English.news.cn 2013-03-12 22:01:23
BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) — China is willing to work with the United States to explore a road of new-type relations, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday.
The new type of relations between major powers should be based on mutual respect, cooperation and seeking win-win situations, Hua Chunying said at a daily press briefing.
Hua’s comments came after U.S. top security advisor Thomas Donilon said on Monday that the United States is looking for opportunities to further its relations with China, and that the two countries are not necessarily destined for confrontation.
“China’s leadership transition and the president’s [Barack Obama] re-election mark a new phase in U.S.-China relations, with new opportunities,” Donilon said.
China welcomes these positive comments, Hua said, stressing China-U.S. relations now stay at “an important phase connecting past and future.”
She said China is ready to work with the United States to further implement the important consensus reached by heads of the two countries, adhere to the correct direction of bilateral relations, strengthen cooperation and coordination in all fields as well as tangibly respect and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns.
Update on the global drone arms race.
It has been predicted that the development of drone surveillance by the U.S. would spark a global race to develop new drone capabilities, leading to a potentially dystopian future of drone wars where combat and even assassinations can be performed by fleets of insect-like microbots. The Washington Post reported in July, 2011:
More than 50 countries have purchased surveillance drones, and many have started in-country development programs for armed versions because no nation is exporting weaponized drones beyond a handful of sales between the United States and its closest allies. (Source)
We are already seeing this take place in both air and sea, as myriad unmanned drones are taking flight from research laboratories across the world. Drones have even taken to the high-seas, as navies begin to “build fleets of crewless boats capable of missions on and under the water, according to maritime experts,” as discussed at Military.com.
Much like nuclear weapons, it seems as though this genie is not likely to find its way back into the bottle. A new report released by Project 2049 Institute reveals that China has taken the rise of the American drone quite seriously and has been investing just as heavily in drone surveillance and weapons capabilities. All indications are that they are quickly catching up to the world’s leader.
According to the report entitled, “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Project: Organizational Capacities and Operational Capabilities,”
China has developed a wide range of unmanned aerial vehicles across all military branches.
Domestic competition for military contracts appear to mirror U.S. capabilities:
The report further indicates that China already has 280 UAVs in service, and that number is from mid-2011, making it one of the world’s largest fleets. Furthermore, technology “in development” includes autonomous drones swarms:
Chinese strategists have also discussed using swarms of drones to overwhelm the U.S. Navy’s carrier groups in the unlikely possibility of a shooting war. The drones could act as decoys, use electronic warfare to jam communications and radar, guide missile strikes on carriers, fire missiles at U.S. Navy ships or dive into ships like kamikaze robots. (Source)
This capability is very likely to already exist in China, as the “kamikaze robots” have been used successfully by The United States in Afghanistan for at least a couple of years; it’s known as the Switchblade drone.
No one really knows the full level of drone development across the world, due to the obvious secrecy surrounding military technology. The London Guardian has compiled reports of all known drone stocks in the world and offered maps and graphs that illustrate an indication that a drone arms race is fully under way. There are a minimum of 56 drone models used in 11 different countries, with the U.S. leading the pack at 678 operational drones.
A new U.S. study by the Association For Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) shows why drone proliferation continues to ramp up at a nearly exponential rate: it has become one of the fastest growing areas of the U.S. economy. A report entitled, “The Economic Impact of Unmanned Aircraft Integration Systems in the United States” is clear in its conclusion that competition for jobs and tax dollars created by drone tech development is likely to provide the impetus to loosen state regulations on drone use. The AUVSI is projecting 70,000 new jobs in the first three years of full integration.
While we project more than 100,000 new jobs by 2025, states that create favorable regulatory and business environments for the industry and the technology will likely siphon jobs away from states that do not.
The full study can be found at the title link above, but the bullet points as noted by the Association are as follows:
Naturally the AUVSI has a vested interest in promoting drone use despite their “non-profit” status. From their About Us page on their website, they don’t hide their goals and connections:
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International is the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community. Serving more than 7,500 members from government organizations, industry and academia, AUVSI is committed to fostering, developing, and promoting unmanned systems and robotic technologies. AUVSI members support defense, civil and commercial sectors.
Advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community through education, advocacy and leadership.
To improve humanity by enabling the global use of robotic technology in everyday lives.
AUVSI’s Strategic Goals
- Inclusive Community – AUVSI will be an inclusive and accessible global organization encompassing the robotics/unmanned systems community.
- Global Focus – AUVSI will be the essential partner in the growth and reach of the global robotics/unmanned systems community.
- Education and Outreach – AUVSI will facilitate the expansion of robotics/unmanned systems knowledge and will promote educational opportunities.
- Knowledge Source – AUVSI will be the preferred robotics/unmanned systems knowledge source.
- Advocacy and Influence – There will be recognition of AUVSI by governments, industry and academia as a powerful advocate for robotics/unmanned systems.
- Member Services – AUVSI will provide value-added services to its current and potential membership. (Source)
Despite their stated concern for humanity and desire to foster global economic opportunity, drones and robots are already eliminating many jobs, including military personnel and affiliated tech work. Autonomous intercommunicating systems are being developed by the U.S. and now apparently the Chinese with the capability for unilateral threat assessment and war theater decision making. It is often cited that robotic warfare lessens the dangers to humans, but at some level it becomes an outright replacement, such as DARPA’s amazingly human PETMAN and other warbots. Next generation drones have the stated goal of reducing or eliminating the human element altogether as the promotional video from General Atomics below highlights for 2017.
