Saturday, August 31, 2013

Jack's South America: Campos Braz Architecture and Engineering Ltd - Goi...

Jack's South America: Campos Braz Architecture and Engineering Ltd - Goi...: Campos Braz Architecture and Engineering Ltd - GoiĆ¢nia-GO : 'via Blog this'

Friday, August 30, 2013

Amanda Rosenberg of Google - Business Insider

Amanda Rosenberg of Google - Business Insider:

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There's Snow On Table Mountain In Cape Town

It's Friday morning and I got the news that there is snow on Table Mountain. I wish that I was there right now. I want to be far away from this life of stress, constant alertness out of fear and frustration. On October 4, 2007 I quit my corporate job of 8 years. I was at the height of my career. It was just the right moment to leave. I had made my big contributions to that company. I was sure that another job would come quickly. Unfortunately I landed in the middle of the worst financial collapse in US history. My career was effectively ended. Some people saw it as a lucky break because I was able to "retire at 58 years of age." Sadly the truth was different. I have not had a life of retirement. I have had a life of sheer hell on earth due to the big banks. It has been one battle after another. I have more or less won most of these battles. But I am also exhausted and tired of the whole thing. We are going to have to slave for 7 more years to pay off the big bank mortgage on our house. Get me to Table Mountain in Cape Town and let me play in the snow!!!! I want to forget Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, Chase Bank, etc.

The Dining Room At The Hearst Castle

Inside The Entrance Of The Hearst Castle

US and Switzerland reach tax evasion accord -

US and Switzerland reach tax evasion accord -

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

An Interview With A Digital Drug Lord: The Silk Road's Dread Pirate Roberts (Q&A) - Forbes

An Interview With A Digital Drug Lord: The Silk Road's Dread Pirate Roberts (Q&A) - Forbes:

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The British Television Series "The Fall"

I spent over 11 years of my life in the British world; six years in South Africa and five years in Australia and Scotland. What I came to love most about this world was British and Australian television. It is gutsy, tells it like it is, does not care who it makes mad, and has wonderful acting and writing. I made an amazing discovery on Netflix last night. It is a British crime series called The Fall. It is filmed in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The principal star is Gillian Anderson (Agent Scully of the X-Files.) Gillian plays a senior police inspector trying to catch a serial killer who strikes at young women. The scripts are brilliant. The cinematography is incredible. Gillian and the rest of the cast do a great job. I'm sure that actual police people will look at the show and say to themselves: Oh my God that's the way it really is!" It also has some really great erotic moments including a sex scene that Gillian was involved in with most of her clothes on. This series will keep you glued to the edge of your chair and constantly fascinated. I recommend it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jack's Africa: Isabel dos Santos - Forbes

Jack's Africa: Isabel dos Santos - Forbes: Isabel dos Santos - Forbes : 'via Blog this'

The US Authorities Request Facebook Data Covering 20,000-21,000 Individuals During The First 6 Months of 2013

August 27, 2013 7:07 pm

US tops league of governments probing Facebook users

Facebook received more demands from the US government for information about its users than from all other countries combined, the social network said on Tuesday.
The publication of Facebook’s first transparency report follows weeks of disclosures about US intelligence agencies’ Prism programme and other data-gathering techniques that have raised questions about the scale and legality of online surveillance conducted in the name of national security.





Facebook’s data aligns with similar disclosures byGoogle and Twitter that suggest the US makes much more frequent demands for personal information about the people using these sites than other countries.
The 11,000 to 12,000 user data requests thatFacebook received from the US authorities in the first six months of 2013, covering 20,000 to 21,000 individuals, marks a 20 per cent increase in the number of requests over the second half of last year.
That compares with Google’s 8,438 US requests in the second half of last year, relating to 14,791 accounts, about 40 per cent of its total.
Facebook said it complied with 79 per cent of the latest requests for information such as names, IP addresses and account contents. It did not provide additional details about what information it gave to the US government but said that the “vast majority” involved criminal cases, rather than national security matters.
After the US, governments requesting the most data from Facebook included India, with 3,245, Germany, Italy and France. It handed over more than two-thirds of the 2,337 accounts about which the UK government demanded details.
“We have stringent processes in place to handle all government data requests,” Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel said, repeating his call for “greater transparency” from the authorities in these situations.
“We scrutinise each request for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and require a detailed description of the legal and factual bases for each request. We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests.”
Privacy International “commended” Facebook for the disclosure, which it said had been a “long time coming”, but noted that leaks from the US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden suggested that governments were collecting user data from telecoms networks and other means that may not require web companies’ co-operation.
“The usefulness of transparency reports hinges on governments abiding by the rule of law,” Privacy International said.
“We now know that these reports only provide a limited picture of what is going on, and it is time that governments allow companies to speak more freely regarding the orders they receive.”
Facebook said the report “contains the total number of requests we’ve received from each government, including both criminal and national security requests”, and that it would publish regular updates to the figures.
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  1. ReportVSO | August 28 4:00am | Permalink
    Rosebud. Since You have figured it out by requests per 100,000,000 residents, there is nothing naive in it. Just facts. The USA and UK are in the same league. Hence, the domestic law enforcement structures apparatus incursion to research whomever they care in numbers activities tends to match it.-:)
  2. Reportrosebud | August 28 2:55am | Permalink
    On a per capita basis UK and US requests are about the same. This article is fairly naive in not making that point.
  3. ReportVSO | August 28 2:54am | Permalink
    Actually, they don't. If the FBI becomes curious for any reason about your "private" Facebook details, bank records, web browsing history and you are an American, then there is no obligation according to the law as it is written right now to go to judges and obtain the court warrant. A simple "national security letter" suffices for such purposes. The alternative option to become acquainted with naturalized citizens or resident aliens is through made up pretense under FISA rubber stamping judiciary permission.

    PS For criminal cases the FBI do request regular federal court warrants. If it is for vaguely defined intelligence gathering it is laughable to presume that so many hoops must be jumped to hobble the efficiency.
  4. ReportA Reader | August 28 12:58am | Permalink
    Good thing the government presents a warrant for each request that is possibly criminal in nature, and not pertaining to national security. Don't they?
  5. ReportVSO | August 27 8:22pm | Permalink
    These statistics are not relevant to the Maryland NSA prism "vacuum" suckers, cleaning the data collected through mass surveillance data mining algorithms from Facebook backdoor wire attached to servers. The numbers of requests mentioned have come from legal FBI and police agencies subpoena process information gathering activities. How much information "have they requested" in total from Facebook? 100%

Syria: A Comprehensive Look at the Options for Intervention | Stratfor

Syria: A Comprehensive Look at the Options for Intervention | Stratfor:

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Jack's South America: The Stage Is Set For Another Argentina Default

Jack's South America: The Stage Is Set For Another Argentina Default: August 23, 2013 6:39 pm Argentina loses appeal of ruling forcing it to pay bondholders By Benedict Mander in Caracas and Robin Wigg...

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Son Pedro's Christmas Gift


My son is 46 years of age and a Ph.D in Zoology. He is a researcher at a major Canadian university. He also comes from Rio de Janeiro.

EBAY is truly amazing in the massive variety of things that one can find there. I stumbled onto a real treasure and decided it was the perfect gift for my son.

It is a model of a Varig Airlines DC-10 that flew in the 1970's through the 1990's. I flew on this plane and airline from 1975 to 1980. It truly was the golden age of international passenger service for Varig.

I was employed by Occidental Petroleum all of those years ago. I was quite fortunate to be allowed to fly first class. The flight went from Miami to Panama City and onto Rio de Janeiro.

