DALLAS — A few years ago, Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook and one of tech’s shrewdest seers, made a huge bet on a new technology, virtual reality, buying Oculus VR, one of the most prominent start-ups in the industry, for more than $2 billion.
His dream of bringing virtual reality to the masses still has not come true.
That frank assessment came from Mr. Zuckerberg on Tuesday in a federal courtroom of all places, where Facebook is tangling with a games publisher that has accused Oculus of stealing technology that went into the creation of the Oculus virtual reality headset. The trial offered a window into how Mr. Zuckerberg views the progress of one of his biggest bets, and a glimpse of Facebook’s approach to making deals in Silicon Valley.
“I don’t think that good virtual reality is fully there yet,” said Mr. Zuckerberg, who wore a suit and tie while testifying, instead of his regular uniform, a T-shirt and jeans. “It’s going to take five or 10 more years of development before we get to where we all want to go.”
Mr. Zuckerberg spoke during a court appearance, in which he was questioned about the Oculus deal. He denied accusations that Oculus had taken technology it did not own, and said he had never before testified in a courtroom.
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Continue reading the main story
The dispute started more than two and a half years ago when ZeniMax Media sued Oculus just months after Facebook announced that it would acquire the start-up. ZeniMax accused Oculus of stealing important elements of the technology that went into the creation of the headset, eventually including Facebook among the parties it was suing.
While fights over ownership of prominent technologies are common, this one defied some predictions by reaching a jury trial, which started in a federal court here in early January.
“We are highly confident that Oculus products are built on Oculus technology,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “The idea that Oculus products are based on someone else’s technology is just wrong.”
Facebook could face as much as $2 billion in damages if it loses the suit. While there is still excitement throughout the technology industry over virtual reality, most headsets, including those from Oculus, are not selling in big numbers because of high prices and limited content for them.
Oculus has had other issues. In December, a co-founder of Oculus, Brendan Iribe, stepped down as chief executive, assuming leadership of an Oculus group focused on virtual reality on personal computers. In a blog post, Mr. Iribe said Facebook would look for a new leader for its virtual reality arm.
On Tuesday, a lawyer representing Oculus and Facebook asked Mr. Zuckerberg whether he had realized his goal of creating a new computing platform. “These things end up being more complex than you think up front,” he replied. “If anything, we may have to invest even more money to get to the goals we had than we had thought up front.”
Mr. Zuckerberg added that Facebook probably will have to invest more than $3 billion in the next decade to reach its goal of providing hundreds of millions of people with a good virtual reality experience.
Later, a Facebook spokeswoman said that nothing had changed about the company’s commitment to virtual reality. “As we’ve said for years, VR is the next computing platform, and Facebook’s Oculus team is leading the way,” said the spokeswoman, Tera Randall.
The core of ZeniMax’s case is that one of its former employees, John Carmack, shared ZeniMax virtual reality technology with Palmer Luckey, a founder of Oculus, during the company’s early days, technology for which ZeniMax was never compensated. Mr. Carmack, a game industry stalwart behind games like Doom, later joined Oculus.
A lawyer for ZeniMax used some of his time questioning Mr. Zuckerberg to bolster the company’s argument that Facebook rushed through its review of Oculus when buying it, overlooking details about its dispute with ZeniMax.
In response to questioning from the lawyer for Facebook, Mr. Zuckerberg said that the company spends weeks, months or even years thinking about the issues that lead it to make acquisitions. He said Facebook — which has also acquired Instagram and WhatsApp — believes that negotiating deals quickly is important in an environment where it is often competing with companies like Google, Apple and Twitter.
“Being able to move quickly not only increases our chance of getting the deal done, but it keeps us from having to pay a lot more as the deal process drives out,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.
For companies that waffle about selling out to Facebook, the social network is willing to deploy fear as a tactic. “If you’re trying to help convince people that they want to join you, helping them understand all the pain they would have to go through is a valuable tactic,” he said. “But I think that’s a little less of what I tend to focus on.”
Mr. Zuckerberg said that Mr. Iribe was originally asking for $4 billion for Oculus. He settled for $2 billion, though Facebook also agreed to $700 million more in compensation to retain important Oculus team members and $300 million in pay for hitting certain milestones. Facebook’s code name for the Oculus deal was Inception.
Mr. Zuckerberg has faced legal challenges before. In 2006, he was deposed in a lawsuit filed by former classmates at Harvard, in which the plaintiffs claimed that he knowingly stole intellectual property to create his social network. That deposition, however, was taken behind closed doors. Mr. Zuckerberg settled the suit for a reported $65 million.
