Lot of ground to cover, with major disruptions in Hong Kong after the jump, plus much more.

We begin with the greatest bomb threast to global civilization, the debt bomb, via the Guardian:

Record world debt could trigger new financial crisis, Geneva report warns

Concerted effort required to tackle economic woes as slow growth and low inflation cause global debts to balloon

Global debts have reached a record high despite efforts by governments to reduce public and private borrowing, according to a report that warns the “poisonous combination” of spiralling debts and low growth could trigger another crisis.

Modest falls in household debt in the UK and the rest of Europe have been offset by a credit binge in Asia that has pushed global private and public debt to a new high in the past year, according to the 16th annual Geneva report.

The total burden of world debt, excluding the financial sector, has risen from 180% of global output in 2008 to 212% last year, according to the report.

From the New York Times, spy anxiety:

Spy Agencies Urge Caution on Phone Deal

An obscure federal contract for a company charged with routing millions of phone calls and text messages in the United States has prompted an unusual lobbying battle in which intelligence officials are arguing that the nation’s surveillance secrets could be at risk.

The contractor that wins the bid would essentially act as the air traffic controller for the nation’s phone system, which is run by private companies but is essentially overseen by the government.

And with a European-based company now favored for the job, some current and former intelligence officials — who normally stay out of the business of awarding federal contracts — say they are concerned that the government’s ability to trace reams of phone data used in terrorism and law enforcement investigations could be hindered.

On to the other bomb-athon, with The Hill leading the way:

Rogers: Intel officials warned Obama about ISIS ‘for over a year’

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said the intelligence community had warned President Obama about the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria for “over a year.”

“This was not an Intelligence Community failure, but a failure by policy makers to confront the threat,” Rogers said in a statement Monday.

His statement comes after the president said that intelligence officers had underestimated ISIS in an interview that aired on “60 Minutes” Sunday.

RT covers an unfolding scenario:

ISIS+Al-Nusra Front? Islamists reportedly join forces, new threat against West issued

Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front has issued a new threatening audio message featuring its leader warning the West “will pay the heaviest price” for its actions. The Syrian group is reportedly now joining up with the estranged Islamic State militants.

The leader of Syria’s most prominent terrorist group, Abu Mohamad al-Golani, in denouncing the US-led air strike campaign, has urged Westerners everywhere to do the same “by standing against the decisions of your rulers,” otherwise bloodshed would be brought to their soil.

“Muslims will not watch while their sons are bombed. Your leaders will not be the only ones who would pay the price of the war. You will pay the heaviest price,” Reuters cited him as saying. He threatened viewers that the fight would be brought “to the hearts of your homes.”

Der Spiegel covers reconsideration:

The Caliphate Next Door: Turkey Faces Up to its Islamic State Problem

For years, Ankara has been tolerating the rise of the extremist Islamic State. But now that the jihadists are conquering regions just across the border in northern Syria, concern is growing that Islamist terror could threaten Turkey too.

The country has been strangely reserved when it comes to dealing with the Islamic State. It is the neighboring country that is perhaps most threatened by the jihadist fighters, but it has refrained thus far from joining US President Barack Obama’s anti-terror coalition, even if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly hinted over the weekend that it might do so soon. When it comes to combatting the Islamic State and putting an end to the Syrian civil war, Turkey has a key role to play.

The government in Ankara had justified its hesitancy by pointing to the dozens of Turkish diplomats taken hostage by the Islamic State in Mosul. Now that they have been released, however, all eyes are on Turkey to see what responsibilities it might take on. On the way back to Turkey from the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Erdogan told reporters that his country is now prepared to join the coalition. At the World Economic Forum meeting in Istanbul on Sunday he added, in reference to the fight against the Islamic State: “We cannot stay out of this.”

From the US perspective, Turkey has often been a difficult partner. Still, after the civil war in Syria began, the two countries expanded cooperation, with American intelligence agencies operating centers in southern Turkey and delivering information about intercepted extremist communications to their Turkish counterparts in near real time.

