Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

China Rolls Up Welcome Mat (Donald Trump May Be Right)

May 3, 2016

Foreigners revisit assumption that openness that started under Deng could only grow

Shanghai in the 1930s was China’s most cosmopolitan city. After the Communist takeover in 1949, almost all its foreigners fled or were kicked out.
Shanghai in the 1930s was China’s most cosmopolitan city. After the Communist takeover in 1949, almost all its foreigners fled or were kicked out. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Updated May 3, 2016 2:00 a.m. ET

SHANGHAI— Henry Luce, the founder of Time magazine, was raised in China as the son of a Presbyterian missionary.

He and his family were among a population of foreigners that swelled to as many as half a million before 1949. Some were teachers, doctors and journalists. Others were merchants, engineers, architects and bankers. Within a few years of the Communist takeover almost all had fled or been kicked out. Mao harbored such loathing for Shanghai, China’s most cosmopolitan city, that he considered emptying it out completely after the revolution.

Deng Xiaoping’s “open door” economic reform policies in 1978 brought many of these groups flocking back. Many thought the openness would only grow.

It may be time to review that judgment: These days, foreigners are starting to feel less welcome. The Chinese legislature passed a law last week that puts all foreign NGOs under police administration with onerous registration and reporting requirements, essentially treating them as a security risk. Many will be forced to leave.

In line with this new mood of suspicion, a public poster campaign is warning young female government workers about “dangerous love” with foreign spies, a label frequently attached to the few foreigners who stayed on after 1949, particularly Americans.

State media regularly inveigh against “hostile foreign forces” trying to topple China’s socialist system.

Restrictions on foreign publications are tightening. Time, with a storied past in China, has joined a growing list of foreign news websites blocked by the Great Firewall. It includes the Economist, Bloomberg, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times—in addition to search engines and social-network sites like Google, Facebook andTwitter.

Christianity is in the firing line again: Authorities in eastern China, where missionaries labored before the revolution, are tearing down crosses atop churches.

Whole segments of the foreign business community complain that their prospects are narrowing. Last month, Apple Inc.—one of the great China success stories—had to shut down its online book and movie services due to new Internet restrictions.

More frivolously, the China Daily reports that the government plans to order residential compounds to switch from “exotic” English names to Chinese ones. Examples of the genre in Beijing include Merlin Champagne Town and Capital Paradise.

No, China isn’t closing for business. Compared with many other developing countries, it remains wide open. It is the world’s largest manufacturer, biggest trader and a magnet for foreign investment. About three-quarters of China’s high-tech exports come from foreign-invested companies.

China’s antiforeign turn is driven by several related trends. First, President Xi Jinping has a much lower tolerance than Deng for the unwelcome intrusion of foreign ideas about democracy, press freedom and individual rights that come along with trade and investment—what Deng called “flies and mosquitoes.”

The other day, Mr. Xi was railing against “Western capitalist values” invading the Communist Party’s own training schools.

Second, Mr. Xi is pushing ideology harder than any leader in decades. Increasingly, China sees itself in ideological confrontation with the West. In addition to stressing Marxism, Mr. Xi’s administration is seeking to revive traditional Chinese culture to counter Western ideas—thus, the hostility to crosses.

And Mr. Xi is promoting a strident form of nationalism. One aspect of this is much greater Chinese assertiveness in territorial disputes with neighbors, including Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. Another is an explicit set of government policies aimed at helping Chinese firms replace their foreign rivals in the domestic market.

All of this adds uncertainty to the outlook for foreigners who have landed on China’s shores. The 2010 census put their number at almost 600,000, not including residents from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Inevitably, NGOs working on sensitive issues like legal reform, labor rights and gender equality will be monitored even more closely.

Multinationals can expect a rougher ride. U.S. tech companies, in particular, are threatened as China increasingly insists on using homegrown products in strategic sectors like banking and telecommunications.

Foreign businesses in general need to brace for the unexpected in a more politically charged atmosphere.

The new mood is reaching into Hong Kong. Businesses there were startled this year when a group of booksellers who specialized in salacious works about Chinese leaders went missing and popped up on the mainland. If, as many believe, they were abducted by Chinese security agents it raises troubling questions about the territory’s autonomy and rule of law that underpin its status as a global financial center.

The Henry Luces of our era are especially beleaguered. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has tried almost everything to break into China. In March, as part of his wooing efforts, he took off on a run through Tiananmen Square on a miserably polluted day.

Looming through the haze in the background was a portrait of Mao—the great expeller of foreigners whose ideas are making a big comeback in Mr. Xi’s more ideological China.

Write to Andrew Browne

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in gray shirt, runs past Mao’s portrait at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on a severely polluted day in March. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES/FACEBOOK

Britain’s Labour Party has secretly suspended 50 members for anti-Semitic and racist comments

May 3, 2016

The Telegraph

Labour has secretly suspended 50 members for anti-Semitic and racist comments


 Jeremy Corbyn in under increasing pressure over an anti-Semitism row Credit: PA
Labour has secretly suspended 50 of its members over anti-Semitic and racist comments as officials struggle to cope with the crisis engulfing  the party.

