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International press review Extrema Ratio May 12, 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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Extrema Ratio

China remains America's "number one long-term geostrategic security challenge," Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley told lawmakers this morning (May 11, 2023) during a budget hearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

Beijing's weapon of choice is to use new technologies to create dependency and leverage, acquire large amounts of data and be able to weaponize it for the destruction or degradation of critical infrastructure in a time of high tension, such as that of Taiwan.

China

  • Wang Yi and Jake Sullivan met in Vienna. Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met in Vienna on May 10 and 11. The notes from both sides are very brief and state that the diplomats have had sincere, substantive and constructive discussions. It is unclear whether this meeting will pave the way for a call from Xi-Biden and/or a visit from US Secretary of State Blinken, Treasury Secretary Yellen or Commerce Secretary Raimondo. Extrema Ratio

  • US national security adviser Jake Sullivan meets China’s top diplomat Wang Yi in Vienna. The pair reportedly held ‘constructive’ talks in the highest-level engagement between the two countries since the spy balloon incident in February. Demetri Sevastopulo and Felicia Schwartz. Financial Times

  • UN calls for release of three illegally detained Uyghurs. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention calls for the immediate release of Ekpar Asat, Qurban Mamut, and Gulshan Abbas. Ruth Ingram. The China Project

  • China’s record carbon emissions expected to peak due to clean energy push. China has installed record amounts of solar and wind power capacity, according to a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA),a Helsinki-based think tank. Laura He. CNN

  • China willing to cooperate with US on audit deal. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) says it is willing to work with its counterparts in the US to promote regulatory cooperation on audits and safeguard the rights and interests of global investors. Xie Yu. Reuters

  • Bain & Company offers China staff 6 months of voluntary leave. Some employees have been given the chance to take part in a half-year ‘career enrichment programme’. The move comes after Chinese police visited the American company’s offices in Shanghai and questioned its staff. Tracy Qu.South China Morning Post

  • Tesla to recall over 1.1 million foreign and Chinese-made cars. The models to be recalled include imported Model S, Model X, Model 3 as well as China-produced Model 3 and Model Y, according to a statement by the State Administration for Market Regulation. Reuters

  • $10,000 an Hour Bought Inside Line on China—and Now Risks Jail. Crackdown threatens not just Capvision but a whole supply chain of information that overseas investors, Chinese banks and foreign businesses have come to depend on. Dan Strumpf and Selina Cheng. The Wall Street Journal

  • ‘De-Americanize’: How China Is Remaking Its Chip Business. US trade barriers have accelerated China’s push for a more independent chip sector. Chang Che and John Liu.New York Times

China says it will resolutely object if U.S. curbs investment in semiconductor industry Reuters China will resolutely object if the U.S. restricts its firms from investing in Chinese semiconductor industry, said Shu Jueting, a spokesperson at China's commerce ministry on Thursday.

Xinhua News Agency

Chinese scientists have revealed various glassy materials from the lunar samples brought back by the Chang'e-5 mission and clarified their physical origins of liquid quenching, vapor deposition, and irradiation damage, …

The Financial Times

China has told the US there is little chance of a meeting between the countries’ defence ministers at a security forum in Singapore due to a dispute over sanctions, the latest obstacle to top-level dialogue between the two powers.

CNBC

U.S. and Chinese officials met this week in Vienna to discuss a range of topics, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, amid tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

A senior Biden administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity per ground rules established by the White House, said the two parties spoke a little over eight hours during a period of two days.

Newsweek

In late April, China's state media added to the anticipation surrounding the country's third aircraft carrier, the Fujian, by teasing new capabilities and next-generation technologies that will be studied by friends and adversaries alike.

The New York Times

A Chinese government envoy will visit Ukraine and Russia next week in an attempt to help negotiate an end to the war, a Chinese government spokesman said on Friday. China had announced its intention to send the official, Li Hui - the government’s special …

Channel News Asia

China's foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular press conference Friday that the aim of Li's trip to Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany and Russia was to "communicate with all parties on the political settlement of the Ukrainian …

Daily Express

Statements that portray China as the real winner of the war in Ukraine, and Russia becoming a vassal state to its neighbour, cannot see the forest for the trees. China does certainly get a good deal out of its economic relationship with Russia since the …

The Financial Times

The EU’s chief diplomat has warned that China will “take geopolitical advantage” of a Russian defeat in Ukraine and that Brussels needs to respond to Beijing’s global ambitions. Josep Borrell, the bloc’s high representative for foreign policy, has urged …

SF Gate - California

Bank runs, cyber security and building more reliable supply chains to ensure economic security were among items on the agenda of closed-door financial talks Friday in Japan by the Group of Seven advanced economies.Tensions with China, …

The New York Times

A court in southern China has sentenced one of the country’s most unyielding human rights activists to eight years in prison for essays he wrote and a website he created, in the ruling Communist Party’s latest warning blow against political dissent.

Politico Europe

awmakers are blasting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for approving a controversial Chinese investment in a Hamburg port terminal despite objections from Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck and other ministries.

The Globe and Mail

Reuters

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) has notified China's market regulator it will deploy software updates to more than 1 million vehicles to allow changes to braking methods and more warnings about the use of accelerator pedals, the …

US consulting giant Bain & Company offers China staff 6 months of voluntary leave, sources say South China Morning Post Tracy Qu US consultancy giant Bain & Company is offering some staff in China the option to take six months’ leave while earning a portion of their regular salaries, according to people familiar with the matter.

Google’s ChatGPT rival Bard is still missing in Hong Kong after opening up to 180 countries and territories South China Morning Post Xinmei Shen Google has opened its artificial intelligence chatbot Bard to “over 180 countries and territories around the world”, but Hong Kong is not among them.

There is only one winner from Vladimir Putin’s monstrous war on Ukraine, and that is the Chinese Communist Party. Its leader, Xi Jinping, has spectacularly outwitted the West, drastically expanded his global influence, and turned Russia into a Chinese …

Reuters

Norway's prime minister said on Friday he had expressed concerns about human rights in parts of China during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Oslo. "We are concerned about the human rights situation in …

Four articles on the Qian Xusen Question : “None of the students cultivated over the years has had academic achievements comparable to those of the scholars cultivated in the Republic of China. Why do our schools always fail to produce outstanding talents?” from the Aixiang website. This question has obsessed many Chinese including scholars and political leaders. It is related to the Joseph Needham Question: “Why didn’t China produce modern science while the West did?”

Belt and Road

Xinhua Silk Road

Engineering vehicles are busy at a construction site of Hungary-Serbia railway project in Szabadszallas, Hungary, Feb. 22, 2023.

Xinhua Silk Road

The total foreign trade of the country's 21 FTZs amounted to 1.8 trillion yuan (about 260.5 billion U.S. dollars) during the period, up 6.6 percent year on year, said spokesperson Shu Jueting at a press conference.

Xinhua Silk Road

A delegation from Wuxi, east China's Jiangsu Province, carried out a series of exchange events including the Wuxi (Tokyo) economic, trade and cultural cooperation conference in Japan recently.

Seetao

Recently, CSCEC overseas companies signed two new overseas engineering projects, making positive contributions to the improvement of infrastructure in Southeast Asian countries.

Seetao

Recently, good news came from the Madagascar market. The Madagascar Hydropower Company officially awarded the two bids of lot3 and lot4A of the Madagascar medium and low voltage distribution network project to Jiangxi International. The main construction content of the project is to erect medium and low-voltage distribution network overhead lines with a total length of about 848 kilometers in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, and Tamatave, the largest port city, and in the suburbs, including civil construction of utility poles and tower foundations, installation Conductors, fittings, insulators and other accessories, etc., the contract period is 14 months, and the funds come from the World Bank.

Seetao

On May 11, 2023, there was another good news from the Indonesian housing construction market of China Construction Eighth Engineering Bureau, and the signing ceremony of the Tunjungan Boulevard high-end apartment project was held in Semarang, Indonesia. The Tunjungan Boulevard high-end apartment project is located in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. It is planned to build 53 floors, with a construction area of 60,000 square meters and equipped with five-star facilities. After completion, it will become the tallest building in East Java and a landmark building in Surabaya. As the second largest city in Indonesia, Surabaya has huge development potential and space. The winning bid of this project is the second project won by the Indonesian company in East Java following the Xinyi Glass Indonesia Manufacturing Base Project in East Java, marking the company's entry into East Java. The high-end housing construction market has won a good start, and at the same time will effectively improve the quality of life of local residents and enhance the living experience.


