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International press review Extrema Ratio May 11, 2023

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


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The rise of the People's Republic of China represents the most significant foreign policy challenge of the 21st century. In all spheres, from the economy, to technology, to security and the environment, engaging with an increasingly dominant China is both necessary and inevitable. Extrema Ratio provides an objective analysis of the strategic risks posed by the emergence of Chinese state authoritarianism as the dominant geopolitical force.
 



Extrema Ratio

For more than two decades, Steve Coonen served as a U.S. Army artillery officer and foreign affairs officer. After his active duty service, he helped lead the Pentagon’s unit charged with keeping sensitive American technologies away from our adversaries. As the Defense Technology Security Administration’s Senior Foreign Affairs Advisor for China, Steve won top performance awards, including the Award for Excellence from the Office of the Secretary of Defense in July 2020.

La coppia yuan-rublo ha stabilito a marzo la quota record del 39% di scambi sul mercato valutario russo detronizzando quella dollaro-rublo

China

  • Hong Kong passes law to limit work of foreign lawyers in national security cases. The amendment, which was passed unanimously by the Legislative Council, gives the chief executive the power to veto any foreign lawyer from working on cases brought under the 2020 National Security Law. It marks the conclusion of a months-long effort to block a UK lawyer from defending Jimmy Lai. Helen Davidson. The Guardian

  • China and US debt woes likely to dominate G7 talks. Other key themes to be discussed at this week's G7 gathering include ways to strengthen the global financial system, steps to prevent Russia from circumventing sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, and global economic risks such as high inflation, say Japanese officials. Leika Kihara and Tetsushi Kajimoto.Reuters

  • China urges big SOEs to play a key role in its drive to attain self-reliance in technology. China aims to turn state giants into leading tech companies with global influence. The science and technology ministry issued the announcement following a meeting with the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. Reuters

  • The elusive fix for China’s budget crisis. Could property taxes rescue cash-strapped local governments in China? Keith Bradsher. New York Times

  • Business in China just got riskier for Canadians – but this was going to happen anyway. An op-ed by senior members of the newly launched China Strategic Risks Institute. Dennis Kwok and Sam Goodman.The Globe and Mail

  • The full treatment’: China sends a message with raid on consultancy. Crackdown on Capvision, Bain and Mintz is at odds with Beijing’s charm offensive to foreign investors back to the country. Joe Leahy, Ryan McMorrow and Edward White.Financial Times

  • Just how good can China get at AI? The triple shortage of data, hardware and expertise has been a genuine hurdle for Chinese AI ambitions. The Economist

  • Dealing with the threat of Chinese cellular (IoT) modules. The threat from Chinese cellular modules is far greater and more systemic than a danger posed by an individual company or sector, argues Parton. Charles Parton.Council on Geostrategy

  • Meet the Texas startup that recycles rare-earth magnets, bypassing China. Noveon Magnetics one of several firms is building magnet factories in the US to meet demand for domestically manufactured magnets. Amy Feldman. Forbes

China MIlitary

China launched a new cargo mission on Wednesday night to transport supplies to its orbiting Tiangong space station, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

Carrying the Tianzhou-6 cargo craft, a Long March-7 Y7 rocket lifted off at 9:22 p.m. (Beijing Time) from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in the southern island province of Hainan, the agency said.

RFA

Authorities in the southwestern province of Guizhou have hired a state-owned debt management company, as analysts warned of a potential financial crisis sparked by “domino-like” bankruptcies among local authorities.

The Globe and Mail

Open this photo in gallery: Litang Liang was charged with “acting within the United States as an agent of the government of the People’s Republic of China.”HandoutA Boston man with ties to Chinese diplomats has been arrested for an alleged conspiracy to …

Wang Huning, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has stressed unswervingly advancing the cause of national reunification while realizing national rejuvenation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization.

Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks at a conference on Taiwan affairs held in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Channel News Asia

China's e-commerce giant JD.com Inc, said on Thursday that its chief executive Xu Lei will step down and the chief financial official of the company will take over the position.

Channel News Asia

China's securities watchdog on Thursday said that it was willing to work with its counterparts in the United States to promote audit regulatory cooperation and safeguard the rights and interests of global investors.

Channel News Asia

According to the sixth Synthesis Report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in March, over the last 50 years, climate change has likely slowed growth in agricultural productivity across the globe.

CNN

China has appointed the head of its powerful new financial watchdog, which was created as part of sweeping reforms aimed at reining in the $60 trillion industry. Li Yunze, a career banker working for decades at China’s state-owned lenders …

Al Jazeera

Hu Mingdan, a civil servant in eastern China, prided herself on landing a job known as an “iron rice bowl” – the kind where you don’t worry about being laid off or chasing payment. That is until late last year when, for the first time in more than 10 years …

Channel News Asia

China's increasingly urgent efforts to tip its mountain of savings into the economy are running up against depositors shy of all but the safest investments, in the latest sign that weak confidence is holding back post-pandemic …

Channel News Asia

Chinese regulators have told securities firms to strengthen compliance over controlling the spread of sensitive information as well as expert invitation and interviews, the official Securities Times reported on Thursday, citing brokerage sources …

CNBC

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) building in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, April 18, 2023. China's economy grew at the fastest pace in a year in the first quarter, putting Beijing on track to meet its growth goal for the year without adding major …

CNN

China’s first few months of reopening to the world hasn’t gone as planned for global businesses. In recent weeks, a slew of blue-chip firms have pointed to a patchy recovery in the world’s second largest economy, forcing some executives …

Channel News Asia

Chinese banks extended 718.8 billion yuan ($103.99 billion) in new yuan loans in April, tumbling from March and sharply missing analysts' estimates. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast new yuan loans would drop to 1.4 trillion yuan last …

