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Can street vendors save China from a job crisis? Beijing looks divided



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It started gaining traction last month when Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang – the second highest ranking official in China after President Xi Jinping – praised the city of Chengdu to create 100,000 jobs overnight by setting up tens of thousands of street stalls, which usually sell food, fresh vegetables, clothing, and toys.

The government needs to try harder to create new jobs by “breaking through stereotypes,” Li the word during the main annual political meeting in Beijing. “China has 900 million workers. Without jobs, there are 900 million mouths that need to be fed. With jobs, there are 900 million pairs of hands that can create extraordinary wealth.”
Suggestions that street vendors can be the answer to China’s unemployment problem are not limited to Li’s statement at the meeting. “Cellular vendors” are also mentioned in the annual report government work report – which maps Beijing’s priorities for this year – for the first time since he took office seven years ago. Li continued to praise street vendors after a meeting during a visit to eastern Shandong province.
Li’s message came at a time of stress for the world second largest economy. From January to March, China’s GDP shrunk for the first time in a few decades. The unemployment rate has also worsened since 2008 coronavirus pandemic begins, and unofficial analysis shows that as much 80 million people might not work this spring. Before the outbreak, authorities said they needed to create around 11 million new jobs each year to keep jobs on track.
But the reaction to Li’s tone in Chinese state media was fast and vicious. The entry of street vendors in big cities will be “uncivilized,” CCTV broadcasters wrote the comments section published online earlier this month. It criticized the idea, without mentioning the prime minister, as “returning overnight to a few decades ago.”
And Beijing Daily, the official city government newspaper, published several articles street vendor stalls as noisy, obstructive and able to tarnish “the image of the capital and the image of the nation.”

Impetus for technology

The idea of ​​vendors flooding the streets of high-tech metropolitan cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen caused controversy in China in part because Beijing has spent years growing the country’s image as an advanced global superpower. Xi The signature policy project, “Made in China 2025,” has pushed the country to compete with the United States to gain influence through billions of dollars of investment in future technology.

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“Street hawking is something that Xi doesn’t like, because it tarnishes the successful and beautiful image of China that he likes to project,” said Professor Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

Xi himself in recent weeks has reaffirmed his long-standing push for high-tech solutions to China’s economic woes. He recently called on countries to invest in next-generation 5G and satellite networks as part of a plan to encourage economic growth and employment.

“Efforts must be made in promoting innovation in science and technology and accelerating the development of strategic developing industries,” Xi said last month in a meeting with political advisers, according to the CGTN government broadcast.
The smartphone was displayed at the Huawei store before its opening in Shanghai this month.

Hard political reality

But Xiaobo Lu, professor of political science Ann Whitney Olin at Barnard College, said Li’s ideas had several advantages. China has set a goal eliminate poverty by the end of this year, and Lu notes that street sales and other simple jobs are where people living above the poverty line can “find a way to survive.”

In addition, he said, it might not be as effective as Beijing used to hold large and expensive infrastructure projects as a way to overcome its economic problems.

China’s response to its last major economic shock – the 2008-2009 global financial crisis – involved massive investment in roads, airports and high-speed rail lines. This time, the stimulus line is saturated.

“In many aspects, even measured by holding per capita, China has achieved global leading status” in infrastructure, writes Zhu Ning, finance professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a faculty fellow at Yale University, in a research report early this year. “Therefore, the need for infrastructure has changed greatly compared to 2008.”

The recent financial crisis also left China with a lot of debt, so it was important for this country to focus this time on private consumption, Zhu added.

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Tang Min, an adviser to the Chinese government, recently told reporters in Beijing that peddling the streets will not only create jobs but also address public concerns about overcrowding indoors amid the ongoing pandemic.

“But that cannot replace the ‘ordinary’ economy – what can be sold or bought on the streets is very limited,” Tang said. “The government cannot leave it unmanageable – it must be regulated as we continue to experiment and explore this option.”

During May’s annual political meeting, Li was frank about China’s problems, and the extent to which some people might not be able to participate in the country’s high-tech future. About 600 million Chinese – about 40% of the population – earn an average of only 1,000 yuan ($ 141) per month.

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That makes street vendors work as “the main source of work,” Li the word during his visit to Shandong province this month, adding that such work kept China “alive” as well as upscale industry. A state media news report states that lifting restrictions on street stalls – such as allowing roadside businesses in urban areas – could result in the creation of as many as 50 million new jobs.

“Li is trying to overcome an urgent problem with … a realistic approach,” said Willy Lam, assistant professor at the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Hong Kong. Even though the street vendor’s approach might not be perfect, he said, there might not be a better alternative to creating a lot of work in a short amount of time.

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“Employment is a very important issue that can trigger political upheaval … Li seems to be worried about the catastrophic results of massive job losses.”

A Uyghur man sells traditional flatbread to female buyers along Beijing's Xinjiang Road in 1999.

Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute, said that Li was likely just trying to do his job overseeing the country’s main economic policies.

