A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for April 2013

[LINK] “Is Huawei Giving Up on the U.S.? Pretty Much”

I’ve blogged in the past about the problems faced by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in gaining access to North American markets, on security grounds. (For the record, both my cell phones have been Huawei models.) BusinessWeek‘s Bruce Einhorn now reports that Huawei is giving up its efforts.

Is Huawei, the huge Chinese technology company, giving up on efforts to build its business in the U.S.? Today, spokesman Scott Sykes told Bloomberg News in an e-mail that the U.S. won’t become a primary revenue source for its network equipment business for the “foreseeable future.” He was responding to reports by Reuters and the Financial Times citing Deputy Chairman Eric Xu saying at a meeting with analysts that Huawei is “not interested in the U.S. market anymore.”

Huawei Technology (002502) has good reason to sour on the U.S., given the strong opposition it has encountered from lawmakers and regulators in Washington. For instance, on April 8, Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Bloomberg Television that Huawei is a security risk to the U.S. Rogers also said he wants to ensure that Clearwire, the wireless company owned by Sprint Nextel (S), won’t use Huawei equipment. While Clearwire relies on equipment from Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Ciena (CIEN) for its core network, it does use some Huawei equipment, said Chief Technology Officer John Saw in October.

What Rogers thinks about what equipment Clearwire can buy is of significance now, since Japanese telecom operator Softbank (9984) is trying to acquire Clearwire’s parent, Sprint. In Japan, Softbank is a Huawei customer, and Rogers seems intent on making sure the Japanese company doesn’t continue that relationship in the U.S. Indeed, his April 8 statement is just the latest in a series of comments expressing worries about risks posed by Huawei. On March 28, Rogers told Bloomberg News that the companies had told him they wouldn’t use Huawei products in Sprint’s network. “I expect them to make the same assurances before any approval of the deal,” he wrote. “I have met with Softbank and Sprint regarding this merger and was assured they would not integrate Huawei into the Sprint network and would take mitigation efforts to replace Huawei equipment in the Clearwire network.”

The GOP isn’t the only party taking shots at Huawei. In Washington, speaking out against the perils posed by the Chinese company is a rare issue of bipartisan accord. Last month, President Obama signed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2013. Amid the appropriations bill’s many provisions is Section 516, prohibiting the Departments of Commerce and Justice, NASA, and the National Science Foundation from buying IT systems from Chinese companies unless those agencies cooperate with the FBI or other Federal investigators to assess the potential for cyber mischief.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 25, 2013 at 3:42 am

[LINK] “Toronto court rules woman must remove niqab to testify”

I’m not sure what I think about this, as reported by CBC. I will note that the ongoing controversy over the niqab has meant that alleged sexual predators have not been investigated.

An Ontario judge has ruled a woman must remove her niqab to testify in a Toronto sexual assault case.

Justice Norris Weisman announced his decision after applying a new test set out by the Supreme Court of Canada dealing with witnesses wearing a veil. The woman at the centre of the case is known only as N.S.

“I conclude that to permit N.S. to testify at the preliminary inquiry with her face obscured by the niqab will impair defence counsels’ ability to assess her demeanour, as well as the [judge’s] ability to assess her credibility,” Weisman said.

The woman has been fighting for six years for the right to wear her niqab during the trial of her uncle and cousin, who are accused of sexually assaulting her when she was a child in the 1980s.

Weisman had first ruled in 2008 that N.S. must remove her niqab during testimony. That decision was appealed all the way up to Supreme Court.

The test set out by Canada’s top court in December includes four issues a judge must consider, including: the potential witness’s depth of religious belief, and whether the veil could lessen the fairness of the trial.

The preliminary hearing for the two relatives accused of sexually abusing the woman is scheduled to begin next week, but her lawyer said the ruling on the niqab will be appealed.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 25, 2013 at 3:20 am

[LINK] “Via terror plot suspect says Criminal Code ‘not a holy book'”

The CBC coverage of Chiheb Esseghaier’s statement in court has received a lot of coverage for its audacity. I’ll just note that two of the tags I’m using are “oddities” and “humour”.

One of two men accused of an al-Qaeda-directed plot to derail a Via Rail passenger train appeared to question the authority of a Toronto court on Wednesday, saying that the Criminal Code should not apply to him because it’s “not a holy book.”

Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, asked to address the court and was warned to be careful with what he said because it could be used in future appearances.

“All of those conclusions was taken out based on Criminal Code and all of us we know that this Criminal Code is not a holy book,” Esseghaier said. “It’s just written by a set of creations and the creations they’re not perfect because only the Creator is perfect.

“We cannot rely on the conclusions taken out from these judgments.”

The judge thanked him for his comment but told him to “save that for another court.”