Similar to the machines in a factory, robots don’t have human frailties such as sickness, tiredness, mental health issues, clouded judgement based on emotions … or conscience. Where do the human resources of war go when they have been outsourced?
It is possible that during the initial phases, it will appear as a boon to the economy, but the cascading effect of a global robotic arms race is likely to reach a tipping point and get out of hand very quickly.
Clearly, even as resistance to drones in American skies heats up, especially following the Rand Paul / Eric Holder debate about the constitutionality of killing Americans on U.S. soil, the military-industrial complex continues to invest in robotic warfare as though global proliferation is a foregone conclusion. The world’s two leading superpowers and the feedback loop they have created ensure it.
Submitted by Phoenix Capital Research on 03/14/2013 11:26 -0400
Let’s wind the clock back to 2008.
The world was thought to be ending. Lehman went bust. Markets were plunging. Everyone was scared that growth was over. It was as though the global economy was grinding to a halt.
But then China’s stock market bottomed. The Chinese Government announced a massive stimulus plan to turn its economy around. And sure enough the Chinese economy took off again.
A few months later, the US markets bottomed courtesy of extraordinary stimulus from the US Federal Reserve. Three months after that, the US economy was showing what everyone claimed were “green shoots.”
And the world began to gradually shift towards growth and increased confidence.
Why do I bring all of this up? Because it was China’s stimulus and China’s economy that supposedly lead the world back towards growth again. China is the proverbial canary in the coalmine, the economy that most quickly reveals what’s coming and where we’re all heading…
Well, China’s heading for inflation.
China should be on “high alert” over inflation after February’s figures exceeded forecasts, central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said, signaling a heightened focus on controlling prices.
Monetary policy is “no longer relaxed” and is “relatively neutral” as demonstrated by a 13 percent target for money-supply growth that’s tighter than expansion in the last two years, Zhou, head of the People’s Bank of China, said at a press conference today during the annual gathering of China’s National People’s Congress…
“The central bank has always attached great importance to consumer prices,” Zhou said. “Therefore we will use monetary policy and other measures to hopefully stabilize prices and inflation expectations.”
China’s new leaders including Li Keqiang, set to become premier this week, inherit the task of sustaining a recovery from the slowest growth in 13 years while reining in asset prices and credit. February inflation, distorted by the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday, accelerated to a 10-month-high of 3.2 percent.
Bear in mind, the above story is greatly downplaying the REAL increase in inflation in China. A recent study from shows that prices in some Chinese cities are in fact higher than in NEW YORK. And China’s per capita is income is less than 25% of the US’s!
A South China Morning Post survey of some commonly bought grocery items found that a 500 gram loaf of bread that sells for HK$8.60 in Hong Kong and the equivalent of HK$9.93 in London, cost the equivalent of HK$13.52 in Beijing.
The latest annual cost of living survey by the compensation-consulting firm Mercer found Beijing and Shanghai to be pricier than New York and London. Shanghai was ranked 16th followed by Beijing at 17th, ahead of London (25th) and New York (32nd).
This is a MAJOR warning sign to investors worldwide. Indeed, inflation is so out of control in China, that the country suffered 71 strikes in January 2013 alone.
Thomson Reuters deputy social media editor Matthew Keys said on Twitter that he was “fine” after being indicted Thursday for allegedly conspiring with members of the hacking group “Anonymous” to infiltrate a Tribune site shortly after he was fired.
“I am fine. I found out the same way most of you did: From Twitter. Tonight I’m going to take a break. Tomorrow, business as usual,” he wrote.
Keys, 26, who once worked at Fox 40 in Sacramento, was charged with three hacking-related counts and faces up to 10 years in prison for the December 2010 attack. The hack appeared on a news story on the website of the Los Angeles Times, which is also owned by Tribune.
Reuters issued a statement saying it was aware of the indictment. “Any legal violations, or failures to comply with the company’s own strict set of principles and standards, can result in disciplinary action. We would also observe the indictment alleges the conduct occurred in December 2010; Mr. Keys joined Reuters in 2012, and while investigations continue we will have no further comment,” a Thomson Reuters spokesman told the wire service.
According to federal authorities, Keys provided a user name and password for Tribune servers to hackers in an online chat room after he was terminated from KTXL FOX 40 in late October of that year and “encouraged” them to disrupt the site. With the information from Keys, prosecutors allege, a hacker accessed a news story on The Times’ website and changed a headline to read: “Pressure builds in House to elect CHIPPY 1337.”
“[T]hat was such a buzz having my edit on the LA Times,” the hacker, using the screen name “sharpie,” wrote to Keys, according to the indictment. “Nice,” Keys allegedly replied.
Denial Is Not Just A River In Egypt
The Economic Collapse
March 14, 2013
They didn’t see it coming last time either. Back in 2007, President Bush, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and just about every prominent voice in the financial world were all predicting that we would experience tremendous economic prosperity well into the future. In fact, as late as January 2008 Bernanke boldly declared that “the Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.” At the time, only the “doom and gloomers” were warning that everything was about to fall apart. And of course we all know what happened. But just a few short years later, history seems to be repeating itself. Barack Obama, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and almost every prominent voice in the financial world are all promising that the U.S. “economic recovery” is going to continue even though Europe is coming apart like a 20 dollar suit. But the economic fundamentals tell a different story. Our national debt is more than $6,000,000,000,000 larger than it was back in 2008, the number of Americans on food stamps just hit another brand new all-time record, and the bankers up on Wall Street are selling gigantic mountains of the exact same kind of toxic derivatives that caused so much trouble the last time around. But all of our “leaders” swear that everything is going to be okay. You can believe them if you want, but denial is not just a river in Egypt, and another crash is inevitably coming.
