Categorie
Space USA

U.S. Air Force Secretary Kendall: Short-term funding an ‘unfortunate’ reality for defense programs (Sandra Erwin, SpaceNews)

The House and Senate approved a stopgap spending bill Dec. 3 that funds the U.S. government until Feb. 18. By passing a “continuing resolution,” Congress averted a government shutdown and federal agencies can continue to operate at last year’s funding levels. 

U.S. government funding by CR instead of Congress passing full-year appropriations has been more the norm than the exception over the past decade, which is “very unfortunate,” U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said in a Dec. 2 interview with SpaceNews. 

U.S. Air Force Secretary Kendall: Short-term funding an ‘unfortunate’ reality for defense programs – SpaceNews

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Space USA

Tory Bruno: ULA won’t get engines by Christmas, BE-4s coming in early 2022 (Sandra Erwin, SpaceNews)

Blue Origin is performing “final testing” of the BE-4 engines that will boost United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket, ULA’s CEO Tory Bruno said Dec. 3.

“We’re in the end game now,” Bruno told CNBC in an interview.

Tory Bruno: ULA won’t get engines by Christmas, BE-4s coming in early 2022 – SpaceNews

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Space USA

Three startups win prize money from U.S. Space Force accelerator (Sandra Erwin, SpaceNews)

Space industry startups focused on satellite propulsion, in-orbit manufacturing and debris tracking won prize money from a business accelerator funded by the U.S. Space Force.

The accelerator known as Hyperspace Challenge, run by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Space Force’s SpaceWERX program, announced Dec. 2 that Varda Space Industries, SCOUT and Neutron Star Systems received $25,000 (first place), $15,000 (second place), and $10,000 (third place), respectively. 

Three startups win prize money from U.S. Space Force accelerator – SpaceNews

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Space USA

Northrop Grumman wins NASA contract for SLS booster production (Jeff Foust, SpaceNews)

NASA awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman Dec. 2 for the production of several pairs of Space Launch System solid rocket boosters as well as development of a new version of the booster.

The Booster Production and Operations Contract (BPOC), with a maximum value of $3.19 billion, covers production of the five-segment boosters that will be used on the Artemis 4 through Artemis 8 missions. It also includes funding for development of a new version of the boosters, called Booster Obsolescence and Life Extension (BOLE), including production of the first pair for the Artemis 9 mission.

Northrop Grumman wins NASA contract for SLS booster production – SpaceNews

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Space USA

NASA to award SpaceX three more commercial crew flights (Jeff Foust, SpaceNews)

NASA announced Dec. 3 its intent to purchase three more commercial crew missions from SpaceX as a hedge against further delays in the certification of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner.

NASA issued a contract notification announcing its plans to issue a sole-source award to SpaceX for three missions. Those missions would be in addition to the six “post-certification missions,” or PCMs, that SpaceX won as part of its $2.6 billion Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract in 2014. The announcement did not state the price of those three new missions.

NASA to award SpaceX three more commercial crew flights – SpaceNews

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Space USA

Changes ahead for Space Force procurement organizations (Sandra Erwin, SpaceNews)

The Pentagon next year for the first time will have a senior procurement executive for space programs, a post mandated by Congress. 

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told SpaceNews Dec. 2 that a candidate to fill the position of assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration has been selected and is currently being vetted by the White House. The nominee also has to be confirmed by the Senate. 

Changes ahead for Space Force procurement organizations – SpaceNews

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Space USA

NASA awards funding to three commercial space station concepts (Jeff Foust, SpaceNews)

NASA issued awards Dec. 2 valued at more than $400 million to three groups of companies to advance development of commercial space stations, keeping those efforts on track to succeed the International Space Station by the end of the decade despite skepticism from the agency’s inspector general.

NASA announced three funded Space Act Agreements as part of its Commercial Low Earth Orbit Destinations, or CLD, program, an initiative to support work on commercial stations that the agency hopes to have in place by late this decade, allowing it to transition from the ISS. The awards will allow the winning companies to mature the designs of their proposed stations through 2025.

NASA awards funding to three commercial space station concepts – SpaceNews

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USA

House Lawmakers Look to Leverage Increased Telework Benefits in Federal Recruitment (Alexandra Kelley, Nextgov)

Lawmakers are exploring telework options for federal employees past the pandemic, as the next generation of civil servants gravitate toward the private sector in large part due to remote working benefits and other flexible job perks.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform convened on Wednesday to discuss how to attract and retain that younger demographic of employees, specifically exploring the benefits of telework for government jobs.

House Lawmakers Look to Leverage Increased Telework Benefits in Federal Recruitment – Nextgov

Categorie
Cyber Security

NSA, CISA List Expectations for Industry on Data Governance in 5G Environments (Mariam Baksh, Nextgov)

Federal cybersecurity agencies are continuing to demarcate security roles for stakeholders in fifth-generation networking architectures with the release of guidance on the appropriate management of data in the cloud-based systems.

“Data is an incredibly valuable resource driving every industry in the modern world,” Bob Kolasky, who leads Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s National Risk Management Center, said in a press release Thursday. “This makes it an especially attractive target for adversaries. This paper highlights the importance of government and industry coordination in addressing the complex task of protecting our critical data. As with the previous two parts of this series, CISA encourages the 5G community to review this guidance and take actionable steps to help strengthen the nation’s 5G cloud infrastructure.”

NSA, CISA List Expectations for Industry on Data Governance in 5G Environments – Nextgov

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Technology

Report: Government Inaction on 6G Risks Ceding More Tech Ground to China (Alexandra Kelley, Nextgov)

As the Biden administration looks to improve the nation’s telecommunications networks and expand access to internet services to reduce the digital divide in the U.S., industry analysts are recommending a slew of federal investments, including a nationwide 6G strategy and supporting infrastructure.

A report published by researchers at the Center for a New American Security, framed within the rivalry between the U.S. and China over technological innovation and deployment, offered solutions to expedite and streamline the U.S. rollout of advanced 6G connectivity.

Report: Government Inaction on 6G Risks Ceding More Tech Ground to China – Nextgov

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USA

House Science Committee Ponders Ways to Strengthen U.S. Semiconductor Industry (Patience Wait, Nextgov)

The same day that the Federal Trade Commission sued to block a $40 billion merger between two American semiconductor companies, the House Science Committee held a hearing on the topic of reinvigorating the U.S. semiconductor industry.

The supply chain woes of the industry have been on full display during the pandemic. From automobiles to cellphones, smart household appliances to electronic toys and games, consumers have discovered things that they want to purchase are simply unavailable, whether because of shipping bottlenecks, semiconductor plants closed by climate events or workers sheltering at home, among other factors.

House Science Committee Ponders Ways to Strengthen U.S. Semiconductor Industry – Nextgov

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Technology

Robot With Bird Feet Can Perch and Grab (Taylor Kubota, Nextgov)

Like snowflakes, no two branches are alike. They can differ in size, shape, and texture; some might be wet or moss-covered or bursting with offshoots. And yet birds can land on just about any of them.

“It’s not easy to mimic how birds fly and perch,” says William Roderick, lead author of a new paper on the bird robot in Science Robotics.

Robot With Bird Feet Can Perch and Grab – Nextgov

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Cyber Security USA

Why Government Suppliers Will Struggle to Meet CMMC Requirements (Matt Malarkey, Nextgov)

The SolarWinds cyberattack was unprecedented in both scope and scale. The sophisticated breach saw hackers bake their exploit into a trusted software update pushed out to SolarWinds clients, including federal government agencies. This resulted in the exposure of sensitive data and highlighted how the U.S. government’s cybersecurity is only as strong as the posture of its contractors and suppliers.

Why Government Suppliers Will Struggle to Meet CMMC Requirements  – Nextgov

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Europe

Eurodrone engine candidates tout wares as decision draws near (Tom Kington, Defense News)

As Airbus awaits a sign-off on its new European drone, a U.S.-owned Italian firm and a French company are on tenterhooks to discover who has been picked to supply the engine.

Italy’s Avio Aero and France’s Safran Helicopter Engines are waiting on the last big decision that needs to be made about the Eurodrone, and are keenly pointing out why they are the best choice.

Eurodrone engine candidates tout wares as decision draws near (defensenews.com)

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Europe

Airbus looks to keep portfolio flying in Europe through 2060 — with wider ambitions abroad (Vivienne Machi, Defense News)

Despite growing competition in its backyard, Airbus is laser-focused on keeping its military aircraft in Europe’s skies — and hoping to soon make it across the Atlantic.

Looking to 2022 and beyond, the European aerospace company has lofty ambitions to expand its Eurofighter fleets, while planning upgrades that will turn the Typhoon into a fifth-generation fighter jet, and lead directly into the tri-national Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program, officials shared in a Nov. 30 media briefing.

Airbus looks to keep portfolio flying in Europe through 2060 — with wider ambitions abroad (defensenews.com)

Categorie
Europe Iran USA

U.S., Europeans Disappointed By Iran’s Stance In Nuclear Talks (RFE RL)

The United States and European powers have voiced disappointment at what they said was Iran’s lack of seriousness in the latest round of negotiations on reviving a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

The talks between Iran and the remaining parties to the nuclear agreement — Britain, France, and Germany (known as the E3), China, and Russia — were resumed on November 29 in Vienna after a five-month hiatus, with the United States participating indirectly.

U.S., Europeans Disappointed By Iran’s Stance In Nuclear Talks (rferl.org)

Categorie
Russia Ukraine USA

U.S. Says It Wants To Be Prepared In Case Russia Invades Ukraine, Hopes To Make Aggression ‘Very, Very Difficult’ (RFE RL)

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration says it wants to be prepared in case Russia invades Ukraine and the onus is on Moscow to change its behavior toward its neighbor, as warnings over a buildup of Russian troops near the border intensified on December 3.

