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International press review Extrema Ratio - 14 April

Extrema Ratio focuses on the topics we work on, including geopolitcs, cybersecurity, critical technologies, foreign interference, disinformation, international law & national security.

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Rand Corporation

China may believe a quick and decisive military victory could help to establish the perception that it is not only an economic power of the first rank, but also a military one.
Disputes over maritime borders and control of islands could likely provide a justification for war whenever China wanted to create one.

Global Time

Chinese officials pledge support for Hong Kong’s tech, Web3 ambitions at digital economy summit South China Morning Post Xinmei Shen Mainland Chinese officials for the first time endorsed Hong Kong’s ambitions to become a Web3 hub, and reiterated their aspirations for the city to become an innovation and technology hub. Hong Kong should proactively plan its development in advanced technologies including semiconductors, quantum computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, Cao Shumin, deputy director at the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), Beijing’s internet watchdog, said on Thursday at the Digital Economy Summit 2023 in the city.

The most shocking intel leak reveals new Chinese military advances. Leaked documents suggest that China has tested and deployed a new long-range hypersonic missile with the capacity to evade US defences. Josh Rogin.The Washington Post.
  • The Dove or the dog: China makes peace while baring teeth. How China is trying to revive diplomatic engagement while projecting strength on the Taiwan issue.Tessa Wong.BBC.

  • China’s war games in Taiwan hone military strengths but reveal restraint. Military drills less disruptive than last year, analysts claim. Kathrin Hille.Financial Times.

  • China in Afghanistan: Myopia, denial and fantasies. Analysis of the position paper published by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday. Shanthie Mariet D’Souza.The Diplomat.

  • Podcast: US-Philippine embrace, Taiwan strait, what’s on weibo. China Watcher, Politico.

China eyes building base on the moon using lunar soil The Hill Julia Mueller Beijing “aims to establish a basic model for a lunar research station base by 2028 and expand it into an international one,” state outlet CGTN reports. The state-run China Daily said Beijing also plans to launch a probe to retrieve the world’s first soil sample from the far side of the moon around 2025. The U.S., China and Russia have long been jostling for power in space, and some officials have stressed the security importance of the U.S. keeping up with space and cyber advances.

  • China approved the “provision of lethal aid” to Russia earlier this year and planned to disguise military equipment as civilian items, according to a U.S. intercept of Russian intelligence revealed in the leaked intelligence reports. “We have not seen evidence that China has transferred weapons or provided lethal assistance to Russia. But we remain concerned and are continuing to monitor closely,” a senior administration official said. A senior defense official agreed with that assessment. Karen DeYoung and Missy Ryan report for the Washington Post.

Chinese diplomats and state media focused on three main topics this week:

  • Macron: Chinese government and state-affiliated media accounts provided significant commentary on Macron’s visit to China. Macron was the top key phrase over the past week, with monitored accounts on Twitter mentioning the French president more than 550 times. Outside of a few soft power tweets documenting Macron’s visit and cultural activities, the top tweets almost all focused either on Macron’s call for France and the EU to reduce their dependence on the United States or the subsequent blowback to those comments from alleged “China haters”. The United States was the third most mentioned country in tweets mentioning Macron after France and China.

  • Twitter labels: Prominent Chinese state media figures celebrated Elon Musk’s decision last week to label the BBC as government funded media, a label that had previously been reserved for state-backed media outlets without editorial firewalls, like those in China. Three of the top 10 most retweeted tweets last week mentioned the BBC, with China Daily head Chen Weihua, who previously tweeted at Elon Musk requesting that his own state-affiliated label be removed, calling the BBC “U.K. govt propaganda” that “never has the guts to call out U.S. propaganda or urge the release of Julian Assange or the West war crimes”. Musk’s decision to label NPR received far less attention from Chinese accounts.

  • Gun control: After another week featuring a mass shooting in the United States, Chinese government officials, in a nod to US criticism over China’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, used the hashtag #humanrightsprotection to call on the US to take action over gun deaths. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying and Pakistan-based diplomat Zhang Heqing both tweeted “the children’s lives matter” to criticize the United States’ inaction on gun control. Of the more than 80 tweets mentioning “gun” over the past week, all but three were in reference to gun violence or stalled gun legislation in the United States.

  • China sanctions US lawmaker for visiting Taiwan. Michael McCaul, US Representative and chair of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, led delegation to Taiwan. McCaul pledged to help provide training for Taiwan’s armed forces and to expedite the delivery of weapons. Reuters.

  • Chinese court upholds death sentence for American citizen Mark Swidan. Swidan was arrested in 2012 on drug-related charges. In 2020, A UN working group concluded that Swidan had been arbitrarily detained in violation of international law. Jennifer Hansler and Nectar Gan. CNN.

  • China says no weapon exports to parties in Russia-Ukraine conflict. Foreign minister Qin Gang stated that the country would regulate the export of items with dual civilian and military use and reiterated China’s willingness to facilitate peace negotiations. AP.

