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International press review Extrema Ratio May 31, 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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Relazione di Gabriele Iuvinale nella conferenza stampa che si è svolta ieri (30 maggio) nella Sala Caduti di Nassirya del Senato della Repubblica di presentazione del libro "La Cina di Xi Jinping - Verso un nuovo ordine mondiale sinocentrico?"


China Military

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for accelerated efforts to modernize the country's national security system and capacity.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks as he chaired the first meeting of the National Security Commission under the 20th CPC Central Committee. Xi is head of the commission.

China Military

At the invitation of the Indonesian Navy, the Chinese PLA Navy's destroyer Zhanjiang and frigate Xuchang will participate in the KOMODO-2023 multinational joint maritime exercise, which is to be held in early June in Indonesia, according to a written statement released by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday.

The Defence Post

The UK has conducted its first military trial of an artificial intelligence-enabled drone swarm in collaboration with the US and Australia.

New York Post

Frightening footage filmed from the cockpit of a US Air Force plane showed a Chinese fighter jet swerve dangerously close as the pair flew through international airspace over the South China Sea on Friday.


he Malaysian coast guard detained a Chinese bulk cargo ship carrying unexploded shells that may have been looted from United Kingdom Royal Navy World War II wrecks HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, which were both sunk by torpedoes days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Defence Post

GM Defense and Black Sage Technologies have collaborated to explore integrating a counter-unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) with military vehicles.

Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV). Photo: GM Defense

CBS News

A Chinese fighter jet performed an "unnecessarily aggressive maneuver" in an intercept of a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft last week, according to a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command statementt...

Chinese fighter jet harasses U.S. Air Force spy plane over South China Sea on May 26, 2023. Photo: CBS News

LIMA 23 brings together industry stakeholders, government, and military officials from more than a dozen countries dedicated to the maritime and aerospace sectors for defense, civil, and commercial applications.


Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and its escorts are operating off the coast of Guam awaiting the call to assist in disaster relief ashore, two Navy officials told USNI News.


A day after it unveiled its plan for satellite launch, North Korea fired a "possible ballistic missile" on Wednesday, reported Kyodo News quoting the Japanese Defence Ministry.


The coast guard of the United States, Japan and the Philippines will hold trilateral maritime exercise in the South China Sea this week, the first such maneuvers between them as a time of growing concern about China’s moves in the region.

USCG National Security Cutter Midgett arrives at a Manila port for the Philippines-U.S. joint coast guard drills, in Manila, Philippines, August 30, 2022. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo


Serbian Army is at the highest level of combat readiness, in accordance with the decision of the Supreme Commander and the President of the Republic of Serbia.


The Armed Forces of Ukraine will receive CV90 infantry fighting vehicles from Sweden, which are in service with some NATO member states. Ukrainian crews are already completing training to master them. Estonia Will Ask For a Clearer Path for Ukraine to Join NATO

Defence One

In Europe, defense ministers and military experts worry that the world is not learning the lessons from Ukraine quickly enough.


The company is one of three firms on contract with the National Reconnaissance Office to provide commercial satellite imagery over the next 10 years.

Photo: Maxar

Defence One

New GAO report details another $1.4 billion in upgrade costs, and additional delays.


The speed, scale and intensity of Russian hybrid activities has increased in recent years, notes David Cattler.


Satellite images taken Tuesday analyzed by The Associated Press showed activity at a main pad at North Korea's Sohae Satellite Launching Station.

This satellite picture by Planet Labs PBC shows activity at a launch pad at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station near Tongchang-ri, North Korea, Tuesday, May 30, 2023. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)


Poland has finalised a deal with the United States to acquire Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-surface missiles to equip its future Leonardo AW149 and Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters.


Antony Blinken, in Europe, sees alignment on China The Wall Street Journal Kim Mackrael The U.S. and Europe are converging in their views on how to approach China, with recent statements from the European Union closely mirroring US policy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.


  • Protesters clash with police in China over partial demolition of mosque. The unrest broke out on Saturday in response to attempts by the authorities to dismantle parts of Najiaying mosque in Nagu, a town in Yunnan province. In 2020, a court ruled that recent additions to the mosque, including a domed roof and minarets, were illegal and should be removed. Amy Hawkins. The Guardian

  • China and Zimbabwe seek to strengthen ties ahead of elections. In a meeting with his visiting Zimbabwean counterpart Frederick Shava in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang pledged Beijing’s support for Zimbabwe to oppose ‘external interference and sanctions’. Zimbabwe is currently under US sanctions over controversial land reforms. Cyril Ip. South China Morning Post

  • Chinese pilot performed ‘aggressive maneuver’ near US plane. A Chinese fighter pilot performed an ‘unnecessarily aggressive maneuver’ near an American surveillance aircraft operating over the South China Sea last week, according to US military.The Guardian

  • Elon Musk on first trip to China in three years. Musk met with China’s foreign minister Qin Gang and is expected to visit Tesla’s manufacturing plant in Shanghai. His visit comes as Tesla faces growing competition from Chinese electric car manufacturers and amid increasing tensions between China and the US. Annabelle Liang.BBC News

  • TikTok creators’ financial info, social security numbers have been stored in China. An investigation by Forbes reveals that TikTok uses various internal tools and databases from its Beijing-based parent ByteDance to manage payments to creators who earn money through the app. Their highly sensitive financial and personal data has subsequently been stored in China. Alexandra S. Levine. Forbes

  • Goldman Sachs’ China dealmaker stops tapping US investors. Stephanie Hui, who runs the Asia-Pacific private and growth equity arm of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, has said she has stopped trying to raise money in the US because of geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing. Kaye Wiggins.Financial Times

  • TikTok CEO to lead ByteDance’s new app Lemon8. Lemon8 head Stephanie Cheng is relocating to Singapore from Shanghai and will report to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew instead of China-based ByteDance executive Alex Zhu. It’s believed that the company is making these changes to prevent backlash over the company’s Chinese ownership. The Information

  • China suspends plan to build floating nuclear reactors in the South China Sea. Chinese regulators have withheld final approval for a mega platform intended to power remote islands and infrastructure in the disputed region, citing security and safety concerns. Stephen Chen. South China Morning Post

  • China’s national computing power network accepts its first batch of provinces. Data centres in southern Guangdong province and the southwestern provinces of Sichuan and Guizhou have been admitted to the ‘China Computing Net’ (C2NET). Demand for computing power in China has skyrocketed thanks to the rise in popularity of AI. Coco Feng. South China Morning Post

  • China leads the world in preparing for extreme weather threats. China is better prepared than most for extreme weather threats to its electricity grid, according to a recent report by the Lantau Group. Bloomberg

  • Has China become too cosy with private equity? How Chinese state funds have deployed hundreds of billions of dollars into western economies, even as regulators and politicians move to reduce the west’s economic dependency on China.Will Louch, Yuan Yang and Kaye Wiggins. Financial Times

  • Words and policies: “De-risking” and China policy. Gewirtz unpacks the massive uncertainty about what ‘de-risking’ means and the likely divergences in its application. Paul Gewirtz. Brookings Institute

  • How the U.S. wants to pressure China to help avert climate catastrophe. While Biden administration officials try to get talks back on track, they also explore other tools, such as tariffs, that could be tied to the emissions level of products such as steel and aluminum. Michael Birnbaum and Christian Shepherd. The Washington Post

  • How HSBC’s China battle threatens to ‘heat right back up’. Ping An’s next steps after losing a vote promises to shed light on its motivations.Stephen Morris, Kaye Wiggins and Chan Ho-him. Financial Times

  • China’s subsea-cable power play in the Middle East and North Africa. How China’s growing presence in the Middle East and North Africa’s cable industry gives the power to shape the route of global internet traffic by determining when, where, and how to build cables. Dale Aluf. Atlantic Council, 30 May

Chinese organisations launched 79 AI large language models since 2020 - report Reuters Qiaoyi Li and Eduardo Baptista Chinese organisations launched 79 large-language models in the country over the past three years as they doubled down on efforts to develop artificial intelligence algorithms, a report by state-run research institutes said. The development of LLMs, trained using deep learning techniques on massive amounts of text data, entered an "accelerated" phase in 2020.

China is flirting with AI catastrophe Foreign Affairs Bill Drexel and Hannah Kelley As the world settles into a new era of rivalry­—this time between China and the United States—competition over another revolutionary technology, artificial intelligence, has sparked a flurry of military and ethical concerns parallel to those initiated by the nuclear race. Those concerns are well worth the attention they are receiving, and more: a world of autonomous weapons and machine-speed war could have devastating consequences for humanity. Beijing’s use of AI tools to help fuel its crimes against humanity against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang already amounts to a catastrophe.

Crypto founders optimistic about Beijing paper promoting Web3 despite no mention of cryptocurrency South China Morning Post Xinmei Shen Crypto founders, including Binance chief executive Zhao Changpeng, are talking up the Chinese government’s support for Web3, tying a recent Beijing white paper to Hong Kong’s efforts to become a crypto hub, as they face increasing regulatory scrutiny in other parts of the world.

China sends three into space, says it wants astronauts on moon by 2030 The Washington Post Christian Shepherd China sent another three astronauts into space — including the first civilian — on Tuesday morning, a day after announcing plans to land astronauts on the moon before 2030 and setting up a new sphere of rivalry with the United States.

No sign that it is safe yet to reinvest in Chinese tech companies Nikkei Asia Henny Sender Following on the heels of founder Jack Ma's triumphant return to his hometown Hangzhou in late March, Alibaba Group Holding's restructuring into six separate companies was initially greeted with euphoria. The reorganization was driven by Alibaba's board, rather than either Beijing or Ma, according to people familiar with the plan.

China urges Japan to halt export restrictions on chips Reuters Joe Cash and Bernard Orr Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao urged Japan to halt semiconductor export controls, calling it a "wrongdoing" that "seriously violated" international economic and trade rules, a statement from his ministry said on Monday. China's latest condemnation of the export restrictions was made during Wang's talks with Japanese Trade Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.

The billionaire whose electrode empire powers China’s EV dominance Financial Times Edward White A self-made Chinese billionaire with a fascination for metallurgy is posing a fundamental challenge to a traditional auto industry already struggling to compete with China in the development of electric vehicles and batteries.


China Telecom (0728.HK) has invested 3 billion yuan ($434 million) to establish the China Telecom Quantum Information Technology Group Co., it said in a statement on its official WeChat account Tuesday.

Radio Free Europe

Greetings from Bratislava, where I’m at GLOBSEC, an international strategic conference that’s gathered leaders and thinkers from across Europe.

The mood here is generally positive because of how the West has managed to stick together over nearly 16 months of war in Ukraine, but an undercurrent of anxiety is growing over how fragile that unity is.

Channel News Asia

The junta has been shunned by many in the international community over its bloody crackdown on dissent, but China has maintained ties with the regime.

Belt and Road


  • Last year, the U.S. government denied or took no action on a quarter of requests for export to China in a bid to stop sales that would advance Beijing’s militarization, a senior official said in testimony released yesterday. Nearly 700 Chinese parties are subject to the government’s export controls on what is known as the “Entity List,” Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew Axelrod said in written testimony. The goal is to counter China’s “military modernization, human rights abuses, and other activities contrary to our national security and foreign policy interests,” Axelrod said. David Shepardson reports for Reuters.

  • A Chinese fighter jet conducted an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” near a U.S. surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea last week, a video released by U.S. military officials yesterday reveals. Dan Lamothe reports for the Washington Post.

  • U.S. manufacturers are searching for non-China-based supply chains as fears of military conflict and increasing security worries grow. John Keilman reports for the Wall Street Journal.

  • The U.A.E. has pressed the U.S. to bolster its deterrence of Iran after Iran’s military seized two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in recent weeks, U.S. and Gulf officials said. Gulf officials say the U.S. has failed to do enough to deter attacks in recent years from Iranian proxies, undermining their faith in Washington’s commitment to the region. Meanwhile, the U.S. has been increasingly concerned by the U.A.E.’s growing ties with China. U.S. officials have also warned the U.A.E. repeatedly against helping Moscow evade sanctions as Russians flock to Dubai. Benoit Faucon and Dion Nissenbaum report for the Wall Street Journal.

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday that the “time is now” for Turkey to drop its objections to Sweden joining NATO but said the Biden administration also believed that Turkey should be provided with upgraded F-16 fighters “as soon as possible.” “I spoke to Erdogan, and he still wants to work on something on the F-16s. I told him we wanted a deal with Sweden. So let’s get that done,” President Biden said of his phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday. However, Blinken yesterday insisted the two issues were distinct. Matthew Lee reports for AP News.

  • The Zimbabwean government summoned the acting U.S. ambassador yesterday over election-related social media posts, which it said amounted to activism and meddling in the country’s internal affairs. A tweet encouraging Zimbabweans to vote peacefully was described as unacceptable and a deviation from diplomatic norms by Zimbabwe’s acting permanent secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs, Rofina Chikava. A spokesperson for the U.S. embassy said there was no problem with the social media posts. Shingai Nyoka reports for BBC News.

  • Vivek Ramaswamy has fired Gitcho Goodwin from his presidential campaign after it was revealed that the consulting firm had simultaneously been doing public relations work for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League. An April memo by Ramaswamy’s campaign CEO described the chiefs of Gitcho Goodwin as “senior advisors” to the candidate. Caitlin Oprysko and Hailey Fuchs report for POLITICO.

  • There will be “significant costs for U.S. diplomacy” if Congress fails to renew the controversial intelligence Section 702 program that is set to expire this year, a senior State Department official said yesterday. Section 702 allows authorized U.S. officials to search a vast database that gathers phone calls and text messages of foreign targets overseas from U.S. telecommunications providers. U.S. diplomats have used the program to monitor Russian atrocities in Ukraine and to warn allies about North Korea’s funding for its nuclear program. Sean Lyngaas reports for CNN.

  • Tara Reade, the former Senate aide who accused President Biden of sexual assault, said yesterday that she had moved to Russia and was seeking citizenship. Reade said in a news conference that she might stay in Russia because that is where she feels “surrounded by protection and safety.” No former Biden staff members could corroborate any details of Reade’s allegation or recall any similar behavior by Biden toward her or any women. Eduardo Medina reports for the New York Times.

  • Eric Charles Welton, a U.S. migrant living in Thailand, was arrested last week on a charge of threatening U.S. senators and political groups over the number of unsolicited political emails he was receiving, the Justice Department announced yesterday. On Thursday, Welton, 51, was arrested at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He faces one count of threatening a federal official and up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand reports for CNN.

New DoD cyber strategy tags Russia, China as top threats Janes Carlo Munoz Potential cyber attacks by China and Russia against the US and its allies continue to be one of the pre-eminent threat facing the US Department of Defense, according to the Pentagon's latest cyber strategy. The classified version of the 2023 DoD Cyber Strategy was sent to US congressional lawmakers on 26 May.

Deepfaking it: America's 2024 election collides with AI boom Reuters Alexandra Ulmer and Anna Tong The Clinton and Biden deepfakes - realistic yet fabricated videos created by AI algorithms trained on copious online footage - are among thousands surfacing on social media, blurring fact and fiction in the polarized world of U.S. politics. While such synthetic media has been around for several years, it's been turbocharged over the past year by of a slew of new "generative AI" tools such as Midjourney that make it cheap and easy to create convincing deepfakes.

Who will make the chips? Foreign Policy Rishi Iyengar Semiconductor chips now underpin nearly every facet of our lives, powering devices ranging from smartphones to washing machines to cars. Crucially, they also power advanced weapons systems and artificial intelligence, making them the focal point of Biden’s escalating competition with China and his desire to burnish American technological leadership.

We’ve been getting cyber wrong for years, new book claims The Sydney Morning Herald Chris Zappone China was last week accused of hacking into American critical infrastructure. The Five Eyes intelligence sharing alliance responded by urging companies to protect themselves. But increasingly simply raising defences no longer suffices in the domain of cyber competition.

A Q&A with Wazawaka: The FBI’s cyber Most Wanted says new designation won’t affect his work The Record by Recorded Future Dina Temple-Raston and Sean Powers Just weeks after the FBI announced that it had added Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev — better known in cyber circles as “Wazawaka” — to America’s cyber Most Wanted list, he told Recorded Future News’ Click Here podcast in an interview that the designation would do little to change his behavior: “It won’t affect my work. The dog barks, but the caravan moves on.”

Assault allegations plague a $1.4 billion home eldercare startup Bloomberg Priya Anand If you’ve been to an annual open enrollment fair in the past few years, you may have noticed a new eldercare benefit with the unusual name of Papa. It’s a gig economy version of home assistance, a family-on-demand TaskRabbit for seniors. Businessweek reviewed more than 1,200 confidential complaint reports logged by Papa over the past four years and found dozens of allegations of sexual harassment and assault.


  • More allegations of political interference in Canada. Ex-leader of the Conservatives Erin O’Toole says Canada’s spy agency informed him of a Chinese campaign to discredit him and suppress votes ahead of the 2021 election he lost against Trudeau. Canada’s opposition parties have renewed calls for a public inquiry into the matter. The Guardian

Brazilian hackers target Portuguese financial institutions CyberScoop AJ Vicens A Brazilian hacking crew targeted users of more than 30 Portuguese financial institutions earlier this year in a campaign that provides the latest example of potent, financially motivated hackers in Brazil hitting targets outside the country’s borders, according to a report released Thursday by SentinelLabs.

Colombian government targeted by suspected cyber partisans Cybernews Damien Black Colombian government websites are under assault by a suspected hacktivist group called SiegedSec, which claims to have leaked 6GB of data, including emails, confidential documents, and ID cards, a threat intelligence analyst says. FalconFeedsio posted notifications on Twitter today and on May 27th regarding the campaign, citing SiegedSec as saying the latest cyberattack marked “our third and final Operation Colombia attack.”

North Asia

  • North Korea failed today to put the country’s first spy satellite into space. North Korea vowed to conduct a second launch. South Korea and Japan briefly urged residents to take shelter during the launch. The South Korean military said it was salvaging a white metal cylinder described as a suspected rocket part. Hyung-Jin Kim and Kim Tong-Hyung report for AP News.

Taiwan rushes to prevent China from cutting internet, phones Bloomberg Jamie Tarabay and Cindy Wang Buffeted by earthquakes and the potential of conflict with China, Taiwan’s leaders want to accelerate plans to make the island more resilient to communications breakdowns and direct attacks on its digital infrastructure. It could be an impossible task.

South Korea’s Naver to target foreign governments with latest ChatGPT-like AI model Financial Times Song Jung-a Naver, South Korea’s dominant internet search engine, is set to offer tailored versions of its latest ChatGPT-like artificial intelligence model to foreign governments concerned about US data controls. Unlike Microsoft and Google’s focus on universal AI models, Naver is keen to develop localised AI applications for countries with political sensitivities in the Arab world, as well as for non-English speaking countries.

Southeast Asia

Myanmar’s intelligence war: the battle of wits and wiles against the junta The Interpreter Andrew Selth Myanmar has always been controlled through powerful intelligence agencies. The British colonial government relied heavily on intelligence collected through its police forces. After Ne Win’s coup in 1962, the Military Intelligence Service was an ever-present threat to Myanmar’s citizens. Between 1983 and 2004, the Directorate of Defence Services Intelligence and Office of the Chief of Military Intelligence exercised enormous influence over Myanmar’s national affairs. These days, the Office of the Chief of Military Security Affairs reaches into the lives of the population through an extensive network of spies and informers.