Unlike Facebook, ZeniMax is not household name, but many of the games it publishes, including Fallout and Elder Scrolls, have a passionate following. It also has a board of directors stacked with famous names, including the Hall of Fame baseball player Cal Ripken Jr., the director Jerry Bruckheimer, CBS chief Leslie Moonves, and Donald J. Trump’s brother Robert.
A lawyer for ZeniMax asked Mr. Zuckerberg about his reaction to ZeniMax’s lawsuit, which was filed not long after Facebook publicly announced its intention to buy Oculus.
“It is pretty common when you announce a big deal or do something that all kinds of people just kind of come out of the woodwork and claim that they just own some portion of the deal,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “Like most people in the court, I’ve never even heard of ZeniMax before.”
A while back, DigiTimes reported that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE:TSM), a major contract chip manufacturer, planned to introduce an enhanced variant of its 16nm manufacturing technology dubbed “12nm.”
On the chipmaker’s most recent earnings call, an analyst asked management about this potential new technology. The company seemingly confirmed its existence, though it’s not clear if the technology will, in fact, be marketed as 12nm.
Let’s look at just what management had to say about the tech, and why it matters to TSMC investors.
A refinement of 16nm tech
On the call, TSMC Co-CEO C.C. Wei told analysts that its strategy is “continuously to improve every node in the performance, such as 28-nanometer.” He went on to say that TSMC is “continuing to [improve] the 16-nanometers technology.” Wei explained that its next revision of the 16nm technology may be worth calling 12nm because it will deliver improved “density, classical density, performance, and power consumption,” according to a transcript by Seeking Alpha.
TSMC has, to date, announced several 16nm variants. The first was vanilla 16nm, which didn’t seem to gain much traction as a performance-enhanced version of the technology quickly replaced it, branded 16nm FinFET Plus.
After introducing 16nm FinFFET Plus, TSMC rolled out yet another version of the technology, called 16FFC (with the ‘C’ standing for “compact”) that allowed chipmakers to build smaller, more cost-effective chips.
The upcoming “12nm” technology looks like TSMC taking an additional step in its efforts to try to maintain technology leadership against competing 14/16-nanometer technologies, particularly as competition in those technologies heats up in the coming years.
Why it matters to TSMC investors
There are few chip manufacturing companies that can bring leading-edge technologies to market. However, over time, the weaker chip manufacturers bring out products that can compete with those the stronger companies debuted several years earlier.
Since contract chip manufacturers tend to generate significant revenues from older-generation manufacturing technologies (TSMC’s 28-nanometer technology, first introduced in late 2011, accounted for 26% of the company’s revenue in 2016), it is important for TSMC to remain cost/performance/feature competitive with these older technologies.
United Microelectronics (NYSE:UMC), for example, has said that it expects to begin “commercial production” of a 14-nanometer technology “by the second half of 2017,” per EETimes.
China-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International (NYSE:SMI), too, is planning to introduce a “14nm” technology at some point.
By continuing to enhance its 16nm technology, TSMC should be poised to defend its market share position against upcoming competitors while at the same time keeping its cost structure competitive and its average revenue per wafer as high as possible.
All that should ultimately translate into robust revenues and profitability on this technology.
Looking out to 2017, TSMC management appears confident that it will be able to maintain its strong market share position in the contract chip manufacturing space. “I will say that we certainly do not think we will lose market share,” Chang told analysts. “We’re not going to grow less than foundry,” he said, referring to the contract chip manufacturing, or semiconductor foundry, market.
As we step into the year 2017, it’s clearer than ever that mobile technology has had far-reaching implications for virtually every sector and industry, and HR is no exception.
About 70% of job seekers today use smartphones to look for work opportunities and the number is only growing with each passing day. If we do a survey, we will surely find that there exist a huge number of HR managers out there who agree that technology is the future of staffing; in fact, the majority of recruiters are already making the most of it.
Many employers are likely to adopt targeted video interviewing software to recruit the right talent.
Many companies are currently using social media in their recruitment efforts to hire smart, tech-savvy people. Those which are not using it will soon do so as there is no other way in these times of rising economic volatility and shortage of the right talent.