  • Chinese firm imported copper from Russian-annexed region of Ukraine, customs data reveals. There are no trade restrictions between China and Russia, however the company - Quzhou Nova - may be at risk of US secondary sanctions. Filipp Lebedev and Gleb Stolyarov. Reuters.

  • Chinese surveillance tech facilitating oppression of women in Iran. Facial recognition, crowd surveillance, and phone monitoring technologies have been supplied by Chinese companies. Joshua Askew. Euronews.

  • Uruguay’s Foreign Minister heading to China with hopes to secure trade agreement. Francisco Bustillo asserts Uruguay’s commitment to achieving an FTA.MercoPress.

The potential China-Uruguay trade deal risks fracturing Mercosur. Uruguay is ignoring warnings from neighbours about possible legal action if it negotiates an FTA outside the bloc. Igor Patrick. The Diplomat.

China agrees to cooperate on sovereign debt restructurings. Central bank governor Yi Gang told G20 finance ministers that the country was willing to work through the Common Framework for sovereign debt restructuring. Joe leahy and Kana Inagaki.Financial Times.

China left out of Sri Lanka debt talks due to delays. India, Japan and the Paris Club have proceeded with a joint briefing in Washington. Both Sri Lanka and its other creditors have said they are keen for China to participate in discussions. Shawn Donnan, Anusha Ondaatjie, Toru Fujioka and Eric Martin. Bloomberg.
IMF working closely with Suriname on debt restructuring process, looking for progress with China. Rodrigo Campos and Jorgelina de Rosario. Reuters.
  • Regulator asks banks to avoid discussing the origins of money flowing into Singapore. As wealthy Chinese transfer their assets, the Monetary Authority of Singapore wants to keep public discussion of the politically sensitive issue to a minimum. Mercedes Ruehl, Kaye Wiggins and Leo Lewis.Financial Times.

  • Regulator asks banks to avoid discussing the origins of money flowing into Singapore. As wealthy Chinese transfer their assets, the Monetary Authority of Singapore wants to keep public discussion of the politically sensitive issue to a minimum. Mercedes Ruehl, Kaye Wiggins and Leo Lewis.Financial Times.

  • Apple said to explore MacBook production in Thailand to cut supply chain reliance on China. Apple is discussing with contractors the possibility of assembling and producing some parts for its laptops in the Southeast Asian nation. Apple has already been producing its Apple Watch in Thailand for over a year. Ben Jiang.South China Morning Post.

  • China to cut soymeal use in animal food amid food security concerns. China’s agriculture ministry issued a three-year action plan to reduce heavy reliance on soybean imports. Dominique Patton.Reuters.


Live updates: arrest made as F.B.I. searches home of Air National Guardsman The New York Times Aric Toler, Michael Schwirtz, Haley Willis, Riley Mellen, Christiaan Triebert, Malachy Browne, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Julian E. Barnes Although gaming friends would not identify the leader of an online group linked to the leak of classified United States intelligence files, a trail of digital evidence compiled by The New York Times led toward Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the intelligence wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

  • Here’s what we know about the leader of the online group where secret documents were leaked. The New York Times Aric Toler, Michael Schwirtz, Haley Willis, Riley Mellen, Christiaan Triebert, Malachy Browne, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Julian E. Barnes The leader of a small online gaming chat group where a trove of classified U.S. intelligence documents leaked over the last few months is a 21-year-old member of the intelligence wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The New York Times. Starting months ago, one of the users uploaded hundreds of pages of intelligence briefings into the small chat group, lecturing its members, who had bonded during the isolation of the pandemic, on the importance of staying abreast of world events.

  • Jack Teixeira, 21, a Massachusetts Air National Guard member, was arrested by the FBI yesterday in connection with the leaked intelligence reports, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced. Teixeira will appear in a Boston court today, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. Teixeira joined the service in September 2019 as a Cyber Transport Systems journeyman, tasked with ensuring the service’s “vast, global communications network” is “operating properly.” Evan Perez, Jeremy Herb, Natasha Bertrand, Zachary Cohen, and Kevin Liptak report for CNN.

U.S. House to vote on bill to address potential Huawei, ZTE threats Reuters David Shepardson The House of Representatives is set to vote next week on a bill to crack down on Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE Corp that have been deemed security threats by the U.S. government. The House said on Tuesday it will take up a bipartisan bill called the Countering Untrusted Telecommunications Abroad Act that would require the State Department to report on U.S. NATO allies and others using telecommunication equipment or services in their 5G networks from companies like Huawei and ZTE.

Scoop: Schumer lays groundwork for Congress to regulate AI Axios Andrew Solender and Ashley Gold A recent explosion in the development of generative AI systems has spurred alarm among lawmakers and the broader public about AI's potential social, economic and security ramifications. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is spearheading the congressional effort to craft legislation regulating AI, circulating a broad framework among experts in recent weeks. While the federal government has made early moves, including the Commerce Department beginning to take steps to create AI safety rules, critics say more comprehensive legislation is needed.