The White House rebutted Russian demands this week over the West’s relations with Ukraine by saying that “NATO decides who joins NATO, not Russia,” and added that U.S. security assistance to Ukraine remains under consideration.

U.S. Says It Wants To Be Prepared In Case Russia Invades Ukraine, Hopes To Make Aggression ‘Very, Very Difficult’ (rferl.org)

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Russia

Current, Former RFE/RL Journalists Labeled As ‘Foreign Agents’ By Russia (RFE RL)

Russia’s Justice Ministry has labeled four current and former RFE/RL journalists as “foreign agents” — a designation used by the government to designate what it says are foreign-funded organizations that are engaged in political activity, as well as people linked to them.

Current, Former RFE/RL Journalists Labeled As ‘Foreign Agents’ By Russia (rferl.org)

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Russia USA

Kremlin Says Preliminary Date Set For Putin-Biden Video Call (RFE RL)

An aide to Vladimir Putin told reporters on December 3 that a video call would be held between the Russian leader and U.S. President Joe Biden after the former’s trip to India next week.

Yury Ushakov did not specify when exactly the video call will take place, saying that final details of the talks were still being worked out.

Kremlin Says Preliminary Date Set For Putin-Biden Video Call (rferl.org)

Categorie
Mexico

210 migrants found packed into truck in central Mexico (AP, Arab News)

Mexican immigration authorities say they discovered 210 migrants packed into a truck trailer in the central part of the country.
The National Migration Institute said the truck failed to stop as directed at a checkpoint in Puebla state on Friday and it was pulled over after a pursuit near the city of Tecamachalco.
When the doors of the trailer were opened, agents found women, men and children amid cushions and homemade fans, the institute said. The driver of the truck was detained.
The discovery came two weeks after authorities found 600 migrants in two trailers in the eastern state of Veracruz.

Categorie
Iraq Kurds Turkey

Kurdish protesters storm the chemical weapons body in The Hague (AFP, Arab News)

Dutch police arrested 50 people on Friday after Kurdish demonstrators alleging that Turkey is using chemical weapons in northern Iraq broke into the headquarters of the global toxic arms watchdog.
Protesters got past security to enter the grounds of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague and staged a noisy rally outside the building’s front doors, AFP journalists saw.
Police dragged the demonstrators off one by one, put them on the ground and handcuffed them, before bundling them into waiting vans.
At least a dozen police vehicles sealed off the road outside the OPCW, which is opposite Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s official residence.
Several ambulances and a medical helicopter were also at the scene.
“At around noon, a large group of protesters stormed a building … We have arrested these protesters. Several police units are present at the building,” police said on Twitter.
“The approximately 50 arrested demonstrators who were on the site have been transferred to a police location.”
Turkey denies using chemical weapons in its conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Categorie
Israel

Clashes rock Arab town in Israel, alleged car-rammer killed (AP, Arab News)

Israel: Police on Friday shot and killed a man in an Arab town in northern Israel who had allegedly been involved in a car-ramming attack that wounded two officers, Israeli officials said.

Clashes rock Arab town in Israel, alleged car-rammer killed (arabnews.com)

Categorie
Yemen

Arab coalition destroys ballistic missile launch pad in Yemen’s capital (Arab News)

The Arab coalition destroyed a ballistic missile launch pad and a warehouse used to build drones in Yemen’s capital, Al Ekhbariya reported on Saturday.

The coalition has carried out multiple sorties in the past few weeks to hamper Houthi militia operations in and around Sanaa.

Arab coalition destroys ballistic missile launch pad in Yemen’s capital (arabnews.com)

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Cyber Security

NSO Group spyware used to compromise iPhones of 9 US State Dept officials (Pierluigi Paganini, Security Affairs)

The iPhones of at least nine US state department officials were compromised with the NSO Group’s spyware Pegasus.

NSO Group spyware used to compromise iPhones of 9 US officials

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Digital Transition USA

Building Out Digital Services Requires Balance and Customer Trust, Officials Say (Patience Wait, Nextgov)

The hardest challenge in implementing digital services in federal agencies will always be cultural, convincing users that changing their methods and routines will result in a positive change.

A panel of government officials responsible for bringing digital services to their agencies made that point repeatedly during the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center Digital Services Virtual Summit on Nov. 30.

Building Out Digital Services Requires Balance and Customer Trust, Officials Say – Nextgov

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USA

VA Revitalizes Plan For EHR System Rollout (Alexandra Kelley, Nextgov)

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs formally launched its revamped plan to modernize its electronic health records this week following extensive reviews surrounding the new system’s rollout.

Announced on Dec. 1, VA officials plan on implementing the bevy of reviews documented in the Comprehensive Lessons Learned report on the EHR program that was submitted to Congress earlier this year.

VA Revitalizes Plan For EHR System Rollout – Nextgov

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USA

House Panel Examines Recruitment and Telework for the ‘Next Generation’ of Feds (Erich Wagner, Nextgov)

Members of a House panel on Wednesday discussed how the government can leverage programs like internships and telework at federal agencies to attract a new generation of federal employees to enter public service.

At a hearing hosted by the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s subcommittee on government operations entitled the “Future of Federal Work,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., announced that he is introducing legislation that would reform internship programs across the federal government and require agencies to pay their interns.

House Panel Examines Recruitment and Telework for the ‘Next Generation’ of Feds – Nextgov

Categorie
Egypt

Egyptian defense expo highlights homemade tech to counter small drones (Agnes Helou, Defense News)

An Egyptian company has unveiled its DJ-400 counter-drone system, which jams mini- and micro-UAVs from up to 4 kilometers away.

The Arab Organization for Industrialization showed off its locally produced technology during the Egypt Defence Expo, which ran Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

Egyptian defense expo highlights homemade tech to counter small drones (defensenews.com)

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France UAE

France signs $18B weapons deal with UAE (Barbara Surk, AP and Jon Gambrell, AP, Defense News)

France announced multibillion-euro deals Friday to sell fighter planes and combat helicopters to the United Arab Emirates, aiming to boost military cooperation with its top ally in the Persian Gulf amid their shared concerns about Iran.

The UAE is buying 80 upgraded Rafale fighters in a deal the French Armed Forces Ministry said is worth €16 billion (U.S. $18 billion) and represents the largest-ever French weapons contract for export. It also announced a deal with the UAE to sell 12 Airbus-built combat helicopters.

France signs $18B weapons deal with UAE (defensenews.com)

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USA

The steps we must take to strengthen America’s national security innovation base (Rep. Ken Calvert, Defense News)

The world faces a rapidly changing environment where both the global strategic order and the technological balance between great powers are undergoing major transitions. Strategically, the United States is engaged in a peer-level, multipolar, global competition on an unprecedented scale. In particular, the rise of China will challenge America’s place in the world and must be seriously addressed. Technologically, the digital revolution delivered capabilities that revolutionized daily life while introducing a host of new and more dangerous threats.

The steps we must take to strengthen America’s national security innovation base (defensenews.com)

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Europe USA

U.S.-EU leaders to unveil new forum for defense, security talks (Sebastian Sprengher, Defense News)

Top U.S. and European Union officials are readying a new channel for dialogue on defense and security issues, as both sides of the Atlantic stare down similar challenges, a senior EU military official said.

An announcement to that effect could come as early as Dec. 3 from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and chief EU diplomat Josep Borrell, according to French Vice Adm. Hervé Bléjean, the director general of the EU Military Staff.

U.S.-EU leaders to unveil new forum for defense, security talks (defensenews.com)

Categorie
Cyber Security

KAX17 threat actor is attempting to deanonymize Tor users running thousands of rogue relays (Pierluigi Paganini, Security Affairs)

A mysterious threat actor, tracked as KAX17, has run thousands of malicious Tor relay servers since 2017 in an attempt to deanonymize Tor users.

KAX17 threat actor is attempting to deanonymize Tor users running thousands of rogue relaysSecurity Affairs

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Cyber Security

Threat actors stole $120 M in crypto from BadgerDAO DeFi platform (Pierluigi Paganini, Security Affairs)

Threat actors this week have hacked the decentralized finance platform BadgerDAO and have stolen $120.3 million in crypto funds, blockchain security firm PeckShield reported. Most of the stolen funds, over $117 million, were Bitcoin, while the rest of the stolen assets were stored in the form of interest-bearing Bitcoin, a form of tokenised Bitcoin, and Ether.

Threat actors stole $120 M in crypto from BadgerDAO DeFi platformSecurity Affairs

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Cyber Security

Watch out for Omicron COVID-19-themed phishing messages! (Pierluigi Paganini, Security Affairs)

Crooks have already started exploiting the interest in the Omicron COVID-19 variant and are using it as a lure in phishing attacks.

Watch out for Omicron COVID-19-themed phishing messages!Security Affairs

Categorie
Afghanistan

Avoid starvation: ‘Immediate priority’ for 3.5 million Afghans (UN News)

Launching a global fundraising winter campaign to help forcibly displaced families in Afghanistan and elsewhere to cope with the most life-threatening months of the year, UNHCR Spokesperson Babar Baloch described it as “a crisis of hunger and starvation”.

Avoid starvation: ‘Immediate priority’ for 3.5 million Afghans  | | UN News

Categorie
Ethiopia Tigray Conflit

Rights experts call for end to violence against women in Tigray conflict (UN News)

Experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council have called for urgent action to end violence against women and girls caught in the Tigray conflict in northern Ethiopia.

Rights experts call for end to violence against women in Tigray conflict | | UN News

Categorie
U.S. Marine Corps USA

Advanced threats, operational changes drive training transformation for US Marines (Megan Eckstein, Defense News)

The U.S. Marine Corps is focused on bringing synthetic training systems to its infantry members, acknowledging that advanced threats and operational changes under the Force Design 2030 adaptation effort necessitate a change from traditionally prized live training events.

Marine generals on different panels at this year’s Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference painted the same picture of live infantry training: Marines maneuver around the desert with so-called coyotes — other Marines assigned to training groups who supervise and mentor during live exercises, wearing bright orange vests to distinguish themselves from the players in the event. The coyotes run around participants, “arbitrarily” telling individuals they’ve been shot or identifying a vehicle hit by indirect fire.

Advanced threats, operational changes drive training transformation for US Marines (defensenews.com)

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Space USA

Department of Defense orders $316 million more in anti-jam GPS devices (Nathan Strout, Defense News)

The Defense Logistics Agency has ordered another $315 million worth of GPS modules that can utilize a new anti-jam signal, bringing the total value of the contract with BAE Systems to $641 million.

The purchase will help get more capable Common GPS Modules into the hands of troops, whether in a handheld formfactor or installed in vehicles, aircraft and munitions. The devices are able to use the advanced M-Code, a military-only GPS signal that is more accurate and provides anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities.

Department of Defense orders $316 million more in anti-jam GPS devices (defensenews.com)

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Japan Pacific Islands Russia

Russia sends missiles near Pacific islands claimed by Japan (Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press, Defense News)

The Russian military has deployed coastal defense missile systems near the Kuril Islands, a Pacific chain also claimed by Japan. The move appeared intended to underline Moscow’s firm stance in the dispute.

The Bastion systems were moved to Matua, a deserted volcanic island in the middle of the chain. Japan claims the four southernmost islands.

Russia sends missiles near Pacific islands claimed by Japan (defensenews.com)

Categorie
Cyber Security Data Europe Intelligence

How an adversary could take advantage of Europe’s data releases (Jan Kallberg, Defense News)

In the discussion of great power competition and cyberattacks meant to slow down a U.S. strategic movement of forces to Eastern Europe, the focus has been on the route from the fort to port in the U.S. But we tend to forget that once forces arrive at the major Western European ports of disembarkation, the distance from these ports to eastern Poland is the same as from New York to Chicago.

How an adversary could take advantage of Europe’s data releases (defensenews.com)

 

Categorie
Russia Ukraine

U.S. Calls Russian Military Activity Near Ukraine Cause For ‘A Lot Of Concern,’ As Kyiv Warns Moscow It Will ‘Fight Back’ (RFE RL)

The United States is tracking enough indicators surrounding Russian military activity near Ukraine to trigger “a lot of concern,” the top U.S. military officer said on December 2, while Ukraine’s defense minister warned of a possible large-scale military offensive by Moscow next month.

U.S. Calls Russian Military Activity Near Ukraine Cause For ‘A Lot Of Concern,’ As Kyiv Warns Moscow It Will ‘Fight Back’ (rferl.org)

Categorie
Serbia

Four Ex-State Security Officers Jailed In Serbia For 1999 Murder Of Journalist (Predrag Urosevic, RFE RL)

A Serbian court has sentenced four former state security officers to up to 30 years in prison over the 1999 murder of journalist Slavko Curuvija, an outspoken critic of the late strongman Slobodan Milosevic’s government.

Following a retrial 22 years after the killing, the Belgrade Special Court on December 2 handed 30-year prison sentences to both the former head of Serbian State Security, Radomir Markovic, and the ex-head of Belgrade’s intelligence branch, Milan Radonjic.

Four Ex-State Security Officers Jailed In Serbia For 1999 Murder Of Journalist (rferl.org)

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Russia

The Week In Russia: A Mine Disaster And A ‘Destabilizing Fixation’ (Steve Gutterman, RFE RL)

As the COVID-19 crisis persisted and tragedy struck at a Siberian coal mine, President Vladimir Putin fixed his gaze on Ukraine and the West, making a new play for a NATO pledge that would turn neighboring nations that are outside the Western alliance into buffer states with limited sovereignty.

Here are some of the key developments in Russia over the past week and some of the takeaways going forward.

The Week In Russia: A Mine Disaster And A ‘Destabilizing Fixation’ (rferl.org)

Categorie
Cyprus Pope Francis

Pope Francis urges ‘fraternity’ at mass in divided Cyprus (AFP, Arab News)

Pope Francis appealed for a “sense of fraternity” in an open-air mass in Cyprus on Friday, the second day of a visit to the divided Mediterranean island that has focused heavily on the plight of migrants.

As a gesture of solidarity to those fleeing poverty and conflict, the 84-year-old pontiff was expected to offer 50 migrants now in Cyprus a chance for a new life in Italy.

Pope Francis urges ‘fraternity’ at mass in divided Cyprus (arabnews.com)

Categorie
Libya

Experts warn upcoming Libyan elections unlikely to heal rifts (Christopher Hamill-Stewart, Arab News)

The political situation in Libya will remain unstable whether or not planned elections go ahead later this month, experts have warned, pointing to legal, political, and security failings that endanger stability in the near future.

In an event hosted Thursday by London think-tank Chatham House and attended by Arab News, a panel of speakers outlined their grim predictions for the future of Libya’s political roadmap.

Experts warn upcoming Libyan elections unlikely to heal rifts (arabnews.com)

Categorie
France UAE

UAE, France sign $18 bilion deal for 80 Rafale jets as Macron starts Gulf tour (AFP, AP, Arab News)

French President Emmanuel Macron met Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed on Friday at the start of a two-day Gulf tour that saw France sell the UAE 80 French-made Rafale warplanes for $18.08 billion (€16 billion).

UAE, France sign $18 bilion deal for 80 Rafale jets as Macron starts Gulf tour (arabnews.com)

Categorie
Daesh Iraq

UN says Daesh committed war crimes at Iraqi prison (AP, Arab News)

The head of a UN team investigating atrocities in Iraq said that Daesh extremists committed crimes against humanity and war crimes at a prison in Mosul in June 2014, where at least 1,000 predominantly Shiite Muslim prisoners were systematically killed.

UN says Daesh committed war crimes at Iraqi prison (arabnews.com)

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Digital Transition

How a complete AI architecture can transform business (Umesh Sachdev, WEF)

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) can enrich customer experiences and enhance conversations with customers – both crucial to the success of a business.
  • The next phase for businesses is to build a multi-layered AI architecture that integrates industry knowledge with cutting-edge technologies.
  • A strong AI architecture that integrates all functions of a business will be a strategic differentiator that can help innovate and reshape entire industries.

How a complete AI architecture can transform businesses | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

Categorie
Space

What an ability to defend against asteroids will mean for humanity (John Letzing, WEF)

  • Earth is regularly pelted with debris, some of it destructive.
  • A spacecraft launched last week will test our ability to divert dangerous asteroids.
  • It would be the first time we’ve altered the trajectory of a natural celestial body.

What an ability to defend against asteroids would mean | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

Categorie
Palestine

5 ways Palestinian startups are shaping their society (Teresa Belardo, WEF)

  • The Middle East and North Africa are home to a vibrant and dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem and are increasingly drawing attention from international investors.
  • Young Palestinians are exploring innovative avenues to support their economy’s post pandemic recovery.
  • From health to education to affordable energy, Palestinian startups are shaping their society.

This is how Palestinian startups are shaping their society | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

Categorie
Kazakhstan

Violence Spreads in Kazakhstan, and Now Involving Attacks on Ethnic Russians (Paul Globe, The Jamestown Foundation)

Clashes between Kazakhs and various non-Kazakh minorities like the Uyghurs and Dungans have become increasingly common in Kazakhstan.  But now, many in Nur-Sultan and in Moscow fear that tensions over language, employment and even settlement patterns between Kazakhs and ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan will lead to similar outbursts of violence. Such a development would certainly accelerate the departure of additional ethnic Russians from the country and exacerbate tensions between Moscow and Nur-Sultan. Indeed, some Russian commentators are already suggesting that Moscow should intervene in Kazakhstan as it has in Ukraine to protect Russians and Russian speakers from Kazakh nationalism (see EDM, February 11, 2020 and September 9, 2021).

Violence Spreads in Kazakhstan, and Now Involving Attacks on Ethnic Russians – Jamestown

Categorie
Russia Ukraine

Russian Ideologists Call for External Expansion: What Can Ukraine Expect? (Kseniya Kirillova, The Jamestown Foundation)

Kyiv’s western allies continue to express concern over the buildup of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine (see EDM, November 829). US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was “concerned about reports of atypical Russian military activity” (Voice of America—Russian service, November 23).

Russian Ideologists Call for External Expansion: What Can Ukraine Expect? – Jamestown

Categorie
Russia USA

Putin’s Ultimatum to America (Pavel Felgenhauer, The Jamestown Foundation)

In the past several weeks, relations between Moscow and Washington nosedived, with multiple overlapping potential crises and increasingly toxic rhetoric aggravating an already dangerous situation. The Ukrainian crisis has been simmering to one degree or another since Russia took over Crimea in 2014 and sponsored a pro-Russian separatist uprising in Donbas; but recently, it has again taken center stage. United States officials accuse Russia of massing troops on the Ukrainian border and possibly preparing a major escalation or invasion for late January or February 2022—a charge Moscow has adamantly rejected.

Putin’s Ultimatum to America – Jamestown

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USA

Can the Fed Overcome Its Transitory Policy Mistake? (Mohamed A. El-Erian, Project-Syndicate)

It took way too long, but key officials at the US Federal Reserve have finally acknowledged that for months they mischaracterized an inflationary surge that has proven larger and more persistent than they expected. That recognition is welcome, especially given the likelihood that inflation will remain uncomfortably high in the coming months. The challenge now, not just for the Fed but also more broadly for the United States and other major economies, is to navigate a policy terrain in which communication and implementation have been rendered significantly more complex by a fundamental  of inflation as “transitory.”

Can the Fed Overcome Its Transitory Policy Mistake? by Mohamed A. El-Erian – Project Syndicate (project-syndicate.org)

Categorie
Vietnam

Adding substance to Vietnam’s climate commitments (Thang Nam Do, East Asia Forum)

In his speech at 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh announced that the country would aim for a net-zero emission target by 2050. With this move, Vietnam has joined the group of about 140 countries that pledged to net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.

Adding substance to Vietnam’s climate commitments (eastasiaforum.org)

Categorie
Cambodia

Cambodia tests living with COVID-19 (Jayant Menon, East Asia Forum)

Cambodia recorded its sharpest daily decline of COVID-19 cases when they fell from 978 to 232 between 30 September and 1 October 2021. This dramatic 76 per cent drop was due to a change in Cambodia’s testing approach. By eliminating random testing of asymptomatic individuals, testing numbers only reflect cases that present for testing following the onset of symptoms.

Cambodia tests living with COVID-19 (eastasiaforum.org)

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Uncategorized

Why South Korea should join the CPTPP (Peter A. Petri and Michael Plummer, Brookings)

With surprising applications from the United Kingdom, China, and Taiwan, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has moved to the center stage of East Asian geopolitics. But why is South Korea — long expected to be the first new member of the CPTPP — still missing from this list?

Why South Korea should join the CPTPP (brookings.edu)

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World

20 Brookings Foreign Policy books for 2021 (Ted Reinert and McCall Mintzer, Brookings)

As 2021 draws to a close — the first year of the Biden administration, and second year of the COVID-19 pandemic — there are no shortage of questions about the future of international order, foreign policy, and American democracy. But a slew of insightful books from Brookings Foreign Policy experts published this year can help us better understand where we stand and where we may be headed.

20 Brookings Foreign Policy books for 2021

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Artificial Intelligence USA

An AI fair lending policy agenda for the federal financial regulators (Michael Akinwumi, John Merrill, Lisa Rice, Kareem Saleh, and Maureen Yap, Brookings)

Algorithms, including artificial intelligence and machine learning models (AI/ML), increasingly dictate many core aspects of everyday life. Whether applying for a job or a loan, renting an apartment, or seeking insurance coverage, AI-powered statistical models decide who will have access to the foundational drivers of opportunity and equality.

An AI fair lending policy agenda for the federal financial regulators (brookings.edu)

Categorie
Haiti

Haiti needs a new, improved UN mission (Charles T. Call, Brookings)

Haiti has experienced decades of insecurity and political instability, but 2021 has been alarming. The October kidnapping of 17 American and Canadian missionaries and their Haitian driver is the highest-profile example of skyrocketing kidnappings that have affected some 782 people this year, 30% of them since September 1. These kidnappings extend to busloads of people being snatched for ransom. Average people fear for their safety, and the state has shown itself impotent in the face of over 90 gangs that compete for resources and territory.

Haiti needs a new, improved UN mission (brookings.edu)

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Cyber Security

CISA adds Zoho, Apache, Qualcomm, Mikrotik flaws to the list of actively exploited issues (Pierluigi Paganini, Security Affairs)

U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has updated its catalog of actively exploited vulnerabilities recommending federal agencies to address the flaws in Qualcomm, Mikrotik, Zoho and the Apache Software Foundation software within specific timeframes and deadlines.

CISA adds Zoho, Apache, Qualcomm, Mikrotik flaws to the list of actively exploited issuesSecurity Affairs

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Cyber Security

Russian internet watchdog Roskomnadzor bans six more VPN services (Pierluigi Paganini, Security Affairs)

Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor tightens the control over the Internet and blocked access to six more VPN services. The latest banned services are Betternet, Lantern, X-VPN, Cloudflare WARP, Tachyon VPN, PrivateTunnel.

Russian internet watchdog Roskomnadzor bans six more VPN servicesSecurity Affairs

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Cyber Security

Europol arrested 1800 money mules as part of an anti-money-laundering operation (Pierluigi Paganini, Security Affairs)

Europol has identified 18,351 money mules and arrested 1,803 of them as part of an international anti-money-laundering operation codenamed EMMA 7.

The operation is the result of a joint effort of 27 countries, Eurojust, INTERPOL, the European Banking Federation (EBF), and the FinTech FinCrime Exchange

The name EMMA is an acronym for European Money Mule Action operation, the first EMMA operation led by Europol took place in 2016.

Europol arrested 1800 money mules as part of anti-money-laundering operationSecurity Affairs

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Cyber Security Digital Transition

Cybersecurity Risk Lurks in a Common Industrial Operating System (Daniel dos Santos, IndustryWeek)

With an increased focus on critical infrastructure protection, organizations need to pay attention to operational technology vulnerabilities. New research from Forescout Research Labs, dubbed NUCLEUS:13, has identified more than a dozen critical vulnerabilities in the Nucleus TCP/IP stack, enabling remote code execution, denial of service (DoS), and information leaks.

Cybersecurity Risk Lurks in a Common Industrial Operating System | IndustryWeek

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Digital Transition Green Deal

US Department of Energy Funds Clean Energy Innovations Program (IndustryWeek)

Engineers and scientists with ideas for decarbonizing the manufacturing industry in the United States have expanded access to an entrepreneurship program offering a $100,000 annual stipend for two years and $175,000 in R&D funding.

US Department of Energy Funds Clean Energy Innovations Program | IndustryWeek

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OSCE USA

Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Press Availability at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) (US Department of State)

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We’ve had a pretty packed and I would say productive day here in Stockholm, and I really want to thank our hosts for doing such a wonderful job putting together this meeting of the OSCE, particularly my friend and colleague Ann Linde, the foreign minister of Sweden and the chairperson of the OSCE.

I’m here in Stockholm for this ministerial, but I’d have to be remiss if I didn’t highlight as well the very strong partnership that joins the United States to Sweden.  Promoting democracy, reinforcing transatlantic security, combating the climate crisis – in these and so many other areas, we are very pleased to have Sweden as a close partner.  And we’re also very admiring of the leadership that Sweden has shown with the OSCE in the chair this past year.

I’m looking forward to actually having an opportunity to meet the new prime minister a little later today and offering her congratulations on behalf of the United States for what is truly a historic victory.  I know the good work that our countries will do together will continue under her leadership, as well as my own partnership with the foreign minister.

The OSCE is an invaluable institution, in no small part because it has a comprehensive view of security.  It’s not just reflected in military might, but also good governance, democracy, human rights.  And I think that approach accords with the reality of the world that we live in.  Countries that respect human rights and govern with the consent of their people tend to be more stable, more prosperous, more peaceful, and they make better neighbors.  Countries that violate human rights and flout democratic values often sow instability in other countries, and rulers who abuse their power give license to other leaders to do the same.

We’re not truly secure unless we come together to respect both the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people.  And that captures the insight that’s at the heart of the OSCE’s work for nearly 50 years.  It’s particularly relevant now, when all of us are called to step up our commitment to democracy and human rights at home and around the world.

Next week, President Biden’s going to host the Summit for Democracy to bring governments and civil society from around the world together to make concrete pledges to renew and reform democracies.  It’s no secret that there’s democratic backsliding happening around the world, including here in Europe.  But the genius and resilience of democracy is that it is self-correcting.  More than any other form of government, democracies have the capacity to face mistakes, learn from them, and do better.  And that’s the spirit of the summit the President will be convening next week.  It’s also the spirit of the OSCE.

I’m grateful to have had the chance to affirm the OSCE’s vital role in safeguarding democracy in Europe and beyond and urge all member countries to be constructive participants in the OSCE rather than obstructing it from contributing to peace and security in Europe.

Here in Stockholm, I also had the chance to meet with Foreign Minister Kuleba from Ukraine and Foreign Minister Lavrov from Russia.  As I said yesterday in Riga, as well as in my meetings today, the United States and our allies and partners are deeply concerned by evidence that Russia has made plans for significant aggressive moves against Ukraine, including efforts to destabilize Ukraine from within and large-scale military operations.  We’ve seen this playbook before in 2014, when Russia last invaded Ukraine.  Despite uncertainty about intentions and timing, we must and we will prepare for all contingencies, while working to see to it that Russia reverses course.

As I conveyed again to Foreign Minister Kuleba today, the United States remains unwavering in our support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, its sovereignty, its independence.  We discussed Ukraine’s commitment to implementing the Minsk agreements, which we believe represent the best avenue for a diplomatic resolution to this crisis, potential crisis.

We also affirm that despite a massive Russian disinformation campaign, Ukraine is in no way posing a threat to Russia or seeking a confrontation that would justify a Russian military intervention.  The only threat is that of renewed Russian aggression toward Ukraine.  In my meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov, I made very clear our deep concerns and our resolve to hold Russia responsible for its actions, including our commitment to work with European allies to impose severe costs and consequences on Russia if it takes further aggressive action against Ukraine.  And as with Foreign Minister Kuleba, I also made clear the United States is prepared to work with both parties to support a diplomatic resolution through implementation of the Minsk agreements in any way that we can.  That diplomatic way forward can avert a crisis that would serve no one’s interests.

Foreign Minister Lavrov and I had candid exchanges on our different perspectives.  We agreed to report those back to our presidents, who may have the opportunity to speak directly in the near future.

It’s now on Russia to de-escalate the current tensions by reversing the recent troop buildup, returning forces to normal peacetime positions, and refraining from further intimidation and attempts to destabilize Ukraine.  We’re watching the situation very closely.  We’re in close contact and coordination with our allies.

Let me close with a reminder that when the members of the OSCE signed its founding document, the Helsinki Final Act – and that was 46 years ago – they pledged to uphold principles that made it possible for the countries of Europe to live side by side in peace, stability, prosperity.  They’re inseparably linked with respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and human rights, and the United States will continue to stand for those values here and everywhere.

And with that, I’m happy to take some questions.  Thank you.

MR PRICE:  We have time for a few questions today.  We’ll start with Francesco Fontemaggi of the AFP.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.  After your meeting with the Foreign Minister Lavrov, do you see any sign that Russia is willing to de-escalate and remove its troops from the border?  Was there any agreement on the way forward, other than direct contact between the two presidents?  And should we – was it – or was it only each side talking past each other, as you seem to report?  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  The purpose of seeing Foreign Minister Lavrov was to be able to communicate clearly and directly to him our concerns, the consequences if Russia pursues aggression and confrontation, as well as our views on the better way forward, which is de-escalation and recommitment to diplomacy through the Minsk process.  And we had a – I think a very direct, very candid, non-polemical exchange of views.  It was serious; it was sober.  I believe that the foreign minister will take the conversation back to President Putin.  I’m going to do the same, of course, with President Biden.  And as I said, I think it’s likely the presidents will speak directly in the near future.

MR PRICE:  Will Mauldin of The Wall Street Journal.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  I just wanted to clarify something about the possible sanctions or other economic measures you mentioned yesterday, a new degree of economic measures that the U.S. has withheld before.  Is that the – when you spoke to Foreign Minister Lavrov today and mentioned severe costs and consequences, are you referring to those economic potential moves, or are there other responses that the U.S. and its partners could take, such as military or something else on the table?  And then what would be the trigger for that?  Is the trigger only a new violation of Ukraine’s territory or could the trigger be a refusal to back down?  Or could it be some other action Russia could take in regards to Ukraine?  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thanks, Will.  So as we’ve been in recent days, in recent weeks, in the meeting with the foreign minister, I was very clear that there would be serious consequences for Russian aggression toward Ukraine, including, as I said, high-impact economic measures that we’ve refrained from taking in the past.  We’ve been, will continue to be, very clear about those consequences.  I think Moscow knows very well the universe of what’s possible.  And we had a detailed conversation as well about the concerns that we have, and these include both the potential for renewed aggression with military forces, as well as some of the efforts that we see Russia taking to try to destabilize Ukraine from within.  Both are cause for concern.

MR PRICE:  Missy Ryan of The Washington Post.

QUESTION:  Thanks, Mr. Secretary.  I’d like to ask you about the talks this week on the Iran nuclear deal.  Have you seen any indication in the discussion so far in Vienna that the Iranians are ready to return to compliance?  And as they put new proposals on the table, do you see any proof that they’re negotiating in good faith?  And secondly on Iran, what is your response to the appeal that Israeli Prime Minister Bennett made to you today in a call today, according to the Israeli Government readout, to immediately halt the talks based on Iran – new Iranian enrichment activities?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thanks, Missy.  So as you know, our team, led by Rob Malley in Vienna right now, I think in the very near future, in the next day or so, will be in a position to judge whether Iran actually intends now to engage in good faith.  I have to tell you, recent moves, recent rhetoric don’t give us a lot of cause for optimism.  But even though the hour is getting very late, it is not too late for Iran to reverse course and engage meaningfully in an effort to return to mutual compliance with the JCPOA.

What Iran can’t do is sustain the status quo of building their nuclear program while dragging their feet on talks.  That will not happen.  That’s also not our view alone.  It’s very clearly the view of our European partners.  I have to say, I had a good conversation as well with Foreign Minister Lavrov about this.  I think Russia shares our basic perspective on this, and we’ll see what happens over the next couple of days.  But it is up to Iran to demonstrate and to demonstrate quickly that it is serious about taking the steps necessary to return to compliance, not to try to drag things out while building up.

And let me just say that I had a very good and detailed conversation with Prime Minister Bennett today.  This is in keeping with the many exchanges that we’ve had with our Israeli allies on any number of issues, but to include, of course, the issue of Iran’s nuclear program.  And we have exactly the same strategic objectives: we are both determined to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.  And we went over in some detail where we thought things stood based on what we’ve been hearing in Vienna.  We will continue to be in very close contact with Israel, as well as with other concerned countries including in the Gulf, about the status of the talks and our assessment of where this is going or where it’s not going.

QUESTION:  Can you just address the appeal that he apparently made in the call for an immediate halt to the talks?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  As I said, we’re going to know very, very quickly, I think in the next day or two, whether Iran is serious or not.  We need to test that proposition fully.  I think our partners in the talks believe that as well, but as I said, and to be very clear, we will not accept the status quo of Iran building its program on the one hand and dragging its feet in talks on the other.  That’s not going to last.

MR PRICE:  We have time for one final question from Pontus Ahlkvist of TT.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.  Many Swedes are worried about the future world order in light of rising authoritarian leaders.  What is your message to them in this context?  How do you view Sweden’s and other smaller nations’ ability to stand up for democratic values?  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, first, let me say I think Sweden’s a remarkable example of not only standing up for, but acting on democratic values and human rights.  We see that around the world almost every day and we’re seeing it very much here in Stockholm, including with its leadership of the OSCE this past year.  And in so many ways, we’re partners in that effort not only within the OSCE, but working together, promoting democracy around the world, security, human rights, gender equity and equality, international development, sustainability – all of these things are part of democratic resilience, and we’re very proud to have Sweden as a full partner in that.

I think it’s also true, to go to the first part of your question, that this is a time when democracies are being challenged – some being challenged from within, others being challenged from without.  And there is a contest between autocracies and democracies, and as President Biden has spoken to on numerous occasions, that is a fundamental contest of our time.  And autocracies are trying to demonstrate that their way of doing business is somehow more effective in answering the needs of citizens than democracy is.  It’s fundamentally wrong, but it’s the case that they make.  And so when democracies are struggling or when they’re in disarray, that plays into the hands of and the case that autocracies are making.

And it’s one of the core reasons why President Biden wanted to bring countries together, which he’ll do this coming week at the Summit for Democracy.  And it really has two purposes.  It’s both to look at how countries around the world are dealing with some of the internal challenges to democracy and how we can strengthen our own resilience, but also how we can work together more effectively to strengthen and shore up democracies around the world.

And we’ll have more to say on that next week at the summit.  I just want to mention that it’s not one conversation and we’re done.  It’s actually the start of what we hope will be and expect will be a year of action on building democratic resilience.  There will be a follow-up next year, and in between, a lot of work that’s going to be done.  And countries will be coming to this summit with real commitments and initiatives to, again, build resilience at home as well as among the community of democracies around the world.

So stay tuned for more next week, but in this endeavor, as I said, we could not ask for a better partner than Sweden, and it’s also particularly wonderful to be here.  I just wish we had more time.  Thank you.

MR PRICE:  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.  Thank you, everyone.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thanks, everyone.

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Space

Vice President Harris’ First National Space Council Meeting (US Department of State)

The National Space Council meeting chaired by Vice President Harris reaffirmed our national commitment to exploring and developing outer space in a sustainable, equitable, and peaceful manner. The newly released Space Priorities Framework  provides the American people and the international community with a clear understanding of the Administration’s views on the value of outer space exploration and underscores the need to bring the benefits of outer space to all humanity. The Department of State looks forward to continuing fruitful dialogues with the commercial space industry, non-governmental organizations, and longstanding international space partners, as well as engaging new and emerging space nations, to:

  • Rebuild trust within multilateral fora and with international partners to demonstrate U.S. willingness to lead in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space;
  • Engage the international community to uphold and strengthen a rules-based international order for space, facilitate security and sustainability, and further explore and promote equitable access to the benefits of space for all;
  • Renew our commitment to using space-based assets to combat the climate crisis, nature loss, and ocean and plastic pollution;
  • Lead in the development and implementation of international standards, policies, and norms for spaceflight safety and global space traffic coordination;
  • Expand international cooperation in outer space exploration and space science in a safe, sustainable, and responsible manner through the Artemis Accords and other initiatives;
  • Represent U.S. private sector interests through international cooperation;
  • Work with allies and partners to update and coordinate space policies, regulations, export controls, and other measures that govern commercial activities worldwide; and,
  • Promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in the United States and abroad to energize the next generation of space innovators.

In support of the Space Priorities Framework and the interests of the United States and our allies, the State Department will continue to engage diplomatically with strategic competitors in order to enhance the security, safety, and sustainability of outer space. We support deeper integration of U.S. national security space capabilities and activities with our allies and partners under the existing international legal framework for the safe, responsible, and peaceful use of outer space.

For further information, please contact OES-PA-DG@state.gov.

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Belarus

Joint Statement on December 2 Sanctions in Response to the Situation in Belarus (US Department of State)

The text of the following statement was released by the United States of America, Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Today, in response to the continuing attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms in Belarus, disregard for international norms and repeated acts of repression, we have again taken coordinated sanctions action against certain individuals and entities.

We remain committed to supporting the democratic aspirations of the people of Belarus and stand together to impose costs on the regime – and those who support it – for its efforts to silence the voices of independent civil society, media, and all Belarusians seeking to speak the truth about what is happening in their country.

We again demand that the Lukashenka regime immediately and completely halt its orchestrating of irregular migration across its borders with the EU. Those, in Belarus or in third countries, who facilitate illegal crossing of the EU’s external borders should know this comes at a substantial cost.

We call for the regime to unconditionally and without delay release its almost 900 political prisoners, end its campaign of repression, and implement the recommendations of the independent expert mission under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Moscow Mechanism and take meaningful action to address the concerns raised under the OSCE Vienna Mechanism. The regime should promptly enter into comprehensive and genuine political dialogue with representatives of the democratic opposition and civil society, facilitated by the OSCE, leading to new free and fair presidential elections under international observation.

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Cyber Security Digital Transition

Hackers are turning to this simple technique to install their malware on PCs (Danny Palmer)

Nation state-backed hacking groups are exploiting a simple but effective new technique to power phishing campaigns for spreading malware and stealing information that’s of interest to their governments.

Cybersecurity researchers at Proofpoint say advanced persistent threat (APT) groups working on behalf of Russian, Chinese and Indian interests are using rich text format (RTF) template injections.

Hackers are turning to this simple technique to install their malware on PCs | ZDNet

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Belarus

Accountability for the Lukashenka Regime’s Continued Acts of Repression and Disregard for International Norms (US Department of State)

In coordination with international allies and partners, today we are taking additional measures to raise the cost on Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his regime for their ongoing attacks on democracy, human rights, and international norms, and for their brutal repression of Belarusians both inside and outside the country. These steps represent our third coordinated action with allies this year and are a further consequence of the Belarusian authorities continued flagrant disregard for human rights and Belarus’s failure to comply with its obligations under international human rights law.

Accountability for the Lukashenka Regime’s Continued Acts of Repression and Disregard for International Norms – United States Department of State

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Digital Transition

The 10 Hottest Machine Learning And Data Science Startups In 2021 (Rick Whiting, CRN)

Businesses today are struggling to leverage exploding volumes of data for competitive advantage. To meet that challenge, data engineers and data scientists are increasingly turning to emerging technologies in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and even deep learning to prepare and organize big data and develop the machine learning algorithms and predictive models that support business intelligence applications used by business analysts and information workers.

Here’s a look at 10 top data science and machine learning startup companies with leading-edge products in the data science and machine learning arena that solution providers should be aware of.

The 10 Hottest Machine Learning And Data Science Startups In 2021 (crn.com)

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Digital Transition

Blockchain.com acquires SeSocio to cement presence in Latin America (Helen Partz, COINTELEGRAPH)

Major cryptocurrency wallet and data service Blockchain.com is expanding in Latin America by acquiring SeSocio, a major crypto company based in Argentina.

One of the biggest investment platforms in Latin America, SeSocio will now merge with Blockchain.com to help them scale operations across the region, the firm announced officially on Nov. 30.

Blockchain.com acquires SeSocio to cement presence in Latin America (cointelegraph.com)

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Digital Transition

5G rollouts offer ‘internet of things’ a more sophisticated outlook (Nic Fildes, Financial Times)

The “internet of things” (IoT) is often used as a catch-all phrase to describe the disparate items that use sensors to gather data — from driverless cars, to “smart cows”, to connected refrigerators, to robotic factories. But with the broader adoption of IoT technology into data-intensive tasks, such as remote monitoring, diagnostics and healthcare, demand for 5G networks is similarly increasing.

5G rollouts offer ‘internet of things’ a more sophisticated outlook | Financial Times

 

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Digital Transition

A $1 billion metaverse platform that sells high fashion for digital avatars is getting backing from SoftBank and the investors behind K-pop sensation BTS (Natasha Dailey, Business Insider India)

SoftBank invested $150 million in a South Korean metaverse platform that allows users to dress up their digital avatars in high-fashion labels like Gucci and Dior, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A $1 billion metaverse platform that sells high fashion for digital avatars is getting backing from SoftBank and the investors behind K-pop sensation BTS | Business Insider India

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Digital Transition

Artificial Intelligence: How Business Leaders Can Tap Into Their Blue Sky Opportunities (Anita Samojednik, Forbes)

The pandemic forced the hands of many executives who had previously hesitated to sponsor transformation; many leaders needed a disruptive event like this to prioritize such activities and think outside the box. It’s been surprising to see the speed with which digital transformation has finally taken place, particularly within industries where companies are traditionally more risk averse.

Artificial Intelligence: How Business Leaders Can Tap Into Their Blue Sky Opportunities (forbes.com)

Categorie
Kyrgyzstan

Suspect In Attack On Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Detained (RFE RL)

A man suspected of being among several attackers of the leader of Kyrgyzstan’s opposition Ata-Meken (Homeland) political party, Omurbek Tekebaev, has been detained in the capital, Bishkek.

The Bishkek city police department said on December 2 that the suspect, whose identity was not disclosed, had been arrested overnight and placed in a detention center.

Suspect In Attack On Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Detained (rferl.org)

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Belarus

Watchdog Blasts ‘Relentless Persecution’ Of Civil Society In Belarus (RFE RL)

Amnesty International has reiterated its call on Belarusian authorities to immediately to release the dozens of human rights activists who have been arbitrarily detained since a disputed presidential election in August 2020, and put an end to their “relentless persecution” of civil society groups.

Watchdog Blasts ‘Relentless Persecution’ Of Civil Society In Belarus (rferl.org)

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USA

‘Confusion’ emerges as new weapon class for Air Force cyber warriors (Mark Pomerlau, Defense News)

Shooting down an aircraft or blowing up a target might not be the pinnacle of winning in future conflicts. Rather, sowing confusion among adversaries might be more associated with triumph on the battlefield, according to an Air Force official.

“I would argue, in this 21st-century battlespace that we’re preparing for, infusing that doubt, hesitation, that confusion is winning for us,” Brig. Gen. Tad Clark, director of the electromagnetic spectrum superiority directorate at the Air Force, or A2/6L, said during a presentation at the Association of Old Crows Symposium Nov. 30. “If we get the adversary … to stop for a moment, reassess if the odds are in their favor, try to determine if they can make a move or not and if it’s an advantageous time for them to do so or not, we’re slowing their decision matrix down.”

‘Confusion’ emerges as new weapon class for Air Force cyber warriors (defensenews.com)

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USA

Lockheed unveils pared-down F-35 trainer with same software capability but a 90% reduced footprint (Megan Eckstein, Defense News)

Lockheed Martin has developed an F-35 trainer with less hardware that could see the U.S. and partner countries expand their training capacity for less cost.

The company unveiled the F-35 Mission Rehearsal Trainer Lightning Integrated Training Environment, or MRT LITE, simulator at the annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference. The reveal follows about 18 months of development and demonstrations with F-35 program customers, Erik Etz, senior manager of new business, strategy and road maps, told reporters Nov. 30.

Lockheed unveils pared-down F-35 trainer with same software capability but a 90% reduced footprint (defensenews.com)

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USA

With T-7 on the way, why is ACC eyeing a new trainer? (Stephen Losey, Defense News)

The Air Force is considering a new trainer aircraft — one intended to emulate 4th and 5th generation fighter jets and be able to better train the service’s newest fighter pilots how to fly in combat.

Nope, not the T-7A Red Hawk. Another one. Maybe.

With T-7 on the way, why is ACC eyeing a new trainer? (defensenews.com)

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Russia USA

Responses to Russian anti-satellite tests should be more about capability than condemnation (Christopher Stone, Defense News)

Recently, the Russian Federation conducted a successful missile launch that destroyed a defunct Kosmos electronic intelligence satellite. This demonstration of precision targeting by a ground-based anti-satellite weapon was widely decried due to its generation of a debris cloud that crossed paths with the orbit of the International Space Station. However important the threat to astronauts, cosmonauts and other satellites in low Earth orbit, the fact of the matter is that this event is not the first time such an ASAT demonstration has been made. Since 2007, China and Russia have both demonstrated their kinetic ASAT technologies. This has been a known problem for more than a decade, and yet the U.S. Space Force and its warfighting counterpart, U.S. Space Command, still lack credible options to deter and defeat ASAT attacks across all orbital regimes. This is a must do; the alternative would be to leave our nation’s vital space assets vulnerable to attacks that would affect nearly every part of our modern way of life.

Responses to Russian anti-satellite tests should be more about capability than condemnation (defensenews.com)

Categorie
Malaysia

Is it time for Anwar Ibrahim to step aside? (Kamles Kumar, Al Jazeera)

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s perennial prime minister-in-waiting, is facing questions over his leadership after a humiliating performance by his Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition in recent state elections.

The lack of votes left many wondering about its chances of success in national elections expected as early as next year.

Is it time for Anwar Ibrahim to step aside? | Politics News | Al Jazeera

Categorie
China Japan Taiwan

China summons Japanese ambassador over Abe’s Taiwan comments (Al Jazeera)

China’s foreign ministry summoned Japan’s ambassador in Beijing for an “emergency meeting” on Wednesday evening after former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said neither his country nor the United States could stand by if China attacked Taiwan.

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying called Abe’s remarks “erroneous” and a violation of basic norms of relations between China and Japan in the meeting with ambassador Hideo Tarumi, according to a statement from China’s foreign ministry.

China summons Japanese ambassador over Abe’s Taiwan comments | Politics News | Al Jazeera

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China USA

US defence secretary condemns China hypersonic missile tests (Al Jazeera)

The US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said China’s pursuit of hypersonic weapons “increases tensions in the region”, promising that the United States would maintain its capability to deter potential threats posed by China.

Austin made the remarks in Seoul on Thursday following annual security talks with his South Korean counterpart that focused on challenges from China and North Korea and other issues facing the allies.

US defence secretary condemns China hypersonic missile tests | Military News | Al Jazeera

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Bangladesh

Bangladesh mayor arrested for refusing mural of PM’s father (Al Jazeera)

A Bangladesh mayor who has refused to permit a mural depicting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s father on religious grounds has been arrested, police say.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was independent Bangladesh’s first leader and since his daughter took power in 2009, authorities have erected more than 1,000 murals and monuments to venerate him.

Bangladesh mayor arrested for refusing mural of PM’s father | Sheikh Hasina News | Al Jazeera

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India

Why India is witnessing spike in attacks on Christians, churches (Neel Madhav, Alishan Jafri, Al Jazeera)

In late October, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi met and invited Pope Francis to India, the country with the second-largest Christian population in Asia.

However, in a speech about two weeks earlier, Mohan Bhagwat, head of the far-right Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), warned Hindus about religious conversions and alleged “demographic changes” in India’s northeastern states, which have a large Christian population.

Why India is witnessing spike in attacks on Christians, churches | Religion News | Al Jazeera

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World

UN launches record humanitarian appeal for 2022 as needs soar (Al Jazeera)

The UN has warned that the need for humanitarian aid is skyrocketing worldwide and will reach an all-time high next year, as the pandemic, climate change and conflict push more people to the brink of famine.

The United Nations’ humanitarian agency OCHA on Thursday appealed for a record $41bn to help 183 million people who are the most in need of life-saving assistance – up from the $35bn requested for 2021 and double the amount sought four years ago.

UN launches record humanitarian appeal for 2022 as needs soar | United Nations News | Al Jazeera

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Turkey

Turkey’s Erdogan replaces finance minister amid economic turmoil (Al Jazeera)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has replaced the country’s finance minister after weeks of economic turmoil in which inflation soared as the lira plummeted to record lows.

The currency has lost more than 40 percent of its value against the US dollar this year, making it the worst-performing of all emerging market currencies.

Turkey’s Erdogan replaces finance minister amid economic turmoil | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera

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Iraqi Kurds

Why thousands of Iraqi Kurds risk their lives to reach Europe (Arwa Ibrahim, Al Jazeera)

Asos Hassan is among thousands of people from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq who have risked their lives trying to reach Europe this year.

Desperate to escape economic hardship and political repression, the 28-year-old university graduate from Koya, a town located east of the capital Erbil, has twice tried to cross the Aegean Sea to Greece, but was deported by Turkish authorities.

Why thousands of Iraqi Kurds risk their lives to reach Europe | Migration News | Al Jazeera

Categorie
Digital Transition Green Deal

Autonomous trucks can drastically cut emissions (Here’s how) (Greg Nichols, ZDNet)

Can autonomous vehicles lower the carbon footprint of the transportation and shipping sector? According to a new environmental impact evaluation, the answer seems to be an emphatic yes in certain cases.

Autonomous trucks can drastically cut emissions (Here’s how) | ZDNet

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Digital Transition

Fiverr announces partnership with Stride Health to help US freelancers gain access to health insurance (Jonathan Greig, ZDNet)

Fiverr is partnering with Stride Health to help freelancers gain access to health, dental, and vision insurance.

Stride said it will offer Fiverr users personalized recommendations for healthcare plans and attempt to notify them of the government financial assistance available to each freelancer. The companies said there are subsidies and tax credits established under the American Rescue Plan that have made healthcare more affordable.

Fiverr announces partnership with Stride Health to help US freelancers gain access to health insurance | ZDNet

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Digital Transition

These researchers wanted to test cloud security. They were shocked by what they found (Danny Palmer, ZDNet)

Insecure cloud-computing services can be a huge risk for organisations because they’re a regular target for cyber criminals. Researchers have demonstrated how vulnerable or misconfigured cloud services can be, after deploying hundreds of honeypots designed to look like insecure infrastructure, some of which lasted just minutes before being compromised by hackers.

These researchers wanted to test cloud security. They were shocked by what they found | ZDNet

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Digital Transition

Robots in 2022: Six robotics predictions from industry-leading humans (Greg Nichols, ZDNet)

The past five years have seen robots move from a developing technology in a number of sectors to an indispensable tool supporting operations across a vast range of enterprises. Logistics, manufacturing, materials handling, inspection, healthcare… the list of sectors that have “gone robotic” in short order is long indeed, and with industries like construction and delivery reaching a tipping point, there can be no denying we’re in the midst of a robotic renaissance.

Robots in 2022: Six robotics predictions from industry-leading humans | ZDNet

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Digital Transition

Blockchain to Ease Logjams as Supply Chains Ditch Paper for Digital (Enda Curran, Bloomberg)

The Covid-19 pandemic is speeding up a technological transformation of global trade as supply chains play catchup in shifting from paper to digital transactions.

That’s an emerging industry view as the ongoing disruptions force manufacturers, ship operators and importers to accelerate their investments in technology to smooth out kinks, reduce delays and ultimately cut costs.

Supply Chain Latest: Blockchain to Cut Logjams as Logistics Ditch Paper – Bloomberg

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Digital Transition

Managing AI Decision-Making Tools (Michael Ross and James Taylor, Harvard Business Review)

Your business’s use of AI is only going to increase, and that’s a good thing. Digitalization allows businesses to operate at an atomic level and make millions of decisions each day about a single customer, product, supplier, asset, or transaction. But these decisions cannot be made by humans working in a spreadsheet.

Managing AI Decision-Making Tools (hbr.org)

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China

China turning inward? China has always been a civilisation unto its own (Lance Gore, ThinkChina)

China has always been a civilisation unto its own. Its isolation at one end of the Eurasian continent is perhaps the reason that it is the only one of the four great ancient civilisations that have persisted to this day. The Middle Kingdom mentality is deeply embedded in the national psyche.

The onslaught of the modern Western industrial civilisation shattered its hitherto unquestioned sense of superiority, and awakened the sleeping giant by bringing it to its knees. But at the same time, it has also planted in the national psyche the burning desire for renewal, resurgence and regaining its past grandeur.

China turning inward? China has always been a civilisation unto its own , Politics News – ThinkChina

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China

Chinese ambassador Hong Xiaoyong on China’s future: Forging ahead on a century of achievements (Hong Xiaoyong, ThinkChina)

The Communist Party of China (CPC) held the sixth plenary session of its 19th Central Committee recently, which gained much attention from the media in Singapore and around the world. Many media outlets described the session as historic and of landmark significance, as indeed it was.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the CPC. Under its leadership, the Chinese people have successfully achieved the first centennial goal in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and are moving towards the second centennial goal of building a great modern socialist country.

Chinese ambassador Hong Xiaoyong on China’s future: Forging ahead on a century of achievements, Politics News – ThinkChina

Categorie
Taiwan

Taiwanese generally think there will not be war, and they are unprepared for it (Liu Chin-tsai, ThinkChina)

In recent months, questions of what the people of Taiwan would do and how the US and Japan would react if mainland China launched an armed offensive have come under attention and discussion.

A Taiwan survey found that the Taiwanese believe that cross-strait war is unlikely, while the sense of preparedness and confidence in defence has shown a downward trend, albeit within acceptable levels. However, there is an over-reliance on the security commitments of the US and Japan.

Taiwanese generally think there will not be war, and they are unprepared for it, Politics News – ThinkChina

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Digital Transition

Metaverse: A bubble that could soon burst? (Yin Ruizhi, ThinkChina)

On 29 October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg announced the company’s name change to Meta, and released a rousing video, pushing talk of the metaverse — this year’s hottest internet topic — to a new high. And right now, there are two opposing views about investments in the metaverse. One side feels that the metaverse is a bubble and the day is still far distant when it becomes reality; the other side feels that the metaverse is the next phase of the internet, that it is the future. I can share that the industry consensus is that the metaverse might be an upgraded version of the internet in about ten years, but at the moment, the hype about the metaverse in the investment and technology sectors is more of a bubble.

Metaverse: A bubble that could soon burst?, Technology News – ThinkChina

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World

Omicron and What Comes Next (Simon Johnson, Project-Syndicate)

There is an adage that you cannot have back-to-back financial crises. The implication is that a financial crisis causes people to be more careful – so any bank, investment firm, or investor who survives one crisis will not be taking big risks anytime soon. But two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced lockdowns, quarantines, and other restrictions, the arrival of the Omicron variant is forcing people to ask: Are we about to go through it all again?

Omicron and What Comes Next by Simon Johnson – Project Syndicate (project-syndicate.org)

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China

China’s Nuclear Expansion (Elena Chernenko, Alexander Gabuev, Tong Zhao, Carnegie Moscow Center)

Podcast host Alexander Gabuev is joined by Tong Zhao, a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Program, and Elena Chernenko, a special correspondent at Kommersant, to discuss China’s plans for its nuclear arsenal.

Podcast: China’s Nuclear Expansion – Carnegie Moscow Center – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Categorie
Russia Ukraine

Are Russia and Ukraine Once Again on the Brink of War? (Alexander Baunov, Carnegie Moscow Center)

Once again, the world is discussing the possibility of Russia waging war against Ukraine. This time, however, the circumstances are extraordinary.

Are Russia and Ukraine Once Again on the Brink of War? – Carnegie Moscow Center – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Categorie
Japan South Korea USA

Washington cannot force Japan and South Korea together (Anthony V Rinna, East Asia Forum)

Seoul–Tokyo relations under Japan’s new prime minister Fumio Kishida are off to a less-than-promising start. This is no doubt frustrating for the United States, eager to foster reconciliation between two major Indo-Pacific partners.

Washington cannot force Japan and South Korea together (eastasiaforum.org)

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Digital Transition

Combating racism on social media: 5 key insights on bystander intervention (Melissa Brown, Samantha Elizondo, and Rashawn Ray, Brookings)

Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona has long drawn criticism for his extremist views. He has added fuel to the spread of conspiracy theories surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the deadly 2017 white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Most recently, Gosar’s tweet and Instagram post of a video depicting him killing Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, threatening President Biden, and advocating for hostile anti-migrant action on the border raised the menace of online racial violence in politics.

Combating racism on social media: 5 key insights on bystander intervention (brookings.edu)

Categorie
Africa

Industrial policy makes a comeback in Africa (Max Walter, Brookings)

Industrial policy is seeing a revival in Africa and beyond. In fact, governments across the continent are now explicitly using a variety of industrial policy tools to promote industrialization through agro-processing, labor-intensive light manufacturing, natural resource extraction and value addition, some knowledge-intensive manufacturing, and “industries without smokestacks” such as high-value agriculture and tradable services.

Industrial policy makes a comeback in Africa (brookings.edu)

Categorie
Asia

Will Asia buy into the Summit for Democracy? (Andrew Yeo, Brookings)

In his first major foreign policy speech, U.S. President Joseph Biden declared that the U.S. must “start with diplomacy rooted in America’s most cherished democratic values.” To date, however, democracy and human rights have not factored as prominently in the Biden administration’s handling of U.S. alliance relations in Asia. Although the administration’s Summit for Democracy in December aims to spur democratic renewal at home and abroad, U.S. policymakers will find it particularly challenging to implement a robust human rights and democracy agenda in the Indo-Pacific region for three reasons.

Will Asia buy into the Summit for Democracy? (brookings.edu)

Categorie
Cyber Security

How the NotPetya attack is reshaping cyber insurance (Josephine Wolff, Brookings)

In June 2017, when the NotPetya malware first popped up on computers across the world, it didn’t take long for authorities in Ukraine, where the infections began, to blame Russia for the devastating cyberattack that would go on to do $10 billion of damage globally. NotPetya was a component of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but even though it was designed to infiltrate computer systems via a popular piece of Ukrainian accounting software, the virus spread far beyond the borders of Ukraine, causing an incredible amount and variety of damage.

How the NotPetya attack is reshaping cyber insurance (brookings.edu)

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USA

To address homelessness, place governance must evolve (Tracy Hadden Loh and Jennifer S. Vey, Brookings)

This November marked the annual Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week­—aptly timed to coincide with the season of giving, celebrations of harvest plenty, and, in much of the country, the arrival of the cold, cruel weather that makes homelessness perhaps ever so slightly more in the conscience of those who don’t personally have to worry about it.

To address homelessness, place governance must evolve (brookings.edu)

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Digital Transition

How to fix social media? Start with independent research (Nathaniel Persily and Joshua A. Tucker, Brookings)

We appear to have reached an inflection point when it comes to concern about the harms of social media and the willingness of governments to do something about them. The recent revelations by Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen have set off alarms around the world concerning everything from Instagram’s effect on teen mental health to Facebook’s responsibility for political violence. The revelations were explosive in their own right, but the reaction to them demonstrates how little outsiders know about what is happening inside these companies. The furor that has followed in the wake of these unprecedented disclosures makes it clear that outsider access to the data held by social media companies represents the critical first step to understanding the effect of these platforms on society and how regulation should be crafted to prevent harm.

How to fix social media? Start with independent research. (brookings.edu)

Categorie
Green Deal

Green Upheaval The New Geopolitics of Energy (Jason Bordoff and Meghan L. O’Sullivan, Foreign Affairs)

It is not hard to understand why people dream of a future defined by clean energy. As greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow and as extreme weather events become more frequent and harmful, the current efforts to move beyond fossil fuels appear woefully inadequate. Adding to the frustration, the geopolitics of oil and gas are alive and well—and as fraught as ever. Europe is in the throes of a full-fledged energy crisis, with staggering electricity prices forcing businesses across the continent to shutter and energy firms to declare bankruptcy, positioning Russian President Vladimir Putin to take advantage of his neighbors’ struggles by leveraging his country’s natural gas reserves. In September, blackouts reportedly led Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng to instruct his country’s state-owned energy companies to secure supplies for winter at any cost. And as oil prices surge above $80 per barrel, the United States and other energy-hungry countries are pleading with major producers, including Saudi Arabia, to ramp up their output, giving Riyadh more clout in a newly tense relationship and suggesting the limits of Washington’s energy “independence.”

Green Upheaval: The New Geopolitics of Energy (foreignaffairs.com)

Categorie
Europe Space

Test tanks fuelled for ESA’s Themis reusable first stage (ESA)

Recently completed tests of two propellant tanks set a first technological milestone in the ESA reusability roadmap towards the demonstration of a reusable first stage vehicle called Themis.

ESA – Test tanks fuelled for ESA’s Themis reusable first stage

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OSCE USA

The U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE): Advancing Security, Prosperity, and Human Rights (US Department of State)

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is the world’s largest and most comprehensive regional security organization with 57 participating states from Europe and Eurasia, as well as Canada and the United States.  The OSCE’s foundational principles, enshrined in the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, constitute a comprehensive approach to security, recognizing that peace and prosperity in the region depends on respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States as well as on respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals.

The U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE):  Advancing Security, Prosperity, and Human Rights – United States Department of State

Categorie
Space USA

Biden administration turns focus to space as rivals China, Russia loom (Reuters)

The Biden administration on Wednesday laid out a new strategy for responsible civil, commercial and national security-related use of space amid growing commercial interests and concerns about Chinese and Russian competition.

Biden administration turns focus to space as rivals China, Russia loom | Reuters

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Democratic Republic of the Congo Uganda

Who are Islamic State’s affiliates in Congo and Uganda? (Hereward Holland, Reuters)

Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo have announced joint operations against an Islamic State-linked militia based in eastern Congo, which is blamed for a string of recent bombings in Kampala and killing hundreds of Congolese civilians.

Explainer: Who are Islamic State’s affiliates in Congo and Uganda? | Reuters

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Sudan

Sudan’s Hamdok would quit if post-coup deal not implemented – source (Reuters)

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok will quit if a political agreement he signed with the military last week is not implemented or fails to receive backing from political factions, a source close to him said on Wednesday.

Sudan’s Hamdok would quit if post-coup deal not implemented – source | Reuters

Categorie
Iran

Iran makes nuclear advance at Fordow during talks to save deal (Francois Murphy, Reuters)

Iran has started producing enriched uranium with more efficient advanced centrifuges at its Fordow plant dug into a mountain, the U.N. atomic watchdog said on Wednesday, further eroding the 2015 Iran nuclear deal during talks with the West on saving it.

Iran makes nuclear advance at Fordow during talks to save deal | Reuters

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China North Korea South Korea USA

With China and U.S. talks, South Korea tries to push forward on N.Korea (Phil Stewart, Reuters)

South Korea will broach North Korea separately with two different audiences on Thursday, holding talks with Beijing’s top diplomat in China and with visiting U.S. military leaders in Seoul.

In China, talks are expected to include South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s hopes for a declaration to end the 1950-1953 Korean War. The conflict halted with an armistice and not a peace treaty.

With China and U.S. talks, South Korea tries to push forward on N.Korea | Reuters

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Russia Ukraine USA

Blinken warns of ‘high-impact’ economic steps if Russia invades Ukraine (Humeyra Pamuk, Reuters)

The United States is deeply concerned by evidence that Russia has made plans for significant aggressive moves against Ukraine and will respond with a range of “high impact” economic measures if Moscow invades, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

Blinken warns of ‘high-impact’ economic steps if Russia invades Ukraine | Reuters

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USA

Report: U.S. Workforce Falling Behind Competitors in Digital Skills (Alexandra Kelley, Nextgov)

The U.S. workforce is becoming less digitally-savvy compared to those of other nations, with American employees broadly lagging in skills like basic computer literacy and using messaging tools like email––critical knowledge in the modern global digital economy.

According to data compiled within a report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, roughly 31 percent of employees in the U.S. workforce have either no or limited digital skills.

Report: U.S. Workforce Falling Behind Competitors in Digital Skills – Nextgov

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USA

Sixth Member of International Hacking Community Sentenced in SIM Card Scheme (Alexandra Kelley, Nextgov)

A U.S. court sentenced a member of an international hacking organization to 10 months in prison along with heavy fines in connection with a multi-million dollar hacking scheme.

The perpetrator, Garrett Endicott, 22, of Warrensburg, Mo., pleaded guilty to cyber crimes affiliated with a large-scale SIM hijacking plot, acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin confirmed on Tuesday. Endicott is the sixth and final defendant to be tried in connection with an international hacking group known as The Community.

Sixth Member of International Hacking Community Sentenced in SIM Card Scheme – Nextgov

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USA

Energy Department Awards Verizon $34.6M to Modernize its Communications Services (Brandi Vincent, Nextgov)

The Energy Department selected Verizon Public Sector to boost its communications and information technology services across all of its existing hubs—and support any new ones formed in the future.

In an announcement published Wednesday, the telecommunications giant confirmed DOE awarded it two task orders worth a collective $34.6 million via the federal government’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions, or EIS contracting vehicle.

Energy Department Awards Verizon $34.6M to Modernize its Communications Services – Nextgov

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USA

CISA Seeks Protective Email Service that Tracks Agencies’ Security Compliance (Mariam Baksh, Nextgov)

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is in the market for a service that can help to protect both recipients of government emails as well as agencies themselves by ensuring email platforms are securely configured.

Responses are due Dec. 20 on a recent Request for Information CISA published describing the capabilities the agency is looking for in a protective email service, or PES, that can be applied to all federal civilian executive branch agencies and serve an estimated four million users.

CISA Seeks Protective Email Service that Tracks Agencies’ Security Compliance – Nextgov

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USA

FTC Investigating Major Retailers Over Supply Chain Backlog (Alexandra Kelley, Nextgov)

The Federal Trade Commission ordered nine major retailers, including Amazon, Kroger, and Walmart, to release company information to illuminate ongoing supply chain issues that are disrupting the U.S. economy.

FTC Investigating Major Retailers Over Supply Chain Backlog – Nextgov

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North Korea South Korea USA

US, S. Korea to Write New War Plan to Counter N. Korean Nukes, Missiles (Tara Copp, Defense One)

The U.S. and the Republic of Korea are expected to announce this week they will begin writing a new war plan for North Korea that takes into account Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile launch advances, two U.S. senior defense officials said Tuesday.

US, S. Korea to Write New War Plan to Counter N. Korean Nukes, Missiles – Defense One

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USA

Former Air Force Weapons Chief Tapped as Pentagon’s Lead Arms Buyer (Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One)

Bill LaPlante, who left the Pentagon in 2015, has spent the past six years working on technologies the military craves. President Biden said Tuesday that he would nominate the former Air Force weapons chief to become the Pentagon’s top arms buyer. Politico first reported his nomination.

Former Air Force Weapons Chief Tapped as Pentagon’s Lead Arms Buyer – Defense One

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USA

Range Limits, Enemy Snooping Are Leading Naval Services to More Virtual Training (Caitlin M. Kenney, Defense One)

Virtual training environments are becoming more important as the naval services work around the limits of physical ranges and try to keep adversaries from snooping on new concepts and tactics, the Navy and Marine Corps’ top officers said Tuesday.

Range Limits, Enemy Snooping Are Leading Naval Services to More Virtual Training – Defense One