“The pandemic has allowed him to play more of the prime minister’s established role in running the economy, something he has often tracked in the Xi era,” Tsang said. “He sees how the economic impact of Covid-19 will require a pragmatic and more assertive approach, so as to enable, even encourage, street sellers for those who are laid off as a result of a pandemic.”

The regional government is moving forward

Public discussions about Li’s insistence on street vendors in China have faded in recent days because big cities – including Beijing and Shenzhen – explain that the policy is not accepted there.

But other local governments in less prosperous areas quietly pushed the idea forward. Lanzhou, the capital of northwestern Gansu province, on Tuesday announced plan to set up nearly 11,000 street vendor stalls – a plan that is expected to create at least 300,000 jobs.
Changchun, the capital of northeastern Jilin province, also promoted the idea. The provincial Communist Party boss visited a hawker stall in Changchun earlier this month and praised the business for having a “low entry barrier” for people who just want to find work, according to Jilin provincial government.

“In fact, street stalls will not completely disappear,” said Lam, professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He hopes the regional government will continue to advance with the plan as long as unemployment remains a major concern.

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Who is Zambrius, the Portuguese hacker who gained access to important government structures?



Who is Zambrius, the Portuguese hacker who gained access to important government structures?

He entered the system that controls Brazilian elections and was sentenced to six years in 2020 for hacking Benfica and Altis. Portuguese State

“There is always something going on in the suburbs of the Internet,” says the hacker, who at 19 had already hacked into several of the largest companies and public infrastructures in Portugal and Brazil.

Together with a group of hackers led by him Cyberteam, Tomás Pedroso, known in the internet world as Zambrius, gained access to Benfica’s computer systems, obtained some of Altis’s most sensitive data, as well as the network supporting the Brazilian electoral system and the three branches electoral system. General Staff of the Armed Forces. Now, at the age of 21, while awaiting the outcome of an appeal he filed against the six-year prison term to which he was sentenced, the hacker revealed that he gained access to the Garcia de Orta Hospital (at least 16 days before the program ransomware attack), ARS Centro Patient Transport Service, a platform that manages SNS financial resources, and an application that stores national exam data.

Hackers Hack Critical Government Services: Armed Forces, Healthcare and Education Are Vulnerable

However, this young man’s journey into the most hidden corners of the Internet began many years ago. At just 16 years old, he dominated the computer world to such an extent that he had already managed to gain access to some platforms of the highest state structures, such as the Judicial Police or the Prosecutor General’s Office, along with other members of CyberTeam. Eventually, he was caught and detained by the authorities and placed in an educational center for two years.

Attack on the Brazilian elections

Together with other hackers, the young man, who the criminal indictment says will have communication difficulties and attention deficits, took advantage of being under house arrest from May to November to access the Oracle network that was managing the data of the Supreme Electoral Court of Justice of Brazil (TSE) during the first round of municipal elections. In a report by CNN Portugal, the hacker admitted to gaining access to the network, but denied accusations of manipulating information that led to electoral changes.

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“I did not manipulate any information despite having access to computers and databases from Oracle, a multinational corporation in charge of processing the election results,” he wrote to CNN Portugal.

He was arrested by the Judicial Police in November 2020 in a joint operation with the Brazilian authorities that identified and detained three youths “for the ongoing crime of unauthorized access, computer damage and computer sabotage.”

Since then, the Zambrius name has become known for hundreds of DDOS attacks that flood servers and render them inoperable, website corruption that corrupts web pages, and SQL injections where it exploits website vulnerabilities to issue commands.

Tomas Pedroso is currently at large, pending an appeal from a six-year prison sentence with a twice-weekly obligation to appear and a travel ban. He was charged with 28 crimes of aggravated access, misuse of data and damage to computers.

Attack on Benfica and Altis

The court, which now found him guilty of computer crimes, charged the hacker with breaking into the website of telecom operator MEO Altice. The State Department believes that Thomas was able to access the company’s databases and “filter data, including names and addresses, customers contained in sales tables, and employees of the sales department.” In total, Zambrius had access to over 123,325 company data, including name, address, mobile phone number, and the companies they work for.

Another abusive access by a young Portuguese occurred in March 2020 when he managed to log into the MyBenfica portal, which was used as a back office for the Fundação Benfica website, which was used by the site administrators to manage and present content. The hacker then provided the credentials of 114 club employees.

Hacktivism or cybercrime

The Defense Ministry’s criminal case file describes the hacker’s actions as “illegal acts of a cybernetic nature,” which the young man calls hacktivism, “as a form of political protest achieved through cybernetic intrusion and incitement to civil disobedience.” “. Thus, along with “unidentified persons”, the young man explored various public and private systems, “scaling privileges and causing database configuration changes associated with the respective sites or other functions.”

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This was the case in the case of the attack on Jornal da Madeira, when Zambrius caused a change in the image of the newspaper’s website, inserting an image of a man with a covered face, in a hood and working at a computer, accompanied by a message against politician Andre Ventura, president of Chega!: “Cyberteam hacked (… ) Cyberteam was here!#antiventura Andre Ventura who f…! A system that e…! Ps: I ran out of patience to write cute text with fancy words!”

CyberTeam also did not pass by the Portuguese Association of Football Referees (APAF). The hacker successfully altered the image of the website, which now featured a photo of Rui Pinto, with a message in which the group questioned an investigation by the Portuguese authorities that did not take into account information posted on the Football Leaks website. “What is Portugal doing to fight corruption in football?” the group wrote.

Prosecutors say that when the young man successfully attacked the target, he proceeded to copy and “extract the information contained in the databases”, eventually claiming responsibility for the social media attacks.


In the history of attacks carried out by CyberTeam, there are hundreds of large-scale intrusions, including EDP. On April 13, 2020, a Portuguese electricity company was the target of a cyberattack that severely affected customer service systems. The announcement came the next day via Twitter, where the pirates threatened to attack Altice and carry out a large-scale attack on April 25 of that year.

At the time, they stated in a Facebook post that around 80% of Portuguese websites could be changed by the group. The hacker collective also claimed to have “access to several important systems in the private and public sector, including some courts, clubs, private companies” and added that “if necessary” they would hack into the television network.

CNN Portugal, a young man assures that the group of computer pirates he helped found is inactive.


All you need is a smartphone and with time and patience you can find vulnerabilities and exploit them. This is what happened to the shortcomings that he discovered in April of this year when he tweeted a series of appeals to various critical platforms of the Portuguese state, including the García de Orta hospital page, the ARS Centro patient transport platform and the National Examination Jury.

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In a written response to CNN Portugal, which asked him about the motives for what justice has already deemed crimes, the hacker says that these attacks serve “only to notify” the authorities of the weaknesses that exist in the networks, claiming that they are willing to share with the network administrator the vulnerabilities of these systems. The hacker justifies the focus on health care, education, and defense by saying that they serve to demonstrate that these areas, “which hackers usually seek out for profit,” are not safe.

When asked if he is ready to work with the authorities to find and correct flaws in the most important systems of the Portuguese state, Thomas Pedroso answers with the question: “Why not?”.

Another target of the hacker was dozens of servers of the three directorates of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (EMGFA). Two years after he was able to infiltrate these platforms and be convicted for it, the hacker claims he was able to access the same servers again through the same vulnerabilities that were discovered in the past. CNN Portugal, an official source from the EMGFA, told CNN Portugal that the 2020 vulnerabilities “have been analyzed and actions deemed appropriate have been taken.”

“There are many types of attacks on servers. An attacker can steal information from users and use it for sale or own use, such as accessing ATMs or even bank accounts, can use phishing scams, inject ransomware to obtain ransom, use the victim’s server for future attacks, or mine bitcoins, the attacker locks onto the target as if it were the owner; In short, the attacker can completely manipulate the network and do whatever they want with it,” explains the hacker.

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BdP balance is already similar to Portugal’s GDP – Markets



BdP balance is already similar to Portugal's GDP - Markets

The balance sheet of Banco de Portugal is already equal to the economy of Portugal. The central bank closed last year with assets of 219 billion euros, the highest ever, about 27 billion euros higher than in 2020, largely due to debt purchased under mega-monetary stimulus programs.

“The balance sheet is 219 billion euros, which corresponds to the size of Portugal’s GDP,” said the Governor of Banco de Portugal, Mario Centeno, in the presentation of the Board of Directors’ report for 2021. “We had an increase in balance sheet. sheet is explained by the increase in monetary policy and deposits of credit institutions.

The EUR 27 billion increase in monetary policy assets was driven by a EUR 17.1 billion increase in the monetary policy portfolio as a result of securities purchases under the new Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program ( PEPP) and Public Sector Asset Purchase Program (PSPP) bonds. In addition, refinancing operations increased by 9.6 billion euros. At the end of 2021, lenders’ deposits at the Bank of Portugal reflected an increase of €26.9 million year-over-year “as a result of a significant injection of liquidity as a result of the aforementioned monetary policy measures.”

In 2021, the evolution of Banco de Portugal’s financial statements continued to be influenced by the response to the expansion of the pandemic crisis, as explained in the paper by the central bank led by Mario Centeno.

“Gold has also had a positive impact on the size of the bank’s balance sheet, and these are the main trends,” Centeno emphasized for the precious metal, which increased by 4.3% (equivalent to 808 million euros) for a total of $19.8 billion. Euro. Banco de Portugal has also reorganized its management assets as a result of “taking advantage of the opportunities for profit” offered by the market.

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(News in update)

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Santander Foundation Offers Scholarships for Portuguese Language Courses for Ukrainian Refugees



Santander Foundation Offers Scholarships for Portuguese Language Courses for Ukrainian Refugees

Citizens of Ukraine fleeing the war who wish to learn Portuguese can apply for a scholarship from the Santander Foundation, which will offer 12-week online courses run by the Open University.

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