  • AI propaganda will be effective and easily accessible Tech Policy Press Max Rizzuto Fake images of Trump's arraignment illustrate how audiences gravitate toward compelling images in the absence of trusted information. In a world dense with photo-real falsehoods, it will be harder to believe your eyes. The next generation of AI could dramatically expedite the creation of on-demand false evidence with minimal effort, creating deceptions that are ready for immediate distribution and conceived to incite a reaction.

Cyber watchdog has 'no confidence' in US emergency cell network security iTnews Raphael Satter America's cybersecurity watchdog has no confidence that the cellular network used by American first responders and the military is secure against digital intrusions, US Senator Ron Wyden said in a letter. It concerns FirstNet, a dedicated mobile network for public safety officials such as emergency workers, firefighters and law enforcement. Wyden's staff was told that "they had no confidence in the security of FirstNet, in large part because they have not seen the results of any cyber security audits conducted against this government-only network".

Report predicts $8 trillion in losses from cyber threats this year Colleen Murphy Mimecast, an email security company, released its 2023 State of Email Security report detailing the risks faced by businesses in the form of email-borne attacks and the need to increase the response due to the growing sophistication of those attacks. The SOES report was compiled by interviewing 1,700 information technology and cybersecurity professionals on the type and volume of attacks experienced and the security measures businesses currently have in place.

Joint press statement for the 22nd Korea-U.S. Integrated defense dialogue U.S Department of Defense On science and technology cooperation, both sides recognized the need to modernize the Alliance in order to adapt to the evolving security environment and prepare for future challenges. Both leaders also commended the ongoing progress being made through the Cyber Cooperation Working Group (CCWG) and Space Cooperation Working Group (SCWG). In particular, they expressed support towards developing a bilateral U.S.-ROK cyber exercise to build cyber capabilities and applauded ongoing efforts to conduct a U.S.-ROK Space Cooperation table-top exercise (TTX) later this year.

US plans to boost tech diplomats deployed to embassies CyberScoop Elias Groll The U.S. State Department is on track to deploy a diplomat trained in technology issues to the 168 American embassies around the world by the end of next year, Nate Fick, who leads the department’s cyber diplomacy, said during a meeting with reporters on Wednesday. As Washington attempts to maintain its technological edge over a rising China and address a range of pressing global challenges, Fick described getting diplomats with technical expertise into the field as an urgent need for the U.S. diplomatic corps.

FBI warns against using public USB charging ports NBC News Ale Zimmerman and Leslie Gaydos Free public charging stations in airports, hotels, and malls are a convenience, but you may want to think twice about using them. The FBI is warning consumers about what they call “juice jacking.” They say bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. While it is a legitimate method to attack a target, cybersecurity experts at Cyber Ark Labs haven’t seen much evidence of this happening.


For months, leaked US intelligence documents have been circulating online. The press recently picked up on them, drawing further attention to secrets that the US and its allies would have rather kept private. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says some of the materials may be fabricated, but he didn’t specify which. Authorities, meanwhile, arrested a suspect today.

  • United States sanctions Hungary-based bank over ties to Russia: The US government sanctioned the Hungary-based International Investment Bank (IIB), as well as three individuals linked to the bank’s leadership, over fears that the institution’s ties to the Russian government abet Moscow’s surveillance efforts in the EU, prompting Hungary to withdraw its representatives from the bank.

  • The FBI was searching for messages about Darin LaHood (R-IL) because it was investigating suspicions that a foreign government had targeted him as part of an espionage or influence operation, people familiar with the matter have said. The revelations follow the declassification of a government report about incidents where FBI officials failed to comply with rules for retrieving messages. Section 702 allows the government to obtain, without a warrant, the messages of targeted foreigners abroad from U.S. companies, even when those foreigners are communicating with or about Americans. The revelations carry policy implications as Congress debates whether to reauthorize Section 702. Charlie Savage reports for the New York Times.


Three Canadian ports hit by cyber attacks Splash 247 Kim Biggar The Port of Halifax in Nova Scotia and the ports of Montreal and Quebec in the province of Quebec were hit by a cyber attack on Wednesday, but cargo continues to move at all three facilities. The ports’ websites have been taken out of commission. The websites of the Port of Montreal and Port of Quebec are also offline. Both ports report that operations are not affected and there has been no data breach.

Global leader Hitachi in Guyana to ‘build rather than bolt’ cyber resilience News Room Guyana Kurt Campbell Hitachi System Security, one of the largest companies in the world, is looking to bring its services to Guyana, promising to help the government and local businesses become more preventative through much-needed investments in cyber resilience. It comes as the Guyana Government and private sector are together and independently undergoing a massive digital transformation, one that makes the cyber security landscape more.