News Corp Australia covers collateral damage:

Office fitout company ISIS Group Australia considers name change after staff abused as ‘terrorists’

A NATIONAL construction company could be forced to change its name of 25 years because staff members are being abused as “terrorists”.

ISIS Group Australia — an Australian company that has specialised in commercial office fit-outs and refurbishments since 1989 — has been forced to scale back signage on worksites and asked workers to not wear uniforms branded with the company name.

It comes as a Sydney family has been urged to change the name of their eight-year-old girl, whose name is Isis.

In recent weeks, site workers have been abused as “terrorists” by passers-by and angry messages have been left on the company’s office line.

Salon poses allegations:

Glenn Greenwald: U.S. manufactured militant threat as pretext to bomb Syria

In an extensive new report, The Intercept questions whether the much-hyped Khorasan Group actually exists

Until the Obama administration announced last week that it was launching air strikes in Syria to target the Islamic State (ISIS) and an al-Qaida affiliate called the Khorasan Group, most Americans had never heard of the latter organization.

That’s because the U.S. government invented the threat, the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain charge. In an extensive new report, the journalists document a carefully orchestrated campaign by U.S. officials to depict an imminent threat of terror attacks by Khorasan against U.S. targets. Media outlets suddenly zeroed in on Khorasan, hyping the alleged threat the group could pose, Greenwald and Hussain write.

Claims that Khorasan planned to launch attacks on the U.S. came from anonymous officials who provided thin evidence that any such plans were at risk of being carried out. But, Greenwald and Hussain contend, “American media outlets – eager, as always, to justify Americans wars – spewed all of this with very little skepticism.”

Greenwald’s report is here.

Well-grounded boots from the Los Angeles Times:

U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan after historic transfer of power

Afghanistan’s new government plans to sign a strategic agreement Tuesday with the United States that would allow for approximately 10,000 U.S. troops to remain in the country after the U.S.-led NATO coalition’s mandate expires in December.

U.S. officials say the extended troop presence is needed to continue training Afghanistan’s 350,000 soldiers and police, and to conduct counter-terrorism operations.

The pact – which outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai refused to sign in his final months in office, fueling tensions with Washington – is expected to be signed by U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham and a senior member of the Afghan government.

International Business Times casts a pall:

US Troops In Afghanistan Could Lose Combat Role, Face Bigger Risk From Taliban Attacks

Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as the new president of Afghanistan Monday, clearing the path for a bilateral security agreement that will allow nearly 10,000 U.S. military personnel to stay in the country beyond the end of 2014. The agreement will see U.S. military personnel deployed as  advisers to train and equip Afghan security forces, with U.S. special-operations personnel for anti-terrorism missions against al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

While the new role puts an end to regular combat missions for the U.S. military, the reduced number of overall personnel may leave the force more exposed.

“In terms of the protection issues, this was a concern of the vice president who wanted the zero personnel option, but Obama disagreed,” said Lisa Curtis, senior research fellow at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. Vice President Biden’s “main concern was that as U.S. forces decrease, they will become more susceptible to being attacked.”

From the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, with the documents at the link:

New Documents Shed Light on One of the NSA’s Most Powerful Tools

Today, we’re releasing several key documents about Executive Order 12333 that we obtained from the government in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that the ACLU filed (along with the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School) just before the first revelations of Edward Snowden. The documents are from the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and others agencies. They confirm that the order, although not the focus of the public debate, actually governs most of the NSA’s spying.

In some ways, this is not surprising. After all, it has been reported that some of the NSA’s biggest spying programs rely on the executive order, such as the NSA’s interception of internet traffic between Google’s and Yahoo!’s data centers abroad, the collection of millions of email and instant-message address books, the recording of the contents of every phone call made in at least two countries, and the mass cellphone location-tracking program. In other ways, however, it is surprising. Congress’s reform efforts have not addressed the executive order, and the bulk of the government’s disclosures in response to the Snowden revelations have conspicuously ignored the NSA’s extensive mandate under EO 12333.

