China

So what, they’re spying on us

It must now be assumed that David “Tainted” Fisher is a traitor to New Zealand as he runs, in the Herald on Sunday, another story from another traitor, Edward Snowden.

This time it is about how we are supposedly spying on China.

So what…they are sure as hell spying on us.

Our spies and America’s top government hackers cooked up a plan to crack into a data link between Chinese Government buildings in Auckland, new Edward Snowden documents reveal.

The project appeared aimed at tapping data flowing between the Chinese consulate and its passport office in Great South Rd — and using the link to access China’s computer systems.

The revelation is the most explosive of the information about New Zealand revealed in the Snowden documents — and has sparked a firm Chinese diplomatic response giving rise to concerns our security relationship with the United States is impacting our trade relationship with China.

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Some serious cock tax is going to be paid in this case

I shudder to think about the cock tax implications with story about a Chinese bloke with 17 girlfriends.

A Chinese man who was dating 17 women at once has been found out after his girlfriends turned up to visit him in hospital following a car crash.

The man, surnamed Yuan, from the city of Changsha in Hunan province, had been dating all the women at the same time, and even had a child with one, state media reports.

His luck ran out when hospital staff began contacting his loved ones in the wake of his accident.

A stream of women between the ages of 20 and 40 turned up at Mr Yuan’s bedside only to learn of his substantial deception. Some women had been in a relationship with Mr Yuan for over a decade and at least one was planning their wedding. Read more »

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So you think your gay Prius and wind turbines are clean and green? Think again

The green taliban tell us we need to go clean tech…and green tech and wind and electric this and electric that.

But what does that all mean?

Apparently it means if we use wind turbines and drive gay Prius cars we are being clean and green and using cool tech to do it.

But the reality of their clean green tech solutions is far from their slogans and bumper stickers…so far that their claims are actually lies.

Hidden in an unknown corner of Inner Mongolia is a toxic, nightmarish lake created by our thirst for smartphones, consumer gadgets and green tech, discovers Tim Maughan.

From where I’m standing, the city-sized Baogang Steel and Rare Earth complex dominates the horizon, its endless cooling towers and chimneys reaching up into grey, washed-out sky. Between it and me, stretching into the distance, lies an artificial lake filled with a black, barely-liquid, toxic sludge.

Dozens of pipes line the shore, churning out a torrent of thick, black, chemical waste from the refineries that surround the lake. The smell of sulphur and the roar of the pipes invades my senses. It feels like hell on Earth.

Welcome to Baotou, the largest industrial city in Inner Mongolia. I’m here with a group of architects and designers called the Unknown Fields Division, and this is the final stop on a three-week-long journey up the global supply chain, tracing back the route consumer goods take from China to our shops and homes, via container ships and factories.

You may not have heard of Baotou, but the mines and factories here help to keep our modern lives ticking. It is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of “rare earth” minerals. These elements can be found in everything from magnets in wind turbines and electric car motors, to the electronic guts of smartphones and flatscreen TVs. In 2009 China produced 95% of the world’s supply of these elements, and it’s estimated that the Bayan Obo mines just north of Baotou contain 70% of the world’s reserves. But, as we would discover, at what cost?

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Photo Of The Day

Picture: Feature China / Barcroft Media

Picture: Feature China / Barcroft Media

How On Earth Did China

Build a 57-Story Skyscraper in 19 Days?

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Fiji doesn’t care , why do the media pretend they do

Radio New Zealand is trying to beat up the so-called spying story by trotting out academics who are simply guessing.

Otago University lecturer Iati Iati said Fiji had made it clear it wanted New Zealand out of the Forum however it was unlikely to succeed in that, given New Zealand’s clout in the region.

Dr Iati, who specialises in New Zealand foreign policy in the Pacific, said the spying revelations were likely to aggravate tensions in the region.

“I don’t know whether Fiji already knew New Zealand was spying on them, I would be surprised if it didn’t.

“But the fact that it has come out publicly, it gives Fiji just another reason to validify some of its positions in relation to New Zealand’s role in the region,” he said.

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Is spying wrong?

Is spying wrong?

Well not when it is the left-wing doing it to political opponents, and using criminals to enable it.

But widely, no it is not. I almost never agree with Michael Field, especially over Fiji, but this may well be a watershed moment for both of us because I happen to agree with his column the other day about the spying revelation of Nicky Hager.

It is not paradise out there in the South Pacific and while our friendly neighbourhood might be democratic and understand rugby’s off-side rule, corruption, self-interest and idiocy stalks their capitals.

And dangerously surprising things like coups, civil war and mutinies happen, and they have a real and direct impact on New Zealand.

The Snowden Papers suggest spying in the South Pacific is something new, but the reality is that we have been spying on Pacific countries for decades.

