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China, other Asians angry over embassy spy reports

SYDNEY (AP) — China and Southeast Asian governments demanded an explanation from the U.S. and its allies on Thursday following media reports that American and Australian embassies in the region were being used as hubs for Washington’s secret electronic data collection program.

The reports come amid an international outcry over allegations the U.S. has spied on the telephone communications of as many as 35 foreign leaders.

A document from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, published this week by German magazine Der Spiegel, describes a signals intelligence program called “Stateroom” in which U.S., British, Australian and Canadian embassies secretly house surveillance equipment to collect electronic communications. Those countries, along with New Zealand, have an intelligence-sharing agreement known as “Five Eyes.”

“China is severely concerned about the reports, and demands a clarification and explanation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Australia’s Fairfax media reported Thursday that the Australian embassies involved are in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing and Dili in East Timor; and High Commissions in Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The Fairfax report, based on the Der Spiegel document and an interview with an anonymous former intelligence officer, said those embassies are being used to intercept phone calls and internet data across Asia.

In a statement, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said his government “cannot accept and strongly protests the news of the existence of wiretapping facilities at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta.”

“It should be emphasized that if confirmed, such action is not only a breach of security, but also a serious breach of diplomatic norms and ethics, and certainly not in tune with the spirit of friendly relations between nations,” he said.

The Snowden document said the surveillance equipment is concealed, including antennas that are “sometimes hidden in false architectural features or roof maintenance sheds.”

Des Ball, a top Australian intelligence expert, told The Associated Press he had personally seen covert antennas in five of the embassies named in the Fairfax report.

He declined to go into further detail or specify which embassies those were. But Ball said what Der Spiegel has revealed is hardly surprising or uncommon. Many countries have routinely used embassies as bases to covertly listen in on phone calls, and reports of such surveillance have been public for decades, he said.

“We use embassies to pick up stuff that we can’t pick up from ground stations here in Australia — and lots of countries do that,” said Ball, a professor with the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.

According to the Snowden document, the spying sites are small in size and staff. “They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned,” it said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade declined to comment on the reports. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said only that the government had not broken any laws.

“Every Australian governmental agency, every Australian official, at home and abroad, operates in accordance with the law,” Abbott told reporters. “And that’s the assurance that I can give people.”

Still, there was predictable outrage in the countries named in the document.

Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said his government viewed the allegations as a serious matter and would investigate whether the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur was being used for spying. The country’s opposition party issued a statement Thursday urging the Malaysian government to lodge a protest with both the U.S. and Australian embassies.

Thailand’s National Security Council Secretary-General, Lt. Gen. Paradorn Pattanathabutr, said the government told the U.S. that spying was a crime under Thai laws, and that Thailand would not cooperate if asked to help eavesdrop.

Asked about the Australian embassy allegations, he said Australians are not capable of doing such sophisticated surveillance work.

“When it comes to technology and mechanics, the U.S. is more resourceful and more advanced than Australia,” he said. “So I can say that it is not true that the Australian embassy will be used as a communications hub for spying.”

___

Associated Press writers Thanyarat Doksone in Bangkok, Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Sean Yoong in Kuala Lumpur and researcher Zhao Liang in Beijing contributed to this report.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/china-other-asians-angry-over-embassy-spy-reports-082021315.html
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Make-A-Wish Will Turn San Francisco Into Gotham City For This Batkid

Make-A-Wish Will Turn San Francisco Into Gotham City For This Batkid

Miles is a great kid fighting a courageous battle against leukemia. But for one special day in November, he’ll be fighting crime as Batkid, riding alongside his hero Batman and protecting the streets of San Francisco.

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1,250 LEDs Shimmer On the Surface of This Abandoned Oil Tank

1,250 LEDs Shimmer On the Surface of This Abandoned Oil Tank

The shift in season reminded me of this cool old project in cold Helsinki, where a team of designers turned an abandoned oil tank into a lovely, year-round public art project.

