In the cross hairs?

中国日报网 2016-05-13 11:16



In the cross hairs?

Reader question:

Please explain “cross hairs” and this headline: World’s top banks in U.S. govt cross-hairs over dealings with 1MDB (Reuters, April 1, 2016).

My comments:

Put another way, the US government is looking into the dealings of some of the world’s top banks with 1MDB, the Malaysian state-owned fund.

1MDB, or Malaysian Development Berhad (Malay word meaning “private”, same as a limited liability company or LTD), has been in trouble for some time over allegations of corruption and money laundering. Now some of its business partners are hauled in before the US Department of Justice to answer questions.

Deutsche Bank AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co, by the way, are the “world’s top banks” mentioned in the headline.

All right?

Oh, cross hairs. That’s the hair-like thin cross lines used for aiming a rifle or other firearm at a target. Literally, if you see the target positioned in the middle of the cross hairs of the aim, you may pull the trigger and you cannot miss.

I mean, most of the time, of course, weather permitting and everything.

Anyways, cross hairs are used for precision targeting, originally a term for a telescope. If you locate something in the cross hairs, well, you have it locked up, so to speak.

So, in short, if you find yourself in the cross hairs of someone or organization, you know you’re being targeted by them, usually for criticism for some wrong doing, or are simply under scrutiny – as is the case with the telescope.

And here are media examples:

1. Gypsy moths are again in the cross hairs of the state Department of Agriculture as the agency has begun its annual trapping effort to see whether any of the pests are here.

The moth is a destructive pest not indigenous to North America. As a caterpillar, the moth attacks more than 500 species of trees and shrubs, according to a Department of Agriculture news release. Last summer the moths defoliated more than 1 million acres of trees across the United States.

Washington has been free of the moth for 35 years, and the Department of Agriculture is hoping to learn of any new introductions of the pest from this year’s traps.

Any new indication of the gypsy moths could spur an eradication treatment the following spring, according to the release.

King County has the most traps, with 5,500 spread from the Port of Seattle to Bellevue and Kirkland. Traps also have been placed in North Seattle, Kent, Auburn and Federal Way and between Carnation and Redmond.

Pierce and Snohomish counties have the second and third most traps, with 2,000 and 1,500 respectively.

- Trappers out to keep state free of gypsy moths,, June 30, 2008.

2. If Laila Ali needs a grappling lesson, Ronda Rousey is “around.”

The UFC women’s bantamweight champ recently found herself in the cross hairs of the daughter of boxing great Muhammad Ali during an encounter with TMZ cameras in Los Angeles.

Ali, a former women’s boxing world champion, was asked to compare herself to Rousey. Initially, Ali brushed the question aside with the whole “MMA is apples and boxing is oranges” debate. But something stirred within Ali, possibly remnants of the alpha female from her boxing past, causing her to blurt out an answer.

“No woman in the world can beat me. Period,” said Ali to TMZ Sports. “…She’s too much smaller than me anyways. She’s like the size of my daughter. My three-year-old.”

In the streets, them’s fighting words.

Rousey, who is still picking her teeth with Cat Zingano’s humerus, responded to Ali’s comments when speaking with The Daily Beast:

“If she wants to take me up on that, I’m around. She’s retired and has several kids. I understand why she’d think that because she has a size advantage, but if you saw my last fight it had nothing to do with size or strength at all. That’s not how I beat people. So you can’t count having a size and strength advantage as having a real advantage against me.”

Ali, who turned 37 in December, is widely recognized as one of the greatest women’s boxers of all time. She retired in 2007 with a professional record of 24-0, with 21 of those wins coming by knockout.

- Ronda Rousey Has a Message for ‘Retired’ Laila Ali,, March 11, 2015.

3. Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? For many in the tech world, the identity of bitcoin’s elusive creator has been a long-running parlor game. And the speculation might not be over.

Australian entrepreneur Craig Steven Wright, who announced Monday that he founded the digital currency, convinced at least one longtime bitcoin contributor that he’s the real deal. He managed that feat via a technical demonstration involving Nakamoto’s secret bitcoin keys. But Wright’s public documentation, which he posted online Monday, underwhelmed others and left the question of Nakamoto’s true identity far from settled.

“There’s no way you can conclusively prove that you are the creator of bitcoin,” said Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center, a Washington, D.C.-based crypto-currency think tank, who is skeptical of Wright’s claims.

Tracking a pseudonymous cryptographic genius would be challenging under the best circumstances. And here we're talking someone who invented a way for people to send money around the world anonymously, without banks or national currencies. Someone who apparently disappeared five years ago for unknown reasons.

None of that has stopped people from trying. Journalists, researchers and amateur detectives have scoured Nakamoto’s emails and online posts, plus the original bitcoin code, for unusual phrases, cultural references and other potential clues to their author.

One of the most celebrated candidates — to his own dismay — was an unassuming Japanese-American engineer who found himself in the cross-hairs of Newsweek magazine in 2014.

A Newsweek cover story fingered Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, a retired resident of suburban Los Angeles County, after citing circumstantial clues and a vague comment that Nakamoto made when confronted briefly on his front doorstep. The article sparked a media frenzy and a car chase with reporters that ended at the Los Angeles offices of The Associated Press — where Dorian Nakamoto emphatically denied any involvement with bitcoin.

An earlier contender named in a 2011 New Yorker magazine piece was Michael Clear, then a graduate student in cryptography at Trinity College in Dublin. The New Yorker cited some of Nakamoto’s writings, which used British slang such as “maths” for mathematics and “flat” for an apartment. It also noted that Clear had worked on currency-trading software for an Irish bank and co-authored a paper on “peer-to-peer” technology similar to that used in bitcoin.

At first, according to the New Yorker, Clear was evasive when asked at a cryptography conference if he had created bitcoin. But he later denied it repeatedly. He also suggested another candidate to the New Yorker reporter, naming Finnish researcher Vili Lehdonvirta, who studied virtual currencies and created video games.

“I would love to say that I’m Satoshi, because bitcoin is very clever,” Lehdonvirta told the New Yorker, after laughing for several seconds. “But it’s not me.”

- Who created bitcoin? The long search may not be over, AP, May 3, 2016.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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