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Petraeus-Broadwell Affair: Irony and tragedy before and after the revelation

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Petraeus-Broadwell Affair: Irony and tragedy before and after the revelation | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET / CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters): When Paula Broadwell first met David Petraeus in 2006, she was a soldier-turned-graduate student at Harvard University. The acclaimed U.S. Army general gave her his card and offered to help her with her studies.

Broadwell soon began trading emails with the general, and four years later she was in Afghanistan turning a dissertation about his leadership into a book published this year entitled “All In”. Interviews for the book often took place on endurance-testing runs together, she would later say.

“That was the foundation of our relationship,” Broadwell said of their runs when promoting the book on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” TV program in January.

That relationship is now at the center of a scandal that has not only ended Petraeus’ short tenure as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency but has also badly tarnished the reputation of a revered military leader.

And it has raised awkward questions about whether the White House had any inkling of the problem before the November 6 presidential election.

Until now, the 40-year-old wife and mother of two young children had appeared to excel at juggling scholarly pursuits, family life, a military career, triathlons, charity work and even demonstrations for a machine gun manufacturer.

“She has obviously achieved a lot in her field as a soldier and a scholar,” said Ed Williams, a neighbor who lives two houses down from Broadwell, in a leafy, affluent Charlotte, North Carolina, neighborhood.

“Everyone is surprised and shocked,” Williams said.

Earlier in the week, Williams, a retired editor, saw Broadwell with her two children when she was voting in last week’s U.S. presidential election. He said she was chatty and cheerful. Neighbors were working on putting together a belated party in honor of her book.

“She gave no indication that all this was going on,” Williams said.
Broadwell did not return emails or calls. A 40th birthday party for her had been scheduled at her brother and sister-in-law’s home in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, but invitees received an e-mail saying it had been cancelled.

Accomplished from early age

A man who answered the door at the Washington home told a reporter to get off the property. Three bags, displaying the name of a cupcake bakery, were on the front porch.
Broadwell grew up in North Dakota, where in high school she was valedictorian, student council president, homecoming queen and an all-state basketball player, according to a biography on the Century High School web site.

She went on to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where she graduated with academic, fitness and leadership honors, according to a biography promoting a speech to the World Affairs Council of Charlotte. She has held positions in the U.S. intelligence community, U.S. Special Operations Command, and FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces, according to the bio.

Later, she would add degrees from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is also a PhD candidate at King’s College, London.

In her book, she says she was recalled to active duty three times to work on counter-terrorism issues after the Sept 11 attacks and joined the U.S. Army Reserve. In August, Broadwell was promoted to lieutenant colonel, according to the Army.

Among her many military-related activities, Broadwell has been a “valued member” of the Warlord Loop, an elite invitation-only email forum that has about 500 national security specialists as members, said John Collins, who runs the group.

“She remains a member and I predict no change in her status,” he said in an email on Saturday.

Broadwell is also featured in videos for a machine gun manufacturer. On her LinkedIn site, she lists “KRISS Vector .45 cal Demonstrator/Model” under her experience. The company couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

About three years ago, Broadwell settled in Charlotte with her husband, Scott, who is a radiologist in a Charlotte medical group. Their home is valued at $908,500, according to county property records. Over the years, the family has alternated moves based on each other’s career opportunities.

“It was his turn,” Williams, the neighbor said.

In her book’s acknowledgements, Broadwell says her husband played “Mr Mom” for her two boys while she was in Afghanistan and Washington “and shielded them from the concerns about their adventure-seeking mother’s travels in a third-world country.”

Her husband “showed admirable tolerance for my absence and the many late nights and early mornings at the computer; I am grateful to have such an amazing and supportive partner,” she added. The book is dedicated to “my three favorite troopers” – her husband and two boys – and “to those who serve.”

The acknowledgements gives “special thanks” to Petraeus’ wife, Holly.

‘Strategic Initiative’ in wars

In the past year, Broadwell has been busy promoting her book with TV appearances and speeches. Written with Washington Post editor Vernon Loeb, the book received positive reviews, with author Doris Kearns Goodwin calling it “majestic”.

In the preface, Broadwell writes that history has yet to fully judge Petraeus’ service in Iraq and Afghanistan, but “there is no denying that he achieved a great deal during his thirty-seven-year Army career, not the least of which was regaining the strategic initiative in both wars that followed September 11, 2001.”

While noting that his critics fault him for “ambition and self-promotion,” she writes that his “energy, optimism and will to win stand out more for me.” In the acknowledgements, she thanks Petraeus for a “once-in-a-lifetime” education as well as “his candor, trust and support.”

On “The Daily Show,” Stewart teased her about the book’s admiring tone for the now 60-year-old Petraeus.

“The real controversy here is, ‘Is he awesome or incredibly awesome?'” Stewart said.
Playing along, Broadwell quipped: “He can turn water into bottled water.”

At the show’s end, Broadwell, who lists running, skiing, triathlons and kickboxing among her interests, challenged the host to a push-up contest, with the loser making a donation to a wounded warriors organization. Stewart brought Broadwell’s husband on stage to do push-ups with him, but still lost.

Broadwell has remained in the news recently. Earlier this month, she donated a parachute jump she had scheduled for her birthday to a wounded veteran, according to the Charlotte Observer newspaper. She also authored an article for Newsweek magazine called “General David Petraeus’s Rules for Living”.