The aging defense league is finding a new raison d’etre battling Russian aggression in Ukraine. But Canada still falls short of the 2% GDP military spending goal that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently said is set “not as a ceiling but a floor, a minimum, that we should all meet.”

A recent NATO report estimates that Canada’s share of defense spending declined against its GDP to 1.27% in 2022, down from 1.32% in 2021 and well shy of the 2% target. Several members spend less than the target, but Canada falls toward the mid-to-bottom of that list.

In 2022, the US topped the list at 3.47% of GDP. The US routinely nudges Canada to spend more on defense. Last month, its ambassador to Canada said he was “hopeful” the country would hit the NATO target.

  • Mexico and the United States yesterday agreed to ramp up the fight against fentanyl trafficking, as well as Mexico’s Sinaloa and CJNG drug cartels. Both countries have recently asked China to help curb the delivery of precursor chemicals to prevent the synthetic drug production responsible for thousands of U.S. deaths. The White House said this week that it plans to expand efforts to disrupt the illicit financial activities of drug traffickers involved in the fentanyl trade by using more sanctions to obstruct their access to the U.S. financial system. Adriana Barrera and Lizbeth Diaz report for Reuters.

  • The number of migrants crossing the dangerous Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama bound for the United States could soar to as many as 400,000 this year, according to the U.N. yesterday. The U.N. agencies for refugees and migration said in a report that nearly 100,000 people may have already crossed this year, six times more than in a similar period last year. The United States pledged assistance to Colombia and Panama to dismantle smuggling rings operating in the Darien Gap, a senior Biden administration official said on Wednesday. AP News reports.

North Asia

  • North Korea today said it launched a new solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile, which is faster to deploy and harder to detect, “radically [promoting] the effectiveness of its nuclear counterattack posture.” The regime’s acquisition of solid-fuel missile capabilities significantly undermines South Korea’s “Kill Chain” system that aims to pre-emptively strike the North’s military assets, including missile launch facilities and even its leadership, if an imminent attack is detected. The U.S. National Security Council called the missile launch a brazen violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions that needlessly raised tensions and destabilized regional security. Jiyoung Sohn reports for the Wall Street Journal.

Japan panel calls for unified cybercrime reporting service The Japan Times Jiji Press Japanese authorities should unify their cybercrime reporting services as many cases are believed to go unreported, an expert panel said on Thursday. The National Police Agency panel released a report proposing a unified portal site to report such crimes, as police organizations, the Personal Information Protection Commission and government agencies have separate reporting services with different formats and information that need to be submitted.

South Korea’s concern deepens with shifting AI landscape Koreabizwire Kevin Lee Generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology has brought a paradigm shift in the IT industry, making it inevitable for the government to readjust its AI policy. The data labeling project in the Digital New Deal initiative is a representative example of this shift, which is part of the Korean New Deal initiative introduced by the previous government.

Washington must stop undermining Taiwan’s status as a technology powerhouse The Strategist Chang-Tai Hsieh and Jason Hsu Instead of grandstanding, what Taiwan needs from the US is a bilateral free-trade agreement and support for Taiwan’s membership in regional trade agreements. There are also steps that Taiwan could take on its own, like continuing to invest in asymmetrical defence capabilities, cyber and critical infrastructure, and military training. Economically, the island could benefit from the ongoing decoupling between China and Western countries by positioning itself as one of the world’s largest manufacturing powerhouses.

Southeast Asia

Police nab Chinese 'cyber crime' gang Bangkok Post Chaiyot Pupattanapong Police have arrested five Chinese nationals who allegedly operated an illegal call centre and underground lending service in Pattaya.Pol Maj Gen Kampol Leelaprapaporn, chief of Chon Buri police, said yesterday the raid came after Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, deputy national police chief, asked police units to integrate their efforts to crack down on foreign nationals running illegal businesses across the country, especially in Pattaya, a major tourist venue.

South & Central Asia

Vedanta-Foxconn’s fab joint-venture talks with STMicro hit a bump The Economic Times Aashish Aryan The Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor consortium’s discussions with STMicroelectronics for inducting the European company as a technology partner have got stuck due to lack of agreement on finer details of technology transfer, the duration of the partnership and the funds to be invested by each company. One key sticking point is that STMicroelectronics wants to limit the scope of the technology transfer as well as have a sunset clause regarding the duration of the joint venture.

Demand for cybersecurity experts defies slowdown in tech hiring The Economic Times Rica Bhattacharyya Despite a hiring slowdown in India’s technology sector, demand for cybersecurity professionals has reached an all-time high this year, as investing in cyber resilience has become a top priority for tech companies. Rising risk of cyberattacks is driving tech companies in the services and products space as well as tech-enabled startups to ramp up their manpower, said executive search firms. There is also a significant increase in demand from the back offices of multinationals in India.

Ukraine - Russia

Defence One Patrick Tucker

Efforts to streamline conscription can't overcome political and training obstacles, they say.