Sadly, many Americans are not even going to see the crash coming because they still have faith in the “experts”. They haven’t figured out that the “experts” really do not know what they are doing.
The blind are leading the blind, and in the end the results are going to be absolutely tragic.
The following are 10 hilarious examples of how clueless our leaders are about the economy…
#1 When I first came across the following chart the other day, it made me chuckle. It is a chart that supposedly tells us the “probability” of a recession, and it was taken from the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. According to the chart, right now there is a 0.16% chance of a recession…
#2 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has also been proclaiming his belief that the U.S. economy will continue to grow. The following is an excerpt from his recent remarks to Congress…
The pause in real GDP growth last quarter does not appear to reflect a stalling-out of the recovery. Rather, economic activity was temporarily restrained by weather-related disruptions and by transitory declines in a few volatile categories of spending, even as demand by U.S. households and businesses continued to expand. Available information suggests that economic growth has picked up again this year.
And Bernanke also insists that the labor market is “improving”…
Consistent with the moderate pace of economic growth, conditions in the labor market have been improving gradually.
Of course the labor market is not actually improving. I showed this using the Fed’s own numbers the other day.
And you can put stock in Bernanke’s forecasting ability if you like, but considering his track record of failure in the past, that might not be too wise. Just check out what he was saying before the last financial crisis: “30 Ben Bernanke Quotes That Are So Stupid That You Won’t Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry“.
#3 Although Bernanke has such a nightmarish track record of failure,Warren Buffett still has faith in him. In fact, Buffett loves all of the money printing that Bernanke has been doing…
The U.S. economy might be “dead in the water” without the stimulus provided by the Federal Reserve under Chairman Ben Bernanke, according to Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
“I think very cheap money makes things happen, it makes asset values higher. When asset values are higher, people do have a greater propensity to spend,” Buffett told CNBC.
“I think Bernanke has sort of carried the load himself during this period.”
If Buffett thinks the wild money printing that the Fed has been doing is so wonderful, then he probably would have absolutely loved living in the Weimar Republic.
#4 Barack Obama continues to insist that we do not have a debt crisis, but that we will not be able to balance the budget any time in the foreseeable future either.
Even though the national debt has grown by more than 6 trillion dollars under his leadership and our debt to GDP ratio is now well over 100%, Obama does not believe that it is a significant problem…
“We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt”
“We’re not gonna balance the budget in 10 years”
Sadly, the truth is that the U.S. will never have a balanced budget ever again under our current system, but most of our politicians are not willing to go that far and admit that sad fact to the American people just yet.
#5 But of course it would certainly help if the U.S. government would stop wasting so much money. For example, did you know that the federal government is helping dead people get free cell phones? The following is from a recent article in the New York Post…
Dead people don’t need cell phones.
That’s the message Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas wants to send Congress, after he says a controversial government-backed program that helps provide phones to low-income Americans ended up sending mobiles to the dead relatives of his constituents. Griffin has introduced a bill that targets the phone hand-out program, which has ballooned into a fiscal headache for the government.
And of course a lot of living people are abusing the free cell phone program as well. Rep. Griffin says that he has heard of some people getting as many as 10 free cell phones from the government…
“I’ve also gotten calls from people who say their employees were bragging about having 10 phones.”
Brittany Hillen, Mar 14th 2013
According to the Department of Justice, Matthew Keys, a 26-year-old journalist hailing from New Jersey has been charged with conspiring with Anonymous, the hacking collective known for trumping some big-name targets. Keys aided the hackers in accessing and altering a Los Angeles Times news article by providing login information.
The information was provided by Keys in an unnamed Internet forum, where he posted the information for Anonymous and added a qualifier to “go [expletive] some [expletive] up.” We’ll let you fill in the blanks. One of the hackers then proceeded to use the login information about a week later, accessing the media company’s website.
A news story on the Times website about Representative Steny Hoyer was altered in an unspecified manner. According to a post by the hacker on the forum with which he was associated with Keys, the altered information was live on the media company’s website for about 30 minutes. Keys responded with “nice,” according to the complaint.
Keys, who has been charged with three felonies related to information transfer, worked for the Tribune until he was fired, at which point he took up his current job with Reuters as deputy socia media editor a little over a year ago. Keys faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000, and three years of supervised release per felony.
[via Wall Street Journal]
In testimony before US Senate committees, top US intelligence officials announced Tuesday that Washington is setting up military units to wage offensive cyber war—i.e., to write malicious computer code to disable or destroy computers and computer-controlled infrastructure.These statements came as US officials escalated their denunciations of China, which they allege is engaged in cyber-espionage of US firms. On Monday, US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon demanded that China investigate alleged attacks “emanating from China on an unprecedented scale,” and agree to broad negotiations on protocols for Internet use.
General Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency (NSA) and commander of the US Cyber Command, told the Senate Committee on Armed Services: “I would like to be clear that this team, this defend-the-nation team, is not a defensive team. This is an offensive team that the Defense Department would use to defend the nation if it were attacked in cyberspace. Thirteen of the teams that we are creating are for that mission alone.”
According to Alexander, there are 13 US offensive cyber war teams, interacting with 27 other cyber war teams deployed with standard military commands. The offensive teams are overseen by the US Cyber Command, which operates on the premises of the NSA and has a budget of $191 million this year.
The importance of cyber-warfare has grown with the increasing use of computers to control key infrastructure. A sophisticated cyber-attack could potentially take down or destroy power plants, hospitals, transport systems and other critical infrastructure. While this provocative US military escalation is supposedly driven by the risk of a devastating cyber-attack from China or other countries, US intelligence officials acknowledge that the risk of such an attack is very small.
Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said there was only a “remote chance” of a serious attack, which he defined as one leading to “long-term, wide-scale disruption of services, such as a regional power outage.”
Clapper’s prepared statement listed China and Russia as “advanced cyber actors” with the capacity to mount such an attack. However, he added, they “are unlikely to launch such a devastating attack against the United States outside of a military conflict or crisis that they believe threatens their vital interests.”
Nonetheless, Clapper claimed that such an attack was the most serious immediate threat to the US, outweighing the threat of attacks by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda.
General Alexander’s prepared statement to the armed services committee suggested that the US Cyber Command’s main concern is not so much the risk of a devastating attack from abroad, but the risk to US corporations’ profit interests.
Decrying what he called the “greatest unwilling transfer of wealth in history,” Alexander wrote: “We have some confidence in our ability to deter major state-on-state attacks in cyberspace, but we are not deterring the seemingly low-level harassment of private and public sites, property, and data… The damage they are doing to America’s economic competitiveness and innovation edge is profound, translating into missed opportunities for US companies and the potential for lost American jobs. Cyber-enabled theft jeopardizes our economic growth.”
The cyber war escalation announced by Alexander and Clapper is provocative and reckless. The US military is engaging in essentially criminal activity—writing computer viruses—while acknowledging that it is unlikely that the United States will face such an attack. The Pentagon aims not to deter or defend against an attack, but to provide further means for aggression and intimidation against any power Washington considers to be a significant geo-strategic obstacle or economic rival.
The official justification for this escalation, based on unsubstantiated assertions that hackers in China are being sponsored by the Chinese government and military in an effort to harm the United States, falsely paints the United States government as being as on the defensive.
In fact, Washington is the world’s most ruthless practitioner of cyber warfare. Working with Israel, it used the Stuxnet virus to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program by manipulating and destroying centrifuges at the Natanz plant. The US designed the Flame virus to spy on Iranian officials. The Flame virus itself was discovered last year, after it escaped from Iranian government networks and began infecting computers in the general population.
March 14, 2013
Al-Qaeda lacks the technical expertise to sabotage Britain’s national power and water systems, a cyber-security expert has told a committee of MPs.
Asked why a cyber-attack had never been launched on such assets, Thomas Rid said: “Al-Qaeda are too stupid and China doesn’t want to do it.”
China denies state-backed hacking and says it is, rather, a victim of it.
March 13, 2013
China is building one of the world’s largest drone fleets aimed at expanding its military reach in the Pacific and swarming U.S. Navy carriers in the unlikely event of a war, according to a new report.
The Chinese military — known as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) — envisions its drone swarms scouting out battlefields, guiding missile strikes and overwhelming opponents through sheer numbers. China’s military-industrial complex has created a wide array of homegrown drones to accomplish those goals over the past decade, according to the report released by the Project 2049 Institute on March 11.
“The PLA now fields one of the world’s most expansive UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] fleets,” said Ian Easton and L.C. Russell Hsiao, researchers at the Project 2049 Institute and authors of the new report.
By Paul Handley (AFP) – 2 days ago
WASHINGTON — US authorities were investigating Tuesday after hackers posted personal financial data belonging to First Lady Michelle Obama, the head of the FBI and several A-list celebrities online.
Hackers using a Russian web address published the credit reports and social security numbers for Obama, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller, US Attorney General Eric Holder, and Los Angeles Police Chief Charles Beck.
They also posted social security numbers and other personal information relating to Vice President Joe Biden and former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Entertainment stars Beyonce and husband Jay-Z, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears also saw details leaked, as did tycoon Donald Trump, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and bodybuilder-turned-actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
President Barack Obama was asked about the alleged incident during an interview with ABC News, and while not confirming the details, said that hacking was a growing problem.
“We should not be surprised that if we’ve got hackers that want to dig in and have a lot of resources, that they can access this information,” he said.
“It is a big problem. I’m not confirming that that’s what happened, but you’ve got websites out there right now that sell people’s credit cards that have been stolen.”
The three leading personal credit-rating agencies acknowledged the files were accessed illegally, but said it was done through other firms by someone using the personal data of the victims, and not by hacking their own computers.
“This looks to be an isolated situation in which criminals accessed personal credential information through various outside sources, which provided them with sufficient information to illegally access a limited number of individual reports from some US credit reporting agencies,” said Experian.
“Upon learning of the situation, we took immediate action to freeze the credit files of those victimized by this malicious attack in an effort to minimize impact to those individuals.”
Transunion, the source of Michelle Obama’s credit report, said its own systems “were not hacked or compromised in any way.”
