Monday’s big news - that North Korea was giving up its nuclear program - was, as I expected, a premature April Fool’s joke.:
Having agreed to relinquish all nuclear weaponry and programs less than a day ago, North Korea is already back to its extortionist routine (via The Lost Nomad):
North Korea said Tuesday it will return to an
international non-proliferation regime and allow inspections by the
U.N. nuclear watchdog only after receiving a light-water reactor from the United States…
statement went on to say that the U.S. should not dream that the North
will scrap its nuclear deterrent without provision of a light-water
reactor, a basis of mutual trust [boldface mine].
Since the US position has been crystal clear that the demand for a
light-water reactor is a "non-starter," one wonders exactly what was
achieved by the "breakthrough agreement" yesterday.
Do you Yahoo!? Well stop! They’re evil. Rebecca McKinnion does a test on China’s internet filters and discovers that Google is the lesser of two evils.
What do these screenshots illustrate? They show that Yahoo! actively
filters politically sensitive terms from within its own service. Even
if a Chinese user finds a way to access Yahoo from outside China or via
a foreign proxy server, they will still get filtered search results on
politically sensitive terms. By contrast, Google does not actively
filter. The filtering of Google search results is done only by the
Chinese ISP… although Google helps hide this process from Chinese
users by choosing not to show results that the Chinese user would be
unable to access.
And after helping have a journalist jailed, Yahoo! has decided to build its own news team (IHT via Howard French).:
HONG KONG Journalists beware. Hot on the heels of news that Yahoo
provided the information that helped China’s state security apparatus
to track down and jail a reporter comes the same company’s announcement
that it is to hire a journalist to provide its own coverage of major
The first item is troubling enough. The Chinese reporter, Shi Tao, who
worked for a Chinese newspaper, was given 10 years in jail for
providing "state secrets to foreign entities" - the "secrets" being new
censorship impositions that he passed on to two overseas prodemocracy
The juxtaposition of the second is alarming. It is hard not to draw the
conclusion that Yahoo’s news gathering will be driven by the same
profits-at-all- cost mentality behind its cooperation with China’s
suppressors of news providers and whistle blowers.
For more on Yahoo!’s China activities visit the highly dedicated, English and Chinese, Yahoo Privacy Blog.
But to be fair to Yahoo!, no company would give up a chance on doing business in China because of ethical considerations…. What’s that? Time Warner quit China over censorship requests? Woah!
According to Chief Executive Officer Parsons, it was
AOL-Time Warner who pulled out of the partnership with Legend in 2001
after authorities in Beijing made a series of unreasonable demands on
the company in regards its joint Internet venture with Legend; leading
AOL-Time Warner executives to pull out of their partnership over
ethical concerns, and the fear that acquiescence to Beijing’s demands
would seriously damage the company’s standing with consumers in the US.
“[We were concerned about] what we would look like here in the U.S. if we agreed to a governmentally imposed regime where words like democracy had to be blocked'’
Richard Parsons, Chief Executive, Time Warner
among the reasons cited by Chief Executive Parson, as being behind the
ending of the partnership, was the insistence by Beijing that
Government agencies be allow to intercept, modify and retain data being
sent to and from the online subscribers; a move that would have enabled
Chinese security forces to eavesdrop on anybody in China who used AOL’s
software or servers to access the Internet, and to block any or all
content as they saw fit.
This doesn’t mean that AOL doesn’t suck, but merely that they suck less than Yahoo!.
Unlike China Doll, AsiaPundit .:
BEIJING (AFP) - A condom maker in southern China’s Guangdong province
is marketing its products under "Clinton" and "Lewinsky" brands and has
registered the names as trademarks, state press said.
The Guangzhou Haojian Bio-science Co is selling its wares under the
Chinese spelling of the names that read "Kelintun" and "Laiwensiji,"
the New Express reported.
The names in China are easily recognizable as former US president Bill Clinton and his one time lover, Monica Lewinsky.
The Clinton brand is set to be the company’s top product selling for
some 30 yuan (3.7 dollars) for a pack of 12, while the Lewinsky brand
was expected to fetch 18 yuan.
The company unveiled the product on Monday. General manager Liu Wenhua
expressed confidence the names would not get him into trouble since
they are only "trademarks of two foreign surnames and can’t be seen as
a violation of rights," the report said.
I visited Arms Control Wonk for details on Monday’s statement on North Korea’s nuclear program, and ACW does have great stuff on that, but also of interest was this creepy item.:
The advertisement (right) is not science fiction.
Blue Heron Biotechnology of Bothell, Washington “can synthesize any gene regardless of sequence, complexity, or size …”
synthesis is a revolutionary technology, which offers the prospect of
making life better for millions of people around the world. The ability
to order the exact gene would revolutionize the production of vaccines
and the creation of tiny bio-machines.
But what if you wanted to cook up some synthetic polio in the lab?
You can do that, too.
A group of researchers from SUNY Stoney Brook synthesized polio over the course of three years. Blue Heron claims it can perform a similar size job in a little under 12 weeks.
Terrified yet? In 2003, a CIA Report entitled The Darker Bioweapons Future warned that advances in biotechnology “could be used to create the worlds most frightening weapons.”
Blue Heron has refused orders that seem suspicious;for example, Blue Heron turned down
an order from Saudi Arabia for a variola gene related to smallpox—but
not all manufacturers of synthetic genetic material screen purchases.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni has launched a website. We hope a blog will follow. (via Cambodia Morning):
The ruler will keep his subjects up to date on the new internet site.
website is divided into five sections - news, biography, social
activities, correspondence and video - and will be written in three
languages, English, Khmer and French.
Before launching the new web page, the king used the internet site run by his father, former King Norodom Sihanouk.
Is the Korea Wave over? In Korea, it’s hip to be Japanese.:
Today’s Yahoo messenger cultural lesson was in regards to the word "san" which I have always thought meant "mountain" in Korean.
But lately, I have noticed that Koreans are starting to address each other like this: Bae-san, Kim-san, Park-san, etc.
I asked Jeff what was up with that. Surely they weren’t referring to each other as Mount Bae, Kim Mountain or Park’s Peak.
All of it seemed very reminiscent to
me of The Karate Kid and (what was his name, the guy who caught flies
in his chopsticks…Mr. Yagi?) the whole "Daniel-san" thing.
Jeff then told me that the Koreans are using "san" these days not as in the word mountain, but as in the honorific title used in the Japanese language just like Yagi did in The Karate Kid with Daniel-san.
The day job and technical problems have restricted blogging in recent days. Part of that will soon be solved.
After reading this transcript of Ted Turner’s interview with Wolf Blitzer I am positive the guy is nuts. Here are a few excerpts:
We have agreement there. But I had a great time. I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere. There’s really no reason for them to cheat or do anything to violate this very forward agreement. I think we can put the North Korea and East Asia problems behind us,
Well, hey. Listen, I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin, and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars. But I didn’t see any brutality in the capitol, or out in the DMZ. We drove through the countryside quite a bit to down to P’annumjom and Kaesong. We traveled around.
I wonder what Ted Turner is thinking now that the North Koreans have already reneged on their agreement? Plus has it ever crossed Ted’s mind that the people are thin over there not because they ride bikes, but because of the poor agricultural policies he mentioned in the interview? Make sure you read the rest on your own. Especially if you are from Alaska. Turner doesn’t feel you are worth protecting from a North Korean missile attack. You can read more this here and here. I guess we can just call him “Juche Ted” for now on.
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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