"Lawyers are not supposed to make any moral judgements on their clients, they are supposed to fight for their clients' side."
Maybe not. But they can make a moral judgement on themselves as to whether or not they accept certain clients.
326 posts • joined 14 Jul 2007
"I've looked for, and never found, a pair of quality Bluetooth speakers that can do stereo without a wire connection between a 'master' and 'slave' unit."
Not sure whether they still make them anymore but I have a pair of Nokia Play 360, they work pretty well both own their own or as a pair. And a very useful feature that few bluetooth speakers have is removable/replaceable batteries. The only complaint I have about these is that the battery compartment needs a screwdriver/coin to open.
"Is it only me who would like someone to explain why the Chinese like keypads when they don't use an alphabet?"
I can't explain why the Chinese like keypads. However I can point out that it is a NUMBER keypad - geared for dialling phone numbers not for typing in letters of the alphabet (although you could do that as well if you had to). Also there are a myriad of different methods to input Chinese characters, one of them, the "Stroke" method only requires 5 keys - each representing one of the different strokes that makes up a character - which fits on a number keypad with plenty to spare.
"At least at LHR and most airports outside of the USA you can connect with another flight without having to go through local customs and immigration.
Written sitting waiting for a flight in the Duty Free Megaopolis that is DXB"
DXB is one of those where you have to go through customs to get to your connecting flight. The security people there are very sharp. I had accidently left a "swisscard" in my wallet, it contains a small blade and a pair of scissors. The guys at DXB spotted it, asked me what it was, after I showed it to them they let me through. I had been carrying that swisscard in my wallet for a good number of years and have been on more than a dozen flights with it but no other airport's security peeps have complained about it (or maybe they thought it was less a threat than my bottle of water).
'And of course, those growing "sand islands" in the South China Sea have nothing to do with territorial aggression ... after all, it's called the South China Sea for a reason, right?'
Of course not, otherwise the US would have accused Vietnam and the Philippines of territorial aggression already because they have been building "islands" and outposts years before China got in on the act.
"And I've taken great comfort in Putin's reassurances that Russia has nothing whatsoever to do with the rebellious discontent in eastern Ukraine."
And so you should because Russia has as much to do with the rebellious discontent in eastern Ukraine as the US had to do with the overthrow of the previous democratically elected government of Ukraine.
Staff seem to spend more time on paperwork than on patient care. Each member of staff that comes along asks the same questions and fill in the same forms that had already been answered to the previous member of staff. There's little coordination within a ward and less between wards and departments, and practically none between sites of what is nominally the same hospital.
"using your own people as dirt cheap labour"
You seem to imply that this is a bad thing. Their wages may be dirt cheap in comparison to yours, but to them it may very well be adequate or generous even. As long as they're not being mistreated or abused then it's fine. For at least the past decade wages (in the coastal provinces and cities) have been rising at over 10% a year in line with the growth in GDP. Labour laws are updated all the time to provide increased protection for workers, eg overtime work must be paid, there's also a limit to the total amount of overtime worker can do per week, people working outside in hot weather are paid a special allowance, workers are entitled to redundancy payments etc.
"Because we're unwilling to make things like ..."
Nah, we only like to sell them opium.
"Because as Cisco has found out, China are blocking US tech companies from competing as they want to build up their own IT industry."
Because as Huawei has found out, the US are blocking Chinese tech companies from competing as they want to protect their own IT industry.
"Until they try and cash those T-bill IOU's and find that the dollar is worthless?"
The day the US defaults on government debt is the day the US economy will go tits up. It will mean the end of cheap credit for them and the end of the global USD hegemony and with that the end of the leverage and control that they use to bully other countries to toe the US line. So it would be an extremely foolish US government to even contemplate a default.
"more and more understand that there's alternatives to corrupt one party government"
The advantage of a corrupt one party government as opposed to a corrupt two party government is that in the former (as least in the case of China) they can afford to plan and implement long term coherent policies.
"but if you've just been given a kicking by state goons for using Facebook to mock the party"
Anybody using facebook deserves a kicking, period. But seriously, state goons have better things to do than to kick people who mock the party (those days have long gone). If you don't pose a credible threat to the government then you can mock away.
That's because India changed the way their GDP is calculated, one of the changes being eg the amount of cow dung produced is added to the GDP (I kid you not). It could be that cow dung is an important component of the Indian economy as it's often used as cooking fuel.