Managed services in staffing
Managed services is the practice of outsourcing on a proactive basis management responsibilities and functions, including HR, It’s a strategic method for improving operations and cutting expenses. Managing multiple contract types within an organisation can sometimes look like a herculean task for the HR team. An efficient managed service can take much of the load away. A managed service provider can then help HR people to build the right kind of workforce, which in turn further leads to a host of benefits. Attaining the right mix of part-time and full-time employees allows organisations to develop a more proactive approach to talent—
bringing on board the right skills for the right projects, complementing the existing team and cutting down costs by lowering overheads. Such managed services can also provide access to new markets, specialised skills and new solutions such as employed consultants and crowd sourcing.
There is a number of problems organisations face when managing large workforces, especially with on-field roles like sales, data collection, deliveries, etc. Some of them pertain to attendance, tracking actions etc. There are technologies and services available today, such as managed services, which help organisations meet such goals.
CRM and ATS
Many organisations currently use some or the other form of ATS or Applicant Tracking System. The functionality of an ATS includes documenting applicant records and associated hiring activity which is quite crucial for compliance purposes. ATS also help organisations keep a track on candidates’ (active or passive ones) recruitment history, contact information and academic/career history, serving as a system of record that’s often the only place to find recruiting-related information at many workplaces.
While information and data contained by an ATS is extremely valuable, the problem with such data is that it becomes outdated pretty soon. When companies look for candidates who might be a good fit for the organisation at a later date, ATS does a poor job. Here is where CRM (candidate relationship management) comes in.
Sourcing will become much more engaging
Sourcing talent is easy—talented candidates can be found across job boards, social networking sites, CRM tools as well as portals. The problem is about engaging with them effectively.
Predictive analytics and big data will rule hiring metrics in times to come.
Since it is easier to find a candidate, it is also easy for your competitor to find a candidate—this makes it very difficult to ensure that your job posting or ad is even read by the candidate you are targeting. Thus engaging with prospective employees has attained paramount importance. There are two ways to do it: Number one is using algorithms or other technologies to do more sourcing and number two is involving hiring managers to carry out the entire hiring process—starting with identifying and sourcing of the right talent.
Interviews will happen over the internet
All organisations, irrespective of their size and scale, are becoming more and more interconnected and global. Work is transcending boundaries created by culture, demography and geography.
Video interviewing technologies via tools such as Skype and Google Hangouts will become commonplace in times to come. Many employers are likely to adopt targeted video interviewing software to recruit the right talent.
Big data in recruitment
Predictive analytics and big data will rule hiring metrics in times to come. More refined metrics mean getting a better understanding about existing bottlenecks, which recruiter is effective and who is not and which hiring method is working and which is not working.
Museums across the US are offering refuge for those who want to temporarily block out or process the reality of Donald Trump’s presidency on inauguration day.
Many institutions are offering free or pay-what-you-wish admission on Friday and several are transforming their galleries to agoras for political expression. In New York City, the Whitney Museum will offer artists, writers and activists a stage to release their agony and idealism. The museum is also hosting a participatory discussion about identity, immigration, race, and democracy, drawing inspiration from the museum’s collection of contemporary art collection to kindle dialogues. The Brooklyn Museum will host a daylong reading of Langston Hughes’s 1935 poem “Let America Be America Again.”
The Baltimore Museum of Art is hosting a “nonpartisan” event—with readings, tours and performances. The museum is at pains to stress the nondiscriminatory nature of their programming. “We want everyone to know the BMA is a safe haven for the city during a time of change,” said the museum’s director Christopher Bedford in a press statement.
The Rubin Museum has designed an inauguration-themed event to allay the psyche. Using wrathful deities in their collection of Himalayan art, guides will help visitors explore the themes of fear and vigilance. “Especially during times of political division, our art can provide insight on themes like the search for wisdom, interdependence, and compassionate action,” explains Patrick Sears, the museum’s executive director. “Our role is to serve our visitors and greater community by providing access to our art and serving as a place of contemplation.” The Rubin is also hosting a meditation and yoga workshop aptly called “Swear In, Breathe Out.”
Except for the National Museum of the American Indian which will be closed because of its proximity to the inauguration stage, all Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC will be open during inauguration day. The newest museum on the mall, the National Museum of African American Art and Culture, will be the venue for CODEPINK’s Peace Ball, a bacchanal for many groups Trump has insulted and marginalized.
The point is “business should not proceed as usual in any realm.”The museums’ special programming on inauguration day follows the spirit of J20 Art Strike, a petition from a group of artists to reject the “normalization of Trumpism” on Jan. 20. Though some galleries have interpreted the call literally and are shutting down for the day, Princeton University professor and J20 signatory Hal Foster explains that the strike is actually a non-prescriptive call for action. “The idea was to use the term ‘strike’ for its rhetorical force,” clarifies Foster. “They [museums and galleries] can close, reprogram, open for free, host different events related to the political crisis—it’s a very broad call.” The point is “business should not proceed as usual in any realm.”
Over 740 artists and critics including art world darlings Richard Serra and Cindy Sherman are joining the so-called “act of non-compliance” on inauguration day. The Queens Museum’s galleries will be closed on Jan 20, but the New York borough museum where Trump was born, invites the public to come in and participate in “Sign of the Times,” an afternoon of making posters, banners, and buttons in preparation for upcoming protest marches and actions. Expert silkscreen printers will be on hand to teach participants about production techniques.
The Dine Out Vancouver Festival may be best known for its prix fixe meals, but there’s a whole lot more to the annual extravaganza than sit-down dinners.
To augment your enjoyment, consider signing up for one of the many culinary tours, one-off events, and pop-ups on the program, immersive experiences that will have you discovering more than just the food on your plate.
Tickets and additional details are at dineoutvancouver.com/events.
Eat East Van
Learn about the city’s Japanese history (and Oppenheimer Park’s place in it), see some of the oldest homes in Vancouver, and hear the story of how the term growler came to be during the Discover Railtown Culinary Tour (January 25 to 27 and February 1 to 3; $78, including taxes).
Presented by Off the Eaten Track, the urban adventure includes stops at the Railway Street location of the Railtown Café, which recently launched one of three new spots set to open this year, and the Uncommon Café, a darling coffee shop, commissary, and cooking school run by a husband-and-wife team. There, you’ll get to don an apron and make your own mini pizza.
The tour also hits the Settlement Building, for craft beer and wine samples from Postmark Brewing and Vancouver Urban Winery, and pastry chef Eleanor Chow Waterfall’s Cadeaux Bakery. Five percent of ticket sales goes toward the HAVE Café, a neighbourhood culinary training society that provides job training to people who face barriers to employment.
Off the Eaten Track is offering other foodie treks throughout Dine Out. There’s Sip, Savour, and Shop on Main (January 21, 22, and 27 to 29 and February 3 to 5; $78, including taxes), a three-hour East Van jaunt with stops at the Honey Shoppe, Juicery Co., and Balance Botanicals, among other places in Riley Park.
Meanwhile, the two-hour Discover the East Village Culinary Tour (January 21, 22, 28, and 29 and February 4 and 5; $68, including taxes) hits five places in the Hastings Sunrise neighbourhood, including Jackalope’s Neighbourhood Dive, Black Rook Bakeshop, and Steam, Vancouver’s smallest tea shop.
“We typically visit small, family-run businesses that are under the radar or off the tourist grid but that are making wonderful food,” says Off the Eaten Track co-owner Bonnie Todd. “The tours are a unique way to not only sample delicious food and drinks but to hear stories, learn more about the local history, meet the business owners, and discover interesting architecture or landmarks.”
A first for the city, the Vancouver Coffee Tour (January 21 and 29 and February 5; $75, including taxes and tip) will take caffeine fiends to three establishments for an in-depth look at how different types of joe are brewed: filter coffee, cold-brew, and espresso.
Canadian Craft Tours provides transportation for this three-hour excursion presented in partnership with the Vancouver Coffee Snob.
Granville Island is where it’s at for Art, Eat, and Sip (January 25; $63), a self-guided tour that features stops at artists’ studios, restaurants, and more.
Put an end to disappointing deliveries for good by learning how to make your own flatbread pizza from scratch at the Perfect Pizza Cooking Class (January 26 at the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company [1876 West 1st Avenue]; $42.50, including taxes and tip).
Headed by Rocky Mountain Flatbread corporate chef Oliver Zulauf, the evening also features a tasting of Gehringer Brothers Estate wines.
Get Crafty—Kits, meanwhile, is another Rocky Mountain Flatbread pizza-making class, hopped up with beer tastings from Persephone Brewing (February 1; $42.50, including taxes).
Tapas that rock
Pairings of craft beer and small plates only get better when served with live music. Take it all in during the Belmont Bar’s Tasters, Tapas, and Talent (January 26 at the Belmont Bar[1006 Granville Street]; $47.50, including taxes and tip).
The whole hog
Mamie’s Low Country Pig Roast (at Mamie Taylor’s [251 East Georgia Street] on January 31; $63.35, including taxes and tip) brings southern-style comfort food to the heart of Chinatown.
The three-course long-table dinner at Mamie Taylor’s features traditional country biscuits, devilled eggs, house-made pickles, and more before a whole roasted suckling pig is served, family-style, with Mamie’s hot sauce, Augusta-style barbecue-pit beans, and Mississippi braised greens.
There’s dessert, too: apple pie served with Kentucky-whiskey pudding, and chocolate-fudge brownies.
The Vancouver Aquarium’s café will be transformed into a bistro during its Ocean Wise Pop-up With Chef Ned Bell (January 20 to February 5 at the Vancouver Aquarium [845 Avison Way]; $58, including tax and gratuity).
Guests will dine on dishes such as side-stripe shrimp roll and seafood mixed grill with scallops, sablefish, and Kuterra salmon (raised on First Nation land); they’ll also be able to roll up their sleeves and check out the Discover Rays touch pool, home to cownose rays and southern stingrays.
Temperature data for 2016 shows it is likely to have edged ahead of 2015 as the world’s warmest year.
Data from Nasa and the UK Met Office shows temperatures were about 0.07 degrees Celsius above the 2015 mark.
Although the Met Office increase was within the margin of error, Nasa says that 2016 was the third year in a row to break the record.
The El Niño weather phenomenon played a role, say scientists, but the main factor was human emissions of CO2.
The latest conclusions won’t come as a much of a shock to observers, as the likely outcome was trailed heavily towards the end of last year.
So warm was the early part of 2016 – influenced by a powerful El Niño – that some leading climate scientists were predicting as early as May that a new record was likely.
During an El Niño, a band of unusually warm ocean water develops in parts of the Pacific. The phenomenon affects the climate globally, disrupting weather patterns.
What is climate change?
According to Nasa figures, 2016 is now the warmest year in a record that dates back to 1880.
“2015 has been the warmest year on record up until now, so 2016 has just beaten that and and it’s beaten that by about 0.1- 0.12 of a degree Celsius, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but in terms of the year to year variations it’s actually huge,” Dr Gavin Schmidt from Nasa told BBC News.
“This is a very clear record that we’re seeing. It is driven mainly by changes in the tropical Pacific where we had an El Niño event that produced a lot of warmth. But we’ve also seen long term trends in warming mostly due to the increasing greenhouse gases.”
Another factor that has affected temperatures in 2016 is the unusual warmth in the Arctic.
The sea-ice covering the Arctic reached its second lowest level (in terms of extent) in September 2016. The sea-ice grows in autumn and winter and shrinks each spring and summer.
While the sea-ice extent last year didn’t break the record, the mercury stayed high and the smaller amount of ice now present in the region is at unprecedented levels for the time of year.
A number of meteorological agencies from around the world have released their figures today. They all suggest that warming in 2016 was a record that had an important contribution from El Niño.
The Met Office says it contributed about 0.2C to the annual average for 2016. However, researchers believe that while this is substantial, it is not the whole story.
“We understand the contribution El Niño makes fairly well and we’ve seen it many times,” said Prof Ellie Highwood from the University of Reading.
“But even if you take that contribution away, we would expect 2015 and 2016 to still be the warmest years we’ve seen, so a majority of it is coming from global warming and the greenhouse effect.”
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which pulls together temperature data from a number of sources, agrees that 2016 broke the record by 0.07C.
Not all of the reports on temperature data in 2016 are clear that the warmest-year record has been broken.
Century dominated by records
The Met Office says that 2016 was 0.77 above the long term rate, but with a plus or minus error margin of 0.1C, meaning that last year was at the very least, one of the two warmest years on record.
“The final figures confirm that 2016 was yet another extremely warm year,” said Peter Stott from the Met Office.
“The temperature for last year was very close to the year before, temperatures for 2016 exceeding those for 2015 by a small margin.”
Regardless of the small margins, when the new data on 2016 is included, 15 of the warmest 16 years on record have now occurred since 2001.
According to Noaa (the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the only year from the 20th Century to break into the top 16 is 1998, and which ranks seventh warmest.
This prolonged period of warming was having significant impacts around the world.
“We have also broken sea ice minimum records in the Arctic and Antarctic,” said Petteri Taalas from the WMO.
“The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average. The persistent loss of sea-ice is driving weather, climate and ocean circulation patterns in other parts of the world. We also have to pay attention to the potential release of methane from melting permafrost,” he said.
