Standing on an asteroid

If you could stand on the asteroid Ryugu, about 194 million miles from earth, this is what you’d see:

Asteroid Ryugu

From Space.com:

Two tiny, hopping rovers that landed on asteroid Ryugu last week have beamed back some incredible new views of the asteroid’s rocky surface.

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa2 sample-return mission dropped the two nearly identical rovers, named Minerva-II1A and Minerva-II1B, onto the surface of Ryugu on Sept. 21. In a new video from the eyes of Minerva-II1B, you can watch the sun move across the sky as its glaring sunlight reflects off the shiny rocks that cover Ryugu’s surface.

“Please take a moment to enjoy ‘standing’ on this new world,” JAXA officials said in a statement released today (Sept. 27).

Don’t piss on the fans

This profanity-laced review of The Last Jedi by novelist Larry Correia is far superior to the movie itself, as it is not only more entertaining, logical and emotionally satisfying than Rian Johnson’s curious act of cinematic arson, but it should be required reading in film school for its astute analysis of the movie’s many unforgivable sins. Here’s a sample:

While I’m still on characters, the greatest example of Rain’s fucked up perspective of how to use even the 2nd tier characters… Holy shit.. Admiral Motherfucking Ackbar.

Think about this. Everybody in the world knows Admiral Ackbar. I could hop on a plane to Kazakhstan right now, get a rental jeep, go up in the mountains, find a goat herder in a village that doesn’t have electricity, show him a picture of Admiral Ackbar, bad ass lobsterman, and that goat herd would immediately shout IT’S A TRAP!

Admiral Ackbar has transcended being a character to become a cultural icon. He’s like the #1 meme on the internet. Everybody loves Admiral Ackbar.

Now watch as Rian Johnson pisses in your eyes.

He took this cultural icon, this HERO, and capped him so casually that I wasn’t even sure what happened. Like, wait, what?

But not only that, in this dumbfuck plot some assholes threw together after smoking way too much weed, there’s another new character, Admiral Evening Gown, who struts in and does everything that he easily could’ve had Admiral Ackbar do, big heroic sacrifice moment and all that jazz, but nope. Fuck Ackbar, and fuck your memories. Here’s this totally unlikable new character.

It’s true. Look, I’ve never been a Star Wars nerd, but the movies were part of my childhood, and it’s annoying to see familiar characters die meaningless deaths or otherwise be humiliated or defiled by some punk filmmaker who thinks he’s being clever and subversive. That sort of casual subversion of expectations might “work” in a black-and-white indie film, but in an epic space opera it’s just rude. And that’s not even the movie’s worst crime, as Correia explains:

Despite Rey being the best at literally everything in the universe EVER, there were some possible character arcs that could’ve been taken after TFA. But nope, Rain is SO EDGY, but he couldn’t possibly do anything to humanize the uber character. Same with Kylo. One of the only things I’ll give this movie is that at least he was more interesting that the mopey emo crybaby they made him in the last one.

You could not possibly write a more boring, featureless character than Rey if you tried. What a waste.

Characters it’s all about rooting for someone. When your characters do nothing but stupid shit, it’s hard to root for them. Your antagonists need to be menacing, not clowns, or worse, just thrown away! (hey, Snoke is interesting… and never mind…). Or Phasma. Hey, wow, she must be super bad ass to have the silver armor and…. Garbage chute… Maybe some menace this time and…. Oh fuck it.

The Ewoks had more character than this. AND THEY COULDN’T BLINK.

As for plot… The Last Jedi freely violates the established rules of the Star Wars universe (this is bad):

Then we’ve got the scene with the space bombers. Because gravity totally works in space… What the hell was that nonsense?

The plot doesn’t even make a lick of sense:

There’s this thing in writing, where you couldn’t have a plot unless the characters are really stupid. You see it mostly in low budget horror movies. Where if the characters were smart, they wouldn’t get in trouble, but instead it’s like hey, there’s an axe murderer, let’s go off by ourselves to smoke pot and have sex. Yeah…. That’s this level of writing. The plot only exists because all the characters are too stupid to live. […]

So then we’ve got this absurd subplot where Fin and Rose go off to get some specific hacker on casino planet. Except remember, the whole goal was to get somewhere to send a message… Why doesn’t Fin just send the message on Casino Planet?