The minute that one sat down in their first class seat, the stewardess was right there offering a glass of expensive Moet Brut Champagne. One's glass was constantly kept full. After taxi and lift off, a cart came around with very expensive whiskeys from all over the world. When it came time for the dinner service, one's table was deployed and an expensive table clothe placed over it. A beautiful napkin and real silver eating utensils followed. A very impressive menu was presented with a wide choice of gourmet meals. A chef prepared food for each passenger. Another cart came around loaded with superb wines from all over the world. When one finished the gourmet dinner, another cart came around with desserts and expensive after dinner drinks. This was all washed down with very tasty coffee. Today only heads of states get such royal treatment. It will be a wonderful reminder to him of a golden age that is now gone.

A New Cable Network In The US


August 22, 2013 3:10 pm

Al Jazeera: a good kind of un-American

Broadcaster’s US news channel provides a much-needed alternative view, writes Matthew Garrahan
Microphone with the logo of Al Jazeera©AFP
Iturned on my television the other night, flicked to the Al Jazeera America cable news channel, which launched this week, and for a few minutes thought I had been transported to another country.
I saw an in-depth report on inhumane conditions at a prison in Louisiana, with people interviewed given plenty of time to explain their arguments. It was followed by a panel discussion on David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who was recently detained for nine hours by police at Heathrow airport. There were no interruptions by the host on Al Jazeera America. No one raised their voice, and differences of opinion were expressed with civility. There was none of the hysteria that has become de rigueur in US cable news, the lengthy reports were measured and calm, and there were barely any commercial breaks. It was shocking.





Backed by the Qatari government, Al Jazeera has spent years trying to get a foothold in the world’s biggest media market. In January it paid $500m for Current TV – a liberal channel started by Al Gore, the former US vice-president, which had almost as many viewers as employees – and has transformed it into a 900-person operation with bureaux all over the world, promising a more internationalist take on the news than US viewers may be used to.
If the first few nights are anything to go by, the channel has already differentiated itself from its rivals. CNN, the former ratings leader that has trailed in the wake of Fox News for several years, has become increasingly tabloid, with a bigger focus on human interest stories. The network, which rose to prominence for its reporting on the first Gulf war, recently sent a battalion of reporters to the Gulf of Mexico to provide relentless, rolling coverage of a cruise ship floating adrift after an engine fire. Aside from overflowing toilets and irate passengers, there was not much to report, and the ship was eventually towed back to land. CNN was widely mocked by the likes of Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, who said the network had “treated a stalled cruise ship like it was the Shackleton expedition”.
CNN has tried various strategies and changes in tone to claw back ground against Fox News, which has proved there is a sizeable audience for news with a conservative slant.
Fox’s slogan is “fair and balanced”, yet it often strikes a confrontational tone with guests. Consider a recent interview with Reza Aslan, an academic and professor of religious studies, who happens to be Muslim. The interviewer, apparently convinced Professor Aslan had an anti-Christian agenda, kept pressing him about why he had written a book about the life of Jesus. “It’s like a Democrat writing a book about Reagan,” the interviewer said, without a hint of irony.
Despite this, or rather because of it, Fox’s formula is commercially successful. Chase Carey, the chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, which owns the news channel, recently called it “a juggernaut” for the company (presumably because watching it for a sustained period is like being run over by a truck). The Fox effect can be measured in other ways. MSNBC, the voice of liberal cable news, has tried to mimic its rival from the other end of the political spectrum but has failed to replicate its ratings. Meanwhile, CNN will in September bring back its much maligned political debate show, Crossfire – a forum for Fox-style rage and political jousting – with a roster of argumentative hosts that includes failed presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
So there would seem to be a gap in the market for Al Jazeera. This is particularly true on the west coast, which is neglected by CNN and Fox. This week, Al Jazeera aired live shows up to 10pm on the west coast; CNN stops its live transmission three hours earlier, while Fox stops two hours earlier, leaving viewers in Los Angeles and Seattle to watch evening repeats – a curious stance for channels that claim to be dedicated to news.
But it will not be plain sailing for Al Jazeera. It has already run into opposition from Glenn Beck, a former Fox host, who left the network to start his own online news operation, The Blaze. Mr Beck said this week that Al Jazeera had “always been anti-American” and would peddle Islamist “propaganda”.
I could not detect any Islamist propaganda in the news coverage I saw this week on the channel; it all seemed fairly anodyne to me. But then there is always the possibility that I missed it when I left the room to make a cup of tea.
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  1. Reportdoofenschmerz | August 23 11:00am | Permalink
    AL JAzeera was a bit of an independent voice at one time but now si simply a Qatar/Muslim Brotherhood propaganda arm. They will fail as this type of propaganda is not appealing to most Americans. It has an audience primarily among Mursi Supports, the Syrian rebels and other rubbish the planet would be best rid of.
  2. Reportrolling_stone | August 23 10:27am | Permalink
    interesting article. I am only familiar with AJ's coverage of the middle eastern affairs, and it is ridiculously biased and sometimes borderline unwatchable. but then - with the ME coverage they have a clear political agenda, which might not exist in the coverage of American news
  3. ReportLondonGuy | August 23 10:01am | Permalink
    It's what BBC World used to be, could be but will never be with the suits running that place now.
  4. ReportJulian D A Wiseman | August 23 9:05am | Permalink
    @ luctoretemergo
    > Please make sure to write a follow up review in a few months when, no doubt, the varnish of respectability will have faded.

