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Analysis

Europe – Europe needs a change in mindset on technology and geopolitics (ECFR)

Ulrike Franke writes: The European Union has been busy. It has just unveiled the world’s first plans to regulate artificial intelligence, an effort that has received a lot of attention at home and abroad. There is also the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, the Digital Decade, the Cybersecurity Strategy, and more. Clearly, the EU is doubling down on its self-declared role as regulatory superpower, first established with the GDPR data privacy regulation. Technology regulation is important – and probably more so than many Europeans realise. But the EU, for all its pathbreaking work on regulation, does not appear to have fully registered how geopolitical technology has become. Even more striking, while there has been some movement on this in Brussels, most EU member states have barely begun thinking about the issue.

go to ECFR: Europe needs a change in mindset on technology and geopolitics – European Council on Foreign Relations (ecfr.eu)

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USA/India – When two democracies talk (ORF)

Harsh V. Pant writes: United States (US) Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s visit to India ended on a high note, despite initial suggestions in some quarters that the Joe Biden administration was keen to take on the Narendra Modi government on what is seen by some as India’s growing “democracy deficit”. 

go to ORF: When two democracies talk | ORF (orfonline.org)

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India – Assam’s quest: En route to becoming one of the top five states in economic growth (ORF)

ROUHIN DEB writes: The largest state in the Northeast with an area of 78,438 square kilometre and a sizeable population of 3.2 crores, Assam has been one of the states that has witnessed significant development over the past decade since it came out of the grapples of decades-long insurgency. 

go to ORF: Assam’s quest: En route to becoming one of the top five states in economic growth | ORF (orfonline.org)

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USA/Afghanistan – The US has no feasible strategy to protect its diplomats in Afghanistan (Observer Research Foundation)

Saaransh Mishra writes: Most American combat troops have now left Afghanistan, with the remaining scheduled to depart by the end of August. Amongst a plethora of other concerns, withdrawal has caused serious apprehensions about the security of the diplomats that will stay back in Afghanistan post the withdrawal. Considering the lack of a foolproof strategy to protect these diplomats, combined with the necessity of their presence in the country — given that America wants to continue its engagements with Afghanistan — the United States (US) faces multiple conundrums with regards to their safety that do not have any uncomplicated solutions. The US has to devise a way to balance the security of its own diplomats along with the overall well-being of a future Afghanistan, which seems herculean and almost impossible at this point.

go to ORF: The US has no feasible strategy to protect its diplomats in Afghanistan | ORF (orfonline.org)

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China/Afghanistan – China sees both an opportunity and a threat in Afghanistan (ORF)

KABIR TANEJA writes for ORF: China’s foreign minister Wang Yi recently hosted a delegation of the Taliban, led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in Tianjin. The meeting highlighted Beijing’s balancing act — of seeing both an opportunity and a threat in Afghanistan in the backdrop of the withdrawal of United States (US) troops, now in its final stages.

go to ORF: China sees both an opportunity and a threat in Afghanistan | ORF (orfonline.org)

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Analysis

Chechnya’s Veteran Fighters – Chechnya’s Veteran Fighters Have Their Backs to the Wall (The Jamestown Foundation)

Aslan Doukaev writes: In two battlegrounds 1,500 kilometers apart, veteran Chechen freelance fighters are being rebuked by those with whom they aligned against a common foe. In June, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the main rebel group in the Idlib Governorate of Syria, issued a demand that the hundreds of foreign fighters operating in the area acknowledge its leadership or disband. The HTS, which evolved out of the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, has been steadily consolidating its control over the province since 2017, sidelining rival factions and cracking down on groups that did not recognize its authority and sought to preserve their autonomy (see Terrorism Monitor, October 13, 2020). On June 27, a Syria-based journalist close to the rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime reported that the HTS had asked the leader of one such group, the Chechen-led Junud al-Sham, to leave the province of Idlib, the last major stronghold for anti-government forces. “It appears that Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham gave Muslim [al-]Shishani an ultimatum to either join their organization or to leave Idlib province. Muslim [al-]Shishani has refused to join Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and, therefore, they have asked him to leave Idlib altogether,” the journalist said, citing his sources (Facebook.com/ognofficial, June 27).

go to The Jamestown Foundation: Chechnya’s Veteran Fighters Have Their Backs to the Wall – Jamestown

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Analysis

Russia – Russian Communists Try to Control Popular Discontent (The Jamestown Foundation)

Kseniya Kirillova writes: In the run-up to September’s legislative elections to the State Duma (lower chamber of the Russian parliament), the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) has been notably active. Traditionally, the communists are seen by Russians as a “surrogate” opposition—that is, one completely loyal to the current government. The behavior of fractions of the CPRF in the Duma has often confirmed this hypothesis: the party’s deputies, as well as its leader, Gennadiy Zyuganov, have supported the majority of legislation proposed by the ruling United Russia party, including laws that are openly repressive (Deutsche Welle—Russian service, May 26).

go to The Jamestown Foundation: Russian Communists Try to Control Popular Discontent – Jamestown

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Analysis

Russia – Putin’s Paranoia, More Than Nuclear Weapons and Oil, Make Russia Dangerous (The Jamestown Foundation)

Pavel K. Baev writes: The remarks by United States President Joseph Biden at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence last week (July 27) made a strong but ambivalent impression in Moscow. His warning regarding Russian misinformation and interference in the 2022 mid-term elections in the US was countered with the usual denials (RIA Novosti, July 28). Instead, the most emotional protests came in response to Biden’s assertion that his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, was dangerous because he presides over a weak economy. Russia boasts “nuclear weapons and oil wells and nothing else,” he argued (Izvestia, July 28). This was certainly a deliberate oversimplification: the US president was addressing an expert audience that surely knew better, and so the offense to Moscow was most probably intended. Indeed, Putin’s troubles are far more complicated than overseeing shrinking petro-revenues and an aging nuclear arsenal. And that complexity of challenges to his autocratic regime is key to understanding what actually makes the Kremlin leader dangerous (Ezednevny Zhurnal, July 29).

go to The Jamestown Foundation: Putin’s Paranoia, More Than Nuclear Weapons and Oil, Make Russia Dangerous – Jamestown

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Analysis

Russia – Russia restricts movement of key Navalny ally for 18 months (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: A Russian court has sentenced a key ally of jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny to 18 months of restricted movement after finding her guilty of inciting people to break COVID-19 safety regulations. Lyubov Sobol was charged on Tuesday over her allegedly calling for Russians to attend an unsanctioned street protest in January in support of Navalny. She had initially been placed under house arrest.

go to Al Jazeera: Russia restricts movement of key Navalny ally for 18 months | Courts News | Al Jazeera

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USA/Amazon – US labour official says Amazon union vote should be redone (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: A US labour board official has recommended a rerun of a landmark Amazon.com Inc union election in Alabama where employees had voted overwhelmingly against making their warehouse the online retailer’s first to organise in the United States. In the coming weeks, a regional director for the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will decide whether to order the rerun based on this recommendation, said an official with the board on Monday who asked not to be named.

go to Al Jazeera: US labour official says Amazon union vote should be redone | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera

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USA/ASEAN/Myanmar – US accuses Myanmar generals of ‘stalling’, urges ASEAN pressure (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: The United States has accused Myanmar’s military generals of playing for time after coup leader Min Aung Hlaing extended the deadline for new elections, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) to step up efforts to resolve the political turmoil triggered by the power grab. Blinken is participating virtually this week in talks with foreign ministers from ASEAN, whose 10 members include Myanmar.

go to Al Jazeera: US accuses Myanmar generals of ‘stalling’, urges ASEAN pressure | ASEAN News | Al Jazeera

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Climate Change/Carbon Emissions/Asia – ADB, fin firms draw plan to close Asia coal-fired power plants (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: Financial firms, including British insurer Prudential, lenders Citi and HSBC and BlackRock Real Assets are devising plans to speed up the closure of Asia’s coal-fired power plants in order to reduce the biggest source of carbon emissions, five people with knowledge of the initiative said. The novel proposal, which is being driven by the Asian Development Bank, offers a potentially workable model and early talks with Asian governments and multilateral banks are promising, the sources told Reuters.

go to Al Jazeera: ADB, fin firms draw plan to close Asia coal-fired power plants | Banks News | Al Jazeera

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Analysis

Lebanon – A year on, politicians accused of hindering Beirut blast justice (Al Jazeera)

Kareem Chehayeb writes: A year after a massive explosion at Beirut Port devastated the Lebanese capital, the victims’ grieving families are still waiting for answers, accountability and justice. More than 200 people were killed and 6,500 wounded when hundreds of tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate fertiliser stored in the port for six years ignited on August 4, 2020, in what was one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history.

go to Al Jazeera: A year on, politicians accused of hindering Beirut blast justice | Beirut explosion News | Al Jazeera