But anyways, let’s shove in some hamfisted message about the military industrial complex or WTF ever that was supposed to be. (Trust me, before I was a writer I was in the military industrial complex, it’s relatively boring, and I never once got to swim in a Scrooge McDuck style money vault). But then they rescue space horses, and after all that recruit the totally untrustworthy guy who like totally won’t betray them… And the only reason they got caught was because they parked their shuttle someplace stupid.

Seriously, bad horror movie writing. If Fin and Rose had taken a break to get high and make out in the forest and then gotten killed by an axe murderer, it would have made just as much sense as this shit. When teenage characters make those kinds of decisions in movies like Night of the Demons, the audience gives it a pass, but when a bunch of supposed military rebel professionals do stupid shit like that, the audience groans.

As for the spectacular scene where Laura Dern goes kamikaze on Snoke’s flagship:

Let’s break this down, and why it is so obnoxiously, incredibly, painfully stupid.

If you can take a cheap ass freighter and easy button instakill an entire carrier battle group, then why haven’t they done this in any of the previous movies? Why fly down the trench of the Death Star? Or into the interior of the 2nd? Why have big fleet battles at all?

In writing, this is a basic fuck up that you usually see from newer fantasy authors.

Here’s the scene by the way:

(I note in passing that John Williams, who wrote the score, is still going strong for a guy in his mid-80s. Much respect.)

Yes, it’s pretty. The problem is that The Last Jedi throws any pretense of coherent storytelling and characterization out the window. It’s just a bad movie, and the scale and intensity of its badness has comprehensively destroyed what remains of the world’s most valuable film franchise.

Is Bloomberg peddling fake news about Chinese hardware hacking?

Infosec hardware implants

The state of infosec right now (Credit: Colin O’Flynn)

The jury is still out, but this isn’t looking great for Bloomberg:

The veracity of a bombshell yarn claiming Chinese agents managed to sneak spy chips into Super Micro servers used by Amazon, Apple and the US government is still being fiercely argued over five days after publication. […]

Faced with such uncertainty, some are reaching for a unifying explanation: that Bloomberg was misled by some in the intelligence community that wish, for their own reasons, to raise the specter of Chinese interference in the global electronics supply chain. Bloomberg could be accurately reporting an intelligence misinformation campaign. […]

On the possible failure of adequate fact checking, earlier this week one of the security experts that Bloomberg spoke to in order to explain how the claimed spy chip would actually work, Joe Fitzpatrick, gave an interview to Aussie veteran infosec journalist Patrick Gray in which Fitzpatrick said he had told the Bloomberg spy-chip reporters of his doubts that it was feasible and that he was “uncomfortable” with the final article.

An NSA official is also pushing back:

Rob Joyce, Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity Strategy at the NSA, is the latest official to question the accuracy of Bloomberg Businessweek’s bombshell “The Big Hack” report about Chinese spies compromising the U.S. tech supply chain.

“I have pretty good understanding about what we’re worried about and what we’re working on from my position. I don’t see it,” said Joyce, speaking at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce cyber summit in Washington, D.C. today, according to a subscriber-only Politico report viewed by MacRumors.

“I’ve got all sorts of commercial industry freaking out and just losing their minds about this concern, and nobody’s found anything,” Joyce added.

Twitter user Hector Martin (@marcan42) had a fierce response to Bloomberg’s second story on the alleged Chinese hardware hacking:

Ah, I see, Bloomberg. So instead of a (partial) retraction of your at least half if not fully bullshit China implant story, you’re going to now publish *one guy’s* claim of Ethernet jack implants. When you had <5 days to check anything he provided.

Remember when a certain other security researcher was convinced his Ethernet jacks had implants? Remember all this “evidence”? How *we* knew it was BS? Now consider whether Bloomberg’s technically clueless journalists would know it’s BS.

Seriously, this is just pathetic now. They just went from “1 year and multiple sources” to “<5 days and one guy”. This is just negligence.

https://t.co/eReEXegOHZ

Why is it that every time something like this happens nobody has any hard documentation or analysis results? Ah yes, the best cop-out. “We don’t have it any more, we can’t give you more details”.

So now we have *software* detecting *analog* stuff like the “power consumption” of a *network*.

None of those words go together. At all.

Basically every Ethernet jack I’ve seen in anything but cheapo consumer routers/switches has been metal. How the hell is this an IOC?

Nevermind that… Ethernet jacks don’t have power pins. Where is this module (that uses so much power that it gets hot) magically powering itself from? Nobody runs PoE out to servers. Did they modify the board design to add power pins too?

Commenting on the above thread, Joe Fitzpatrick had this to say:

I was contacted and declined to give comment for this story. I explained this wasn’t the first time this year someone was making this claim.

@marcan42 has experience debunking claims of ‘backdoored’ ethernet jacks. Details in this story are almost identical to last time.

Sepio systems also shared a document with me yesterday. It had juicy details about rogue hardware.

It was a marketing 1-pager.

Whatever the truth of the  matter, Yossi Appleboum, the ex-Israeli intelligence guy cited in Bloomberg’s follow-up story, gets the last word:

We found it in different vendors, not just Supermicro. We found it not just in servers, in different variations, but hardware manipulation on different interfaces, mostly in network related. We found it in different devices connected to the network, even Ethernet switches. I am talking about really big what are considered to be major American brands, many compromised through the same method.

This is why I think that Supermicro has nothing to do with that. In many cases, by the way, it is not through manufacturing, it is after through the supply chain.

People think of the supply chain in a very narrow sense between the manufacturer and the customer. Supply chain never ends. There are technicians, there are integrators, there are people that work in your facilities. We have seen after installation, after the fact attacks where someone switched something already installed. This is why Supermicro would have no idea what happens later in the supply chain. […]

We have a problem. The problem is the hardware supply chain. All of us are dealing with what happened to Supermicro, and whether Amazon knew or did not know. That is not the main issue for me. The main issue is that we have a problem. It is global. This is why I think Supermicro is suffering from the big players. I am talking about the really big players who know that they have the same problem, and they are kind of using the story right now to throw Supermicro under the bus instead of coming out and saying that it is a global problem, let’s fix it and find a solution.

Incoming: mysterious radio bursts from distant galaxies

Australian researchers are detecting a vast number of “fast radio bursts” emanating from deep space after upgrading their telescopes, and they (the bursts, not the researchers) are brighter and closer than any we’ve spotted before. From the story:

Fast radio bursts are one of the most mysterious phenomena in the universe. They are blasts of incredible energy – equivalent to the amount released by the Sun in 80 years – that last for just a moment, and come from a mysterious source.

And no, this has absolutely nothing to do with aliens! …Wait.

Some have suggested they are being emitted by an extraterrestrial intelligence. Harvard University scientists suggested last year that they could be leaks from vast transmitters that are usually shooting at light sail ships to push them across the universe.

Those would have to be some big transmitters.

Others have suggested that less intelligent but equally spectacular causes, such as black holes or dense stars smashing into each other.

These particular bursts have traveled billions of years, from roughly halfway across the universe to reach us.

The United States of Bezos

Jeff Bezos Dr Evil

We are all Amazonians now. At this rate, Bezos might as well take over the US government:

In his best-selling book “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google,” Galloway cites some arresting statistics: Far fewer U.S. households have a gun than Amazon Prime, by 30 to 64 percent. More Americans have Prime than voted in 2016 (55 percent), or earn $50,000 or more a year (55 percent), or go to church (51 percent). He calls Amazon’s ability to woo Prime subscribers at a $119 yearly cost the equivalent of “entering into a monogamous relationship” with its consumers, who as of 2016 spent, on average, $193 per month. (Non-Prime members average $138 per month.)

From 2006 to 2016 Amazon’s stock price growth surged by 1,910 percent, destroying Sears, J.C. Penney, Kmart, Best Buy, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Target and Walmart.

Perhaps most importantly: Since the Great Recession, Amazon has paid just $1.4 billion in corporate taxes compared to Walmart’s $64 billion.

Amazon is also making inroads into a wide array of sectors and institutions that have nothing to do with retail, let alone selling books:

Bezos has even greater ambitions. His acquisition of Whole Foods, which plunged competitor Kroger’s stock from $31 to $22 per share, is but one step in dominating what and how we eat. Amazon is spending $5 billion on original programming this year and is on pace to outspend Netflix by 2022.

Think about that, Galloway says: A retailer in Seattle as content king. And after announcing a vague health care initiative back in January, stock prices for major health care insurers plummeted — such is Amazon’s power that the mere hint of market entry damages long-standing competitors.