.Senior sources reveal that Labour’s compliance unit has been swamped by the influx of hard-left supporters following Jeremy Corbyn’s election.


Ranieri tells fans: We want to improve a lot Claudio Ranieri tells fans ‘we want to improve a lot’ Play! 01:40
The  suspensions that have been made public so far are said to be just the tip of the iceberg.


On Monday night Mr Corbyn appeared to acknowledge there was a problem for the first time, while insisting it was “not huge”. He told the Daily Mirror: “What there is is a very small number of people that have said things that they should not have done. We have therefore said they will be suspended and investigated.”

Nah Shah was suspended for comments she made about the "relocation" of Israel

Nah Shah was suspended for comments she made about the “relocation” of Israel Credit: PA
There is growing pressure on the Labour leader ahead of the local elections on Thursday, in which his party is forecast to lose more  than 100 seats.Senior figures are now so concerned about the row that they are openly discussing the possibility of an attempted coup following the EU referendum.

MPs are said to be plotting a coup to remove Mr Corbyn after the election if things go badly, with shadow chancellor John McDonnell  poised to take over.

It prompted Mr McDonnell to issue an extraordinary denial of the claims on Monday night.

He said: “Media and right wing dirty tricks and lies trying to divide me and Jeremy. They should know it only unites us even more and makes us stronger.”

Also on Sunday night shadow education secretary Lucy Powell became the first shadow cabinet minister to acknowledge the party had a problem with anti-Semitism.

She told Channel 4 News : “There clearly is an issue with anti-Semitism in the Labour Party otherwise we wouldn’t have spent the best part of the last six or seven days talking about it.

“I think it is a very small element within the Labour Party and probably a small element in wider society as well. And that’s why we are taking swift action to root it out.”

On Monday it emerged that the party suspended three councillors within  seven hours  over a series of allegedly anti-Semitic posts on Twitter and Facebook.

Two of them had called for Israeli Jews to be relocated to America while a third compared a former Premier League footballer to Hitler.

Diane Abbott clashes with Andrew Marr while defending Labour Diane Abbott clashes with Andrew Marr while defending Labour Play! 01:00

A senior source within the party told The Telegraph that the problem went much further and the compliance unit has actually suspended 50 members  in the past two months.

They include up to 20 members within the past two weeks alone, with the unit struggling to cope because it does not have necessary resources.

Only 13 Labour members have been publicly named since October after being suspended.  The source said: “There are just six people in the compliance unit with one more joining after the EU referendum and frankly, it’s  nowhere near enough.

“They can’t cope with the number of new members that have joined since Jeremy became leader, they need more resources.”

John McDonnell once called for an end to the compliance unit

John McDonnell once called for an end to the compliance unit Credit: Telegraph

Mr Corbyn is facing one of the most dangerous periods of his  leadership after he was last week forced to suspend Naz Shah, a Labour  MP, and Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, over alleged  anti-Semitic comments.

Jonathan Arkush, the President of the Board of Deputies of British  Jews, said that Mr Corbyn’s failure to accept that there was a more  widespread problem is “an issue in itself”.

Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London

He said: “Labour will need to consider whether the compliance unit is  the right approach or whether there needs to be a stronger mechanism  to deal with what we see, to our sadness, to be a pretty serious  problem in the current party membership.”

John Woodcock, a Labour MP and critic of Mr Corbyn, said: “The Labour  party should make public the number of incidents it has had reported  in recent years to the present, we mustn’t allow any impression that  we are seeking to minimise this very serious issue or sweep it under  the carpet.”

Mr McDonnell has previously called for the  compliance unit to be scrapped altogether. His intervention was  described as “sickeningly irresponsible”.


Jeremy Corbyn denounces racism at May Day rally Jeremy Corbyn denounces racism at May Day rally Play! 00:54

It came as Emma Thompson, previously one of Labour’s key supporters, admitted she will not vote for the party in the forthcoming Mayoral  election because she no longer feels that the party reflects her  views.

Tom Watson, Labour’s Deputy Leader, voiced concerns that the anti-Semitism row could damage the party’s prospects in the local election.

Sadiq Khan, the party’s London Mayoral candidate, has also raised  concerns that he may lose because of the row.  Despite the row Mr Corbyn and his allies have sought to downplay the problem.

Diane Abbott, the shadow international development secretary, said claims that Labour has a problem with anti-semitism are a “smear” while Len McCluskey, the leader of the Unite union, accused critics of using the row to undermine the Labour leader.

One Labour MP said:”There’s clearly a problem that needs to be dealt with and it’s not right that well known figures in Labour like Jeremy and Diane and Len are constantly trying to downplay the issue when there is an problem that we need to address.

“People would have much more trust if we set out openly the scale of the issue we are facing and publish the number of people who have been suspended.”

Labour was on Monday forced to suspended three councillors within  seven hours over material on Twitter and Facebook.

Mr Aziz posted this image to Facebook

Mr Aziz posted this image to Facebook Credit: Facebook

Ilyas Aziz, a Nottingham councillor, was suspended when it emerged  that he said on Facebook that “it would be wiser to create Israel in America it’s big enough. They could relocate even now [sic]”.

