Youngsters rising Net value, goto register & vote!


 The rising Net value

ANALYSIS by BADARAN KUPPUSAMY

Whoever wins the hearts and minds of the young will win big at the next general election. And that’s why the cyber troopers from both sides of the divide are an important tool of the battle!

WITH nearly 70% of the 4.5 million unregistered voters being in the 21 to 40 age group, Barisan Nasional has sounded the battle cry for its bloggers and social media practitioners to reach out to them with their iPads, iPhones, BlackBerries and laptops.

Besides, about 500,000 youths join the ranks of unregistered voters each year and getting them hooked early to either Barisan or Pakatan Rakyat is half the battle won for the parties as the youngsters will be voters as well as campaign workers.

The youths are the mainstay in any mass political campaign, either as voters, party workers, supporters and even fodder for demonstrations, as seen in the July street demonstration by the Bersih 2.0 coalition.

Making connectio ns: Latest gadgets like the iPad are the weapons of cyber warriors, says Najib. — Bernama

Barisan is taking a leaf from the Pakatan playbook to reach out to the youth in more ways than one.

Even its election cry has been carefully rewritten as BN Pilihan Orang Muda (BN the Young People’s Choice), from the previous straight forward Vote for BN.

Prime Minister and Barisan chief Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched the campaign to get the young voters by urging pro-Barisan bloggers and social media practitioners to bring out their iPads, iPhone, BlackBerries, tablets and laptops.

“These are your weapons as cyber warriors,” Najib told about 2,000 bloggers and social media practitioners gathered at the PWTC on Sunday at the first-ever social media convention.

Also called the 1Malaysia Social Media Volunteers or myVO1CE they will explain and defend government policies online.

Pakatan has had a head start, being first to embrace social media and harnessing it for political purposes.

The impact was seen in the outcome of the March 2008 polls, when voters gave the alliance 82 urban and semi-urban parliamentary constituencies and four states, in addition to Kelantan.

The battle to win hearts and minds of voters ahead of the 13th general election will be fought with everything the two rival coalitions can throw at each other.

While Barisan sees its cyber war as setting the record straight, Pakatan sees it as a life-and-death matter to change the voting pattern.

Najib said Barisan cannot be content with just the rural support and must also rally the urban votes. But it is easier said than done.

Urban voters have a multitude of avenues for information, from the print media to the Internet and their own participation in social media like blogs and Twitter.

Pakatan simply questions each government information, from the 1Malaysia milk programme for schools to giving RM500 to households earning less than RM3,000 a month.

It casts doubts on the programmes and questions the effectiveness.

Najib said the Barisan-friendly social media practitioners are the coalition’s advocates to explain government policies and to correct the falsehood on the Internet.

Whoever wins the hearts and minds of those in the 21 to 35 age group will win big.

And that’s why the cyber troopers from both sides of the divide are an important tool of the battle.

While Umno is confident of winning the majority of the Malay voters in that age group, the DAP is sure of the urban Chinese support in the same age group.

That leaves the PKR and PAS to struggle and gain the support of the rural Malays voters and the MCA and Gerakan for the urban Chinese voters.

Cyber troopers from both sides play a crucial role in convincing the 3.2 million new voters to side with them.

Combined with the 4.5 million unregistered voters who did not vote in 2008, the next election could be a close call.

How Israel turned itself into a high-tech hub?


By Katia Moskvitch Technology reporter, BBC News, Tel Aviv

WATCH: How did Israel establish itself as a fertile ground for hi-tech start-up companies?

When a grey-haired grandmother clutching a smartphone mounted the stage at Montreal’s Start-up Festival this summer, young Israeli entrepreneur Guy Rosen knew he had pocketed a very special award.

His company, Tel Aviv-based Onavo, offers an application that shrinks mobile phone data to help users save money – and appeals to any age. That made Onavo the winner of the Grandmother’s Award for best start-up, judged by tech-agnostic ladies in the later stages of life.

Standing in his office in Tel Aviv, Mr Rosen recalls the moment: “They went on stage and said: ‘We love Onavo and we understand what it does… it is such an easy app to understand’ – we just save money, that’s it, period, they loved us.”

