Tag Archives: Hong Kong

Chinese Oil Billionaire's Union Energy Says 1st-Half Profit Soared

By Russell Flannery, Forbes Staff China’s energy business is largely under the purview of big government-controlled companies such as PetroChina, Cnooc and Sinopec.  An oil company led by one of only a handful of private sector entrepreneurs to make a large fortune in the field reported a big jump in profit today. Hong Kong-listed United Energy Group’s net profit in the six months to June more than doubled to HK$525 million, or $67 million, from HK$214 million a year earlier, according to a company announcement. Earnings rose on increased production and higher oil prices, United said.  Revenue climbed to HK$2.3 billion from HK$1.4 billion a year earlier.   Union acquired the upstream operations of BP in Pakistan for $775 million in 2011, and has since increased its production there.  Last October, it announced a “production cooperation agreement” with Chinese government-run China Development Bank for $5 billion, giving providing capital for additional acquisitions.   Union’s chairman Zhang Hongwei ranked No. 825 on the 2013 Forbes Billionaires List with wealth of $1.85 billion.   — Follow me on Twitter @rflannerychina     …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Some home automation systems are rife with holes, security experts say

A variety of network-controlled home automation devices lack basic security controls, making it possible for attackers to access their sensitive functions, often from the Internet, according to researchers from security firm Trustwave.

Some of these devices are used to control door locks, surveillance cameras, alarm systems, lights and other sensitive systems.

The Trustwave researchers plan to discuss vulnerabilities they discovered in several such products during a presentation Thursday at the Black Hat USA security conference in Las Vegas.

One of the more interesting devices they tested was a home automation gateway system called VeraLite that’s manufactured by a Hong Kong-based company called Mi Casa Verde.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Upsides That Give U.S. an Edge…For Now

By Tim Ferguson, Forbes Staff

In a post earlier this month, I recounted my recent heresy in Hong Kong, a suggestion that the GDP growth rates of the U.S. and China would cross briefly in the next few years.  Therein, I laid out a case for a dramatic slowdown in China, which has since gotten more serious acknowledgment. I noted parenthetically that I would follow with a brief for a stronger U.S. rebound. So, here goes: …read more

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Reports: Snowden cleared to leave airport, enter Russia

Edward Snowden, who leaked documents revealing U.S. National Security Agency surveillance programs, has received a document that allows him to leave Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, according to news reports.

The document allows Snowden to leave the transit zone of the airport, according to a report by Russian state-owned news agency Ria Novosti on Wednesday. He can do so provided that the border service does not object, the report said.

Snowden is expected to meet his lawyer at the airport later today, according to an unnamed official cited by Reuters.

Snowden requested temporary asylum in Russia earlier in July in an effort to avoid prosecution by the U.S. government, which has indicted him on charges related to the leaks. Snowden is believed to have been staying at the Moscow airport since arriving there on June 23 on a flight from Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong seizes more than 1,000 baby elephant tusks in major ivory haul

More than 1,000 ivory tusks, mainly from baby elephants, were seized by Hong Kong customs in their biggest haul in three years, officials said on Friday.

The tusks, which weigh over two tons and are worth more than 2 million dollars, were discovered at the city’s main port in a cargo container from the African country of Togo.

It was headed for mainland China and the bags of tusks were hidden beneath planks of wood.

“We profiled a container from Togo, Africa, for cargo examination. First, we found irregularities at an X-ray check. Then, we opened the container and discovered the tusks of different sizes,” Wong Wai-hung, a customs’ commander, told reporters.

He added that the tusks were buried underneath planks of wood in the corner of the 20-foot container, which had been declared as carrying wood only.

More than 1,148 tusks were seized in the haul at Hong Kong’s Kwai Chung terminal, worth around $2.3 million.

It was the biggest ivory seizure in the southern Chinese city since 2010, since when another nine cases have been recorded.

Ng Kwok-leung, customs’ group head of ports control, said that the majority of the tusks seized in the operation were from baby elephants.

“It was a big haul, we should be happy. But when I looked at these tusks, we saw very small tusks of baby elephants. We were sad because they were killed for nothing,” he said.

The international trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has been outlawed since 1989 after populations of the African giants dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to some 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.

Ivory is popular with Chinese collectors who see it as a valuable investment.

It is often intricately carved to depict anything from devotional Buddhist scenes to wildlife and bizarre fantasies, and is also turned into more mundane household objects such as chopsticks.

Conservation groups have accused the Chinese government of failing to enforce laws to control the illicit trade.

Hong Kong, a free port which runs one of the biggest container terminals in the world, often sees the seizure of products from banned trades.

But customs officials said on Friday said there was “no concrete information” to show that the financial hub had become a gateway for ivory smuggling, despite its proximity to China.

…read more

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Man City manager Pellegrini could rejoin squad in HK

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini could rejoin the squad in Hong Kong on Tuesday according to assistant manager Brian Kidd.

Pellegrini left City’s pre-season training camp in South Africa and returned to his homeland of Chile due to a personal issue, leaving Kidd in charge for Thursday’s 2-1 defeat in a pre-season friendly against AmaZula.

The reason for the former Malaga coach’s absence remains unclear but Kidd is hopeful that Pellegrini will be back with his players when they continue their tour in Asia.

“He had to go back to Chile for personal reasons and he will hopefully be in Hong Kong on Tuesday,” Kidd said.

“You want the boss here but he prepared the team well for this and (assistant manager) Reuben Cousillas and the coaches have been superb since they’ve been here. The attention to detail has been terrific.”

City are close to signing both Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo, who had a medical on Thursday, and Montenegro forward Stevan Jovetic from Fiorentina, who claimed on Thursday that a fee had been agreed.

Kidd insisted no deals have been completed but admits that City require more attacking options after selling Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez to AC Milan and Juventus respectively since the turn of the year.

“I’m not quite sure how far we are down the road with Negredo. It’s quite close. We’ve not heard wither he’s definitely signed but we’re in the market for a couple of strikers,” Kidd said.

“With Carlos and Mario going we’re two short and when you’re going for the Premier League and you’re in the Champions League you need four strikers.”

Pellegrini took charge of his players for the first time last Monday and Kidd, who worked under previous manager Roberto Mancini and had a spell in caretaker charge after the Italian was sacked, has been impressed by the Chilean.

“The boss has only been there two weeks but he’s worked tremendously,” Kidd said. “He takes all the sessions and has got a wonderful backroom staff with him.”

City’s defeat to AmaZulu followed the 2-0 loss to Supersport United on Sunday and they will hope for better results when they depart for Hong Kong on Sunday.

Argentina internationals Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta only linked up with the squad this week, while Spain’s David Silva and new signing Jesus Navas will not start training until next week after being given an extended break following the Confederations Cup.

Despite suffering two defeats from their two matches so far, Kidd feels City are on course for the start of the Premier League season.

“The boys have worked really well and the Premier League is what we’ve been building up to,” he said.

“We’ve had two good games against good opposition. The AmaZulu game was a terrific workout and the Premier League is the most important thing.

“It’s a work in progress but there’s been confidence every day in training and it’s been a good training camp and two excellent games.”

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BusinessAviationVoice: Is Supersonic Business Travel Practical?

By Mark Patiky, AdVoice

Well, supersonic jet travel may be practical, but will the market pay the price? For years, Jeff Miller has been exploring an array of issues surrounding the feasibility of supersonic business jet development. This is part one of a two-part series where he addresses some of the questions and provokes many more. Jeff Miller (bravojjm@gmail.com) specializes in corporate communications for the business aviation and luxury goods markets, and operates his own advertising agency dedicated to brand marketing. He has led corporate communications for Learjet and Gulfstream. The Anchorage airport has become a typical refueling stop for U.S.-to-Asia business jet flights. The aim is to get in and out fast. The terminals (known as FBOs) that service business aircraft are practiced at turning business flights quickly—sometimes in just 30 minutes. Passengers and pilots want to minimize ground delays. After all, business jets are only midway through 15 or 16-hour journeys. Sure, some of the newest intercontinental-range jets like the Gulfstream G650 and the Bombardier Global 8000, which boast extraordinary 8000 or 9000 statute miles range (effectively the distance between  Chicago and Singapore), can eliminate the fuel stop. Even so, long-range business travel has a downside. It takes a physical toll on the toughest executives even when they’re flying aboard the most well-appointed business jets offering productive, comfortable cabins with outstanding eating, sleeping and work amenities.  Still, it’s not uncommon for senior executives to make more than one trip from Brazil or the U.S. to Asia every month, and traffic flows the other way, too, with executives from Taiwan, Hong Kong and elsewhere heading to the Americas. Would these executives pay a 30 or 40 percent premium for a supersonic jet to cut those missions to half the time or less? The answer is almost certainly yes. The rationale for a supersonic business jet is stronger today than when companies such as Gulfstream, Dassault and others began displaying Concorde-like models at trade shows more than a decade ago. At that time, the principal market for business jets was in the U.S., with business aircraft designed principally for U.S. coast-to-coast or U.S. to Europe routes. Trade patterns have changed, and the action today is not just in major business jet destinations and markets in China, India, Brazil and Russia, but also in Australia, Malaysia, South Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates among many other emerging global trade destinations. The number one criterion for business jet purchasers, according to Honeywell Aerospace, is range. It is no wonder that a jet such as the Mach 0.925 Gulfstream G650 sells so well, even though it is, in truth, only modestly faster than an earlier generation of jets. The G650 will still save an hour on the longest trips, and with more than 200 purchased the first day it went on sale, the market has resoundingly indicated that an hour saved is worth paying for. Even before the economic emergence of China and other rapid growth regions outside of North America and Europe, …read more

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Zou Shiming's American dream

China’s two-time Olympic boxing champion Zou Shiming says it is his dream to make it big in the United States, ahead of just his second bout as a professional fighter.

The 32-year-old Zou, who is also a three-time amateur world champion, is attempting to become the first Chinese to make a name for himself on the global stage in a sport that was once banned in his country.

His US promoters Top Rank are hoping the flyweight’s fame in China will open the door to a lucrative and untapped market. But Zou, Olympic gold medallist in 2008 and 2012, is looking in the opposite direction.

“When I first started practising boxing, I saw from television that a lot of fights were held in the US, so it’s my dream to fight there,” he told AFP ahead of his fight on July 27 in Macau against Mexico’s Jesus Ortega (3-1, 2 KOs).

“In recent years, China is paying more attention to boxing. I will start by fighting in Macau or Asia first, and then hope finally I will have the chance to fight in the US.”

The softly spoken Zou, who is from Guizhou province, in southwestern China, says that he wants to be challenging for a world title “within one or two years”. But he admits that it is a steep learning curve.

He defeated the unknown Eleazar Valenzuela on points on his pro debut, in Macau in April, failing to deliver the knock-out that the 15,000-capacity CotaiArena was baying for.

“I think in the first fight I was very inexperienced,” he said at a promotional event in Hong Kong, speaking through a translator.

“Though I have been boxing for many years, it was mainly in the Olympics. I showed many shortcomings in the first fight, but I think that I will be more mature after more bouts.”

Zou has been hard at it in Hollywood with the highly respected trainer Freddie Roach, trying to iron out the habits he has picked up after so many years as an outstanding amateur.

“At the Olympics you can win the fight in a short time. But for the prizefight there are more rounds, so it is more demanding physically. The way you use your strength to punch — or be punched — makes it much more intense.”

Roach, who has trained some of the best in the business including Manny Pacquiao, admitted that he had been disappointed by Zou’s debut.

With the fight later this month set to be shown again live on state television in China, meaning a potential audience of hundreds of millions, Roach hopes Zou will showcase his speed to pull off a convincing win.

“I’ve seen an improvement in the last few months, but then I saw that last time and it didn’t show in the fight obviously. The crowd got to him,” said Roach.

“He didn’t perform as well as I thought he would. But we’ve had another great training camp and the sparring has been going well.

“I have told him that he needs to give the crowd what they want, …read more

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Putin: Snowden must not damage relations with US

President Vladimir Putin says NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been warned against taking any actions that would damage relations between Moscow and Washington.

Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, three weeks after arriving at one of Moscow’s international airports from Hong Kong. The United States wants him sent home to face prosecution for espionage.

Granting Snowden asylum would add new tensions to U.S.-Russian relations already strained by criticism of Russia’s pressure on opposition groups, Moscow’s suspicion of U.S. missile-defense plans and Russia’s resistance to sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On a visit to the Siberian city of Chita on Wednesday, Putin said “we have warned Mr. Snowden that any actions by him connected with harming Russian-American relations are unacceptable,” according to Russian news agencies.

…read more

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Snowden to stay in Moscow airport for now: lawyer

US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden will stay in the transit zone of the Moscow airport where he has been holed up for three weeks while Russian authorities process his asylum request, a lawyer helping him said Tuesday.

Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer who helped Snowden file an application for asylum in Russia earlier Tuesday, told AFP the fugitive former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor was happy with his treatment at the airport.

“While all procedural questions are being decided, he will remain in the transit zone of the airport,” Kucherena told AFP in central Moscow when asked if Snowden would remain at Sheremetyevo airport until the asylum request was approved.

He confirmed that the asylum procedure could take up to three months, although a shorter period is theoretically possible.

Kucherena said he met Snowden at the airport on Tuesday to file the asylum request, with a translator the only other person present.

“He is satisfied with how he is being treated by the employees of the airport,” he added, declining to say how Snowden’s security was being ensured at the airport.

Speaking outside his office in a courtyard off a prestigious central Moscow street, Kucherena said he helped Snowden put together the asylum application after the stranded fugitive requested his assistance.

A supporter of President Vladimir Putin who supported Putin’s election campaign last year, Kucherena also has a legal practice in Moscow that takes on high-profile cases.

He also sits on the “public council” of the Federal Security Service (FSB), which was created by Putin in 2006.

According to its website, the council works to “develop a relationship” between the security service and the public. Its fifteen members have to be approved by the head of the FSB.

Kucherena was among a group of rights activists, pro-Kremlin lawmakers and lawyers who met Snowden at the airport on Friday, where the fugitive indicated that he wanted to file for asylum in Russia.

Snowden later called Kucherena “by telephone” asking for his help, the lawyer said. He said he did not know why Snowden singled him out.

“I didn’t look for him,” he said. “Do you have a way of talking with him? I didn’t either.

“He reached out to me and asked me to come” after the meeting on Friday, said Kucherena, adding that he had a long meeting with Snowden Monday, when he explained Russian laws.

He then came back to the airport on Tuesday to “put together” the application for the migration service.

The two met in the transit zone, Kucherena said, but said he could not remember which terminal of the airport. At these meetings he said he had not seen Sarah Harrison, the British citizen and WikiLeaks employee who has accompanied Snowden.

“Most likely she has documents,” he said, when asked whether Harrison has a Russian visa. “I had no contact with her.”

Kucherena said Snowden, who has been marooned in the transit zone since arriving from Hong Kong seeking to escape US justice, has “options”.

“Right now he wants to stay in Russia. He has options. He has friends and a lot of supporters…. …read more

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Snowden submits asylum request

A Russian lawyer says that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has asked for temporary asylum in Russia.

Anatoly Kucherena said that Snowden submitted the asylum request Tuesday to Russia’s Federal Migration Service. The service had no immediate comment.

He said Snowden made the move following their meeting at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

Snowden has been stuck in Sheremetyevo’s transit zone since he arrived from Hong Kong on June 23. He said Friday at a meeting with Russian rights activists and public figures that he would seek at least temporary refuge in Russia until he could fly to one of the Latin American nations that have offered him asylum.

…read more

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Beijing rep assures, lectures Hong Kong lawmakers

Beijing’s top representative in Hong Kong has met with local lawmakers to ease tensions between the mainland and its special administrative region. But he warns against a planned protest and says Hong Kongers will never get to nominate their own leadership candidates without central government approval.

Tuesday’s working lunch marked the first meeting between the head of the central government’s liaison office and the full membership of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Not all lawmakers attended, however, and Beijing’s representative Zhang Xiaoming seemed to dampen the mood further by flatly ruling out the right of Hong Kong residents to nominate their own candidates in future elections for chief executive, Hong Kong’s top local leader.

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Snowden will leave Russia as soon as he can: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, who has been stuck in a Moscow airport for three weeks, would leave Russia as soon as he is able.

He also accused Washington of preventing the fugitive from leaving Russia after he arrived from Hong Kong on June 23. “He arrived on our territory uninvited, he did not fly to us,” Russian news agencies quoted Putin as saying.

“They themselves scared off all the other countries, no one wants to take him, and therefore they essentially themselves trapped him on our territory,” added the president, according to the agencies.

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Snowden has enough information to cause US government worst damage in history, journalist says

National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden possesses enough information to cause more damage to the United States government than “anyone else has ever had in the history” of the country, according to the journalist who first reported the former contractor’s leaked documents.

Glenn Greenwald, a columnist for The Guardian newspaper who first reported on the intelligence leaks, told Argentinian newspaper La Nacion that the U.S. government should exercise extreme care with Snowden because he has the potential to do further damage to the country.

“But that’s not his goal,” Greenwald told the newspaper. “His objective is to expose software that people around the world use without knowing what they are exposing themselves to, without consciously agreeing to surrender their rights to privacy. He has a huge number of documents that would be very harmful to the U.S. government if they were made public.”

Greenwald also told The Associated Press that disclosure of the information in the documents would “allow somebody who read them to know exactly how the NSA does what it does, which would in turn allow them to evade that surveillance or replicate it.”

Greenwald said “literally thousands” of documents taken by Snowden constitute “basically the instruction manual” for how the NSA is built.

“In order to take documents with him that proved that what he was saying was true he had to take ones that included very sensitive, detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do,” said Greenwald, adding that the interview took place about four hours after his last interaction with Snowden.

Greenwald believes the disclosure of the information in the documents would not prove harmful to Americans or their national security, but said Snowden has insisted they not be made public.

“I think it would be harmful to the U.S. government, as they perceive their own interests, if the details of those programs were revealed,” said Greenwald, who has previously said the documents have been encrypted to help ensure their safekeeping.

On Friday, Snowden, 30, emerged after weeks of hiding in a Moscow airport and said he was willing to meet President Vladimir Putin’s condition that he stop leaking U.S. secrets if it means Russia would grant him asylum until he can move on to somewhere in Latin America.

Snowden is believed to be stuck in the transit area of Moscow’s main international airport, where he arrived from Hong Kong on June 23. Although he has had asylum offers from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia, the logistics of reaching whichever country is complicated since his U.S. passport has been revoked.

Despite his predicament, Snowden remains “calm and tranquil,” Greenwald said.

“I haven’t sensed an iota of remorse or regret or anxiety over the situation that he’s in,” said Greenwald. “He’s of course tense and focused on his security and his short-term well-being to the best extent that he can, but he’s very resigned to the fact that things might go terribly wrong and he’s at peace with that.”

Greenwald said he worried that interest in Snowden’s personal saga had detracted from the impact of his revelations, …read more

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