cyber snooping

♦ The FT’s David Gardner argues that Hizbollah has become a state above the state in Lebanon: “The group has a strategy towards Lebanese institutions: fill them, keep them empty, or make them unworkable.”
♦ By lengthening the storage time for aluminium, Goldman Sachs adds millions a year to its coffers and increases the prices paid by manufacturers and consumers.
♦ The government practice of tapping undersea cables has continued since the 1970s – the Atlantic looks at how it works.
♦ After decades of blistering construction, China could overtake the US as the world’s wealthiest nation in terms of built assets as early as next year.
♦ US Gen Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told the Senate Armed Services committee that there are few good options in Syria – and explained why, analysing the cost of each option. Read more

♦ The price of Egypt’s revolutionary passion is exceedingly high, says Roula Khalaf. “What lies ahead, at least in the short term, is another huge leap into the unknown.”
♦ The Middle East descends into chaos as the US reverts its focus back to Israel.
♦ Khaled Fahmy, a professor at the American University in Cairo and an anti-Morsi activist, lays out the seven deadly sins of the Muslim Brotherhood, highlighting the vast divide between them and the opposition.
♦ Anyone who thought the military had been swept aside in Egypt was wrong, argues H.A. Hellyer, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. “The Egyptian military is not, and never has been, an ideological institution. Its main concerns have been to maintain its independence vis-à-vis the rest of the state, and to ensure the stability of Egypt – without which it would be forced to involve itself in the mess of governing tens of millions of Egyptians.”
Europe’s spying businesses are thriving, despite the uproar over privacy.
♦ China’s slowdown is dragging Hong Kong down, argues William Pesek at Bloomberg.
♦ The Guardian interview twenty-somethings in Europe, who are highly educated and yet missing out on homes, pensions, independence and steady employment.

 Read more

By Gideon Rachman
Edward Snowden makes a good first impression. In his interview on YouTube, he comes across as a thoughtful boy-next-door type. Unlike Julian Assange, the twitchy narcissist behind WikiLeaks, Mr Snowden looks like somebody you would be quite happy to see date your daughter.