Somebody out there apparently does not want President Trump to make a trade deal with China.  Just after U.S. and Chinese officials agreed to suspend the implementation of new tariffs for 90 days, one of China’s most important tech executives was literally kidnapped as she was changing planes in Canada.  Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was simply on her way to Mexico, but at the urging of U.S. authorities the Canadians grabbed her and are refusing to let her go.  Reportedly, the plan is to extradite her to the United States where she will apparently face charges relating to Huawei’s evasion of U.S. sanctions against Iran.  When Trump was negotiating face to face with the Chinese, he was not aware that this was taking place.  So now all of Trump’s hard work is out the window, and our relations with the Chinese are probably the worst that they have been since the Korean War.

If U.S. authorities wanted to punish Huawei, they should have just slapped a big fine on them and have been done with it.

The Chinese would have been annoyed, but not that much damage would have been done.

But kidnapping a high profile member of Chinese tech loyalty and throwing her in prison is something that the Chinese will not forgive.

The Chinese are a deeply nationalistic people, and the kidnapping of Meng Wanzhou is being treated as a grave national insult in China.  If the goal of the Deep State was to really upset the Chinese, they picked a perfect target.  The following comes from Robert Wenzel

“This is a really big deal. Ms. Meng is by birth and position a member of China’s corporate royalty,” David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, is quoted by TGM as having said.

According to TGM, Meng, 46, who also goes by the name Sabrina, was appointed CFO of Huawei in 2011 and is also one of four deputy chairs. She appears to be being groomed for the top job at Shenzhen-based Huawei, which is now the world’s second-largest maker of telecommunications equipment.

Just imagine how Americans would feel if China kidnapped a high profile member of our tech royalty and multiply that outrage by about 10.

Until Meng Wanzhou is let go, there is not going to be any deal with China.  Many Americans are not familiar with Huawei, but they are essentially China’s version of Apple or Microsoft.  The following originally comes from CNN

Huawei is one of the world’s biggest makers of smartphones and networking equipment. It is at the heart of China’s ambitions to reduce its reliance on foreign technology and become an innovation powerhouse in its own right.

The country is pumping hundreds of billions into its “Made in China 2025” plan, which aims to make China a global leader in industries such as robotics, electric cars and computer chips. The introduction of 5G wireless technology, which hinges on Huawei, is a top priority.

Meng Wanzhou is not just the CFO of the company.  She is also the daughter of the founder of the company and she is considered to be a hero by millions of Chinese.

So what in the world is the Deep State thinking?  Are we going to start regularly kidnapping individuals that work for foreign corporations that have somehow violated U.S. laws?

And should Americans expect the same treatment?  How would you like it if your mother or daughter was kidnapped while changing planes in a foreign country because the company that she works for had committed some sort of violation?

I don’t want to make it sound like Huawei is perfectly innocent, because they aren’t.  But this is a move that is not just going to ensure a nightmarish trade war with China.  Ultimately, things could get a whole lot worse than that.

At this point, the Chinese have summoned the U.S. ambassador and have formally demanded Meng Wanzhou’s release

The Chinese foreign ministry on Sunday summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to protest the detention of a senior tech executive by the Canadian authorities “at the unreasonable behest of the United States.”

Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng demanded the release of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, who is accused by U.S. officials of attempting to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran.

It would be wonderful if Meng Wanzhou was released, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.

So now our relationship with China is officially in the toilet, and this is one of the factors that could push stock prices much lower once again this week.  In fact, as I write this article Dow futures are way down

U.S. stock futures fell on Sunday night as traders feared an intensifying trade war between the United States and China.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 197 points, implying a decline of 173.95 points at Monday’s open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also declined. The losses would add to a steep decline from last week.

This current “correction” was supposed to be over by the time December rolled around, but instead stock prices accelerated their decline last week.

And many of those that work in financial circles are starting to use language that is much more pessimistic than we have become accustomed to seeing.  Here is just one example

“We’re very mindful once again where we’re at in the cycle,” Gregory Carmichael, chief executive of the Cincinnati-based lender Fifth Third, said at a conference last week. “We’re well positioned to deal with the downturn in the economy, and we’ll be very cautious.”

I don’t know what “well positioned to deal with the downturn in the economy” means exactly, but it sounds nice.

It frustrates me that so few people seem to understand the gravity of the situation that we are facing.  Our stores are filled with cheap products that come from China and they own more than a trillion dollars of our national debt.  The two largest economies in the entire world are decoupling from one another, and if the Chinese conclude that they are not able to salvage the relationship then they will rapidly become an exceedingly dangerous enemy.