The New York Times

Across China, many local governments are on the brink of insolvency. Some cities have reduced pay for civil servants. Cuts to municipal health insurance have triggered street protests. Central government bailouts are a possibility to rescue cities from …

China's vehicle sales in April rose 82.7 per cent year-on-year versus a gain of 9.7 per cent in the previous month, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said on Thursday. At its monthly press conference, the industry …

Channel News Asia

China's securities watchdog on Thursday said that it was willing to work with the United States counterparts to promote audit regulator cooperation and safeguard the rights and interests of global investors. The comment from the China …

Forbes

Shares in China electric vehicle maker Li Auto soared by 13.9% to an eight-month high of $28.22 in Nasdaq trading today after it said first-quarter sales nearly doubled from a year earlier and a year-earlier loss reversed to profit.

The Financial Times

Disney sharply reduced its losses from video streaming in the second quarter, US inflation dipped to its lowest level since April 2021, and the FT’s Joe Leahy explains China’s crackdown on foreign business due diligence firms, including Capvision, Bain and Mintz.

In February, as Xinhua reported, China’s legislature adopted “a decision on adjusting the application of some provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law for the military during wartime.” The decision enables the Central Military Commission to adjust such provisions as “jurisdiction, defense and representation, compulsory measures, case filings, investigation, prosecution, trial, and the implementation of sentences” in China’s Criminal Procedure Law for wartime.

Reuters

China's use of yuan to buy Russian commodities surges since Ukraine war Speeds China's quest to internationalise yuan, but still long way to goYuan's share in Russia's import settlements in 2022 rises to 23% from 4% Imports of Russian oil, …

Reuters

China's securities watchdog on Thursday said that it was willing to work with its counterparts in the United States to promote audit regulatory cooperation and safeguard the rights and interests of global investors.

Reuters

China has decreased its second batch of export quota volumes for refined oil products, consultancies and trader sources said on Thursday, focusing on local demand during the refinery overhaul season and boosting domestic sales amid poor export margins.

The Wall Street Journal

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank, issued a report in February that describes how China has increasingly used “a range of economic and non-economic tools to punish, influence and deter foreign governments in its foreign relations.” This overseas coercion is a threat to free speech and democracy, and it merits a unified Western response.

China urges giant state firms to be tech 'pillars' in self-reliance drive Reuters Kevin Yao China has urged big state-owned enterprises to play a key role in its drive to attain self-reliance in technology, raising the stakes in the race amid rifts with the United States.

China chip imports shrink as trade ties with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan weaken in the face of US restrictions South China Morning Post Ann Cao China’s chip imports continued to slump in the first four months of 2023 amid a global semiconductor industry downturn and continued value chain adjustments in the face of ongoing US restrictions on the export of advanced chips and semiconductor equipment to the country.

Innovent Biologics, Inc. (Innovent) (HKEX: 01801), a world-class biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and commercializes high-quality medicines for the treatment of oncology, metabolic, autoimmune, ophthalmology and other major diseases, today announced that the phase 2 clinical study of higher dose (9 mg) mazdutide (Innovent R&D Code: IBI362) in Chinese adults with obesity achieved the 24-week primary endpoint.

Belt and Road

Channel News Asia

China's GEM Co Ltd, a battery and material recycler, announced on Thursday a $500 million joint investment to build a nickel project in Indonesia. The project, sited in Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park, will produce 20,000 tonnes per year …

Global Times

Chinese people believe that letters are as valuable as gold. For thousands of years, letters, across mountains and oceans, have been delivering writers' sentiments and conveying friendship and expectations.

Seetao

"Recently, the Chinese Foreign Minister and the Pakistani Foreign Minister met in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. During the conversation, China and Pakistan jointly issued a statement that the Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will be extended to Afghanistan. Prior to this, the Taliban in Afghanistan had already made such applications when they met with senior officials from both China and Pakistan. According to previous assessments, once the Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor are settled in Afghanistan, billions of dollars in infrastructure funds will be brought in, especially the construction and improvement of Afghanistan’s railway network and highway system, which will be greatly relieved. At the same time, once the infrastructure project is confirmed, it is very likely that Chinese companies will undertake the construction, which can increase many jobs for local Afghans."

Seetao

"On May 10, 2023, Sun Honghong, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee and General Manager of CEEC, held talks with Raad Sander, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of ACWA Power, at the company headquarters. The two sides conducted candid exchanges on continuing to strengthen cooperation in the global clean energy field and signed a strategic cooperation agreement. The two parties innovated the cooperation model, promoted the smooth performance of the project from the source, and took the signing of the strategic cooperation agreement as an opportunity to further enhance mutual trust, mutual benefit and win-win, carry on the past and open up the future, and strengthen cooperation in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and China's domestic markets, in order to practice The Green Middle East, the Green Saudi Initiative and the Belt and Road Initiative have contributed more."

Seetao

Dubai-based tech investment firm Mensha Ventures has signed preliminary agreements with Chinese companies to invest $1 billion in sustainable energy projects in the Gulf Cooperation Council country.

Seetao

Shahbaz Sharif, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is paying an official visit to the People's Republic of China on invitation from 1 to 2 November 2022. This is Prime Minister Shabazz's first visit to China since taking office.

USA

  • President Biden will host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an official state visit on Jun. 22, the White House said yesterday. Biden has been eager to strengthen relations with India to win what he has framed as a contest between free and autocratic societies, especially China. Reuters reports.