The order, issued by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, imposes the sole constraints on U.S. surveillance on foreign soil that targets foreigners. There’s been some speculation, too, that the government relies directly on the order — as opposed to its statutory authority — to conduct surveillance inside the United States.

More from The Intercept:

The Ghost of Ronald Reagan Authorizes Most NSA Spying

U.S. intelligence agents have broad authority to spy on U.S. companies as long as they are “believed to have some relationship with foreign organizations or persons” — a description that could conceivably apply to any company with foreign shareholders, subsidiaries, or even employees—according to newly released government documents published this morning by the ACLU.

The trove, which includes documents from the NSA, Department of Justice, and Defense Intelligence Agency, confirms long-standing suspicions that the bulk of U.S. foreign surveillance operations are governed not by acts of Congress, but by a 33-year-old executive order issued unilaterally by President Ronald Reagan.

The documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU and the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School, and they detail the extent of the order — which is extraordinarily broad and until recently largely obscure — and which underpins expansive U.S. surveillance programs, like siphoning internet traffic from Google and Yahoo’s overseas data centers, recording every call in the Bahamas, and gathering billions of records on cellphone locations around the world.

Recruitment advancement from the Associated Press:

Israel’s shadowy Mossad looks to recruit online

It used to be that if you wanted to join one of the world’s most secretive espionage organizations you had to sneak into a foreign embassy, answer a cryptic newspaper ad or show up in a nondescript building in Tel Aviv to meet a shadowy recruiter. Now all it takes to apply for a job at Israel’s Mossad spy agency is a click of the mouse.

The typically hush-hush Mossad revamped its website last week to include a snazzy recruiting video and an online application option for those seeking employment. With versions in Hebrew, English, French, Russian, Arabic and Persian, the sleek site looks to revolutionize the way Israel’s legendary agency seeks out potential agents after generations of backdoor, cloak-and-dagger antics.

“We must continue to recruit the best people into our ranks so that the Mossad might continue to lead, defend and allow for the continued existence of the state of Israel,” Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo said in a statement announcing the launch. “The Mossad’s qualitative human capital is the secret of our success.”

From the Guardian, the latest from The Most Transparent Administration in American History™:

US bid for secret Guantánamo force-feeding hearings prompts cover-up fears

The Guardian is among several news organisations planning to file a motion to challenge the administration’s secrecy reques

The Obama administration has asked a federal judge to hold a highly anticipated court hearing on its painful force-feedings of Guantánamo Bay detainees almost entirely in secret, prompting suspicions of a cover-up.

Justice Department attorneys argued to district judge Gladys Kessler that allowing the hearings to be open to the public would jeopardize national security through the disclosure of classified information. Should Kessler agree, the first major legal battle over forced feeding in a federal court would be less transparent than the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay.

Attorneys for Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian detainee on hunger strike whose court challenge is slated to begin next week, said the government was using national security as an excuse to prevent the public from learning the extent of a practice that the judge in the case has considered brutal.

A spooky brew-ha-ha from the London Daily Mail:

Inside the CIA’s Starbucks: Coffee shop known as Store Number 1 bans names on cups and runs background checks on baristas

Cafe is deep inside the agency’s Langley, Virginia, forest compound

Is referred to as ‘Store Number 1′ on customers’ receipts

However agents working in the building call it the ‘Stealthy Starbucks’

Baristas are given security briefings on a regular basis

Staff are also escorted by agency ‘minders’ when they leave work

Double espressos and sugary Frappuccinos are said to be popular orders

From PCWorld, a cell for cell phone hacking?