Anduril autonomous drones to aid Ukraine Australian Defence Magazine Julian Kerr Weaponised autonomous drones made by the US parent company of defence contractor Anduril Australia are providing an important new capability in Ukraine’s struggle against Russian forces. Luckey, in Australia to participate in ASPI’s Sydney dialogue on emerging technologies and to meet with senior Defence officials, said the Pentagon had disclosed the inclusion of Anduril Industries’ latest Altius 600M drones in the US$2 billion aid package for Ukraine announced in late February.

  • Pro-Russia hackers accessed Canada’s gas network, leaked US documents say: Russia-backed hackers claim to have successfully accessed Canada’s gas infrastructure, according to a set of classified US intelligence documents that were leaked online last week; however, independent news organizations have not been able to verify this claim.

  • The leaked intelligence reports “have no operational significance” on a critical Ukrainian offensive planned for the coming weeks, said Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser. The United States and its allies are equipping and training nine Ukrainian brigades for the offensive, while the Ukrainian military is preparing three additional brigades by itself. Podolyak said the timing of the attack depended on equipment and personnel being ready. James Marson and Yaroslav Trofimov report for the Wall Street Journal.

  • Russia could only consider a prisoner exchange for jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich after a Russian court renders a verdict on an espionage allegation, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian state news yesterday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeated Moscow’s claim yesterday that Gershkovich was “caught red-handed” without providing details of any evidence against the reporter. Ann M. Simmons reports for the Wall Street Journal.

  • Intense Russian artillery bombardment has forced Ukrainian forces into an “orderly withdrawal” in Bakhmut, according to the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence today. “Russia has re-energized its assault on the Donetsk oblast town of Bakhmut as forces of the Russian ministry and Wagner group have improved cooperation,” the Ministry has stated. Martin Belam reports for the Guardian.

  • China would not sell weapons to any country involved in the conflict and would regulate the export of items with dual civilian and military use, China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang, said during a news conference with his visiting German counterpart Annalena Baerbock today. Baerbock said that as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, China bore a special responsibility for helping end the conflict. AP News reports.

  • Norway has expelled 15 Russian officials accused of spying under diplomatic cover, said Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt. Details about the officials’ alleged activities have not been revealed. Huitfeldt said Norway would not allow Moscow to use its embassy to conduct “covert intelligence activities.” The Kremlin will respond and is weighing up an “appropriate answer,” Russian news agency Tass reported. Sean Seddon reports for BBC News.

Russian diplomats and state media focused on two main narratives this week:

  • Leaked documents: Some Russian officials and propagandists claimed that leaked US intelligence documents could be part of a disinformation campaign, while others insisted that the documents are real and a sign that there are people in Washington who want to reduce US support for Ukraine. Kremlin-funded outlets have also amplified fact-based reporting on the leaks, which showcase US assessments about Ukraine’s limited arms supplies and US intelligence collection on allies.

  • Macron: Russian state media amplified French President Emmanuel Macron’s assertion that European countries should resist becoming “America’s followers”, with one account claiming “little Macron gained height” after the comments. Kremlin-linked accounts also highlighted US and European policymakers who were upset by Macron’s statements and suggested the comments have “harmed relations between US, Europe and Ukraine”.


"Federal Council President Peter Tschentscher is setting off on a one-week trip to the USA on Saturday, April 15, 2023. Stations in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles are planned. It is the first official visit by a President of the Federal Council to the United States since 2004. The aim of the trip is to intensify the transatlantic dialogue and provide impetus for practical cooperation between Germany and the United States. The President of the Federal Council will be accompanied by a Hamburg business and science delegation. In the United States, Tschentscher meets high-ranking representatives from politics, business and science. The focus is on maintaining parliamentary relations between the two countries and exchanging views on energy transition issues. Further talks will deal with the topics of trade policy, the digital economy and port cooperation. Numerous visits to companies and research institutions are planned for the business and science delegation.

The focus is on innovative developments relating to artificial intelligence, quantum technology and hydrogen production.

Political signal and practical impulse.

"In times of geopolitical crises, it is important to seek close solidarity with strong friends and partners," said Federal Council President Tschentscher ahead of the trip. "The reorientation of foreign, trade and security policy after Russia's attack on Ukraine was a strong impetus for the decision to travel to the United States as President of the Federal Council this year. The transatlantic partnership is based on shared values ​​of democracy and freedom. Concrete cooperation visit and personal contacts, which I would like to promote with the trip. The trip as President of the Federal Council is in this respect a political signal and at the same time a practical impetus to strengthen the German- America and Transatlantic Cooperation".

From Washington, DC via San Francisco to Los Angeles.

The first stop on the trip is Washington, DC. There, talks with representatives of Congress and the US government are on the agenda. The President of the Federal Council will also commemorate the victims of war and violence at Arlington National Cemetery with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Federal Council President Tschentscher then flies to San Francisco , where he is invited to the California State Assembly and the California Senate in Sacramento. Other elements of the program include an exchange at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, a world-renowned research facility of the US Department of Energy, and company visits to Silicon Valley. The focus in Los Angeles, the last leg of the journey, will be a visit to the port. The President of the Bundesrat and his delegation will return to Germany on Saturday 22 April 2023."

The EU's HR/VP was going to say at Center for China and Globalization (CCG): "We want to reverse the negative trend in EU-China relations in recent years. But to be able to do so, China must also exercise more responsibility."

Jospe Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, was scheduled to deliver a speech in person at 11:00 am (GMT+8) on Friday April 14 at the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) in Beijing.

HR/VP had to cancel his visit because he tested postivie for COVID-19. He has published his scheduled speech at CCG on his blog, entitled My view on China and EU-China relations.

"When war breaks out between the US and China over Taiwan (it's only a matter of time), EU member states will be powerless and cut off from critical value chains. strategic autonomy is a European death sentence for the Member States.", says Gabriele Iuvinale on Twitter
  • European foreign policy officials sought to present a tough stance against China’s threats over Taiwan today after comments by French President Emmanuel Macron drew a backlash for being perceived as weak. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that any attempt by China to control Taiwan would be unacceptable and have serious repercussions for Europe. E.U. foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell echoed Baerbock’s remarks in a statement, “Any attempt to change the status quo by force would be unacceptable.” Yew Lun Tian and Liz Lee report for Reuters.

Espionage campaign linked to Russian intelligence services Government of Poland The Military Counterintelligence Service and the CERT Polska team (CERT.PL) observed a widespread espionage campaign linked to Russian intelligence services, aimed at collecting information from foreign ministries and diplomatic entities. Most of the identified targets of the campaign are located in NATO member states, the European Union and, to a lesser extent, in Africa.

Europe is paranoid about data but does nothing about spyware Foreign Policy Clara Gutman-Argemí Spyware abuse is not new. Commercial spyware, including the Israeli-made Pegasus technology, is widely used to target political opponents and journalists in countries from the United Arab Emirates to Azerbaijan. Tensions between Catalonia and Spain are not new, either. But in the wake of the Citizen Lab report, both issues landed side by side on the desk of Sophie in ’t Veld, the Dutch member of the European Parliament who launched the EU’s current efforts to investigate spyware abuse in Hungary, Poland, Greece, Cyprus, and Spain.

Europe should make its A.I. regulations more sweeping, prominent experts urge CNBC Lauren Feiner In a policy brief released on Thursday, more than 50 individual expert and institutional signatories advocate for Europe to include general purpose AI, or GPAI, in its forthcoming regulations, rather than limiting the regulations to a more narrow definition. The group, which includes institutions like the Mozilla Foundation and experts like Timnit Gebru, says that even though general purpose tools might not be designed with high-risk uses in mind, they could be used in different settings that make them higher risk.

FIMI: towards a European redefinition of foreign interference EU DisinfoLab Nicolas Hénin The acronym FIMI (Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference) has recently met a lot of success and is consequently increasingly used. It has become widespread in the European Union, within the European External Action Service (EEAS) and across the Member States. Eventually, the phenomenon pushes us to consider state-sponsored manipulations of information in a new light, at the crossroads of influence operations and cyber-security, to develop effective counter-measures better.

More than 40% of Spanish companies suffered a cyber attack during the last twelve months Nation World News This is revealed by a recent report by cyber security company Bitfender, which uses technology managers from Spanish, French, German or American companies, among other nationalities, as sources. According to the said report, 44% of Spanish businesses suffered a breach of their computer security during the last twelve months. This is a low proportion compared to other countries such as the United States, where it reaches 75%, but it reflects the growing importance of cyber security in companies, especially in cases where sensitive data or information is stored and confidential.

Czech Republic has a new investment fund for AI start-ups Fiona Alston Prague-based AI Startup Incubator (AISI) has opened a new investment fund exclusively for AI start-ups called Look AI Ventures. It aims to raise €20 million which will be invested in early stage AI-driven companies. The fund wants to highlight promising AI projects on the European market, focusing on the CEE region. The targeted investment amount in one start-up is €250,000 and mentorship will be provided.

‘If your business hasn't already faced a cyber security attack, it will do soon' Irish News Sean McDermott Many of business owners across Northern Ireland admit to having thought that a cyberattack would never happen to them, and as a result of that belief had protected their businesses accordingly. There is still a commonly held belief amongst many in the business community, despite evidence to the contrary that “a cyberattack will never happen to us”. The idea that “we’re too small to be a target” is countered by the fact that you’re a perfect size. In fact, small businesses are more vulnerable because they usually have fewer resources and have weaker security systems in place.