"Banks' gambles are generally less risky than other options"
Not when they take the assets of their retail division to fund the speculation of their gambling division (euphemistically called "investment"). Once upon a time banking was free and banks made an honest living by lending money. Now you get charged for the privilege of putting money into a bank and for the bank to gamble your money on speculative "investments".
"And banking requires flexibility because economies can change"
Flexibility such as the ability to game interest rates and currency exchange rates, offer tax evasion services, and whatever other criminal activities banks have been found guilty of that I have missed.
"Speculation? This is the "ring fencing" that everyone is talking about. Can't use retail deposit money to finance investment banking."
The only way to stop it is a complete separation of retail banking to any other type of banking. The so called ring fencing will only last until the greedy bastards find a way around it.
"Does the device have a battery that allows the light's other functions to carry on for a limited (maybe a few days) period? Or do these have to be constantly left on to work?"
Light light bulbs incorporating a battery has been available for years. Fully charged it lasts for about 5-8hrs. In a power cut or other emergency you can remove it from the fitting and use it as a torch (you can extend the screw thread part to use as a handle). Some models come with an IR remote control complete with dimming functions.
"Why is the US not wading in to protect the people of X from being liberated by Y and rather make sure ..."
When has it ever waded in to protect the people of X? It only ever waddles in when its interests are at stake and if it means that as a result the people of X are protected then so be it.
"The reason they fight over it is because most of the major rivers in both Pakistan and India have their water source in Kashmir. Whosoever controls Kashmir controls the water supply."
Actually most of the major rivers in continental South/South East Asia have their source in the Tibetan Plateau. The major river having its source in Kashmir, the Karakash, flows into China.
"Stop carrying water for the Islamonazis."
Are these the Shia hating (and by extension Iran hating) Sunni fanatics like AQ, IS, the various groupings fighting in Syria etc. The ones funded and equipped by Saudi Arabia and other GCC states?
"The truth is the only difference between Saudi Arabia and Iran is that Saudi Arabia doesn't use government money to fund Islamonazis."
The truth is that the "West" says Iran funds terrorism, and doesn't say Saudi Arabia also does the same.
And because the "West" says so it must be true.
The biggest organisations that Iran supports and funds are Hezbollah and Hamas. I assume that these are the "terrorist" groups that Iran is funding. May I remind you that Hamas had also been funded by Saudi Arabia?
"While that isn't much of a difference in absolute standards, in the Middle East it is enough to earn Saudi Arabia a pass on their internal treatment of citizens."
The "West" don't give a damn how Saudi Arabia (mis)treats its citizens, sure they'll make noises and wring their hands now and again, but Saudi Arabia earns their "get out of jail free" card by maintaining an elastic supply of oil that they can turn the taps on and off as required to support US policy. They are also a useful consumer of weaponry, most coming from the US. How long the Saudis can keep their GOOJF card remains to be seen given the US's reduced dependency on Middle East energy resources.
'And like it or not, a policy of "we won't interfere in your internal politics no matter how many people you are killing so long as you aren't killing any of ours" is a reasonable realpolitic position."'
It is a reasonable position to take, but contrary to the hypocritical public rhetoric issued by the "West".
"The real issue is have they learned from it? If so, that's good. If not, that's bad."
Have any countries genuinely learned from the past? What I mostly see are "Western" countries conveniently wielding human rights as a stick to beat on non-friendly countries. By most measures Saudi Arabia has less respect for human rights and less personal freedom than Iran. Whilst Iran is demonised by the "West", Saudi Arabia is given free reign to bomb civilians in Yemen with the blessings of the "West".
Even if they have learned, does it stay learned? Japan, with the complicity of the US, has effectively cast aside its pacifist constitution and will now allow its "self defence" forces to act unilaterally and preemptively to "defend" Japanese "interests" anywhere in the world.
"However, I hear about it all the time here in Europe. Why are the media, politicians always going on about anti-semitism etc I get the feeling that the media/business/politicians have more to gain than the Jewish people... Is someone profiting from the sitation because it allows them to wave the "humanity" flag ?"
Whenever/wherever Jews are attacked/killed the Israeli PM or spokesperson would pop up and spout the same stuff "anti-Semitism, blah blah, terrorist attack, blah blah".
"Arguably, the Raj was at least neutral and probably beneficial in its overall effect on the Indian subcontinent:"
Native Americans probably think the same too: after the genocide they are now living in the most powerful country on earth.
"On exactly the same basis that Joe Hockey is arguing that something designed by Americans in America, built by Chinese in China (an iPhone for example) should have the profit taxed where it is sold in Oz."
Australian ore is sold (and taxed) in Australia then shipped to China. If the entity receiving the ore in China then resells it within China any profits (made by that entity, not the mining company in Australia) will quite rightly be taxed by China. So how exactly does China get to tax a mining company in Australia?
What Apple, Google, Starbucks and others have done is structure themselves so that local sales offices generate very little net income (ie taxable profit), most of the potential profits are sent to a tax friendly HQ in the form of "marketing", "royalties" and other such tax avoidance devices. These kinds of loopholes which deprives the people/government of the host countries of tax income needs to be closed. Maybe Hockey's proposals addresses this (I haven't read it and I don't know), however it doesn't change the fact that Australian ore, sold to China, is already taxed by Australia at the point of sale which is Australia. Nothing in the proposals (even though I haven't read it I can categorically rule out such a ludicrous notion) will suddenly allow China to tax an Australian company for profits on sales made in Australia.
"Corporation tax is to be paid, in theory, where the economic activity that created the profit took place, which isn't just where the sales took place."
I'm not an economist and don't know how economists define "economic activity that created the profit took place". But to me that clearly means where the sale took place. Before a sale takes place, any goods or services produced have no profit attached to it and thus any activity before then has produced no profits. It is only when someone is willing to pay for a good/service that a profit can be realised.
"If it were, then of course all that value from the Pilbarra iron ore mines should be taxed by the Chinese government, which wouldn't go down at all well in Australia."
A mining company based in Australia selling ore mined in Australia to China would normally mean that the sale took place in Australia and will be taxed as such. How does one come to the conclusion that the Chinese get to tax it?
"The tax system really does get its slice, eventually, whatever else happens."
But does it get the same sized slice that the tax-withholding company were obliged to pay at the time the profits were made? When a company repatriates profits will they be taxed at prevailing rates or the rates at the time those profits were made? Plus interest? And late tax penalty?
"Frankly, anyone can program, I'm pretty sure now-a-days most 5 year old with a father in IT/Tech industry can, so this news about a PM in Singapore being able to program a simple program in C++ that only has a couple of hundred lines of codes is frankly not newsworthy, not worth any admiration what-so-ever."
The news factor is not that some random Tom/Dick/Harry can program, but rather a world leader can program. Eg if it were known that you always go to sleep wearing soiled underpants on your head the newsworthy factor would be zero, if a world leader was known to do the same the newsworthy factor would be non-zero.
"Yes, Democracy is what all humanity who doesn't have it at the moment should strive for. ... I would never set foot in Singapore as long as it has a set of draconian laws on free speech."
Democracy is not a panacea that will solve all humanity's problems. There's also the problem of what you mean by "democracy", for me a basic requirement would be universal suffrage - based on the modern definition, which is, that all adult citizens are allowed to vote. By this measure the USA did not become a democracy until the 1960s, but every time India has a general election, US pundits like to boast about the US being the oldest democracy and patronise about India being the largest democracy. The latter maybe true but the former is dubious.
What benefits has democracy brought India? For the majority of people (ie the poor) the only tangible benefit of having elections is that they will receive bribes of basic foodstuffs from politicians wanting to buy their votes (and does it still count as democracy if votes can be bought so freely and cheaply?). Sure they have freer speech than in Singapore, but by itself it will not put food on the table. Food and water security, healthcare, literacy, education, discrimination, corruption - these are all more pressing issues for people in poverty than the notion of democracy. When people in Singapore want more freedom of speech they will know where to "ask", politely or otherwise. There's no need for well meaning or patronising foreigners to say what Singapore should or should not have.
"that two de facto one-party states i.e. dictatorships, decide to cooperate with each other!"
As of now, there are very few dictatorships in the world, the DPRK is one, one or two countries in Central Asia might qualify, that's about it.
"On the other hand, given where the destabilizing effects of the Arab spring has left the middle-east and north Africa, and then given these countries sizeable anti sino-russian populations, what would you do in their shoes?"
Anti sino-russian populations? Really? What are you smoking? And sizeable too? I think you're looking at the wrong region.
On the whole the Arab Spring is characterised by people protesting against their own elite. The "West" initially were caught wrong footed, should they support the aspirations of the people for a freer, fairer, more democratic society or should they carrying on supporting the despots in power. In the end they played the sectarian card, so with the help of Saudi Arabia and using the Shia Iran bogeyman they unleashed the latest round bloodletting in the Middle East and North Africa.
"Is this China or FIFA you're referring to?"
FIFA takes the profits and leaves the host country with the debts and surplus stadiums.
"How can you now seek deflection from the original point by insisting that they should have been destroyed rather than admitting first that your denial of WMDs in Iraq was itself a faith-based political convenience?"
You are deliberately blurring the fact that Iraq did have some WMDs and the UN commission headed by Hans Blix had been pretty successful in investigating and dismantling said weapons. The US and the UK falsely insisted that Iraq had more undisclosed weapons and secret programmes, under this false pretence they again invaded and occupied Iraq. During this second occupation no new or significant WMDs had been found. When people say there are no WMDs in Iraq they refer to the situation at the start of 2003, which is that Iraq pretty much disclosed everything of significance about their WMDs, furthermore there is no evidence of any ongoing WMD related programmes.
"people like you just want to insist there never were any chemical weapons ..."
"... so how come you can so easily switch to now insisting those "non-existant" weapons are "harmless" if they were never there in the first place?"
The links you so helpfully provided to backup your shrill claim "that ISIS has taken the area and potentially the stock of 2500 chemical sarin rockets stored there? ", like I said you only read the first paragraph before you blew up your pretty head and did not read the bit which said weapons are basically useless. So I'm pointing out that the links you provided to "prove" your claim in fact does nothing of the sort. It's not me who is switching, but rather you who don't know how to read.
'".....Find me someone who truly believes that...." The reporter and editor at the Beeb.'
I hope you do realise that reporting on something and believing it are two separate concepts. To make it clear, the Beeb have reported what the NSA gave as the reason, they did not make a value judgement as to whether what the NSA said was true or not - and I hope they would never unless it was marked clearly as an opinionated editorial or they had evidence otherwise.
"or that ISIS has taken the area and potentially the stock of 2500 chemical sarin rockets stored there?"
According to the report that you so kindly provided:
"(http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iraq/muthanna.htm). Please do try and read the whole article without your head exploding."
It is obvious that your head exploded after reading the first paragraph (which mentioned the 2500 rockets) and you didn't get to read the bit which says:
'Speaking in late June about the compound’s takeover, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that while the situation is troubling, the leftover stockpile does not include “intact chemical weapons ... and would be very difficult, if not impossible, to safely use this for military purposes or, frankly, to move it."'
It also beggars the question that why is it after invading and occuying Iraq for close to a decade under the pretence of Iraq having undisclosed WMD that there are still supposedly dangerous chemical (maybe weapons) lying around, at a well known site, one which since at least 1996 UN inspectors had worked at before?
"So anything that disagrees with your version of reality has to be discounted out of hand? ..."
It seems you have a febrile imagination (someone less kind than me would say feeble), that you can infer so much from so few words is incredible. I have not said a single word about the veracity or otherwise of that BBC report. What is true though is that the standard and objectivity of BBC reporting has been going downhill. But whether that report is true or not is besides the point, the essence is that you seem to believe:
"[The USA] In this case they respected UN arms and trade embargoes - the searches were for companies in breach of UN sanctions."
Find me someone who truly believes that and I'll find you an idiot. The US cynically exploit UN Resolutions and values as cover to advance their interests in the cases where Resolutions and values coincide with interests. When they do not coincide and the US is unable to bend the UN to its will then they will mock the UN as irrelevant and carry on with their unilateral policies. So much for respect.
"You want to pretend no European companies ever broke UN embargoes?"
Companies and countries the world over have and continue to do so, especially the US, which like to police others but not itself.
"It's called detection and prevention"
It's called blanket surveillance pretending to catch the terrorists created by the policies of the "West". If you think the information gathered is only used for terrorism related purposes then you're more delusional than I give you credit for. Any commercially advantageous information gleaned WILL be put to use to advance US interests.
"By ensuring India develops that tech responsibly the US is ensuring that India does not follow North Korea into being a blackmarket source for Third World dictators."
IF that is really want the US wants then they should be working with Pakistan instead as it would reap far more and immediate benefits. Pakistan is already known to have conducted proliferation activities and may be doing so even now. India is far more stable (insurgencies and rebels notwithstanding) than Pakistan, and is far less likely to proliferate than Pakistan. So if any country needs "help" to prevent proliferation it is Pakistan not India. Rather, the nuclear cooperation deal with India was a ploy to wean India away from Russia and as a part of a long term plan to encircle. Obviously India is too smart to stay firmly wedded to the US but would continue to play China, Russia and the US against each other to and reap any incidental benefits.
"I suppose you're actually upset because the US beat out a deal from the Fwench."
I'm not upset about anything. But I can imagine the outrage and pouting indignation from the US if it was the French or indeed any other country which did the deal. Learn to spell or grow up (I know it's futile to expect you to).
"In this case they respected UN arms and trade embargoes - the searches were for companies in breach of UN sanctions."
Actually they were looking out for US companies, since non-US companies breaking embargoes would be unwanted competition for US companies doing the same.
"Makes you wonder what Airbus has to hide"
Typical nonsense coming from you. What does any person/company in the world have to hide? Why don't they don't they make public every bit of information about themselves?
"especially after all the fuss over the NSA spying on Petrobas seems to have been more than justified by the subsequent Petrobas-Rousseff scandal"
I was not aware that NSA were the ones to spill the beans on the corruption at Petrobras. Let's assume they were, and let's assume that justifies the spying, so what is the justification for the spying on the other 99.999999% of companies for which the NSA has not found any dirt so far?
"BTW, India is not a signatory to the NPT."
You clearly miss the point that the OP is making, namely, the US which is a signatory to the NNPT is flouting the treaty by dealing with India.
My upgrade from Kubuntu 14.10 to 15.04 whilst not a complete disaster is certainly a slight disappointment:
- A lot of settings didn't get carried forward.
- Session support is partially broken (some stuff like konsole and kate does not get restored with a session, plus they do not restart with the previously opened tabs/documents), all programs are restored into the first virtual desktop (the old behaviour was that programs were restored, seemingly at random, to the various virtual desktops)
- ibus is partially broken
One good thing is that finally kmail seems to have better network failure recovery. Previously, flaky networks would leave kmail with multiple hanging connections which meant mail checking would be blocked until kmail and its connections were restarted (had to use akonadictl to kill those hanging connections).
"If the transfer was blocked, why would they need to recover anything?"
Banks being banks will make sure money takes 3 or more days to electronically transfer from account to account, and they use this time to gamble the money on stocks or currency markets making the money work for them not for you. So to answer your question, the money has left Ryanair's account but is taking the scenic route through the stock exchange via the currency markets before it eventually makes it back to Ryanair.
FTW banks in China are required by law to ensure transfers, even between different banks, are completed the same day.
Actually that's a pretty high efficiency. For products priced in USDs it's around 64% efficiency right now since they miraculously translate to dollar-sterling parity once they swim across the pond.
+1 for induction cooking - clean, efficient and no more hot kitchens.
"Personally I prefer a single flat sales tax (like Fair Tax), meaning no more Income Tax"
Assuming that there is a "single flat sales tax", it would have to be set at rate that will generate the equivalent income (for the government) as all the present taxes that it is replacing.
"and prices of goods would remain the same."
Absolutely not, see above.
"Everybody would have more money in their paycheck"
Maybe, but for those on lower incomes their spending power will be greatly reduced by the huge increases in the price of goods. Regressive taxes does not help in building a progressive society.
"politicians in prison as they're the ones who make the rules that allow the bankers and tax cheats to get away with it."
Bankers are the ones who pay the politicians to make the rules that allow the bankers and tax cheats to get away with it.
Since it's a chicken AND egg situation, the solution is to put both of them in prison.
"I know someone who, instead of putting in company name and adding a .com to the end will fire up Google and put in company name in there, every single time."
I know someone who brings up the google search form then types in the URL of the site he wants and clicks on the resulting links. When I asked him why he did that, he replied "That's how you get to the website isn't it?" I have since told him the correct way to get to a site if you already know the URL, however I suspect he still goes through google.
"The FTC takes a much more laissez-faire approach to monopolies, for better or worse. They didn't do much about Microsoft, and one can argue they were proven right as mobile devices broke their monopoly."
One can argue that the FTC should've done its job when the circumstances are relevant. If one company had a monopoly on fossil fuels, should the FTC be sitting on its arse and do nothing because in 30 years time nuclear fusion will break that monopoly?
"Sorry, people used MS stuff because they *wanted* to - they bought them, they *pirated* them by the sacksful, even when they had no real reason to use them - why get something illegally if you don't like it?"
If someone sends you a MS Word doc what do you use to view it? The "free" Word doc viewer? But it runs on MS Windows. Some ignorant companies want you to send them your CV in MS Word format, so what's a poor graduate looking for their first job going to do?
"I bought OS/2 in 1994 to avoid Windows, how many of you did?"
I bought OS/2 Warp because it was better than Windows, sort of, the 8MB ram machine I ran it on didn't seem quite enough to take full advantage of Warp.
"Is publishing correspondence between industry and government fair game under those statements?"
If by this you mean, lobbying, then of course it's fair game.
Also it's a reminder that Sony is responsible for it's own security just like they point out to their customers:
"As the name would suggest, the WINVote systems were based on Microsoft's OS"
I thought it was named for its ability to win the vote for whichever party gave the supplier the most "campaign contributions" at election time.
"A horse designed by committee."
Actually the camel is supremely well designed for the environment it operates in.
It has had, just not in "82 languages" that Google is now offering. Chinese handwriting recognition had been available on PCs since Win95/98, on Nokia's touchscreen phones (and on many Chinese touchscreen phones before that), and of course on Android as well. In fact it had been easier to develop handwriting recognition for the somewhat more complex Chinese characters than it had been for the simpler Latin alphabet precisely because the complexity gave more data points for the recognition software to work with, resulting in higher accuracy.
"At the rate he's writing, pretty soon the TV will be the spoilers for the books."
I finally made an effort to get into GoT at the beginning of the year (I had watched the first few minutes of Series 1 Episode 1 several times in the past but didn't get any further than that), watched all 4 series, then started on the books. Finished the first 4 books and just started on the 5th, and realised that there was a gap of 6 years between 4th and 5th books. If the 6th book takes as long to appear and if the TV series continue to rely on that as source material then by the time it appears the fickle fans and producers of the TV series might have moved on to the next "big thing" and have forgotten about GoT.
Apart from a few deviations the TV series seems to follow the book pretty closely, a lot of the dialogue are almost word for word. It is a much more faithful adaptation than the abysmal "Legend of the Seeker" TV series portrayal of "The Sword of Truth" series of books, which turned out to be more like a comic book version aimed at a pre-adult audience. Eg in the books, the Mother Confessor is supposed to be reserved, dignified and cautious, in the TV series she becomes headstrong, reckless, dual dagger wielding brawler always seeming to be spoiling for a fight.
"the spook agencies are just not doing the job"
They are. All the plots that they thwart involve some "undercover" agent encouraging/urging/helping the perp to commit the crime that was thwarted.
"Politicians are after votes no matter how dumb their ideas are...."
I don't think any politicians, judges, or other public figure are free agents anymore. The intensive, all pervasive surveillance that has been going on these past years has made them all subject to blackmail by the "security" services. The exception being Dutch MEP, Sophie in 't Veld, who either has no skeletons in her closet or she doesn't mind letting them out. Once upon a time, politicians in opposition would vigorously oppose legislation that eg allowed the government to spy on its own citizens - even though they themselves would try to bring in the same legislation when they next come to power. Now they don't even make a token effort of opposing.
"It has become a defining feature of American policy and only last week the former head of the NSA warned about just this kind of processor embargo."
The former head of the NSA is worried about not being able to sell backdoored CPUs to China.
"The big thing the US bully boy has is control over the world's banking system. The rest of the world needs to pull their head out of their ass and fix that."
China has already made moves in the right direction. The US and EU unilateral sanctions against Iran (and various other countries) have prompted China to settle trade using each other's respectively currency instead of using USDs.
The soon to be launched AIIB is a direct response to the US/EU refusal to allow China a larger voting right in both the IMF and the World Bank, even though in the wake of the 2009 financial crisis China were asked to pony up some more cash to bolster the reserves. Despite intense US pressure on its lackeys not to join the AIIB, the UK, France, Germany and most major European countries have joined, along with most major countries in Asia-Pacific (with the exception of Japan who singularly succumbed to US pressure).
While China is busy connecting the world with its so called "One Belt, One Road" initiative which aims to create the necessary infrastructure and transport links to facilitate trade from China to Africa by sea and from China to Europe by land, the US is busy connecting the world with military bases.
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"The market has clearly signalled, at this end of the price range, that many buyers don’t regard the omission of a flash slot as a deal-breaker if the overall package is attractive."
How clearly has it signalled? The main reason I bought a Galaxy Note 2 is that it had a removable battery, and an SD card slot. This S6 has neither. When out and about and away from any power source it is extremely convenient to be able to pull out a dead battery and replace with a charged one and carry on using the device.
"Intel wasn't and (b) the completely missed the mobile thing and the ecosystem built before it realised what was going on."
Intel didn't miss it in the sense that they didn't know what was going on - they had been trying to get into the mobile space but missed because had no suitable products to compete with ARM. Same with Microsoft, they had been trying for years to get "Windows" (or some abomination thereof) onto mobile devices but have failed miserably.
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