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Cyber Security, Digital Transition, Technology Geopolitics & Worlds In-Defense In-Security Pensiero Strategico

Open newsletter – April 19, 2022 a.m.

TODAY:

  • AROUND THE WORLD
  • CYBER – DEFENSE – MILITARY – SECURITY – SPACE – TECH
  • HORIZONS

 

AROUND THE WORLD

Australia

  • April 18. By East Asia Forum. Australians head to the polls on 21 May to choose between the incumbent conservative Liberal-National coalition or the opposition Labor Party. The management of the economy will dominate their choices, as will the American presidential-style popularity contest between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese. (read more)

Brazil

  • April 18. By HRW. The Brazilian government should invite the new UN International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in Law Enforcement to conduct a fact-finding mission in Brazil, more than 100 international and Brazilian organizations said today in an open letter to Foreign Minister Carlos Alberto Franco França. The official invitation is necessary for the UN experts to be able to visit the country, where police abuse, disproportionately of Black people, is a chronic problem. (read more)

China

  • April 19. By Wen Sheng, Global Times. China’s economy grew 4.8 percent in the first three months of 2022, beating the expectations of most economists and market observers. However, if the government wants to realize the 5.5 percent GDP growth set at the beginning of the year, it needs to immediately gear up effort to drastically reduce the COVID19 infections in Shanghai, and reignite the engine of the country’s largest industrial hub. (read more)
  • April 19. By Global Times. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said on Tuesday that it will actively and orderly promote the resumption of production of key enterprises taking a joint “one enterprise, one policy” and “one industrial park, one policy” approach, while simplifying the approval process as well as making full use of big data. (read more)
  • April 19. By Global Times. Multiple Shanghai-based enterprises including top Chinese automaker SAIC Motor started to resume factory production following the guideline unveiled by local authorities on Saturday, aiming to push businesses back on track in tandem with strict epidemic prevention measures. (read more)
  • April 19. By Global Times. China’s top economic planner said Tuesday that it will make every effort to smooth logistics amid the COVID-19 control measures to meet the needs of both the consumer and industrial economy, meanwhile formulating and improving various response plans to tackle the changing environment. (read more)
  • April 19. By Global Times. Tesla’s Shanghai gigafactory is preparing to resume operations, according to several media reports on Monday. (read more)
  • April 19. By Global Times. Shanghai on Tuesday reported seven more COVID-19 patient deaths all involving elderly people who haven’t received COVID-19 vaccines, making the total number up to 10 amid this around of Omicron outbreak, according to the Shanghai health authorities. (read more)
  • April 19. By Ni Hao, Global Times. Experts said that population aging may lead China to count more deaths than births in 2022, 12 years earlier than the UN predicted. They suggested boosting commercial insurance to support the elderly given the current inadequate old age welfare system. (read more)
  • April 19. By Global Times. Various kinds of unmanned robots are being used in Shanghai to battle the latest round of the Omicron variant outbreak. Unmanned disinfection robots and delivery robots have helped to reduce human contact and cut the infection risks. (read more)

China – Guinea

  • April 18. By Global Times. Guinean authorities have been turning up the pressure on multinational mining companies to pay more royalties for bauxite and iron ore mining projects in the country, which could “hit China’s efforts to make inroads into the West African nation,” the South China Morning Post reported on Monday. (read more)

China – Israel

  • April 19. By Global Times. A source from the Israeli Foreign Ministry told the Global Times on Monday that it is Israel’s basic position to develop friendship and cooperation with China, while the country has wisdom to maintain its national interests. (read more)

China – Pakistan

  • April 19. By Global Times. As “Iron brothers,” China and Pakistan have remained in close and supportive friendship since they formally established diplomatic relations in 1951. On April 11, Pakistan’s parliament elected Shahbaz Sharif as the country’s new Prime Minister. The Chinese Foreign Ministry sent congratulations to Sharif on his election and stressed that China and Pakistan are “all-weather strategic cooperative partners” with a “rock-solid and unbreakable” relationship. Sharif praised Pakistan’s close relations with China and reaffirmed his resolve to elevate bilateral ties to a new level. In an exclusive interview with Global Times (GT) reporter Sun Haoran, Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque (Haque) said that, as an old friend of China, Prime Minister Sharif looks forward to strengthening cooperation with China. (read more)

China – USA – Australia – Pacific

  • April 19. By Shan Jie, Global Times. A regular security pact signed to meet the actual needs of both parties between China and the Solomon Islands has recently become a sore spot for the US and its allies Australia, and others who ardently continue to hype the narrative of China as a “potential threat” in the South Pacific region which they have long considered as their own “backyard.”. (read more)

India

  • April 18. By Arvind Subramanian and David Dollar, Brookings. Arvind Subramanian, senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute and Center for Contemporary South Asia, and former chief economic advisor to the Government of India, talks with host David Dollar about a range of trade and foreign relations issues India faces. In particular, he explains why globalization is shifting in India’s favor rather than China’s, how India views trade relations with China, Russia, and the West, and prospects for continued good relations with the United States, especially as India takes a more neutral stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine. (listen the podcast)

Morocco

  • April 19. By HRW. Moroccan authorities should drop charges against a social media commentator who risks up to four years in prison on a charge of disrespecting the king, Human Rights Watch said today. This case is the latest in a series of prosecutions against social media commentators criticizing the king. (read more)

RCEP

  • April 19. By Shiro Armstrong, Yose Rizal Damuri, East Asia Forum. East Asia’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) came into force in 2022 as the world’s largest free trade agreement. It was ratified in the face of major international trade and political uncertainties and is a significant boost to the global trading system. That’s just the start. Its greatest potential lies in its economic cooperation agenda that could transform RCEP beyond a negotiated agreement into a dynamic regional partnership. (read more)

Russia – Ukraine (impact, reactions, consequences)

  • April 19. By , The Strategist. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the newly reunited Germany became a champion and leading exponent of the emerging liberal international order. Germany saw itself, and presented itself to the world, as an economically open democracy with a welcoming culture and a commitment to human rights. While its economic might put it near the top of many international rankings of soft power, decades of underinvestment in the Bundeswehr meant that it punched far below its weight militarily. (read more)
  • April 18. By Vali Kaleji, The Jamestown Foundation. The Russo-Ukraine war, the extensive Western sanctions against Russia, and the growing possibility that European border states will block east-west transit corridors traversing Russian territory into Europe are having far-reaching implications for the landlocked countries of Central Asia, which have historically relied on road and rail corridors through Russia to reach markets there and beyond. Prior to the war, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Belarus had all hoped to be part of the “New Eurasian Land Bridge” linking Europe to East Asia. But those aims were derailed when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the full-scale re-invasion of Ukraine on February 24. This has created a severe headache for China, endangering as it does its Belt and Road Initiative’s (BRI) northern route, which crossed Russia and the Black Sea via Central Asia (South China Morning Post, March 12). (read more)
  • April 18. By Grigory Ioffe, The Jamestown Foundation. In a store at one of Minsk’s shopping malls that sells Russian-made t-shirts decorated with a “Z,” the symbol of the Russian military offensive against Ukraine, the shop owner admitted to a journalist that she wholeheartedly backed Russia’s President Vladimir Putin but “we support the Ukrainian people too” (Svaboda.org, April 13). The seemingly contradictory set of sentiments is far from unusual when it comes to Belarus: For quite some time, polls showed that about half of all Belarusians wanted integration with Russia and with the European Union at the same time (Deutsche Welle—Russian service, May 2012). (read more)
  • April 18. By Pavel K. Baev, The Jamestown Foundation. Triumphalist rhetoric coming out of Moscow notwithstanding, Russia’s war in Ukraine is not progressing according to plan (see EDM, April 11). Nevertheless, President Vladimir Putin repeated yet again last week (April 12) that the central objective of the massive re-invasion of Ukrainian territory starting on February 24 purportedly was always limited to seizing the whole of the Donbas region (Kommersant, April 12). (read more)
  • April 18. By Alicia Garcia-Herrero, East Asia Forum. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the unprecedented sanctions imposed against Russia by the United States, Europe and other countries are negatively impacting the global economy. The European economy is under particular strain due to its dependence on Russian energy and the huge flow of refugees it is absorbing. The direct impact on the Chinese economy is expected to be relatively muted though still negative, at least in the short run. (read more)
  • April 18. By Mason Clark, George Barros, Kateryna Stepanenko, and Karolina Hird, Institute for the Study of War. Russian forces began a new phase of large-scale offensive operations in eastern Ukraine on April 18 likely intended to capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Russian forces have been concentrating reinforcements—including both newly-deployed units and damaged units withdrawn from northeastern Ukraine—to the Donbas axis for several weeks. Russian forces conducted large-scale assaults focused on Rubizhne, Popasna, and Marinka with heavy artillery support on April 18 after previously conducting only localized attacks and shelling along the line of contact. Russian forces have not secured any major territorial gains as of publication. (read more)
  • April 18. By Caitlin M. Kenney, Defense One. U.S. troops will train Ukrainian counterparts to use the artillery pieces headed their way  against Russian forces gathering in Ukraine’s Donbas region, defense officials said Monday—just hours before Ukrainian officials reported intense shelling ahead of an expected new assault. (read more)
  • April 18. By Hlib Kanievskyi, Olena Tregub, Defense One. Ukraine needs better aerial defensive weapons, immediately. Europe is experiencing its bloodiest war since World War II. No illusions are left about the Kremlin’s barbaric intentions following Russia’s nonstop attacks since February 24, bombarding Kyiv, Kharkiv, Bucha, and Chernihiv, sieging Mariupol, and leaving it destroyed. (read more)

Taiwan

  • April 19. By Global Times. Responding to the Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority leaders who are using the Ukraine situation to beg for mercy from external forces and smear the Chinese mainland, the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council said on Monday that “no matter how secessionists collude with external forces to seek their ‘independence,’ it is hard to escape the iron law of history of disruption, failure, and eventually, destruction.”. (read more)
  • April 18. By Ryan Hass, Brookings. As images of Russian brutality against innocent Ukrainians shock the conscience of the world, there is a natural impulse to frame the struggle in Europe as part of a global contest between democracies and autocracies. Taiwan’s leaders would be wise to restrain those impulses. Drawing analogies between Ukraine today and Taiwan tomorrow risks generating more costs than benefits for Taiwan’s future. (read more)

USA

  • April 18. By HRW. The United States federal government’s cuts to public housing funding have jeopardized the living conditions of up to 2 million low-income people throughout the country, Human Rights Watch said today, releasing a video about the situation. The video features interviews with public housing residents in New York City and calls for Congress to dramatically increase funding for this critical resource to make repairs and ensure its upkeep. (read more)
  • April 18. By Tyler Mattiace, Tamara Taraciuk Broner, HRW. The Biden-Harris administration has announced that on May 23, it plans to end the Trump-era policy that has kept the southern U.S. border effectively closed to asylum seekers for more than two years. The policy, which misused a public health statute known as Title 42, has allowed immigration agents to expel asylum seekers 1.7 million times, without hearing their claims, often returning them to places where they face serious abuses. (read more)
  • April 18. By Nicol Turner Lee, Brookings. Even with the investments made to educate and train computer and data scientists in the United States, the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are widely under-represented by Black, Latino, and indigenous populations. Black undergraduates make up 13% of the student population, but only 9% graduate with degrees in science and engineering. Meanwhile, Black workers comprise 11% of all jobs but only 9% of STEM jobs. The AI Now Institute argued that major tech companies like Facebook and Google have low representation of people of color in their workforce, especially Black Americans, who comprise only 2.5% of Google’s workforce and 4% of both Facebook and Microsoft—all of which are major companies in the AI space. (read more)
  • April 18. By Blair Levin, Brookings. Conventional wisdom holds that last year’s bipartisan passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) reflects the tradition of both parties wanting to deliver better roads and bridges—with nothing new to tell us about making progress elsewhere in our polarized, partisan environment. If anything, infrastructure is the exception that (barely) proves the rule of the current difficulty in finding common ground to meet new challenges. (read more)

USA – India

  • April 18. By Richard M. Rossow, CSIS. This week, India’s minister of defense, Rajnath Singh, and minister of external affairs, S. Jaishankar, were in Washington, D.C., for meetings with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. This was the first meeting under the 2+2 ministerial format since the start of the Biden administration, and it was held under the shadow of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The two sides adopted the 2+2 format for their primary annual ministerial meeting in 2018. The governments’ statement released at the conclusion of the ministerial dialogue can be found here. (read more)

Yemen

  • April 18. By Omer Karasapan, Brookings. On April 1, 2022, the warring parties in Yemen agreed to a U.N. brokered two-month truce. By April 7, under Saudi and UAE tutelage, Yemeni President Hadi had transferred power to a presidential council uniting forces opposed to the Iran-supported Houthi rebels with a view to facilitate negotiations between the two warring sides. The Saudi blockade on fuel imports was called off and Houthi-controlled Sanaa will be allowed limited commercial flights. The two Gulf countries also deposited $3 billion in the Central Bank of Yemen.  (read more)
  • April 18. By HRW. The Saudi and UAE-led coalition carried out three attacks in Yemen in late January 2022 in apparent violation of the laws of war that resulted in at least 80 apparently civilian deaths, including three children, and 156 injuries, including two children, Mwatana for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch said today. (read more)

CYBER – DEFENSE – MILITARY – SECURITY – SPACE – TECH

  • April 18. By Pierluigi Paganini, Security Affairs. Malware HunterTeam and Bleeping Computer reported the born of a new marketplace called Industrial Spy that sells stolen data and offers free stolen data to its members. MalwareHunterTeam researchers spotted malware samples [12] that drop the following wallpaper that promotes the site. (read more)
  • April 18. By Pierluigi Paganini, Security Affairs. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) added a VMware privilege escalation flaw (CVE-2022-22960) and a Google Chrome type confusion issue (CVE-2022-1364) to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog. (read more)
  • April 18. By s Pentagon officials gauge the defense industry’s ability to ramp up arms production in response to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, firms are still grappling with pandemic-related supply chain and workforce woes. Top defense executives are likely to face questions starting this week during quarterly earnings calls about how they’ll be able to overcome those issues. Experts say the answers are unclear. (read more)
  • April 18. By A satellite photo has revealed that China has built a new long-range, early-warning radar that can be used to detect ballistic missiles from thousands of miles away, likely giving it coverage of all of Japan. The image, taken on February 2022 by commercial satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies and published on Google Earth, show that a new Large Phased Array Radar, or LPAR, has been built at an existing mountaintop site in Yiyuan County, Shandong Province, some 70 miles southeast of the provincial capital Jinan. (read more)
  • April 18. By Many of the U.S. Army’s ammunition plants, arsenals and depots, mostly constructed in World War II, are time capsules of the era. The service has tried to update these wartime facilities, but there is much left to do to bring them into the 21st century. McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma is dotted with shrub-cloaked ammunition bunkers built around 1943 and resembling Hobbit-holes. Old covered bridges that extend from external break rooms to manufacturing facilities across roads loom overhead but are now closed because of the presence of asbestos. (read more)
  • April 18. By Raytheon Intelligence and Space installed the first global aircrew strategic network terminal for the U.S. Air Force earlier this year, locking in a significant upgrade to existing communications arrays. Put in at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, the system will bolster nuclear command, control and communications, the high-stakes means through which nuclear strikes are ordered, coordinated and delivered. (read more)

HORIZONS

  • April 19. By Wang Cong, Global Times. As central bankers and finance ministers from major economies are scheduled to attend a series of high-level meetings this week, including the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings as well as the International Monetary and Financial Committee, Development Committee and G20 meetings, to discuss the state of the global economy, one looming disaster cannot be ignored: debt crises in emerging economies. (read more)