Rule No. 5: “We all will make mistakes. The key is to recognize them and admit them, to learn from them, and to take off the rear-view mirrors – drive on and avoid making them again.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors



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Bangkok

Bangkok and Singapore jump in rankings for world living costs

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Bangkok and Singapore jump in rankings for world living costs | The Thaiger

Bangkok is now the 63rd most expensive location in a new cost of living survey for expats. Singapore has experienced a big rise in the rankings, becoming the 12th most expensive location in the world for expatriates.

Lee Quane, regional director for Asia at ECA International says that Bangkok has risen 100 places in just the last five years.

“We have seen the cost of living in Thailand increase over several years now. It’s now the 63rd most expensive location in our list.”

“The city is now significantly more expensive than regional capitals including Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Manila. Meanwhile, Singapore’s rise in our rankings is largely due to another strong year for the Singapore dollar.”

Singapore has overtaken Beijing (China), Busan (South Korea) and Yokohama (Japan) compared to a year ago.

The ECA’s Cost of Living Survey compares a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by international assignees in 482 locations worldwide.

ECA International has been conducting research into cost of living for over 45 years. Hong Kong is now the fourth-most expensive location in the world for expatriates, up from 11th last year, and the second most expensive location in Asia. After being ranked in 28th place just five years ago, Hong Kong now sits only behind Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, and the Swiss cities Zurich and Geneva.

Prices in Hong Kong rose at a faster rate in the past 12 months compared to Tokyo, Shanghai and Seoul. Shanghai was the only mainland Chinese city to feature in the global top 10, staying in 10th place.

“The Chinese yuan has been very stable compared to other currencies during the survey period.”

The location with the highest cost of living in the world was Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, which rose 110 places from last year. Quane said that although the rise of Ashgabat in the rankings may be a surprise to some, those familiar with the economic and currency issues experienced by Turkmenistan over the past few years may have seen this coming.

“Ever-escalating levels of inflation, coupled with a prominent illegal black market for foreign currencies have pushed up the cost of imports. This implies that the costs for visitors in Ashgabat, at the official exchange rate, have increased enormously – putting it firmly at the top of the rankings.”

Bangkok and Singapore jump in rankings for world living costs | News by The Thaiger

Singapore, now the 12th most expensive place in the world

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Technology

Melbourne named as first non-US city to be an Uber flying-taxi testbed

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Melbourne named as first non-US city to be an Uber flying-taxi testbed | The Thaiger

Flying cars. Long awaited, a thing of 1950s editions of Popular Mechanics and sci-fi, now a small step closer to reality.

Uber, the worldwide ride-sharing App, say it is going to use Melbourne, Australia as the first non-US city for its new aerial transportation service. They’ve even claimed 2023 as their launch date for the initiative. Melbourne joins Dallas and LA as test locations for the world’s first working fleet of flying ‘taxis’.

But there are plenty of skeptics despite the large investment and working models currently being kicked around. There have been many drawings and plans, and a lot of talk, but few working, flying cars have made it to the skies for serious testing at this stage.

Uber has announced its southern hemisphere test bed location at the Uber Elevate Summit in Washington as it unveiled its vision for flying taxis as a way to ease traffic congestion in the world’s largest cities.

Melbourne named as first non-US city to be an Uber flying-taxi testbed | News by The Thaiger

This week, Uber also announced new aircraft partners to the program – one of them Pennsylvania-based Jaunt Air Mobility, which will produce a rotor and fixed-wing version of new Uber flying taxis. Uber have also displayed the Bell Nexus flying quadcopter – basically a mega ‘drone’ with engines and a cabin large enough to carry passengers.

Uber says the ‘aerial option’ will be included on their smartphone app that will include ground and air transportation and pool passenger into one aircraft.

In the past week Uber launched their first aerial service with helicopters taking passengers from downtown Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport as a fill in before the first generation of purpose-built Uber flying car/drones take to the skies. Be prepared to fork out $220 for the eight minute helicopter trip between lower Manhattan and JFK International with the Bell Helicopter service starting next month.

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World

One million come out to protest in Hong Kong over China’s new extradition law

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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One million come out to protest in Hong Kong over China’s new extradition law | The Thaiger

Huge crowds, estimated to be over 1 million, massed in Hong Kong over the weekend to protest against pro-beijing leaders allowing extraditions to the mainland.

The demonstrations were the largest in the international finance hub since the 1997 handover when the region was returned from Britain (which ‘leased’ the colony for 99 years) back to China.

Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leaders have been in the process of pushing a bill through the local parliament that would allow extraditions to any jurisdiction with which it does not already have a treaty – that includes mainland China.

The proposals have sparked an outcry and galvanised new opposition that unites a wide cross-section of the city. Six hour protests moved through the Hong Kong streets over the weekend shouting “Scrap the evil law” and “Oppose China extradition!”

In a statement last night the government described the protest as “an example of Hong Kong people exercising their freedom of expression” but didn’t concede any changes to the legislation urging their politicians to continue debating the bill.

Hong Kong’s leaders continue to insist the law is needed to plug loopholes and stop the city being a ‘safe haven’ for mainland fugitives and dissidents.

China has been trying to exert more control over the business hub since whilst pro-democracy campaigners have been resisting the creeping ‘Chinafication’ and asking for the ‘one country, two systems’ sentiment to be observed. Under the principle, regions like Macao and Hong Kong could continue to have their own governmental system, legal, economic and financial affairs, including trade relations with foreign countries.

One million come out to protest in Hong Kong over China's new extradition law | News by The Thaiger

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