That’s not all. Bezos’ company Blue Origin, with a mission statement that goes not just to colonizing the planet but outer space — “Earth, in all its beauty, is just our starting place” — plans to launch the first private manned spaceflight by next year. Bezos also says he’s going to establish free preschools in low-income areas based on the Montessori method.

Outer space aside: Amazon wants to feed, treat, entertain, educate and medicate America — and that’s just what it’s told us. Nothing Orwellian here, right?

And while Amazon is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour, the mega-corporation is also striving mightily to replace its human workforce with robots. Perhaps not coincidentally, Bezos has expressed support for the idea of a universal basic income. It’s not hard to envision a future in which a fully automated Bezos empire services all the needs of a jobless, perpetually entertained population — with Alexa replacing the school system, Amazon Hospitals treating the sick, and Amazon Prime Drones equipped with Hellfire missiles providing security. Brave New World is real, and His Fordship sits in Seattle, a bald guy with a creepy laugh.

More evidence of massive Chinese hardware hack

Bloomberg has a new story out about China’s alleged tampering with the global hardware supply chain, revealing that an unnamed, major US telecom company discovered a malicious implant in a Supermicro server back in August. The source of the story seems credible (Bloomberg’s previous story on the Supermicro hacking did not name sources.)

If true, the scale of the potential damage from this hardware hacking is almost incomprehensible.

In the wake of Bloomberg’s reporting on the attack against Supermicro products, security experts say that teams around the world, from large banks and cloud computing providers to small research labs and startups, are analyzing their servers and other hardware for modifications, a stark change from normal practices. Their findings won’t necessarily be made public, since hardware manipulation is typically designed to access government and corporate secrets, rather than consumer data.

National security experts say a key problem is that, in a cybersecurity industry approaching $100 billion in revenue annually, very little of that has been spent on inspecting hardware for tampering. That’s allowed intelligence agencies around the world to work relatively unimpeded, with China holding a key advantage.

Brian Krebs has an insightful post about the issue on his security blog. Of particular interest:

The U.S. Government isn’t eager to admit it, but there has long been an unofficial inventory of tech components and vendors that are forbidden to buy from if you’re in charge of procuring products or services on behalf of the U.S. Government. Call it the “brown list, “black list,” “entity list” or what have you, but it’s basically an indelible index of companies that are on the permanent Shit List of Uncle Sam for having been caught pulling some kind of supply chain shenanigans.

More than a decade ago when I was a reporter with The Washington Post, I heard from an extremely well-placed source that one Chinese tech company had made it onto Uncle Sam’s entity list because they sold a custom hardware component for many Internet-enabled printers that secretly made a copy of every document or image sent to the printer and forwarded that to a server allegedly controlled by hackers aligned with the Chinese government.

And he identifies the crux of the issue:

Like it or not, the vast majority of electronics are made in China, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon. The central issue is that we don’t have any other choice right now. The reason is that by nearly all accounts it would be punishingly expensive to replicate that manufacturing process here in the United States. […]

Indeed, noted security expert Bruce Schneier calls supply-chain security “an insurmountably hard problem.”

The original Bloomberg piece, as he points out, also addresses what he calls “this elephant in the room.” Quote from that piece:

The problem under discussion wasn’t just technological. It spoke to decisions made decades ago to send advanced production work to Southeast Asia. In the intervening years, low-cost Chinese manufacturing had come to underpin the business models of many of America’s largest technology companies. Early on, Apple, for instance, made many of its most sophisticated electronics domestically. Then in 1992, it closed a state-of-the-art plant for motherboard and computer assembly in Fremont, Calif., and sent much of that work overseas.

Over the decades, the security of the supply chain became an article of faith despite repeated warnings by Western officials. A belief formed that China was unlikely to jeopardize its position as workshop to the world by letting its spies meddle in its factories.

As time goes on, the evidence mounts that offshoring advanced manufacturing to low-cost countries in Asia was an epochal blunder by the US. Now the US is abjectly dependent on a hardware supply chain that may be deeply compromised and there is no obvious way to fix or even detect its vulnerabilities. However, to call this “an insurmountably hard problem” is an exaggeration; it is merely staggeringly hard.

The solution would almost certainly have to involve moving a large amount of high-tech production back to the US. This would be terrifyingly expensive, but the US may not have a choice, and the economic benefits of creating all those new jobs and factories could be enormous.

Anything that has been offshored can be reshored. Anything that was invented in the US can be made in the US. If I’m wrong, please explain how.

Spy fail

Burn After Reading GRU

Suspected GRU operative

The GRU, what happened to you?

It must go down as one of the most embarrassing months ever for Russia’s military intelligence.

In the 30 days since Theresa May revealed the cover identities of the Salisbury poison suspects, the secretive GRU (now GU) has been publicly exposed by rival intelligence agencies and online sleuths, with an assist from Russia’s own president.

Despite attempts to stonewall public inquiry, the GRU’s dissection has been clinical. The agency has always had a reputation for daring, bolstered by its affiliation with special forces commando units and agents who have seen live combat.

But in dispatching agents to the Netherlands who could, just using Google, be easily exposed as graduates of an elite GRU academy, the agency appears reckless and absurdly sloppy.

In response to the surreal interview with the Skripal poisoning suspects, I wrote: “I thought Russian intelligence operatives were supposed to be smart? What is going on here?” It gets worse:

[…] And then came Thursday’s bombshell: four men outed by Dutch investigators for attempting to hack into the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (as well as Malaysia’s investigation into a downed jetliner).

The alleged spies were caught carrying enough telephones to fill an electronics store. Moreover, like all meticulous Russians on a business trip, they held on to their taxi receipts from GRU headquarters.

At a glance, it’s hard to square such ridiculous incompetence with the idea that Putin and his operatives are crafty enough to destroy Western democracy. In any case, the GRU’s epic fails do seem to indicate the declining value of human intelligence in the age of the internet.

The ultimate Banksy prank

Banksy self-destroying art

A lot to unpack here

It really doesn’t get more perfect than this:

In a moment that caught the art world by surprise, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon self-destructed just as the final hammer signaled the end of an evening of auctions in London. The work sold for £1,042,000 ($1.4 million), tying the artist’s record in pounds at auction previously achieved in 2008.
Banksy’s Girl with Red Balloon mysteriously shreds following its sale at Sotheby’s London.

The framed work, spray paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on board depicted a girl reaching out toward a bright red, heart shaped balloon – one of Banksy’s most iconic images – began to pass through a shredder hidden in the frame.
Banksy, Girl with Red Balloon, 2006. Sold for £1,042,000 ($1.4 Million)

“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” said Alex Branczik, Senior Director and Head of Contemporary Art, Europe London. The unexpected incident became instant art world history and certainly marks the first time in auction history that a work of art automatically shredded itself after coming under the hammer.

Reality is far stranger and more interesting than fiction these days. There’s no comparison.

The Party wears the pants

There is a widespread misconception that China is actually a capitalist country that for some reason calls itself Communist. For example, Rupert Murdoch is said to have remarked (in the late 1990s) that he had yet to meet any communists during his trips to China.

Certainly, it’s easy to see how a tourist spending a week in an economic hub such as Shanghai or Shenzhen would get this impression, especially today:

But like many beliefs based on surface appearances, the idea that China is not really Communist is mostly false. As Australian journalist Richard McGregor argued in a 2011 article:

If Vladimir Lenin were reincarnated in 21st-century Beijing and managed to avert his eyes from the city’s glittering skyscrapers and conspicuous consumption, he would instantly recognize in the ruling Chinese Communist Party a replica of the system he designed nearly a century ago for the victors of the Bolshevik Revolution. One need only look at the party’s structure to see how communist — and Leninist — China’s political system remains.

Sure, China long ago dumped the core of the communist economic system, replacing rigid central planning with commercially minded state enterprises that coexist with a vigorous private sector. Yet for all their liberalization of the economy, Chinese leaders have been careful to keep control of the commanding heights of politics through the party’s grip on the “three Ps”: personnel, propaganda, and the People’s Liberation Army. […]

Perhaps most importantly, the party dictates all senior personnel appointments in ministries and companies, universities and the media, through a shadowy and little-known body called the Organization Department. Through the department, the party oversees just about every significant position in every field in the country. Clearly, the Chinese remember Stalin’s dictate that the cadres decide everything.

In his astonishing 2010 book The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers, McGregor points to a study by emerging markets brokerage CLSA that estimated that China’s private sector contributes 70% of the country’s GDP and 75% of its workforce. As he notes:

A week later, a rival and equally respected China research unit at UBS, the Swiss bank, put out a rejoinder, saying the private sector ‘accounts for no more than 30 per cent of the economy, whichever indicator you use’. The report said: ‘In China, the big sectors are either 100 per cent or majority controlled by the state: oil, petrochemicals, mining, banks, insurance, telcos, steel, aluminum, electricity, aviation, airports, railways, ports, highways, autos, health care, education and the civil service.”

I believe that last sentence (the report was published in 2005) is still true today. The media is also state-controlled. The internet sector is ostensibly dominated by private firms, but the government keeps Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu on a fairly tight leash and is reportedly considering buying direct stakes in Tencent as well as Youku (the YouTube of China), which is owned by Alibaba.

Why is it so hard to nail down the size of China’s private sector? According to McGregor:

“The confusion about what is public and what is private is a deliberate result of the system’s lingering wariness about clarifying ownership. Ask any genuine entrepreneur whether their company is private, or ‘siying‘, literally ‘privately run’, it is striking how many still resit the description in favour of the more politically correct tag ‘minying‘, which means ‘run by the people’. […] Most economists now skirt the issue, by dividing companies into two categories, state and non-state, and leave it at that.

The issue gets murkier the closer you look at it. John Robb cut through the complexities most succinctly by describing China’s politico-economic system as “capitalism in a Leninist cage.”

Now it is certainly true that China has a large and wealthy entrepreneurial class, which was born out of the liberalizing reforms that began under Deng Xiaoping. That is the “capitalism” in the aforementioned “Leninist cage.” The Party realized it needed entrepreneurs to build China into the massive economic juggernaut it has become since the 1970s. The tycoons had their heyday after the mid ’90s and into the 21st century, as the Party unleashed private businesses to create jobs for the tens of millions of workers laid off by a shrinking state sector. Today, the private sector is reported to contribute over 60% of China’s GDP growth and over 90% of new jobs (take those figures with a grain of salt).

However, even while fostering the rapid growth of the private sector, the Party has also taken pains to infiltrate and co-opt it. This is where the Leninist cage comes in. China’s leaders have carefully studied the example of the former Soviet Union and in particular, the rise of a powerful class of corrupt oligarchs who carved up and destroyed Russia’s economy during the botched privatization of the ’90s. The Party is determined to avoid a repeat of the Russian oligarch scenario in China, and will not permit the country’s tycoons to challenge state power.

This message has been sent in recent years with the disappearance and detention under bizarre circumstances of a spate of Chinese billionaires, including Xiao Jianhua, the businessman who was abducted from Hong Kong by mainland authorities — whisked away from the Four Seasons hotel, reportedly in a wheelchair with a sheet over his head. The disappearance of Wu Xiaohui, who bought New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, in June of last year seemed to indicate that the Party was cracking down on the private sector in earnest.

The New York Times, in a story this week, finds further evidence that China is turning its back on free-market policies:

For 40 years, China has swung between authoritarian Communist control and a freewheeling capitalism where almost anything could happen — and some see the pendulum swinging back toward the government.

State-controlled companies increasingly account for growth in industrial production and profits, areas where private businesses once led. China has stepped up regulation of online commerce, real estate and video games. Companies could face higher taxes and employee benefit costs. Some intellectuals are calling for private enterprises to be abolished entirely.

The political winds are shifting, but the discontinuity is not as sharp as it may seem at first glance. China has never had “a freewheeling capitalism where almost anything could happen.” All that we’re really seeing here is that the cage around the private sector is getting smaller and more restrictive, but the cage was always there. The Party is simply reminding China’s entrepreneurs who wears the pants in this relationship.

Head of Interpol disappears in China

Meng Hongwei

Meng Hongwei

Wow:

French police have launched an investigation into the disappearance of Interpol‘s president.

Meng Hongwei, a Chinese government minister, was reported missing after travelling to his native country last week.

The 64-year-old lives in Lyon with his wife and children, who have not heard from him since he left for China on 29 September, according to reports. […]

Interpol said secretary-general Jurgen Stock, rather than Mr Meng, was the “full-time official responsible for the day-to-day running” of the organisation.

It added: “Interpol’s General Secretariat headquarters will not comment further.”

Maybe he’s just having trouble connecting to the internet…