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StealthGenie ‘stalker app’ maker arrested over its alleged privacy violation

<!– google_ad_section_start –> US federal officials have announced the arrest of the maker of a smartphone app marketed as a tool for catching cheating spouses by eavesdropping on their calls and tracking their locations, a system that critics have dubbed “stalker apps”. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Five new cadres assigned to Shanxi, all from outside the province

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Communist Party headquarters in Beijing has assigned five cadres to Shanxi to fill the vacancies in its top leadership after an extensive anti-graft campaign swept across the resource-rich province. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Sudden eruption of Japanese volcano a rare phenomenon, says French vulcanologist

<!– google_ad_section_start –> The suddenness of the eruption of Japan’s Mount Ontake volcano is an extremely rare phenomenon which makes it impossible to take precautionary measures, according to a French specialist. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Foreign minister Wang Yi calls truth in history, with eye to Japan, in UN speech

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Foreign Minister Wang Yi repeated an assertion that no one should distort history and that “aggression should not be denied” in an apparent reference to Japan in a speech on Saturday. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Uruguay’s Legalization of Marijuana Makes Sense in a Senseless Drug War

Conflicts over turf, profit and power in Latin America’s drug war have claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, from Tijuana to Montevideo. While Washington wants to keep throwing bullets and prisons at a problem that requires broad-based social, political and economic solutions, various political leaders and grassroots movements in Latin America have argued for the legalization of drugs as one way to stem the drug war’s spiraling violence. In December of last year, Uruguay became the first country in the world to enable its government to fully legalize and regulate the cultivation, sale, distribution and use of marijuana. This small country’s challenge to the orthodox approaches to the drug war may provide some steps out of the labyrinth of one of the region’s bloodiest conflicts in recent memory. “In no part of the world has repression of drug consumption brought results. It’s time to try something different,” explained Uruguayan president Jose Mujica in a 2013 speech at the UN General Assembly. Unlike the legalization efforts in the US, the new marijuana regulation push in Uruguay came about not from a wave of public demand, but through internal discussions within the Frente Amplio, the political party of the progressive Mujica. Party leaders wanted to take advantage of their majority in both houses of Congress to pass the legislation. The goal was to develop a policy that would weaken drug cartels by taking away a key profit source, and regulate, rather than criminalize marijuana trade and use in the country. “This law being attempted is a regulation,” Mujica explained in his UN speech. “It’s to regulate something that already exists and that’s in front of our noses, right there at the door of the schools, on the street corners. It attempts to snatch this market from the underground, identify it and expose it to daylight.” Within Uruguay’s population 3.3 million, 120,000 use marijuana at a minimum of once per year, with roughly 75,000 smoking each week, and 20,000 each day, according to the country’s National Drug Council. At this point, the legalization would allow people to buy 1.4 ounces (40 grams) each month from government-sanctioned vendors for the equivalent of roughly US$1 per gram. Users must be at least 18 years old and need to be registered in a confidential government database organized to monitor the number of purchases. On the production end, approved growers will be allowed to maintain a maximum of six plants per household, with cultivation limited to roughly 17 ounces (480 grams). Marijuana “clubs” will also be allowed, in which 15-45 growers can come together to grow 99 plants annually. Uruguayan government officials working on the program say it is designed to steer people away from the black market by providing high quality marijuana at prices that are the same or lower than the weed provided by unregulated competitors. The extent to which the regulation will help to finance existing social programs is also notable. Funds generated from the state program will support public healthcare and prevention programs, according to Uruguayan government drug policy advisor Agustin Lapetina. The question of whether or not the government will provide subsidies to help offset the cost of marijuana is still being debated. Rules surrounding this state controlled market are expected to be heavily enforced; illegal growers and distributors can face serious jail time. The government’s plan doesn’t allow for marijuana to be sold to foreigners, nor can the state sanctioned weed cross the Uruguayan border. Originally planned to be applied this year, the government announced in July that it will delay its marijuana program until 2015 due to “practical difficulties.” Mujica told reporters, “If we want to get this right we are going to have to do it slowly. We are not just going to say, ‘hands off and let the market take care of it,’ because if the market is in charge, it is going to seek to sell the greatest possible amount.” While this legalization program is a hopeful move in the right direction, in the context of the wider drug war, its sphere of influence is limited. Uruguay doesn’t come close to experiencing the same levels of drug war-related conflict as Mexico and Central America, and just as the cartels themselves operate across borders, complicity in the drug war’s violence and impunity spans the continent, from mining companies and police officers, to presidents and judges. Uruguay’s legalization efforts make sense in a senseless drug war. But this sense needs to be extended beyond the country’s borders for it to be fully effective. Which is why, earlier this year, President Mujica called upon leaders in the US and Europe to follow in Uruguay’s footsteps and legalize marijuana. “The industrial societies are the ones that have to change,” Mujica told Reuters. “For a small country, it’s possible to experiment with this, but it’s also very possible for a developed country because of the resources it has … Until things change there, it will be very difficult to change elsewhere.” Uruguay’s marijuana legalization law should be a wakeup call to political leaders across the hemisphere stop applying the failed policies of the past, and instead address the structural changes that need to happen to end the drug war. “Legalizing marijuana, as in Uruguay, is a good step, but it is only a first step,” explained Dawn Paley, investigative journalist and author of the forthcoming book Drug War Capitalism. “It is important to keep in mind that the real moneymakers, which fund the paramilitarization of drug production and trafficking, are cocaine and harder narcotics. Until narcotics are legalized or decriminalized on an international scale, violence and mass incarcerations under the pretext of the war on drug will continue.”

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India’s Modi wants Pakistan peace talks without ‘shadow of terrorism’

Prime Minster makes comments during first address to UN General Assembly

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Indian court convicts powerful politician and former film star of corruption

<!– google_ad_section_start –> An Indian court on Saturday convicted Jayalalithaa Jayaram, a former film star who became one of the country’s most colourful and controversial politicians, in a corruption case that has dragged on for nearly two decades. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Leung Chun-ying, reach out and meet the Hong Kong students

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Our chief executive is under siege. Hundreds of students have rallied outside Leung Chun-ying’s office in Tamar and his Upper Albert Road residence. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Hong Kong retailers’ expectations low for National Day holiday

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Retailers expect little or no growth in sales during the National Day “golden week” holiday that starts next week given poor consumer sentiment and the political tensions in the city. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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UN treaty limiting arms trade will come into force in December

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A UN treaty that for the first time regulates the flow of weapons into conflict zones will come into force this year after eight more nations joined the pact. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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The three deaths of Abubakar Shekau: Mystery of Boko Haram’s leader deepens

Officials say Abubakar Shekau may be a name adopted by leaders of various wings of Boko Haram, raising the possibility the death of one may make others more amenable to negotiating an end to the fighting

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Beware the ‘chubby blue guy’: Chinese dailies warn public against Japan’s ‘Doraemon’

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Chinese newspapers earned themselves a barrage of ridicule after they warned that the Japanese cartoon series Doraemon is just another tool used by the Japanese government to cover up its war atrocities. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Iraq PM says Islamic State plans attacks on US and Paris subways

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Iraq has “credible” intelligence that Islamic State militants plan to attack underground railway systems in Paris and the United States, the country’s prime minister said on Thursday <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Indonesia votes to scrap direct elections for local leaders

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Indonesia’s parliament voted on Friday to scrap direct elections for local leaders, despite angry protests against the move and criticism that it will roll back a key democratic reform of the post-Suharto era. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Iran president slams ‘blunders’ in the Middle East but eyes cooperation with the West

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Iranian President Hassan Rowhani wavered between criticism and engagement in a speech to the UN yesterday, slamming Western blunders in the Middle East but signalling commitment to securing a deal on nuclear power. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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U.S. knows of no subway plot, official says after Iraqi PM&#039;s warning

Haider al-Abadi said he was told of the plot by Baghdad on Thursday, and that it was the work of foreign fighters of the Islamic State group in Iraq

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Three Gorges Dam to offer free admission to ethnic Chinese tourists

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Three Gorges Dam will offer free admission starting from today to all ethnic Chinese tourists, including those from overseas. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Beijing graft-buster to ICAC: let’s work more closely

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A Beijing graft-buster has urged greater cross-border cooperation in fighting corruption. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Cargill promises to stop chopping down rainforests. This is huge.

Everything I’ve been reading about the U.N. Climate Summit had been making me pretty gloomy, until I read about the New York Declaration on Forests. The first notice was a press release from the Rainforest Action Network informing me that Cargill, the agribusiness giant, had pledged “to protect forests in all of Cargill’s agricultural supply chains and to endorse the New York Declaration on Forests.” Cargill has a big handprint — they have soy silos in Brazil and palm oil plants in Malaysia. So as of now, if you want to carve a farm out of the jungle, you’re going to get the cold shoulder from a company that is a prime connector to world markets. And this isn’t limited to hot-button crops like soy and oil palm. Here’s what Cargill’s CEO Dave MacLennan said at the U.N.: “We understand that this sort of commitment cannot be limited to just select commodities or supply chains,” said MacLennan. “That’s why Cargill will take practical measures to protect forests across our agricultural supply chains around the world.” It’s not just Cargill. Kellogg’s, Unilever, Nestle, Asia Pulp and Paper, General Mills, Danone, Walmart, McDonalds, and many other corporations have committed to the New York Declaration on Forests. But, here’s why Cargill is interesting: It’s making a concrete pledge, while the actual declaration is pretty mushy at this point. The declaration calls for ending forest loss by 2030. And, to quote a U.N. brief: “It also calls for restoring forests and croplands of an area larger than India. Meeting these goals would cut between 4.5 and 8.8 billion tons of carbon pollution every year – about as much as the current emissions of the United States.” Or about as much as taking all the cars in the world off the roads — that’s another comparison I’ve seen. The details are supposed to be hammered out in time for the 2015 convention in Paris. Okaaay. Does anyone care about a non-binding declaration of voluntary goals? Not me. But it does give me hope to see a company commit to something tangible — like upending the incentive it created for people to cut down forests. Usually the way these things work is that everyone agrees on the goals, and then no one is willing to make sacrifices to reach those goals. But this time we have a major player saying at the outset: “Not only do we support these goals, here’s how we plan to achieve them.” Of course, Cargill could say all these nice things and then do nothing. But that would be a lousy PR strategy. If it doesn’t follow through, it goes from being just another business-as-usual foot-dragger in the crowd to a recalcitrant liar that put a spotlight on itself. Activists have been pressuring Cargill for years, and now that it’s made itself news, journalists like me are going to be watching its environmental progress. There has been a cascade of companies announcing that they are going to eliminate palm-oil deforestation from their products. It feels like a tipping point. When no one cares, there’s a big economic penalty for being the first company to act ethically while all the others quietly capitalize on the easy profits it’s giving up. But once a critical mass of companies begins to do the right thing, the economic penalty instead falls on the laggards. It’s easy to act unethically in a crowd, but if you are among a small group of villains, it starts getting hard to find customers who want to support you. I would not be surprised to see other companies stepping up with actual plans for reforming their supply chains. This declaration of forests could just be the real thing.Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Climate & Energy, Food

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China’s Xi Jinping supports ‘democracy’… but not in the Western sense

<!– google_ad_section_start –> In a keynote speech Xi highlighted the need to underpin what he called China’s ‘consultative democracy’ – or system of consultative conferences. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands