Even more interesting considering that both this Economist article and the Bloomberg exposé are currently blocked in China.
In recent years China’s leaders have become increasingly concerned that the public’s awareness of the growing wealth gap could lead to social instability. In Beijing, displays of gratuitous overcompensation are a daily reminder that some people, in keeping with a famous dictum of Deng Xiaoping’s, have indeed got rich first. Officials last year even went so far as to try suppressing ads that promote “luxury lifestyles”—lest the have-nots be inspired to rise up and storm the local Lamborghini dealership.
Perhaps even more troubling for the Party is the surge in scepticism over how such wealth seems to find its way into the hands of officials and their families, not to mention into those of their beloved Swiss bankers, English boarding schools and Australian estate agents. Particularly galling are the reports about the great number of officials who have taken to working “naked”. That is to say, many officials are working in China while their wives, children and, presumably, a chunk of the motherland’s money take residence overseas. A report released last year estimated that as much as $120 billion may have been transferred abroad by corrupt officials.
The Chinese media have been given greater freedom to report on corruption and the financial shenanigans of large companies of late. Which makes it all the more striking that reporting on the business activities of the Central Committee’s wives and offspring is still strictly forbidden.
So one can only imagine the consternation caused by yesterday’s sensational exposé by Bloomberg, which details the financial assets belonging to the family of China’s president-in-waiting, Xi Jinping…
More on this story – Wealth and power: It’s a family affair
There are growing signs of progress in the Middle East, if you measure by the total number of Facebook users. That number has skyrocketed since 2010, going from 15 million to near 40 million.
Of those users, a growing number are starting to prefer using the site in their own native language, Arabic.
Of the 39+ million Arabic users on Facebook, 39% prefer to view the site in their native language, while 36% like it in English.
As more users in the region are coming online, with an obvious desire to access sites in Arabic, there is a rising demand for content that appeals to them, and quite a few social media sites are trying to meet that demand.
Twitter recently added support for right-to-left languages, including in Arabic, while Storify is working with a team of volunteers in the Middle East to translate their interface into Arabic.
Arabic is one of the fastest growing languages on sites like Twitter and Wikipedia, and with Yahoo having just licensed the technology behind smart transliteration tool Yamli, it is becoming increasingly easy for Arabic speakers to interact in their mother tongue online.
via The Next Web
The numbers are not overwhelming, by any means, considering that there are 152 million users in the U.S. and 232 million in Europe, but it is a positive sign.
// Photo – Sean MacEntee
Did you ever dream about a future where your communications device could transcend language with ease?
Well, that day is a lot closer. Over the next few days, everyone who uses Gmail will be getting the convenience of translation added to their email. The next time you receive a message in a language other than your own, just click on ‘Translate message’ in the header at the top of the message:
and it will be instantly translated into your language:
Back when we launched automatic message translation in Gmail Labs, we were curious to see how people would use it.
We heard immediately from Google Apps for Business users that this was a killer feature for working with local teams across the world. Some people just wanted to easily read newsletters from abroad. Another person wrote in telling us how he set up his mom’s Gmail to translate everything into her native language, thus saving countless explanatory phone calls (he thanked us profusely).
Since message translation was one of the most popular labs, we decided it was time to graduate from Gmail Labs and move into the real world.
via – The Official Gmail Blog
// Thx – Mihai Ionescu, Photo – Eyesplash
The most extensive listing of free online education I have ever seen. Bookmarking for later.
12 dozen places to education yourself online for free
All education is self-education. Period. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop. We don’t learn anything we don’t want to learn.
Broken down by subject and/or category, here are several top-notch self-education resources I have bookmarked online over the past few years.
- History/World Culture
- Computer Science/Engineering
- Foreign/Sign Languages
- Multiple Subjects/Miscellaneous
- Free Books/Reading Recommendations
- Educational Mainstream Broadcast Media
- Online Archives
- Directories of Open Education
Click to start browsing
// Photo – Ed Yourdon