USA

  • National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, this week as both sides recognized the need to move beyond the spy balloon incident, a senior U.S. official said yesterday. China’s Washington embassy said the two had “candid, in-depth, substantive and constructive discussions … on removing obstacles in China-U.S. relations and stabilizing the relationship from deterioration.” Steve Holland, Michael Martina, and David Brunnstrom report for Reuters.

  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill yesterday aimed at barring the U.S. government from recognizing Bashar al-Assad as Syria’s president and enhancing Washington’s ability to impose sanctions. The legislation warns Turkey and Arab countries that they could face severe consequences if they engage with Assad’s government. Daphne Psaledakis and Maya Gebeily report for Reuters.

  • Bank runs, cyber security and building reliable supply chains on the agenda at G7 meeting. G7 finance ministers are holding closed-door talks in Japan ahead of summit next week. Elaine Kurtenbach. The Independent

  • US urges ‘co-ordinated action’ by G7 against China’s economic coercion. US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen gave a speech to G7 members in Japan as Washington finalises its new outbound investment-screening mechanism aimed at China. Kana Inagaki, Henry Foy, Sam Fleming and Demetri Sevastopulo.Financial Times

  • Pentagon chiefs: Debt default is bad for troops, good for China. US Defense secretary warns that breaching the government’s borrowing limit would significantly damage U.S. standing in the world and call into question the country’s global leadership. Connor O’Brien. Politico

  • Local authorities and humanitarian organizations are bracing for a surge in attempted crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border. About 60,000 people are believed to be waiting to cross the southern border, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz has said. In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that authorities were “prepared for this transition.” Bernd Debusmann Jr reports for BBC News.

  • A federal judge in Florida issued an order yesterday directing the Border Patrol not to release any migrants without issuing them formal notices to appear in immigration court. In a statement, the Border Patrol said it would comply with the court order, which could complicate its efforts to manage how many migrants cross into the United States. Overcrowding at Border Patrol facilities could result from the court order, creating dangerous conditions for Border Patrol agents and migrants. Miriam Jordan and Eileen Sullivan report for the New York Times.

  • The House passed a bill to restrict migrant crossings by pouring money into personnel and equipment, making it harder to seek asylum and codifying Trump-era policies such as border wall construction. The vote was 219-213, primarily along party lines. Siobhan Hughes reports for the Wall Street Journal.

  • Former President Trump admitted he took classified documents to Mar-a-Lago, saying he took them because he was “allowed to.” Trump’s statement was made during a televised town hall this week. Legal experts have called Trump’s interpretation of the law “muddled” and “confused.” Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman report for the New York Times.

  • Changes by the FBI appear to have improved compliance with rules limiting when agents may access communications intercepted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according to an audit published on Wednesday. Charlie Savage reports for the New York Times.

  • The CIA hired psychologist Taleeta Jackson to lead its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office to address allegations of mishandling sexual assault and misconduct in its workforce. The CIA is also creating an internal task force to look for ways to improve its organizational structure and processes for how employees report sexual assault or workplace harassment, according to a senior CIA official. Several female CIA employees have said in recent years that their cases of being sexually assaulted while working at the agency were mishandled. Daniel Lippman reports for POLITICO.

  • Army General Paul Nakasone, the National Security Agency (NSA) director, has said he expects to step down from the NSA and the military’s Cyber Command in the coming months. The timing of Nakasone’s departure could be hampered by Senator Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) blockade on promotions of senior military officers due to the Defense Department’s support for military personnel’s travel to states that allow abortion services. Dustin Volz reports for the Wall Street Journal.

  • Representative George Santos (R-NY) signed a deal with Brazilian prosecutors yesterday in which he confessed to stealing clothing and shoes and agreed to pay $2,800 in restitution and $2,000 in fines if prosecutors agreed to drop the criminal case against him. Terrence McCoy, Marina Dias, and Isaac Stanley-Becker report for the Washington Post.

  • The corruption investigation into Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) expanded this week as another round of federal grand jury subpoenas were issued. Menendez has been under investigation into whether he and his wife improperly took cash and gifts from the owners of a meat business in the state. Jonathan Dienst and Courtney Copenhagen report for NBC News.

Forbes

Thirty-two percent of trade with China was a U.S. export in March, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

While that remains below the 40% U.S. average with the world, it is lightyears away from the 16% total in 2015 and almost certainly the greatest percentage in decades.

China Tech Threat

On February 16, Vermont’s Agency of Digital Services issued Cybersecurity Update Standard 2023-1 adding TikTok and WeChat to the list of technology products including Chinese manufacturers and telecom equipment its state agencies are prohibited from acquiring.

US House Republicans raise 'deep concern' on TikTok content decisions Reuters David Shepardson The chair of a U.S. House of Representatives committee on China's Communist Party and other lawmakers on Thursday raised "deep concern" and sought answers over reports Chinese-owned short video app TikTok censored an account that posted content from a film about pro-democracy Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai and other content moderation decisions.

U.S. focuses on invigorating ‘chiplets’ to stay cutting-edge in tech The New York Times Don Clark Chiplets rapidly gained traction because smaller chips are cheaper to make, while bundles of them can top the performance of any single slice of silicon. The strategy, based on advanced packaging technology, has since become an essential tool to enabling progress in semiconductors. And it represents one of the biggest shifts in years for an industry that drives innovations in fields like artificial intelligence, self-driving cars and military hardware.

Former Biden admin disinformation chief sues Fox News for defamation Axios Rebecca Falconer Fox News is facing a defamation lawsuit from former Biden administration disinformation chief Nina Jankowicz, who accuses the network of telling "destructive" lies that harmed her career and threatened her safety.

Why the US delayed China sanctions after shooting down a spy balloon Reuters Michael Martina 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.

How Congress is tackling disinformation from US adversaries The Hill Ines Kagubare The U.S. government is seeking to step up its information war to defeat nation-state threat actors like Russia and China which, in recent years, have ramped up their disinformation campaigns globally.

Americas

  • C$158 Billion Canada Pension Manager halts direct investments in China. A senior executive from British Columbia Investment Management Corp. revealed the policy during testimony this week to a Canadian parliamentary committee. Laura Dhillon Kane. Bloomberg

MercoPress

Ecuador and China signed a free trade agreement (FTA) whereby the South American country will have access to a market of 1.4 billion people, it was reported in Quito on Wednesday. It was the second such pact signed under the administration of President Guillermo Lasso, following the one reached with Costa Rica.

Countering China’s economic coercion by building on a European initiative Policy Options Oliver Boucher In an April speech to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland proposed that a wide group of allies adopt a measure similar to the European Union’s anti-coercion instrument as an “insurance policy and a deterrent” against China’s economic coercion. Canada and its allies should do so by creating an economic security pact that constrains retaliation within the principles of restraint, proportionality and engagement.

North Asia

  • A Chinese naval flotilla has been on a 12-day circumnavigation of Japan’s main islands in a display of military power as tensions rise over Taiwan and as Japan prepares to host Group of Seven leaders next week. On Wednesday, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Tokyo had sent a message of protest to Beijing over comments by China’s ambassador that Japan would be “dragged into the fire” if Tokyo linked Taiwan to its own security. Brad Lendon and Junko Ogura report for CNN.

Foreign Affairs

The risk of a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait is becoming dire. On Feb. 2, CIA Director William Burns stated that Chinese President Xi Jinping had ordered China’s military to be “ready by 2027 to conduct a successful invasion” of Taiwan. Although Burns added that this did not mean that Xi has decided to invade Taiwan, he described Xi’s move as “a reminder of the seriousness of his focus and his ambition.”

FP

The United States should pause deliveries to partners such as Saudi Arabia to free up weapons for Taipei.

Taiwan is running low on a strategic asset: Engineers The New York Times John Liu and Paul Mozur Over the past decade, TSMC, as the company is known, has built a wide lead over rivals like Intel and Samsung in the race to make the smallest — and fastest — microchips. Largely because of the ingenuity of its engineers, TSMC has become one of the most geopolitically important firms in the world. Today, many at the top of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry fear the tiny island territory will not be able to sustain the growing demand for a new generation of engineers.

SoftBank says goodbye to Alibaba, hello to nore AI investments The Wall Street Journal River Davis and Eliot Brown Japanese technology investor SoftBank Group said it was getting ready to go on the offensive again with its eye on investing in artificial-intelligence companies, a buzzy area it has long targeted but failed to capitalize on.

South & Central Asia

  • Pakistan’s Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan was unlawful, but it stopped short of ordering his release. Saeed Shah and Waqar Gillani report for the Wall Street Journal.

Australia

Australian software giant won’t say if customers affected by hack TechCrunch Carly Page Australian enterprise software company TechnologyOne has halted trading after confirming it was hit by a cyberattack. TechnologyOne said the company’s customer-facing platform is not connected to the affected Microsoft 365 system and “therefore has not been impacted,” but when reached, the company would not say if any customer or employee data had been accessed as a result of the wider incident.

ACMA takes telcos to task for allowing SMS scams The Australian David Swan Australia’s communications watchdog has taken action after three telcos were found to have breached anti-spam obligations, allowing more than 100,000 scam SMS messages to be sent impersonating road toll companies, Medicare and Australia Post.

Think tank to govt: Push Quad on clear ransomware policy InnovationAus Justin Hendry The Albanese government is facing calls to steer Australia’s Quad partners towards a ransomware policy that clearly discourages payments but also introduces new reporting obligations for business that do pay under exceptional circumstances. Ahead of the Quad Leaders meeting in Sydney later this month, the government is also being urged to push for the harmonisation of other cyber incident reporting requirements across Australia, India, Japan and the United States.

The Australian

Justin Bassi

Indeed, overcaution could have consequences for AUKUS pillar two, through which Australia, the UK and US co-operate on developing advanced technology capabilities such as hypersonics, quantum and artificial intelligence. Over time, AUKUS pillar two will need to expand to take advantage of the technology skills of Japan, India and others such as South Korea. This expansion could be harder if we have already submitted to Beijing’s pressure by keeping the Quad’s security aspirations stunted.

Radio Free Asia

Qiu Dezhen

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute recently published a report stating that the Chinese government's "cyber influence operations" against democratic countries in recent years have become increasingly frequent, sophisticated and effective. The report also names the Chinese company Qi Anxin, accusing it of assisting the Chinese government in manipulating foreign public opinion through social media. Ukraine - Russia

  • The U.S. ambassador to South Africa, Reuben E. Brigety II, has accused the country’s government of providing weapons and ammunition to Russia. Brigety told reporters yesterday that Washington has reason to believe that a Russian ship that docked near a South African naval base last December “uploaded weapons and ammunition.” John Eligon reports for the New York Times.

  • The U.S. Justice Department has transferred millions of dollars seized from Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev and sent the fundsto rebuild Ukraine. The funds were seized from a U.S. bank account traceable to sanctions violations by Malofeyev. While this is the first transfer to Ukraine, Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “It will not be the last.” Niha Masih, Siobhán O’Grady, Kamila Hrabchuk, Victoria Bisset, David L. Stern, Natalia Abbakumova, Brittany Shammas, and Lesley Wroughton report for the Washington Post.

  • The Biden administration is undertaking an international search for high-value Russians that it hopes to leverage to release two wrongfully detained Americans, Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, according to sources familiar with the matter. Current and former U.S. officials say the United States does not have any high-level Russian spies in its custody, driving the need to turn to allies for help. Kylie Atwood and Matthew Chance report for CNN.

  • The U.K. has confirmed it is supplying Ukraine with Storm Shadow cruise missiles with a range of over 155 miles, the U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said. By contrast, the U.S.-supplied Himars missiles used by Ukraine only have a range of around 50 miles. James Gregory reports for BBC News.

  • A Swiss parliamentary committee yesterday recommended easing export controls for Swiss-made war materiel to help boost the domestic defense industry as Western neighbors urge the country to help Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has prompted Swiss government officials to grapple with their country’s longtime neutrality, which prohibits Switzerland or other countries from exporting Swiss-made weaponry to active war zones. Jamey Keaten reports for AP News.

  • Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the Russian paramilitary organization Wagner group, has flooded his social media with ever-more outrageous and provocative statements targetting Russia’s military command. Prigozhin revealed a humiliating battlefield setback for Russia as a Russian brigade had “fled” Bakhmut. Nathan Hodge reports for CNN.

The Defence Post

Russia late Thursday denied claims by pro-Moscow bloggers and the head of the Wagner mercenary group that Ukrainian troops had made a breakthrough in the flashpoint city of Bakhmut.

A senior Ukrainian military official said earlier this week that Russian forces had dropped back from some areas near Bakhmut after limited counter-attacks by Kyiv’s forces around the eastern city.

Google fined by Russia for failing to remove LGBT content The Wall Street Journal Ann M. Simmons A Russian court fined Google for refusing to take down material it described as promoting same-sex relationships and discrediting the country’s armed forces, a fresh escalation in a growing confrontation with the search giant as Russian President Vladimir Putin attempts to cast himself as defender of what he calls traditional values.

IRS gives Ukraine tools to expose Russian oligarchs hiding riches in crypto exchanges CyberScoop AJ Vicens The IRS criminal investigative division is donating 15 licenses for the Chainalysis Reactor platform to a team of Ukrainian investigators as part of the ongoing effort to identify and unravel the financial networks that Russian oligarchs use to avoid international sanctions, the agency said Thursday.

Europe

  • EU moves to re-calibrate China strategy.The European Union must adopt a ‘clear-eyed’ but ‘not confrontational’ approach to a China, claims a position paper circulated ahead of talks in Stockholm today. Ministers have been urged to adhere to the 2019 designation of China as a partner, competitor and systemic rival, ‘even if the weighting between these different elements may vary according to China’s behaviour’. Finbarr Bermingham.South China Morning Post

  • The E.U.’s diplomatic service has set out plans to recalibrate its China policy, aiming to reduce the risks of economic dependency on Beijing while continuing to cooperate on global issues. While the plans recognize that coordination with the United States will “remain essential,” it warns that the E.U. “should not subscribe to an idea of a zero-sum game whereby there can only be one winner, in a binary contest between the U.S. and China.” Andrew Gray reports for Reuters.

  • Volkswagen defends Xinjiang record at turbulent shareholder meeting. Volkswagen defended its decision to jointly own a plant in the Xinjiang region. Investors called on Volkswagen to request its joint venture partner SAIC conducts an independent audit of the Xinjiang plant. Victoria Waldersee and Jan Schwartz. Reuters

  • Merck to build domestic supply chains in China. The German technology group has said it is determined to invest further in China and aims to build domestic supply chains there to hedge against rising tensions between Beijing and Western powers. Reuters

Voice of America

Italy is having second thoughts on renewing a controversial investment pact with China. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) deal was on the table during May 5 talks in Rome between Chinese Foreign Ministry official Wang Lutong and …

The Barents Observer

Russian fishing vessels are allowed to make port calls to Tromsø, Kirkenes and Båtsfjord, but only for a limited number of services:

  • Crew change

  • Fuelling

  • Unloading (fish)

  • Provisioning

  • Controls

The reminder about the sanctions regime against Russia was published on Friday by the Foreign Ministry.

EU eyes cyber plan aimed at keeping cloud data in Europe Bloomberg Jillian Deutsch and Alberto Nardelli The European Union is weighing a plan that would require cloud providers to store all of their data within the bloc in order to qualify for its highest cybersecurity certification. ENISA, the EU’s cybersecurity regulator, is drawing up the new, stricter requirements to ensure that no foreign government can interfere with EU data, according to a draft of the proposal seen by Bloomberg.

EU lawmakers back transparency and safety rules for generative AI TechCrunch Natasha Lomas In a series of votes in the European Parliament this morning MEPs have backed a raft of amendments to the bloc’s draft AI legislation — including agreeing a set of requirements for so called foundational models which underpin generative AI technologies like OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

EU lawmakers want more talks to strengthen proposed US data transfer pact Reuters Foo Yun Chee EU lawmakers on Thursday urged the European Commission to continue talks to reinforce a proposed data transfer pact with the United States, saying there were still shortcomings in the agreement.

Sweden charges man for spreading sensitive military information online Associated Press Swedish prosecutors said that a 50-year-old man was charged on Thursday with spreading sensitive military information online. The man, who authorities didn’t identify, administered a database that was used for the exchange of secret information, said Lars Hedvall, a senior prosecutor with the National Security Unit. The information was posted in a forum that he allegedly was responsible for.

UK

  • The Lord Mayor of London to lead the first City delegation to China since the Covid pandemic. Nicholas Lyons and Chris Hayward, the City of London Corporation's policy chairman, will travel to Beijing and other major cities later this month for talks with officials and businesses. Sky News

  • ‘My time in the UK has been a disaster’: Hongkongers fear deportation after years left in limbo. As of December 2022, there were 160 Hongkongers in the UK awaiting decisions on their asylum applications, more than double the number in December 2020. Amy Hawkins and May James. The Guardian

UK's National Crime Agency wins major legal challenge over Encrochat hack The Record by Recorded Future Alexander Martin Britain’s National Crime Agency won a major legal challenge on Thursday that had threatened to undermine thousands of arrests based on evidence gathered when French and Dutch police hacked the Encrochat messaging service.