South & Central Asia

  • India and China have ejected each other’s journalists in recent weeks, virtually wiping out mutual media access. The reciprocal moves will likely add to the hostility between the two neighbors, whose relationship has deteriorated since a deadly confrontation on the contested Sino-Indian border in June 2020. Since then, India has shifted toward more active participation in the U.S.-led grouping known as the Quad, including Australia and Japan. Keith Zhai reports for the Wall Street Journal.

Pegasus spyware was deployed in Armenia amid Nagorno-Karabakh war The Record by Recorded Future Daryna Antoniuk Researchers from a handful of digital rights organizations have uncovered the first known case of Pegasus spyware being used in the middle of a war. The notorious spying software developed by Israeli company NSO Group targeted Armenian journalists, activists, government officials and civilians during the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.


$49m MMI grant for WA critical minerals project locked in InnovationAus Justin Hendry A sixth Collaboration stream grant from the former Morrison government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative has been signed off by the Industry department, leaving more than half of the funding through the $828 million grants program unaccounted for. Vanadium miner and processor Australian Vanadium on Tuesday revealed it had entered a grant agreement with the Department of Industry, Science and Resources that will see the government provide $49 million for the Australian Vanadium Project.

Russia - Ukraine

  • Ukraine and its allies are planning a summit of global leaders that would exclude Russia, aimed at garnering support for Kyiv’s terms for ending the war, according to a senior Ukrainian presidential adviser and European diplomats. European officials say they are working with Kyiv to rework Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan to make it more acceptable to global powers such as India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and China. No clear list of attendees has been established. Bojan Pancevski, Laurence Norman, and James Marson report for the Wall Street Journal.

  • In a nod to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, South Africa will change its law so that it has the power to decide whether or not to arrest a leader wanted by the International Criminal Court, deputy minister Obed Bapela has said. Basillioh Rukanga and Wycliffe Muia report for BBC News.

  • Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.), is expected to take the case for securing Ukraine’s embattled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to the U.N. Security Council next week. The meeting aims to “encourage the parties involved to comply with the I.A.E.A.’s nuclear safety principles,” the Foreign Ministry of Switzerland, which currently holds the council’s presidency, said in a statement on Monday. Anushka Patil reports for the New York Times.

  • Drone attacks were thwarted over Moscow yesterday, the first time civilian areas of the Russian capital have experienced the conflict. The physical damage was minimal. However, “If the goal was to stress the population, then the very fact that drones have appeared in the skies over Moscow has contributed to that,” Mikhail Zvinchuk, a pro-war Russian blogger, wrote. Anatoly Kurmanaev, Ivan Nechepurenko, and Eric Nagourney report for the New York Times.

  • Ukrainian shelling killed five people in a village in the Luhansk region, Moscow-installed officials said today. Separately, a drone attack caused a fire at an oil refinery in southern Russia. Ukrainian artillery also hit a Russian town close to the border for the third time in a week, damaging buildings and vehicles and injuring four people, Russian officials said. Reuters reports.

  • Russia’s Interior Ministry has put Ukrainian Commander in Chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi and Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, on a “wanted list.” Reuters reports.


EU's von der Leyen to meet OpenAI CEO Altman on Thursday Reuters Bart Meijer European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will meet the chief executive of OpenAI, Sam Altman, on Thursday, a commission spokesperson said on Tuesday without giving further detail. Altman last week said the ChatGPT maker might consider leaving Europe if it won't be able to comply with the bloc's upcoming AI regulations.

Politico Europe

The Netherlands is concerned about Chinese cyberattacks, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said, weeks after The Hague introduced export restrictions on advanced microchips technology to China.


Capita hack: 90 organisations report data breaches to watchdog BBC Chris Vallance Around 90 organisations have reported breaches of personal data held by Capita, the outsourcing giant, according to a privacy watchdog. The company suffered a cyber attack in March this year and it then emerged that Capita had left a pool of data unsecured online. Hundreds of thousands of people are now being warned that they could have been affected by the hack.