Guy Rosen is one of Israel’s many young, enthusiastic entrepreneurs who, fresh out of the army, decided to set up a tech firm.

Tiny Israel, a country embroiled in conflicts for decades, has managed to transform itself from a stretch of farmland into a high-tech wonder.

Formula for success

Israel currently has almost 4,000 active technology start-ups – more than any other outside the United States, according to Israel Venture Capital Research Centre.

In 2010 alone the flow of venture capital amounted to $884m (£558m).

The result: high-tech exports from Israel are valued at about $18.4bn a year, making up more than 45% of Israel’s exports, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Israel is a world leader in terms of research and development spending as a percentage of the economy; it’s top in both the number of start-ups and engineers as a proportion of the population; and it’s first in per capita venture capital investment.

Not bad for a country of some eight million people – fewer than, say, Moscow or New York.

Serial entrepreneur Yossi Vardi says there is a whole blend of factors responsible for turning Israel into a start-up miracle. He himself has invested in more than 80 Israeli high-tech firms – among them the first web messaging service ICQ. He sold many of them to technology giants such as AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and Cisco.

Tel Aviv, Israel
For high-tech firms, Israel offers much more than beautiful beaches

“If you look at how this country was created, it was really a start-up on the large scale,” says Mr Vardi, who has been dubbed the godfather of Israel’s high-tech industry.

“A bunch of crazy people came here, to a piece of desert, trying to pursue a dream of 2,000 years.”

Over just a few decades, Israeli start-ups have developed groundbreaking technologies in areas such as computing, clean technology and life sciences, to name a few.

“Look at… agriculture, at the defence industry, at the universities here,” says Mr Vardi.

“The high-tech is a popular story right now, the internet gave it a lot of visibility, but the story of the culture and the spirit is part and parcel from the kinds of the cultural genes of [the Israeli] people.”

“Start Quote

These entrepreneurs are thinking big, they are trying to build global businesses, trying to create something huge”

Saul Klein Index Ventures

Government’s role

But there is more to this start-up scene than certain aspects of Israeli culture – the lack of hierarchy, a constant drive for individualism, regular risk taking. The government played a key role in the rapid rise of this start-up nation.

“The government jump-started the industry,” explains Koby Simona from Israel Venture Capital Research Centre.

One was the creation of the Yozma programme in 1993, a so-called fund of funds set up to invest in local venture capital funds that would channel money into new technology firms.

Soon numerous start-ups dotted Israel’s industry landscape, and venture capital funds mushroomed all over the country – a blooming industry that quickly attracted foreign investors.

Israel’s defence forces are also boosting entrepreneurship.

Military service is compulsory, but besides regular military units, the army also has designated hi-tech units, where computer-savvy conscripts are constantly prompted to come up with innovative ideas in disciplines such as computer security, cryptography, communications and electronic warfare.

“The military enables young people in certain units to get technological skills, to run large technological projects at a very young age, where they need to improvise in order to get fast solutions,” says Prof Niron Hashai from the Jerusalem School of Business Administration at Hebrew University.

Once back in the real world, many military alumni use the newly acquired experience to launch their own technology start-ups.

Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv has several high-tech hubs: Herzliya is popular with international tech giants; Rothschild Boulevard is home to many young start-ups

And then, of course, there is Jewish immigration – a key driver of the country’s economy since its foundation.

The biggest and the most important wave of immigration came from Russia, says Prof Hashai.

“Many were very smart people with technological background,” he says.

“Maybe they were not so much entrepreneurs, but when these guys meet Israeli-born guys, many interesting things happen.”

Lost decade

The first start-up boom of the 1990s lasted just a few years though. When the global dot.com bubble burst in 2000, the fortunes of Israeli venture capital started to decline.

Today, industry insiders speak of a lost decade.

Samuel Keret, Waze Waze, a web community-based GPS app, has been extremely popular in the US and Israel ->

Still, venture capital continued to flow into the country, and now investors are reaping the rewards.