  • US sanctions on Chinese defence minister jeopardise chances of top-level dialogue. US defence secretary Lloyd Austin wants to meet Li Shangfu, China’s new defence minister, at the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore in June. However Li was placed under sanctions by the US in 2018 in relation to Chinese imports of Russian arms when he was serving as a general. Legally Li can meet Austin outside of the US, but China is unlikely to agree to a meeting while the sanctions remain in place. Demetri Sevastopulo. Financial Times

  • Audits by PwC and KPMG in China contained ‘unacceptable’ flaws, US regulator says. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board found deficiencies in audits it examined by KPMG Huazhen in mainland China and PwC’s Hong Kong operation. PCAOB inspectors had previously been blocked by Beijing until an agreement was reached last year. Stephen Foley. Financial Times

  • U.S. Government Watchdog Finds Deficiencies in Chinese Auditing Practices. An information-sharing agreement that Washington and Beijing signed in 2022 allowed the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to discover unacceptable deficiencies (Reuters) in Chinese auditors’ reviews of U.S.-listed Chinese companies, the board said. China’s securities watchdog offered to work with its U.S. counterparts (Reuters) to overcome the differences.

  • Daily U.S.-Mexico border crossings have exceeded 10,000 as migrants seek to enter the United States before Title 42 ends. The surge is happening as a new regulation was introduced yesterday that presumes most migrants are ineligible for asylum if they passed through other nations without seeking protection elsewhere first or if they failed to use legal pathways to enter the United States. The new rule is a key part of President Biden’s border enforcement plan, as Title 42 is set to end just before midnight. Michael Roy Blake and Ted Hesson report for Reuters.

  • The Biden administration is preparing a memo that will direct Customs and Border Protection to begin releasing migrants into the U.S. without court dates or the ability to track them, according to three sources familiar with the plans. Migrants were previously released without court dates to alleviate overcrowding in March 2021. However, those migrants had been enrolled in a program known as Alternatives to Detention, which required them to check in on a mobile app until given a court date. Julia Ainsley reports for NBC News.

  • Nearly 30,000 humanitarian visas were issued by Mexico to migrants in April, more than triple the monthly average in the first three months of the year. Local Mexican aid groups and migrants say that over the last several weeks, people have been crossing more easily into Mexico from Guatemala, with Mexican security forces abandoning some of their outposts on the country’s southern border. James Fredrick reports for the New York Times.

  • House Republicans have unveiled what they say are records of $10 million in payments to members of the Biden family from foreign entities. Oversight Committee Chair James Comer said President Biden’s relatives had used the family name to enrich themselves, and the president was “involved.” The report itself does not substantiate these claims or implicate Biden. It does not allege illegal conduct. Kayla Epstein reports for BBC News.

  • The FBI yesterday declined to provide House Oversight Chair James Comer with an internal law enforcement document that some Republicans claim will show President Biden was involved in an illegal scheme. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray justified the refusal by saying it was necessary to protect “sources and methods and ongoing investigations.” Christopher Dunham, acting assistant director for the FBI’s office of congressional affairs, warned against relying solely on this document, as it includes unverified allegations to draw conclusions. Sara Murray and Evan Perez report for CNN.

  • Adam Smith (D-WA), ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, yesterday ripped into his Republican colleagues for postponing a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) markup. Smith accused the Republicans of taking the debt ceiling increase “hostage,” which he said would jeopardize national security. House Armed Services Committee Republicans on Tuesday announced the panel was pushing back plans to mark up the fiscal 2024 NDAA, set to start this week. Ellen Mitchell reports for The Hill.

  • Senators unveiled two bills yesterday under which the National Archives would screen documents leaving the White House for classified material. The legislation would require all 18 agencies in the intelligence community to develop an insider threat program and monitor user activity on all classified networks for possible signs of a breach. Also included are several requirements to push U.S. intelligence to declassify more information and restrict how secrets are shared. Nomaan Merchant reports for AP News.

RFA

The opening of the U.S. embassy in the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa follows the reopening of the U.S. embassy in the Solomon Islands in February after a three decade absence. The United States also has said it wants embassies in Vanuatu and Kiribati in addition to its existing missions in countries such as Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

NBC News

President Joe Biden on Wednesday said ongoing debt ceiling negotiations could disrupt plans to meet with allies in Japan and Australia this month and force him to participate in the summits virtually instead of traveling abroad. With the …

The New York Times

Last October, construction plans for a hulking semiconductor factory owned by a major state-backed company in central China fell into disarray.

Reuters

When an alleged Chinese spy balloon traversed the United States in February, some U.S. officials were confident the incursion would galvanize the U.S. bureaucracy to push forward a slate of actions to counter China.

US, Canada sent cyber experts to Latvia to bolster digital defenses The Record by Recorded Future Martin Matishak U.S. Cyber Command recently finished a second mission to Latvia meant to strengthen the Baltic nation’s networks against digital attacks and uncover malicious activity that could be used against the U.S. and its allies.

Mass event will let hackers test limits of AI technology Associated Press Matt O’Brien No sooner did ChatGPT get unleashed than hackers started “jailbreaking” the artificial intelligence chatbot — trying to override its safeguards so it could blurt out something unhinged or obscene. But now its maker, OpenAI, and other major AI providers such as Google and Microsoft, are coordinating with the Biden administration to let thousands of hackers take a shot at testing the limits of their technology.

American psychology group issues recommendations for kids’ social media use TechCrunch Taylor Hatmaker One of the most prominent mental health organizations in the U.S. is out with a set guidelines designed to protect children from the potential harms of social media. The American Psychological Association issued its first ever health advisory on social media use Tuesday, addressing mounting concerns about how social networks designed for adults can negatively impact adolescents.

Automation giant faces U.S. government probe over China operations The Wall Street Journal Vivian Salama The Biden administration is investigating whether Rockwell Automation, one of the world’s largest industrial technology and information companies, is exposing critical U.S. infrastructure, military and other government assets to a potentially serious cyberattack through one of its China-based facilities, according to U.S. officials and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

CEO of ChatGPT maker OpenAI to testify to Congress The Washington Post Cristiano Lima OpenAI CEO Sam Altman will testify to Congress for the first-time next week, the latest sign that policymakers in Washington are ratcheting up scrutiny of artificial intelligence as the technology booms in Silicon Valley.

Tracing the Odnoklassniki Profile of the Texas Mall Shooter Bellingcat Aric Toler In the days since nine people (including the gunman) were shot and killed at a mall in Allen, Texas, investigators and journalists have been looking to trace the online footprint of the shooter, named by authorities as 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia. An Odnoklassniki (OK) account containing identification documents displaying Garcia’s name and date of birth, what appear to be diary entries and a declaration posted shortly before the shooting point to this being the primary social profile of the shooter.

Tucker Carlson, still under contract at Fox, says he will start show on Twitter The New York Times Jeremy W. Peters, Benjamin Mullin and Ryan Mac The former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, declaring, “We’re back,” said on Tuesday that he was starting a new show on Twitter, a sign that negotiations to reach an amicable separation with the network, where he is still under contract, had broken down.

Food distribution giant Sysco warns of data breach after cyberattack Bleeping Computer Sergiu Gatlan Sysco, a leading global food distribution company, has confirmed that its network was breached earlier this year by attackers who stole sensitive information, including business, customer, and employee data. In an internal memo sent to employees on May 3rd and seen by BleepingComputer, the company revealed that customer and supplier data in the U.S. and Canada, as well as personal information belonging to U.S. employees, may have been impacted in the incident.

Americas

  • Ecuador and China sign free trade agreement. The FTA, which still needs to be ratified by Ecuador’s national assembly, would allow preferential access for 99 per cent of exports to China. The deal is likely to face resistance in Ecuador’s opposition-led congress, where President Guillermo Lasso faces possible impeachment on embezzlement charges. Depending on the outcome of a trial next week, the president may no longer be in office when the deal reaches the legislature. Joe Daniels.Financial Times

  • Brazil/Ukraine: A foreign affairs advisor to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, met with President Zelenksyy (AP) and Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister in Kyiv yesterday to discuss the war. The meeting came after Lula drew criticism from Western nations for refusing to send weapons to Ukraine and saying that Kyiv shares some of the blame for Russia’s invasion.

Brazil's crusading justice Moraes ratchets up fight with global tech giants Reuters Ricardo Brito The head of Brazil's electoral authority, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, delivered a stern warning to the world's top tech companies on Wednesday, saying he would not let them undermine Brazil's democracy.

North Asia

  • Toyota plans big electric vehicle push in China. Forecasts predict a 10% increase in annual operating profit to US$22bn. Koji Sato, who took over as CEO this month, is tasked with maintaining its lead in an industry that is rapidly shifting to electric vehicles and navigating geopolitical risks posed by the US-China dispute. Kana Inagaki. Financial Times

  • South Korea will be vulnerable to incursions by North Korea’s drones for years to come, according to the intelligence reports leaked on Discord. The revelations come after five North Korean drones flew deep into South Korea on Dec. 26, including one that pierced the no-fly zone around Seoul’s presidential office. In response, the military scrambled fighter jets and helicopters but failed to shoot any of the drones down. Alex Horton, Min Joo Kim, and Michelle Ye Hee Lee report for the Washington Post.

The Guardian

On a Thursday afternoon in Taipei, it was 26 August 2025 and China’s military had just fired a missile into the city, hitting an apartment block. Chinese navy ships had massed in the Taiwan Strait and war was expected. It was all hands on deck.

Southeast Asia

The Wire

Eliot Chen

Thanks to Indonesia’s strategic position in the Indo-Pacific — its islands bisect key maritime trading routes linking Europe, Oceania and Asia — the West is looking to strengthen relations with the country and counterbalance its growing ties to China. Some analysts have noted with alarm that China-Indonesia relations have improved under the current president, Joko Widodo (better known as Jokowi), who prides himself as Indonesia’s “infrastructure president.” “Jokowi has a lot of interest in forging ties with China — not because of ideological affinity, but because he’s always been more pragmatic,” says Gatra Priyandita, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, who also studies Indonesian foreign policy. “China provides solutions to two of Indonesia’s biggest challenges: infrastructure and human capital. The U.S. doesn’t invest nearly as much as China has.”

Southeast Asia's space race chases wins in tourism, communications Nikkei Asia Kosuke Inoue and Yuichi Shiga A new space race is heating up in Southeast Asia, with Thailand and Vietnam pursuing business opportunities in communications satellites and space tourism.

How big is China’s footprint in Southeast Asia’s telecom sector? The Diplomat James Guild Because telecommunications play a pivotal role in the collection and transmission of information, geopolitics and national security are often inseparable from more mundane commercial interests when countries build national data networks. This has become increasingly acute as there are only a few companies in the world capable of providing next generation network infrastructure, and China’s Huawei is one of them. With tension between the United States and China on the rise, telecommunications is becoming an increasingly fraught area of international competition and this has started to filter down into Southeast Asia.

Reuters

A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever. Wall Street and world markets cheered below-consensus U.S. inflation on Wednesday, but they may not be so accommodating if Chinese inflation on Thursday also undershoots …

The Diplomat

Thailand’s upcoming election is unlikely to resolve the paralysis that has gripped Thai politics and society for much of the twenty-first century. Once again, the election will mark the culmination of an elite level struggle between conservative royalists and supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

South & Central Asia

  • Pakistani Authorities Arrest Leaders of Former Premier’s Party Amid Protests. Islamabad police said they arrested several leaders (Dawn) of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party for “inciting violent protests” in the wake of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s arrest on corruption charges earlier this week.