Middle East

  • The Qatari prime minister held secret talks with the supreme leader of the Taliban on May 12 about resolving tension with the international community, a source briefed on the meeting said. The meeting suggests a new willingness by Afghanistan’s rulers to discuss ways to end their isolation. President Biden’s administration was briefed on the talks and is “coordinating on all issues discussed,” including furthering dialogue with the Taliban. The issues raised included ending bans on girls’ education and women’s employment. Jonathan Landay reports for Reuters.

Saudi Arabian woman arrested over Twitter and Snapchat posts promoting reform The Guardian Stephanie Kirchgaessner Manahel al-Otaibi, a 29-year-old certified fitness instructor and artist who frequently promoted female empowerment on her social media accounts, was arrested in November 2022. Among other charges, Otaibi was accused by Saudi authorities of using a hashtag – translated to #societyisready – to call for an end to male guardianship rules.


  • Sudan’s army suspended ceasefire negotiations with the rival paramilitary force today, a Sudanese diplomatic source said. Khalid Abdelaziz reports for Reuters.

'People find us easy targets': Women politicians face a torrent of online abuse but say they won't stop their work CNN Adie Vanessa Offiong Doreen Nyanjura is a modern politician. She announced on Twitter that she would be standing in Uganda's 2026 presidential election; has a name for her supporters -- the Nyanjuraholics -- and has characterized her platform with a catchy hashtag: #ThePoliticalAntidote. But with this presence online, Nyanjura says she faces the now-standard challenges of being a woman in politics: in addition to the tweets of support or derision that most politicians on social media have become accustomed to, Nyanjura also receives tweets of misogynistic mockery.

Big Tech

A popular Android app began secretly spying on its users months after it was listed on Google Play TechCrunch Zack Whittaker A cybersecurity firm says a popular Android screen recording app that racked up tens of thousands of downloads on Google’s app store subsequently began spying on its users, including by stealing microphone recordings and other documents from the user’s phone.

Video: Inside Samsung’s and Apple’s manufacturing moves outside of China The Wall Street Journal A range of geopolitical factors are pushing tech giants to relocate their operations from China. Here’s a closer look at the strategy behind Samsung’s and Apple’s manufacturing moves outside of China.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence could lead to extinction, experts warn BBC Chris Vallance AI could lead to the extinction of humanity, experts including the heads of OpenAI and Google Deepmind have warned. Dozens have supported a statement published on the webpage of the Centre for AI Safety. "Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war" it reads.

  • Statement on AI risk Center for AI Safety AI experts, journalists, policymakers, and the public are increasingly discussing a broad spectrum of important and urgent risks from AI. Even so, it can be difficult to voice concerns about some of advanced AI’s most severe risks. The succinct statement below aims to overcome this obstacle and open up discussion. It is also meant to create common knowledge of the growing number of experts and public figures who also take some of advanced AI’s most severe risks seriously.

Artificial intelligence will entrench global inequality Foreign Policy Robert Muggah The AI race is gathering pace, and the stakes could not be higher. Major corporate players—including Alibaba, DeepMind, Google, IBM, Microsoft, OpenAI, and SAP—are leveraging huge computational power to push the boundaries of AI and popularize new AI tools such as GPT-4 and Bard. Hundreds of other private and non-profit players are rolling out apps and plugins, staking their claims in this fast-moving frontier market that some enthusiasts predict will upend the way we work, play, do business, create wealth, and govern.

Could AI carry out coups next unless stopped now? Al Jazeera Erin Hale AI is already shaking up industries from the arts to human resources. Goldman Sachs warned in March that generative AI could wipe up 300 million jobs in the future. Other research shows that teachers could be among the most affected. Then there are more nightmare scenarios of a world where humans lose control of AI – a common theme in science fiction writing that suddenly seems not quite so implausible.


‘I feel constantly watched’: the employees working under surveillance The Guardian Clea Skopeliti Employees use Hubstaff, one of the myriad monitoring tools that companies turned to as the Covid pandemic forced many to work remotely. Some, such as CleverControl and FlexiSPY offer webcam monitoring and audio recording.


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

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