Saturday, 16 January 2010

Google beards Chinese tiger

Google’s dispute with China over censorship and spying is fascinating on many levels. But one aspect that has been largely overlooked is the sheer scale of the financial sacrifice Google is making by taking its moral stand. In pursuit of their laudable aims, the co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are burning dollar bills on an industrial scale.

It is hard to think of any listed company flushing away anything more than petty cash on a matter of principle alone. Yet Google is poised to write off certainly hundreds of millions of dollars, probably billions of dollars.

To recap, Google, after falling victim to a string of cyber-attacks on customers who were human rights activists, announced this week that it would continue to operate its Chinese language service only if it was no longer subject to censorship by the authorities. Water buffalo are more likely to fly than Beijing is to allow uncensored coverage of topics such as the Tiananmen Square massacre, so looks like (sesame seed) toast.

The potential financial impact has been played down by some. It is argued that Google’s Chinese revenues, estimated at $350 million, are a tiny fraction of Google's $20 billion of total sales.

But revenues are a poor proxy for value. It is China’s exciting growth prospects, vast population and soaring appetite for search which makes the business so valuable. Google is number two in China, with a 30 per cent market share, a well entrenched position that most firms in most industries would drool over. Nasdaq-listed Baidu, the search market leader in China with 60 per cent share, is valued at $16 billion. Even at a conservative estimate, therefore, the Chinese arm of Google would surely have a price tag in the low billions. Read more
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Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Anglican Covenant 'Whitewashes' Denomination's Immorality: Retired Archbishop

As the worldwide Anglican Communion moves fullspeed toward a full implementation of a covenant held out as a means of restoring unity, an influential evangelical retired archbishop is not overly enthusiastic.

On the contrary, he has advised fellow Anglican leaders not to waste their time on church structures which the Bible describes as dung and instead to concentrate on the supreme tasks of evangelism and discipleship, which he has succeeded in doing in America.

“To me, at best, it (the Anglican Communion Covenant) is whitewashing so the Church remains one and is not split; a lot of crack underneath is not shown,” said The Right Reverend Moses Tay, the immediate past Singapore Anglican bishop and retired first archbishop of the Anglican churches in Southeast Asia and Nepal. Read more
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Reported Death of Fr Michael Harper

I heard from a friend that Father Michael Harper died on the Feast of the Theophany (Jan. 6 i.e. Western "Epiphany"). He began his ecclesial life as an evangelical. It was while he was a curate at All Souls' Langham Place that he underwent his pentecostal experience of the Holy Spirit. Subsequently he became an early pioneer of charismatic renewal in the U.K., and, indeed, around the world. Read more
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Sunday, 10 January 2010

More than 230 schools have ditched Christian assemblies

More than 230 schools have applied to councils for exemption from the legal requirement to hold a daily act of collective worship of a "wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character".

In some of these schools, Islamic assemblies are held instead, with readings from the Koran. Other schools run secular or multi-faith assemblies where Christianity is avoided or relegated to just one example of a faith among many.

Religious organisations said Christianity in schools was being marginalised and accused schools of failing children.

"The worst thing of all that schools can do, whether they have a determination or not, is a multi-faith mish mash," said Colin Hart, the director of the Christian Institute.

"The British Social Attitudes survey found that 69 per cent of parents backed daily prayers in schools. Yet Christianity in schools is being marginalised. Parents do not want assemblies to be either secular or a confusing amalgam of faiths. Look at the massive number of parents of other faiths who apply to Church schools. They don't like the secularism that is pervading community schools." Read more
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Jihadists groom children in the UK under 10

Police have identified children as young as seven being groomed for terrorism, with some expressing a wish to become suicide bombers.

Up to 10 primary school pupils, aged between seven and 10, have been placed on a government outreach programme for individuals considered at risk of being radicalised and turning to violence.

Some have taken inspiration from jihadi websites or after viewing extremist material in Islamic bookshops.

One child was referred to the programme by his teacher after writing on a school book: “I want to be a suicide bomber.”

Other youngsters were identified by their parents after suddenly adopting traditional Muslim dress or espousing extremist views.

At least 228 people, mostly teenagers and young men aged 15-24, have been referred to the anti-terrorism Channel project after being singled out as “potentially vulnerable to violent extremism”. Read more
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