CEO indicted for company’s alleged mobile spyware app

The CEO of a Pakistani company has been indicted in the U.S. for selling a product called StealthGenie that buyers could use to monitor calls, texts, videos and other communications on other people’s mobile phones, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

The indictment of Hammad Akbar, 31, of Lahore, Pakistan, represents the first time the DOJ has brought a criminal case related to the marketing and sale of an alleged mobile spyware app, the DOJ said in a press release Monday.

Akbar is CEO of InvoCode, the company selling StealthGenie online. Akbar is among the creators of StealthGenie, which could intercept communications to and from mobile phones, including Apple, Android and BlackBerry devices, the DOJ said.

On to the world of online insecurity, starting with this from Network World:

Malvertising campaign delivers digitally signed CryptoWall ransomware

The cybercriminals behind the CryptoWall ransomware threat have stepped up their game and are digitally signing new samples before using them in attacks in an attempt to bypass antivirus detection.

Researchers from network security firm Barracuda Networks found new CryptoWall samples that were digitally signed with a legitimate certificate obtained from DigiCert. The samples were distributed through drive-by download attacks launched from popular websites via malicious advertisements.

Several websites in the Alexa top 15,000 list were affected by this latest malvertising—malicious advertising—campaign including hindustantimes.com, the site of Indian daily newspaper Hindustan Times; Israeli sports news site one.co.il; and Web development community codingforums.com.

“In every case, malicious content arrived via the site’s use of the Zedo ad network,” the Barracuda researchers said in a blog post Sunday.

Serious insecurity from SecurityWeek:

What We Know About Shellshock So Far, and Why the Bash Bug Matters

Security researchers around the world have been working around the clock analyzing the recently disclosed flaw in Bash which can be exploited to execute code and hijack vulnerable devices. Attackers are already targeting the bug, which has been nicknamed Shellshock, and security experts warned organizations to prepare for more attacks and messy cleanup.

The investigation is still in the early stages and there are a many unanswered questions about how Shellshock can be abused. Opinions also vary wildly among experts as to its potential impact. What is known—and agreed upon—at this point, is that Shellshock is a very serious vulnerability because it allows remote code execution and gives the attacker full access to the system. Being able to get shell and execute any kind of program on the target system is a major coup for attackers

Bash “is widely used so attackers can use this vulnerability to remotely execute a huge variety of devices and web servers,” said Tod Beardsley, engineering manager at Rapid7.

The most obvious initial targets will be large hosting providers, “which are riddled with bash-enabled administrative functions, as well as innumerable PHP-based forums, blogs, stores,” suggested Daniel Ingevaldson, CTO of Easy Solutions.

From Network World, corporate surveillance anxieties:

Facebook’s new ad sales plan raises hackles in Germany

As Facebook began rolling out a global advertising network on Monday that will capitalize on all it knows from tracking users across the web, German consumer organizations immediately raised their voices in protest.

Called Atlas, the new ad network is supposed to allow advertisers to use Facebook’s detailed knowledge about its users to reach their desired customers across devices and target ads at them across apps and websites.

From The Verge, foiling 4Chan?:

George Clooney gave his wedding guests burner phones to prevent photo leaks

It’s a tricky security problem: how do you let your wedding guests take photos, but make sure none of the photos leak? If you’re George Clooney, you collect everyone’s phone and give each of them a burner phone just for the occasion, to be tossed away once the big day is over. It’s an expensive way around the problem, sure, but if you’re a movie star, it’s a small price to pay.

The bigger question, tossed around in security circles, is how all this actually worked. Supposedly, Clooney’s people had access to all of the photos taken with the burner phones, so they would know who took which photos and would be able to trace back any leaks that came out. Vogue had bought exclusive photography rights to the wedding (donating the fee to charity), so Clooney had reason to be protective of the photos. But as some in the security world have noted, it may not have been an airtight system.

Of course, from a security perspective, the race is hard to win anyway. If someone was really dead-set on leaking that million-dollar wedding photo to TMZ, they could have just smuggled in a camera of their own. If the burner phones worked — and Clooney’s photo embargo has held, so far — it may be more due to well-behaved guests than airtight infosec.