Salim Mulla, a former mayor of Blackburn, was suspended a few hours  later when it was found that he had posted the same graphic proposing  Israel’s relocation to the United States.

Shah Hussain, of Burnley council, tweeted to Israeli footballer Yossi  Bennayouyn that “you and your country doing the same thing that hitler  did to ur race in ww2 [sic]”.

Speaking to The Telegraph Mr Aziz denied that the comments he posted  were anti-Semitic and insisted that the media was “trying to stir up  trouble”.

The compliance unit suspends members who are reported for “bringing  the party into disrepute”. It assesses material on social media websites and elsewhere and then launches a formal investigation.

A source close to the Labour leader said the party does not comment on the number of suspensions but added that Diane Abbott said on Sunday that there have been “12 reported incidents of anti-Semitism” in the party.

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U.S. Stocks Extend Losses as Tech Sector Slumps — Disappointing quarterly results from high-profile tech companies including Microsoft, Apple

April 29, 2016

Declines in technology companies’ stocks all but wipe out monthly gains for major indexes

The Wall Street Journal
Updated April 29, 2016 2:40 p.m. ET
U.S. stocks fell Friday, as deepening technology-sector declines threatened to wipe out monthly gains for major indexes.

The selloff in tech drove stocks toward their worst weekly loss since early February, leading some analysts and traders to question whether sentiment for the overall market could be shifting.

The tech sector, which has the largest sector weighting in the S&P 500, is on track for its second consecutive week of sharp losses. A string of disappointing quarterly results from high-profile tech companies—including Microsoft and Apple—has led to persistent selling in the group in recent sessions, making it the worst-performing sector year to date.

The tech-led declines have all but wiped out monthly gains for major indexes. As recently as April 20, the S&P 500 was up 2.1% for the month and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.6%. The S&P 500 is now on track for a flat finish, while the Nasdaq Composite is on pace for a 2.4% decline.

“Tech is such a vibrant area everyone looks to,” said Dan Morgan, senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust Co. whose fund owns shares of multiple tech companies including Apple. “The fact that earnings weren’t as good as everyone hoped, I wonder if that changes the sentiment in the market.”

He said he was pleased that the week ended with encouraging earnings from Facebook and However, he said he’s not sure if it will be enough to stem the bleeding in either the tech sector or the overall market.

“Overall, tech was a tough cycle this quarter,” he said. “We started off this week getting a bloody nose with Apple and Twitter and last week was a tough slide.”

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 152 points, or 0.9%, to 17679. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 1.1%.

The S&P 500 slumped 1.1%, weighed down by tech companies. Friday’s decline put the tech sector on pace for a weekly loss of 3.9%.

Biotechnology stocks also posted big declines. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index fell 3%, putting its yearly drop at 19%. Gilead Sciences, one of the index’s worst performers, fell 8.8% after the company said late Thursday that revenue from its hepatitis C drugs fell in the first quarter. was a rare bright spot Friday, as shares gained 8.8% after it reported its most profitable quarter ever late Thursday.

The Stoxx Europe 600 declined 2.1%, following a weak session in Asia.

Haven assets extended gains Friday. Gold rose 1.9% to $1,289.20 an ounce.

U.S.-traded crude oil fell 1.5% at $45.38 a barrel, after settling at a fresh high for the year on Thursday.

The personal-consumption expenditures price index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, rose 0.1% in March from the prior month, data showed Friday, after Thursday’s GDP report missed expectations.

In currencies, the dollar continued to fall against its developed and emerging-market peers Friday as soft economic data eroded expectations for a U.S. interest-rate increase in June.

The yen hit an 18-month high against the dollar, weighed down by disappointment over the Bank of Japan’s decision to leave its monetary policy unchanged on Thursday.

Shares of Gilead Sciences declined after the company said that revenue from its hepatitis C drugs fell in the first quarter. Above, the company’s headquarters in Foster City, Calif. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

The euro rose 0.8% to $1.1444, following four consecutive sessions of gains. The euro was bolstered Friday after data showed growth in the eurozone picked up in the first quarter.

The Chinese yuan was more than half a percent higher against the dollar, its biggest daily increase since it was de-pegged from the U.S. currency in 2005.

Stocks in Europe are up solidly for the month, while stocks in the U.S. are on track to eke out slight monthly gains. Still, markets have struggled to keep the momentum going in recent sessions, as economic and corporate readings have painted a mixed picture.

“The fundamental question dividing the market now is whether we’re rallying off the bottom, or if we are two-thirds of the way down with more losses to come,” said Neil Passmore, CEO of Hannam and Partners.

Stock markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai also fell Friday, while markets in Japan were closed for a holiday. For the month, the Hang Seng Index rose 1.4% while the Shanghai Composite fell 2.2%.

Shares in Australia, however, eked out small gains Fridays, buoyed by rising commodity prices.