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Ethiopia’s Tigray/Sudan – Dozens of bodies found in river between Ethiopia’s Tigray, Sudan (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: At least 30 corpses have washed up on the Sudanese banks of a river that abuts Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray, according to two Ethiopian refugees and four Sudanese witnesses who told Reuters news agency on Monday they had retrieved the bodies. The bodies were found in the Setit River, known in Ethiopia as the Tekeze, which runs along Ethiopia’s border with Eritrea before crossing into Sudan at the point where the three countries meet.

go to Al Jazeera: Dozens of bodies found in river between Ethiopia’s Tigray, Sudan | Ethiopia News | Al Jazeera

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Analysis

China – China’s Unavoidable Financial Rise (Project-Syndicate)

ZHANG JUN writes: A decade ago, few economists were bullish about the growth of China’s external financial strength. But the government’s commitment to capital-market opening and renminbi internationalization – together with China’s sheer size – have fueled a rapid financial rise that will only continue.

go to Project-Syndicate: China’s Unavoidable Financial Rise by Zhang Jun – Project Syndicate (project-syndicate.org)

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Analysis

Global – Preventing a Stablecoin Liquidity Crisis (Project-Syndicate)

ANDRÉS VELASCO writes: There is no sound argument for applying lender-of-last-resort protection to privately issued cryptocurrencies. But regulators can prevent the all-too-predictable liquidity squeeze caused by a run on stablecoins – including by regulating them out of existence if necessary.

go to Project-Syndicate: Preventing a Stablecoin Liquidity Crisis by Andrés Velasco – Project Syndicate (project-syndicate.org)

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Global – The Case for a G21 (Project-Syndicate)

JEFFREY D. SACHS writes: As a powerful complement to the United Nations, the G20 has acquitted itself well by representing most of the world’s population and economic output with a limited membership. By expanding to include the African Union, it would overcome its biggest limitation without any loss of agility.

go to Project-Syndicate: The Case for a G21 by Jeffrey D. Sachs – Project Syndicate (project-syndicate.org)

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USA – The Dangers of Endless Quantitative Easing (Project-Syndicate)

RAGHURAM G. RAJAN writes: With growth so uncertain, it is understandable that central banks would be wary of beginning to taper monthly bond purchases before it is clear that inflation has taken off. But they would do well to recognize that prolonging quantitative easing implies significant risks, too.

go to Project-Syndicate: The Dangers of Endless Quantitative Easing by Raghuram G. Rajan – Project Syndicate (project-syndicate.org)

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Taiwan – Tsai’s high stakes on Taiwan’s upcoming referendum (East Asia Forum)

Bill Sharp writes: Taiwan will vote on four referendum items on 18 December, the result of which could make or break the remainder of President Tsai Ing-wen’s time in office. The referendum was rescheduled from 28 August by the Central Election Commission due to the spread of COVID-19 in Taiwan.

go to East Asia Forum: Tsai’s high stakes on Taiwan’s upcoming referendum (eastasiaforum.org)

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USA/South Korea/Japan – Washington should pursue a digital deal with Seoul and Tokyo (East Asia Forum)

Elliot Silverberg and Daniel Aum write: In June 2021, the United States and the European Union announced the creation of a joint trade and technology council, an initiative that aims to put democracies at the forefront of writing the rules governing digital trade. Despite their embrace of shared liberal values, the member nations will have to reconcile conflicting national interests. The council will also face resistance from China, which continues to extend the influence of its authoritarian model over the digital landscape. As nations jockey for position, the United States should expand its multilateral efforts in Asia — beginning with a three-way digital trade deal with Japan and South Korea.

go to East Asia Forum: Washington should pursue a digital deal with Seoul and Tokyo | East Asia Forum

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Analysis

Democracy/Information Manipulation – How democracies can win an information contest without undercutting their values (Brookings

Jessica Brandt writes: Dueling French and Russian trolls sparred with one another online as they vied for influence in multiple African countries, Facebook revealed late last year. It was the first time the platform called out individuals affiliated with a Western liberal democratic government for coordinated inauthentic behavior on its platform. The French operation, which had been underway since 2018, used fake accounts to pose as locals in target countries, commenting on content related to current events and pushing back on criticisms of French foreign policy posted by the Russian operation. “We have these two efforts from different sides of these issues using the same tactics and techniques,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said of the episode, “and they end up looking sort of the same.” That is a problem.

go to Brookings: How democracies can win an information contest without undercutting their values (brookings.edu)

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USA – As the eviction moratorium ends, we need a long-term solution to housing insecurity (Brookings)

Carl Romer and Andre M. Perry write for Brookings: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium for the COVID-19 pandemic provided acute relief to people who were struggling to pay rent. That moratorium expired on July 31; however, neither abruptly ending it nor prolonging it will solve the problem of housing insecurity, particularly in Black-majority neighborhoods and for low-income, essential workers.

go to Brookings: As the eviction moratorium ends, we need a long-term solution to housing insecurity (brookings.edu)

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Philippines – The Philippine economy under the pandemic: From Asian tiger to sick man again? (Brookings)

Ronald U. Mendoza writes: In 2019, the Philippines was one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It finally shed its “sick man of Asia” reputation obtained during the economic collapse towards the end of the Ferdinand Marcos regime in the mid-1980s. After decades of painstaking reform — not to mention paying back debts incurred under the dictatorship — the country’s economic renaissance took root in the decade prior to the pandemic. Posting over 6 percent average annual growth between 2010 and 2019 (computed from the Philippine Statistics Authority data on GDP growth rates at constant 2018 prices), the Philippines was touted as the next Asian tiger economy.

go to Brookings: The Philippine economy under the pandemic: From Asian tiger to sick man again? (brookings.edu)

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USA – The coming eviction crisis will hit Black communities the hardest (Brookings)

Carl RomerAndre M. Perry, and Kristen Broady write: According to a 2020 report by the Aspen Institute, an estimated 30 million to 40 million people in the U.S. are at risk of eviction due to the COVID-19 housing crisis. Previously, a national moratorium on evictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protected these households from losing their homes. But on July 31, that moratorium expired.

go to Brookings: The coming eviction crisis will hit Black communities the hardest (brookings.edu)

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China/USA – The long game. China’s grand strategy to displace American order (Brookings)

Book Cover.jpg

Rush Doshi writes: This introductory chapter summarizes the book’s argument. It explains that U.S.-China competition is over regional and global order, outlines what Chinese-led order might look like, explores why grand strategy matters and how to study it, and discusses competing views of whether China has a grand strategy. It argues that China has sought to displace America from regional and global order through three sequential “strategies of displacement” pursued at the military, political, and economic levels. The first of these strategies sought to blunt American order regionally, the second sought to build Chinese order regionally, and the third — a strategy of expansion — now seeks to do both globally. The introduction explains that shifts in China’s strategy are profoundly shaped by key events that change its perception of American power.

go to Brookings: The long game: China’s grand strategy to displace American order (brookings.edu)

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USA – No child deserves to be left offline this school year—here’s how Congress can hel (Brookings)

Nicol Turner Lee writes: In a few short days or weeks, most K-12 students will physically return to the classroom—at least, this is the plan. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that local districts encourage mask wearing regardless of vaccination status. But some cities and school districts are still questioning such mandates, despite the rising number of vaccinated and unvaccinated people being infected by the COVID-19 Delta variant. The current immunization ineligibility among children under 12 years of age further complicates public health mitigation as some of them may become carriers of the virus to their parents and other close relatives, if not careful.

go to Brookings: No child deserves to be left offline this school year—here’s how Congress can help (brookings.edu)

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Turkey/Eastern Mediterranean – Turkey’s New Moves in the Eastern Mediterranean (BESA Center)

writes: In July 2021, Israel expressed full support to the Republic of Cyprus in the wake of the unilateral reopening of the Varosha coastline by Turkey. Last year, it also showed solidarity with Athens during Greek-Turkish tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. While the tripartite partnership is progressing, Ankara is seeking to expand its footprint in the region and is pursuing a two-state solution in Cyprus. It is also applying a new foreign policy methodology to Greece while remaining adamant in its demands.

go to BESA Center: Turkey’s New Moves in the Eastern Mediterranean (besacenter.org)

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India – COVID-19 rolls back progress on female education in India (East Asia Forum)

Monika Chaudhary writes: In the 2011 census, the female literacy rate in India was 65.2 per cent. The school dropout rate for girls was 52.2 per cent. The reasons cited for the high dropout rate included the high cost of education, household or subsistence labour, desire to work, early marriage, school accessibility, safety, sanitation concerns in schools and a lack of interest in studies.

go to East Asia Forum: COVID-19 rolls back progress on female education in India (eastasiaforum.org)

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Uzbekistan/Indian Ocean Trade – Uzbekistan’s long-awaited path to Indian Ocean trade (East Asia Forum)