  • At least seven people were killed and dozens injured in nationwide protests against the arrest of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, as a judge extended his detention by eight days. Khan pleaded not guilty at a hearing yesterday, a day after his arrest in a corruption case. Saeed Shah and Waqar Gillani report for the Wall Street Journal.

  • Pro-government media in Azerbaijan are not inclined to sit out the election in Turkey. They have been active in cheerleading for the re-election of the incumbent, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But such partisanship could complicate Azerbaijan’s strategic partnership with Turkey if the election results don’t go Erdogan’s way.

  • Armenia, meanwhile, has been watching the Turkish elections with interest and guarded expectations. Armenian analysts would prefer to see the defeat of Erdogan, who oversaw Turkey's extensive military support for Azerbaijan in the 2020 Second Karabakh War.

  • Armenia/Azerbaijan: The countries blamed each other for an exchange of fire (RFE/RL) along their shared border this morning. Azerbaijan said a member of its military was killed. The European Union is set to mediate peace talks between the two sides this weekend.

  • The foreign minister in Ankara said last week that his country would close its airspace to Armenian flights in response to a new monument that was erected in Yerevan commemorating a program to assassinate perpetrators of the Armenian genocide.

  • Russia has lifted visa-free travel for Georgians and scrapped a ban on direct flights between the two countries in what appears to the Kremlin’s reward to Tbilisi for refraining from open criticism of the Ukraine invasion. Under new rules coming into effect on May 15, Georgians will be allowed to visit Russia for up to 90 days without a visa.

  • Azerbaijan has agreed with Formula 1 that Baku will continue hosting Grand Prix races for the next three years. Many in the country were looking forward to the expiration of the previous deal this year as they argue the races have not benefited the country.

  • Azerbaijan is trying to present a new border checkpoint as a demonstration of how peacefully Karabakh Armenians could live under Azerbaijani rule. But they continue to face deep skepticism from Armenians who are refusing to use the crossing and submit to Azerbaijani border control.

  • India: Police said they arrested five people (CNN) in connection to a series of bombings that occurred this week near the city of Amritsar’s Golden Temple, the holiest shrine in Sikhism.

India’s religious AI chatbots are speaking in the voice of god — and condoning violence Rest of World Nadia Nooreyezdan In January 2023, when ChatGPT was setting new growth records, Bengaluru-based software engineer Sukuru Sai Vineet launched GitaGPT. The chatbot, powered by GPT-3 technology, provides answers based on the Bhagavad Gita, a 700-verse Hindu scripture. In the Bhagavad Gita, according to Vineet, Krishna plays a therapist of sorts for the character Arjuna. A religious AI bot works in a similar manner, Vineet told Rest of World, “except you’re not actually talking to Krishna. You’re talking to a bot that’s pretending to be him.” Experts have warned that chatbots being allowed to play god might have unintended, and dangerous, consequences. Rest of World found that some of the answers generated by the Gita bots lack filters for casteism, misogyny, and even law. Three of these bots, for instance, say it is acceptable to kill another if it is one’s dharma or duty.

China's unilateral suspension of fishing activities in the waters under Việt Nam's sovereignty in the East Sea is void, said the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Australia

  • Australian budget outlines AUD 1.9bn package to expand engagement with Pacific Island countries. The Australian defence force will expand engagement with Pacific Island countries ‘including through the provision of security infrastructure and maritime security capability’. Daniel Hurst.The Guardian

Voice of America

Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell arrives in Beijing Thursday to urge China to ease sweeping import restrictions. Human rights and national security disputes prompted China to impose trade strikes on a range of Australian exports in 2020.

Plan for Australian spaceports axed as federal budget cuts run deep The Sydney Morning Herald Angus Dalton The government has axed a plan to bankroll spaceports and rocket launch facilities in Australia as part of funding cuts to the space industry that could stall critical momentum in the sector, industry figures have warned.

TechnologyOne suffers cyber attack, shares in trading halt The Australian David Swan Shares in Australian enterprise tech giant TechnologyOne are in a trading halt after a cyber attack, with an investigation now underway. The software outfit told shareholders on Wednesday that an unauthorised third-party acted illegally to access its internal Microsoft 365 back-office system.

Home Affairs lands $37.3m for cyber security iTnews Ry Crozier Home Affairs has landed $37.3 million over the next four-and-a-bit years for its growing cyber security responsibilities, including as the home of the national office for cyber security.

Watchdog bolstered to take on bullies The Australian David Swan A spike in cyber-bullying and “deepfake” sex-based attacks ­online will see the eSafety commissioner’s funding soar, with ­annual base funding to rise by $132.1m over four years.

NZ & Pacific Islands

Biden to sign defence pact in Papua New Guinea, with eyes on China Reuters Kirsty Needham U.S. President Joe Biden will sign defence and surveillance agreements with Papua New Guinea, the island nation's foreign minister said, on a visit that renews the strategic importance of the nation where Biden's uncle died in World War Two. A separate agreement to allow the U.S. Coast Guard to patrol PNG's vast exclusive economic zone, with PNG officials on board as "ship riders", also will be signed and cover satellite surveillance, he said in an interview.

Ukraine - Russia

  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said his country needs more time to launch a much-anticipated counter-offensive against Russian forces as the military awaits the delivery of promised aid. Zelenskyy described the new combat brigades as being “ready” but said the military still needed “some things”, including armored vehicles that were “arriving in batches.” Hugo Bachega reports for BBC News.

  • Ukraine Makes Gains Near Bakhmut, Says It Needs More Time for Counteroffensive. Ukrainian troops have advanced against Russian fighters (RFE/RL), gaining roughly 3 square kilometers (1.2 square miles) outside the embattled city of Bakhmut, officials on both sides said. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kyiv needs more time (BBC) to prepare for a broader counteroffensive against Russia, as it is still awaiting deliveries of promised aid.

  • Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, who heads Ukraine’s ground forces, said Russian units in parts of Bakhmut had retreated by up to 1.2 miles due to counterattacks. Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the paramilitary organization Wagner group, who has repeatedly accused Moscow’s regular armed forces of failing to support his men, said on Tuesday that a Russian brigade had abandoned its positions in Bakhmut. The Guardian reports.

  • India’s imports of Russian oil rose tenfold last year, according to the Indian state-controlled Bank of Baroda. Russia has been selling energy at a discount to countries like China and India. India has saved around $5 billion by purchasing Russian oil. Despite pressure from the United States and Europe, India has refused to adhere to Western sanctions on Russian imports. BBC News reports.

  • Former President Trump repeatedly refused to say whether he supported Ukraine or Russia duringyesterday’s first televised town hall of the 2024 presidential election. Trump said he thought Russian President Vladimir Putin made a mistake in invading Ukraine but would not label him a war criminal. Surveys show that Republicans increasingly oppose U.S. support for Ukraine’s war effort. Anthony Zurcher reports for BBC News.

A mysterious new hacker group is lurking in Ukraine’s cyberspace WIRED Lily Hay Newman Researchers from the security firm Malwarebytes say that they've been tracking a new hacking group that has been conducting espionage operations since 2020 against both pro-Ukraine targets in central Ukraine and pro-Russia targets in eastern Ukraine.

Europe

  • Germany to proceed with Chinese port deal despite security concerns. The German government said yesterday it will proceed with a controversial plan to sell a 24.99% stake in Hamburg port terminal to China's state-owned Cosco. Hans von der Burchard. Politico

  • Germany Approves COSCO Stake in Hamburg Port Terminal. Port logistics firm HHLA said on Wednesday the German government has cleared the purchase by China’s Cosco of a 24.9% stake in a container terminal in the sea port of Hamburg, amid a political row over Chinese investment in the German economy. gCaptain

  • French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and her Chinese counterpart Qin Gang agreed to “develop an economic relationship that is both stronger and more balanced,” the foreign ministry in Paris said yesterday. Colonna reminded Qin “that China had an important role to play in convincing Russia to return to full compliance with the U.N. Charter, in particular the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.” Reuters reports.

  • China/France: Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with his French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, yesterday in Paris, where the diplomats discussed (SCMP) expanding economic ties and the war in Ukraine.

  • Foreign ministers for Turkey, Syria, Russia, and Iran met yesterday in Moscow, marking the highest-level talks on rebuilding ties between Turkey and Syria after years of tension during Syria’s civil war.Reuters reports.

  • Serbians have surrendered over 3,000 pieces of weaponry in the first two days of a gun amnesty introduced after two mass shootings that killed 17 people, President Aleksandar Vucic said yesterday. Tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition have also been handed in. Reuters reports.

  • The Georgian prime minister’s decision to speak at a prominent conservative forum in Budapest has showcased his flirtation with populist Western figures and raised concerns about the ruling party's rightward ideological turn. Irakli Garibashvili addressed the conference right before populist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Reuters

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, May 9, 2023. REUTERS/Staff European stocks shrug off Asia wobbles to push higher Bank of England expected to hike rates by 25 bps to 4.5% Dollar …

MEPs to vote on proposed ban on ‘Big Brother’ AI facial recognition on streets The Guardian Lisa O'Carroll Moves to ban live “Big Brother” real time facial recognition technology from being deployed across the streets of the EU or by border officials will be tested in a key vote at the European parliament on Thursday.

In global rush to regulate AI, Europe set to be trailblazer Associated Press Kelvin Chan The EU’s AI Act could become the de facto global standard for artificial intelligence, with companies and organizations potentially deciding that the sheer size of the bloc’s single market would make it easier to comply than develop different products for different regions.

Austria to join countries banning TikTok from government phones Reuters Francois Murphy Austria will join the growing list of countries banning Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok from government employees' work phones, Interior Minister Gerhard Karner said on Wednesday.

UK

  • UK MPs urge minister to do more to free Hongkongers’ trapped retirement savings. A letter signed by more than 90 MPs, including 10 former ministers, calls on the trade minister Dominic Johnson to address the issue. Patrick Wintour.The Guardian

  • New China-focused think tank launches in Westminster. The China Strategic Risks Institute (CSRI) is set to produce analysis on the strategic risks and opportunities posed by the rise of China, covering geopolitics, economics, and security. The think tank is led by executive director and former Hong Kong lawmaker Dennis Kwok. Twitter

The Telegraph

Chinese state media has lashed out at Liz Truss over her planned trip to Taiwan next week, calling the former prime minister a “washed-up political figure” seeking to boost her image among Conservative Party hardliners. Ms Truss will deliver a speech - “ …

Daily Express

A spokesperson for the Communist Government in Beijing has warned Liz Truss that her speech in Taipei next week could risk making a takeover of the island by China more likely, and threatened that she will “live to see the unification of Taiwan with …

Briton pleads guilty in US to 2020 Twitter hack BBC Joe Tidy and Antoinette Radford A British national extradited to the US last month has pleaded guilty in New York to a role in one of the biggest hacks in social media history. The July 2020 Twitter hack affected over 130 accounts including those of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Joseph James O'Connor, 23, known as PlugwalkJoe, pleaded guilty to hacking charges carrying a total maximum sentence of over 70 years in prison. The hacking was part of a large-scale Bitcoin scam.