After the jump, Indian police bust self-snappers, Jerry Brown vetoes a bill to curb cop drone ops, 58 Mexican students “disappeared” and a politician gunned down in public, privatized security abuse in Germany, China censors online posts about the turmoil in Hong Kong and condemns the protests, Beijing warns would-be interveners, media savvy and Global solidarity rallies called, Beijing’s deepest fear, a significant move in the Game of Zones, a Chinese missile advance and a demonstration of force, and an ill-matched pair divorces. . .

From Vocativ, saving us from ourselves:

India’s Morality Police Are Arresting People for Taking Selfies

Bluntly showing that they have zero clue about the world of social media, India’s police have #NoFilter when it comes to PDA

If you’re a single woman in India, don’t even think about taking a selfie with anyone—it could get you arrested. India’s sexual harassment police are cracking down on “public displays of affection,” and that includes posing for a selfie with just about anyone you’re not married to.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria says the point of the latest crackdown is to ensure the safety of women and girls in crowded places during upcoming outdoor festivals, but under his orders, cops have been arresting people for pretty much any kind of PDA.

Under an order that Maria gave in September, cops have been moral policing a little more zealously than usual. Maria issued a damage-control press release Wednesday explaining that the purpose of the cops’ hounding is not to humiliate selfie-takers—it is to ensure the safety of girls in public

Jerry Brown gives Cal cops wings, sort of, via the Los Angeles Times:

Governor vetoes bill that would have limited police use of drones

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday vetoed a bill that would have required law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants to use drones for surveillance.

Brown, in his veto message, said that although there may be some circumstances when a warrant is appropriate, the bill went too far.

The measure appeared to impose restrictions on law enforcement that go beyond federal and state constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizures and the right to privacy, the governor stated.

An ominous story from BBC News:

Mexican students missing after protest in Iguala

Police in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero are searching for 58 students who have been missing since Friday. The students from a teacher training college disappeared after deadly clashes erupted between them and security forces during a protest.

Six people were killed and 17 injured when police and unidentified gunmen shot at the protesters and opened fire on a bus in the town of Iguala. Some 22 officers are being held in connection with the shooting.

The students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college were protesting against what they say are discriminatory hiring practices for teachers which favour urban students over rural ones.

And from BBC News again, more Mexican insecurity:

Mexico politician Braulio Zaragoza gunned down in Acapulco

A regional Mexican political leader, Braulio Zaragoza, has been killed by gunmen at a hotel restaurant in the popular resort of Acapulco.

Mr Zaragoza was in a meeting with other politicians on Sunday morning when three gunmen approached his table and shot him several times in the back. He was the leader of the conservative opposition National Action Party (PAN) in southern Guerrero state.

Several politicians have been targeted by drug cartels operating in the area.

From euronews, privatized security abuse in Germany:

Photos show abuse of asylum seekers by security guards in Germany

Program notes:

At least four German security guards working for a private firm are being investigated over the repeated abuse of asylum seekers.

Several photos and a video have surfaced, showing incidences of ill-treatment of refugees, at a centre in Burbach in the west of the country. One image shows the foot of a German security guard pressed against the neck of an Algerian asylum seeker.

Police raided the centre and questioned guards and refugees after a local journalist received a DVD showing the abuse.

From Want China Times, affliction in Pyongyang:

Foreign medical experts sought for ailing Kim Jong-un

North Korean authorities are said to be seeking medical advice from Europe on how to treat their ailing supreme leader Kim Jong-un.

Kim’s health is under the spotlight again after the 31-year-old dictator disappeared from public view for more than 20 days, raising a red flag when he missed a parliamentary session for the first time since he took over as North Korea’s supreme leader in Dec. 2012.

Concerns about Kim’s well-being were previously raised in July when he walked with a noticeable limp during a ceremony to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of his grandfather and North Korea’s founding father, Kim Il-sung.