Nasriddinov Salokhiddin writes: On 2 February 2021, Uzbekistan held the event of the century for Central Asia — hosting trilateral negotiations with Afghanistan and Pakistan on the construction of a 600-kilometre railroad through Afghanistan. Government officials agreed on a ‘road map’ for railroad construction that will connect Uzbekistan and other landlocked Central Asian countries to the Indian Ocean through Kabul and seaports in Karachi and Gwadar.

go to East Asia Forum: Uzbekistan’s long-awaited path to Indian Ocean trade | East Asia Forum

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Defense – Towards a rigorous Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (East Asia Forum)

Aristyo Rizka Darmawan writes: The South China Sea became an important highlight of the recent ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus. All delegations agreed that maintaining peace and security in the disputed area is one of the most important issues in the region and called for unity in the defence sector. To keep the peace it will be necessary to preserve the momentum in the negotiations for a South China Sea Code of Conduct (COC).

go to East Asia Forum: Towards a rigorous Code of Conduct for the South China Sea | East Asia Forum

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Iraq/USA – Treat Iraq’s Iran-aligned militias like ISIS (Brookings)

Ranj Alaaldin writes: Iraq is beset with crises. In the scorching summer heat, the country is suffering from electricity and water shortages, longstanding challenges that have routinely resulted in violent protests as part of wider grievances around lack of services and rampant corruption. On July 12, a hospital fire killed at least 60 people as a result of negligence and mismanagement. On July 19, the Islamic State group (ISIS) carried out a deadly attack, killing at least 35 people in Baghdad. In the midst of all this, Shiite militia groups tied to Iran routinely assassinate civilians and activists, and use rockets and drones to attack U.S. personnel, Iraqi military forces, and U.S.-aligned actors like the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

go to Brookings: Treat Iraq’s Iran-aligned militias like ISIS (brookings.edu)

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China – The Shanghai middle class: Embracing “cosmopolitanism with Chinese characteristics”? (Brookings)

Cheng Li writes: There is no doubt that the Chinese middle class is a dominant political and economic force that will have a profound impact on both China and the world. But the political outlook and worldviews of this powerful contingent are far less clear-cut. Given that the rapid rise and explosive growth of China’s middle class is a relatively recent development, its role and economic-political implications are neither predetermined nor stagnant. The dynamism and diversity of this new socioeconomic force and its transitory political role can undermine the fatalistic view about China’s future trajectory.

go to Brookings: The Shanghai middle class: Embracing “cosmopolitanism with Chinese characteristics”? (brookings.edu)

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Uncategorized

TechInnovation/Drone/Pandemic Response – Assessing the impact of drones in the global COVID response (Brookings)

Faine Greenwood writes: As COVID-19 swept through the world in early 2020, technology companies scrambled to repurpose their products to fight the pandemic. This repurposing was especially pronounced in the civilian drone industry, whose companies predicted that the pandemic would prove the value of their map-making, inspection, and delivery technology. As drones were adapted for everything from monitoring social-distance requirements to delivering medical supplies, companies hoped that a historically drone-skeptical public might be won over by the technology once and for all.

go to Brookings: Assessing the impact of drones in the global COVID response (brookings.edu)

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Taiwan – Examining the role of cross-Strait relations in Taiwan’s politics (Brookings)

Lev Nachman and Ryan Hass write: Lev Nachman recently returned to the United States after living in Taipei for more than two years, where he was a Fulbright scholar and studied social movements and political parties in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Nachman who also previously lived in Taiwan, is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. In a conversation with Brookings Senior Fellow and Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies Ryan Hass, Nachman provides insights on the relationship between Taiwanese identity and support for Taiwan independence, factors that motivate Taiwan voters, and prospects for Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election.

go to Brookings: Examining the role of cross-Strait relations in Taiwan’s politics (brookings.edu)

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USA – Addressing America’s crisis of despair and economic recovery. A call for a coordinated effort (Brookings)

Brookings writes: Despair in American society is a barrier to reviving our labor markets and productivity, jeopardizing our well-being, health, longevity, families, and communities—and even our national security. The COVID-19 pandemic was a fundamental shock, exacerbating an already a growing problem of despair.

go to Brookings: Addressing America’s crisis of despair and economic recovery (brookings.edu)

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USA – Solidifying the DFC-USAID relationship (Brookings)

Eric Postel and Anthony F. Pipa write: Transforming the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) by expanding its resources and authorities while merging it with other financing mechanisms—including the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Development Credit Authority (DCA)—to create the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) understandably required a major sales effort. While the foreign policy elites saw the DFC as a counter to China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative, advocates for international development viewed the DFC as an expansion of U.S. development leadership. And while fiscal conservatives were sold on prospective cost savings through the elimination of duplication, OPIC management told affected staff at USAID (the DCA team that was transferred to the DFC) that all of them would be offered jobs at the new DFC. Meeting all the expectations was always going to prove difficult—but one of the trickiest topics is how to best solidify the DFC-USAID relationship in order to maximize development results.

go to Brookings: Solidifying the DFC-USAID relationship (brookings.edu)

 

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West Africa – Is West Africa ready for a single currency? (Brookings)

Aloysius Uche OrduAli Zafar, and Jan Muench write: Since the early 2000s, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been pursuing a common currency agenda, centered on the “eco,” with the intention of reducing barriers to doing business across the region and increasing trade overall. While the implementation of the new currency has been postponed due to hurdles in macroeconomic convergence across the countries and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, among other challenges, many policymakers remain keen to forge ahead, with implementation now tentatively set for 2027.

go to Brookings: Is West Africa ready for a single currency? (brookings.edu)

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USA/Global Tax Reform – Can President Biden deliver on global tax reform? (Euractiv)

Dick Roche writes: When the OECD launched its Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) taxation initiative, the Obama administration, while supportive of the project’s aims, was cautious. The US lead negotiator commented that in the BEPS process every other country wanted the US “to pay for lunch.”

go to Euractiv: Can President Biden deliver on global tax reform? – EURACTIV.com

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Turkey/Eastern Mediterranean – Blue Homeland: Turkey’s Strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean (Euractiv)

Antonia Colibasanu writes: As Turkey’s dreams of joining the European Union have faded, Ankara has shifted its strategy toward the West. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s latest moves – a visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the announcement of a resumption of Turkish energy exploration in the area – are meant to show that he will continue to pursue his neo-Ottoman “Mavi Vatan” (Blue Homeland) doctrine.

go to Euractiv: Blue Homeland: Turkey’s Strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean – EURACTIV.com

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Europe/Iraq/Belarus – EU pushes Iraq to stem migrant flights to Belarus (Euractiv, AFP)

Euractiv writes: The European Union said on Thursday (29 July) it was pressing Iraq to help stem the flow of migrants to Belarus who are then smuggled across the border into Lithuania.

go to Euractiv: EU pushes Iraq to stem migrant flights to Belarus – EURACTIV.com

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Slovenia – Slovenian opposition calls for independent probe into Pegasus concerns (Euractiv)

Sebastijan R. Maček writes: Slovenia’s opposition Social Democrats have called on Prime Minister Janez Janša to initiate an independent, voluntary forensic investigation of mobile devices of political leaders, journalists and civil society in the face of the Pegasus surveillance scandal.

go to Euractiv: Slovenian opposition calls for independent probe into Pegasus concerns – EURACTIV.com

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Europe/Cuba – EU urges Cuba to free ‘arbitrarily detained’ protesters (Euractiv, Reuters)

Euractiv writes: The European Union is “very concerned about the repression” of protests in Cuba and urges the government to release all arbitrarily detained protesters, the EU said on Thursday (29 July) in its strongest statement to date on the matter.

go to Euractiv: EU urges Cuba to free ‘arbitrarily detained’ protesters – EURACTIV.com

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Poland/Europe – Polish minister says European rights law breaches constitution (Euractiv, Reuters)

Euractiv writes: Poland’s justice minister on Thursday (29 July) asked its Constitutional Tribunal to examine whether an article of the European Convention on Human Rights breaches the constitution, deepening an international row over the country’s judicial reforms.

go to Euractiv: Polish minister says European rights law breaches constitution – EURACTIV.com

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France/Europe/Green Solutions – Firms propose green solutions for France’s EU presidency bid (Euractiv)

Clara Bauer-Babef writes: A group of major French companies have sent a letter to Prime Minister Jean Castex  proposing solutions to best support Europe in its energy transition once France assumes the six month rotating EU Council presidency at the start of 2022. EURACTIV France reports.

go to Euractiv: Firms propose green solutions for France’s EU presidency bid – EURACTIV.com

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Europe/Climate Change – EU creates checklist for ‘climate proof’ infrastructure projects (Euractiv, Reuters)

Euractiv writes: The European Commission on Thursday (29 July) published a guide to assess whether planned infrastructure projects are equipped to cope with climate change impacts like floods and heatwaves, a condition that must be met to receive certain EU funds.

go to Euractiv: EU creates checklist for ‘climate proof’ infrastructure projects – EURACTIV.com

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Space – Staring at the Sun (NASA)

NASA writes: On April 29, 2015, NuSTAR, Hinode, and Solar Dynamics Observatory all stared at our Sun. 

go to NASA: Staring at the Sun | NASA

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Space – Clays, Not Water, Are Likely Source of Mars ‘Lakes’ (NASA)

NASA writes: Where there’s water, there’s life. That’s the case on Earth, at least, and also why scientists remain tantalized by any evidence suggesting there’s liquid water on cold, dry Mars. The Red Planet is a difficult place to look for liquid water: While water ice is plentiful, any water warm enough to be liquid on the surface would last for only a few moments before turning into vapor in Mars’ wispy air.

go to NASA: Clays, Not Water, Are Likely Source of Mars ‘Lakes’ | NASA

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Israel – INSS Presents H. E. President Isaac Herzog with “Strategic Challenges Facing Israel, and Policy Recommendations” (INSS)

INSS writes: At the start of H. E. President Isaac Herzog’s term of office, and following the many global and local developments and changes over the past six months – including a new administration in Washington, President Biden’s decision to try to return to the nuclear deal with Iran, the formation of a new government in Israel, and growing tensions in Israeli society, including clashes between Arabs and Jews in Israeli cities – the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) presented to President Herzog highlights on the main strategic challenges facing Israel and policy recommendations for addressing those challenges.

go to INSS: INSS Presents H. E. President Isaac Herzog with “Strategic Challenges Facing Israel, and Policy Recommendations” | INSS

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Analysis

Turkey – Give War a Chance: Turkish Leader Finesses Political Defeat (BESA Center)

writes: Turks are hungry for fairy tales. Any feel-good news propaganda—including Erdoğan’s “The West, including the Germans, are jealous of us!” tirade—finds millions of receptive listeners in Turkey’s postmodern marketplace of absurdity.

go to BESA Center: Give War a Chance: Turkish Leader Finesses Political Defeat (besacenter.org)

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Analysis

Pakistan – The Ultra-Conservative Leanings of Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan Raise Eyebrows (BESA Center)

writes: Widely seen as a populist with ultra-conservative leanings, Pakistani PM Imran Khan increasingly appears to reinforce widespread traditionalist attitudes that reject religious tolerance as well as the rights of women and minorities.

go to BESA Center: The Ultra-Conservative Leanings of Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan Raise Eyebrows (besacenter.org)

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Analysis

Iran – Demonstrations in Iranian Khuzestan Demand an End to the Islamic Regime (BESA Center)

writes: Amid a fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, nightly demonstrations are occurring inside Iran—especially in the oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan. The protests initially concerned a water shortage and power outages, but have since turned into demonstrations demanding an end to the Islamist regime.

go to East Asia Forum: Demonstrations in Iranian Khuzestan Demand an End to the Islamic Regime (besacenter.org)

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Analysis

Asia – Asia is in a critical position to kick-start global trade reform (East Asia Forum)

Jake Read write: At the G7 summit in June in Cornwall, participants recognised the need to defend and modernise the multilateral rules-based trade system and agreed to get behind urgent, wholescale trade reform. They acknowledged that the rulebook has long been out of date and that the world trade system is in need of repair.

go to East Asia Forum: Asia is in a critical position to kick-start global trade reform (eastasiaforum.org)

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Analysis

China/India – The rise of China and India’s remote humanitarian aid (East Asia Forum)

Lina Gong writes: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many disruptions to humanitarian action since 2020. As traditional donors struggled with domestic COVID-19 responses, emerging donors such as China and India seized the opportunity to increase their humanitarian footprint. Both countries provided humanitarian aid to over 150 countries and international organisations in 2020, with online technical support as one important avenue of their aid activities. Their move to online aid delivery conforms with a general trend in the humanitarian sector towards the greater use of remote humanitarian programming.

go to East Asia Forum: The rise of China and India’s remote humanitarian aid (eastasiaforum.org)

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Analysis

USA/Iraq – What will US combat forces withdrawal mean for Iraq? (Brookings)

Ranj Alaaldin and Adrianna Pita write: The White House meeting between President Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was primarily framed around the future of U.S. military forces in Iraq, but in addition to the destabilizing threats of ISIS and Iran-aligned militias, Iraq is also struggling with a deep economic crisis and need for significant political reforms. Ranj Alaaldin details Kadhimi’s efforts to address Iraq’s interconnected crises and how the U.S. is still critical to Iraq’s future.

go to Brookings: What will US combat forces withdrawal mean for Iraq? (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

USA/FTC/TechInnovation – Outdated ethics rules may be stymieing the Federal Trade Commission’s efforts to keep up with big tech (Brookings)

Lindsey BarrettLaura MoyPaul Ohm, and Ashkan Soltani write: How does a hundred-year-old agency shift its resources and focus to grapple effectively with Big Tech and some of the biggest policy puzzles of a generation? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has faced this challenge since the dotcom era. As it still scrambles to adjust, the FTC has received harsh criticism in recent years for its approvals of ballooning tech mergers and its seeming inability to deter or avert privacy scandal after privacy scandal. At the same time, popular interest in reining in Big Tech and protecting privacy has mounted. Perched at the intersection of these two issues is a wonky but fundamental problem for the agency: Do the FTC’s longstanding conflict-of-interest rules unnecessarily impede the agency’s ability to attract, retain, and deploy technical expertise that it badly needs?

go to Brookings: Outdated ethics rules may be stymieing the Federal Trade Commission’s efforts to keep up with big tech (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

USA – COVID-19 is crushing red states. Why isn’t Trump turning his rallies into mass vaccination sites? (Brookings)

Elaine Kamarck writes: Politicians almost always act in their own electoral interest. This sounds bad except that much of the time that means that they are acting in the self-interest of the people who voted for them, representing the views of the majority of their constituents. It is rare that a politician acts against his own self-interest—but then again, Donald Trump is a rare breed of politician. No politician has made it a habit of acting against his own electoral interest like Donald Trump.

go to Brookings: COVID-19 is crushing red states. Why isn’t Trump turning his rallies into mass vaccination sites? (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

Washington Consensus Reforms/Sub Saharan Africa – Washington Consensus Reforms and Lessons for Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa (American Economic Association, Brookings)

Belinda Archibong, Brahima Coulibaly, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala write: Over three decades after market-oriented structural reforms termed “Washington Consensus” policies were first implemented, we revisit the evidence on policy adoption and the effects of these policies on socio-economic performance in sub-Saharan African countries. We focus on three key ubiquitous reform policies around privatization, fiscal discipline, and trade openness and document significant improvements in economic performance for reformers over the past two decades. Following initial declines in per capita economic growth over the 1980s and 1990s, reform adopters experienced notable increases in per capita real GDP growth in the post–2000 period. We complement aggregate analysis with four country case studies that highlight important lessons for effective reform. Notably, the ability to implement pro-poor policies alongside market-oriented reforms played a central role in successful policy performance

go to American Economic Association: Washington Consensus Reforms and Lessons for Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa – American Economic Association (aeaweb.org)

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Analysis

USA – Lessons from the Surfside condo collapse on strengthening community ownership (Brookings)

Tracy Hadden Loh writes: The June collapse of the Champlain Towers South multifamily condominium tower in Surfside, Fla. has called into question whether bad governance played a role in the tower’s failure. Was maintenance on the building deferred because the condo board, elected by the unit owners, had a short-term incentive to do so in order to retain power? Or are communities of individual owners, who are not real estate professionals, simply incapable of managing a complex asset like a high-rise building? Are American condominiums a 20th century experiment that have now reached a dangerous reaction point in the lab?

go to Brookings: Lessons from the Surfside condo collapse on strengthening community ownership (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

Kenya – Unlocking constraints to industries without smokestacks to catalyze job creation for youth in Kenya (Brookings)

Adan ShibiaEldah Onsomu, and Boaz Munga write: Unlike in much of the developed world, the promise of manufacturing to spur economic growth and jobs in Africa has remained elusive, with most of the continent’s economies facing deindustrialization. This trend is characterized by declining share of manufacturing in gross domestic product (GDP) and wage employment. All is, however, not lost considering emerging structural shifts, with services and other non-manufacturing industries promising economic transformations. These promising nonmanufacturing industries, termed “industries without smokestacks” (IWOSS), demonstrate key features of manufacturing such as high productivity, agglomeration, and job opportunities. The IWOSS sectors are diverse, cutting across financial services, horticulture, information and communication technology (ICT), tourism, transit trade, and wholesale trade. As part of a broader research project, the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative partnered with the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) to assess which of these IWOSS might be best poised to unlock jobs in Kenya.

go to Brookings: Unlocking constraints to industries without smokestacks to catalyze job creation for youth in Kenya (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

Global Education – How teacher expectations empower student learning (Brookings)