Of great concern to scientists and politicians is the fact that the newly published temperature data shows the Earth is once again more than one degree warmer than pre-industrial times, and edging closer to the threshold of 1.5C set under the Paris climate pact.
With the Trump administration about to take office in the US, there are concerns that political support for climate action might fade. This would be a big mistake according to scientists.
“Climate change is one of the great challenges of the 21st Century and shows no signs of slowing down,” said Prof Mark Maslin, from University College London.
“The decarbonisation of the global economy is the ultimate goal to prevent the worst effects of climate change. The hottest year on record is such a clear warning siren that even President-elect Trump cannot ignore it.”
Researchers say that 2017 is unlikely to break the warming record but will be in the top five hottest years.
President Barack Obama has defended his decision to free Wikileaks source Chelsea Manning, 29 years before her scheduled release.
He told his final news conference that “justice has been served”.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years for leaking diplomatic cables to the group, one of the largest breaches of classified material in US history.
The commutation of her sentence has been attacked by Republicans as sending the wrong message.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said the move set a “dangerous precedent”.
The 29-year-old transgender US Army private, born Bradley Manning, leaked documents to Wikileaks in 2010.
She will be freed on 17 May but had been scheduled to be released in 2045.
The president said Manning has served a tough prison sentence.
“So the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital, classified information would think that it goes unpunished – I don’t think they would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served.”
The commutation announced on Tuesday reduces Manning’s sentence but is not a pardon, which some campaigners had called for.
Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called it a “grave mistake” because Manning endangered lives.
“Her prison sentence may end in a few months’ time, but her dishonour will last forever,” he said.
Mr Ryan said President Obama “now leaves in place a dangerous precedent that those who compromise our national security won’t be held accountable for their crimes”.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest hit back at Republican criticism, suggesting the party was being hypocritical given President-elect Donald Trump has praised Wikileaks.
The group released hacked Democratic Party emails during the election campaign.
“It is outrageous for them to suggest that right now what Chelsea Manning did is worse than what the man who they endorsed for president did,” he told CBS News.
He also told CNN that Mr Obama believed Manning had served an “appropriate punishment”, having been jailed for nearly seven years.
More on Chelsea Manning
The turbulent life of Chelsea Manning
Fair prosecution or overreach?
When Bradley became ChelseaMost people convicted of leaking have received sentences of between one and three years, according to the New York Times. The Obama administration has prosecuted more people for leaking government secrets than were charged under all previous presidencies, the paper says.
Manning twice attempted suicide last year at the male military prison where she is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
She also went on a hunger strike last year, which she ended after the military agreed to provide her with gender transition treatment.
Mr Obama granted commutation of sentences to 209 individuals and pardons to 64 others, in one of his final acts as president.
Why is the decision so controversial?
Critics argue that Manning’s decision to leak a massive trove of documents to Wikileaks – including 250,000 diplomatic cables and more than 450,000 reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – endangered US troops, intelligence agents and diplomats, in addition to foreigners who had helped them in hotspots abroad.
By uploading the material online, they say that the documents were made available to everyone, including Al-Qaeda. They also caused major embarrassment to the United States.
Chelsea Manning been characterised as a traitor, even though she said she believed the leaked material would “spark a domestic debate”.
Why did Obama act to help Manning, but not Edward Snowden?
Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, leaked documents revealing extensive internet and phone surveillance by US intelligence, sparking a global debate on internet privacy.
Russian authorities said on Wednesday that Mr Snowden had been granted a two-year extension to his temporary asylum in the country.
More than a million people have signed a petition asking for him to also receive some sort of clemency from President Obama.
But the White House has poured water any hopes that he might be next. Mr Earnest said that in comparison to Mr Snowden, Chelsea Manning went “through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing.”
Mr Snowden, Mr Earnest said, “fled into the arms of an adversary and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”
He also said the NSA leaker had not filed the paperwork required to seek clemency, and, in any case, Mr Snowden’s leaks were said to be “far more serious and far more dangerous” than Manning’s.
What do his supporters say to that?
They argue that what he revealed – and the impact it had – has improved American democracy.
“Thanks to Edward Snowden’s act of conscience, we have made historic strides in our fight for surveillance reform and improved cyber security,” American Civil Liberties Union executive director Anthony Romero has said.
Human Rights Watch says that the Espionage Act is “a First World War-era law that does not distinguish between selling secrets to foreign governments and giving them to journalists working in the public interest”.
Pardoning Snowden, they say, would encourage other whistleblowers to step forward without fear.