This is a major turning point, and the kidnapping of Meng Wanzhou has put us on a road that doesn’t lead anywhere good.  Hopefully things can rapidly be fixed, because if not, events are likely to start escalating quite dramatically.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

This beautiful country is in crisis again, offering CHEAP living + a FAST passport

Simon Black   December 10, 2018

Last year, when Argentina offered a 100-year bond, I argued it was plain insanity.

Argentina sold $2.75 billion of the debt… but the issue was nearly four times oversubscribed.

How could investors place so much faith in a country that spent most of its post-independence history defaulting on its debts. Plagued by a series of populist governments since the mid-20th century, Argentina defaulted twice in the last twenty years, and eight times since its independence in 1816.

And guess what… It’s crisis time in Argentina. Again.

Since the beginning of 2018, the Argentine economy has been in a tailspin, with inflation running at a whopping 30%. Interest rates in the country are currently 60% (the government is hoping high interest rates will tame inflation and stabilize the Argentine peso).

But despite these efforts, the peso has fallen by 50% versus the US dollar and the euro this year.

And the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently upped its rescue loan to Argentina to  $57 billion – the biggest rescue package the organization has ever provided.

So, one year into owning Argentina’s 100 year bonds, investors are already questioning the country’s solvency.

If you ask me, anyone buying that debt deserves whatever punishment they get. You can basically set a clock to Argentina’s defaults.

But crisis brings opportunity, and Argentina is no exception.

If you hold dollars or euros, Argentina is on sale today. And you can have a fantastic lifestyle there for very little money.

This most romanticized South American country comes at about half the price when compared to its neighbors, Uruguay and Chile. And today, it is even cheaper than much-less-developed Paraguay.

To get the real feel on the ground I sent one of my analysts on a trip across Argentina.

He confirmed that Argentina offers a lifestyle comparable to what you’d find in the in Southern Europe… but for a fraction of the cost.

In Buenos Aires – probably the best-known South American city – today you will pay:

  • $5 or less for an Uber to go anywhere in the city
  • $30-$35 for a great steak dinner for two with a bottle of wine
  • $5.50 for a big breakfast in a cozy café

Of course, you don’t have to spend money so “lavishly.” A simple lunch in Buenos Aires’s business district costs less than $4 today, and a subway ride is a whopping 35 cents.

One negative is that it’s not cheap to buy properties in Buenos Aires. Argentines don’t trust their currency (with good reason) and are pricing properties in the best neighborhoods in dollars, not pesos. And since the beginning of the year, those dollar prices barely moved.

Although I’m sure if you were serious about buying a property, you could still pick something up for well below the advertised price.

If you want a great deal in Buenos Aires today, you need to rent. Unlike prices for buying a home, prices to rent are always priced in pesos. That means, in dollars, rents plummeted about 50% since the beginning of the year.

You can get a lovely Airbnb flat for $35 a night, and a very nice two-bedroom apartment for under $1,000 a month – both in the best part of the city.

And the cost of living outside of Buenos Aires plummeted even further.

Sure, some countries in Asia are similarly low-cost, but literally no other country in the Western Hemisphere can hold a candle to the lifestyle-vs-cost equation, especially after you account for how nice and developed Argentina is.

Unlike many countries in Asia, Argentina has style.

Two-thirds of all Argentineans trace their origins to Italy. Like Italians, Argentines look good, dress well, love everything beautiful, and are proud of their European culture… to the point of snobbery, in fact. They often turn their nose up at other South Americans.

And just like Italians, Argentines tend to be warm, welcoming, and easy to connect with.

If you can work remotely – it’s hard to land a decent-paying job in Argentina – and dreamed about living in Southern Europe but didn’t like the price tag of Rome or Barcelona, then Buenos Aires (and the rest of Argentina) could be your perfect alternative today.

Your money will go much further in Argentina than in Italy or Spain.

And I didn’t even mention the best part yet – If you spend a little over two years in the country, you can qualify for a passport there. Argentina remains one of the most liberal places in the world when it comes to citizenship, allowing naturalization after just two years of residency.

And according to our recent research, an Argentinean passport is the second best in Latin America only after Chile.

Argentina has long been favorited by digital nomads escaping Northern hemisphere’s winters.

I recommend you take it a step further and actually move there for a couple of years to qualify for a passport.

Combine price, quality of lifestyle and speed of citizenship, and Argentina is one of the best choices for your Plan B today.

Hacker News: Australia Passes Anti-Encryption Bill—Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Australia encryption telecommunications assistance bill

Australia’s House of Representatives has finally passed the “Telecommunications Assistance and Access Bill 2018,” also known as the Anti-Encryption Bill, on Thursday that would now allow law enforcement to force Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Signal, and other tech giants to help them access encrypted communications.

