Recent arrests raise fears spymasters are tapping the vast reach of social media giants The arrest earlier this month of two former Twitter employees, now charged with spying for Saudi Arabia, cast rare light on Silicon Valley as a dark nexus of power and information. The US Justice Department accuses the pair of using their access to the interior plumbing of a major social network, widely used in the repressive petro-kingdom, to steal information on dissidents at home and abroad. If proven, the case would supply firm evidence of something industry figures have long suggested: that US tech giants have been extensively infiltrated by multiple foreign intelligence agencies. Take Peter Thiel,... … [Read more...] about Is Silicon Valley full of Chinese and Russian spies?
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A renowned sommelier who spent years serving Silicon Valley elite is now living on the streets in Oakland after succumbing to drug addiction. Mark-Steven Holys, 61, shared his story with New York Times this week, offering unique insight into Northern California's growing homelessness crisis. Speaking from his tent in a rat-infested Oakland homeless encampment, Holys reminisced on the days he spent hunting for the perfect bottle of wine to pair with opulent dishes ordered by the likes of Apple founder Steve Jobs, champion quarterback Joe Montana and former secretary of state George Shultz. Holys worked in the sommelier scene for decades, rising through the ranks of the wine world over the 80s and 90s. His life began to unravel when he got addicted to crack cocaine. He funded the habit through stealing and spent eight years behind bars as a result. 'I was the type of guy who would break into your car and steal the change in your ashtray,' … [Read more...] about REVEALED: How top sommelier who served Silicon Valley elites such as Steve Jobs at renowned Bay Area restaurants for decades became homeless after succumbing to crack cocaine addiction
A woman "hell-bent" on tormenting her neighbour with a giant potted plant has been banned from putting items outside his house.Mary de Jong, 68, was found guilty of ignoring a court order to remove the shrub next to Stephen Johnston's kitchen window.The size of the plant stopped him from opening it, Exeter Crown Court heard.A new restraining order forbids her from placing objects within 1m (3ft 3ins) of his home.The court previously heard the long-running dispute stemmed from a row over access to a shared courtyard in Topsham, Devon.Sentencing, Judge Peter Johnson told her: "If you break this order, the likely outcome would be an immediate custodial sentence.""You repeatedly told the jury it was your land and you could do with it as you wished. You were wrong in that because you were subject to the court order," he added.De Jong, of White Street, also failed to remove CCTV cameras pointed at Mr Johnston's home as part of the original order.She claimed it was no longer pointing at Mr … [Read more...] about Mary De Jong: Giant plant row neighbour gets new restraining order
China is buying control in the South Pacific and its growing influence in the region could lead to a takeover of Australia, a former US Navy intelligence commander has warned. The communist superpower is splashing cash at Australia's island neighbours which agree to switch their diplomatic allegiances from Taiwan to Beijing, a bombshell 60 Minutes investigation found. All countries China is diplomatically aligned with must not recognise Taiwan, Beijing demands. The Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Kiribati are the latest to switch their allegiance to China as it steps up plans to extend its influence in the region. Former intelligence chief of the US Navy's Pacific Fleet Captain Jim Fanell described China's plans for the South Pacific as 'expansionist' and a 'soft invasion'. General Sam Kaouna (pictured with wife Josie) has no problems with doing business with China if he becomes Bougainville's first president 'They're interested in … [Read more...] about China’s march through the South Pacific: How the communist superpower is quietly ‘invading’ Australia’s cash-strapped neighbours – and why you should be worried
Authorities in southeastern Zhejiang province are believed to be under a deadline to remove crosses from the spires, vaults, roofs and wall arches of the 4,000 or so churches in the region, Associated Press reported. But demolition crews have met resistance as parishioners, who claim the demolition of crosses has been taking place since last year, hold prayer vigils and block the entrances to church grounds with cargo trucks. Even China's state-approved Christian associations have denounced the campaign as unconstitutional and humiliating. Communist China officially guarantees freedom of religion though authorities are sometimes suspicious of religious groups. The state-run Global Times newspaper said in July authorities in Zhejiang denied demolishing crosses on churches, but had said some crosses had been "relocated" out of safety concerns. In a DW interview, Fenggang Yang, Director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, speaks not only about the … [Read more...] about Expert: China aiming to ‘reduce Christianity’s public profile’