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Monday
Nov152010

Chinese Billionaire Jack Ma on the Power of American Ideas

Photo Courtesy - Alibaba dot com(HANGZHOU, China) -- In a country that still restricts the flow of information, one Chinese man has made a fortune by harnessing the power of that vast information source, the Internet.

Jack Ma, 46, is the founder of Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce website. It has made him a billionaire and changed the way that the Chinese do business.

ABC News spoke to Ma on Monday in Hangzhou, China about his work, China's remarkable growth, and the American ideals that he believes have made it possible.

"I think this is the American dreams that make America different," Ma told ABC News. "Today, Chinese people have the dreams....Many years ago, we would wait for the government, now we don't wait for the government."

Some analysts expect Alibaba to generate over $700 million in revenue this year from its websites, including the business-to-business trading Alibaba.com and the online auction site Taobao.com. Alibaba, which is 40 percent owned by Yahoo!, also operates the China Yahoo! Web portal.

By way of comparison, Facebook reportedly generated some $800 million in revenue in 2009.

Ma said he believes that American ingenuity is a model for the Chinese.

China has certainly been quick to seize on the idea of entrepreneurship. Already, China has more than 500 billionaires, more than any other country on Earth.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Monday
Nov152010

Secretary Clinton Defends Raids, Reacts to Karzai's Criticism

File photo. Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday defended the use of special operations raids in Afghanistan after Afghan President Hamid Karzai called for a halt on such actions in an interview with The Washington Post published over the weekend.

“We believe that the use of intelligence driven precision targeted operations against high value insurgents and their networks is a key component of our comprehensive civilian military operations…there is no question that they are having a significant impact on the insurgent leadership and the networks that they operate,” Clinton said. She said the U.S. shared Karzai’s concerns and has discussed them with him.

“We believe that these operations are in the best interest of the Afghan people, the Afghan government and the ISAF troops who are working with their Afghan counterparts to secure the country,” she added.

In a separate interview with The Washington Post, General David Petraeus, the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, suggested President Karzai’s remarks could undermine the U.S.-led effort there and said he was “astonished and disappointed” with Karzai’s call for reduced military operations and that some raids in the south be discontinued.

Skeptics of putting a timeline on the war, including Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, have argued that it is based on nothing more than politics.

Clinton was careful to note, however, that “the pace of transition of security responsibility obviously depends on the ability of the Afghan National Security Forces and the Afghan National Police forces to be able to take charge. That’s why this a conditions based, gradual transition process, not some one-time event.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov152010

China: Apartment Fire Leaves Dozens Dead

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SHANGHAI, China) -- A massive fire at a Shanghai apartment building has killed at least 42 people. The number of those injured was not immediately known.

The blaze started amid renovations to the 28-story building, but no further explanation was given, China’s state-run media reported.

The building, built in the 1990s, houses 156 families.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov152010

Qantas Aborts Third Flight in Under Two Weeks Over Cockpit Smoke

Photo Courtesy - Pascal Parrot/Getty Images(SYDNEY) -- Another problem yet again for Qantas Airways.  A Qantas Boeing 747 was grounded one hour into a flight after smoke was spotted coming out of the cockpit, marking the third time in less than two weeks that Qantas has had to abort a flight.

The flight departed from Syndey International Airport Monday morning, en route to Argentina, when smoke started coming out of an instrument panel in the cockpit, forcing the plane to return to the tarmac after being up in the air for only an hour.

Olivia Wirth, a spokeswoman for Qantas, says, "The pilots have reported there was a minimal amount of smoke in the cockpit.  In line with procedures, the captain, Captain Lowden, did make priority clearance back to Sydney Airport.  However, before this happened, he dumped fuel, arriving back at Sydney Airport safely."

No one onboard sustained any injuries.

Qantas is looking into what caused the smoke.  Wirth says, "At this stage it is believed that there was a faulty part within a selection panel in the cockpit."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov152010

Russian Journalist Making Good Recovery After Beating

Photo Courtesy - Svetlana Privalova/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- A Russian journalist savagely beaten in Moscow last weekend is making a good recovery, doctors say.  State-run media report that Oleg Kashin was taken off an artificial respirator, but is still in intensive care.

The website LifeNews said that when Kashin came out of his coma last week, he requested a pen and paper, writing his doctors a note asking them to take him off the respirator.

Kashin has not yet been questioned by investigators, who have not announced any leads in the case.  Kashin reportedly described his attacks as looking like soccer fans.

Kashin was attacked the night of Nov. 5 just after midnight.  He was returning home when he was jumped by two men.  One had concealed a metal rod in a bouquet of flowers.  As one man held Kashin down, the other hit him over and over for almost a minute and a half.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has strongly condemned the attack, saying those responsible will be found and punished.