    It might have been fairer to have said “Please make sure to write a follow up review in a few months to report on whether the respectability has faded.” Had you asked that, I would have agreed with you.
  5. ReportTr2ple | August 23 8:46am | Permalink
    Here is another tip watch EU news like DWTV and France24. US news are so biased as an European it is unwatchable! Even when I am in China and CNN is the only english channel I rather browse the restricted Chinese Internet than watching that ****.
  6. Report2904 | August 23 8:41am | Permalink
    I've tried Al Jazeera and found it balanced and informative - and yes, it does expose the nastier underbelly of American life that goes unreported over there.
  7. ReportKeithTunstall | August 23 8:32am | Permalink
    As the article says, Al Jazeera is unique in having in-depth discussions on issues - with several points of view expressed. It is against the take-over by the military in Egypt, but then who isn't? It is against the settlement policies of Israel - but then look closely at who isn't. It is against Asad in Syria, but then, like everyone else, it is unclear what practical alternative they support. Their biases are not right-wing and not irrational. It's refreshing.
  8. ReportJ_R | August 23 1:47am | Permalink
    Its nice to have some TV mews witch is not highly biased by ties to the current administration and the Democrats socialist ideas. Fox comes across too often as flaky and CBS lacks any credibility due to obvious bias just like the Washington Post commonly known as Pravda on the Potomac.
  9. ReportVSO | August 23 1:21am | Permalink
    "Klirhed" Here is some vinegar on your Acid test. Legitimate criticism of Israelis government actions by A J TV or the FT readers should not be equated to anti-American attitudes by hinting it in the same paragraph. We are under no obligation to cheer for your country.
  10. ReportFrancheska (Maya) Smith-Johnson | August 23 12:59am | Permalink
    If you are like me, curious to try Al Jazeera America after Mattew’s favorable comparative analysis and the supporting comments, but your TV cable provider – AT&T, Cox Communications, or Time Warner Cable in my case – surprisingly does not carry the channel, you can drop them a message with a friendly request to improve their offerings.


    Just type in your zip code and click REQUEST.
  11. ReportVSO | August 23 12:44am | Permalink
    Friendly to the US strategic interests, Quatar government owned TV station that was described by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as very efficient for its existential purposes is hardly un-American. The mission of Al Jazeera is to counteract radical Muslim extremism influences by giving more balanced world view to the primary audience, whom they target and that has never been the US cable viewers oriented organization. I find the comparison to Russia today comments void in substance.
  12. ReportVSO | August 22 11:52pm | Permalink
    Al Jazeera is very American. People just don't know it-:)
  13. ReportStargazer | August 22 11:45pm | Permalink
    IMO Al Jazeera English's reporting is generally very good, but I would be very careful with regards to their coverage of the Middle East as the channel is very much intertwined with the Qatari state, and there has been instances in which Al Jazeera staff have resigned due to alleged editorial bias - e.g. Dave Marash and more recently the 22 staffers in their Egyptian station. The Qatari state have been very open in their support of various armed factions during the Arab Spring and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.


    In the end there will always be bias in any news organisation, including the BBC (With funding from the FCO) so it's always better to periodically cross check the same news from different news organisations (like Der Spiegel and Russia Today) just to compare the different perspectives, and make up your own mind.
  14. ReportSvengelska | August 22 10:18pm | Permalink
    I've watched Al Jazeera/English for over teen years, it is refreshingly different, extraordinarily anti-Israel (see Al Nakbar), and definitely pro-arab, but at least one has an opposite view from the pro-Republican Fox News.
  15. Reportklirhed | August 22 10:04pm | Permalink
    The acid test is how this post treats Israel and I am not optimistic. Of course a majority of commenters here will say that Israel is an apartheid state and should be unmasked as such so I won't be surprised. At least the people with an anti-American agenda will have a wider diversity of views, not relying solely on Russia today.
  16. ReportSpeculator | August 22 9:30pm | Permalink
    @ Avianflu . You are spot on about absence of objective comment on the ME. But BBC and US channels do not have objective comments about West, Asia, Latin America or practically anywhere. There is a presumption that certain gut instincts are correct no matter the evidence.

    So I watch BBC for Middle East coverage and Al Jazeera for pretty much the rest of the world.
  17. ReportErick blair | August 22 9:05pm | Permalink
    Talk about TV news being dumbed the in the USA, the BBC UK takes the cake the type of reporting is a five minute slot about a pander bear in Edinburgh Zoo, As for the Syrian sectarian civil War, its reported as an economic insurrection against cruel greedy masters
  18. ReportJohn Schaffer | August 22 8:33pm | Permalink
    I got hooked on watching Al Jazeera on the Internet starting with the "Arab Spring" three years ago. It seems like a good return on some of that oil money that we have pumped over there.
  19. ReportManufacturing Executive | August 22 8:16pm | Permalink
    "Chase Carey, the chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, which owns the news channel, recently called it “a juggernaut” for the company (presumably because watching it for a sustained period is like being run over by a truck)."

    It's difficult to be a reporter without injecting your own biases, eh? Shall we call you unfair and imbalanced then?
  20. Reportriskstrategies | August 22 6:05pm | Permalink
    The bias, if any, comes in its reporting of events in Syria. There seems to be a kind of Shia-Sunni difference in its reporting on Syria specifically and the Middle East generally..

    One worries that its editorial policy represents the views of its Qatari sponsors.
  21. ReportDanny263 | August 22 5:37pm | Permalink
    Many Americans are strongly prejudiced against anything Arab-related... I think that's going to be reflected in the tone of the comments!
  22. Reportluctoretemergo | August 22 4:32pm | Permalink

    Would you have given the same prima facia benefit of the doubt and written a positive review -as you do here for [absolutist Qatari and pro Brotherhood] Al Jazeera- to a network openly owned by say the Koch brothers or one of the big oil companies managed by, just to make the point, an openly devout Christian?

    I think I can guess the answer. Please make sure to write a follow up review in a few months when, no doubt, the varnish of respectability will have faded.
  23. ReportAvianflu | August 22 3:43pm | Permalink
    If Al Jazeera ever did an in-depth program on the politics, society or monarchy in its home state of Qatar or any of it GCC neighbors (apart sycophantically praising their leaders meetings) you could call it fair and balanced as a lot of its programming is excellent. However you never see anything meaningful on its home state: it is happy to report on anywhere in depth and critically except on Qatar and its immediate neighbors which it studiously avoids. As such and until it does it can never be considered unbiased.
  24. ReportBengt Larsson | August 22 3:37pm | Permalink
    "Fox’s slogan is “fair and balanced”, yet it often strikes a confrontational tone with guests."

    Oh come on. You don't give that "fair and balanced" slogan any credibility at all, do you?