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Facebook aware of privacy weakness three months earlier than claimed

Facebook was aware of the data misuse by the UK political consultancy Cambridge Analytica as early as September 2015, three months earlier before the scandal was originally revealed by an exclusive story of the Guardian.An internal email chain, released on Friday, shows Facebook employees raised alarms in September 2015 that the now-defunct Cambridge Analytica and other third parties were using its data in ways that may violate its policies.The message chain starts when a Facebook staff wrote that they had been hearing an increasing number of allegations that various firms had been "scraping" user information from its service and matching them to voter registration files."The largest and most aggressive on the conservative side," they write, "is Cambridge Analytica, a sketchy (to say the least) data modeling company that has penetrated our market deeply."They asked for technical help in investigating "what Cambridge Analytica specifically is doing". The investigation then appeared to falter, and the discussion moved onto other firms before the Guardian's story on December 11 broke out.In his testimony to the U.S. Congress last April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook had first learned about Cambridge Analytica's misconduct of improperly collecting user data in December 2015.The new documents appear to contradict that claim, although the e-mails seem to be written by low to mid-level employees.The documents were jointly released by Facebook and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine.“The District of Columbia fought to make this document public because we believe the American people have a right to know what and when Facebook knew about its data security weaknesses," a spokesperson for Racine’s office said.Facebook had its worst privacy scandal in years following allegations that the Trump-affiliated data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica used ill-gotten data from millions of users through an app to try to influence elections.The social media giant was fined a record-breaking five billion U.S. dollars by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in July for its mishandling of user data.(CGTN)

Violence across Africa forces nearly 2 million children out of school

Heightened violence in West and Central Africa has forced nearly two million children out of school, according to the United Nations children’s agency.In a new report detailing threats of violence against schools across the region and issues as a ‘Child Alert’, UNICEF said there has been an increase in “deliberate” attacks against students, teachers and schools in the regions, which has led to a tripling of school closures.“Nearly two million children are out of school due to conflict, so it is not an easy number,” UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Muzoon Almellehan, told journalists in Geneva. “It is important to highlight those challenges, to highlight the struggle of those people. They need us, they need our attention.”The UN agency said that over the past two years, some 9,272 schools have been closed in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger and Nigeria as a result of insecurity - three times the number at the end of 2017.Speaking on the back of her visit to a camp for people displaced by violence in central Mali, Almellehan insisted in Geneva that for many people, herself included, education was vitally important in giving children hope for a better future.“I had to flee my homeland in Syria in 2013 and I also had to live in refugee camps,” she explained. “It wasn’t easy for me and also I can feel like those children who can’t go to school, because education is something really, really important to me, myself.”The West and Central African regions have been dogged my violence for years, mostly perpetrated by jihadist terror groups.Displacements remain high in the regions as millions of people flee their homes in search of security.UNICEF has urged governments, education authorities and communities to support alternative learning opportunities for the affected children in order to ensure they do not miss out on education, which is vital for their futures.“Now more than ever, governments must reaffirm their commitment to education and protect spending on education for their youngest citizens,” the agency said. “Now is the time for renewed efforts to make sure the potential of a generation of young people is not wasted.”(CGTN)

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The Belt and Road

2018 Silk Road Business Summit to be held in Zhangjiajie City on October 16, 2018

On September 29, the press conference of 2018 Silk Road Business Summit in Zhangjiajie city was successfully held in Changsha, Hunan Province. Leaders from the China Association for Friendship, Hunan Sub-council of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Zhangjiajie Municipal Government, Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce (SRCIC), and more than 30 mainstream media representatives attended the press conference. The announcement was made for the summit to be held in Zhangjiajie city on 16-17 October 2018. The summit is to actively respond to the Belt and Road Initiative, to build a multilateral economic and trade platform, to promote the formulation of international standards and the building-up of the Belt and Road brands, to explore the new mode of cultural exchange, to create the international tourist attractions, to facilitate the synergy of cultural industries, cultural undertakings, and cultural tourism as contribution to the development of a shared future for the world. The abundant resources of SRCIC will uplift Hunan province in its advantages in the Belt and Road construction and in its strategy of “Innovation Leads and Open Policies for Rise” to expedite Hunan province as an important inland hub of the Belt and Road.  The Zhangjiajie Summit is the 3rd silk road business summit organized by SRCIC, following the successful summits in 2016 and 2017. It’s the first summit with its venue in a city away from Xi’an. The summit in Zhangjiajie city will give a full play to the city’s unique natural resources, ecological culture, and its tourist economy.By report, Silk Road Urban Alliance Roundtable: Belt and Road International Cooperation on Tourism is scheduled at the summit. Themed with strengthening the tourist cooperation and facilitating the Belt and Road construction, the participants are expected to share views on setting up mechanisms for the Silk Road Urban Alliance and have in-depth discussion on promoting tourist and economic development. The summit will release consensuses, international standard proposals and tourist destination development strategies.Over the five years, the Belt and Road Initiative has gained strong support from the Belt and Road countries. International commercial associations and enterprises are important participants in the Belt and Road construction. SRCIC, one of the summit organizers, is the first transnational business confederation named after the Belt and Road and mainly composed of national chambers of commerce from the Belt and Road countries. Since its establishment in 2015, SRCIC is devoted to narrating the Belt and Road stories, initiating the Belt and Road voices, and facilitating the cultural exchanges in building up pragmatic platforms for win-win cooperation. Currently SRCIC has 129 organizational members from 79 countries, including state-level business organizations and millions of affiliated enterprises. SRCIC serves as a bridge connecting enterprises and governments, providing a cooperative platform between business associations and SRCIC members. It plays a vital role in advancing economic and social development with an emphasis on international collaboration and global governance.According to the plan, the annual silk road business summits are to be held in different SRCIC member countries for bigger influence and popularity, and for building up more cooperative platforms to benefit SRCIC commercial association members and enterprise members. (ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)


Belt and Road Initiative paves way for win-win cooperation between China and Czech

By APD Writer He WeiIn July last year, the first China-EU freight train departed from Prague, captial of Czech,to Yiwu, a city in east China’s Zhejang Province. The new cargo train service marked the official launch of “the Belt and Road Initiative” in Czech. Thanks to joint efforts of both sides, the economic and trade ties between China and Czech Republic is heading for a bright future.During the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May 2017, two months before the opening, China signed the Memorandum of Understanding to Jointly Coordinate and Promote Cooperation and Project Implementation with Czech. According to the memorandum, more efforts will be made to set up a China-Czech Cooperation Center under the Belt and Road initiative, a key project bank and a cooperation platform, integrate domestic and foreign resources, as well as adjoin and implement projects On the sidelines of the The Working Conference of China-Czech Jointly Coordinating and Monitoring Cooperation Plan and Projects under the Framework of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, Liu Jielei, vice chairman of the Czech-China Friendship Association, told the Asia Pacific Daily (APD) that besides geographic advantage, Czech enjoys a sound investment environment because of its stable domestic policies, friendly policy toward China, lower business taxes and labor cost than that of in other European countries.The "Yixin’ou (Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe) cargo train, which began in Yiwu, was hailed as an important bridge linking Asian and European continents and a signficiant achievement in the early stage of the initative by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xu Jie, general manager of Rongsheng Travelling (Czech) Investment Co., Ltd., said because of its important location, they have launched two projects including the Czech-Chinese Technology Business District (CCTBD) project and the South Moravia Chinese Herbal Spa Project in Prague during the past two years, stressing that initial success has been achieved thanks to the initiative.Transalated by Hu Yahui(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)