  • ChatGPT, generative AI face growing government skepticism: ChatGPT and other generative artificial intelligence technologies are increasingly facing government scrutiny, with the Biden administration proposing certification requirements and an auditing system to assess their risk of spreading disinformation, EU data regulators stepping up an investigation of alleged data abuses, and China outlining new rules for such tools’ development.


Cyber security: Police calls for heightened public vigilance NewVision John Masaba The [Uganda] Police have called for increased vigilance from the public to help counter the increased threat of cyber insecurity in the country. The call comes after the Police revealed that it gets at least one cyberattack a day on its vital digital information systems. Yusuf Ssewanyana, the Police’s acting head of Information Communication and Technology, said all ICT departments have been placed under high alert to prevent disruptions in their systems and keep them working.

Middle East

  • Executions in Iran rose by 75% in 2022, with at least 582 people put to death as authorities sought to “spread fear” among protesters, according to a report by Iran Human Rights and Together Against the Death Penalty.

  • Jordan is promoting a joint Arab peace plan that could end the devastating consequences of the Syrian conflict ahead of a meeting today to discuss Syria’s readmission to the Arab League, according to a source close to the matter. Saudi Arabia is hosting the meeting in Jeddah, which foreign ministers from Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries will attend. The plan is crucial to “tackle the humanitarian, security and political consequences of the conflict, a senior official said. Suleiman Al-Khalidi reports for Reuters.

  • The sharp rise in migrants and asylum-seekers making the deadly Central Mediterranean crossing into Europe requires urgent action to save lives, the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said yesterday. Türk called for concerted efforts to ensure swift rescues at sea and urged countries to open more regular migration channels.The Central Mediterranean is considered among the deadliest migration routes in the world. U.N. News reports.

Lebanon Police Department Cybercrimes Unit recovers victim's money in cryptocurrency scam NBC News John Hawks The Lebanon Police Department has uniquely trained officers that make up its Cybercrimes Unit. The department has the latest technology and software that very few agencies around the country have. “Our unit handles everything from forensic extractions of mobile devices and computers,” said Richard Norris, supervisor of the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Lebanon Police Department. The agency recently started using software created by the Secret Service to track cryptocurrency transactions.

Israel has deployed thousands of officers in Jerusalem and in the vicinity of the Temple Mount and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound ahead of this Friday’s “Quds Day,” a yearly event manufactured by the Islamic Republic of Iran to protest Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem and to whip up coordinated anti-Israel incitement against Israel across the Muslim world. Israelis are concerned that agitators will respond to calls by Hamas and its patron in Tehran to carry out violence in Jerusalem, potentially spilling over across the rest of Israel and the region.

NZ & Pacific Islands

Budapest Convention Scoop Jane Kelsey The Convention is an international treaty wanting to protect signatories from cybercrime – crimes committed or enabled via the Internet - such as cyber fraud, computer related fraud, terrorism, and child pornography. The government is currently discussing whether New Zealand should sign up. If we do, we will be able to cooperate on these important issues with other signatories, but we will also grant them powers to intercept and access our computer networks if they believe a crime has been committed.


Government to embark on hacking stress tests for vital Australian infrastructure Sky News Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil has outlined the challenges of making ransom payments to hackers illegal in an exclusive interview with Sky News. The government is also about to embark on hacking stress tests for Australia’s critical industries. They will be simulating critical attacks on some of Australia’s vital infrastructure such as banking and aviation to find out what would occur in the instance of a large cyber-attack.

Aussie law firms lack confidence in cyber security, says report Lawyers Weekly James Mitchell The 2023 State of Cyber Maturity for Australian Law Firms report found that only 48 per cent of Australian legal firms are confident in their ability to detect and respond to threats. These firms have a higher level of cyber maturity with processes in place for employees across their organisations to be able to identify potential attacks and irregularities and respond accordingly. However, the majority (51 per cent) of legal firms admitted they are not confident in their threat detection and response capabilities.

Afterpay shareholders sue block to failing to disclose cyberattack ChannelNews Nathan Jolly Former Afterpay shareholders have brought a class action against Jack Dorsey’s Block, claiming it failed to disclose a cyber breach mere weeks before buying the Australian buy now pay later company. Data from 8.2 million customers was stolen weeks before Block acquired Afterpay for $39 billion. Although the deal was struck in August 2021, it wasn’t finalised until January, 2022. The data breach, which occurred on December 10, 2021, wasn’t revealed until April 4, after which share prices tumbled 15% overnight.

St John Ambulance NSW upgrades IT security iTnews Jeremy Nadel St John Ambulance NSW is using a Microsoft Sentinel-powered managed detection and response service to boost the security of its cloud-based environment. The first aid charity procured the service through Macquarie Cloud Services, which it has also asked to supply a threat intelligence platform and cyber training for staff and volunteers. CIO Peter Bouhalis said that investing in automated defences against attacks on the healthcare sector, and in cyber security training, was imperative.