The perpetrators “had considerable amounts of information about the victims, including social security numbers and other sensitive, personal identifying information that enabled them to successfully impersonate the victims over the Internet,” it said.
March 13, 2013
The Pentagon’s Cyber Command will create 13 offensive teams by the fall of 2015 to help defend the nation against major computer attacks from abroad, Gen. Keith Alexander testified to Congress on Tuesday, a rare acknowledgment of the military’s ability to use cyber-weapons.
The new teams are part of a broader government effort to shield the nation from destructive attacks over the Internet that could harm Wall Street or knock out electric power, for instance.
But Alexander warned that budget cuts will undermine the effort to build up these forces even as foreign threats to the nation’s critical computer systems intensify. And he urged Congress to pass legislation to enable the private sector to share computer threat data with the government without fear of being sued.
As he moves into his eighth year as director of the National Security Agency and his third year as head of the fledgling Cyber Command, Alexander told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the strategic-threat picture is worsening. “We’ve seen the attacks on Wall Street over the last six months grow significantly,” he said, noting there were more than 160 disruptive attacks on banks in that period.
Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:30AM GMT
In a rare acknowledgment of US military units that use cyber weapons, Director of National Security Agency (NSA) and the head of Pentagon’s Cyber Command General Keith Alexander testified before a Congressional committee on Tuesday that the new teams will be created by the end of 2015 and are part of a broader American bid to shield the country from harmful Internet intrusions, The Washington Post reports Wednesday.
“I would like to be clear that this team… is an offensive team,” said Gen. Alexander in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, while underlining that the strategic threat picture is deteriorating.
The American military official specifically pointed to an August attack on Saudi Arabian oil company, Aramco, and persisting cyber intrusions against Wall Street Banks as particularly alarming.
“Last summer, in August, we saw a destructive attack on Saudi Aramco, where the data on over 30,000 systems were destroyed. And if you look at industry, especially the anti-virus community and others, they believe it’s going to grow more in 2013. And there’s a lot that we need to do to prepare for this,” said Alexander.
The US general, however, did not elaborate on the exact link between a cyber attack on the Saudi Arabian state-owned oil company and American corporate and government agencies.
“We’ve seen the attacks on Wall Street over the last six months grow significantly,” he added, pointing to more than 160 destructive attacks on US banks during that period.
Although the US has mostly blamed China and Russian for cyber attacks on its computer networks, some American press reports have alleged, with no evidence as usual, that Iran has waged the cyber intrusions on some US financial institution and the Saudi Aramco, in retaliation for a widely-publicized cyber attack on Iranian nuclear energy networks in a joint US-Israeli operation.
March 13, 2013
Cyber security threats against the United States are growing, President Barack Obama said before a meeting on Wednesday with corporate leaders about the issue, as concerns rise about hacking attacks emanating from China.
Speaking in a television interview, Obama stopped short of echoing concerns expressed by some lawmakers that the United States was engaged in some kind of electronic war with China.
“You always have to be careful with war analogies — there’s a big difference between them engaging in cyber espionage or cyber attacks and, obviously, a hot war,” Obama told ABC News in the interview, which was taped on Tuesday but aired on Wednesday.
Where do most hackers call home? Russia, in fact.Next up is Taiwan, followed by Germany, Ukraine, Hungary, and — surprise — America, according to monitoring done by Deutsche Telekom’s Sicherheitstacho project cited by Bloomberg’s Businessweek.That puts the country currently in the hotseat, China, in 12th place — uh, six behind the US.
It is also interesting to note that Russia’s alleged activity far outstrips others, with well over over two million attacks in February, compared to Taiwan’s measly 907,102, according to Bloomberg.
The Deutsche Telekom study was commissioned by the German state as part of its Alliance for Cyber Security project, according to Brian Fung of National Journal. (Bloomberg said it was “unclear” exactly what Berlin expected to “glean from this data.”)
The statistics do not differentiate between group and individual hacking attempts, said Bloomberg.
A website using a Russian Web address has posted what appears to be personal or credit information on a dozen celebrities and politicians, including Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Rodham Clinton, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Beyonce, Mel Gibson, Paris Hilton and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
Some of the pages, for Obama and Biden, show only purported personal data like home addresses or credit history while others, including ones for Beyonce and Sarah Palin, include Social Security numbers. Beyonce’s page also shows her purported mortgage balance on a home in Florida.
BEIJING (AP) — China says it is willing to cooperate with the United States in cybersecurity after the U.S. called on it to take “serious steps” to stop cyberattacks.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying repeated China’s assertion that it is firmly opposed to cyberattacks and one of the countries that has suffered most from them. She says the country cracks down on such hackers according to the law.
Hua said Tuesday: “Cyberspace needs rules and cooperation, not wars. China is willing to have constructive dialogue and cooperation with the global community, including the United States.”
U.S. National Security adviser Tom Donilon’s comments Monday reflect American concern over cyber intrusions and their economic costs.
Last month, a U.S.-based cybersecurity firm accused a Chinese military unit of attacking more than 140 mostly American companies.
Submitted by testosteronepit on 03/12/2013 13:07 -0400
CEOs of the largest American corporations, without aiming at it, shot barn-door-size holes through the rosy jobs picture. Rosy on the surface: unemployment down to 7.7% with 236,000 new jobs created last month. A picture the White House held up as proof of its success. But these CEOs didn’t see it. Not in the US. Though prospects were rosy in low-wage countries.