Why more transparency around cyber attacks is a good thing for everyone UK National Cyber Security Agency Eleanor Fairford and Mihaela Jembei At the NCSC and ICO, we deal with the fallout from serious cyber attacks every day. Our responsibilities are different, but we both work on incidents that can take down businesses, severely impact national services and infrastructure, and massively disrupt people’s day-to-day lives. You’ll be familiar with some of the headlines and it’s not a pretty picture. But we are increasingly concerned about what happens behind the scenes of the attacks we don’t hear about, particularly the ransomware ones.

Middle East

  • The Israeli military has killed two Palestinian Islamic Jihad commanders in air strikes in Gaza during a third day of fighting. One man was killed in Israel when a rocket launched from Gaza hit a building in the city of Rehovot. Raffi Berg and Rushdi Abu Alouf report for BBC News.

FP

Mohammed bin Salman’s middle finger to Washington is burnishing Riyadh’s image.

Financing “the new oil”: Assessing AI investment in Israel and the broader Middle East Center for Security and Emerging Technology Anthony Ferrara and Sara Abdulla Israel has by far the largest AI ecosystem in the Middle East as measured in AI companies and financial investments, and foreign investors play a critical role in Israel’s AI market growth. This issue brief finds that AI investments in Israel have mostly originated from the United States. To date, Chinese investors have played a limited role in funding Israel’s dynamic AI companies. But understanding the risk of Chinese investments into the Israeli AI ecosystem will be important for the national security of both the United States and Israel.

Africa

  • Sudan’s warring factions today agreed to protect civilians and the movement of humanitarian aid, but they did not agree to a ceasefire, U.S. officials said. Reuters reports.

Military

China Military

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently wrote a letter to a submarine crew, urging them to continuously improve their ability to fulfill missions and tasks, and strive to become an elite force with overall competency.

Defence One

It's unclear how the sides came to agreement, or just how late the two Virginia-class subs will eventually arrive.

Defence One

One leader said the updated plans help make the case for nations to meet the 2%-of-GDP guidelines.

The Defence Post

Amentum and Mitie joint venture Landmarc Support Services has received a 560-million-pound ($702 million) contract to manage UK armed forces military training areas.

Under the agreement, the company will deliver management services across facilities, rural sites, and operational services for 156,000 hectares of UK Defence Training Estate.

USNI News

Armenpress

As of 08:25 the Azerbaijani military continued shelling Armenian positions near Sotk with artillery and mortar fire, the Ministry of Defense of Armenia said in a update after the Azerbaijani forces launched the attack at 06:00 Thursday.

Meduza

Reports of “defensive breakthroughs” at various points along the line of contact between Russian and Ukrainian troops do not correspond to reality, says an official statement that Russia’s Defense Ministry put out on the evening of May 11.

Armenpress

The situation in the direction of Sotk was “tense” as of 09:50 amid the Azerbaijani gunfire, the Ministry of Defense said in an update. The Azerbaijani military has been shelling Armenian positions near Sotk ...

Janes

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) conducted a quality certification shooting test (QCST) of the Korean Tactical Surface-to-Surface Missile (KTSSM).

The QCST was jointly conducted and supervised by DAPA, the Defense Science Research Institute, the Republic of Korea (RoK) Army, KTSSM mass-producer Hanwha Aerospace, and the Defense Agency for Technology and Quality on 11 May.

Janes

The US has approved the sale of Boeing CH-47F Block 2 Chinook helicopters to Germany for an estimated USD8.5 billion.

Announced on 11 May, the US Department of State's approval for the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) covers 60 extended-range helicopters, as well as mission equipment, spares, training, transportation, and support.

Armenpress

The tension had reduced significantly in the direction of Sotk as of 10:00, the Armenian Ministry of Defense reported.

Armenpress

No significant ceasefire violations were recorded overnight on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, the Ministry of Defense said on May 12. The situation was relatively stable as of 08:30, it added. The four …

Military Industry Today

Click here to see ISW’s interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.

Click here to access ISW’s archive of interactive time-lapse maps of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These maps complement the static control-of-terrain map that ISW produces daily by showing a dynamic frontline. ISW will update this time-lapse map archive monthly.

