In brief | Nation & World | 9-1-14


Heads of House, Senate intelligence panels warn of threat from Islamic State fighters in US

WASHINGTON — Leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees on Sunday prodded President Barack Obama to take decisive action against what they say are growing threats from Islamic State militants on U.S. soil.

The lawmakers, one Republican and one Democratic, offered bipartisan pressure on the White House to turn back the hazard of Islamist fighters who have taken control of vast swaths of Syria and Iraq. Those militants now are looking toward the United States or Western Europe for its next targets, lawmakers said.

Without offering specifics on any threats or suggestions how to confront them, the lawmakers said Obama soon needs to develop a comprehensive strategy to crush the fighters.

“His foreign policy is in absolute free-fall,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee.

In another TV interview, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who leads the Senate intelligence panel, said Obama is perhaps “too cautious” in his approach to combatting the Islamic State group.

Beijing rules out open nominations for Hong Kong’s 1st election, setting stage for showdown

BEIJING — China’s legislature on Sunday ruled out allowing open nominations in the inaugural election for Hong Kong’s leader, saying they would create a “chaotic society.” Democracy activists in the Asian financial hub responded by saying that a long-threatened mass occupation of the heart of the city “will definitely happen.”

In setting tight limits on how far electoral reforms can go in Hong Kong, Beijing issued its firmest reminder yet that it’s still in charge despite the substantial autonomy it promised the city after taking control from Britain in 1997.

The guidelines laid down by China’s communist leaders ratchet up the potential for a showdown pitting Beijing against Hong Kong democracy supporters, a group that represents a broad swath of society, including students, religious leaders and financial workers.

The decision by the legislature’s powerful Standing Committee sharpens fears that China wants to screen candidates for loyalty to the central government and is reneging on its promise to let Hong Kong’s leader be directly elected by voters, rather than the current committee of mostly pro-Beijing tycoons.

“At this very moment, the path of dialogue has been exhausted,” said Benny Tai, a leader of the Occupy Central with Love and Peace protest movement, which has vowed to rally at least 10,000 people to paralyze Hong Kong’s financial district — known as Central — to press demands for genuine democracy.

Data center companies are finding Cleveland fertile ground for growing their server farms

CLEVELAND — Northeast Ohio is hardly ready to usurp Silicon Valley as a high-tech mecca, but a growing number of data centers are choosing to locate in and around Cleveland to take advantage of cheap power, an abundance of fiber-optic cable and one of the safest environments in the country for storing digital information.

BYTEGRID, which got its start in northern Virginia, is investing millions to convert a small data center near downtown Cleveland into a large one capable of using enough electricity to power around 20,000 homes. At least one other company is looking for a site in Cleveland, and several more have established sites in the city and its suburbs.

“One of the things that is attracting data centers to Cleveland is we have a lot of industries with a lot of data,” said Tracey Nichols, director of city’s Department of Economic Development.

Data centers do not create large numbers of jobs directly, Nichols said, but their existence is a big attraction to companies that use massive amounts of data. Hospitals and medical research centers such as the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, for example, are prime customers for data centers. Nichols hopes these data centers will help grow the city’s fledgling health tech corridor. Information technology companies like Rosetta and Brandmuscle have come to Cleveland, in part, because of its high-speed, fiber-optic data and Internet connections, Nichols and others said.

“We have a very robust fiber trunk that runs through Cleveland, which means excellent connectivity,” Nichols said.

By wire sources