Last week it was Honeywell CEO David Cote who said that they’d been cutting headcount through attrition, instead of adding to it, at the rate of hiring only two to three people as four or five leave. He expected hiring to slow even more, based on economic uncertainty in the US.
Economic uncertainty! A term that’s now showing up frequently. But one of the things the company didn’t appear to fret about? The Sequester. With the government portion of total revenues being about 11%, the company expected only a minor dent from it in 2013. The problems were elsewhere. As a conglomerate and Fortune 100 company active in a wide variety of industries, Honeywell sees first-hand what’s going on.
“We’ve become more concerned recently,” Cote said. “If we want employment to grow, we have to have GDP growing more like 3%, not 2% or less.” Though growth had stalled altogether last quarter, Cote hasn’t given up hope for growth this year, expecting 1.9%. Yet even 3% growth might not do much for hiring—because Honeywell has been adding plenty of jobs overseas while cutting them in the US. As the Wall Street Journal reported:
Since 2009, Honeywell, which gets 46% of its sales from business in the US, has added 10,000 jobs globally, boosting its employee count to 132,000, while eliminating 2,000 positions in the U.S. Last year, Honeywell trimmed its US workforce by 1,000 jobs to 52,000 employees.
It’s a point of pride: “We have 1,000 less people in finance than we did when I arrived in June of 2003,” Honeywell CFO David Anderson explained. And it even cut executives, 580 down from 600. Trimming in the US, hiring overseas.
Honeywell isn’t the only one. But other companies are actually adding jobs in the US. The net effect is a dreary reality, best depicted by the employment-population ratio, one of the least statistically mucked-up employment metrics. It measures total jobs against the population of age 16 and older. It peaked in April 2000 at 64.7%, then trended down, collapsed during the financial crisis—and hasn’t recovered since! In February 2009, it was 60.3%. A year later, it was 58.5%. In 2011, it was 58.4%. In 2012, 58.6%. In Friday’s report for February 2013? 58.6%. Clearly, jobs have been created, but only at the rate that the working-age population has grown.
Honeywell spelled out the reasons: growth industries—and they do exist—were balanced out by corporate efforts to shave headcount and cut costs. That process is likely to continue. Because it shows up nicely on the bottom line. Honeywell has been able to increase its profit margin every year since the depth of the financial crisis and expects to make more progress in that direction. And for growth, it will focus more on the Middle East and China.
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK | Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:50pm EDT
(Reuters) – The iconic Dow eked out another all-time record high on Tuesday but global equity markets slid, while the yen rose from a 3-1/2-year low against the U.S. dollar for the first time in a week.
The benchmark S&P 500 stock index snapped a seven-session string of gains as investors pulled back from financials and technology shares, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose for an eighth straight day, pushed higher by Merck & Co (MRK.N).
European shares retreated from modest gains at the end of the session, just shy of a fresh 4-1/2-year closing high, and the S&P 500 fell after briefly trading higher earlier in the day. The Dow also posted a fresh record intraday high.
Investors’ confidence in equities has grown, leading the Dow to gain more than 10 percent and the S&P 500 ro rise almost 9.0 percent so far this year. An improving economy and the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing also have helped drive the gains.
But a lack of fresh economic data and a warning from the Bundesbank’s chief that the euro zone’s crisis has not ended gave investors a reason to pause after the run-up.
“You have a little bit of buyers’ exhaustion at this juncture,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.
“We’ve had this move that has been startlingly smooth in terms of progression of advances, both since the beginning of the year and certainly over the last six to seven trading sessions,” Luschini said.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed up 2.77 points, or 0.02 percent, at 14,450.06. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX fell 3.74 points, or 0.24 percent, at 1,552.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC slipped 10.55 points, or 0.32 percent, at 3,242.32.
Merck gained 3.1 percent to $45.04 after an independent monitoring board said a large trial of its Vytorin cholesterol drug can continue, suggesting no major safety issues have yet been seen with the pill.
In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 of leading regional shares closed down 0.05 percent at 1,194.02. MSCI’s all-country world equity index .MIWD00000PUS slid 0.14 percent.
“We have seen several days with new all-time highs on Wall Street so it is not surprising to see it pause for a day,” said Achim Matzke, a technical analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “But I expect the bull market in U.S. equities to continue, and that to also help European equities,” he said.
Hedge funds and long-term investors took profits on recent large bets against the Japanese currency. But speculation the Bank of Japan could embark on more aggressive monetary stimulus sooner than previously thought is likely to check any sharp rebound in the yen, traders said.
Gold rose nearly 1.0 percent on comments by Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann, who is also a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank.
Spot gold prices rose $12.61 to $1,593.00 an ounce.
The dollar was down 0.25 percent on the day at 96.03 yen. The dollar had climbed to 96.71 yen, its highest since August 2009, in Asian trade.
Even Colin Powell isn’t safe from hackers.The former secretary of state saw his Facebook page overtaken by a hacker who posted anti-Bush comments, and focused some negative energy Powell’s way, too.The Washington Postpicked up and posted some of the comments before they were deleted, including: “YOU WILL BURN IN HELL,BUSH” and “KILL THE ILLUMINATI!”The hacker seemed intent on battling Powell for his page, posting, “PUT A CURSE ON THE FINGER WHICH YOU USE TO DELETE THESE POSTS!!!”