Outdated IT systems threaten UK food security and air quality, say MPs The Guardian Helena Horton Food security and air quality in the UK are being put at risk by outdated IT systems at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), a parliamentary committee has found. MPs have said the situation “cannot continue” as officials are having to use paper forms rather than digital systems to track fast-moving animal disease and keep food, air and water safe. In some cases, the report says, systems are so old that they have no protection from cyber-attacks.

Capita says responding to ransomware attack will cost up to £20 million The Record by Recorded Future Alexander Martin Capita, the British outsourcing company hit by a ransomware attack in March, said on Wednesday the incident will cost up to £20 million ($25 million) to respond to. The expenses have been attributed to “specialist professional fees, recovery and remediation costs and investment to reinforce Capita’s cyber security environment,” according to a statement sent to The Record.

Risk of cyber-attack is main Eurovision worry, says BBC executive The Guardian Josh Halliday The risk of a cyber-attack is the “main worry” for broadcasters staging the Eurovision song contest on behalf of war-torn Ukraine, a BBC executive has said. Experts from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre have been drafted in to help thwart any attempts by pro-Russian hackers to sabotage the competition’s public vote on Saturday.

BBC

"Attempts by foreign governments to coerce, intimidate, harass or harm their critics overseas, undermining democracy and the rule of law, are unacceptable. We are committed to tackling these challenges wherever they originate."

Middle East

  • Israel’s military has killed the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) rocket launching force in a pre-dawn air strike on an apartment in Gaza. Yesterday, militants fired 507 rockets and mortars at Israel, and the Israeli armed forces struck 158 PIJ targets in Gaza. David Gritten and Rushdi Abu Alouf report for BBC News.

  • Israel, Gaza Continue to Trade Air Strikes Despite Efforts to Broker Truce. Egyptian state media said Cairo had brokered a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, yet the Israeli military announced that it killed another commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group today. Gaza’s health ministry said twenty-five Palestinians have been killed in the fighting (AP).

  • Israel: The International Monetary Fund warned that uncertainty over the status of Israel’s planned judicial overhaul presents a “notable downside risk” (Times of Israel) to the country’s economy.

Global surveillance: The secretive Swiss dealer enabling Israeli spy firms Haaretz Crofton Black and Omer Benjakob A day before he was shot dead getting into his car outside his home in Chilpancingo, the capital of the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, journalist Fredid Román Román’s phone number was silently pinged in what confidential data seen by Lighthouse Reports, Haaretz and partners seems to suggest was an attempt to geolocate the reporter using a loophole in the mobile phone system.

Africa

  • Conflict in Sudan puts Chinese loans at risk. The Sudanese conflict has disrupted an IMF-backed reform programme and further jeopardised Khartoum’s ability to repay its creditors, including China. Sudan’s outstanding debts to China stood at US$5.12bn in early 2022, according to Sudanese central bank documents. James Kynge and Andres Schipani. Financial Times

  • Western Nations Urge UN Rights Body to Monitor Abuses in Sudan. A grouping of mostly Western countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, called for the UN Human Rights Council to increase its monitoring (Reuters) of abuses in Sudan’s conflict during an emergency meeting of the council today. The Sudanese ambassador to the body opposed the suggestion, saying the conflict is an internal matter.

  • South Africa: Foreign minister Naledi Pandor said the BRICS grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa will discuss the possibility of adopting a common currency (Bloomberg) at their Johannesburg summit in August. Some emerging markets are weighing whether to abandon the U.S. dollar as the global trading currency.

Military

Janes

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is looking to accelerate co-operation with allies and partner countries in the area of science and technology (S&T) development, as a way to maintain a technological advantage over near-peer adversaries such as China.

The push for more international collaboration in the S&T realm is one of three major pillars in the department's newly released National Defense Science and Technology Strategy, officially unveiled on 9 May. The new strategy will seek to not only enhance co-development initiatives among US allies on advanced technologies, but also bring a more joint focus into internal technology test and development initiatives within the US armed forces.

USNI News

The Pentagon is taking the first steps to provide Guam with a persistent, 360-degree missile defense system against Chinese and North Korean attack, Missile Defense Agency director Vice Adm. Jon Hill told a Senate panel Tuesday.

China Military

The 11th strategic dialogue between the Chinese and New Zealand militaries was held in Xi'an, China, on May 10. The two sides candidly exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern, and expressed their willingness to jointly promote military exchanges and cooperation.

Janes

The Australian government has signed a deal with Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA) to procure the company's Multi Ammunition Softkill System (MASS).

The Department of Defence (DoD) in Canberra said on 5 May that the MASS decoy system will be integrated onto the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) Anzac-class frigates and Hobart-class destroyers.

USNI News

The perception that Southeast Asian nations tend to yield to Chinese coercion at sea overlooks the brave efforts of regional navies and coast guards to assert their national sovereignty. Those efforts can and should be bolstered and amplified.

Janes

Poland is to equip its soon-to-be-delivered Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Fighting Eagle light combat aircraft with the Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP).

Defence One

To the commander of U.S. SOCOM, what matters most is whether we solve the problem our nation needs solved.

Janes

Japan's biggest defence companies – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) – have said they expect orders for military equipment to expand rapidly on the back of the country's growing defence budget.

The companies reported on 10 May strong increases in defence-related revenues and profits for fiscal year (FY) 2022. The two firms also said that Japan's new defence policies – released in December 2022 – are projected to result in increased demand for their defence products.