On to China and the first of several headlines on the chaos in Hong Kong, via the Guardian:

China censors images of Hong Kong protests in TV broadcasts to mainland

State channel shows rally in support of central government, while information about protests severely restricted on social media

While television sets in Hong Kong blaze with images of the pro-democracy protests that have paralysed the central business district since Sunday, citizens in mainland China have been getting a very different story: that a few thousand people gathered in a local park to celebrate the Chinese government.

On Sunday night, tens of thousands of protesters throughout Hong Kong faced down teargas and baton charges, but the state-controlled broadcaster Dragon TV did not show these images. Instead, it cheerfully announced that 28 civil society groups had spent the weekend in Tamar Park voicing support for the central government’s decisions on the region’s political future.

The broadcast showed a crowd of people waving Chinese flags to celebrate the upcoming 65th anniversary of country-wide Communist party rule. “We all hope Hong Kong can be prosperous and stable,” said a young man wearing glasses and a red polo shirt. “I think the National People’s Congress’s decision can bring us a step closer to fulfilling our requirement for universal suffrage.”

More from TechWeekEurope:

Instagram ‘Blocked In China’

Instagram has reportedly joined Facebook, Twitter on the list of social media services inaccessible in China, as protests continue in Hong Kong

Photo-sharing site Instagram has reportedly been added to the list of major websites blocked in mainland China, after the service was used to distribute images of protesters clashing with police in central Hong Kong.

Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube are already inaccessible on mainland China, and the Instagram app was removed from Chinese Android app stores in July, according to Greatfire.org, a website that monitors Chinese online censorship. The site found that Instagram was inaccessible as of Monday.

Blockedinchina.net also reported that Instagram was unavailable across mainland China, including Beijing and Shenzhen.

The Guardian again, backgrounding:

Hong Kong frustration with Beijing has been building for years

Contrary to what Deng Xiaoping envisaged, Hong Kong has grown less like most of the rest of China, not more so

The sign posted on the steps of Causeway Bay metro station on Monday encapsulated the polite ambivalence felt by protesters blockading the usually well-ordered streets of downtown Hong Kong. It read: “Fight for Democracy/Sorry for the Inconvenience.”

But if China’s haughty Communist leadership in Beijing believes this apologetic tone reflects a lack of determination by the students, activists and other citizens who have turned out in unprecedented numbers to reject official diktats, it will be making a big, possibly historic mistake.

The apparently sudden upsurge in public anger and frustration towards Beijing’s insensitive disregard for the former British colony’s limited political freedoms has been building, unevenly but steadily, since July 1997. That was the moment when Prince Charles and governor Chris Patten shook hands with China’s then president, Jiang Zemin, and hauled down the union jack.

China’s state medium Global Times condemns:

Occupy campaign adds merely noise

The local government announced Monday it would withdraw the riot police. However, the protesters insisted on their demands, asking the National People’s Congress to take back planned arrangements for electing Hong Kong’s leader in 2017, or for the special administrative region’s chief executive C.Y. Leung to resign.

It appears that the oppositionists have achieved their first stage of success in mobilizing supporters to break through the authority of Hong Kong’s law. However, this is not the decisive element of Hong Kong’s situation. The general environment of the region’s political reform stays intact. The oppositionists will face a dead end.

Without changing the earlier decision, the central and Hong Kong governments can exercise a certain degree of restraint in handling the shutdown of the city’s financial areas, so as to leave some time for local people to realize the harm done by the protesters’ illegal acts.

Hong Kong has been peaceful for a long time without major turmoil. This is the reason why the extremists dared to manipulate politics with illegal means. The young people do not know the consequence of crossing the lines of the law, and it is difficult to persuade the emotional students not to do so.

State-owned SINA English carries the party line:

Illegal assembly in Hong Kong leads to clashes

The State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office told Xinhua News Agency in a statement that the central government firmly opposed any unlawful action that would jeopardize the rule of law and social peace, and it supported the Hong Kong government taking legal action to uphold social stability and safeguard the security of people and property in the city.