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iFixit’s iPad Air Teardown Reveals Tightly Packed Innards Dominated By A Big Battery

Apple’s iPad Air goes on sale today – it’s easily the best iPad Apple’s put out so far, but we’re waiting with bated breath for the iPad mini with Retina display. Until then, however, the Air is also the most remarkable feat of engineering in any tablet device in terms of what goes on under the hood, or at least that’s what it looks like based on iFixit’s traditional day one teardown of the brand new device.

As it does with every new Apple product release, iFixit has managed to get its hands on one of the first shipping units available anywhere in the world, and they’ve immediately broken it open to see what makes it tick. In short, what makes it tick is a battery. It’s a huge one, and it takes up most of the space within the case – but it’s also actually still smaller than the battery of the iPad 4th generation, despite the fact that it’s a much more powerful machine.

tVQvayERBfCgAUcCThis battery has only two cells, and is rated at 32.9 WHr capacity, while the last iPad held a three cell, 43 WHr unit. The new slimmed down lithium ion power source is supplying energy to the same screen as on the iPad it replaces, which is a 9.7-inch display. That means the increased battery efficiency is coming from somewhere else; it also probably means decreased component costs for Apple.

Other highlights from the teardown include a look at the A7 chip (which is actually a slightly different version to the one in the iPhone 5s), confirmation that it does have 1GB of RAM, and the RF components that include a Qualcomm LTE processor with 1GB of dedicated RAM itself, which helps account for the iPad Air’s magical range of LTE band connectivity.

a7iFixit concludes by saying that the iPad Air achieves a repairability score of just 2 out of 10, which is in line with the repairability score of Apple tablets in general. If you’re looking for something modular, however, you’re probably not looking for an extremely thin and light tablet that’s as portable as possible while still boasting impressive display and battery life. I’d never pop the case on one of these myself, but it’s definitely fun to take a peek inside courtesy of someone who’s brave enough to attempt it.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/bDN2Esxi_N8/
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Progressive Government Fails

A reader remarked last week that Barack Obama is running out of human shields. With the father of ObamaCare unavailable to explain the greatest fiasco of his presidency to Congress, the American people had to settle Wednesday for his surrogate, Kathleen Sebelius.

Source: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2013/10/31/progressive_government_fails_318931.html
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Kristin Cavallari, Jay Cutler expecting 2nd baby

FILE – This April 12, 2012 file photo shows Kristin Cavallari at the Conde Nast Traveler Hot List Party at The Presidential Suite of Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. Cavallari and her Chicago Bears quarterback husband Jay Cutler are expecting their second baby. The 26-year-old former star of MTV’s “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills” confirmed the news Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, on Twitter. The couple have a 14-month-old son and were married last June in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Kristin Cavallari and her Chicago Bears quarterback husband Jay Cutler are one step closer to having their own football team.

Cavallari is pregnant with their second baby. The 26-year-old former star of MTV’s “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills” confirmed the news Wednesday on Twitter. She wrote: “We are so excited for Camden to be a big brother!”

Camden is the couple’s 14-month-old son.

Cavallari and Cutler were married last June in Nashville, Tenn.

The family splits their time between Nashville and Chicago.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/kristin-cavallari-jay-cutler-expecting-2nd-baby-194251152.html
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Snapseed for iOS updates with new HDR Scape filter, pre-iOS 7 users beware

Part of today’s Google+ event announcements centered on Snapseed, and some new features coming to the Google acquired photo editing software. Of all of them, one much touted new feature was the HDR Scape filter, and the iOS application has just been updated with all the newness. But if you’re not on iOS 7 you should tread carefully.

The iPhone camera has been able to take a form of HDR images for some time now, but the demonstration at the Google event showed some pretty dramatic effects applied to your photos. True HDR requires multiple images, but Google is trying to replicate the effects artificially.

A word of warning goes out to anyone still using iOS 5 or iOS 6, though. There is a bug that causes problems with sharing and saving images, and Google says that an update will be released for this in due course. For everyone else, grab the latest version from the App Store at the link below. Where does Snapseed stand in your mobile photo editing arsenal?

    



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