MHI and KHI are at the forefront of Japan's defence industrial base. Both companies are involved in developing and producing military aircraft, land systems, electronics, missiles, and naval vessels including submarines.

MHI said sales for FY 2022 from its Aircraft, Defense & Space (ADS) business unit climbed 2% year on year to JPY619.4 billion (USD4.6 billion), or 15% of group revenues. ADS operating profit jumped 66% to JPY39.9 billion, equal to 20% of group profits.

Global Times

China's carrier-based aviation force celebrated its 10th anniversary on Wednesday, with observers saying that the country's carrier-based warplane development and pilot training programs have entered the fast lane.

Interfax-Ukraine

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has expanded the scheme for recruiting Russian convicts to participate in hostilities in Ukraine from the beginning of 2023. According to a defense intelligence report published on Twitter by the Ministry …

Global Times

China delivered two Type 054A/P frigates to Pakistan on Wednesday, indicating that all four warships of this class have been commissioned into the Pakistan Navy.

Armenpress

The Armenian Ministry of Defense has warned that some Telegram accounts of unknown origin are spreading disinformation about the number of wounded troops amid the ongoing Azerbaijani artillery and mortar …

According to HTF Market Intelligence, the Global Air Defence System market is to witness a CAGR of 7.5% during the forecast period (2023-2029). The Latest Released Air Defence System Market Research assesses the future growth potential of the Air Defence System market and provides information and useful statistics on market structure and size.

Activities begin this month across 10 countries in Europe and continue through June as part of a U.S. Army-led exercise DEFENDER 2023, which U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa is supporting in several ways.

WMGT 41 - Georgia

The arrival of the E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) aircraft marks a new mission at Robins Air Force Base, aiming to improve the nation's military defense by strengthening communication between units.

Manufacturing Business Technology

Lockheed Martin said it believes in the potential for hybrid airships to transform global transport and has been in search of a transition partner to continue development of commercial work. Now the company's hybrid airship IP and related assets have …

ARKA

Using mortars and artillery Azerbaijani troops have been firing at Armenian positions since 6 am Thursday outside the village of Sotk in Gegharkunik province, the Armenian Defense Ministry reported.

Global Village Space

Former prime minister Imran Khan has gone from being the chosen one to a thorn in the side of Pakistan’s military — long considered the nation’s political power brokers. His arrest this week — after delivering another broadside against a senior …

South Africa Today

The Australian military has started saving money to fund the nuclear submarine project while dealing with rampant inflation, the outlet of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said on Wednesday.

The general in charge of the Northern Command told Congress this week that the United States is falling behind both China and Russia in developing and fielding ultra-high speed hypersonic missiles.

Tampa Bays 10 - Florida

The rocket's mission was to carry 51 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit, according to a SpaceX press release.

The Defence Post

Armenia and Azerbaijan blamed each other for an exchange of fire along their restive border, which killed one person and wounded four.

The Defence Post

Six Malian soldiers have been killed and nine wounded after a rare attack in the country’s west, police and local sources told AFP on Wednesday. The troops died on Monday near the town of Kita, 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the capital Bamako, a police source said, without specifying the nature of the ambush or the perpetrators.

Big Tech

The lawyer whose sex trafficking case against Instagram could spell trouble for big tech The Guardian Mei-Ling McNamara The plaintiff was a 23-year-old woman, who had endured years of sexual exploitation at the hands of a convicted trafficker. The defendant was one of the most powerful technology companies in the world. Contained within McAdams’s federal suit was a series of allegations that Meta – the owner of Facebook and Instagram, which are used by more than 3 billion people every day – had knowingly created a breeding ground for human trafficking and was actively facilitating the buying and selling of people for sex online.

Artificial Intelligence

Here are the top skills you will need for an ‘A.I.-powered future,’ according to new Microsoft data CNBC Goh Chiew Tong Working alongside artificial intelligence will be “as inherent” as how we work with the internet — and employees need to equip themselves with skills for this new future. That is according to Microsoft’s new Work Trend Index report, which surveyed 31,000 people across 31 markets between February and March 2023.

AI will create ‘a serious number of losers’, warns DeepMind co-founder Financial Times George Hammond Advances in artificial intelligence will threaten white-collar workers and create “a serious number of losers” over the next decade, according to one of the co-founders of AI lab DeepMind who has pioneered the technology.

Scammer made thousands selling 'leaked' Frank Ocean tracks that were fake, AI-generated VICE Joseph Cox A scammer has managed to sell multiple leaked Frank Ocean tracks for thousands of dollars, but the tracks weren’t recorded by the famous R&B singer-songwriter. The tracks were made with AI and sold as leaked tracks on a bustling community of underground music collectors, according to Discord messages and forum posts reviewed by Motherboard, as well as interviews with victims and the scammer themselves.

Google launches new AI PaLM 2 in attempt to regain leadership of the pack The Guardian Alex Hern Google is attempting to reclaim its crown as the leader in artificial intelligence with PaLM 2, a “next-generation language model” that the company says outperforms other leading systems on some tasks. Like other “large language models” such as OpenAI’s GPT, PaLM 2 is a general-purpose AI model, which can be used to power ChatGPT-style chatbots but also translate between languages, write computer code, or even analyse and respond to images.

  • Google unveils AI-powered search engine in tech race Australian Financial Review Michael Liedtke Google on Wednesday disclosed plans to infuse its dominant search engine with more advanced artificial-intelligence technology, a drive that is in response to one of the biggest threats to its long-established position as the internet’s main gateway.


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

Gabriele and Nicola Iuvinale

ASE 2023

To download the book index, preface and introduction: https://www.extremarationews.com/reuters-news

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