Write to Corrie Driebusch at and Riva Gold at


APRIL 29, 2016

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are skidding Friday as technology companies absorb big losses for the second day in a row. Health care companies are falling after weak first-quarter reports from drug and health insurance companies. Markets in Europe also took hefty losses.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 148 points, or 0.8 percent, to 17,682 as of 2:12 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 22 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,053. The Nasdaq composite index lost 52 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,753. Losses over the last two days have wiped out the Dow and S&P 500’s gains from earlier this month. The Nasdaq is set to fall for the seventh day in a row.

TAKEN ILL: Health care companies fell after a bout of weak earnings reports. Biotech drugmaker Gilead Sciences said its results were hurt by big discounts and rebates on its costly hepatitis C medicines, and its stock lost $8.52, or 8.8 percent, to $88.48. Rival biotech giant Amgen reported relatively solid results, but fell $3.05, or 1.9 percent, to $157.51.

Health insurer Molina Healthcare slashed its full-year guidance because of higher medical care costs in Ohio and Texas, expenses related to recent acquisitions, and pharmacy costs, especially in Puerto Rico. It plunged $12.87, or 20 percent, to $51.35.

Molecular diagnostics company Cepheid shed $7, or 19.8 percent, to $28.40 as analysts were disappointed with its revenue projections for the second quarter.

TECH TURMOIL: Tech stocks continued to slide. Electronic storage company Seagate Technology lost $5.04, or 18.7 percent, to $21.86 after its profit fell short of estimates. Hard drive maker Western Digital dropped $6.20, or 13.5 percent, to $39.86. Apple, which is in a deep two-week slide, fell another $1.60, or 1.7 percent, to $93.23. The world’s most valuable public company is close to its lowest price of 2016.

THE QUOTE: Tech stocks are now the worst-performing group of stocks on the market this year. Dan Suzuki, senior U.S. equities strategist at Bank of America, said investors don’t like what they’re seeing in tech company results.

“A lot of investors have been disappointed by results from tech this earnings season,” he said. So they are turning to bond-like stocks such as phone and utility companies, as well as small- and mid-cap stocks, which struggled in 2015.

“Everything that was working through last year has been an underperformer this year, and vice versa,” he said.

AMAZON STRONG: E-commerce giant Amazon rose $52.83, or 8.8 percent, to $654.83. The company said revenue jumped 28 percent in the first quarter, and the company turned a far bigger profit than analysts expected. Cloud-based Amazon Web Services performed well.

Despite the broad losses, consumer stocks were trading a bit higher on the strength of Amazon stock.

BOOKED: Online travel company Expedia reported a bigger adjusted profit and greater sales than expected. Its stock added $8.24, or 7.7 percent, to $115.23.

CHANNEL CHANGER: Digital TV listing company Rovi will buy digital video recording company TiVo for about $1.1 billion in cash and stock. TiVo stock gained 54 cents, or 5.7 percent, to $9.96 and Rovi was unchanged at $17.35.

OVERSEAS: Stocks in Europe took big losses. Official data showed the eurozone economy rose by a surprising 0.6 percent in the first quarter, but investors were concerned that inflation slipped in April. France’s CAC 40 fell 2.8 percent and Germany’s DAX lost 2.7 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 shed 1.3 percent.

Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. They plunged Thursday after the Bank of Japan held off on implementing any new economic stimulus measures. The yen strengthened, and that trend continued on Friday as the dollar fell to 106.76 yen from 108.09 yen. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.5 percent and Seoul’s Kospi gave up 0.3 percent.

CONSUMERS CAREFUL: Consumer spending edged 0.1 percent higher in March. Consumers spent more on clothing and less on long-lasting items like cars. Consumer spending has been weak this year, but employers keep hiring.

NO DEAL: Groupon sank 62 cents, or 14.1 percent, to $3.81. The daily deals site reported strong results but left its guidance unchanged.

DRINK UP: Monster Beverage gained $15.94, or 12.5 percent, to $143.79. The energy drink company’s results surpassed analyst estimates. Monster Beverage also said it will buy back $2 billion of its own stock.

METALS: Metals prices continued to rise. Gold advanced $24.10, or 1.9 percent, to $1,290.50 an ounce and silver rose 23 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $17.82 an ounce. Gold is trading at 15-month highs. Copper picked up 5 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $2.28 a pound.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 63 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $45.40 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 81 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $46.96 a barrel in London.

BONDS, CURRENCY: Bond prices barely budged. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note held steady at 1.83 percent. The euro rose to $1.1445 from $1.1351.


AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at His work can be found at


  (This is from October 2014 but many still feel like they did then)

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has described the “stagnant living standards for the majority.”

The ripple effect of the president’s tax hikes is swamping take-home pay


MIT economist Jonathan Gruber testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, before the House Oversight Committee health care hearing. Congressional Democrats charged Tuesday that Republicans are seizing on a health adviser’s self-described “thoughtless” and misleading remarks to attack President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

ACA Architect: ‘The Stupidity Of The American Voter’ Led Us To Hide Obamacare’s True Costs From The Public

We are overstimulated — So much of life seems boring — The more entertained we are the more entertainment we need

April 25, 2016


It amazes me when people proclaim that they are bored. Actually, it amazes me that I am ever bored, or that any of us are. With so much to occupy us these days, boredom should be a relic of a bygone age – an age devoid of the internet, social media, multi-channel TV, 24-hour shopping, multiplex cinemas, game consoles, texting and whatever other myriad possibilities are available these days to entertain us.