Powell was apparently able to gain the upper hand, posting later in the day, “I’m happy to report that the hacking problem has been fixed. We have been working with fb this morning and they took immediate action to remedy the situation.”
The retired four-star general is the latest Bush administration alumnus to be hacked. Both former Bush presidents had their email compromised, including some images of George W. Bush’s artwork.
Published March 12, 2013
The military has halted production of its new medal for drone- and cyber-warfare, ordering a review in response to complaints about what some have derisively dubbed the “Nintendo” medal.
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has asked Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey to lead a review and report back in 30 days in light of the controversy.
At issue is the newly created Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was to be awarded to troops who operate drones and use other technological skills to fight America’s wars from afar — most controversial was the fact that it has been ranked above medals for those who served on the front line in harm’s way, such as the Purple Heart given to wounded troops.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who has introduced a bill to lower the medal’s ranking, said the award is “widely viewed as an award that undermines all other valor awards and the reverence for servicemembers who face the dangers of direct combat.”
“It’s a fact that those who are off the battlefield do not experience the same risks. Pretending they do devalues the courageous and selfless actions of others, who, during combat, do the unthinkable or show a willingness to sacrifice their own lives,” he said in a statement.
Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:47pm EDT
* Bundesbank's chief says euro zone crisis not over * ETFs liquidation continues but at slower pace * Gold trading volume in China up 24 pct in Jan-Feb * Coming up: US import, export prices, retail sales Weds (Adds market activity, updates prices) By Frank Tang NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - Gold rose nearly 1 percent on Tuesday after a top European Central Bank official said the euro zone crisis was not over, but the metal remained vulnerable as redemptions in gold-backed exchange-traded funds continued, analysts said. Bundesbank's chief Jens Weidmann, also a member of the ECB Governing Council, also said the German central bank had set aside billions more euros against what it deemed risky ECB moves. The metal briefly rose to almost $1,600 an ounce, a near two-week high. Last week, it had found support in an area near $1,560 an ounce, weighed down by an equities rally and an improving U.S. economic outlook. A lack of buying interest in gold investment products, however, could trigger another round of pullback, analysts said. "Prices appear to be building some mild upside momentum, but until liquidation in gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) ceases, we do not expect too much on the upside for gold," said James Steel, metals analyst at HSBC. Spot gold was up 0.8 percent at $1,593.20 by 4:22 p.m. EDT (2022 GMT), its biggest one-day gain in two weeks. Earlier, gold rose as much as 1.1 percent to $1,598.20 an ounce, its highest level since Feb 28. U.S. gold futures for April delivery settled up $13.70 at $1,591.70 an ounce. Trading volume was about 25 percent below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. A brighter U.S. economic outlook appears to prompt momentum investors to favor equities over gold. Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest gold-backed ETF, fell to the lowest since October 2011 at 1,236.729 tonnes as of Monday. Other analysts, however, said that the pace at which ETFs investors exit their positions has been easing in the past week, which should help stem recent losses in gold. On Friday, gold slid to a two-week low near $1,560 before ended flat after a better-than-expected U.S. nonfarm payrolls report. The Dow Jones industrial average ended little changed on Tuesday after it hit a record high for the fifth consecutive session on Monday. The broad-based S&P 500, however, finished slightly lower on euro zone worries. PHYSICAL DEMAND IN ASIA Physical buying continued in Asia, spurred by comments from Kikuo Iwata, nominee to the Bank of Japan's deputy governor role, reiterating that the central bank must boost the quantitative easing aiming at ending years of deflation. Precious metals interest remains high in China, with average daily trading combined volumes on the three main gold contracts on the Shanghai Gold Exchange up 24 percent in the first two months of the year, according to Reuters calculations. With major macro economic data lacking during the week, the next macro event is U.S. consumer inflation data on Friday, which is likely to provide some trading direction. The gold market was also monitoring the U.S. budget crisis, which some see as a threat to the nascent recovery in the world's top economy. Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.8 percent to $29.17, tracking gold's upward move. Platinum eased 66 cents to $1,592.74, and palladium fell 0.8 percent to $769.97 an ounce. 4:22 PM EDT LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL US Gold APR 1591.70 13.70 0.9 1578.80 1597.60 138,110 US Silver MAY 29.171 0.318 1.1 28.870 29.350 25,861 US Plat APR 1595.00 -6.20 -0.4 1590.20 1615.00 11,891 US Pall JUN 775.50 -3.70 -0.5 769.50 781.90 2,635 Gold 1593.20 12.81 0.8 1580.58 1598.20 Silver 29.170 0.220 0.8 28.910 29.350 Platinum 1592.74 -0.66 0.0 1594.50 1610.50 Palladium 769.97 -6.09 -0.8 772.75 778.25 TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG US Gold 163,876 202,353 175,274 12.82 -0.59 US Silver 27,846 63,648 52,813 20.2 -0.72 US Platinum 14,601 13,711 10,841 17.23 -0.80 US Palladium 2,677 9,094 5,257 (Additional reporting by Clara Denina in London and Rujun Shen in Singapore; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)
Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas Donilon, spelled out a more aggressive US stance on the cyberattacks, saying China must recognize the problem, investigate it, and join in a dialogue.