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee adopted a resolution on Aug 31 that fixed a framework for the election of the city chief by universal suffrage in 2017 and beyond. The protesters demanded the decision be revoked.

The top legislature’s decision was legal and provided the constitutional grounds to implement universal suffrage in the special administrative region, the statement said.

The Associated Press covers the streets:

Hong Kong protests: police ease tactics on ‘umbrella revolution’

Crowds grow in evening as people finish work and join weary-looking students camped on roads

Hong Kong’s embattled police defended their use of tear gas but softened their tactics Monday after forceful attempts to quell pro-democracy protests drew tens of thousands more people into the streets in an unprecedented show of civil disobedience.

Instead of candlelight, a few hundred people staged a brief “mobile light” vigil Monday night, waving their glowing cell phones as the protests stretched into their fourth day. Crowds chanted calls for the city’s unpopular leader, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, to resign, and sang anthems calling for freedom.

“The students are protecting the right to vote, for Hong Kong’s future. We are not scared, we are not frightened, we just fight for it,” said Carol Chan, a 55-year-old civil service worker who said she took two days off to join the protests after becoming angered over police use of tear gas Sunday.

The Christian Science Monitor delivers a warning:

Beijing warns against foreign intervention, as Hong Kong protesters block roads

Hong Kong riot police withdrew on Monday, but many roads remain blocked as democracy protesters refuse to go home. Beijing calls the protest movement an ‘illegal activity’ and warned foreign countries not to interfere.

The Chinese government has warned against foreign intervention with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying saying,

We are resolutely opposed to any foreign country using any method to interfere in China’s internal affairs. We are also resolutely opposed to any country, attempting in any way to support such illegal activities like ‘Occupy Central.’ We are fully confident in the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, because I believe this is in keeping with the interests of all the people in China, the region and the world.

Reuters reported a drop in Chinese tourists planning on coming to Hong Kong with protests expected to again escalate on China’s National Day holiday on Oct. 1.

Global solidarity rallies called, via South China Morning Post:

‘Global Solidarity with Hong Kong’ rallies planned worldwide as Facebook turns yellow in support of protestors

Rallies in support of Hong Kong protesters who took to the street over the weekend to call for greater democracy have been held in multiple cities around the world, with more planned in the coming days

Organisers of ‘Support Hong Kong from Canberra’, which took place around midday in the Australian capital, called on “all Hong Kong people in Canberra” to join, instructing participants to wear black clothes in solidarity with Occupy Central participants.

“Even if we can’t be at the scene of the protests, we are still determined to defend democracy!” The organisers of a rally in Adelaide on Monday said. “Even if we are in Australia, our heart is in Hong Kong! Our solidarity is with students in Hong Kong!”

South China Morning Post again, with logomania:

The Umbrella Revolution: designers come up with logos for Occupy Central protests

Through tear gas and the sweltering sun, umbrellas have been an indispensable tool for Occupy Central protesters in the streets — becoming a new symbol of protest for a more democratic Hong Kong.

As the civil disobedience movement entered a second day on Monday, logos for the “umbrella revolution” or “umbrella movement” began spreading on social media.

One example, from Hong Kong artist Tania Willis:

And from Süddeutsche Zeitung, Beijing’s deepest fear?:

China’s Worst Hong Kong Fear: A New Tiananmen

Hong Kong is seething. But no, this does not mean that all Hongkongers are rising up in pro-democracy protests against Beijing. Hong Kong’s entrepreneurs, some of whom are worth billions, are showing solidarity with China’s leaders. There’s a good reason why Beijing has made partners of these rich elites: They all have business interests in China, and no doubt they can be bought or blackmailed.