Big Tech

NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino is in talks to become Twitter CEO The Wall Street Journal Jessica Toonkel, Suzanne Vranica and Alexa Corse NBCUniversal’s head of advertising Linda Yaccarino is in talks to become the new CEO of Twitter, according to people familiar with the situation. Ms. Yaccarino, chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCU, has been with NBCU for more than a decade, where she has been an industry advocate for finding better ways to measure the effectiveness of advertising.

Janes

The future of the AUD45 billion (USD30.2 billion) programme to build nine Hunter-class anti-submarine frigates for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) was called into question, with a report by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) warning of further delays and significant cost increases.

Facebook bid to dismiss privacy suit over Cambridge Analytica fails The Hill Julia Shapero A Delaware judge on Wednesday rejected Facebook’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit brought by shareholders over the company’s alleged failures to protect the privacy of users’ data.

Twitter’s encrypted DMs are deeply inferior to Signal and WhatsApp WIRED Andy Greenberg Elon Musk’s long-promised launch of encrypted direct messages on Twitter has arrived. Like most attempts to add end-to-end encryption to a massive existing platform—never an easy proposition—there's good, bad, and ugly. The good: Twitter has added an optional layer of security for a small subset of its users that has never existed in Twitter's 16-plus years online. As for the bad and ugly: Well, that list is quite a lot longer.

Artificial Intelligence

Cybersecurity faces a challenge from artificial intelligence’s rise The Washington Post Joseph Menn Attackers use artificial intelligence to write software that can break into corporate networks in novel ways, change appearance and functionality to beat detection, and smuggle data back out through processes that appear normal. “It is going to help rewrite code,” National Security Agency cybersecurity chief Rob Joyce warned the conference. “Adversaries who put in work now will outperform those who don’t.”

What governments are doing to regulate AI tools Reuters Rapid advances in artificial intelligence such as Microsoft-backed OpenAI's ChatGPT are complicating governments' efforts to agree laws governing the use of the technology. Here are the latest steps national and international governing bodies are taking to regulate AI tools.

  • Democracy isn't ready for its AI test Axios Ryan Heath AI-generated content is emerging as a disruptive political force just as nations around the world are gearing up for a rare convergence of election cycles in 2024. Around one billion voters will head to polls in 2024 across the U.S., India, the European Union, the U.K. and Indonesia, plus Russia — but neither AI companies nor governments have put matching election protections in place.

Google builds on tech’s latest craze with its own A.I. products The New York Times Nico Grant On Wednesday, at its annual conference in Mountain View, Calif., the company demonstrated some of what it has been working on. Google said its search engine will begin incorporating responses generated by A.I. at the top of query results pages and allow users to ask follow-up questions.

This 23-year old Snapchat star can be your AI girlfriend - for a price Decrypt Jose Antonio Lanz Snapchat influencer Caryn Marjorie is harnessing the power of the AI revolution to fulfill the dreams of millions of her followers: becoming their girlfriend. She’s making some serious cash too. Marjorie, using OpenAI's GPT technology, has created CarynAI, an AI avatar that offers virtual companionship for a dollar per minute.

Misc

Ghost in the network Lighthouse Reports Crofton Black, Max Hoppenstedt, Omer Benjakob, Dominik Balmer, Jerome Hourdeaux, Marcel Rosenbach, Oliver Zihlmann, Hakan Tanriverdi, Gabriel Geiger, Melissa del Bosque, Tomas Statius, Beatriz Ramalho da Silva, Bashar Deeb, Nalinee Maleeyakul, Avi Scharf, Daniel Howden Investigations in the market for spying services have focused on spyware companies like NSO Group and Intellexa. But here we expose a prolific actor in this space, operating not from a secret office building in the high tech hubs of Tel Aviv, Larnaca or Athens but from a modest terraced house on a sleepy sidestreet in the medieval town of Basel.

The electric: In the battery olympics, startups must overcome multiple hurdles The Information Steve LeVine When lithium-metal battery developer SES AI held its first-quarter earnings call this week, executives were especially prepared for one question: When would the company complete its “A Sample”? And when that was done, when would SES finish its “B” and “C” samples? CEO Qichao Hu assured analysts that all three were on schedule, and the battery on track to be in a commercial electric vehicle by 2026. Out of the public eye, the A, B and C samples—industry argot for the stages of validating a new EV battery—have become the obsession of Western battery companies and their future automaker customers.



 

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.


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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