During the past two or three years, all around Tel Aviv a new generation of start-ups has begun to emerge, ready to prove that Israel’s high-tech industry is back in business.

Take Takadu, a company founded in 2008 that offers smart water infrastructure monitoring, remotely detecting leaking pipes in real-time all around the world. One of Takadu’s customers is Britain’s Thames Water. When a water pipe in London bursts, chances are that it will first be spotted by a computer in Tel Aviv.

Another example is Boxee. The five Israeli founders decided from the get-go to headquarter the company in Delaware in the United States, but locate the company’s research and development office in Tel Aviv.

Boxee tries to provide the missing link between content on television and the internet. Once you connect Boxee’s small shiny black cube to your TV, it will also link wirelessly to your home network. With a remote control, you can then browse and watch all online content on the big screen – not just your movies, YouTube videos or web TV, but also videos uploaded by your friends to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

Shortly after its launch in 2008, Boxee’s little box could be found in more than two million homes across the US, Canada and the European Union, says Tom Sella, one of the firm’s co-founders.

Then there is Waze – a firm that has developed a free app that turns your smartphone into a web community-based GPS device.

It will guide you through a city’s road labyrinth, but combines the map with updates from other users – or “wazers” – from traffic jams to construction works to accidents.

Silicon Boulevard

The bright Middle Eastern sun may be setting slowly, painting Tel Aviv’s roofs in warm shades of red, but one part of the city will continue to buzz for many hours.

Tel Aviv-based start-up Onavo offers a free smartphone application that shrinks a phone data to help users save money – and appeals to any age

This is Rothschild Boulevard – also known as the Silicon Boulevard, home to the offices of many hot start-ups such as Face.com and Soluto.

Some of them do not mind following in the footsteps of ICQ, 5Min, LabPixies and others, who have been scooped up by international tech giants.

Take the Gifts Project, for instance, set up by a handful of young enthusiastic employees sharing a tiny office with a balcony that looks out to Rothschild Boulevard and sports a huge logo of a pink pig. They’ve just been bought by the world’s biggest online store eBay.

Others want to strike out on their own. One of them is Soluto, a firm that aims to make computers more user-friendly and crowdsources technical support that helps computer users anywhere in the world, for free.

Whatever their strategy, it seems that they are here to make an impact.

“These entrepreneurs are thinking big, they’re using the latest web technologies, they are trying to build global businesses – they’re not satisfied by building something small, they’re really trying to create something huge,” says Saul Klein, a Tel Aviv-based investor working for British venture capital fund Index Ventures.

“I think the new Israeli technology scene is almost rebelling against the last 10 years, where Israel for many years has underdelivered.

“This is Rothschild Boulevard – and I believe this is the place to watch.”

Sony and other companies, Israel Many foreign companies set up their research and development hubs in and around Tel Aviv

Pentagon planning Cold War against China – AirSea Battle concept!


Pentagon battle concept has Cold War posture on China

By Bill Gertz The Washington Times

** FILE ** A security officer walks on the roof of the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)** FILE ** A security officer walks on the roof of the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The Pentagon lifted the veil of secrecy Wednesday on a new battle concept aimed at countering Chinese military efforts to deny access to areas near its territory and in cyberspace.

The Air Sea Battle concept is the start of what defense officials say is the early stage of a new Cold War-style military posture toward China.

The plan calls for preparing the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to defeat China’s “anti-access, area denial weapons,” including anti-satellite weapons, cyberweapons, submarines, stealth aircraft and long-range missiles that can hit aircraft carriers at sea.

Military officials from the three services told reporters during a background briefing that the concept is not directed at a single country. But they did not answer when asked what country other than China has developed advanced anti-access arms.

A senior Obama administration official was more blunt, saying the new concept is a significant milestone signaling a new Cold War-style approach to China.

“Air Sea Battle is to China what the maritime strategy was to the Soviet Union,” the official said.

During the Cold War, U.S. naval forces around the world used a strategy of global presence and shows of force to deter Moscow’s advances.