A rally in central Moscow on Sunday drew hundreds of demonstrators protesting Kashin's assault.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov152010

Seven Killed After Blast Rips Through Mexican Resort

Photo Courtesy - Jose Dominguez/AFP/Getty Images(PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico) -- An explosion ripped through a Mexican resort hotel on Sunday, killing seven people and leaving several others injured.  Among the seven dead were five Canadian tourists and two hotel employees.

Authorities believe the blast at the Grand Riviera Princess hotel in Playa del Carmen, Mexico may have been caused by natural gas from a nearby swamp.  They believe swamp gas somehow accumulated under the floor of the hotel and triggered the explosion.

William Breakey of Ontario, a recent guest at the hotel, says he could smell the natural gas when he stayed at the resort.

"There was always kind of a pungent smell," Breakey says.  "It smelled a little bit like sulphur, rotten eggs, whatever, in the air in and around the kitchen."

Guests first feared the blast was terrorist-related.  Pete Travers, a program director at a Toronto area radio station who is staying at the hotel, says, "Everyone shared the same fear.  The fear is 'was this deliberate?'  So when we started hearing that it was an accident, everyone was quickly latching onto that as a means of comfort."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov142010

Somali Pirates Hand Over British Couple After More Than a Year

Paul and Rachel Chandler sit with Speaker of the Somali Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden. Photo Courtesy - Somali Presidency / A. Wehliya (LONDON) -- A retired British couple is free for the first time since Somali pirates took them hostage more than a year ago.

Retiring early, Paul and Rachel Chandler had planned the vacation of a lifetime – six months at sea. Instead, they were captured by armed pirates in the Indian Ocean and brought to Somalia, where they were held, often at gunpoint.

"We're feeling happy to be alive, happy to be free,” Rachel Chandler said. “Happy to be here, desperate to see our family and our friends.”
 
The waters near Somalia are infested with pirates.  There are reports they have captured more than 20 ships and are currently holding more than 500 hostages.

Ransoms are often in the millions of dollars for large ships.  Friends and relatives of the Chandlers reportedly raised more than $400,000 for their release.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov142010

Britain's Prince William Visits Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan) -- Britain's Prince William visited Camp Bastion in Afghanistan's Helmand Province on Sunday, which Britons refer to as "Remembrance Sunday."  It is much like Veterans Day in the U.S., a time to honor those who have served in the nation's wars.  It is typically held on the closest Sunday to Nov. 11, to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. 

The Prince and Britain's Defense Secretary, Liam Fox, visited the camp, which is Britain's main operating base in Afghanistan, where it is part of the coalition led by the U.S. in fighting the insurgency that supports al Qaeda. 

William's brother, Prince Harry, served with his military unit in Afghanistan about three years ago, until his whereabouts were revealed in the media.  He was then sent home because officials feared knowledge of his whereabouts could endanger his fellow troops.  He is expected to return to fight in Afghanistan next year. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov142010

Sen. Lindsey Graham Concerned About State of Iraqi Government

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., just back from a trip to Iraq, says he was concerned the United States would "fumble the ball in Iraq."

Appearing on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour, Graham voiced worry that Iraqi politician Ayad Allawi "has said that this new government is a joke. If he feels that, that's disappointing," the senator said.

"It's very important we get a government formed in Iraq that's inclusive, that represents the results of the Iraqi election, and that is a reliable partner with the United States and the region. So I've got concerns about this new government. But we need to stay effectively involved," he said.

Graham preached bipartisanship on foreign policy. He said he is in the wing of the Republican Party "that wants to work with President Obama to end it well in Iraq, to get it right in Afghanistan, contain Iran through effective sanctions."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov142010

Karzai: Time to Reduce US Military Operations in Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- In an interview with The Washington Post, Afghan President Hamid Karzai criticizes the U.S. military strategy in his country, urging the U.S. to confine its troops more to their bases and end night raids that target senior commanders.

Karzai says Afghans have lost patience with U.S. troops, and that the U.S "should and could" draw down its forces in 2011.

"The time has come to reduce military operations," Karzai said. "The time has come to reduce the presence of, you know, boots in Afghanistan … to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life."

Karzai has raised his frustration with night raids in the past, and has urged the U.S. military to spend less time in Afghan villages and more time fighting the “source” of the Taliban in Pakistan.

"The raids are a problem always. They were a problem then, they are a problem now. They have to go away," Karzai says. "The Afghan people don't like these raids, if there is any raid it has to be done by the Afghan government within the Afghan laws. This is a continuing disagreement between us."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio