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Press review EX - 30 March

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


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Xi says "China ready to contribute more to Middle East peace, development" Additionally, after Xi Jinping's visit last December, Saudi Arabia's cabinet today approved a decision to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (S.C.O.)

Winning the New Cold War: A Plan for Countering China "The U.S. President must exercise leadership in directing a national plan, as the President’s predecessors did during World War II and the Cold War. The President must galvanize Congress to act"

China

Counter Chinese bullying with an ‘economic article 5’ Foreign Policy Anders Fogh Rasmussen As China’s wealth has grown, so has its willingness to use economic bullying to achieve its foreign-policy goals. When Australian politicians called for an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, Beijing responded by slapping tariffs of more than 100 percent on Australian wines.

Reuters

Chinese Premier Li Qiang said on Thursday that he was committed to opening up and reforming the world's second-largest economy, seeking to win over foreign investors even as trade and geopolitical tensions with the West loom large.

His keynote speech, delivered at a business and political summit in the island province of Hainan, came in a week Beijing has mounted a charm offensive on overseas firms as it seeks to shore up an economy battered by years of pandemic restrictions.

China tackles chip talent shortage with new courses, higher pay Reuters Josh Horwitz China is ramping up efforts to develop home-grown semiconductor talent as it seeks to rapidly fill a shortage of expertise that has been made worse by U.S. efforts to limit Beijing's access to advanced chip technology.

Alibaba's breakup lifts hopes China's regulatory winter is thawing Reuters Ankur Banerjee Alibaba Group's plans for a major revamp have been taken as a signal that Beijing's regulatory crackdown on corporates is ending, propelling its shares higher and boosting investor confidence in prospects for Chinese tech firms. The Jack Ma-founded conglomerate said on Tuesday it was planning to split into six units and explore fundraisings or listings for most of them, marking the biggest restructuring in its 24-year history.

FDD

Chinese leader Xi Jinping says he is preparing for war. At the annual meeting of China’s parliament and its top political advisory body in March, Xi wove the theme of war readiness through four separate speeches, in one instance telling his generals to “dare to fight.” His government also announced a 7.2 percent increase in China’s defense budget, which has doubled over the last decade, as well as plans to make the country less dependent on foreign grain imports. And in recent months, Beijing has unveiled new military readiness laws, new air-raid shelters in cities across the strait from Taiwan, and new “National Defense Mobilization” offices countrywide.

RFA

Hong Kong’s government is looking at ways to share transplant organs between the city’s hospitals and those in mainland China, sparking concerns over human rights protections, according to local media reports and healthcare advocates.

The government is in talks with Chinese officials to set up a regular organ transplant cooperation system, despite ongoing human rights concerns linked to organ harvesting in China, the Ming Pao, Wen Wei Po and Singtao Daily newspapers reported.

  • Former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou is traveling to China while current President Tsai Ing-wen transits the United States, Ryan Hass, FP’s Zongyuan Zoe Liu, and FP’s James Palmer and Ravi Agrawal discuss.

  • China said its military was willing to work together with the Russian military to strengthen strategic communication and coordination, the Chinese defense ministry said today. The two countries would work together to implement global security initiatives, said Tan Kefei, a spokesperson at the Chinese defense ministry. Tan added that China and Russia would organize more joint maritime and air patrols and joint exercises. Reuters reports.

USA

LAWFARE

In American popular culture, foreign spying remains deeply associated with the Cold War and America’s principal antagonist, the Soviet Union. Countless novels, television shows, and films cast Russian spies as dangerous (yet often romantic) threats to America. But as the U.S. and China edge closer to a new Cold War, it seems clear that China has replaced the Soviet Union (and its successor, Russia) as America’s primary intelligence threat, even if one is hard-pressed to identify even one decent novel involving Chinese spies. While reports of Chinese spy-related arrests in the U.S. have grown dramatically during the past decade, the academic and policy literature lack a serious book-length study of China’s intelligence operations in the United States.

Politico

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was certain to face a blistering onslaught when he testified before the U.S. Congress. And so as he prepared to face the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, Chew enlisted all the right people to help him get ready. The Singaporean executive was prepared by former committee staffers and aides to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He received counsel from Andrew Wright, former director of legal policy for the Biden-Harris presidential transition and now a partner at the well-connected law firm K&L Gates. Ahead of the March 23 hearing, Chew scheduled meetings on the Hill with help from several former lawmakers, including Republican Jeff Denham, Democrat Bart Gordon, a former E&C member, and Joe Crowley, who was once a senior member of Democratic leadership.

Politico

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), vice chair of the Intelligence Committee, will introduce legislation Thursday — backed by members from both parties in both chambers — to require the development of a comprehensive response strategy, including sanctions, should China launch an act of aggression against Taiwan, such as an invasion.

"The threat of a reckless blockade or invasion of Taiwan from the [Chinese Communist Party] is real and one that both the U.S. and our international allies must be prepared for. At a time when our nation’s reliance on China’s genocidal regime leaves us hostage to Beijing's leverage, we must develop a strategy to respond to the CCP’s hostile acts."

White House looks to secure space from cyber threats Nextgov Kirsten Errick The Office of the National Cyber Director, the National Space Council and the private sector are looking to boost space cybersecurity efforts, according to discussions at a forum hosted by ONCD on Tuesday. According to the announcement, this gathering was part of a larger ONCD executive-level meeting series on cyber concerns for different sectors.

Defence One

Audrey Decker

In an interview, chief of space operations notes China's efforts to jam and intercept orbiting satellites.

China Tech Threat

A landmark report out this week from the Heritage Foundation points the way forward on countering the most consequential strategic threat facing the U.S. in the 21st century: the Chinese Communist Party. The ultra-comprehensive report addresses the dangers emanating from the CCP across multiple domains, including national security, economic, and homeland.

Pacific Forum

March 10’s agreement to reestablish diplomatic relations between Tehran and Riyadh was a no “peace deal,” but the rivals did decide to cool tensions and reopen embassies after a seven-year lapse. China’s role in facilitating the deal raised the most consternation in Washington, leading some to declare that “a new era of geopolitics” had begun and assert that the agreement topped “anything the US has been able to achieve in the region since Biden came to office.”

  • Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) yesterday blocked a bid to fast-track a ban of the popular Chinese-owned app TikTok citing concerns about free speech and uneven treatment of social media companies. “If Republicans want to continuously lose elections for a generation, they should pass [the RESTRICT Act] to ban TikTok – a social media app used by 150 million people, primarily young Americans,” Paul said on the Senate floor. Last week, three Democrats in the House of Representatives opposed a TikTok ban, as do free speech groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. David Shepardson reports for Reuters.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded defiantly yesterday to sharp public criticism from President Biden over his government’s judicial overhaul plan, declaring that Israel was “a sovereign country.” Netanyahu’s statement was made after Biden told reporters that he was “very concerned” about the events in Israel. Isabel Kershner reports for the New York Times.

  • President Biden urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a strong private message to halt the judicial overhaul just before Netanyahu announced its suspension, according to two U.S. sources. The private message reflects the tensions between the two allies. It reveals how concerned Biden was and how engaged he became in trying to convince Netanyahu to stop the legislation. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.

  • Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in New York yesterday for her first visit to the U.S. in three years, despite threats from Beijing that U.S. politicians who engage with Tsai could trigger unspecified retaliation. Tsai will not meet with senior members of the Biden administration, U.S. officials said. Tsai’s expected meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy next week in Los Angeles will likely prove the most consequential aspect of the visit. James T. Areddy and Charles Hutzler report for the Wall Street Journal.

  • Nuclear submarine cooperation between Australia, the U.S., and the U.K. may spark an arms race, said Tan Kefei, a spokesperson at the Chinese defense ministry today. Tan added that the cooperation was building an “Asia-Pacific version of NATO” and seriously affected peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Reuters reports.

  • Efforts to repeal Congress’ 1991 and 2002 authorizations for military action in Iraq passed in the Senate by 66-30 votes yesterday. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN) succeeded in their 4-year-long effort despite most of the Senate Republican leadership team opposing the repeal. The repeal effort now comes to the House, where Foreign Affairs Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) wants to repeal and replace both authorizations with a “counterterrorism-focused [authorization] without geographical boundaries.” Anthony Adragna reports for POLITICO.

Americas

A Q&A with the hacktivists rocking Latin America: Guacamaya The Record by Recorded Future Dina Temple-Raston and Sean Powers Earlier this month, Click Here and The Record reported that two digital rights groups, Mexico's R3D and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, had uncovered smoking gun documents that proved that the Mexican army had deployed the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware against at least two Mexican journalists and a human rights advocate between 2019 and 2021.

  • Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro left the U.S. yesterday night on a flight to Brazil, facing an array of investigations that could ultimately end his political career and even imprison him. Bolsonaro’s return could again galvanize the far right at a particularly vulnerable moment for a country still reeling from the most divisive election in its history and the shocking scenes of violence it unleashed. Bolsonaro has announced his intentions to lead the opposition to the Lula administration despite being the target of 20 investigations, six of them criminal. Terrence McCoy and Moriah Balingit report for the Washington Post.

Canada

Allegations of months of leaks from Canada’s spy agency.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has reportedly been the source of leaks for months. The leaks suggest China has been conducting election interference across Canada. As the Guardian noted, it is as yet unclear whether the leaks are coming from the intelligence agency itself or others in government who have access to the documents.

Taiwan

The Japan Times

Taiwan’s military is not preparing fast enough for a potential Chinese invasion and might not be able to fight back effectively without a fundamental shift in its defense strategy, former Taiwanese military chief retired Adm. Lee Hsi-min warned in an exclusive interview with The Japan Times.

Concerned about the rapidly expanding capabilities of China’s much larger People’s Liberation Army, Taipei has been ramping up defense spending in recent years, taking incremental steps to bolster the island’s defenses and step up domestic military-industrial capabilities.

However, this is “not enough as the funds are not always being spent the right way,” said Lee, who served over 40 years in the Taiwanese Navy and was chief of the General Staff of the Republic of China between 2017 and 2019.

North Asia

Mandiant details prolific North Korean cyber-espionage group IT Brief Australia Tom Raynel Mandiant has released a new report detailing APT43, a prolific cybercrime group that operates in the interest of the North Korean regime, and how it is using cybercrime to fund its operations. Mandiant has assessed with high confidence that APT43 is a moderately-sophisticated cyber operator that supports the interests of the North Korean regime. Specifically, Mandiant assesses with moderate confidence that APT43 is attributable to the North Korean Reconnaissance General Bureau, the country's primary foreign intelligence service.

  • Cybercriminals targeting U.S. on behalf of North Korea ABC News Quinn Owen A group of alleged cybercriminals has been using several techniques to target U.S. companies and government agencies on behalf of the North Korean government, according to experts. Cyber intelligence analysts at Google have identified what is known as an "advance persistent threat", or a group of bad actors who have been connected to potentially criminal activity online.

  • North Korea is now mining crypto to launder its stolen loot WIRED Andy Greenberg In the cryptocurrency ecosystem, coins have a story, tracked in the unchangeable blockchains underpinning their economy. The only exception, in some sense, is cryptocurrency that's been freshly generated by its owner's computational power. So it figures that North Korean hackers have begun adopting a new trick to launder the coins they steal from victims around the world: pay their dirty, stolen coins into services that allow them to mine innocent new ones.

The Japan Times

Under the leadership of the imperious Xi Jinping, China has practiced a pugnacious foreign policy that has alienated its neighbors and pushed them closer to the United States.

This holds true for U.S. treaty allies like Japan, Australia and the Philippines as well as historically nonaligned India.


South Korea is different. Though Seoul has deepened security cooperation with the Washington, it remains wary of angering China, its top trading partner and the country it sees as most capable of restraining its nuclear-armed archrival, North Korea.


Southeast Asia

DBS digital banking services restored after 10-hour outage Bloomberg Aradhana Aravindan DBS Group Holdings Ltd. suffered an outage of online services Wednesday morning, leaving customers unable to access its web and mobile banking platforms. Southeast Asia’s biggest lender said “access to digital services (digibank Online and Mobile, PayLah!) is currently unavailable” in a post on its Facebook page as well as a message to users trying to log in on their devices.

South & Central Asia

Cyber threat now a matter of national security, says Amit Shah The Economic Times ET Bureau Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said cyber security is no longer limited to the digital world and it has become a matter of national security. Shah further said seven Joint Cyber Crime Coordination Teams have been formed for cybercrime hotspot areas of Mewat, Jamtara, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Visakhapatnam and Guwahati.

Eurasia

Eurasianet

Two years in, the Armenian government's campaign to seize illegally acquired property has achieved vanishingly little. In several recent cases former high-ranking officials – even ones facing criminal charges – have managed to sell large properties in transactions many argue involved collusion with the current authorities.

One of the key promises of Armenia's 2018 Velvet Revolution was that, after more than a decade of corrupt rule from the previous regime, the new authorities would "return the stolen money to the people and the state."

Eurasianet

A senior energy official in Kyrgyzstan has said that the government is poised to reach an agreement with Russia to import 875 million kilowatt hours of power in 2023-24, an amount equivalent to more than 5 percent of annual national consumption.

Deputy Energy Minister Sabyrbek Sultanbekov said the deal was due to be signed on March 30, but he did not offer specifics on the terms.

This agreement with Russia is part of a broader stated plan by Kyrgyzstan to import up to 2.2 billion kWh of electricity this year. In 2021, the most recent year for which there is complete data, Kyrgyzstan produced 15 billion kWh and consumed 16.3 billion kWh. The need for imports only deepened last year, when Kyrgyzstan bought 2.8 billion kWh.

Australia

Don’t mention China: Anthony Albanese warned on TikTok The Australian Simon Benson Senior officials in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet had raised potential diplomatic risks over the government’s security review into social media apps including TikTok, warning it could be taken as targeting Chinese companies. An internal departmental “messaging” document provided to the Prime Minister’s office, obtained by The Australian, advised the government to adopt a country “agnostic” approach to the review, with other Western nations moving towards government bans on the Chinese-owned platform.

Hack attack on all business ‘inevitable’, says Michael Sentonas The Australian Ellen Whinnett Australian businesses are being urged to immediately improve their cyber security defences as a cyber expert warned that it was “inevitable’’ every business would be attacked by wannabe hackers. The Australian Cyber Security Centre revealed cyber criminals were pouncing “within minutes’’ of vulnerabilities being discovered, and company boards needed to understood their “crucial role’’ in ensuring companies invested appropriately to make their networks resilient to attacks.

Millions of Australians caught up in cyber attacks VOA News Phil Mercer One of Australia's biggest property companies said Wednesday it had been hit by cybercriminals who may have stolen data about staff and guests. Staff members at Meriton, a large Australian property business, were warned Wednesday that cybercriminals may have accessed details of their bank accounts and details of their salaries, disciplinary history and performance appraisals.

ID, bank details, contact information at risk as cyber criminals hack PH Property Bendigo real estate agency ABC News Sarah Lawrence A regional Victorian real estate agency has fallen victim to a data breach. PH Property Bendigo sent an email to clients yesterday afternoon saying a staff member's email address was hacked on March 15.

UK

After years of discussions, it appears that the UK is about to be greenlit to join the Indo-Pacific trade bloc, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The CPTPP is one of the largest trade blocs in the world, slightly smaller than the EU in terms of percentage of global GDP, and was born out of the old Trans-Pacific Partnership that President Trump destroyed when he pulled America out of it in 2017. There are eleven members scattered along the shores of the Pacific - Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Ukraine - Russia

European nations urge Big Tech to block false news aimed at eroding support for Ukraine The New York Times Patricia Cohen Amid growing worries about the insidious effects of disinformation from Russia, the prime ministers of eight European countries — including Ukraine, Moldova and Poland — have signed an open letter asking the chief executives of major social media companies to take more aggressive steps to halt the spread of false news on their platforms.

  • East Europe governments urge tech firms to fight disinformation Reuters Jan Lopatka and Jason Hovet Ukraine and seven other central and eastern European nations have called on the world's top tech firms to act to fight disinformation on their social media platforms by hostile powers which they say undermine peace and stability. In an open letter signed by their respective prime ministers, the countries said tech platforms, such as Meta's Facebook, should take concrete steps such as rejecting payments from sanctioned individuals and altering algorithms to promote accuracy over engagement by users.

  • On day 400 of Russia's Ukraine invasion, Russian authorities say they've arrested an American journalist on allegations of espionage, a charge that has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The Wall Street Journal's Evan Gershkovich, 31, was arrested after speaking to someone inside a restaurant in Yekaterinburg, which is in the eastern Ural Mountains north of Kazakhstan and about 1,100 miles southeast of Moscow; his employer says he's being detained until at least May 29. The New York Times says he's "believed to be the first American reporter to be held as an accused spy in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union." Earlier this week, Gershkovich co-authored a report on the declining state of Russia's economy, quoting one oligarch who said, "There will be no money next year" at least partly due to what Gershkovich described as "ballooning military expenditures" in the face of unprecedented Western sanctions resulting from Russia's Ukraine invasion. For the record, the Journal denies the allegations against Gershkovich. A Kremlin spokesman, however, claimed he was "caught red-handed," but did not elaborate. Russia's spy service, the FSB, released a statement saying Gershkovich was "acting on the instructions of the American side, [and] collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex." Expert reax: Russia appears to have again resorted to hostage-taking as a tool of statecraft, scholar Mark Galeotti wrote on Twitter on Thursday after hearing the news. However, he added, "On reflection, it's not so much the act of a state as a bandit gang." What's even more "deeply worrying and depressing," Galeotti said, "is how quickly and eagerly Russia which, for all the cheap characterizations as a 'Mafia State' was actually something rather more complex, is being dragged into semi-medievalism by Putin and his thugs…And meanwhile poor Evan is presumably going to sit in prison until a swap with (real) spies can be arranged." Historical echo: Trace the similarities and differences between Gershkovich's arrest and the 1986 arrest of U.S. journalist Nicolas Daniloff in an explanatory Twitter thread from Mark Krutov of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, here. One big difference today? There are no known high-profile Russians in U.S. custody with which to arrange a prisoner swap. The European Union may have a possible candidate or three, Krutov and the investigative outlet Bellingcat both noted; but it's impossible to know how the Kremlin will proceed. Moscow's deputy foreign minister acknowledged the possibility of a swap on Thursday, saying, "Certain exchanges that took place in the past took place for people who were already serving sentences." But first, "Let's see how this story will develop," he said, according to state-run media Interfax.

  • Russia and Ukraine are ramping up their military forces near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant amid signs that the fighting may soon escalate, said Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, yesterday. The nearby city of Melitopol may be the site of the anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive. “It is obvious that military activity is increasing in this whole region, so every possible measure and precaution should be taken so that the plant is not attacked and can be protected,” Grossi said during an inspection of the power plant. Matthew Mpoke Bigg reports for the New York Times.

  • Russian senior security adviser Nikolai Patrushev met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday and “discussed matters of bilateral cooperation,” according to a statement from Russia’s Security Council. Neither side gave details of the talks. The discussion happened during a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Dehli and comes at a time when Moscow is seeking to separate India and China from the West. Sameer Yasir, Ivan Nechepurenko and James C. McKinley Jr. report for the New York Times.

  • Russia’s security and intelligence services have achieved greater success in Ukraine than its army, according to a report by the Royal United Services Institute, a leading U.K. security think tank. Russian spy agencies began preparing for the invasion of Ukraine as far back as June 2021. “It is evident,” says the report, “that the Russian special services managed to recruit a large agent network in Ukraine prior to the invasion and that much of the support apparatus has remained viable after the invasion, providing a steady stream of human intelligence to Russian forces.” Frank Gardner reports for BBC News.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to meet with him as China maneuvers itself as a potential peacemaker. Zelenskyy’s invitation tests China’s push to expand its influence on the global stage while maintaining Beijing’s claim of neutrality in the Ukraine war. Xi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week in a visit that reaffirmed the countries’ economic and political partnership. While Xi had been expected to call Zelenskyy following this visit, there has been no recent contact between the leaders. Jared Malsin and Austin Ramzy report for the Wall Street Journal.

Europe

Europol: Law enforcement agencies need to be prepared to deal with ChatGPT TechWire Asia Aaron Raj There have been multiple reports of cybercriminals leveraging ChatGPT to target victims and launch cyberattacks. As the technology is adopted widely, both by the public and enterprises, the Europol Innovation Lab has released a report that highlights the positive and negative potential of ChatGPT.

Lawmakers back Paris Olympic law despite surveillance fears AP News John Leicester A proposed French law for the 2024 Paris Olympics that critics contend will open the door for privacy-busting video surveillance technology in France and elsewhere in Europe passed an important hurdle on Tuesday with lawmakers overwhelmingly voting for it. The bill will legalize the temporary use of so-called intelligent surveillance systems to safeguard the Paris Games, which run next year from July 26-August 11, and the Paralympics that follow.

  • For years, Eastern Europe tried to convey to the West that Russia was not a reliable partner. Their perception is now charting the West’s policy, FP’s Jack Detsch, Amy Mackinnon, and Robbie Gramer report.

  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today outlined her vision for future E.U.-China relations, stressing the idea of “de-risking rather than de-coupling” from China. The Biden administration’s efforts to persuade the E.U. and its members to work together to confront China have only been partly successful. Many E.U. countries are hesitant to pull away from the profitable Chinese market. Deutsche Welle reports.

  • Romania's military chief Angel Tîlvăr is visiting the Pentagon this morning. And New Zealand's new defense minister wants more military spending,citing "new challenges and greater expectations from regional allies," Reuters reported Thursday from Wellington, on the southern edge of the North Island. "The frequency of climate change events or weather events will only grow…. And then there is working with partners to project a posture that is defensive," Andrew Little told Reuters. A bit more to that, here.

Turkey

Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian-manufactured S-400 missile air defense system in 2019 (in place of United States or NATO-manufactured equivalents) resulted, not only in Turkey being booted out of the F-35 program but also in the imposition of U.S. sanctions.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has brushed away international criticism and called the S400 a “done deal.” This single acquisition has poisoned Ankara’s relationship with the West and prevented Turkey from being able to acquire alternative platforms to the F-35 from the U.S., namely the F-16.

However, Haluk Gorgun, Turkey’s chief of Aselsan — the country’s leading defense manufacturer — recently stated, “We are making air defense systems. We don’t need S-300s, S-400s.” That a leading defense manufacturer close to Erdogan would make such a public statement, published in a leading newspaper that is pro-Erdogan, suggests that Turkey may be signaling its intent. If so, then this is most likely to happen following Turkey’s elections on May 15.

Africa

South Africa linked to Australian cybercrime after crackdown on stolen identities and money laundering Daily Maverick Caryn Dolley Four suspected cybercriminals were arrested in Australia last week in a police operation there that suggests money, amounting to nearly R14-million, was laundered to South African bank accounts. Fake passports, luxury handbags and international driver’s licences were also seized.

FDD

Israeli Transport Minister Miri Regev approved a deal on Sunday to allow non-stop flights between Nigeria and Israel. Pending final approval by Israel’s cabinet, the agreement allows direct flights between Tel Aviv in Israel and Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria to begin next month. Nigerian airline Air Peace will operate twice weekly flights to Israel, making it easier for Nigerian pilgrims to visit holy sites in the country. Currently, Nigerian visitors to Israel must make a stop in Turkey or Ethiopia before they can reach their destination.

Zambia warns against anti-LGBTQ protests ahead of Harris’s arrival GZEROZambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema is warning against anti-LGBTQ protests ahead of US Veep Kamala Harris’s visit Friday, part of a three-nation Africa tour aimed at shoring up US relations across Africa.

Big Tech

Google violated order to save evidence, antitrust judge says Bloomberg Malathi Nayak Alphabet Inc.’s Google flouted a court order requiring it to save records of employee chats in antitrust litigation over its Google Play app store policies, a federal judge concluded. Google gave almost 360 employees “carte blanche” not to preserve communications as potential evidence that may be crucial to the company’s complex antitrust fight with Epic Games Inc. and a coalition of state attorneys general, US District Judge James Donato in San Francisco said in a ruling on Tuesday.

Spyware campaigns using zero-days found in Italy, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, UAE The Record by Recorded Future Jonathan Greig Two targeted spyware campaigns involving several zero-day exploits for Android, iOS and mobile versions of the Chrome browser were unmasked by researchers from Google on Wednesday. One campaign targeted people in Italy, Malaysia and Kazakhstan, while the other operated in the United Arab Emirates, the researchers said. Google called the campaigns “distinct, limited and highly targeted.”

Artificial Intelligence

Elon Musk, other AI experts call for pause in technology’s development The Wall Street Journal Deepa Seetharaman Several tech executives and top AI researchers, including Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk and AI pioneer Yoshua Bengio, are calling for a pause in the breakneck development of powerful new AI tools. A moratorium of six months or more would give the industry time to set safety standards for AI design and head off potential harms of the riskiest AI technologies, the proponents of a pause said.

  • Elon Musk and others urge AI pause, citing 'risks to society' Reuters Jyoti Narayan, Krystal Hu, Martin Coulter and Supantha Mukherjee Elon Musk and a group of artificial intelligence experts and industry executives are calling for a six-month pause in developing systems more powerful than OpenAI's newly launched GPT-4, in an open letter citing potential risks to society.

Microsoft’s ‘Security Copilot’ unleashes ChatGPT on breaches Wired Lily Hay Newman Now, as generative AI tools proliferate, Microsoft says it has finally built a service for defenders that's worthy of all the hype. Two weeks ago, the company launched Microsoft 365 Copilot, which builds on a partnership with OpenAI along with Microsoft's own work on large language models.


Photo: La Cina di Xi Jinping - Verso un nuovo ordine mondiale sinocentrico? Gabriele e Nicola Iuvinale

ASE 2023

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