Esseghaier, who the Tunisian Embassy in Ottawa confirmed Wednesday is from that North African country, was represented by duty counsel but said he did not want a lawyer and would like to represent himself.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 25, 2013 at 2:58 am

[URBAN NOTE] On Percy Street in Toronto, a private street

Chris Bateman’s blogTO post “What’s it like to live on a private street in Toronto?” takes a look at Toronto’s Percy Street, a private street south of Cabbagetown, by the Don and not too far from the waterfront.

Percy Street isn’t like your street. This small stretch of Toronto road that runs south in a dog-legged kink from King Street to the Richmond Street ramp is one of the city’s some 250 private streets and laneways. There’s no gate, but the 35 residents here are just about as separate as it’s possible to be in the city, and they like it like that.

“We call it the ‘Republic of Percy,’ it’s kind of a joke,” says Kali Hewitt-Blackie, co-owner of The Percy Bed & Breakfast at No. 6. “When you walk down the street it’s like you’re living in another land. It’s not like Toronto, it’s like something in England or someplace.”

What really sets Percy apart is its lack of access to regular city services. There are no gates, barriers, or glaring warning signs, but snow, leaf, and garbage management are all arranged privately and paid for out of the resident’s pockets. Even sewer maintenance costs are part of the experience shared by other private community residents like the home owners of Wychwood Park near St. Clair and Bathurst.

“We nominate people to do things,” explains Hewitt-Blackie. We have a guy that’s in charge of the bank account … we have a little street signage committee, a street lighting committee, and we have one dealing with the rest of the things to do with Streetcar [the new condo that backs onto Percy.]”

Bateman has some interesting notes about the history of the street and its denizens.

See also this 2009 post at the Toronto Realty Blog and a 2011 National Post article

Written by Randy McDonald

April 24, 2013 at 7:11 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Why Brian Burke Deserves Credit for Getting the Maple Leafs to the Playoffs”

I’ve blogged a fair bit over the years about the seemingly futile Toronto Maple Leafs. I posted in January a link to a Torontoist opinion piece by Corbin Smith arguing that Brian Burke shouldn’t have been fired as general manager. In a much more recent post, Smith argues Burke should be given credit for the team’s playoff success.

Many of us have felt it coming for a few weeks, but now it’s finally official. After a game against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs clinched their first playoff berth in nearly a decade.

It’s been a long, long time since this city has seen playoff hockey. Ours is the only team in the NHL not to have made it to the postseason since the 2004-2005 lockout.

Toronto fans have had a tough time these past several years. Single-player roster moves and staff or management changes were too often touted as silver bullets that would somehow lead the team to salvation. For instance, now-former general manager Brian Burke arrived in 2008 with much fanfare. The media considered him to be the saviour of the Maple Leafs (he was certainly, at any rate, being paid a saviour’s salary). Sure enough, Burke landed some big names in his first year as GM. It practically made us forget that he was inheriting arguably the worst NHL team in the league.

No reasonable person should have expected major success from the Maple Leafs in the first few years of Burke’s tenure. It takes time to build up an NHL team from worse-than-nothing to a perennial playoff contender. Even so, both fans and sports writers became increasingly impatient with the Leafs’ failures year after year. Then, before this year’s lockout ended, Burke was shown the door, leaving assistant GM Dave Nonis at the helm.

Though Nonis is officially the GM as the Leafs head to the playoffs, there should be no doubt that this is the team Brian Burke built. The Leafs are winning on the backs of the players that Burke went after, all playing in a style Burke had championed since game one—a style characterized by, to use Burke’s thesaurus-abusing phrase, plenty of “pugnacity, testosterone, truculence, and belligerence.”

Written by Randy McDonald

April 24, 2013 at 7:06 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • At Centauri Dreams, Paul Gilster considers the finer details of the possible habitability of extrasolar worlds, not only the recently discovered ones of Kepler-62.
  • Crooked Timber’s Niamh Hardiman writes about how illegal immigration in Greece is becoming a major problem for that country and for the illegal immigrants, mainly because Greece is a cul-de-sac in the middle of an economic meltdown.
  • Daniel Drezner offers advice to novice Twitterers.
  • Eastern Approaches considers conflicts over interpretations of history and Communism in the Czech Republic and media freedom in Bulgaria.
  • Geocurrents notes that Uighur-majority districts in Xinjiang are among the poorest in China.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Folsom Street East, New York City’s leather festival of note, has been cancelled.
  • Language Hat notes another’s ongoing blog series that criticizes the idea that all human language descends from a single ancestral language, Proto-World.
  • At Lawyers, Guns and Money, Erik Loomis wonders why the explosions in Texas, product of industrial-strength negligence, got so much less press than the Boston Marathon bombings. (The commenters suggest that the ongoing intentional threat in Boston was key.)
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that although Spain’s population is dropping via emigration, but that the emigration isn’t that much and is concentrated among recent immigrants.

[PHOTO] Early morning, Dupont TTC station, upper level

Early morning, Dupont TTC station, upper level

Written by Randy McDonald

April 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Photo, Toronto

Tagged with , , , ,