“It is a very forward-deployed, assertive strategy that says we will not sit back and be punished,” the senior official said. “We will initiate.”

The concept, according to defense officials, grew out of concerns that China’s new precision-strike weapons threaten freedom of navigation in strategic waterways and other global commons.

Defense officials familiar with the concept said among the ideas under consideration are:

• Building a new long-range bomber.

• Conducting joint submarine and stealth aircraft operations.

• New jointly operated, long-range unmanned strike aircraft with up to 1,000-mile ranges.

• Using Air Force forces to protect naval bases and deployed naval forces.

• Conducting joint Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force strikes inside China.

• Using Air Force aircraft to deploy sea mines.

• Joint Air Force and Navy attacks against Chinese anti-satellite missiles inside China.

• Increasing the mobility of satellites to make attacks more difficult.

• Launching joint Navy and Air Force cyber-attacks on Chinese anti-access forces.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said the new office “is a hard-won and significant operational milestone in meeting emerging threats to our global access.”

“This office will help guide meaningful integration of our air and naval combat capabilities, strengthening our military deterrent power, and maintaining U.S. advantage against the proliferation of advanced military technologies and capabilities,” Mr. Little said.

He noted that it is a Pentagon priority to rebalance joint forces to better deter and defeat aggression in “anti-access environments.”

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said during a visit to Asia that U.S. forces would be reoriented toward Asia as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down. The new focus will include “enhanced military capabilities,” he said without elaborating.

The military officials at the Pentagon on Wednesday did not discuss specifics of the new concept. One exception was an officer who said an example would be the use of Air Force A-10 ground attack jets to defend ships at sea from small-boat “swarm” attacks.

China in recent years has grown more assertive in waters near its shores, harassing Navy surveillance ships in the South China Sea and Yellow Sea.

China also has claimed large portions of the South China Sea as its territory. U.S. officials said the Chinese have asserted that it is “our driveway.”

The Pentagon also is concerned about China’s new DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile that can hit aircraft carriers at sea. Carriers are the key power-projection capability in Asia and would be used in defending Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

“The Air Sea Battle concept will guide the services as they work together to maintain a continued U.S. advantage against the global proliferation of advanced military technology and [anti-access/area denial] capabilities,” the Pentagon said in announcing the creation of a program office for the concept.

Although the office was set up in August, the background briefing Wednesday was the first time the Pentagon officially rolled out the concept.

The Army is expected to join the concept office in the future.

One defense official said the Army is involved in cyberwarfare initiatives that would be useful for countering anti-access weapons.

“Simply put, we’re talking about freedom of access in the global commons. Increasing ranges of precision fire threaten those global commons in new expanding ways,” said a military official speaking on condition of anonymity. “That, in a nutshell, is what’s different.”

Defense officials said some administration officials opposed the new concept over concerns it would upset China. That resulted in a compromise that required military and defense officials to play down the fact that China is the central focus of the new battle plan.

A second military official said the new concept also is aimed at shifting the current U.S. military emphasis on counterinsurgency to the anti-access threats.

The office was disclosed as President Obama sets off this week on trip to Asia designed to shore up alliances. He is set to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao in Hawaii on Saturday.

The concept grew out of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review that, in its early stages, had excluded any mention of China’s growing military might.

China was added to the review after intervention by Andrew Marshall, director of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, and Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, at the time head of the Joint Forces Command.

China military specialist Richard Fisher said the new Air Sea Battle office is necessary but may be “late in the game.”

“A Pentagon office focused on China’s military challenges in Asia or beyond will be insufficient,” said Mr. Fisher, of the International Assessment and Strategy Center. “This challenge will require Cold War levels of strategic, political and economic policy integration well beyond the Pentagon’s writ.”

Said former State Department China specialist John Tkacik: “This new Air Sea Battle concept is evidence that Washington is finally facing up to the real threat that China has become an adversarial military, naval and nuclear power in Asia, and that the only way to balance China is to lend the weight of U.S. air and naval forces to our Asia-Pacific allies’ ground forces.”

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times

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Pentagon planning Cold War against China

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