What’s more, the coalition — which is remarkable only at first glance — shows what China’s Communist Party, formerly a vanguard of the disenfranchised, has become. Not long ago, a Beijing delegation informed Hong Kongers that they unfortunately couldn’t guarantee the desired democracy because it is Beijing’s job to safeguard “capitalism” in Hong Kong.

Even if Beijing is serious about that, protecting capitalism and protecting its richest representatives are two different things. Hong Kong in particular is a good place to observe how bad governance can slowly break a former model of efficiency, constitutionality, and free and fair enterprise.

From Want China Times, a significant move in the Game of Zones:

Philippines to ‘unilaterally’ exploit Reed Bank: chairman

China National Offshore Oil Corp’s (CNOOC’s) failure to respond to a proposal put forth by the Manila-based Philex Petroleum for the two nations to jointly explore the oil fields at Reed Bank leaves the Philippines no choice but to unilaterally move forward, said the company’s chairman in a report by the Inquirer.

Manuel Pangilinan, chairman, said that his company will continue to engage with China’s state-run oil firm in discussing the exploitation of Reed Bank. He met with Yang Hua, the president of the Chinese company, back in 2012. Discussions since have been stalled by the territorial conflict between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea. The Forum Energy plc, a subsidiary company of Philex Petroleum, will build two oil rigs on Reed Bank.

Wu Shicun, head of the Hainan-based National Institute of South China Sea Studies, said that China actually welcomes the joint exploition of the South China Sea with the Philippines and other countries of Southeast Asia. However, Manila and any other nations in the region are not allowed to take unilateral action developing any of its areas, he added.

A Chinese munitions advance aimed at Obama’s Great White Fleet play, via Want China Times:

Two new Chinese cruise missiles ‘could sink a 3,000 ton warship’

China’s PLA has released the details of its two anti-ship cruise missiles — the C-602 and C-802A — designed to sink warships weighing above 3,000 tonnes, reports national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).

Both cruise missiles are designed by the China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation. Guan Shiyi, an expert from the corporation, said that the cruise missile is designed to fly like an aircraft in the atmosphere. With an engine similar to those in airplanes, the cruise missile can skim at low altitudes above the sea surface, making it very difficult to detect on radar.

The Chinese government has not sponsored the domestic development of the missile, despite its power, Guan said. The China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation had to spend its own resources developing the missiles.

And a demonstration of force from Want China Times:

China launches air defense exercise in Guangzhou

The Guangzhou Military Region launched an air defense exercise on Sept. 27 to prevent a potential air strike against Guangzhou and other major cities in Southern China in the event of conflict arise over disputed territories in the South China Sea, reports the Nanfang Daily.

Under the exercise’s scenario, enemy air forces carry out an attack on Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport and other major ports and communication lines withint the city. All 12 districts within the city are mobilized to respond to the air attack. Chen Jianhua, the mayor of Guangzhou and the commander of civil defense, was appointed the head of the exercise. The air raid siren began to alarm at 11:30 in the morning to indicate the beginning of the air strike.

China has territorial disputes with various nations over the South China Sea. With the direct or indirect support of the United States, Vietnam and the Philippined are most hostile to China, though they were not named direct enemies. The conflict for natural resources in the regions surrounding the disputed bodies of land are what could escalate the conflict into full-scale war.

And for our final item, an ill-matched pair divorces, via the McClatchy Foreign Staff:

UChicago ends China-funded program over remarks by Chinese official

China’s soft-diplomacy push hit a speed bump this week when the University of Chicago decided to pull the plug on renewing a controversial Beijing-funded Confucius Institute.

The decision may prompt other universities to rethink their relationships with Confucius institutes – attractive because they offer free Chinese-language classes and cultural programs to cash-strapped colleges in the United States, albeit with limitations on what they can teach.

In a statement Thursday, the University of Chicago said it had tried to negotiate a renewal agreement with Hanban, the Chinese agency that manages Confucius institutes. “However, recently published comments about UChicago in an article about the director-general of Hanban are incompatible with a continued equal partnership,” the statement said.

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