Niharika Gupta and Sameer Sampat write: In primary school, we were both lucky to have teachers who thought we were brilliant: Ms. Darrow believed Sameer was an excellent student despite average grades, and Ms. Lewis made Niharika feel like she could survive anything. Looking back, neither of us knows why they thought this way, but we’re certain that they both truly felt this way, and their feelings made us believe it as well. Our time with these teachers made us believe in our ability to take on academic challenges, building a base of confidence that we would draw on throughout our lives.

go to Brookings: How teacher expectations empower student learning (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

USA – ‘40 acres and a mall’: How community ownership models can preserve economic power in Black neighborhoods (Brookings)

Anthony BarrTracy Hadden LohAndre M. Perry, and Hanna Love write: In the famous post-Civil War initiative known as “40 acres and a mule,” Union General William T. Sherman promised newly freed Black households the one thing most necessary for sustaining their freedom: land. As Black minister Garrison Frazier told Sherman, freedom means having the ability to “reap the fruit of our own labor.” Unfortunately, Sherman’s promise never came to fruition, as President Andrew Johnson overturned the decision. Over a century and a half later, the unfulfilled promise of land ownership remains just as essential for the descendants of survivors of American slavery who desire economic power for themselves and their communities.

go to Brookings: ‘40 acres and a mall’: How community ownership models can preserve economic power in Black neighborhoods (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

Sustainable Development/SDGs – Donor engagement with Agenda 2030: How government agencies encompass the Sustainable Development Goals (Brookings)

George Ingram and Helena Hlavaty write: In 2015, all members of the United Nations adopted an ambitious agenda known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals. The agenda consists of 17 development goals to be achieved by 2030. This report examines how government donor agencies encompass SDGs in international development cooperation, covering 20 of the 30 members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). It reviews how they propose to incorporate the SDGs at the level of strategy and policy, programs, and reporting of outputs and results. Eighteen of the 20 members (excepting the United States and the European Union) have produced at least one Voluntary National Review (VNR). Although principally aimed at reporting on national progress on the SDGs, some VNRs cover international development cooperation and so are specifically noted. This review is based on how each country presents its engagement with the SDGs and does not assess the extent to which those policies and plans are translated into practice.

go to Brookings: Donor engagement with Agenda 2030: How government agencies encompass the Sustainable Development Goals (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

USA – Supporting distressed communities by strengthening regional public universities: A federal policy proposal (Brookings)

Robert Maxim and Mark Muro writes: Forecasters predict the economy will grow significantly in the latter half of 2021 as the U.S. continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. However, if the coming recovery resembles those in the wake of the early-2000s recession and the Great Recession, it will likely be spatially uneven, with some places making a quick recovery while other communities, both urban and rural, face continued economic distress.

go to Brookings: Supporting distressed communities by strengthening regional public universities: A federal policy proposal (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

Sustainable Development/SDGs – How government donors engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (Brookings)

George Ingram writes: In 2015, 193 nations signed on to Agenda 2030 setting forth the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The predecessor Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were a narrower set of eight objectives targeted specifically at enhancing economic and social progress in lower- and middle-income countries—with first-order implications for focusing donor development assistance. In contrast, the 17 SDGs are universal—they cover a broader scope of economic, social, environmental, and political elements of development. They are designed for all countries of the world—in recognition that “sustainable development” is an ongoing process in all countries, no matter their level of economic development.

go to Brookings: How government donors engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

USA/Gaza Crisis – Most Americans, including half of young Democrats, disapprove of Biden’s handling of recent Gaza crisis (Brookings)

Shibley Telhami writes: President Joe Biden’s handling of the crisis that followed Israeli plans to expel Palestinians from their Jerusalem homes in May — which included Hamas firing rockets on Israel and massive Israeli bombings of Gaza, resulting in the death of over 230 Palestinian civilians and 12 Israelis — was notable for the president’s public support for Israel and pinning the blame on Hamas. Biden refused to publicly criticize Israeli actions or even push for an early end of the crisis — to the point that he faced criticism not just from Democratic progressives, but even from usually-reliable pro-Israel Democrats in Congress.

go to Brookings: Most Americans, including half of young Democrats, disapprove of Biden’s handling of recent Gaza crisis (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

Climate Change/British Air Force – British Air Force aims to be world’s first service with certified zero-carbon aircraft (Defense News)

writes: Britain’s Royal Air Force has set a goal of becoming the first military service in the world to register and certify a zero-carbon aircraft.

go to Defense News: British Air Force aims to be world’s first service with certified zero-carbon aircraft (defensenews.com)

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Analysis

USA/Space – Space Force launches small satellite to test new sensor possibilities (Defense News)

Nathan Strout writes: The U.S. Space Force launched a new experimental satellite July 29 that will test the possibility of installing large, deployable weather sensors on small satellites.

go to Defense News: Space Force launches small satellite to test new sensor possibilities (c4isrnet.com)

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Analysis

USA/UK/Defense – Britain inks $200 million contract with Team Tempest for future fighter jet (Defense News)

writes: The British Defence Ministry has signed a £250 million (U.S. $199 million) deal with Team Tempest, a group of companies working on the country’s future combat jet, to provide digital and physical infrastructure to develop the aircraft.

go to Defense News: Britain inks $200 million contract with Team Tempest for future fighter jet (defensenews.com)

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Analysis

Israel/Germany/Defense – Elta and Hensoldt team up for German ballistic missile defense radar (Defense News)

writes: Germany’s Hensoldt has won a contract to supply new radars to the country’s military, according to a July 26 statement from the sensor specialist, with Israel Aerospace Industries also contributing toward the ultimate goal of modernizing Germany’s ballistic missile defense capabilities.

go to Defense News: Elta and Hensoldt team up for German ballistic missile defense radar (defensenews.com)

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Analysis

USA/Defense – Sea power panel backs block buy of amphibious ships (Defense News)

writes: A House panel on Wednesday advanced a proposal to authorize the Navy to make a block buy of amphibious ships for one more year, meant to save taxpayer dollars, proponents say.

go to Defense News: Sea power panel backs block buy of amphibious ships (defensenews.com)

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Analysis

USA/Defense – Lawmakers want answers on US Army plans to protect vehicles from drones (Defense News)

writed: House lawmakers want answers from the Army on its plan to outfit combat vehicles with protection systems capable of countering unmanned aircraft systems, according to the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee’s markup of the fiscal 2022 defense authorization bill, released July 28.

go to Defense News: Lawmakers want answers on US Army plans to protect vehicles from drones (defensenews.com)

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Analysis

USA/Defense – US has ‘no plans right now’ to increase LCS presence in Singapore, says Navy chief (Defense News)

writes: The U.S. Navy no longer has concrete plans to increase the number of littoral combat ships deploying to the Indo-Pacific region on a rotational basis, the chief of naval operations has confirmed.

go to Defense News: US has ‘no plans right now’ to increase LCS presence in Singapore, says Navy chief (defensenews.com)

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Analysis

Australia – See F-35B jets take off at sea for Australian exercise Talisman Sabre (Defense News)

writes: U.S. Marine Corps F-35B jets are carrying out high-end integrated air warfare training with Australian counterparts in the skies above the country and the Coral Sea, as both nations hold a massive multidomain exercise.

go to Defense News: See F-35B jets take off at sea for Australian exercise Talisman Sabre (defensenews.com)

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Analysis

UK/Defense – British government to nationalize steel components maker in $3.54 million deal (Defense News)

writes: The British government plans to nationalize specialist steel components-maker Sheffield Forgemasters in order to protect the supply chain involving critical defense programs in the nuclear submarine and other sectors.

go to Defense News: British government to nationalize steel components maker in $3.54 million deal (defensenews.com)

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Analysis

USA/Defense – HASC ‘skeptical’ of Navy plans to mitigate fighter shortfall, transition into future jet (Defense News)

writes: The House Armed Services Committee has reservations about the Navy’s plans to transition from the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet into the Next Generation Air Dominance, or NGAD, future fighter jet, though it’s unclear if the committee will take action to force a change in plans.

go to Defense News: HASC ‘skeptical’ of Navy plans to mitigate fighter shortfall, transition into future jet (defensenews.com)

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Analysis

USA/Kuwait – Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Sabah (US Department of State)

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today in Kuwait City with His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq al Ghanem, and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah to discuss regional security, joint efforts to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, and other key issues important to the bilateral relationship.  Secretary Blinken recognized two milestones in the U.S.-Kuwait relationship – the 30th anniversary of Operation Desert Shield and 60 years of diplomatic ties – and thanked the Amir for the enduring support that has enabled close cooperation in defense, counterterrorism, trade and investment, security, education, culture, and science.

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Analysis

Space – Juice takes the heat (ESA)

ESA writes: ESA’s Jupiter Icy moons Explorer, Juice, has successfully completed rigorous thermal tests simulating the extreme coldness of space and the warmth of the Sun at ESA’s test centre ESTEC, in The Netherlands.

go to ESA: ESA – Juice takes the heat

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Uncategorized

Space – Jupiter mission passes space vacuum test (ESA)

ESA writes: ESA’s Juice mission to Jupiter has successfully endured a month of space-like conditions inside the Large Space Simulator, the largest vacuum chamber in Europe.

go to ESA: ESA – Jupiter mission passes space vacuum test

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Analysis

Arctic/Permafrost/Climate Change – Uranium isotopes may point to fresh water reserves in Pre-Volga region, scientists say (TASS)

TASS writes: Scientific studies into the permafrost thawing will be used to find fresh water in the Pre-Volga region. Specialists from the Laverov Federal Center for Integrated Arctic Research (FECIAR, Arkhangelsk) and the St. Petersburg State University have discovered a connection between the rate of uranium isotopes in water and the share of salt in it, FECIAR’s press service told TASS.

go to TASS: Uranium isotopes may point to fresh water reserves in Pre-Volga region, scientists say – Science & Space – TASS

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Analysis

Russia/Kyrgyzstan/Tajikistan/Afghanistan/Defense – Russia redeploys attack aircraft from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan for drills on Afghan border (TASS)

TASS writes: A wing of Russian Su-25 ground attack aircraft has redeployed from Russia’s Kant integrated airbase in Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan for the joint drills of Russian, Uzbek and Tajik troops at the Kharb-Maidon training ground 20 km from Afghanistan, the press office of the Central Military District reported on Thursday. “A wing of Su-25 aircraft has redeployed from the airfield of the Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan to the Gissar aerodrome in Tajikistan to participate in the trilateral exercise that will run at the Kharb-Maidon practice range in the Khatlon Region on August 5-10,” the press office said in a statement. During the drills, the crews of Su-25 close-support aircraft will hunt for a notional enemy’s camouflaged bases, deliver missile and bomb strikes against targets and practice the elements of dodging the fire by the enemy’s man-portable air defense systems, the statement says. The Russian assault aircraft will also provide fire support for motor rifle and armored units in the course of eliminating outlawed armed gangs on mountain and desert terrain, the press office specified. The Russian military contingent in the drills will mostly comprise units of Russia’s 201st military base stationed in Tajikistan. The Russian troops in the drills will include over 1,000 personnel and about 200 items of armament and military hardware. The troops will practice repelling intrusions by armed gangs and eliminating radical terrorist groups, the press office of Russia’s Central Military District reported.

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Analysis

Russia/Georgia/Defense – Kremlin raises red flag about ‘any covert steps against Russia’ during drills in Georgia (TASS)

TASS writes: NATO is not hiding who is the alliance’s key adversary and it’s important that the scenario of the Agile Spirit 2021 drills that kicked off in Georgia involving 12 member-states and three partner nations does not imply any hidden agenda against Russia, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday. “Obviously, as far as we are concerned, it is essential that the scenarios of such drills do not imply any covert steps against our country. Still, the scenarios of the drills are drawn up in NATO and the alliance is not hiding who the key foe is for them,” Peskov said, commenting on Azerbaijan’s participation in these exercises. Azerbaijan is a sovereign country and Russia appreciates its partner ties with Baku, Peskov stressed. “Azerbaijan is a sovereign state. We value our ties with Azerbaijan. These are partnership relations and there is a shared political will to further cultivate these relations,” the Kremlin spokesman pointed out. NATO’s Agile Spirit 2021 drills kicked off on July 26. The alliance’s drills involve over 2,500 troops from Azerbaijan, Great Britain, Germany, Georgia, Spain, Italy, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, the United States, Turkey, Ukraine and Estonia. More than 1,500 troops are from Georgia and another 700 personnel are from the US.

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Analysis

Russia/China/Defense – Russian, Chinese troops to hold joint drills in China’s north in August (TASS)

TASS writes: The Russian and Chinese troops will hold joint drills in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northern China in the first half of August, Spokesman for China’s Defense Ministry Wu Qian announced on Thursday. “Based on the consensus reached between China and Russia, the Russian Armed Forces will take part in the drills West/Interaction-2021 that will run in China at the beginning and in the middle of August,” the spokesman said. The drills will run on the premises of the army training base in the town of Qingtongxia, the spokesman specified. Russia and China will set up a joint command center. Both sides will send over 10,000 troops to participate in the joint maneuvers that will also involve aircraft and artillery, he said. The drills aim to strengthen and develop a comprehensive strategic partnership between Russia and China, maintain regional peace and stability and demonstrate the resolve to fight terrorism, the Chinese Defense Ministry’s spokesman stressed.

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Analysis

Russia/Defense – Russian Defense Ministry signs contract on first 10 S-500 air defense systems — source (TASS)

TASS writes: Russian Ministry of Defense signed a contract with Almaz-Antey on shipment of the first batch of the S-500 Prometey air defense systems, a source in the military-industrial complex told TASS. “The Russian Ministry of Defense signed a contract with VKO Almaz-Antey on shipment of over 10 Prometey systems to the Aerospace forces. Serial shipments will begin in the first half of 2022,” the source said. The source also disclosed that “state trials of the S-500 currently proceed at a proving ground in southern Russia.” The trials are expected to wrap up in late 2021. According to the source, the current variant is ground-based. “If necessary, it can become a naval one,” he added.

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Analysis

Russia/Google – Moscow court fines Google over $40,000 for refusing to localize users’ data in Russia (TASS)

TASS writes: The Magistrates’ Court in Moscow has fined Google 3 mln rubles ($40,975) for refusing to localize its users’ data in Russia, a representative of the court’s press service told TASS.

go to TASS: Moscow court fines Google over $40,000 for refusing to localize users’ data in Russia – Business & Economy – TASS

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Analysis

Russia/Afghanistan – Russia’s regional clout to strengthen further amid post Afghan exit turmoil, says envoy (TASS)

TASS writes: Moscow’s powerful regional clout amid the current situation in Afghanistan will expand even further following the pullout of US troops from that country, Special Russian Presidential Representative for Afghanistan and Director of the Second Asian Department at Russia’s Foreign Ministry Zamir Kabulov told an online briefing on Thursday.

go to TASS: Russia’s regional clout to strengthen further amid post Afghan exit turmoil, says envoy – World – TASS

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Analysis

Russia/Syria – Russian-Syrian intergovernmental commission to meet in August in Syria, Ambassador says (TASS)

TASS writes: A meeting of the Russian-Syrian Intergovernmental Commission on trade-economic and scientific, and technical cooperation is scheduled for August in Syria, the republic’s ambassador to Moscow Riad Haddad told TASS on the sidelines of the international economic summit Russia — Islamic World: KazanSummit 2021. “The Intergovernmental Commission will be held, most likely, in August in Syria. We’re now awaiting the exact date to hold the Intergovernmental Commission from the Russian side,” he said. At the end of June, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, who is a co-chair of the commission, told journalists that there are plans to sign an agreement between Russia and Syria to facilitate trade and economic relations at the next meeting. According to him, above all, the document will involve the interaction in the sphere of industry, energy, and the restoration of Syria’s infrastructure.

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Russia/USA/Afghanistan – Russian-US dialogue on Afghanistan developing positively, senior diplomat says (TASS)

TASS writes: Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov noted that Russian and US interests in the Afghan settlement generally coincided

go to TASS: Russian-US dialogue on Afghanistan developing positively, senior diplomat says – Russian Politics & Diplomacy – TASS

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Analysis

Iran/Saudi Arabia – Tehran, Riyadh gradually mending ties following meditation efforts (IRNA)

IRNA writes: Holding bilateral negotiations as well as announcements by Iranian officials are some of the signs showing that relations are getting improved between Tehran and Riyadh. The two sides cut their ties in 2016. The relations remained severed until last year when Donald Trump was defeated in US presidential election by Joe Biden. After Biden took over the White House in January this year, he made changes in US Mideast policies, including cutting the number of American military forces in West Asia. With these changes happening and progress being made in talks over the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Saudi officials changed course too. 

go to IRNA: Tehran, Riyadh gradually mending ties following meditation efforts – IRNA English

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Iran/Iraq – Iran exports to Iraq up 54% in 3 months (IRNA)

Head of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce, Jahanbakhsh Sanjabi addressing a meeting in Kermanshah on Thursday, said that the figures indicate that 95 percent of bilateral trade was exports from Iran to Iraq, which amounted to over 7.4 billion dollars in last Iranian year (March 21, 2020 to March 21, 2021).

Sanjabi noted that Iran imported commodities worth 131 million dollars in the same period.

According to the official, petrochemical products and oil materials with 2.7 billion dollars had the largest share of the Iranian exports to Iraq.

Industrial products with 1.75 billion dollars, agricultural and food industries with 1.74 billion dollars, and mineral materials with 1.2 billion dollars were exported to the neighboring country in the last Iranian year, he noted.

Iran plans to increase the volume of export to 20 billion dollars in the current and next Iranian calendar year, he said, adding that given the 40-64 billion dollars potential in Iraq’s market, Tehran hopes to attain the big share of export in the near future.

He further urged the Iranian authorities to pave the ground for exporting technical commodities and IT services to Iraq.

