling against the Swiss franc to break under 1.0000 for the first time since early 2015. The dollar was broadly firmer, supported in part by a strong payrolls report which only reaffirmed market expectations for a Fed hike this month. The dollar index was last at 99.134 having climbed 2.3% last week. "Events in the Ukraine are increasingly overwhelming the euro," said Richard Franulovich, head of FX strategy a Westpac. "With safe-haven flows likely to continue for some time yet and Fed officials eager to press on with their policy normalization plans, 100+ for (the dollar index) is just a matter of time." Gold benefited from its status as one of the oldest of safe harbors and was last up 1.1% at $1,991 an ounce.
  7. https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Nuclear-button-U.S.-has-no-way-to-stop-president-s-legal-order?utm_campaign=GL_indo_pacific&utm_medium=email&utm_source=NA_newsletter&utm_content=article_link&del_type=11&pub_date=20210929053000&seq_num=13&si=44594 Nuclear button: U.S. has no way to stop president's legal order Woodward book 'Peril' sheds light on blind spot of command and control A military aide carries the "nuclear football" on the South Lawn of the White House. © Getty Images KEN MORIYASU, Nikkei Asia chief desk editorSeptember 29, 2021 00:30 JSTUpdated on September 29, 2021 03:16 JST NEW YORK -- If a U.S. president decides to launch a nuclear attack, the order is conveyed to a duty officer at the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon. The one-star commander executes the order in roughly a minute. In the most urgent case, a land-based intercontinental ballistic missile will fire in two minutes. A submarine-launched missile will fire in 15 minutes. That may be all it takes to end the world as we know it. The president has the sole discretion to authorize the use of nuclear weapons, and once the order is given and acknowledged, there is no way to reverse it. A new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of The Washington Post sheds light on U.S. nuclear command and control, the procedures under which the devastating weapons would be launched. "Peril" describes a scene that occurred Jan. 8 when Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking officer in the country, summoned senior military officers to review the procedures for launching nuclear weapons. Milley acknowledged that the president alone could give the order, but told the officers that he -- Milley -- also had to be involved. "Looking each in the eye, Milley asked the officers to affirm that they had understood," the authors wrote. A Missile Combat Crew commander practices procedures at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Minuteman III missiles can be fired from silos two minutes after an order is made. © Reuters It was two days after supporters of then-President Donald Trump assaulted the Capitol, trying to halt the legal process that would certify Joe Biden as the winner of the November 2020 presidential election. Milley was inserting himself into the nuclear launch process, likely concerned that an unstable Trump might order an attack. But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military "adviser" to the president, the National Security Council and the secretary of defense -- and is not in the chain of command. "The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is in no way responsible for the execution of military policy as ordered by the president," said Carrie Lee, chair of the department of national security and strategy at the U.S. Army War College. The nuclear chain of command runs through the president to the duty officer at the war room, and to the launch control centers of America's nuclear triad of ICBMs, ballistic missile submarines and strategic bombers. On Tuesday, Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he received a call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Jan. 8, inquiring about the president's ability to launch nuclear weapons. "I explained to her that the president is the sole nuclear launch authority, and he doesn't launch them alone," Milley said. "There are processes, protocols and procedures in place, and I repeatedly assured her that there is no chance of an illegal, unauthorized or accidental launch." Milley acknowledged to lawmakers that he is not in the chain of command, but said that as the commander in chief's primary military adviser he is in the "chain of communication." "The chairman is part of the process to ensure the president is fully informed when determining the use of the world's deadliest weapons," he said. According to a Congressional Research Service report titled "Defense Primer: Command and control of nuclear forces," when a president considers the nuclear option, the standard procedure would be to participate in an emergency communications conference with the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other military advisers to assess the situation and consider the retaliatory risks of such an attack. The president may choose not to hold this conference, or to hold it only with people the president thinks would agree with his or her judgment. This could be the scenario that Milley feared. U.S. Navy submarine USS Alaska arrives at the Port of Gibraltar. The vessels can fire missiles at a target 15 minutes after an order. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy) On Jan. 8, the country was without a defense secretary as Trump had fired Mark Esper two months earlier. Christopher Miller, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, was chosen by Trump as the acting secretary. A president who decides to take the nuclear option would communicate the intention through a device known as the "nuclear football" -- a suitcase carried by a military aide who is always near the leader. The president can choose the target from a book filled with prepared war plans. If the intended target is not in the book, the U.S. Strategic Command, or STRATCOM, will quickly prepare an alternative plan. When a decision is made, the president identifies himself or herself to military officials at the Pentagon using codes noted on an ID card known as the "biscuit." The order is given, and the weapons are fired. "Nobody can veto a president's order to release nuclear weapons unless it's illegal," said Vipin Narang, a professor of nuclear security and political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An attack could be deemed illegal if it violates the international law governing armed conflict, which calls for the principles of distinction, proportionality and necessity. But any plan contained in the war book would have been vetted by Pentagon lawyers and considered legal. "If the president woke up one morning and said, 'I want to launch a missile at downtown Manhattan,' that's clearly not necessary or proportionate and would be illegal," a congressional source said on background. In such a case, the duty officer at the National Military Command Center could refuse to comply, saying that the officer lacks the legal authority to carry out that plan. What Milley might have been suggesting, the congressional source said, is for the duty officer to "put the president on hold, initiate a conference and loop Milley in," especially if the order does not fit with the global threats monitored in the war room. Slowing the process could be one way to curb a spontaneous nuclear strike order. In a 2017 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Duke University professor Peter Feaver discussed two related scenarios: one where the military wakes up the president, and the other where the president wakes up the military. If the military wakes up the president and warns of an impending attack, Feaver said, "We all believe that the system would carry out the order that he gave. The electorate on Election Day chose him to make that decision." But if the president is suggesting nuclear use out of the blue, then many people will question the context of the order and why it is necessary. "He would require lots of people cooperating with him to make the strike happen, and they would be asking the questions that would slow down that process," Feaver said. The current rules and norms are remnants of the Cold War, when the president faced the possibility of snap decisions to respond to incoming Soviet missiles. They do not assume the American leader to be irrational or erratic. In Congress, there have been calls to constrain the president's authority. One bill proposed by Sen. Edward Markey and Rep. Ted Lieu, both Democrats, would prohibit the president from launching a nuclear first strike absent a declaration of war by Congress. "We cannot continue to give one person the awesome power to end life on our planet as we know it with nuclear weapons," Markey said in January, after reintroducing the bill following the Jan. 6 assault on Capitol Hill. But the process for a declaration of war by Congress could take weeks -- inappropriate for responding to imminent threats. Another idea involves the president sharing the authority with others. One option being discussed would require consensus among the president, vice president and speaker of the House of Representatives -- the first two individuals in the presidential chain of succession. Another option calls for the attorney general and the defense secretary to be involved in the decision. But the speaker of the House and attorney general are not necessarily nuclear weapons experts, nor are they regularly briefed on the security threats the nation faces.