Yet despite the plethora of high-intensity entertainment constantly at our disposal, we are still bored. Up to half of us are “often bored” at home or at school, while more than two- thirds of us are chronically bored at work. We are bored by paperwork, by the commute and by dull meetings. TV is boring, as is Facebook and other social media. We spend our weekends at dull parties, watching tedious films or listening to our spouses drone on about their day. Our kids are bored – bored of school, of homework and even of school holidays.

There are a number of explanations for our ennui. This, in fact, is part of the problem – we are overstimulated. The more entertained we are the more entertainment we need in order to feel satisfied . The more we fill our world with fast-moving, high-intensity, ever-changing stimulation, the more we get used to that and the less tolerant we become of lower levels.

Thus slower-paced activities, such as reading reports, sitting in meetings, attending lectures or studying for exams, bore us because we are accustomed to faster-paced amusements.

Our attention spans are now thought to be less than that of a goldfish (eight seconds). We are hard-wired to seek novelty, which produces a hit of dopamine, that feel-good chemical, in our brains. As soon as a new stimulus is noticed, however, it is no longer new, and after a while it bores us. To get that same pleasurable dopamine hit we seek fresh sources of distraction.

The full article is here:

Our Thanks to:

Sandi Mann
The Guardian

Rodrigo Duterte lashes out at Australia after missionary rape joke — Australia’s ambassador in Manila Amanda Gorely tweeted that rape and murder should never be joked about

April 19, 2016


Philippines candidate jokes about raped Aussie woman

Watch presidential frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte joking about the 1989 rape of female Australian missionary.


Rodrigo Duterte condemned for comments on rape of Australian missionary

The frontrunner to be elected president of the Philippines next month has lashed out at Australia amid uproar over him joking that he should have been first in line to rape an Australian missionary before she was murdered.

“This is politics. Stay out. Stay out Australian government. Stay out,” tough-talking Rodrigo Duterte said after Australia’s ambassador in Manila Amanda Gorely tweeted that rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialised and that “violence against women and girls is unacceptable, anywhere, anytime”.


Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City in the southern Philippines talks to supporters prior to addressing the crowd on his proclamation as the presidential candidate of the PDP-Laban political party in November last year. Photo: AP

Mr Duterte’s supporters swamped the Facebook page of the Australian embassy in Manila with angry remarks and abuse, forcing officials to exclude comments and post a statement saying they have the right to moderate posts which are discriminatory, hateful or threatening.

Nick-named “Duterte Harry” after the Clint Eastwood character, Mr Duterte has refused to apologise for his remarks during a campaign rally last week about 36-year-old Jacqueline Hamill, who was gang raped and killed by inmates during a jail siege in Davao City, 1000 kilometres from Manila, in 1989.

Philippines presidential frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte. Photo: AP

Mr Dutere told journalists that he was being castigated because of his “bad mouth” but could still provide “clean government.”

“I thought all the while I was doing my job for humanity,” he said.

“I do not want anybody controlling my mouth. I say what I say and I’ve said it and if it does not sit well with you that’s your problem.”

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City in the southern Philippines talks to supporters prior to addressing the crowd on his proclamation as the presidential candidate of the PDP-Laban political party in November last year. Photo: AP

Mr Duterte claimed he was so angry at the inmates who killed Ms Hamill and other hostages, including a three year-old boy, he took his Uzi submachine gun and fired at them, emptying the magazine.
“I was the first to fire…that was recorded history,” he said.

Mr Duterte, a long-time crime-fighting mayor of the city, said he saw Ms Hamill’s body after he ordered security forces to storm the jail, killing 16 hostage-takers.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, right, is officially declared the presidential candidate of the PDP-Laban political party by its president, senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, in November last year. Photo: AP

“I looked at her face – son of a bitch – what a waste. What came to mind was, they raped her, they lined up,” he said.

“I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing … but she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.”

Mr Duterte, who has pledged to shoot criminals, hang them using fishing line or drown them in Manila Bay if elected at elections on May 9, is leading opinion polls on a wave of discontent about violence and lawlessness in the nation.

“It’s going to be bloody,” he said of his putative presidency.

The remarks about Ms Hamill prompted widespread condemnation in the majority-Catholic nation of 100 million, including from the Philippine government, rival candidates and four Catholic bishops, who asked voters to judge if Mr Duterte is fit for office.

Robin Haines Merill, another Australian missionary who was in Manila in 1989, said Ms Hamill was assaulted and murdered while ministering in the jail.

“Don’t vote for people who speak vile things against women. We are all made in the image of God,” she said.

But Mr Duterte’s remarks also stirred some of his huge body of supporters to his defence.

“Duterte is a brute, but he has done his job well,” one Facebook user posted, an apparent reference to Davao, where his ruthless approach to crime is credited with turning a murder capital into one of the safest cities in the country.

“I’d rather choose a bad joke than a bad government,” posted another supporter.

University of the Philippines political science professor Aries Arugay said the remarks are serious and show that Mr Duterte “is not a perfect candidate”, but said he doubts the controversy will damage his campaign.

Professor Arugay said many of Mr Duterte’s supporters are “true believers” who will not be swayed.

“If you take a look at a strength of support for Duterte you could see that he really has a constituency,” he said.

The comments by Ms Gorely, a career diplomat who was sworn in as Australia’s ambassador in January, clearly angered Mr Duterte, who if elected has pledged to wipe out crime within six months.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra issued a similar statement.

“We note there has been widespread condemnation of the comments in the Philippines, including from President Benigno Aquino,” the department’s statement said.

Analysts say Mr Duterte’s surprise popularity is similar to Donald Trump’s in the United States.

He once told criminals they had two choices about how they left Davao: vertically or horizontally.

“When I say leave Davao, you leave Davao. If you do not do that, you are dead,” he said during a recent heated political debate.

“If you do not know how to kill people and you’re afraid to die, that’s the problem, you cannot be president.”

Fifty-four million Filipinos are eligible to vote to choose the president. The election is seen as crucial to the Philippines continuing to be seen as the “rising star” of Asia.

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Facebook Employees Asked Mark Zuckerberg If They Should Try to Stop a Donald Trump Presidency

April 15, 2016
Image: AP

This week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared to publicly denounce the political positions of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign during the keynote speech of the company’s annual F8 developer conference.

“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as ‘others,’” Zuckerberg said, never referring to Trump by name. “I hear them calling for blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, for reducing trade, and in some cases, even for cutting access to the internet.”

For a developer’s conference, the comments were unprecedented—a signal that the 31-year-old billionaire is quite willing to publicly mix politics and business. Zuckerberg has donated to campaigns in the past, but has been vague about which candidates he and his company’s political action committee support.

Inside Facebook, the political discussion has been more explicit. Last month, some Facebook employees used a company poll to ask Zuckerberg whether the company should try “to help prevent President Trump in 2017.”

Facebook Employees Asked Mark Zuckerberg If They Should Try to Stop a Donald Trump Presidency 
image: Gizmodo

Every week, Facebook employees vote in an internal poll on what they want to ask Zuckerberg in an upcoming Q&A session. A question from the March 4 poll was: “What responsibility does Facebook have to help prevent President Trump in 2017?”

A screenshot of the poll, given to Gizmodo, shows the question as the fifth most popular.

It’s not particularly surprising the question was asked, or that some Facebook employees are anti-Trump. The question and Zuckerberg’s statements on Tuesday align with the consensus politics of Silicon Valley: pro-immigration, pro-trade, pro-expansion of the internet.

But what’s exceedingly important about this question being raised—and Zuckerberg’s answer, if there is one—is how Facebook now treats the powerful place it holds in the world. It’s unprecedented. More than 1.04 billion people use Facebook. It’s where we get our news, share our political views, and interact with politicians. It’s also where those politicians are spending a greater share of their budgets.

And Facebook has no legal responsibility to give an unfiltered view of what’s happening on their network.

“Facebook can promote or block any material that it wants,” UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh told Gizmodo. “Facebook has the same First Amendment right as the New York Times. They can completely block Trump if they want. They block him or promote him.” But the New York Times isn’t hosting pages like Donald Trump for President or Donald Trump for President 2016, the way Facebook is.

Most people don’t see Facebook as a media company—an outlet designed to inform us. It doesn’t look like a newspaper, magazine, or news website. But if Facebook decides to tamper with its algorithm—altering what we see—it’s akin to an editor deciding what to run big with on the front page, or what to take a stand on. The difference is that readers of traditional media (including the web) can educate themselves about a media company’s political leanings. Media outlets often publish op-eds and editorials, and have a history of how they treat particular stories. Not to mention that Facebook has the potential to reach vastly, vastly more readers than any given publication.

With Facebook, we don’t know what we’re not seeing. We don’t know what the bias is or how that might be affecting how we see the world.

Facebook has toyed with skewing news in the past. During the 2012 presidential election, Facebook secretly tampered with 1.9 million user’s news feeds. The company also tampered with news feeds in 2010 during a 61-million-person experiment to see how Facebook could impact the real-world voting behavior of millions of people. An academic paper was published about the secret experiment, claiming that Facebook increased voter turnout by more than 340,000 people. In 2012, Facebook also deliberately experimented on its users’ emotions. The company, again, secretly tampered with the news feeds of 700,000 people and concluded that Facebook can basically make you feel whatever it wants you to.

If Facebook decided to, it could gradually remove any pro-Trump stories or media off its site—devastating for a campaign that runs on memes and publicity. Facebook wouldn’t have to disclose it was doing this, and would be protected by the First Amendment.

But would it be ethical?

“I’m inclined to say Facebook has the same responsibility of any legacy media company,” said Robert Drechsel, a professor of journalism ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He thinks Facebook should provide coverage that is thorough, fair, accurate, complete, and contextual. “There is no legal issue.”

