Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015. REUTERS/U.S. NAVY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS
A Chinese H-6 strategic bomber flew around the Spratly Islands at the weekend in a new show of force in the contested South China Sea, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
It was the second such flight by a Chinese bomber in the South China Sea this year. The first was on Jan. 1, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The flight could be seen as a show of “strategic force” by the Chinese, the official said.
It comes after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has signaled a tougher approach to China when he takes office on Jan. 20, with tweets criticizing Beijing for its trade practices and accusing it of failing to help rein in nuclear-armed North Korea.
Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said he had no specific comment on China’s recent bomber activities, but added: “we continue to observe a range of ongoing Chinese military activity in the region.”
In December, China flew an H-6 bomber along the “nine-dash line” it uses to map its claim to nearly all of the South China Sea, a strategic global trade route. That flight also went around Taiwan, which China views as a renegade province.
In August, China conducted “combat patrols” near contested islands in the South China Sea.
Trump has enraged Beijing by breaking with decades of U.S. policy and speaking to the Taiwanese president by telephone.
A state-run Chinese newspaper warned Donald Trump on Sunday that China would “take revenge” if he reneged on the U.S. one-China policy, only hours after Taiwan’s president made a controversial stopover in Houston.
Last week China said that a group of Chinese warships led by its sole aircraft carrier was testing weapons and equipment in exercises this week in the South China Sea, where territory is claimed by several regional states.
U.S. warships conducted what they call “freedom of navigation” patrols through the South China Sea over the past year amid growing concern about Chinese construction of air strips and docks on disputed reefs and islands. — Reuters
Impact of Facebook data leak hard to tell — expert
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg addresses the audience during a meeting of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Ceo Summit in Lima, Peru, November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo
Mark Zuckerberg, vows to step up to fix problems as Facebook, the social media giant, fights over a growing scandal over the hijacking personal data from 50 million of its users.
The Facebook loss came after U.S. and British media reported that the data of more than 50 million Facebook users were inappropriately used by a British data analysis company, Cambridge Analytica, in activities allegedly connected with U.S. President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign.
But Adjunct Professor Amy Zalman of Georgetown University argued that the impact may be powerful in theories. It was hard to tell how much impact the data leak may have on the political campaigns, given the complexity of human behavior.
“Because they use our data for advertising, right? It’s what they do and how they make their money,” Zalman said.
She does not think that technology companies like Facebook will reform without some really clear incentives that come either from Washington or from citizens, from popular pressure.
“And that can be powerful but human behavior is a complicated thing. We don’t fully understand it,” said the adjunct professor.
Facebook admitted that an estimated 270,000 people had downloaded the app and shared their personal details with it. — Reuters
PH, China seek common legal framework to jointly explore South China Sea
(L-R) Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano met with his Chinese counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Wednesday.
During the said meeting, China agreed to prudently advance cooperation with the Philippines on joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea.
Wang also hopes to turn the disputed territory into a source of friendship and cooperation.
“The South China Sea controversy will be turned into a source of friendship and cooperation and we will jointly uphold regional peace and stability,” said the Chinese foreign minister.
For his part, Cayetano said he is confident that the countries would find a suitable legal framework on future explorations in the South China Sea.
“The Philippines and China are finding a common legal framework to conduct joint exploration and surveys. And with our discussions today, I’m confident that we will find a suitable legal framework for our two countries,” said Cayetano.
The two countries in February agreed to set up a special panel to work out how they can jointly explore offshore oil and gas in areas both sides claim, without needing to address the touchy issue of sovereignty.
The area is currently under a territorial dispute.
China claims most of the South China Sea, a key trade route and home to areas that are believed to hold large quantities of oil and natural gas. Along with China, parts of the South China Sea are subject to competing claims from Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue
Facebook, under fire over data leak linked to Trump’s election
FILE PHOTO: People are silhouetted as they pose with mobile devices in front of a screen projected with a Facebook logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014.
Lawmakers in the United States and Britain demanded on Sunday that Facebook explain how a political data firm with links to President Trump’s 2016 campaign was able to harvest private data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles without the social network alerting those whose information was taken.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio is the latest U.S. lawmaker to express frustration and said Facebook has responsibilities both legal and ethical in the issue.
“And I’m not sure if the sort of institutional knowledge about the responsibilities both legal and ethical that come with that have kept pace with their growth. I think another part about it is sometimes these companies grow so fast and get so much good press. They get up high on themselves that they start to think that perhaps they’re above sort of the rules that apply to everybody else,” said the senator.
Facebook disclosed the issue in a blog post on Friday, hours before media reports that conservative-leaning Cambridge Analytica, a data company known for its work on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was given access to the data and may not have deleted it.
The firm allegedly used Facebook data to develop methods that it claimed could identify the personalities of individual American voters and influence their behavior.
But Facebook did not inform users whose data had been harvested. The lack disclosure could violate laws in Britain and in many American states.
Britain’s data protection authority and the Massachusetts attorney general on Saturday said they were launching investigations into the use of Facebook data. — Reuters