The Australian government argues the new legislation is important for national security and an essential tool to help law enforcement and security agencies fight serious offenses such as crime, terrorist attacks, drug trafficking, smuggling, and sexual exploitation of children.

Since the bill had support from both major parties (the Coalition and Labor), the upper house could vote in support of the Assistance and Access Bill to make it law, which is expected to come into effect immediately during the next session of parliament in early 2019.

Although the new legislation does not properly clarify specifics around the potential power that the Assistance and Access Bill could give Australian government and law enforcement agencies over citizen’s digital privacy, it contains new provisions for companies to provide three levels of “assistance” in accessing encrypted data, as explained below:

  • Technical Assistance Request (TAR): A notice to request tech companies for providing “voluntary assistance” to law enforcement, which includes “removing electronic protection, providing technical information, installing software, putting information in a particular format and facilitating access to devices or services.”
  • Technical Assistance Notice (TAN): This notice requires, rather than request, tech companies to give assistance they are already capable of providing that is reasonable, proportionate, practical and technically feasible, giving Australian agencies the flexibility to seek decryption of encrypted communications in circumstances where companies have existing means to do it (like at points where messages are not end-to-end encrypted).
  • Technical Capability Notice (TCN): This notice is issued by the Attorney-General requiring companies to “build a new capability” to decrypt communications for Australian law enforcement.

These notices would compel tech companies to modify their software and service infrastructure to backdoor encrypted communications and data that could otherwise not be obtained.

It is worth noting that companies could face massive financial penalties for not complying with the new law.

Bill Says—Don’t Crack OR Backdoor the Encryption, Just Let Govt Sneak Into Devices

The Bill clearly says that the tech companies can’t be compelled to introduce a “systemic weakness” or “systemic backdoor” into their legit software or hardware, or “remove electronic protection,” like encryption to satisfy government demands.

Instead, the new legislation contains measures aimed at facilitating lawful access to information through two avenues—”decryption of encrypted technologies and access to communications and data at points where they are not encrypted.”

“We encourage the government to stand by their stated intention not to weaken encryption or compel providers to build systemic weaknesses into their products,” the Bill stipulates.

So without forcing companies to break encryption in their software, Australian law enforcement is looking for ways to snoop on your messages before they are encrypted, or read them once they’re decrypted on the users’ end.

Of course, this would require assistance from providers of the software and services, including Apple, Samsung, Google, WhatsApp, Signal, iMessage, and Telegram, though it remains to be seen whether and how tech companies cooperate with the new Australian laws.

You need to read the below statement included in the Assistance and Access Bill [PDF] word-by-word:

“The Bill could allow the government to order the makers of smart home speakers to install persistent eavesdropping capabilities into a person’s home, require a provider to monitor health data of its customers for indications of drug use, or require the development of tool that can unlock a particular user’s device regardless of whether such [a] tool could be used to unlock every other user’s device as well…”

“While we share the goal of protecting the public and communities, we believe more work needs to be done on the Bill to iron out the ambiguities on encryption and security to ensure that Australian are protected to the greatest extent possible in the digital world.”

It should be noted that the Australian law enforcement authorities still require a judicial warrant to sneak into your devices and intercept your encrypted messages.

Five Eyes Nations: Responses to “Going Dark”

Since Australia is a member of the Five Eyes alliance along with the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand, which last month declared that “privacy is not an absolute” and the use of end-to-end encryption “should be rare,” the new bill could be a stepping stone towards new encryption laws in other nations as well.

The Bill also claims that without the new legislation, law enforcement agencies face the problem of “going dark”—a term used by the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) to describe the situation when they failed to intercept encrypted data and communications.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has previously made his position on encryption clear last year, saying “The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia.”

Apple—Encryption is Simply Math

Apple responded to the new bill by making a submission to the Australian government month ago, saying “Encryption is simply math. Any process that weakens the mathematical models that protect user data for anyone will by extension weaken the protections for everyone.”

“It would be wrong to weaken security for millions of law-abiding customers in order to investigate the very few who pose a threat,” the tech giant added.

Even though the new Assistance and Access Bill does not propose weakening encryption or removing electronic protection, tech companies and privacy advocates argue that any efforts to thwart encryption even for one device could potentially affect privacy and security of everyone.

Moreover, the new way to intercept into devices could possibly open a backdoor for hackers, making it easier for them to spy on encrypted communications or steal sensitive encrypted information.

%d bloggers like this: