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International press review Extrema Ratio May 26, 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

A U.S. House of Representatives committee on China on Wednesday (May 24) put forward 10 recommendations to ensure peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

This includes accelerating the delivery of arms, formulating joint plans with U.S. allies and partners, expanding U.S.-Taiwan combined military training, and establishing a U.S.-Taiwan joint planning group, among other measures.

Microsoft has uncovered stealthy and targeted malicious activity focused on post-compromise credential access and network system discovery aimed at critical infrastructure organizations in the United States. The attack is carried out by Volt Typhoon, a state-sponsored actor based in China that typically focuses on espionage and information gathering. Microsoft assesses with moderate confidence that this Volt Typhoon campaign is pursuing development of capabilities that could disrupt critical communications infrastructure between the United States and Asia region during future crises.

Money.it

Oltre a continuare la sua espansione domestica di chip avanzati a Taiwan, TSMC ha anche iniziato a espandere la sua presenza all’estero.

Military

  • “A near perfect storm” of problems at the Navy SEAL selection course injured many students and left one dead, a Navy report released yesterday reveals. Instructors pushed their classes to exhaustion, and unprepared medical personnel often failed to step in when needed. A Navy spokesperson said several Navy personnel had been referred to Navy legal authorities for possible punishment. Dave Philipps reports for the New York Times.

  • The confirmation of Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown Jr. as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff may prove difficult, despite extensive praise for the nominee yesterday. Brown’s confirmation may be the latest in over 200 senior military appointments currently being held up in the Senate due to Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) block on confirmations. Tuberville objects to the Pentagon’s policy on abortion that facilitates travel for troops and their dependents who seek to terminate pregnancies due to rape, incest, or danger to the life and health of the mother. Brown is also likely to face pointed questions from Republican Senators who decry “woke” policies within the Pentagon. Ellen Mitchell reports for The Hill.

Breaking Defence

Since the turn of the century, French land forces have focused heavily on the counter-terrorism mission. With the invasion of Russia, that is no longer a possibility. In this piece, Lt. Gen. Bertrand Toujouse, the head of the French land forces, lays out how the French army is attempting to transition to the great power threat.

The Washington Times

“U.S. military forces are facing new dangers of nonkinetic warfare weapons in future conflicts including “neuro-strike” weapons designed to disrupt brain functions of key leaders, according to a military expert."

National Defense Magazine

"Space is an increasingly crowded domain, with governments and commercial companies across the globe launching more and more systems into orbit."

Al-Monitor

“The missile's declared range makes it capable of reaching Israel, which warned Tehran this week with military action over its ramped-up nuclear enrichment and regional activities."

Defence One

Gen. CQ Brown instituted the "agile combat employment" concept and the "Accelerate Change or Lose" doctrine.

Janes

HII's Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division redelivered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) to the US Navy (USN) after the shipyard successfully completed the ship's refuelling and complex overhaul (RCOH), HII confirmed on 25 May.


Newport News Shipbuilding redelivered aircraft carrier USS George Washington after a ship overhaul. (US Navy)

Defence One

Joint Chiefs Chairman defends United States' gradual approach on weapons for Ukraine.

Janes

Industry officials are looking to leverage Cold War-era tactical communications technologies as a potential enabler for the US Department of Defense's (DoD's) Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) capability.

C4ISRNET

The Army has hundreds of thousands of radios — too many to quickly and cost-effectively modernize given security deadlines and international competition.

Janes

The Malaysian government has announced a contract with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for three Anka multirole unmanned aircraft systems (UASs). The Anka (Phoenix) is a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAS that is capable of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), electronic warfare (EW), and combat operations.

The Malaysian Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) announced the contract on 25 May during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) Exhibition 2023 held from 23 to 27 May.

The MINDEF said in its announcement that the value of the contract is MYR423.8 million (USD91.6 million) and that the aircraft would support the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) operations. The MINDEF added that these aircraft comprise Phase 1 of the acquisition.

A spokesperson from TAI added that the contract value includes the three aircraft and the control station. The RMAF will operate the aircraft.

Acquisition of the TAI Anka unmanned aircraft system will enhance Malaysia's surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities over the country's maritime zones. When armed, the UAS will also provide the military with a credible attack or point-defence capability. (Photo: Janes/TAI)

C4ISRNET

The companies are gauging the market for a flight-certified carrier enclosure for housing their drone customers' sensor payloads.

The Boeing MQ-28 Ghost Bat, which has been flying in Australia since 2021, is in the US for testing. The aircraft was displayed to reporters at Mid-America Airport outside St Louis, Missouri.

Boeing declined to disclose the nature of testing, but Krystle Carr, Boeing's director of autonomous collaborative platforms, said that testing would include internally funded Boeing testing and hinted at but declined to confirm other testing.


The MQ-28 Ghost Bat prototype aircraft in flight over Woomera, South Australia. (Australian Department of Defence)

Janes

Turkey's Havelsan will equip the Indonesian Navy's new Arrowhead 140 frigates with its Advent combat management system (CMS), the company told Janes at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) Exhibition 2023 in Malaysia.

The frigates are being constructed by state-owned Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL, with steel cutting of the first ship in December 2022.


A computer-generated rendering of the Arrowhead 140 design, which is the basis for Indonesia's ‘Red White' frigate programme. (Babcock)

The Defence Post

Thales’ 70-millimeter FZ275 LGRs have been deployed from a SARISA heavyweight multirotor drone during a live-fire demonstration in Greece.

Janes

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) will start taking deliveries of a second batch of 18 m fast interceptor craft (FIC) from local firm Gading Marine later in 2023, the company told Janes at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) Exhibition 2023 in Malaysia, held from 23 to 27 May.

The Defence Post

The Royal Navy will outfit its Type 26 and Type 31 frigates with the Mark 41 Vertical Launch system, enhancing the warships’ range and lethality.

The frigates are being built by BAE Systems and Babcock International and expected to enter service by 2025 and 2027.


BAE Systems Type 26 Global Combat Ship - (Photo: The Defence Post)

Newspaper of the People's Liberation Army

The term "fluid exposure" sounds strange, but it is ubiquitous in life. An unpredictable pouring rain, an ominous tornado, they all encompass the charm of natural flow phenomena. At the air show, the fighter aircraft participating in the air show often fly in the air with colored smoke, and there is also the phenomenon of flow here.

In the early summer, a frigate detachment of Eastern Theater Command underwent real combat training. Photo by Wu Longwei

Newspaper of the People's Liberation Army


The display module of the Chinese space station assembly at the 14th China Air Show. Images from Xinhua News Agency

Schematic diagram of the Stirling thermoelectric conversion test device

Daily Express

Tensions are rising further in Asia as both China and South Korea play war games to ready themselves for conflict. China has simulated blowing up the US's biggest warship, while South Korea ready themselves for the possibility of “full-scale” attack …

The Japan Times

With the U.S. and its allies rapidly bolstering military capabilities around Taiwan, a successful Chinese invasion, let alone an occupation, of the self-ruled island is becoming an increasingly difficult proposition.

Channel News Asia

Once part of the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom, the island are famed for their lush forests, crystal clear waters and beautiful coral reefs. But hidden behind the stunning natural scenery are painful memories of past wars.

Defense Daily

Northrop Grumman [NOC] said this week that it recently finished a preliminary design review (PDR) for the U.S. Space Force’s Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next Gen OPIR) polar (NGP) satellites and that the company “is on track to begin…

ARKA

Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan chaired today a regular meeting of the Defense Minister’s Board that discussed the structure of the Armed Forces, the existing problems and ways of solving them.

Interfax-Ukraine

he Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has confirmed the "meeting" of the Russian vessel with the Ukrainian drone, the press service of the ministry reported. “When the russian reconnaissance ship Ivan Khurs met a Ukrainian drone.

Xinhua News Agency

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force's August 1st aerobatics team performs at the 16th Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA 2023) in Langkawi, Malaysia, May 25, 2023.


La squadra acrobatica del 1° agosto dell'aeronautica militare cinese dell'Esercito popolare di liberazione (PLA) si esibisce alla 16a Esposizione marittima e aerospaziale internazionale di Langkawi (LIMA 2023) a Langkawi, Malesia, 25 maggio 2023. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)


The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force's August 1st aerobatics team performs at the 16th Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA 2023) in Langkawi, Malaysia, May 25, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

GovCon Wire

Particularly in the age of artificial intelligence, data is one of the most valuable assets. Personal information is being used by large private sector companies to fuel targeted advertising content, but in the military and defense realm, data is decidedly more serious, a variable at play in the global power struggle. New AI systems that are being seriously shopped and explored by U.S. Department of Defense components are fueled by data.


China

  • China hits back at claims of cyber-hacking campaign against critical US infrastructure. The Chinese foreign ministry has said allegations ‘lacked evidence’. It has also argued that ‘the involvement of certain companies’ in the warning ‘shows that the US is expanding channels for disseminating false information’. Tabby Kinder.Financial Times

  • Chinese solar panel manufacturer Jinko to sell Xinjiang unit. China’s Jinko Solar Co Ltd said it would sell its unit for 4.3 billion yuan (US$622.10 million) to buyers including a government-linked fund. Reuters

  • China’s top server makers stop orders of memory modules containing Micron chips. Halted orders by Inspur Group and Lenovo Group demonstrate immediate impact of China’s Micron ban. Che Pan. South China Morning Post

  • Who Is Xie Feng, China’s New Ambassador to the US? Shannon Tiezzi. The Diplomat

  • How Xi Steers Algorithms for China’s Online Ecosystem. How China became the first country worldwide to successively regulate recommendation algorithms, deepfakes, and more recently, also became a first-mover in issuing draft measures on generative AI. Vincent Brussee. CHOICE

  • China’s Risky Strategy to Control One-Third of the World’s Lithium Supply. A look at how Chinese companies are buying up stakes in mines throughout the developing world. Sha Hua and Alexandra Wexler. The Wall Street Journal

  • The stark ‘de-risking’ choice facing economies. Nations must seek to strengthen multilateralism or they will end up embracing economic decoupling. Mohamed El-Erien.The Financial Times

  • China’s cancel culture is nationalist, not woke. Recent crackdown on the entertainment industry is the latest example of the toxic loop between China’s angry nationalists and its paranoid authorities. The Economist

Radio Free Asia

Chinese local governments have started paying public employees in "digital yuan," a move experts say leaves users open to surveillance and instant revocation of their funds if officials see fit.

China hits back over Five Eyes blame for US infrastructure cyber attack ABC News Toby Mann China has hit back after Australia and other Five Eyes cyber agencies blamed it for recent cyber attacks targeting "critical infrastructure" in the United States. "Obviously, this is a collective disinformation campaign by the United States to mobilise the Five Eyes countries for geopolitical purposes," China's foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

Chinese hackers spying on US critical infrastructure, Western intelligence says Reuters Zeba Siddiqui and Chistopher Bing A state-sponsored Chinese hacking group has been spying on a wide range of U.S. critical infrastructure organizations, from telecommunications to transportation hubs, Western intelligence agencies and Microsoft said on Wednesday. The espionage has also targeted the U.S. island territory of Guam, home to strategically important American military bases, Microsoft said in a report, adding that "mitigating this attack could be challenging."

  • Chinese state-sponsored hackers infiltrated U.S. naval infrastructure, secretary of the Navy says CNBC Rohan Goswami The U.S. Navy has been hit by the Chinese state-sponsored hack that Microsoft disclosed Wednesday, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro told CNBC’s Morgan Brennan on Thursday. Del Toro said the U.S. Navy “has been impacted” by the cyberattacks, adding that it was “no surprise that China has been behaving in this manner, not just for the last couple years, but for decades.”

Notice on sending personnel to participate in the special reconnaissance battle of overseas "cyber army" China Digital Times On March 24, 2023, the 11th Bureau of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security issued an internal notice, planning to organize more than 40 "network special investigation, big data system construction and data mining backbones" across the country to launch a one-month "investigation special battle" in Beijing. The main content of the action is to "send personnel to participate in the battle for public opinion with overseas 'cyber army' and effectively maintain online political security."

PRC state-sponsored cyber actor living off the land to evade detection joint cybersecurity advisory Australian Cyber Security Magazine The Australian Cyber Security Centre has released a joint advisory with international partners on a recently discovered cluster of activity associated with a People’s Republic of China state-sponsored cyber actor, also known as Volt Typhoon. The advisory provides an overview of hunting guidance and best practices to detect the cyber actor’s activity. Networks across U.S. critical infrastructure sectors are currently affected, and it is believed that the actor could apply the same techniques against other sectors worldwide.

These special units in Chinese PLA target Indian defence research organisations, other departments Financial Express Huma Siddqui The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is creating tools for strategic guidance and training personnel necessary to support traditional war fighting disciplines, and is developing computer network operations capability. And it uses cyber operations to target its other rivals. The Chinese academic community and hacker groups around the world are heavily focused on researching new ‘zero-day’ vulnerabilities.

Chip wars with China risk ‘enormous damage’ to US tech Financial Times Madhumita Murgia & Tim Bradshaw The chief executive of Nvidia, the world’s most valuable semiconductor company, has warned that the US tech industry is at risk of “enormous damage” from the escalating battle over chips between Washington and Beijing. Speaking to the Financial Times, Jensen Huang said US export controls introduced by the Biden administration to slow Chinese semiconductor manufacturing had left the Silicon Valley group with “our hands tied behind our back” and unable to sell advanced chips in one of the company’s biggest markets.

Reuters

China's securities regulator said on Friday it had allowed Morgan Stanley (MS.N) to set up a China futures company in Beijing, to implement the opening-up of the country's futures market.

Le Monde

On Wednesday, May 24, Chinese president Xi Jinping and his PM, Li Qiang, received Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishutin in …


On the afternoon of May 24, President Xi Jinping met with Russian Prime Minister Mishustin, who was on an official visit to China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Huang Jingwen

81.cn


On May 24, President Xi Jinping was invited to attend the opening ceremony of the Second Plenary Session of the Eurasian Economic Union Eurasian Economic Forum and delivered a speech. Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Li Xueren

81.cn

Forbes

Xi Jinping may have great political power but he frequently shows a deep ignorance of economics. His increased use of exit bans certainly exhibits his failings in this sphere. These may intimidate people — Chinese and foreign — and enhance communist Party power, but they will work against the government’s avowed efforts to bolster business confidence and so encourage investing and growth.

CNBC

As the United States look at disengaging from China, Europe could soon find itself in a sweet spot.

U.S. President Joe Biden has, for most of his term so far, adopted a harsh tone on China, calling the world’s second-largest economy the most serious competitor to America. Diplomatic dialogue between the two hit a rockier patch earlier this year when Washington accused Beijing of using a spy balloon to obtain intelligence from U.S. military sites


A member of the Peoples Armed Police stands guard in front of the flag of the European Union at the European Delegation in Beijing, China. Kevin Frayer | Getty Images News | Getty Images


Belt and Road


 

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.


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




 

USA

  • Funding for the military has emerged as a key sticking point in reaching an agreement to raise the U.S. debt ceiling. Republicans have refused to raise the limit unless President Biden agrees to cuts in federal spending outside of the military. President Biden has resisted Republicans’ push to spare the Defense Department from spending caps. Jim Tankersley reports for the New York Times.

  • US and China address trade tensions in rare high-level Washington meeting. Chinese commerce minister Wang Wentao and US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo raised concerns about their countries’ trade and investment policies at a meeting in Washington but pledged to keep channels of communication open. Joe Leahy and James Politi.Financial Times

  • Pressure mounts on the Biden administration to respond to Beijing’s ban on U.S. semiconductor maker Micron Technology, even as Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and her Chinese counterpart, Wang Wentao, held a pivotal meeting on U.S.-China ties yesterday. Any retaliation by the United States over Micron risks setting back a fragile rapprochement after months of rising tensions. However, the Micron ban is fueling already-hawkish sentiment in Congress toward China, with lawmakers demanding that the Biden administration take Beijing to task. Lingling Wei and Charles Hutzler report for the Wall Street Journal.

  • The U.S. State Department yesterday warned that China could launch cyber attacks against critical infrastructure, including oil and gas pipelines and rail systems, after researchers discovered a Chinese hacking group, Volt Typhoon, was spying on such networks. Raphael Satter, Zeba Siddiqui, and James Pearson report for Reuters.

  • Joe Biden’s advisers say he doesn’t want to drag Pacific allies into ‘headlong clash’ between US and China. In a webinar with an Australian audience on Friday, senior White House national security council officials said the US president wanted to give allies and other close partners ‘breathing space’ to engage with China constructively.Daniel Hurst. The Guardian

  • Montana and Florida face lawsuits for free speech restriction and anti-Chinese discrimination. TikTok filed a lawsuit against Montana for banning the app. Meanwhile, four Chinese citizens and a Chinese company have sued Florida for a new law barring them from owning property. Nadya Yeh.The China Project

  • Sanctioned China stocks win sudden boost from patriotic buyers. As Japan and the United States place fresh curbs on Chinese technology firms, local investors are scooping up shares of those firms and state companies. Samuel Shen and Tom Westbrook. Reuters

  • Texas state lawmakers are considering impeachment proceedings against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton after yesterday’s recommendation from a House investigation committee. There are 20 articles of impeachment, including conspiracy, dereliction of duty, misapplication of public resources, unfitness for office, bribery, obstruction of justice, false statement, and conspiracy. Elizabeth Findell reports for the Wall Street Journal.

  • The Biden administration yesterday published a strategy to combat antisemitism. The strategy introduces new initiatives aimed at improving public awareness in places such as schools and college campuses and offering more community training to encourage the reporting of hate crimes. It also calls on social media companies to aggressively prevent the spread of hate speech and anti-Jewish content online. It asks Congress to hold accountable those platforms that do not provide transparency on how this content is disseminated. The Anti-Defamation League reported 3,697 antisemitic incidents in 2022. David Nakamura reports for the Washington Post.

DeSantis’s big moment goes awry with a Twitter meltdown The New York Times Nicholas Nehamas and Shane Goldmacher Ron DeSantis’s long-awaited official entry into the 2024 presidential campaign went haywire at its start on Wednesday during a glitch-filled livestream over Twitter. Despite the problems, Mr. DeSantis, the combative 44-year-old Republican governor of Florida who has championed conservative causes and thrown a yearslong flurry of punches at America’s left, provides Donald J. Trump the most formidable Republican rival he has faced since his ascent in 2016. His candidacy comes at a pivotal moment for the Republican Party, which must choose between aligning once more behind Mr. Trump — who lost in 2020 and continues to rage falsely about a stolen election — or uniting around a new challenger to take on President Biden.

Foreign Policy

“A policy shift toward economic engagement with Beijing seems to be underway in the White House.”

Cybersecurity mission from USA in India to enhance cyber ability of the 2 countries ET CIO The US Department of Commerce has sent its Cybersecurity Business Development Trade mission to Mumbai with an agenda to enhance the abilities of the two nations to address and resolve the growing risks form cyber threats. The cybersecurity companies in India are making their presnece felt in the world and the USA feels that there is ample scope for collaberation between the two countries.

What’s a Hollywood producer doing on the board of NSO's parent company? CTech Omer Kabir Robert Simonds, a Hollywood producer with ties to China, recently began serving as a director in the holding company that owns all the shares of the Israeli spyware developer NSO, Calcalist has learned. Simonds is one of the only two directors in the holding company, Dufresne Holding, alongside Omri Lavie, the founder of NSO who also owns all the shares of the holding company. As far as is known, Simonds has no practical or business experience related to NSO's fields of activity, but in addition to his production company, he has served as a director in several companies and entities in different fields of activity.

Crypto payments to China chemical suppliers fuel US fentanyl epidemic Protos Protos Staff China-based suppliers of chemicals used solely to produce fentanyl are receiving tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency payments, fueling the ongoing fentanyl epidemic in the United States, according to a report by Elliptic. Research conducted by the analytics firm identified over 90 China-based chemical companies willing to supply fentanyl precursors who altogether had received $27 million in crypto payments — some were ready to sell fentanyl itself, despite China’s regulations banning the export of the deadly drug.

Americas

  • Shein to set up Mexico factory to diversify production amidst heightened political tensions. Chinese fast-fashion retailer intends to construct a factory in Mexico as part of its expansion into the Latin American market. TechNode

  • Pegasus spyware has been found on the cellphone of Alejandro Encinas, the undersecretary for human rights in Mexico’s Government Ministry, investigating alleged abuses by the military. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador downplayed the spyware attack on Tuesday at his daily news conference and said he did not believe the army was at fault. In a report last August, Encinas blamed the police, the armed forces, and civilian officials, as well as drug traffickers, for the disappearances of 43 students in 2014 and what he called a subsequent coverup. Encinas’s office has also led a probe into the disappearances of hundreds of people in the 1960s and 1970s during the military’s “Dirty War” against a left-wing insurgency. Oscar Lopez and Mary Beth Sheridan report for the Washington Post.

‘Despicable’ iPhone hacks In Armenia find NSO spyware ‘in active warzone’ Forbes Thomas Brewster In mid-2021, Apple sent a warning to Anna Naghdalyan, then a spokesperson for Armenia’s foreign affairs agency, that her iPhone had possibly been hacked by a foreign government. Given her role, which saw her heavily involved in diplomacy around a decades-long, bloody conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the alert was particularly concerning. “I felt vulnerable and insecure about the integrity of my personal and professional information,” she told Forbes.

  • Hacking in a war zone: Pegasus spyware in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict AccessNow Natalia Krapiva and Gulio A joint investigation between Access Now, CyberHUB-AM, the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, Amnesty International’s Security Lab, and an independent mobile security researcher Ruben Muradyan, has uncovered hacking of civil society victims in Armenia with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.

Southeast Asia

Malaysia's rapid 5G adoption highlights cyber vulnerabilities Nikkei Asia Hakimie Armie Cybersecurity experts warn the rapid pace of Malaysia's 5G telecommunications rollout poses a threat to users and businesses in the country, with data breaches and ransomware attacks potentially increasing as the new technology takes hold and the country's systemic defenses remain weak. 5G, or the fifth generation of network infrastructure, allows for far faster mobile downloads. But as with many such improvements, opportunities to take advantage of technological advances for nefarious purposes are also on the rise.

North Asia

  • TSMC in talks for German subsidies. The German government is in ongoing negotiations with TSMC to build a €10 billion semiconductor plant in Dresden. Reports suggest TSMC could be set to receive subsidies for as much as 50% of the project costs, funded by the European Chips Act. South China Morning Post

  • Why Warren Buffett’s Taiwan pullout has unsettling implications. If China can scare foreign investors away from Taiwan, it will gradually but steadily erode Taiwan’s ability to pay for what it needs to deter an invasion.Jim Geraghty. The Washington Post

  • Masanori Aoki, 31, a son of a Nagano prefecture politician, has been arrested after four people were killed in a rare shooting and stabbing attack in Japan. The alleged assailant stabbed a woman and shot two police officers with a hunting rifle in Nagano prefecture. A fourth death was later confirmed. Aoki’s motive is not clear. Shaimaa Khalil and James FitzGerald report for BBC News.

Cambridge Core

Since 2016, China has been conducting military flybys around Taiwan, while the US has approved arms sales to Taiwan on several occasions and sent warplanes and battleships through the Taiwan Strait. How does Taiwanese public opinion respond to the Chinese and US military presence in the Strait?

South Korea asks US to review China rule for chip subsidies Reuters Soo-Hyang Choi South Korea has asked Washington to review its criteria for new semiconductor subsidies, concerned over the impact of rules to limit chip investment in countries such as China, a U.S. public filing showed. In March, the U.S. commerce department proposed rules to prevent China and other countries it deems to be of concern from tapping funds of $52 billion earmarked for semiconductor manufacturing and research under the so-called CHIPS Act.

Ukraine - Russia

  • Japan approved additional sanctions against Russia, including freezing the assets of dozens of individuals and groups and banning exports to Russian military-related organizations, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno announced today. The move demonstrates Japan’s coordination with the Group of Seven countries that agreed last week to maintain and strengthen sanctions against Russia. Matsuno also criticized yesterday’s Russia-Belarus deal on deploying Moscow’s tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. Mari Yamaguchi reports for AP News.

  • The United States plans to announce up to $300 million worth of military aid for Ukraine comprised mainly of ammunition, two official sources said yesterday. The U.S. has pledged over $35 billion of security assistance to Ukraine since Russian forces invaded. Mike Stone reports for Reuters.

  • Russian paramilitary organization Wagner group said it began relinquishing control of Bakhmut to regular Russian troops yesterday. Wagner forces are expected to have pulled out by the beginning of June. With Bakhmut under Russian control, Moscow’s forces inside Ukraine are now expected to prepare for a long-awaited offensive by Ukrainian forces. Alan Cullison and Ian Lovett report for the Wall Street Journal.

  • Warmer weather and drying mud signal the start of a new fighting season as conditions for the much-anticipated counterattack improve. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has said that the counter-offensive will not be a “‘single event’ that will begin at a specific hour of a specific day” but instead described it as “dozens of different actions to destroy the Russian occupation forces in different directions.” Podolyak added that these actions were already underway. Adam Taylor and Anastacia Galouchka report for the Washington Post.

  • Ukraine struck the city of Krasnodar and the Rostov region in southern Russia with a rocket and a drone, according to Russian officials. A blast damaged a residential and office building in Krasnodar. Air defenses shot down the Ukrainian missile over Rostov. Reuters reports.

Europe

China is ramping up efforts to influence policy and public opinion in the EU — but much of the bloc is blind to what’s happening, a special adviser to the European Commission told POLITICO.

UK

  • Foreign secretary publishes six-monthly report on Hong Kong. The report maintains that China remains in a state of ongoing non-compliance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Gov.uk

  • A man was arrested yesterday after a car collided with the front gates of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office and residence, in an incident police said was not being treated as “terror-related.” Police said armed officers had arrested a man at the scene on suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving. The current terrorism threat level in Britain is “substantial,” meaning an attack is considered likely. Reuters reports.

  • “Net migration” into the U.K. reached a record 606,000, according to the Office for National Statistics, despite post-Brexit governments’ promises to slash immigration. Brexit has had an impact, with a net loss of 51,000 E.U. citizens. However, there was a jump in people coming from the rest of the world, notably to work in health and social care. Britain also accepted more than 110,000 Ukrainians and 50,000 Hong Kongers on special visas. The “numbers are too high, it’s as simple as that,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said in response to the publication of the figures. Karla Adam reports for the Washington Post.

Africa

Can Africa’s first content moderators union change Big Tech? Al Jazeera It’s the first union of its kind on the continent for African content moderators. Moderation is a crucial but thankless job that requires being exposed to the worst parts of the internet. While AI is rapidly developing, it still relies on an army of humans to fine-tune the technology. But especially at outsourcing centers abroad, workers say their Big Tech employers aren’t doing enough to safeguard and support their mental health. The moderators’ union was created after a former Facebook moderator in Kenya, Daniel Motaung, sued the social media giant and its subcontractor, saying his work in their Nairobi office caused him to suffer long-term mental trauma.

Global

  • Turkish incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan will likely win reelection on Sunday based on polling results and an endorsement from the ultra-nationalist candidate, Sinan Ogan. Erdogan’s rivalKemal Kilicdaroglu took a step to the right in a bid to gain support in the run-off election by announcing that we would “send all refugees back home once I am elected President.” Orla Guerin reports for BBC News.

Big Tech

Microsoft chief says deep fakes are biggest AI concern Reuters Diane Bartz Microsoft President Brad Smith said Thursday that his biggest concern around artificial intelligence was deep fakes, realistic looking but false content. In a speech in Washington aimed at addressing the issue of how best to regulate AI, which went from wonky to widespread with the arrival of OpenAI's ChatGPT, Smith called for steps to ensure that people know when a photo or video is real and when it is generated by AI, potentially for nefarious purposes.

Driver’s Licenses, addresses, photos: Inside how TikTok shares user data The New York Times Sapna Maheshwari and Ryan Mac In August 2021, TikTok received a complaint from a British user, who flagged that a man had been “exposing himself and playing with himself” on a livestream she hosted on the video app. She also described past abuse she had experienced. To address the complaint, TikTok employees shared the incident on an internal messaging and collaboration tool called Lark, according to company documents obtained by The New York Times.

Lawsuits by moderators of violent online content pose threat to Big Tech The Wall Street Journal Alexandra Wexler Musa Abubakar spent years moderating Facebook content, scrolling through videos and images of what he said were often rapes, beheadings and suicides. After enduring hours of “people having their hands chopped off, hanging themselves, set on fire alive,” Abubakar says he has lost any sense of empathy. “I don’t really feel anything.” He and 183 other content moderators here are now part of a lawsuit against a contractor for Facebook-owner Meta Platforms, and the social-media giant itself.

Facebook owner Meta slashes business teams in final round of layoffs Reuters Katie Paul Meta Platforms Inc, owner of Facebook, slashed jobs across its business and operations units on Wednesday as it carried out its last batch of a three-part round of layoffs, part of a plan announced in March to eliminate 10,000 roles. Dozens of employees working in teams such as marketing, site security, enterprise engineering, program management, content strategy and corporate communications took to LinkedIn to announce that they were laid off. The social media giant also cut employees from its units focused on privacy and integrity, according to the LinkedIn posts. Meta earlier this year became the first Big Tech company to announce a second round of mass layoffs, after showing more than 11,000 employees the door in the fall. The cuts brought the company's headcount down to where it stood as of about mid-2021, following a hiring spree that doubled its workforce since 2020.