The only way that Facebook could legally overstep, experts say, is by colluding with a given candidate. “If Facebook was actively coordinating with the Sanders or Clinton campaign, and suppressing Donald Trump news, it would turn an independent expenditure (protected by the First Amendment) into a campaign contribution because it would be coordinated—and that could be restricted,” Volokh said.

“But if they’re just saying, ‘We don’t want Trump material on our site,’ they have every right to do that. It’s protected by the First Amendment.”

We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment and will update if we receive one.

Update: Facebook says it doesn’t try to influence how people vote.


The World According To Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg: “I care deeply about connecting the world and bringing people together.”

April 13, 2016

Facebook founder take wraps off 10-year plan to connect world and dominate social media

The Associated Press

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out a 10-year plan to connect the world that sounded as much like a political cause as a grab for potential billions in dollars.

In a sweeping address that took on sharp political tones at times, Facebook’s 31-year-old CEO detailed how Facebook aims to reach the planet’s 7 billion people — half of whom do not have Internet access. And he took very direct aim at those who would limit free trade and immigration.

“We are one global community,” he said. “Whether we are welcoming a refugee fleeing war or an immigrant seeking opportunity, coming together to fight a global disease like Ebola or to address climate change.”

The theme of the keynote was, “give everyone the power to share anything with anyone,” positioning Facebook as a unifying force for good against the current political winds of divisiveness.

Zuckerberg detailed a plan to bring people together through an ambitious strategy of unfurling technology that jumps borders and crosses cultures, a sharp rebuke to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has advocated building a wall along the US-Mexico border and banning Muslims from entering the US.

“As I look around the world, I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward, against the idea of a connected world and a global community,” Zuckerberg said. “I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as ‘others.’ I hear them calling for blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, for reducing trade, and in some cases even for cutting access to the internet.“

“It takes courage to choose hope over fear,” he said.

In a post on his Facebook page after the keynote, Zuckerberg said the speech was “personally important to me and I spent a lot of time writing it.”

“Even if it’s unusual for a CEO to address world issues and lay out a 10-year roadmap to improve them, I care deeply about connecting the world and bringing people together, so I wanted to put this out there. It’s different from any other speech I’ve given,” he wrote.

The keynote, the most politically charged Zuckerberg has ever delivered, staked him as a business leader on the world stage. Speaking to a crowd of 2,600 developers from around the world, one-third of whom used a passport to get to the conference, Zuckerberg presented his vision in three pillars:

— Artificial intelligence, which will help Facebook better sift through and understand all the photos, videos and updates people post to Facebook;

— Connectivity, the goal of making Facebook and the internet available everywhere and to everyone through lasers and drones;

— Virtual and augmented reality, which Zuckerberg says one day will bring friends together even if they are on other sides of the planet through a pair of “normal-looking” glasses that can overlay digital elements on the physical world and become “the most social platform.”

“I care deeply about connecting the world and bringing people together, so I wanted to put this out there. It’s different from any other speech I’ve given”

Not everyone buys into Zuckerberg’s plans for global domination. In February, India dealt a major setback to Facebook’s plans to use Free Basics service to deliver a limited version of the Internet that included Facebook, at no cost.

“Mark Zuckerberg’s vision is both benevolent and altruistic as well as entirely self interested at the same time,” said Greg Sterling, contributing editor to SearchEngineLand.

Venture capital flows to startups dropped — Unicorns need money as “hesitation and negativity in the market”

April 13, 2016


© AFP/File / by Rob Lever | Investors are scrambling to find fast-growing companies that could compete with the likes of Uber or Facebook

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A further cooling of the funding frenzy for startups has heightened concerns over the so-called tech “unicorns” which have been feasting on venture capital.

A survey released Wednesday showed venture capital flows to startups dropped to $25.5 billion in the first three months of the year, from $27.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015

The report by CB Insights and KPMG found venture funding showed a second consecutive quarterly decline, following an investment frenzy that fueled unprecedented growth in startups with a valuation of over $1 billion, known in the tech industry as “unicorns.”

“A lot of the negativity we saw at the end of last year persisted in early 2016,” said Kerry Wu, a researcher at CB Insights.

While the drop in overall funding was modest, Wu said there was a notable decline in the number of “mega” rounds of investments of more than $100 million.

“This is a sign of the hesitation and negativity in the market,” he added.

The survey found only five new unicorn “births” in early 2016, lower than any quarter last year.

The report underscored concerns about a bubble in tech startups, with investors scrambling to find fast-growing companies that could compete with the likes of Uber or Facebook.

The term unicorn was coined to signify the relatively rare phenomenon of billion-dollar valuations for startups before hitting the public markets. But CB Insights, which tracks the unicorns, lists 159 of these companies with a total valuation of $563 billion.

Some analysts have been raising concerns about a bubble that could burst, leaving a trail of “dead unicorns.”

A recent report by Forrester Research said that “valuations are deflating for many private and public tech companies” but that the situation is not as dire as the 2000 dot-com collapse.

“Most unicorns can’t justify their valuations,” Forrester’s Ted Schadler said in the March report while adding that ‘the bubble popping will mean job loss in Silicon Valley and a pullback in disruptor investment but not a collapse of tech spending or of the wider economy.”

Securities and Exchange Commission chief Mary Jo White also waded into the unicorn arena last month, expressing concerns about inflated valuations.

“The risk of distortion and inaccuracy is amplified because start-up companies, even quite mature ones, often have far less robust internal controls and governance procedures than most public companies,” she said in a recent speech.

Analysts have pointed out that there were no initial public offerings (IPOs) in the tech sector in the first quarter, another sign of caution.

“There’s a lot of hesitation in the IPO market now,” Wu said.

“It’s understandable that no one would want to be the first to test this market under the circumstances.”

– ‘Wounded unicorns’ –

CB Insights found that 60 companies have raised money in “down rounds” since 2015 with lower valuations than in earlier rounds, a sign of “wounded” unicorns.

“With high-profile companies failing to live up to their private valuations, existing and potential unicorns are coming under more scrutiny than ever before,” Wednesday’s report said.

“Especially in the US, investors are coming to believe that the high valuations in the market may not be warranted and are stepping back from making any significant mega-deals. Over the next few quarters, there will likely also be more scrutiny of existing unicorns.”

The report said the emerging companies will need to show a path to profitability and improved control of expenses in order to attract fresh funding.

“Unicorns and late-stage companies will likely be challenged the most by current market realities,” the report said.

The report showed North America garnered the largest share of venture investment with $15.2 billion, up from $14.3 billion in the prior quarter.

The biggest drop came in Asia, with $6.5 billion compared to $9.8 billion. Funding in Europe rose slightly to $3.5 billion from $3.2 billion.

The overall number of investment deals fell to 1,829 in a third consecutive decline.

Tech companies accounted for 76 percent of the investments, according to the report.

by Rob Lever

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Says “Fearful Voices Calling for Building Walls” Is The Wrong Way To Go

April 12, 2016

By Mario Trujillo

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg criticized the “fearful voices calling for building walls” during his opening remarks at the company’s developer conference Tuesday in San Francisco.

The social media company’s founder and chief executive said the world has become a global community. But he warned against people and nations trying to isolate themselves — a possible allusion to GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who has heavily pushed a plan to finish building a wall with Mexico to limit the influx of immigrants.

“We’ve gone from a world of isolated communities to one global community and we are all better off for it,” Zuckerberg said. “But now as I look around and I travel around the world. I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward — against this idea of a connected world and community.”

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief, meeting with Lu Wei, China’s top Internet regulator

He added: “I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others, for blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, reducing trade and in some cases around the world, even cutting access to the Internet.”

Adopting the rhetoric of a politician, Zuckerberg said, “It takes courage to choose hope over fear,” and said the company would continue to focus on connecting people.
He did not mention any politician or nation explicitly. But during the speech, he briefly highlighted a number of policy issues including immigration reform, the Syrian refuge crisis, climate change and Ebola.

Zuckerberg has been a large advocate for immigration reform, including expanding a visa program for high-skilled immigrants. The Facebook founder’s name has even been invoked on the GOP debate stage as Republicans argued over the issue.

Zuckerberg made his remarks during the opening of the company’s annual developers conference. He described Facebook’s 10-year plan which includes connecting millions of people around the world with basic Internet service, as well as making improvements to virtual reality and artificial intelligence technology.

TAGS:Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, Walls, Immigration

Facebook, Google and Amazon to be forced to open up tax books by EU — “They have to pay their fair share”

April 12, 2016

‘This is… an ambitious proposal for more transparency on tax’

By Adam Withnall
The Independent

The European Commission is bringing forward plans to make major multinationals such as Google, Amazon and Facebook disclose exactly where and how much tax they pay across the continent.


The draft legislation being tabled on Tuesday was proposed before the latest Panama Papers scandal, but comes amid a growing clamour to force the biggest companies to pay their fair share.

The plan was expected to include rules requiring businessesearning more than £600 million a year to open up their tax affairs to public scrutiny, revealing their profits and accounts in every country in which they operate within the EU.

Since the Panama Papers, a new clause has reportedly been added to require the companies to say how much money they make in so-called “tax havens”. A final, more general statement would reveal profits in the rest of the world, treated as a single item.

According to The Guardian, commission president Jean-Claude Juncker is said to be in favour of pushing through the initiative.

But is has come under early fire from both campaigners who say it will be toothless and business groups warning some multinationals could be put off operating in Europe altogether.

There are also some concerns surrounding the fact that there is no common view between EU members states on what constitutes a tax haven.

The plans will be presented by Britain’s EU Commissioner, Lord Hill, who told the BBC: “This is a carefully thought through but ambitious proposal for more transparency on tax.

“While our proposal on [country-by-country reporting] is not of course focused principally on the response to the Panama Papers, there is an important connection between our continuing workon tax transparency and tax havens that we are building into the proposal.”

With banks, mining and forestry companies already covered by similar reporting rules, the new proposals would see transparency brought to around 90 per cent of corporate revenues in the EU.

It remains to be seen what powers the EU would have to actively tackle tax minimisation, beyond the process of naming and shaming.

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