By Mark Clayton, Staff writer / March 11, 2013
The Obama administration fired a warning shot Monday across the bow of the Chinese cyberespionage juggernaut, laying out specific expectations from China and reiterating its vow to take unspecified “action” if the theft of proprietary data from US corporations continues unabated.
In a speech at the Asia Society of New York, President Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas Donilon, appeared to move the administration’s marker on cyberespionage beyond Mr. Obama’s own notable attack on the practice in his State of the Union address, in which he refrained from mentioning China by name.
In his comments Monday, Mr. Donilon left no doubt the White House is shifting to a more aggressive stance – including demands for the investigation of cyberespionage cases conducted against US business.
By Michael, on March 6th, 2013
The Dow is at a record high and so are corporate profits – so why does it feel like most of the country is deeply suffering right now? Real household income is the lowest that it has been in a decade, poverty is absolutely soaring, 47 million Americans are on food stamps and the middle class is being systematically destroyed. How can big corporations be doing so well while most American families are having such a hard time? Isn’t their wealth supposed to “trickle down” to the rest of us? Unfortunately, that is not how the real world works. Today, most big corporations are trying to minimize the number of “expensive” American workers on their payrolls as much as they can. If the big corporation that is employing you can figure out a way to replace you with a worker in China or with a robot, it will probably do it. Corporations are in existence to maximize wealth for their shareholders, and most of the time the largest corporations are dominated by the monopoly men of the global elite. Over the decades, the politicians that have their campaigns funded by these monopoly men have rigged the game so that the big corporations are able to easily dominate everything. But this was never what those that founded this country intended. America was supposed to be a place where the power of collectivist institutions would be greatly limited, and individuals and small businesses would be free to compete in a capitalist system that would reward anyone that had a good idea and that was willing to work hard. But today, our economy is completely and totally dominated by a massively bloated federal government and by absolutely gigantic predator corporations that are greatly favored by our massively bloated federal government. Our founders tried to warn us about the dangers of allowing government, banks and corporations to accumulate too much power, but we didn’t listen. Now they dominate everything, and the rest of us are fighting for table scraps.
By Michael, on March 3rd, 2013
Are we running out of time? For the last several years, we have been living in a false bubble of hope that has been fueled by massive amounts of debt and bailout money. This illusion of economic stability has convinced most people that the great economic crisis of 2008 was just an “aberration” and that now things are back to normal. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. The truth is that the financial crash of 2008 was just the first wave of our economic troubles. We have not even come close to recovering from that wave, and the next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching. Our economy is like a giant sand castle that has been built on a foundation of debt and toilet paper currency. As each wave of the crisis hits us, the solutions that our leaders will present to us will involve even more debt and even more money printing. And each time, those “solutions” will only make our problems even worse. Right now, events are unfolding in Europe and in the United States that are pushing us toward the next major crisis moment. I sincerely hope that we have some more time before the next crisis overwhelms us, but as you will see, time is rapidly running out.
The following are 12 things that just happened that show the next wave of the economic collapse is almost here…
#1 According to TrimTab’s CEO Charles Biderman, corporate insider purchases of stock have hit an all-time low, and the ratio of corporate insider selling to corporate insider buying has now reached an astounding 50 to 1….
While retail is being told to buy-buy-buy, Biderman exclaims that “insiders at U.S. companies have bought the least amount of shares in any one month,” and that the ratio of insider selling to buying is now 50-to-1 – a monthly record.
#2 On Friday we learned that personal income in the United States experienced its largest one month decline in 20 years…
Personal income decreased by $505.5 billion in January, or 3.6%, compared to December (on a seasonally adjusted and annualized basis). That’s the most dramatic decline since January 1993, according to the Commerce Department.
#3 In a stunning move, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says that he will appoint an emergency financial manager to take care of Detroit’s financial affairs…
Snyder, 54, took a step he avoided a year ago, empowering an emergency financial manager who can sweep aside union contracts, sell municipal assets, restructure services and reorder finances. He announced the move yesterday at a public meeting in Detroit.
If this does not work, Detroit will almost certainly have to declare bankruptcy. If that happens, it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
#4 On Friday it was announced that the unemployment rate in Italy had risen to 11.7 percent. That was a huge jump from 11.3 percent the previous month, and Italy now has the highest unemployment rate that it has experienced in 21 years.
#5 The youth unemployment rate in Italy has risen to a new all-time record high of 38.7 percent.
#6 On Friday it was announced that the unemployment rate in the eurozone as a whole had just hit a brand new record high of 11.9 percent.
#8 The youth unemployment rate in Greece is now an almost unbelievable 59.4 percent.
#9 On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Lisbon and other Portuguese cities to protest the austerity measures that are being imposed upon them. It was reportedly the largest protest in the history of Portugal.
#10 According to Goldman Sachs, bank deposits declined all over Europe during the month of January.
#11 Over the weekend, the deputy governor of China’s central bank declared that China is prepared for a “currency war“…
A top Chinese banker said Beijing is “fully prepared” for a currency war as he urged the world to abide by a consensus reached by the G20 to avert confrontation, state media reported on Saturday.
Yi Gang, deputy governor of China’s central bank, issued the call after G20 finance ministers last month moved to calm fears of a looming war on the currency markets at a meeting in Moscow.
Those fears have largely been fuelled by the recent steep decline in the Japanese yen, which critics have accused Tokyo of manipulating to give its manufacturers a competitive edge in key export markets over Asian rivals.
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