The thorny art of deepfake labeling WIRED Katerina Cizek and Shirin Anlen Last week, the Republican National Committee put out a video advertisement against Biden, which featured a small disclaimer in the top left of the frame: “Built entirely with AI imagery.” Critics questioned the diminished size of the disclaimer and suggested its limited value, particularly because the ad marks the first substantive use of AI in political attack advertising. As AI-generated media become more mainstream, many have argued that text-based labels, captions, and watermarks are crucial for transparency. But do these labels actually work? Maybe not.

Artificial Intelligence

Generative AI magnifies urgency of regulating big tech platforms Financial Review Rod Sims Australia should begin the long journey of regulating the big digital platforms. This need has clearer urgency with generative AI where we need to act before the technology gets away from us again, but this time with larger consequences. I hear two arguments against such an approach, both of which are flawed.

ChatGPT maker OpenAI calls for AI regulation, warning of ‘existential risk’ Ellen Francis The Washington Post The leaders of OpenAI, the creator of viral chatbot ChatGPT, are calling for the regulation of “superintelligence” and artificial intelligence systems, suggesting an equivalent to the world’s nuclear watchdog would help reduce the “existential risk” posed by the technology. In a statement published on the company website this week, co-founders Greg Brockman and Ilya Sutskever, as well as CEO Sam Altman, argued that an international regulator would eventually become necessary to “inspect systems, require audits, test for compliance with safety standards, (and) place restrictions on degrees of deployment and levels of security.”

Chip giant Nvidia nears trillion-dollar status on AI bet Reuters Aditya Soni Nvidia Corp surged 24% on Thursday in one of the largest one-day gains in value for a U.S. stock, after its stellar revenue forecast showed that Wall Street has yet to price in the game-changing potential of AI. The surge more than doubled the stock's value for this year and increased the chip designer's market capitalization by about $184 billion to nearly $939 billion.

  • AI future depends on semiconductor chips from companies like Nvidia Axios Nathan Bomey First, it was electronics — then it was cars — and now it's AI: The semiconductor chip is entering a new stratospheric phase. Pandemic-era supply chain breakdowns and national security concerns cast a spotlight on the need for more chip capacity and, in particular, more domestic production. After the bell Wednesday, chip giant Nvidia projected revenue of $11 billion for its fiscal second-quarter running through July, astonishing analysts and investors and driving the company's stock up more than 22% today.

OpenAI may leave the EU if regulations bite Reuters OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said on Wednesday the ChatGPT maker might consider leaving Europe if it could not comply with the upcoming artificial intelligence regulations by the European Union. The EU is working on what could be the first set of rules globally to govern AI. As part of the draft, companies deploying generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, will have to disclose any copyrighted material used to develop their systems.

Elections in UK and US at risk from AI-driven disinformation, say experts The Guardian Dan Milmo and Alex Hern Next year’s elections in Britain and the US could be marked by a wave of AI-powered disinformation, experts have warned, as generated images, text and deepfake videos go viral at the behest of swarms of AI-powered propaganda bots. Sam Altman, CEO of the ChatGPT creator, OpenAI, told a congressional hearing in Washington this week that the models behind the latest generation of AI technology could manipulate users.

AI Is Steeped in Big Tech’s ‘Digital Colonialism’ WIRED Grace Browne It has been said that algorithms are “opinions embedded in code.” Few people understand the implications of that better than Abeba Birhane. Born and raised in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, Birhane moved to Ireland to study: first psychology, then philosophy, then a PhD in cognitive science at University College Dublin. During her doctorate, she found herself surrounded by software developers and data science students—immersed in the models they were building and the data sets they were using. But she started to realize that no one was really asking questions about what was actually in those data sets.

TikTok tests AI chatbot 'Tako' in the Philippines Reuters Josh Ye Social media platform TikTok said on Thursday it is in the early stages of exploring a chatbot called "Tako" that can converse with users about short videos and help them discover content, and is conducting tests with select users in the Philippines. OpenAI, backed by Microsoft Corp, last year launched chatbot ChatGPT, offering arguably the most natural interaction to date. That triggered a race to develop features based on game-changing generative artificial intelligence, including TikTok rival Snap Inc whose "My AI" is powered by ChatGPT technology. Earlier on Thursday, an Israeli-based app intelligence firm Watchful Technologies said it had found Tako on some versions of the TikTok app on Apple Inc. mobile devices.





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