Referring to the fact that 47 percent of Iran’s export to Iraq is carried out through Kermanshah province, he said that the chamber of commerce is ready to negotiate with the Iraqi side to develop export of products being manufactured in Kermanshah and hold professional exhibitions.

He also welcomed setting up a joint industrial town in Ghasr-e Shirin city in Kermanshah province.

Kermanshah province located in western Iran, has two border points and five border markets in the joint borderline with Iraq. Around three billion dollars of goods are being exported from border points of Kermanshah per annum.

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USA – Is the US Economy Running Out of Slack? (Project-Syndicate)

WILLEM H. BUITER writes: Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on labor markets, there is a spirited debate over whether the US economy is close to returning to its full potential. If it is, the US Federal Reserve is at risk of falling behind the curve.

go to Project-Syndicate: Is the US Economy Running Out of Slack? by Willem H. Buiter – Project Syndicate (project-syndicate.org)

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Analysis

Inequality – How can we close inequality gaps in the global COVID-19 recovery? (WEF)

writes: The global economic recovery continues, but with a widening gap between advanced economies and many emerging market and developing economies. Our latest global growth forecast of 6 percent for 2021 is unchanged from the previous outlook, but the composition has changed.

go to WEF: COVID-19: how can we make the global recovery more equal? | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

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Analysis

Artificial Intelligence/TechInnovation – Is artificial intelligence ready for the great rehiring? (WEF)

writes: After a year that witnessed unemployment reach levels unseen since the Great Depression, the Great Rehiring is upon us – and AI is likely to play a significant role in it. Employers, especially those who need to hire rapidly and in large numbers, are turning to AI-driven technologies such as resume-screening programsautomated interviews, and mobile hiring apps to rebuild their workforces. To the millions of employees who were displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic, these technologies can mean a fast track back into the workplace. And to the businesses whose doors were shuttered by the pandemic, these technologies are an efficient path back to profitability.

go to WEF: Is artificial intelligence ready for the great rehiring? | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

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Global Health – How can the world end viral hepatitis by 2030? 5 experts explain (WEF)

writes: More than 1.1 million people die from hepatitis B and C every year. An estimated 296 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis B, but only 2% of those are receiving treatment. For hepatitis C, which is curable, only 21% of the 58 million people worldwide who are affected by the disease are diagnosed, and fewer than two-thirds of those are on treatment.

go to WEF: How can we end viral hepatitis by 2030? 5 experts explain | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

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Analysis

TechInnovation – European Investment Fund puts $30M in Fabric Ventures’ new $120M digital assets fund (TechCrunch)

Mike Butcher writes: Despite their rich engineering talent, Blockchain entrepreneurs in the EU often struggle to find backing due to the dearth of large funds and investment expertise in the space. But a big move takes place at an EU level today, as the European Investment Fund makes a significant investment into a blockchain and digital assets venture fund.

go to TechCrunch: European Investment Fund puts $30M in Fabric Ventures’ new $120M digital assets fund | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Coralogix logs $55M for its new take on production analytics, now valued at $300-$400M (TechCrunch)

Ingrid Lunden writes: Data may be the new oil, but it’s only valuable if you make good use of it. Today, a startup that has built a new kind of production analytics platform for developers, security engineers and data scientists to track and better understand how data is moving around their networks is announcing a round of funding that underscores the demand for their technology. Coralogix, which provides stateful streaming services to engineering teams, has picked up $55 million in a Series C round of funding.

go to TechCrunch: Coralogix logs $55M for its new take on production analytics, now valued at $300-$400M | TechCrunch

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TechInnovation – Connected car insurance startup Flock raises $17M Series A led by Chamath Palihapitiya (TechCrunch)

Mike Butcher writes: Cast your mind back to that scene in Minority Report where all those autonomous cars are whizzing through the city. The more practically-minded of you may well have gone: “Yeah, but what about the insurance…?”.

go to TechCrunch: Connected car insurance startup Flock raises $17M Series A led by Chamath Palihapitiya | TechCrunch

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TechInnovation – Japanese sneaker platform SODA raises $56.4M, accquires rival Monokabu (TechCrunch)

Catherine Shu writes: Just half a year after leading SODA’s Series B, SoftBank Ventures Asia is raising its bet on the Tokyo-based sneaker resell platform. The early-stage venture capital arm of SoftBank Group announced today it has returned to lead SODA’s Series C, which currently totals $56.4 million.

go to TechCrunch: Japanese sneaker platform SODA raises $56.4M, accquires rival Monokabu | TechCrunch

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TechInnovation – Zuckerberg is turning trillion-dollar Facebook into a ‘metaverse’ company, he tells investors (TechCrunch)

Lucas MatneyTaylor Hatmaker write: Following the quarterly release of Facebook’s earnings numbers where the company’s CFO takes time to walk analysts through the nitty gritty of the company’s financials, CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a moment to zoom out and wax on the company’s future goals, specifically calling out his ambitions to turn Facebook into “a metaverse company.”

go to TechCrunch: Zuckerberg is turning trillion-dollar Facebook into a ‘metaverse’ company, he tells investors | TechCrunch

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TechInnovation – INKR draws in $3.1M to make more comics accessible to worldwide audiences (TechCrunch)

Catherine Shu writes: INKR is a digital comics platform that crosses cultural and language divides, enabling creators to reach global audiences with its proprietary localization technology. Previously bootstrapped, the company announced today that it has raised $3.1 million in pre-Series A funding led by Monk’s Hill Ventures, with participation from manga distributor TokyoPop founder and chief executive Stu Levy.

go to TechCrunch: INKR draws in $3.1M to make more comics accessible to worldwide audiences | TechCrunch

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TechInnovation – Personalized menopause platform Vira Health raises £1.5M from LocalGlobe, MMC Ventures (TechCrunch)

Mike Butcher writes: A new trend is emerging in the world of startups and, to many, it couldn’t have come too soon. Why are there so few women in senior roles? Women going through menopause are commonly known to drop out of leadership roles, for instance. In the UK, menopause is responsible for about 14 million lost working days and 1 million premature career exits, according to research. Indeed, we only just reported on the new startup Peppy which is addressing this in employee health.

go to TechCrunch: Personalized menopause platform Vira Health raises £1.5M from LocalGlobe, MMC Ventures | TechCrunch

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TechInnovation – Spotify’s Clubhouse rival, Greenroom, tops 140K installs on iOS, 100K on Android (TechCrunch)

Sarah Perez writes: Spotify’s recently launched live audio app and Clubhouse rival, Spotify Greenroom, has a long road ahead of it if it wants to take on top social audio platforms like Clubhouse, Airtime, Spoon and others, not to mention those from top social networks, like Twitter and Facebook. To date, the new Greenroom app has only been downloaded a total of 141,000 times on iOS, according to data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower. This includes downloads from its earlier iteration, Locker Room — an app Spotify acquired to make its move into live audio.

go to TechCrunch: Spotify’s Clubhouse rival, Greenroom, tops 140K installs on iOS, 100K on Android | TechCrunch

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TechInnovation – Ford expects semiconductor rebound, new vehicle demand to increase 2021 profits (TechCrunch)

Rebecca Bellan writes: Despite semiconductor shortages peaking during the second quarter of 2021, Ford says it delivered better-than-expected operating results by leveraging strong demand for new vehicles, like its Bronco SUV, according to its most recent earnings report.

go to TechCrunch: Ford expects semiconductor rebound, new vehicle demand to increase 2021 profits | TechCrunch

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TechInnovation – Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup reservations surpass 120,000 (TechCrunch)

Rebecca Bellan writes: Ford and its F-150 pickup, the automaker’s best-selling vehicle, have consistently inspired brand loyalty from pickup truck owners. According to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Automotive Brand Loyalty Study, Ford has a 54.3% loyalty rate. Now as the automaker moves to electrify its fleet, it seems to be bringing in fresh buyers.

go to TechCrunch: Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup reservations surpass 120,000 | TechCrunch

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TechInnovation – Facebook warns of ‘headwinds’ to its ad business from regulators and Apple (TechCrunch)

Taylor Hatmaker writes: Facebook posted its second quarter earnings Wednesday, beating expectations with $29 billion in revenue. The world’s biggest social media company was expected to report $27.8 billion in revenue for the quarter, a 50% increase from the same period in 2020. Facebook reported earnings per share of $3.61, which also bested expectations. The company’s revenue was $18.6 billion in the same quarter of last year.

go to TechCrunch: Facebook warns of ‘headwinds’ to its ad business from regulators and Apple | TechCrunch

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TechInnovation – Ashirase, a Honda incubation, reveals advanced walking assistance system for visually impaired (TechCrunch)

Rebecca Bellan writes: Globally, 225 million people are estimated to suffer from moderate or severe visual impairments, and 49.1 million are blind, according to 2020 data from the Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science journal. A Japanese startup that was incubated at Honda Motor Company’s business creation program hopes to make navigating the world easier and safer for the visually impaired.

