Out of the 901 million Facebook users, 240 million (27%) monthly active users (MAU) live in Asia and Australia. Whilst India and Indonesia lead in terms of the user numbers the fastest growing country by far is South Korea, which grew its user base by an incredible 94% on Facebook from July 2011! Socialbakers study shows that the majority of Asia-Pacific Facebook users love to shop online.
The Automobile Industry is Singapore´s Most Responsive
Singapore has the most Facebook fans in the telecom and e-commerce industries but its most responsive industry is surprisingly the automobile industry, which otherwise lingers at the bottom of the rank globally.
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Australians Like Australia And Australian Fashion Brands
According to Socialbakers data gathered from July 9th 2011 to July 9th 2012, Australia has a 1:1 ratio of men and women on Facebook and they seem to love shopping! Fashion and e-commerce are their favourite “social” industries with 267 and 177 thousand fans on average respectively. Australians especially like original Australian fashion brands like Quicksilver and the footwear manufacturer UGG, which also belong to their fastest growing brands on Facebook.
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But if you wondered which brand has the most fans, you probably wouldn’t guess. It’s the official Facebook Page of Australia! It´s doing a great job engaging its fans with visually attractive sceneries, special events, interesting facts and it also works as a great sharing platform for people who have spent their holidays in Australia and captured some memorable moments. Now that's exceptional! It’s following the global trend of Socially Devoted by being the most responsive similarly to the aviation and telecom industries, which generally tend to respond to the most fan queries.
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Courtesy of an article dated July 17, 2012 appearing in SocialBakers
High growth and rates of user engagement could mean big things for the network
Facebook, which spread like wildfire throughout the world, has had mixed results in Asia-Pacific, but it is gaining ground. South Korea has begun to come around, and now Japan seems to be next in line.
Despite a slow start, Facebook is growing fast in Japan. eMarketer estimates that the site reached 7.6 million users in the country during 2011, a jump of 61.6% over 2010. User growth is forecast to remain strong through 2012, at 51.5%, for a total of 11.5 million users by year’s end.
Still Facebook penetration remains low in Japan—the site is forecast to reach 12% of internet users and only 9% of the total population by the end of 2012. However, new survey data shows that users of the site are hooked.
According to a February 2012 Macromill survey of Facebook users in Japan, translated by What Japan Thinks, more than half (52.8%) of Facebook users in Japan accessed the site on a daily basis, while a quarter accessed at least twice a day.
What Japan Thinks reported that the percentage of users logging in twice a day or more tripled over last year’s figure of 8.6%. And users aren’t just logging on more often; they are spending more time on the site as well: 28% spent an average of 30 minutes or more on the site each time they logged on.
According to Socialbakers social networking statistics, Facebook penetration in Japan is 7.81% compared to the country's population and 9.98% in relation to number of Internet users. The total number of Facebook users in Japan is reaching 9,897,280 and grew by more than 3,629,740 in the last 6 months.
Comparing these nearest countries by penetration of Facebook users shows that Japan has 0.57% higher Facebook penetration than Vatican City and 0.14% lower Facebook penetration than Namibia.
User age distribution on Facebook in Japan
The largest demographic age group in Japan is currently 25 - 34 with total of 3,464,048 users, followed by the users in the age of 18 - 24.
Male/Female User Ratio on Facebook in Japan
There are 54% male users and 46% female users in Japan, compared to 65% and 35% in Egypt and 47% and 53% in Venezuela.
On the graph below you can see that the biggest gain in the last 3 months was recorded by the age group of 25 - 34.
No of Facebook Users in Japan by Age Group
Courtesy of an article dated June 7, 2012 appearing in eMarketer and an article titled Japan Facebook Statistics appearing inSocialbakers
Russia’s most popular social network Vkontakte postponed the initial public offering of its shares indefinitely as a result of Facebook Inc.’s (FB) unimpressive market debut, the network’s founder and Chief Executive Pavel Durov said.
Mr. Durov said on his Twitter account Tuesday.
“The Facebook IPO damaged many private investors’ trust in social networks, and the [VKontakte] IPO has been postponed indefinitely.”
VKontakte is Russia’s most popular social network with about 119 million users. It was considering an IPO in 2012.
Mr. Durov owns 12% in the company, while Mail.ru Group, controlled by Russia’s richest man Alisher Usmanov, owns 39.99%. The latter company said Tuesday it had given Mr. Durov the right to vote with its shares, effectively giving him control of the company.
Mail.ru, which had its own $1 billion IPO last year, owned 56.3 million Facebook shares worth $2.14 billion when the shares debuted earlier in May.
VKontakte, looking very similar to Facebook, is popular not only in Russia, but also among Russian-speaking users in the former Soviet states.
Like Facebook, VKontakte allows users to message friends, create groups, public pages and events, make notes, share and tag images and video. It also offers games and integration with torrent file sharing technology to share large files like movies.
COMMENTARY: In June 2011, Reuters reported that VKontakte, the leading Russian social network was in early discussions with with New York investment banks about a potential initial public offering (IPO) sometime in 2012.
VKontakte offers functions that are very similar to Facebook. In fact, the site is an outright Facebook clone, even using the same pale blue colors. VKontakte got the IPO itch following the highly successful IPO of LinkedIn in March 2011 and Yandex NV, the leading Russian search engine in May 2011 which raised $1.3 billion.
VKontakte believed that the margin of success with an IPO would be high just like LinkedIn which traded 46 percent above its price and Yandex which traded at 20 percent above its initial price. Renren, the Chinese social Networking site also went public and traded its shares 20 percent higher. However, as of today, both Renren and Yandex have suffered a dramatic drops in their share prices.
In May 2011, Vkontakte claimed it had 58 million users, but has grown rapidly since that time. As of March 2012, Vkontakte had 118.8 million users, but has acknowledged that it has a huge spam problem, and no longer advertises user numbers on its homepage. VKontakte is ranked 46 in Alexa's global Top 500 sites and is the fourth most visited website in Russia. In January 2012 Vkontakte was visited by 25.4 million people from Russia (58.7% aged 12-54) and 21.5 million (49.6% aged 12–54).
Vkontakte Number of Registered Users - October 2006 through March 2012 (Click Image To Enlarge)
Most of Vkontakte's users are from Russia and surrounding Russian-speaking countries. At the beginning of 2012, Vkontakte had a 62% share of Russian internet users. Facebook had 18%, nearly doubling its market share from the beginning of 2011.
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Although Facebook is still the leading social network in many parts of the world, countries like China, Russia and Japan have their own social networks. Their users still prefer them to the giant network for some reasons. Vkontakte for instance, offers a special feature which attracts more new members daily and makes them spend a lot of time online.
Vkontakte has a huge piracy problem. Members are able to view thousands of pirated copies of domestic and foreign movies dubbed into Russian. In addition, it’s possible to upload and download video and audio files via the VK Tracker application. It remains to be seen how this piracy issue would've affected an IPO filing. The IPO filing has been cancelled so we will never know.
Apple Inc's Tim Cook, on his first trip to China as the chief executive officer, has visited an iPhone production plant run by the Foxconn Technology Group, which is being accused of improper labor practices.
China is the world's largest mobile market and already Apple's second-biggest market overall, but its growth there is clouded by issues ranging from a contested iPad trademark to treatment of local labor.
Picture handouts dated March 28 and e-mailed to Reuters show Cook seen smiling and meeting workers in the newly built Foxconn ZhengzhouTechnology Park in the north central province of Hebei. The facility employs 120,000 people, the handouts said.
Foxconn is a major part of Apple's global supply chain, assembling most of its iPhones and iPads, but has been hit by a string of worker suicides in recent years that activist groups blame on tough working conditions.
The group is the Taiwan parent of Hong Kong-listed Foxconn International Holdings and Taiwan-listed Hon Hai Precision.
Cook took the reins at Apple in August after the death of the firm's visionary founder, Steve Jobs. His closely guarded itinerary has included talks with Vice Premier Li Keqiang, Beijing's mayor and a visit to one of Apple's two stores in the capital.
On Wednesday, state media reported that China's vice premier promised Cook the country would boost intellectual property protection.
the official Xinhua news agency cited Vice Premier Li Keqiang as saying.
"To be more open to the outside is a condition for China to transform its economic development, expand domestic demands and conduct technological innovation."
Apple has tie-ups with China Telecom and China Unicom to sell its iPhone, with the only other Chinese carrier, China Mobile, the country's biggest mobile operator, also looking to clinch a deal.
Apple is embroiled in a long-running dispute with Proview - a financially weak technology company that claims to have registered the iPad trademark - that is making its way through Chinese courts and threatens to disrupt iPad sales.
COMMENTARY: I would gladly give up one case of Chateauneuf du Pape '04 to find out what Apple CEO Tim Cook told Foxconn management during his visit to the plant concerning their sweat shop conditions, progress on Apple inspections of their plant, and plan to improve worker relations and pay.
Cook's visit to Foxconn makes good public relations--images of the powerful new Apple CEO visiting Foxconn, gives one confidence that finally those sweat shop conditions will end, Foxconn will comply with Apple's Code of Suppliers and everything will be hunky-dorey. As I said in my post prior to this one, Apple is not a socially conscience company. They are all about increasing shareholder value and profitability.
If Apple CEO Tim Cook really wanted to impress me, he would give Foxconn an ultimatum, and if they failed to comply after regular inspections, he would promise to move the manufacturing all Apple products to the U.S. This would create an estimated 250,000 jobs, many of them right here in Silicon Valley, where we need them the most.
I would be very interested in hearing from Apple evangelists--owners of Apple magical devices whether the iPhone, iPad or iPod. Foxconn makes all of them, so you can enjoy that magical experience.
Courtesy of an article dated March 29, 2012 appearing in Reuters and an article dated March 28, 2012 appearing in Brian Fontenot Blog
North Korea displayed the body of ruler Kim Jong Il in a glass coffin surrounded by red flowers Tuesday, and his young heir was one of the first to pay respects — a strong indication that a smooth leadership transition was under way.
As the country mourned for a second day with high-level visits to Kim's body at a memorial palace and public gatherings of weeping citizens, state media fed a budding personality cult around his youngest known son and anointed heir, Kim Jong Un, hailing him as a "lighthouse of hope."
Kim's body was wrapped in red cloth and surrounded by blossoms of his namesake flowers, red "kimjongilia." As solemn music played, Kim Jong Un — believed to be in his late 20s — entered the hall to view his father's bier, surrounded by military honor guards. He observed a moment of solemn silence, then circled the bier, followed by other officials.
Kim Jung Un (fourth from right) bows to his deceased father
Outside one of the capital's main performance centers, mourners carried wreaths and flowers toward a portrait of Kim Jong Il. Groups were allowed to grieve in front of the portrait for a few minutes at a time.
U Son Hui, a Pyongyang resident, told The Associated Press.
"We will change today's sorrow into strength and courage and work harder for a powerful and prosperous nation, as our general wanted, under the leadership of the new General Kim Jong Un."
The announcement Monday of Kim's death over the weekend raised acute concerns in the region over the possibility of a power struggle between the untested son and rivals, in a country pursuing nuclear weapons and known for its unpredictability and secrecy.
Mourners cry as they meet the body of North Korean leader Kim Jong il
But there have been no signs of unrest or discord in Pyongyang's somber streets.
With the country in an 11-day period of official mourning, flags were flown at half-staff at all military units, factories, businesses, farms and public buildings. The streets of Pyongyang were quiet, but throngs of people gathered at landmarks honoring Kim.
Kim's bier was decorated by a wreath from Kim Jong Un along with various medals and orders. The body was laid out in the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, a mausoleum where the embalmed body of Kim's father — national founder Kim Il Sung — has been on display in a glass sarcophagus since his death in 1994.
The Dictator: Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong Il, the dictator who used fear and isolation to maintain power in North Korea and his nuclear weapons to menace his neighbors and threaten the U.S., has died, North Korean state television reported early Monday.
His death opens a new and potentially dangerous period of transition and instability for North Korea and northeast Asia. Mr. Kim in September 2010 tapped the youngest of his three sons, Kim Jong Eun, to succeed him, and North Korean state television on Monday said the younger Mr. Kim will lead the country.
North Korea's transition of power will be closely watched by the world as the country prepares for leadership under Kim Jong Eun. The WSJ's Deborah Kan and Seoul reporter Evan Ramstad discuss what this could mean for stability in the secretive nation.
Mr. Kim, who was 69 or 70 years old, according to varying accounts, died during a train ride on Saturday, a weeping television announcer said. He was believed to have been in ill health since suffering a stroke in 2008, and North Korean media said he experienced an "advanced acute myorcardial infarction," or heart attack.
South Korean shares tumbled along with other Asian markets in early trading Monday on concerns about potential instability in the region. South Korea's Kospi Composite down 3.1% in late-morning trading after initially dropping 4.4%. South Korea's currency, the won, fell sharply against the dollar.
Asia Today: North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong Il has died according to North Korean TV reports. The WSJ's Deborah Kan and reporter Alex Frangos talk about what this means for the secretive nation.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said late Sunday that the administration is "closely monitoring" reports of Mr. Kim's death, that President Barack Obama had been notified and that U.S. officials are in close touch with South Korea and Japan.
"We remain committed to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies," Mr. Carney said.
South Korea put its military on "high alert" and President Lee Myung-bak convened a meeting of the national security council after the news of Mr. Kim's death, the Associated Press reported.
The son of North Korea's founder, Kim Jong Il ruled the reclusive country for nearly two decades. See highlights from his life and career in this timeline. (Click Image To View Interactive Chart)
In Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda called an emergency meeting of his National Security group to assess the situation. Japan has been among the countries most worried about North Korea's military ambitions and nuclear tests.
Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa said on the way into the session on Monday.
"I've issued instructions (to the defense ministry) to do everything to establish an alert, monitoring stance."
Meanwhile, roughly 20 minutes before its daily noon newscast, state broadcaster China Central Television broke in with a special report on Mr. Kim's death. It was a three-minute bare-bones account that echoed the facts from North Korea's official media, plus a chronology of the major events of his life, intercut with stock footage. Several minutes later, it aired the program again.
The state-run Xinhua news agency offered a similar just-the-facts report.
Click Image To View Interactive Chart
Kim Jong-il Rises To Power
Mr. Kim took power after the death in July 1994 of his father, Kim Il Sung, who founded North Korea in 1948. The country, a declining communist industrial power when he took control, fell into abject poverty under his rule. However, Mr. Kim continued to command attention and relevance in the world by building nuclear weapons and selling other arms.
He staked his legitimacy on his father's 46-year rule. Kim Jong Il never called himself president of North Korea. Instead, he bestowed on his father after death the title of "eternal president," while he took lesser titles such as chairman of national defense and general secretary of the main political party.
Mr. Kim suffered a stroke-like illness in August 2008 and was incapacitated for two months, forcing him to begin to groom a successor.
Click Image To View Interactive Slideshow
The Successor: Kim Jong Eun
In 2009, reports surfaced that Mr. Kim had chosen Kim Jong Eun to carry on the family's regime. Those reports were confirmed in September 2010, when Mr. Kim appointed his son, who is believed to be 27 or 28 years old, a four-star general in the North Korean military and to high-level posts in the ruling political party.
In October 2010, his first public image was released by North Korean state media, showing a striking resemblance to his father and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, the North Korean founder.
Since the public appointment, Kim Jong Eun has frequently been seen following his ailing father on "on-spot" inspections.
"We must fight with greater resolve to overcome today's crisis, behind comrade Kim Jung Eun's leadership, for another great victory for the Juche revolution," an announcer on North Korean state television said in announcing the elder Mr. Kim's death. Juche is North Korea's state ideology, which emphasizes independence and self-determination.
Kim Jong Il, far right, and Kim Jong Eun, third from right, salute while watching a military parade in September.
Although a succession plan has been laid out, conditions aren't as favorable as they were in 1994 for continuing the family's control. North Korea is much poorer and less stable now. A famine from 1995 to 1997 killed two million to three million North Koreans, aid agencies estimate, and sowed distrust in the government. North Koreans have learned more about the outside world in recent years, thanks to increasing use of cellphones and availability of DVDs.
What Kim Jong-il's Death Means To Rest of World
The potential for instability in North Korea poses difficulties for the rest of the world because the country in recent years made significant progress in the development of nuclear weapons. It conducted tests of nuclear explosives in 2006 and 2009 and is believed to possess a small number of nuclear bombs, though none that can be transported by missiles.
For its neighbors South Korea and China, Mr. Kim's death brings an additional risk: the prospect for a greater outflow of North Koreans into their countries if instability occurs.
When Mr. Kim came to power in 1994, North Korea was still trying to recover from the collapse of its economic sponsor, the Soviet Union. Famine overtook the country, but Mr. Kim relied on his father's formula for controlling North Korea's roughly 24 million people.
North Korean Embassy staff in Beijing lower their national flag on Monday to mourn Kim Jong Il's death.
He limited their access to information, ability to travel and earn wealth. And he maintained a system of gulag-like prison camps, massive in scale and horrific in condition, to instill fear.
China eventually took over as North Korea's main benefactor. Prodded by Beijing, Mr. Kim experimented with economic liberalization in 2002 by allowing some markets to form. But by 2008, Mr. Kim grew fearful that economic freedoms were eroding the power of his regime. He ordered crackdowns that included a confiscation of private savings in late 2009.
Mr. Kim also resisted efforts by China, the U.S. and other countries to persuade him to give up the nuclear-weapons research that his father started in the 1970s. The research climaxed in October 2006 when North Korea first tested a half-megaton nuclear device. It tested a more powerful nuclear explosive in May 2009, leading to stiff sanctions by the United Nations Security Council that further damaged the economy.
In 2010, North Korea revealed progress in turning enriched uranium into a source of fuel for nuclear weapons, further aggravating other countries.
This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Nov. 2 via the Tokyo-based Korean News Service shows Kim Jong Il inspecting Korean People's Army unit 789.
Over the past year, Mr. Kim repeatedly reached out to China for more economic and security assistance and lashed out at the three countries long considered to be North Korea's main enemies: South Korea, Japan and the U.S.
COMMENTARY: Yesterday, when I heard the news that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il had died from a heart attack I knew I had to pay my respects with a stupendous blog post.
Like most Americans, we knew very little about Kim Jong Il, other than what we read about him in the newspapers or seen on television. So, I view this as a great opportunity to educate myself and you on the little midget dictator.
Official North Korean Announcement of Kim Jong-il's Death
Thanks to Google Translator, here's the original news release that was run by the state run North Korean newspaper @uriminzokkiri via Twitter announcing the death of Kim Jong Il, and translated into English using Google Translator:
"(December 19, Pyongyang KCNA) -
12:00 o'clock today, the great Leader of Korea Kim Jong-il by comrades want casually demise was a great press release was issued doe.
Lt's General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea Democratic People's Republic of KPA lt's Defense Committee, who is the commander in chief, the Great Leader Kim Jong-il was a boy you like the death of his comrades facing the county ten million hyeongeon now is in the grip of grief that can not be.
Perform the transition from a socialist powerful nation-building feats ever open phase, and the revolution of Korea overlapping challenges and triumphantly through the ordeal, and at a time when Kim Jong -minded sport he died of the WPK and the revolution is the maximum loss of 70 million Koreans, liberal world Most of the people is a great sorrow.
Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, including height, enshrined in many places in the great President Kim Il Sung statue of a comment bibun Among the nation's parents have lost a great citizen come to the locked gakgyecheung Kim moknotah comrades are singing ohyeol breaks down.
They wash with tears pouring nyeom also without making the pain of loss and sorrow that is struggling with.
"Even if only some time ago with the development of the country Thriving happy life of the people than the fire in order to be energetic activity Burley pontoon Announcing the Great General, that he believed that lest we are not alone. "
"Our country does not she, sir you, sir, leaving the leadership of the revolution, sir, love leaves us only one who thought that life is nice, do not you."
Chest pain and sorrow slicing the sky just like to sit down this vision, people more firmly in the hearts of every one always trying to get somewhere and rakgwan confidence of victory, is the tragic vow.
KPA Military Jeongilguk (Male, 43 years old):
"We follow the leadership of Comrade eun sad turn today's crisis with strength and courage win the naemyeo subject of the revolution to win even more great new haegal eoksege will struggle."
Who work in Cabinet heoseongcheol (Male, 55 years old), the "eun-minded than his revelation of our revolution today raeil must prevail," he stressed."
NOTE: Neat translation, isn't it. What a crappy translator Google has, but I am sure you can figure it out.
North Korea Mourns Kim's Death
The news of the North Korea's leader death has put the 24-million population on the verge of insanity, hyped up by unceasing TV broadcast of mass mourning throughout the country. North Korea's national flag is flying at half-mast today on every flagpole in the country.
Now that's what I call a whole lot of crying. Kim Jong-il's son Uen has big shoes to fill.
North Korea's New Leader: Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-Il's successor is his youngest son, Kim Jong-un. It's time to meet the most powerful twenty-something in the world: an enigmatic basketball fanatic and four-star general with a bad case of fat cheeks and an itchy trigger finger.
In some ways, Kim Jong-un is just your normal millenial: After a stint away at school in 1998, he moved back home with his parents. Although in Kim's case the school was a Swiss boarding school, and his time back home was spent studying at North Korea's premier military academy and being groomed to succeed his father. Kim Jong-il apparently chose Kim Jong-un to succeed him over his two older brothers because they're seen as too soft and irresponsible to lead.
Unlike most people his age (including his nephew) Kim Jong-un is definitely not on Facebook. Kim has been kept so tightly under wraps—he was enrolled at his Swiss boarding school under a fake identity—that the world didn't really know what he looked like until he was "unveiled" at a military parade last year, a newly-minted four star general.
Kim Jong-Un likes to pass the time playing basketball and video games, and launching sudden military strikes against South Korea. It's thought that Kim Jong-un coordinated the bombardment of a South Korean island and the sinking of a South Korean warship last year to prove his military prowess and cement his role as the Great Successor. But he's not all business: F ormer classmates told the Washington PostKim was obsessed with basketball, had a stash of expensive Nikes and "spent hours doing meticulous pencil drawings of Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan." His taste for consumer goods has survived: Last year, a train full of televisions and watches thought to be gifts for Kim was derailed on its way way from China.
According to a former cook of Kim Jong-Il's who goes by the name Kenji Fujimoto:
"Dressed in a military outfit, the young Jong-Un glared at me with a menacing look when we shook hands."
The first time they met, Fujimoto wrote in Kim Jong-Il's Chef:
"I can never forget the look in his eyes which seemed to be saying, 'This one is a despicable Japanese.'"
Kim Jong-un, like his father, is a serious chubster. Maybe he bulked up like Robert De Niro inRaging Bull to look more like his fat grandfather, North Korea's founder Kim Il-Sung, whom he's reportedly purposely styling himself after right down to the flat-top hairstyle. Or maybe it's some unspoken rule among North Korea's regimes that all its leaders have to be exceptionally rotund, to underscore the the millions of its citizens who have starved in famines.
Looks like Jim Jung-un is a real work of art thanks to dad. Any kid that can move from civilian to four-star general, that is just plain impressive.
President Obama better not count on peace talks with this vicious, cold-blooded, and mean-spirited chubby dictator any time soon.
The North Korean Military
North Korea has the fourth largest military in the world with 1.1 million military personnel, behind China (2.25 million), U.S. (1.55 million) and India (1.35 million). South Korea's military ranks #6 with 687,000 personnel in uniform. North Korea i a military state without equal. On a per-capita basis, North Korea has more people in the active military than any other country by a wide margin.
North Korea's annual military budget in 2009 was only $5 billion, compared to $24.5 billion spent by South Korea, and the $800 billion spent by the U.S. Most of North Korea's armaments are supplied by the Russia and People's Republic of China, but are outdated.
Click Image To Enlarge
North Korea is superior to South Korea in the following aspects of their military:
No of Active Military Personnel: 1.1 million versus 687,000
Reserve Military Personnel: 4.7 million versus 4.5 million
Main Battle Tanks: 3,500+ versus 2,750
Artillery Pieces: 17,900+ versus 10,774
Air Force Fighters and Attack Aircraft: 540 versus 467 (But So Korea has the more modern aircraft supplied by the U.S.)
South Korea has a big lead in surface naval warships (47 versus 8), but lags behind North Korea in patrol craft (329 versus 79), submarines (63 versus 13) and small landing craft (224 versus 36).
North Korea's nuclear bomb program is super-secret, but according to the U.S. and IAEA nuclear experts, the country has sufficient weapons grade uranium to producce between 2 to 3 nuclear bombs and is it is developing long-range ballistic missles to deliver nuclear warheads to Alaska and even Hawaii. A rogue nation like North Korea, with a nuclear arsenal, run by a much younger dictator like Kim Jong Uen means a big problem for decades to come.
Communist countries are known for their huge military parades. This video celebrates the 75th anniversary of the ruling North Korean party and shows its military forces on display. North Korean forces have a very odd way of marching, which has got to hurt after a while.
North Korea Is A Tourist Paradise
North Korea is apparently a very popular tourist destination, if you are not from the West. If you are from China or Russia, no problem. North Korea is a great place to visit, but get used to frequent blackouts in your hotel.
Antique (circa 1980's) Sony-Walkman Sports CD portable music player was waterproof and I used it to workout and jog. I still have mine and it works just great.
How inventions synonymous with contemporary Japan--from robots and fuel-efficient cars to manga and Walkmen--drew inspiration from ancient Japan.
To casual observers, Japan’s creative and technological might is a decisively modern development. Rooted in the rebuilding efforts that followed World War II, it spawned fuel-efficient cars, manga, and electronics and robots in spades. But a recently concluded exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civilization shows a much deeper history: Japan was a hive of innovation long before the advent of either the Walkman or the Wakamaru.
Wakamaru is a domestic robot designed to provide companionship to the elderly and disabled people. Its historical precedents are the tea-serving mechanical dolls--karakuri ningyo--of the Edo Period.
The Edo was a peaceful era. As a result, warrior clothing, such as the Daimyo iron suit shown above, was largely decorative and reserved only for ceremonial occasions.
Another fact of life in a nonwarring nation: It was safe for Japanese citizens to travel around the country. That created a demand for personal transportation vehicles like the Movos bicycle pictured above. Bicycles proliferate today, thanks to a similar set of circumstances.
JAPAN: Tradition. Innovation revealed how artifacts from the Renaissance-like Edo Period (1603-1867) inspired many of the inventions synonymous with contemporary Japan. The compact cars of today are descendants of Edo-era handcrafted Palanquin sedan chairs. USB drives and mini music players have echoes of the portable lacquered boxes full of ink, brushes, and writing paper that kept yesteryear's leisure classes occupied on their travels. Even the most sophisticated modern technological feats, robots, have a historical precedent in Japanese society of yore: karakuri ningyo, small mechanical dolls used to serve tea.
Peace also meant more time for leisure activities, like picnicking. The gold-lacquered wood picnic set shown above dates to the 1800s.
Today, designers and craftspeople use traditional techniques--including Origami paper-folding--to create new objects like the Origami pleats shown above.
Softbank worked with Zohiko, a Kyoto-based lacquer company founded in 1661, to produce the above iPhone covers. Each design was inspired by a famous warlord of the pre-Edo civil wars.
The eras’ common factor? “Both are prolonged periods of peace that unleashed an enormous amount of creativity,” museum president and CEO Victor Rabinovitch says. Let that be a lesson for countries everywhere to make stuff, not war.
The exhibit ended in October, but the accompanying website is still up and has lots of great information. Have a look-see here.
COMMENTARY: I have always loved the beauty, lines, shapes, colors and tranquile designs of Japanese artwork and products. I still use my Sony Walkman Sports CD player religiously. It dates from the mid-1980's, yellow and black and was even waterproof (see above).
After Salman Rushdie’s profile was mistakenly deactivated, he called Facebook a ‘bunch of morons.’ Then the author threatened a Twitter defection after being forced to go by ‘Ahmed.’ Brian Ries on who won out.
For a few hours on Monday morning, Salman Rushdie had just about had it with Facebook.
The social media site had detected a profile over the weekend—his Facebook profile—that it had mistakenly determined was fraudulent. So, without warning, Facebook flipped its switch, digitally executing Rushdie’s profile and removing it from the site. To get it reactivated, he was told, he would have to send a photograph of his passport, thereby proving his identity as the real Salman Rushdie, the Indian-British author of Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses, and not a fraud. But when he did as instructed, his profile emerged from its Facebook purgatory with a problem.
Click Image To View Salman "Ahmed" Rushdie's Facebook Profile
“Facebook deactivated my account because they thought I wasn’t me. Now they insist I call myself by the first name I have never used. What a bunch of morons.”
That rarely used first name, Ahmed, is what’s printed on his passport. Salman, technically speaking, is his middle name. And a post about “name standards” on Facebook’s Help Center—which the company on Monday acknowledged is a bit dated and then quickly updated after a query by The Daily Beast—suggested that middle names simply aren’t allowed.
“Or, if F. Scott Fitzgerald was on #Facebook, would they force him to be Francis Fitzgerald? What about F. Murray Abraham?”
Salman Rushdie's Twitter page:
Click Above Image To Visit Salman Rushdie's Twitter Page
Others agreed. The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal wondered.
“What is the point of forcing Salman Rushdie to go by Ahmed Rushdie? How does this benefit the social web?”
When reached Monday afternoon, a company spokesperson told The Daily Beast it does permit users to identify by their middle and last names. Rushdie’s profile suspension, and resulting name change, was all a mistake.
The spokesperson said in an official announcement.
“This action was taken in error and Mr. Rushdie’s account has been reactivated with the correct name. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
That inconvenience was almost Facebook’s—Rushdie nearly took his presence elsewhere. He wrote in a post earlier in the day, before inviting readers to follow him on Twitter—Facebook’s on-again-off-again competitor.
“As I don’t and will never recognize myself as ‘Ahmed Rushdie’ I will be reducing FB activities to just about zero and cutting back my list of friends to actual friends or at least acquaintances, just to keep in touch. I’m done.”
But later Monday, once Facebook had reinstated the profile as “Salman Rushdie,” the author made a triumphant return. He posted on his profile.
“Victory! Goodbye Ahmed, get back into the passport where you belong. Salman returns.”
And with that return, a confirmation: Facebook users, middle names are A-OK in Zuckerville.
COMMENTARY: It's most unfortunate to see Facebook make an ass of themselves over your name. Everybody knows who Salman Rushdie is. Zuck should personally apologize to Salman for treating him with such outrageous disrespect. A lot of celebrities use different names. Lady Gaga has a real name. So by Facebook's rules she should be asked to change her Facebook name to Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
Twenty years ago, novelist Salman Rushdie was a wanted man with a million pound bounty on his head. His novel, The Satanic Verses, had sparked riots across the Muslim world. The ailing religious leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini, had invoked a little-known religious opinion - a fatwa - and effectively sentenced Rushdie to death. Never before had a novel created an international diplomatic crisis on such a scale, and never before had a foreign Government publicly called for the killing of a private citizen of another country.
The following film documentary looks back on the extraordinary events which followed the publication of the book and the ten year campaign to get the fatwa lifted. Interviews with Rushdie's friends and family and testimony from leaders of Britain's Muslim community and the Government reveal the inside story of the affair. Rushdie himself was forced into hiding for nearly ten years.
British columnist Christopher Hitchens discusses Salman Rushdie's 'The Satanic Verses' and the famous fatwa.
Here's an interview with Salman Rushdie and his response to the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa:
Anybody with the balls to imply that the Prophet Mohammed is evil or even Satanic, then have the Ayatollah Khomeini personally call a 'fatwa' for his assassination, can be my Twitter friend anytime. You should've been knighted by the Queen.
In conclusion, I would like to say:
Dear Mr. Salmen Rushdie.
Fuck Facebook. Welcome to Twitter. The only true democratic social network. I hope that we can follow each other. Here's my Twitter page. Yours truly,
Courtesy of an article dated November 14, 2011 appearing in The Daily Beast
BEIJING — Chinese state television has broadcast footage of what two experts on the Chinese military say appears to be a military institute demonstrating software designed to attack websites in the U.S.
A presenter introduces a TV report appearing to contradict assertions China doesn't engage in cyberattacks
Although it could be a decade old or a mock-up, the 10-second segment—part of a longer report on cybersecurity—appears to be a rare example of an official source contradicting China'a repeated assertions that it doesn't engage in cyberattacks, according to Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins of the China SignPost analytical service, which specializes in military matters.
The slightest suggestion that the Chinese military has attacked U.S. websites is highly sensitive, especially since the Pentagon published a new cyberstrategy in July that laid the ground for the U.S. to potentially respond with traditional military force to crippling cyberattacks from abroad.
That move followed a string of cyberattacks over the past few years on U.S. targets including Google Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp. and the Pentagon itself, which many U.S. officials believe originated in China, though they haven't so far offered evidence publicly to prove this.
The change also reflected mounting concerns in the Pentagon that insufficient resources have been invested in defense against cyberattacks—which were inflicted on Georgia during its brief war with Russia in 2008 but are still unregulated by international law and are likely to be a key element of future wars.
China's Foreign and Defense Ministries didn't respond to requests for comment Wednesday. Nor did China Central Television Channel 7, known as CCTV-7, where the footage was shown. In the past, China's government has repeatedly denied any involvement in cyberattacks and has said that China itself is one of the biggest victims of hacking.
The brief footage—the relevant segment runs no more than 10 seconds—didn't attract much domestic or international attention when it was first screened last month as part of a 20-minute report on cybersecurity broadcast on CCTV-7, which covers military affairs.
But it was highlighted Wednesday in a report published by Dr. Erickson, an associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College's China Maritime Studies Institute, and Mr. Collins, a commodities and security specialist focusing on Russia and China.
The footage, which could still be seen on CCTV's website as of late Wednesday, features Senior Col. Du Wenlong, a researcher at the Chinese army's Academy of Military Sciences, giving a detailed analysis of cybersecurity issues around the world.
At one point, as a narrator discusses various forms of cyberattack, a cursor is shown moving on a computer screen with a software application that is identified in Chinese characters as a "distributed denial-of-service" attack. Also known as DDOS, such attacks are relatively unsophisticated tools of cyberwarfare that involve bombarding websites with data to disable them.
The next screen says at the top, in Chinese, "Attack system..PLA Electronic Engineering Institute." PLA stands for People's Liberation Army.
Below, it asks the user to "Choose the attack target" from a drop-down list of websites related to the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which China's government banned in 1999 and which has been the object of a sustained crackdown ever since.
The cursor highlights one, called Minghui.org, and then clicks on a large button below saying "Attack."
The IP address given for the selected website—which is currently unavailable in China but accessible in the U.S.—is 22.214.171.124 and is registered to the University of Alabama in Birmingham, according to at least two websites that trace IP addresses.
Dr. Erickson and Mr. Collins said that if the footage was real, it was probably a decade old, because of the rudimentary nature of the DDOS attack depicted, and because there was a spate of such attacks on Falun Gong targets 10 year ago.
They also said it was unclear whether the footage—which might also have depicted a civilian hacker—was included to reassure a domestic audience about China's cybercapability, or simply because it suited CCTV-7's need for some relevant imagery.
But they argued that, even if it were a symbolic representation, it was significant all the same because it was shown on CCTV, one of the government's main official mouthpieces, and depicted as an attack on a foreign website wrote.
"It appeared to show dated computer screenshots of a Chinese military institute conducting a rudimentary type of cyberattack against a U.S.-based dissident entity. However modest, ambiguous—and, from China's perspective, defensive—this is possibly the first direct piece of visual evidence from an official Chinese government source to undermine Beijing's official claims never to engage in overseas hacking of any kind for government purposes."
They added later:
"It certainly looks like a 'smoking cursor,' albeit a relatively modest one. China undoubtedly has far superior capabilities at its disposal today."
China's Defense Ministry revealed for the first time in May that it had formed a 30-strong cyber defense unit, called the "Blue Army," but insisted that it was for defensive purposes only.
However, foreign security officials and Internet-security experts continue to allege that a significant proportion of military and corporate cyberattacks originate from China.
The cybersecurity company McAfee Inc said in February that hackers who appeared to be based in China had conducted a "coordinated, covert and targeted" campaign of cyberespionage against five multinational energy firms since at least since 2009 and possibly since 2007.
McAfee released another report this month suggesting that an unidentified "state actor" was behind a massive years-long cyberattack on organizations including United Nations agencies, the government of Taiwan and the International Olympic Committee.
COMMENTARY: As you know by now, I have been covering the "undeclared" cyberwar that exists between China and the U.S. since 2010. On several occasions the U.S. has accused China of conducting unproked and clanestine cyberattacks on U.S. military facilities and corporations.
CYBERCOM - The U.S. First Line of Defense
In a blog post dated February 7, 2011, I profiled America's cyberwar first line of defense: USCYBERCOM or CYBERCOM.
The federal government department entrusted with the job of protecting America against cyber attacks is the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM or CYBERCOM).
On June 23, 2009, the Secretary of Defense directed the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) to establish USCYBERCOM. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was achieved on May 21, 2010.
The mission of USCYBERCOM is to plan, coordinate, integrate, synchronize, and conduct activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full-spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.
USCYBERCOM combines the Department’s full spectrum of cyberspace operations and plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes, and conducts activities to:
Lead day-to-day defense and protection of Department of Defense (DoD) information networks,
Coordinate DoD operations providing support to military missions;.
Direct the operations and defense of specified DoD information networks.
Prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations.
The command is charged with pulling together existing cyberspace resources, creating synergy that does not currently exist and synchronizing war-fighting effects to defend the information security environment.
USCYBERCOM centralizes command of cyberspace operations, strengthen DoD cyberspace capabilities, and integrate and bolster DoD’s cyber expertise. Consequently, USCYBERCOM improves DoD’s capabilities to ensure resilient, reliable information and communication networks, counter cyberspace threats, and assure access to cyberspace. USCYBERCOM’s efforts also support the Armed Services’ ability to confidently conduct high-tempo, effective operations as well as protect command and control systems and the cyberspace infrastructure supporting weapons system platforms from disruptions, intrusions and attacks.
USCYBERCOM is a sub-unified command subordinate to USSTRATCOM. Service Elements include the four key branches of the U.S. military:
U.S. Army – Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER)
U.S. Air Force – 24th USAF
U.S. Navy – Fleet Cyber Command (FLTCYBERCOM)
U.S. Marine Corp – Marine Forces Cyber Command (MARFORCYBER)
CYBER BLUE TEAM - China's First Line of Defense
In a blog post dated July 16, 2011, I profiled China's cyberwar first line of defense: CYBER BLUE TEAM.
China's military has set up an elite Internet security task force tasked with fending off cyber attacks, state media reported May 27, denying that the initiative is intended to create a "hacker army."
The People's Liberation Army has reportedly invested tens of millions of dollars in the project, which is sure to ring alarm bells around the world among governments and businesses wary of Beijing's intentions.
The Global Times quoted China's defense ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng as telling a rare briefing this week.
"Cyber attacks have become an international problem affecting both civilian and military areas. China is relatively weak in cyber-security and has often been targeted. This temporary program is aimed at improving our defenses against such attacks."
The 30-member "Cyber Blue Team" - the core of the PLA's cyber force - has been organized under the Guangdong military command in the country's south and will carry out "cyber-warfare drills", the newspaper said.
The Cyber Blue Team is based in Jinan, China where there are 12 Universities and a high tech zone and boast 6 million people. It’s also the headquarter of the PLA. The squad is aimed at carrying out attacks on other countries Internet.
Li Li, a military expert at the National Defense University said,
“China’s Online Blue Army is currently at its fledging period."
Zhang Shaozhong, a military expert from the PLA adds.
“Just like the army and air forces, the ‘online blue army' is a historical necessity."
The reason is very simple. Teng Jianqun, a research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, said.
“We must adapt to the new types of warfare in the information era. The ‘online blue army’ is of great strategic significance to China’s economic development and social stability.”
The United States, Australia, Germany and other Western nations have long alleged that hackers inside China are carrying out a wide-range of cyberattacks on government and corporate computer systems worldwide.
But in a commentary, the Global Times hit out at "some foreign media" for interpreting the program as a breeding ground for a "hacker army" said.
"China's capability is often exaggerated. Without substantiated evidence, it is often depicted by overseas media as the culprit for cyberattacks on the US and Europe. China needs to develop its strong cyber defense strength. Otherwise, it would remain at the mercy of others."
China's military has received annual double-digit increases in its budget over much of the last two decades as it tries to develop a more modern force capable of winning increasingly high-tech wars.
In 2007, the Pentagon raised concerns about a successful Chinese ballistic missile test strike on a satellite. That weapon could be used to knock out the high-tech communications of its enemies.
U.S. computer firm McAfee said in February that hackers from China have also infiltrated the computer networks of global oil companies and stole financial documents on bidding plans and other confidential information.
According to US diplomatic cables obtained and published by WikiLeaks, the United States believes that China's leadership has directed hacking campaigns against U.S. Internet giant Google and Western governments.
In one cable, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said it learned from "a Chinese contact" that the Politburo had led years of hacking into computers of the United States, its allies and Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
WHO's WINNING THE CYBERWAR?
USCYBERCOM and China's Blue Cyber Team are very new cyber organizations. Both organizations carry out and defend against cyber attacks. Both were established with the goal of defending their their military organizations against cyber attacks, from each other, rogue nations, cyber terrorist groups bent on compromising their defense systems. It's very difficult to ascertain which country is winning the cyber wars since neither the U.S. or China military will publicly acknowledge every single cyber attack and what was compromised. The following lists major cyber attacks committed by the Chinese against the U.S. and its allies against the U.S. military, government agencies and embassies between 1999 and 2009.
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US Deputy Defence Secretary William Lynn said that in a March 2011 attack and other breaches, hackers had taken information on "our most sensitive systems". The admission came as the Pentagon rolled out a strategy for strengthening US cyber capabilities and addressing threats and attacks in cyberspace.
In a speech at National Defense University in Washington, Mr Lynn said about 24,000 files containing Pentagon data were stolen from a defence industry computer network in March, marking one of the largest cyber attacks in US history.
CYBER ATTACKS RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
At the end of last month, there was a Wall Street Journal story reporting that the US government had decided that certain types of cyber attacks originating from another country can constitute an act of war, and therefore could trigger a "traditional" military response from the US. from the US.
As one military official in the WSJ article stated it:
"If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks."
Well, today there is a long AP story that says that Preident Barack Obama signed executive orders about a month ago outlining when and how US military commanders can employ cyber capabilities to mount cyber attacks or conduct espionage against other countries.
Defense officials and security experts told the AP that:
"The orders detail when the military must seek presidential approval for a specific cyber assault on an enemy and weave cyber capabilities into U.S. war fighting strategy."
The executive orders act in a similar fashion as operational theater rules of engagement. The AP story states, for example, that:
"Under the new Pentagon guidelines, it would be unacceptable to deliberately route a cyberattack through another country if that nation has not given permission - much like U.S. fighter jets need permission to fly through another nation's airspace."
The full set of cyberwar guidelines have not been announced, but the US Department of Defense is expected to do so soon.
CIVILIAN ORGANIZATION CYBERATTACKS
Cyber attacks against both US and Chinese civilian organizations occur almost on a daily basis.
China reported that in 2010 year its government websites experienced a 68 percent increase in cyber attacks.
The Chinese government has been accused of sponsoring cyber attacks against major companies like Google and Yahoo as well as governments around the world.
A report released by the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China (CNCERT/CC) found that a total of 35,000 Chinese websites, including 4,635 government sites, were hit by hackers in 2010.
Attacks on China's non-government websites actually decreased 22 percent in 2010, while attacks on government websites had increased nearly 70 percent.
The report also found that roughly 60 percent of ministerial-level websites have potential security risks.
McAfee, a cybersecurity company owned by Intel, announced on August 4, 2011, that it uncovered a wide-ranging, global cyber attack that impacted 72 organizations.
A total of 36 corporations, 12 non-profits and 22 government organizations were affected, including 15 U.S. government agencies and the United Nations.
We hear incessantly about the rise of China. So much so that it's all a bit too abstract: What does it mean that China's has become a global force? And more importantly, how have they actually accomplished that?
I say rarely seen because The Heritage Foundation boasts that it possesses the only database of China's global investments, and they've actually made it available for public consumption. The charts elegantly show the various sectors that China is investing in around the globe, and where they're doing it. The most obvious thing that's happening: China is using partners from around the world to secure the raw materials it needs to grow. It's investments abroad aren't in technology or industry; they're in metals and energy and power.
Here are their investments around the world in energy:
Click To View Interactive Map
And in metals:
Click To View Interactive Map
The more you look at this chart, the more you start seeing powerful forces at work. For one, you'll notice that majority of China's trading partners aren't in Europe or America: They're in Asia and Africa and South America. In other words, precisely those countries which have always spoken last on the world stage. China is using its economic relationships to create an alternative bloc of power, which can directly compete with the political might of the E.U. and America.
You could call it checkbook diplomacy, and it's vastly different than the bedrock of our own diplomatic efforts. Granted, the U.S. does use its economic relationships abroad as a carrot, but the stick has always been our armed forces. China, by contrast, isn't exactly threatening countries overseas with potential military action (with the exception of Taiwan, of course). Instead, it's doing hundreds of billions in business with countries that are usually also-rans on the global stage. Look, for instance at its dealings with little old Australia:
Click To View Interactive Map
The one country that China is pointedly not investing much in is America. Instead, the only thing they're doing is buying our debt and holding our currency. Here are their investments in the States:
Click To View Interactive Map
And here is a look at what currencies draw their attention; it's almost exclusively our own:
Click To View Interactive Map
This is profoundly clever stuff. China has neutralized our power to oppose it by holding so much of our debt. And it has simultaneously drawn other countries closer to its bloc of power by offering them a taste of its rocketing economy.
COMMENTARY: I can remember as a kid reading about China's famines. The U.S. would even send them bags of rice. Look at them now. Without our humongous military might, what is the United States, really? China has eaten away at us by essentially "buying" other countries and copying everything we make. China presents a huge bloc of votes in the U.N. not just in the Security Council. We need to stop buying their junk, and bring back those jobs. But wait, how could we supply Apple evangelists with their magical devices? Forget I said that.
Ever wondered where the world's deposed dictators go after they are deposed by their followers? They live everywhere.
While we are at it, let's look at some of the scumbag dictators in the Arab World. By the way, many of these Arab World countries receive foreign aid from Uncle Sam. That's right, our taxes go to prop up their regimes. How many of these scumbags have drawn up their exit plans as things heat up? Let's have a look at a few of these punkasses.
Here is one of my all-time favorites Moammar Gadhafi a.k.a. "The Leader" and dictator of Libya. A little know fact about this guy: He has all-female bodyguards known as the "Amazon Bodyguards".
NBC news correspondent Katie Couric interviewed Bashar al-Assad in 2010. Bashar is the son of former Syrian dictator Havez al-Assad. He is 46 years old, 6'2", shy and former opthalmologist. He attended the School of Opthalmology at the University of Damascas and finished his medical internship at a hospital in London, England. He speaks fluent English. You never would guess that he is a cold-blooded killer like his old man.
[Click To View Video]
One February 3, 2011, Christiane Amanpour, a well respected journalsit and incredibly brave news correspondent for CNN, and now working for ABC, under great danger was able to obtain an exclusive interview with Hosni Mubarak the embattled President of Egypt. President Mubarak was finally deposed and fled to the exclusive Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh (click to view) where he will live out the rest of his life.
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The Four Seasons Hotel, Sharm El Sheikh, is supposedly the new residence of former deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.