  8. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-14/chinese-data-leak-linked-to-military-names-australians/12656668 China's 'hybrid war': Beijing's mass surveillance of Australia and the world for secrets and scandal By political editor Andrew Probyn and political reporter Matthew Doran Posted 19hhours ago, updated 15hhours ago The massive data leak raises serious questions about China's aggressive intelligence gathering operations.(Unsplash: Taskin Ashiq) Key points: 2.4 million names and profiles are on the database, including more than 35,000 Australians The company which created the database has links to China's government and military The leak raises further questions about the spread and scope of China's intelligence gathering operations A Chinese company with links to Beijing's military and intelligence networks has been amassing a vast database of detailed personal information on thousands of Australians, including prominent and influential figures. A database of 2.4 million people, including more than 35,000 Australians, has been leaked from the Shenzhen company Zhenhua Data which is believed to be used by China's intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security. Zhenhua has the People's Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party among its main clients. Information collected includes dates of birth, addresses, marital status, along with photographs, political associations, relatives and social media IDs. It collates Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and even TikTok accounts, as well as news stories, criminal records and corporate misdemeanours. While much of the information has been "scraped" from open-source material, some profiles have information which appears to have been sourced from confidential bank records, job applications and psychological profiles. The company is believed to have sourced some of its information from the so-called "dark web". One intelligence analyst said the database was "Cambridge Analytica on steroids", referring to the trove of personal information sourced from Facebook profiles in the lead up to the 2016 US election campaign. Zhenhua Data's vast database has explicit references to use by military intelligence.(Supplied.) But this data dump goes much further, suggesting a complex global operation using artificial intelligence to trawl publicly available data to create intricate profiles of individuals and organisations, potentially probing for compromise opportunities. The database has been shared with an international consortium of media outlets in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Australia, comprising the Australian Financial Review and the ABC. The media consortium sought comment from Zhenhua, but received no reply. Zhenhua Data's chief executive Wang Xuefeng boasted of using data to wage "hybrid warfare".(Supplied) The company's chief executive Wang Xuefeng, a former IBM employee, has used Chinese social media app WeChat to endorse waging "hybrid warfare" through manipulation of public opinion and "psychological warfare". Of the 35,558 Australians on the database, there are state and federal politicians, military officers, diplomats, academics, civil servants, business executives, engineers, journalists, lawyers and accountants. They range from the current and former prime ministers, to Atlassian billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, and business figures David Gonski and Jennifer Westacott. But there are 656 of the Australians featured on the list as being of "special interest" or "politically exposed". Exactly what the company means by either of these terms is unexplained, but the people on the list are disparate in occupation and background, and there seems little to no explanation in who has made the list. The list includes current Victorian Supreme Court Judge Anthony Cavanough, retired Navy Admiral and former Lockheed Martin chief executive Raydon Gates, former ambassador to China Geoff Raby, ex Tasmanian Premier Tony Rundle and former foreign minister Bob Carr. Singer Natalie Imbruglia features in this list, along with One Nation co-founder David Oldfield, National Party President Larry Anthony, former treasurer Peter Costello's son Sebastian, ex-Labor MP Emma Husar, News Corp journalist Ellen Whinnett and rural businesswoman and ABC director Georgie Somerset. But it also has some Australians with a criminal past, including self-proclaimed Perth sheikh Junaid Thorne, Geelong accountant and fraudster Robert Andrew Kirsopp and ex-TEAC boss Gavin Muir who died in 2007 just weeks before he faced court for dishonesty offences. Singer Natalie Imbruglia and technology entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brooks feature on the list.(AAP/ABC News) The database was leaked to a US academic based in Vietnam, Professor Chris Balding, who until 2018 had worked at the elite Peking University before leaving China citing fears for his physical safety. "China is absolutely building out a massive surveillance state both domestically and internationally," Professor Balding told the ABC. "They're using a wide variety of tools — this one is taken primarily from public sources, there is non-public data in here, but it is taken primarily from public sources. "I think it speaks to the broader threat of what China is doing and how they are surveilling, monitoring and seeking to influence… not just their own citizens, but citizens around the world." Professor Balding has returned to the United States, leaving Vietnam after being advised it was no longer safe for him to be there. It was also a grave risk taken by the person who leaked the database to him, who contacted him as he started publishing articles about Chinese tech giant Huawei. "We've worked very hard to make sure that there are no links between me and that person, once I realised what had been given to me," he said. "They are still in China. But hopefully I think they will be safe." 'Collection nodes' scattered around the world, one likely in Australia Christopher Balding was given the vast database, and has returned to the United States citing safety concerns.(Supplied: Fulbright University Vietnam) Professor Balding gave the database to Canberra cyber security company Internet 2.0 which was able to restore 10 per cent of the 2.4 million records for individuals. Internet 2.0's chief executive Robert Potter said Zhenhua had built the capacity to track naval vessels and defence assets, to assess the careers of military officers and catalogue the intellectual property of China's competitors. "This mass collection of data is taking place in China's private sector, in the same way Beijing outsources its cyber attack capability to private subcontractors," Mr Potter told the ABC. "In the process, the company has violated the privacy of millions of global citizens, the terms of service of just about every major social media platform and hacked other companies for their data." Of the 250,000 records recovered, there are 52,000 on Americans, 35,000 Australians, 10,000 Indian, 9,700 British, 5,000 Canadians, 2,100 Indonesians, 1,400 Malaysia and 138 from Papua New Guinea. There are 793 New Zealanders profiled in the database, of whom 734 are tagged of special interest or politically exposed. Zhenhua boasts it has about 20 "collection nodes" scattered around the world to vacuum enormous amounts of data and send back to China. Two of the nodes have been identified as being in Kansas in the United States and the South Korean capital Seoul. The Australian node has not been detected. The Zhenhua Data database monitors military assets, using things like social media posts of officers to plot out movements.(Supplied.) The military sector appears to be of particular interest to the company. The database tracks promotion prospects of officers and political networks. In one instance, the career progression of a US naval officer was closely monitored and he was flagged as a future commander of a nuclear aircraft carrier. "The company… boasts that it has 20 information collection centres spread around the world," Clive Hamilton from Charles Sturt University said. "This suggests that there's almost certainly one in Australia. So that means somewhere in Australia, there is a Chinese state-owned company that is sucking up data from across Australia and feeding it into China's intelligence service. "Well, where is that centre? And if we can find it, shouldn't we close it down? It would appear to be violating all kinds of laws." Academic Clive Hamilton argues it is likely a "collection node" is somewhere in Australia.(ABC News: Leon Compton) Professor Hamilton said the wide range of people named in this database provided serious cause for concern. "If you're a 14-year-old daughter of a politician, then we now know that China's intelligence service is monitoring your social media commentary, and recording pieces of information that are of interest or may be of interest in the future," he said. "So it really is quite sinister in the way that China is targeting so many aspects of society in a country like Australia for sucking up and storing this intelligence, and using artificial intelligence in a exceptionally sophisticated way." Concerns of aggressive intelligence gathering operations A Five Eyes intelligence officer, who uses the pseudonym Aeneas, has pored over the data, and described the technique as "mosaic intelligence gathering" — sourcing vast tracts of information from a wide variety of sources. "The individual pieces of intelligence are like tiles in a mosaic, which make sense when they are arranged the right way," Aeneas said. He argued it was a different way to collect information than how many western agencies went about their work. "For example, we had a long-running penetration operation inside a Chinese diplomatic post," Aeneas said. "You'd think we would have collected on everyone, but we didn't. "Not everyone inside the post was an intelligence operator for the other side. "We collected thoroughly on their spooks and stringers, but unless someone in the post was a possible source for us, we left them alone." Australia's fledgling space industry is also of some interest to Zhenhua. Queensland's Gilmour Space Technology, founded by banker Adam Gilmour, has been closely profiled by the company — so much so that every board member of the company has been profiled in the database. Zhenhua went looking for everyone in Australia with the surname Gilmour to probe the company. The discovery of Zhenhua's core business, known as the Overseas Key Information Database, or OKIDB, will fuel concern about China's aggressive intelligence gathering operations. It also presents a challenge to domestic cyber defence, given the likely presence of other hostile computer servers in Australia trawling public source data. Zhenhua Data, established in 2018, is believed to be owned by China Zhenhua Electronics Group which in turn is owned by state-owned China Electronic Information Industry Group (CETC), a military research company which had an association with the University of Technology Sydney until 2019. Zhenhua Data's parent company is believed to be the Chinese state-owned CETC, which previously partnered with the University of Technology Sydney.(702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
  9. Interesting chinese history...
  10. You will feel embarrassed for complaining about NS after watching this And note what the ISIS is capable of against both the livings and cultures.
  11. China military training inadequate for winning a war: army paper China's military authority has sent a document to military units detailing 40 weaknesses in current training methods, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Daily said in a front-page story. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/12/us-china-military-idUSKCN0I108Q20141012 (Reuters) - Weaknesses in China's military training pose a threat to the country's ability to fight and win a war, China's official military newspaper said on Sunday. China's military authority has sent a document to military units detailing 40 weaknesses in current training methods, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Daily said in a front-page story. "These problems reflect shortcomings and weak-points in the makeup of our military fighting force. If they are not promptly dealt with, then they will certainly affect and hinder our army's ability to go to war," the paper said, citing the PLA general staff headquarters. President Xi Jinping has been pushing to strengthen the fighting ability of China's 2.3 million-strong armed forces, the world's largest, and stepping up efforts to modernize forces that are projecting power across disputed waters in the East and South China Seas. The country's armed forces came under fire earlier this year from serving and retired Chinese officers and state media who questioned whether the force was too corrupt to win a war. The military newspaper said China needed to find a cure for the "peace disease" affecting its training regime to ensure the armed forces could master the ability to win a real conflict. Military authorities identified issues for the country's army, navy and air force, including training standards and styles by commanders and military units. The problems were identified through supervision of drills, including joint exercises with foreign armed forces, the PLA Daily said. China has developed stealth jets and has built one aircraft carrier
  12. Porker

    Chilcot Inquiry

    I'm surprised nobody mentioned this. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36712735
  13. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3332790/Monstrous-new-crisis-Russia-s-downed-jet-Putin-s-fury-stab-terror-accomplices-Moscow-analyst-warns-war-likely-Moscow-analyst.html this looks v serious to me...
  14. Started from 8 am this morning Singapore/Beijing time. 纪念中国人民抗日战争暨世界反法西斯战争胜利70周年大会
  15. Ukraine has accused Russia of carrying out an armed invasion by sending naval forces to occupy Sevastopol airport in the Crimea region. Russia's Black Sea Fleet denies its servicemen are blocking the airport. Another Crimean airport, Simferopol, has also been occupied by armed men, thought to be pro-Russia militia. Relations between the two countries have been strained since Viktor Yanukovych was ousted as Ukrainian president last week. Continue reading the main story At the Scene Christian FraserBBC News, near Sevastopol airport Sevastopol is by name an international airport, but civilian flights stopped some years ago, and it is owned by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence. So it would be of no real consequence that soldiers are guarding a military base were it not for the fact no-one knows whose orders they are obeying. There are roadblocks springing up from here to the administrative capital Simferopol. The local parliament is in session there, but is sharing the municipal building with a paramilitary unit, and Simferopol airport is also under protection. The interim interior minister, however, is quite clear on his Facebook page who he thinks these units are. They are answering to the Russian Federation he said - and this, he adds, is a military takeover. Mr Yanukovych is now in Russia and expected to hold a news conference later in the city of Rostov-on-Don, near the Ukrainian border. He disappeared after leaving office but resurfaced in Russia on Thursday, asserting that he is still Ukraine's lawful president. Ukraine's general prosecutor has said he will ask Russia to extradite Mr Yanukovych, if it is confirmed that he is still there. In other developments: The BBC has seen eight trucks with the black plates of the Russian army moving towards Simferopol Unconfirmed reports say eight Russian military helicopters have arrived in Sevastopol Ukraine's central bank has put a 15,000 hryvnia (1,000 euro; £820) limit on daily cash withdrawals Armed Forces chief Yuriy Ilyin, appointed earlier this month by Mr Yanukovych, is sacked Ukraine's parliament calls on the UN Security Council to discuss the unfolding crisis in Crimea Lynchpin of struggle These tensions between Russia and Ukraine in the wake of Mr Yanukovych's departure have been particularly evident in Crimea, Ukraine's only Russian-majority region. The BBC's Bridget Kendall, in Moscow, says the Crimea is becoming the lynchpin of a struggle between Ukraine's new leaders and those loyal to Russia. Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Russian soldiers had arrived in Sevastopol military airport near Russia's Black Sea Fleet Base on Friday morning. The men were patrolling outside, backed up by armoured vehicles, but Ukrainian military and border guards remained inside, Mr Avakov said. "I consider what has happened to be an armed invasion and occupation in violation of all international agreements and norms," Mr Avakov said on his Facebook page. Armed men also arrived at Simferopol airport overnight, some carrying Russian flags. A man called Vladimir told Reuters news agency he was a volunteer helping the group there, though he said he did not know where they came from. Continue reading the main story Crimea's airportsSimferopol is the main international terminal, serving the regional capital Sevastopol, home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet, has a Soviet-era military airport (Belbek) which was also used for civilian flights until some years ago. Ukrainian air force jets are stationed there The Russian Black Sea Fleet has aircraft stationed at other air bases in Crimea (Gvardeyskaya and Kacha) "I'm with the People's Militia of Crimea. We're simple people, volunteers," he said. Andriy Parubiy, acting chairman of Ukraine's National Security Council, has claimed that both airports are now back under the control of Ukrainian authorities. The airport occupation is latest in a series of moves to raise fears of unrest in Crimea, which traditionally leans towards Russia. On Thursday, a group of unidentified armed men entered Crimea's parliament building by force, and hoisted a Russian flag on the roof. The Crimean parliament later announced it would hold a referendum on expanding the region's autonomy from Ukraine on 25 May. Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged his government to maintain relations with Kiev, but he is also giving the Crimean government humanitarian aid. US Secretary of State John Kerry has called on all sides to "step back and avoid any kind of provocations". Financial strain On top of its political problems, Ukraine also faces huge financial hurdles. It says it needs $35 billion over the next two years to avoid default on its loans. Russia has suspended the next instalment of a $15bn loan because of the political uncertainty. Switzerland and Austria announced on Friday that it had launched an investigation against Mr Yanukovych and his son Aleksander for "aggravated money laundering". Austria also said it had frozen the assets of 18 Ukrainians suspected of violating human rights and involvement in corruption. It did not give any names. Crimea - where ethnic Russians are in a majority - was transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954. Ethnic Ukrainians loyal to Kiev and Muslim Tatars - whose animosity towards Russia stretches back to Stalin's deportations during World War Two - have formed an alliance to oppose any move back towards Moscow. Russia, along with the US, UK and France, pledged to uphold the territorial integrity of Ukraine in a memorandum signed in 1994. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26379722
  16. As a result of the rising tension in the Korean Peninsula, GM is making contingency plans to move workers and shift production out of the country. Speaking in an interview on CNBC's Squawk Box, GM CEO Dan Akerson said, "We are making contingency plans for the safety of our employees to the extent that we can." GM is the third largest carmaker in South Korea employing 17,000 people with an annual output of 1.4 million vehicles. About 1.3 million units are exported to Europe and the U.S. One of these models exported is the Chevrolet Spark subcompact (above). Akerson added that it is difficult to shift production out of South Korea but may have to do so if the region continues to destabilise as part of long term planning. However, according to a report on Wall Street Journal, Akerson has already decided to move production to other plants. Should a war take place, Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fourth largest auto maker after General Motors, Volkswagen Group, and Toyota, is definitely going to be affected as well. This could result in wide ranging impact on the global automotive industry. At the time of writing this article, North Korea has moved a second mid range missile to its east coast and loaded both on mobile launchers, fueling fears of an imminent firing. Let there be peace on Earth.
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