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts

The Hon Madeleine King MP

The events of recent years have seen COVID-driven supply chain disruptions, energy price spikes, and geopolitical tensions spilling over into armed conflict. Global critical minerals supply chains are highly concentrated. These events have shown that market concentration leads to fragility, volatility, and unreliability of key materials, like critical minerals and rare earths. This creates a strategic challenge for Australia, and for our allies and partners. But with our vast reserves of critical minerals and rare earth elements, it also presents a once in a generation opportunity for Australia. An opportunity to develop not just new mining projects, but downstream processing and supply chains.

Big Tech

Elon Musk secretly working on AI project with DeepMind researchers The Independent Anthony Cuthbertson Elon Musk is secretly working on an artificial intelligence project at Twitter, according to reports. The tech billionaire has already poached two researchers from leading AI research firm DeepMind, as well as invested in 10,000 graphics processing units (GPUs) for the company, sources told Insider. The project reportedly involves developing a large language model similar to other generative AI technologies like OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Microsoft Bing usage skyrockets following ChatGPT update Cyber Security Connect Daniel Croft In a new effort to jump ahead of leading search engine Google, Microsoft has announced an update to its Bing browser with a feature that integrates ChatGPT and allows it to answer search terms. When users now search for answers in Bing, they will see answers presented by “Bing AI” using OpenAI’s GPT-4. Users can then continue dialogue with the artificial intelligence for follow-up questions. The app and Edge browser are the only way to access the new Bing AI, and Microsoft is limiting access for the time being, with users needing to join a waitlist.

Cohesity unveils security and cloud integrations with Microsoft ITBrief Shannon Williams Data security and management firm Cohesity has announced an expanded relationship with Microsoft that is focused on helping enterprises globally broaden and harden data security. The announcement comes at a critical time as cyberattacks are occurring every 39 seconds with 30,000 websites hacked daily and costing the global economy $6.9 billion in 2021. The new integrations are designed to help IT and SecOps leaders defend against cyber threats.

Raytheon and SpiderOak partner to secure satellite communications Help Net Security Raytheon Technologies’ BBN division and SpiderOak have formed a strategic partnership to develop and field a new generation of zero-trust security systems for satellite communications in proliferated low-Earth orbit. SpiderOak’s OrbitSecure solution will be combined with Raytheon BBN’s Distributed, Disrupted, Disconnected and Denied (D4) secure cloud solution to ensure resilience of mesh networks in contested environments.

Artificial Intelligence

The AI bot has picked an answer for you. Here’s how often it’s bad. The Washington Post Geoffrey A. Fowler and Jeremy B. Merrill You can trust the answers you get from the chatbot — usually. It’s impressive. But when AI gets it wrong, it can get it really, really wrong. That’s a problem because AI chatbots like ChatGPT, Bing and Google’s new Bard are not the same as a long list of search results. They present themselves as definitive answers, even when they’re just confidently wrong.

Will generative AI's use in cyber tools exceed expectations? BankInfoSecurity Michael Novinson Despite a flurry of related product launches since the November debut of ChatGPT, the generative AI land rush has only just begun. The gap between the companies using artificial intelligence as mere window dressing and those using it to exponentially improve their technology will become apparent to all in the months and years to come.


2023 Global Cyber Confidence Index: pay down cybersecurity debt or get sent to collections ExtraHop Michael Clark The average number of ransomware incidents organizations face is on the rise. In 2021, organizations experienced four attacks over five years, on average. By 2022, that figure reached four over the course of one year. Cybercriminals and state-backed actors have made a lucrative trade out of capitalizing on organizations’ cybersecurity debt. We found that 83% of survey respondents have paid a ransom at least once. Worse still, 52% pay the ransom most or all of the time; that’s up 12% from 2021.

Letter: How Covid leaves companies more vulnerable to cyber attack Financial Times Monica Oravcova Traditional cyber security works on the premise that a company or organisation has ringfenced access points — networks that have closed and controlled infrastructure. However in recent years, propelled by Covid-19, the servers have left the room. Decentralised and networked business environments and off-premise devices such as mobile phones and laptops, become single points of failure, regardless of current cyber security controls.


Sweet QuaDreams: a first look at spyware Vendor QuaDream’s exploits, victims, and customers The Citizen Lab Bill Marczak, John Scott-Railton, Astrid Perry, Noura Al-Jizawi, Siena Anstis, Zoe Panday, Emma Lyon, Bahr Abdul Razzak and Ron Deibert QuaDream Ltd is an Israeli company that specialises in the development and sale of advanced digital offensive technology to government clients. The company is known for its spyware marketed under the name “Reign”, which, like NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, reportedly utilises zero-click exploits to hack into target devices. The report has identified at least five civil society victims of QuaDream’s spyware and exploits in North America, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Victims include journalists, political opposition figures, and an NGO worker.

Thanks for reading.

Photo: La Cina di Xi Jinping - Verso un nuovo ordine mondiale sinocentrico?

Gabriele e Nicola Iuvinale

ASE 2023

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