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The Hong Kong government announced Sunday afternoon that it had allowed the departure from its territory of Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has acknowledged disclosing classified documents about United States government surveillance of Internet and telephone communications around the world.

The government statement said that Hong Kong had informed the United States of Mr. Snowden’s departure.

A Moscow-based reservations agent at Aeroflot, Russia’s national airline, said Mr. Snowden was aboard flight SU213 to Moscow, traveling on a one-way ticket to Moscow. The Aeroflot flight landed in Moscow on Sunday afternoon.

Mr. Snowden’s final destination was unclear, but there were signs that it might be beyond Moscow. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Mr. Snowden appeared to be making a connection in Moscow to another destination, but did not say where.

Russia’s Interfax news service, citing a “person familiar with the situation,” reported that Mr. Snowden would remain in transit at an airport in Moscow for “several hours” pending an onward flight to Cuba, and would therefore not formally cross the Russian border or be subject to detention. Someone close to Mr. Snowden later told Interfax that he planned to continue to Caracas, Venezuela.

“He chose such a complex route in the hope that he will not be detained and he will be able to reach his final destination — Venezuela — unhindered,” the person said.

WikiLeaks, the organization that released extensive classified American diplomatic communications three years ago, said in a statement on its Twitter feed that it had “assisted Mr. Snowden’s political asylum in a democratic country, travel papers” and safe exit from Hong Kong, and said in a follow-up Twitter post that, “Mr. Snowden is currently over Russian airspace accompanied by WikiLeaks legal advisers.”

The Aeroflot agent said that Mr. Snowden was traveling with one other person, with the last name Harrison, but the agent declined to release the other traveler’s first name, saying she did not have the authorization to do so. The closest adviser to Julian Assange, who orchestrated the release of the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables three years ago, is named Sarah Harrison, prompting speculation that she was the Harrison on the flight with Mr. Snowden.

The New York Times, "Snowden Said to Plan Asylum in ‘Democratic Country’"

Came across this real estate ad in a regional magazine covering New York’s Hudson Valley.

There seems to be a casual disconnect here, with no acknowledgment that the dissident artist who designed this $4.25 million home could be imprisoned by the Chinese government for 81 days and for no reason at all.

Came across this real estate ad in a regional magazine covering New York’s Hudson Valley.

There seems to be a casual disconnect here, with no acknowledgment that the dissident artist who designed this $4.25 million home could be imprisoned by the Chinese government for 81 days and for no reason at all.

The White House demanded Monday that the Chinese government stop the widespread theft of data from American computer networks and agree to “acceptable norms of behavior in cyberspace.”

The demand, made in a speech by President Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, was the first public confrontation with China over cyberespionage and came two days after its foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, rejected a growing body of evidence that his country’s military was involved in cyberattacks on American corporations and some government agencies.

The White House, Mr. Donilon said, is seeking three things from Beijing: public recognition of the urgency of the problem; a commitment to crack down on hackers in China; and an agreement to take part in a dialogue to establish global standards.

“Increasingly, U.S. businesses are speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyberintrusions emanating from China on an unprecedented scale,” Mr. Donilon said in a wide-ranging address to the Asia Society in New York.

“The international community,” he added, “cannot tolerate such activity from any country.”

Until now, the White House has steered clear of mentioning China by name when discussing cybercrime, though Mr. Obama and other officials have raised it privately with Chinese counterparts. In his State of the Union address, he said, “We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets.”

But as evidence has emerged suggesting the People’s Liberation Army is linked to hacking, the China connection has become harder for the administration not to confront head-on. The New York Times three weeks ago published evidence tying one of the most active of the Chinese groups to a neighborhood in Shanghai that is headquarters to a major cyberunit of the People’s Liberation Army. That account, based in large part on unclassified work done by Mandiant, a security firm, echoed the findings of intelligence agencies that have been tracking the Chinese attackers.

The New York Times, “US Demands China End Hacking and Set Cyber Rules.”

The Chinese response roughly translates to “LOL.”

The United Nations Security Council approved a new regimen of sanctions on Thursday against North Korea for its underground nuclear test last month, imposing penalties on North Korean banking, travel and trade in a unanimous vote that reflected the country’s increased international isolation.

The resolution, which was drafted by the United States and China, was passed 15-0 in a speedy vote hours after North Korea threatened for the first time to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States and South Korea.

“The strength, breadth and severity of these sanctions will raise the cost to North Korea of its illicit nuclear program,” the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Susan E. Rice, told reporters after the vote. “Taken together, these sanctions will bite and bite hard.”

Li Baodong, the ambassador from China, whose support for the new sanctions angered the North Korean government, told reporters the resolution was aimed at the long-term goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

“This resolution is a very important step,” he told reporters. Mr. Li called passage of the resolution “a reflection of the view and determination of the international community.”

The New York Times, "New Sanctions Imposed on North Korea as it Threatens Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike."

You’ll probably never hear “drafted by the United States and China” in re: U.N. sanctions ever again.

This is what happens when an international superpower gets called on the carpet, above the fold.

This is what happens when an international superpower gets called on the carpet, above the fold.

theatlantic:

In Focus: China’s Toxic Sky

Since the beginning of this year, the levels of air pollution in Beijing have been dangerously high, with thick clouds of smog chasing people indoors, disrupting air travel, and affecting the health of millions. The past two weeks have been especially bad — at one point the pollution level measured 40 times recommended safety levels. Authorities are taking short-term measures to combat the current crisis, shutting down some factories and limiting government auto usage. However, long-term solutions seem distant, as China’s use of coal continues to rise, and the government remains slow to acknowledge and address the problems. * Starting with photo #2, a four-part set of these images is interactive, allowing you to click the photo and ‘clear the air’, viewing a difference over time.

See more. [Images: AP, Reuters, Getty]

CHOKED UP  Haze obscured the Pangu Plaza Office Building in Beijing Saturday. The city has issued its first-ever ‘orange’ fog warning, an alert to the elderly, children and people suffering from respiratory disease to stay indoors and limit exposure to the pollution. (Photo: ChinaFotoPress / Zuma Press via The Wall Street Journal)
It doesn’t get more Blade Runner than this.

CHOKED UP  Haze obscured the Pangu Plaza Office Building in Beijing Saturday. The city has issued its first-ever ‘orange’ fog warning, an alert to the elderly, children and people suffering from respiratory disease to stay indoors and limit exposure to the pollution. (Photo: ChinaFotoPress / Zuma Press via The Wall Street Journal)


It doesn’t get more Blade Runner than this.