go to TechCunch: Ashirase, a Honda incubation, reveals advanced walking assistance system for visually impaired | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Egyptian ride-sharing company Swvl plans to go public in a $1.5B SPAC merger (TechCrunch)

Tage Kene-Okafor writes: Cairo and Dubai-based ride-sharing company Swvl plans to go public in a merger with special purpose acquisition company Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, Swvl said Tuesday. The deal will see Swvl valued at roughly $1.5 billion.

go to TechCunch: Egyptian ride-sharing company Swvl plans to go public in a $1.5B SPAC merger | TechCrunch

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TechInnovation – The Lilium electric jet will use batteries manufactured by Germany’s Customcells (TechCrunch)

Aria Alamalhodaei writes: Electric air taxi startup Lilium has tapped German manufacturer Customcells to supply batteries for its flagship seven-seater Lilium Jet.

go to TechCrunch: The Lilium electric jet will use batteries manufactured by Germany’s Customcells | TechCrunch

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Analysis

TechInnovation – Casey Teske Tackles Wildfire in the Field and the Office (Esri)

Ryan Lanclos writes: Casey Teske sees her mission statement as this: Understand fire. It’s that simple, and that complicated. For Teske, a fire management analyst for the US Fish and Wildlife Service Branch of Fire Management who has extensive experience in both fighting wildfires on the ground and understanding the science of its actions, that breadth of understanding is key. It’s the reason she’s often the bridge between those who fight a tactical wildfire battle in the field and those who analyze the behavior of the blaze in the office.

go to Esri: Casey Teske Tackles Wildfire in the Field and the Office (esri.com)

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Analysis

Japan/Defense – Japan signals more robust security posture in new defence white paper (The Strategist)

 and  write for The Strategist: Japan’s new defence white paper, Defense of Japan 2021, affirms Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s continuation of his predecessor Shinzo Abe’s proactive contribution to regional peace and security.

go to The Strategist: Japan signals more robust security posture in new defence white paper | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)

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Australia/Defense – An Australia DARPA would need to do development as well as research (The Strategist)

 and  write: In a recent ASPI report, Robert Clark and Peter Jennings argued for the establishment of an Australian version of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Conceptually, it’s a very good suggestion. However, we need to think deeper about how to take advantage of Australia’s pools of private capital, which are among the largest in the world due to compulsory superannuation. The problem isn’t just about overcoming current budget allocation issues in universities. We need to industrialise innovation and marry it to our strategic purposes.

go to The Strategist: An Australia DARPA would need to do development as well as research | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)

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Australia/Defense – Reforming Defence is about the mission and urgency—not lengthy corporate documents (The Strategist)

writes: Changing Defence only matters if you care about Australia’s security and understand what’s happening in the world. Organisational reform and cultural change in the Defence Department and the Australian Defence Force have a long, painful history. The most recent iterations are the ‘Pathway to Change’ reform program, the first principles review and the new transformation strategy. There’s the Brereton inquiry report and its broader consequences and resulting actions—both internally for Defence and the ADF, and at a whole-of-government level through the prime minister’s establishment of the Office of the Special Investigator to address the potential criminal matters the inquiry raised.

go to The Strategist: Reforming Defence is about the mission and urgency—not lengthy corporate documents | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)

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Water Disputes/Middle East – Water disputes will compound instability in the Middle East (The Strategist)

writes: The Middle East is one of the driest regions in the world. The scarcity of water has often been touted as a source of national and interstate disputes in the area. Some scholars have predicted for some time the possibility of deadly national altercations and regional clashes over the distribution of water resources in parts of the region. Although no full-blown war has erupted so far, two current episodes illustrate this point: public protests in the Iranian province of Khuzestan and the growing discord between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over water dispensation from the Nile River. With climate change causing more droughts, the potential for conflict over water cannot be underestimated.

go to The Strategist: Water disputes will compound instability in the Middle East  | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)

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Vietnam – Bad news for Vietnam’s Mekong Delta (The Interpreter)

MILTON OSBORNE writes: The release of recent research from the Netherlands adds an additional insight into what is happening in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, the country’s all-important food producing region that contributes some fifty per cent to its agricultural GDP. In a stark conclusion the research cites 2050 as the Tipping Point when the delta will no longer be able to cope with salt water intrusions, a phenomenon that is already causing the los of productive land.

go to The Interpreter: Bad news for Vietnam’s Mekong Delta | The Interpreter (lowyinstitute.org)

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Africa/Europe/Mozambique – Africa and Europe rally to contain Islamic insurgency in Mozambique (The Interpreter)

DAVID BREWSTER writes: In recent days, military advance teams from South Africa and Botswana began to deploy to northern Mozambique to support governments forces in their fight against a growing Islamist insurgency. They will join Rwandan combat troops and military training contingents from Europe and the United States. But there is little cause for optimism. There is a significant risk that current regional support for Mozambique will not achieve its objectives and that a larger international military coalition will be required to quell the fighting.

go to The Interpreter: Africa and Europe rally to contain Islamic insurgency in Mozambique | The Interpreter (lowyinstitute.org)

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China/USA – Far more world leaders visit China than America (The Interpreter)

NEIL THOMAS writes: In April, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga became the first foreign leader to meet US President Joe Biden at the White House. Suga’s trip marked the return of leader-level travel to Washington after the Covid-19 pandemic. Suga told reporters that his team was so excited to meet their American counterparts that “we ended up not even touching our hamburger steak.”

go to The Interpreter: Far more world leaders visit China than America | The Interpreter (lowyinstitute.org)

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Analysis

India/Cyber – India: A very colonial hangover (The Interpreter)

EDMOND ROY writes: In the 1830’s Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay set about drafting a piece of legislation that would outlive not just him but also the empire that gave him the license to do so. Indeed, it’s a cruel irony that Macaulay’s world view, long discredited in the former colony, has found an almost sacrosanct following within successive independent Indian governments.

go to The Interpreter: India: A very colonial hangover | The Interpreter (lowyinstitute.org)

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Europe/Lebanon – People before politicians: How Europeans can help rebuild Lebanon (ECFR)

Carmen Geha writes: The magnitude, nature, and timing of the August 2020 Beirut port explosion could not have been worse for Lebanon’s faltering economy, pandemic-plagued hospitals, and crushed revolution.

go to ECFR: People before politicians: How Europeans can help rebuild Lebanon – European Council on Foreign Relations (ecfr.eu)

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Indonesia – Indonesia must act on illegal gold mining or fall for fool’s gold (East Asia Forum)

Muhammad Beni Saputra writes: Indonesia’s illegal gold mining problems reveal deeper issues with local level corruption and economic inequality. In Sumatra, gold miners have complained about inconsistencies in the police’s tough security measures to eradicate mining. While there was a harsh crackdown on individual miners — with some ending up in jail — most oligarchs behind the lucrative business remain untouched.

go to East Asia Forum: Indonesia must act on illegal gold mining or fall for fool’s gold | East Asia Forum

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Techno Democracies/Semiconductors – Biden looks to techno-alliances to chip in on semiconductors (East Asia Forum)

Tian He writes for East Asia Forum: The Biden administration has proposed an ambitious plan to build an alliance of techno-democracies to counter the rapid rise of China as a technology superpower. This strategy is quietly taking shape in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, as US President Joe Biden sets out to rebuild the semiconductor sector in the United States.

go to East Asia Forum: Biden looks to techno-alliances to chip in on semiconductors | East Asia Forum

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Analysis

USA/TechInnovation – Now is the time for a federal cloud modernization moonshot (Brookings)

Bill Whyman writes for Brookings: Now is the time to launch a Federal Cloud Modernization “moonshot” to modernize all practical legacy civilian IT systems within a decade. COVID vividly demonstrated the importance of our IT systems to a resilient and robust economy. Yet from security breaches to delayed tax processing, the weaknesses of government IT systems are well known.

go to Brookings: Now is the time for a federal cloud modernization moonshot (brookings.edu)

 

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Analysis

Ethiopia – How the UN can solidify Ethiopia as an African success story (Brookings)

Abigael AjumaMichael E. O’Hanlon, and Adam Twardowski write for Brookings: The tragic conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray province continues as of this writing. About four hundred thousand are suffering acute hunger as a result, and ten times that number need aid — to say nothing of the lives being put at direct risk from the fighting as well. Essentially a power struggle between local Tigrayan leaders and the national government, the conflict shows few signs of rapid resolution. Devising a compromise outcome is difficult in such circumstances. Meanwhile, sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest country by population and most impressive recent economic success story (measured in terms of sustained growth rates) is now at serious risk, at a time when COVID-19 further compounds the dangers associated with large camps for displaced persons and weakened public health care systems that could result from warfare.

go to Brookings: How the UN can solidify Ethiopia as an African success story (brookings.edu)

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Cities – Slums, sprawl, and skyscrapers (Brookings)