Back in 1914 London asked New Zealand soldiers to invade German Samoa. We said yes, but asked if they could give us some details of German defences. London replied we would look it up in an encyclopaedia.

These days acting like that is not on.

Time-shift to today and pick a Pacific country that suddenly finds itself with people being killed, buildings on fire and assorted bad people breaking into police armouries – as happened in the Solomon Islands.

New Zealand’s Special Air Service was on the way to save lives – what are they expected to do for useful intelligence, Google it?

As open as Pacific states can seem to be, it takes specialist knowledge and focus to know who the real players are.

Mobile phone metadata does not provide that.

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The delusions of the left

Greg Presland writes at The Standard:

 I wondered about this because I have spent time in Western Samoa and Rarotonga since 2009 and I used local telecommunications to keep up with work and politics in Aotearoa.  The thought that this information has been sent to the Americans is somewhat scary.

What planet are these morons on?

He is scared that his innocuous communications as the trustee of David Cunliffe secret donation laundering fund might have been sent to the Americans? Or ringing his flea law office to see if another divorce case has walked in the door?

The man, if you can call him that is deluded.

No one, let alone the Americans are interested in his communciations.

Hells teeth, everyone knows I supported Frank Bainimarama and that I went to Fiji three times in two years to meet and understand the political situation in the land of my birth.

Did I communicate with people on the phone or internet about it?  Of course I did.

Am I worried the GCSB might have listened in and passed my brilliant political analysis of the situation in Fiji onto the Americans or shock horror to John Key? No I am not. I doubt anyone cares.   Read more »

Explaining is losing: Len Brown goes on the front foot

Auckland Mayor Len Brown says the council’s overseas postings are all about economic growth and jobs in the city, and despite criticism, there will be more.

It was revealed at the weekend that Auckland Council has sent one of its staff to London at a cost of $230,000 a year, after his English-born wife became homesick. Another of its staff was sent to San Francisco.

“It’s all about jobs for us – investment in our city, visitors to our city and country, and economic jobs and benefits,” Mr Brown said on Firstline this morning.

Mr Brown did not know about the London posting before it happened, but with 8500 people employed by the council, he can’t be expected to know everything.

“The person directly responsible for this is our chief executive officer, and then the chief executive officers like Brett O’Riley for our council companies like ATEED [Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development]. So of course I would not know about everyone who’s employed and where they’re employed, but what I will say is I totally back Brett and his leadership.”

Asked if the position in London would have been created had the employee’s wife been from a country with fewer economic ties to New Zealand – such as Latvia – Mr Brown said he was “not going to get into the details of it”.

So he did know about the San Francisco “council ambassador”, but not about the London one?  Yeah, right.  That makes total sense.   Read more »

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Another Auckland Council trougher living life on the large overseas

Auckland Council is out of control.

Over the weekend it was revealed that one trougher from ATEED is living life on the large at ratepayers expense in London.

Len Brown professed no knowledge of the arrangements but backed it.

Now we know why…he probably did know, and also knew of another trougher living life on the large, this time in San Francisco…and there are plans for another in China.

Aucklanders have their own woman in San Francisco to go with their own man in London.

Pam Ford, of Auckland Council’s economic development arm, has been based in San Francisco since March last year.

On Saturday, the Herald revealed that Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) had created a contract in London for one of its senior executives, Grant Jenkins, at a cost to ratepayers of more than $230,000.

His English-born wife was homesick and had been longing to return home for several years, according to a former council staffer.   Read more »

Perhaps Gareth Morgan can give them some advice

Gareth Morgan has all sorts of advice lately, but perhaps he might like to take his motorbike on a trip to Vietnam to give them some assistance with a little culinary problem they are having.

VICE News reports:

Just after midnight on Tuesday, police in Hanoi detained a truck smuggling three tons of live cats into Vietnam. The driver, a 30-year-old man named Hoang Van Hieu, admitted that the ill-begotten cats were bound for restaurants in the country, where cat meat is, in fact, a delicacy, especially in the provinces of Thai Binh and Nam Dinh, not far from Hanoi.

“After receiving a tip, we searched the truck and discovered the cats inside,” Sky News quoted Dong Da district deputy chief of police Cao Van Loc as saying. “The owner, also the driver, said he bought the cats at the [Chinese] border area of Quang Ninh province. All of the cats were from China.”

With an average adult weight of about ten pounds for a healthy domestic feline, three tons means we’re talking hundreds of cats. The animals, crammed on top of one another in bamboo cages, were just the latest haul in a small cat-trafficking market that sources from nearby China, Laos, and Thailand to satiate Vietnam’s appetite for kitty flesh.    Read more »

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