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Open newsletter – April 28, 2022


  • TECH




  • April 27. By Christian Downie, The Interpreter. The Australian government’s announcement on 13 April that it will subsidise the country’s oil refineries to the tune of $250 million for projects that will not be completed until 2024 highlights the problems with Australia’s present approach to energy security. (read more)

Australia – Pacific

  • April 28. By , The Strategist. Australia’s Pacific security problem is simple: we’re not thinking big enough about our role and we have convinced ourselves that we’re incapable of moving quickly to counter China. (read more)
  • April 26. By Peter Layton, The Interpreter. Publicly, Australia’s Pacific Step-up aims to win friends and influence people. Behind this facade however, a core purpose is to make sure the Pacific Islands don’t embrace China, just as Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has done. (read more)


  • April 28. By Simon Tay, East Asia Forum. Anyone seeking to manage China’s regional economic integration must proceed with caution, but not without hope. Influencing Asia’s largest economy and political player is not going to be easy, especially given the growth and nature of China–US tensions. (read more)

China – Europe

  • April 28. By Matthew Fulco, Al Jazeera. China and Europe may not be in a cold war, but bilateral relations are increasingly chilly. China’s failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, considered an existential threat to European security, is the latest and gravest in a series of challenges by Beijing to the rules-based order on which the European Union professes to operate. (read more)

Egypt – Russia

  • April 28. By Al Monitor. In spite of the ongoing war in Ukraine and US and Western sanctions on Moscow, Russia sent a delegation to visit the Dabaa nuclear power plant in Egypt April 17. (read more)


  • April 28. By HRW. The European Union’s proposed batteries regulation should require importers and manufacturers to source the bauxite, copper, and iron used in batteries responsibly, a coalition of 16 organizations said today. The coalition includes Amnesty International, Earthworks, Finnwatch, Germanwatch, Human Rights Watch, Inclusive Development International, INKOTA, PowerShift, RAID, SOMO, and Transport & Environment, as well as human rights and environmental activists from producer countries. (read more)

Germany – Russia

  • April 28. By Al Jazeera. German power utility Uniper will pay for Russian gas via a transfer to a Russian bank and no longer to a Europe-based bank, according to a media report. “The plan is to make our payments in euros to an account in Russia,” the Rheinische Post newspaper reported on Thursday, quoting a Uniper spokesperson. (read more)


  • April 27. By I Gede Wahyu Wicaksana, East Asia Forum. The crisis in Ukraine should prompt Indonesia to reconsider the direction and strategy of its foreign policy. The war is not directly expanding to Indonesia’s immediate geopolitical environment, but it is impacting its strategic situation. China and the United States’ interest and influence in the Russia–Ukraine conflict are also shaping the future of the Indo-Pacific order. (read more)


  • April 28. By Al Jazeera. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has appointed Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, son of assassinated former Premier Benazir Bhutto, as foreign minister, giving his coalition ally a senior role in repairing frayed ties with the United States and other Western countries. On Wednesday, President Arif Alvi took the oath from the Oxford-educated Bhutto-Zardari, scion of the country’s leading political dynasty. (read more)


  • April 28. By , The Strategist, Project-Syndicate.  When the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue was first conceived as a strategic coalition of the Indo-Pacific’s four leading democracies, many doubted that it would amount to much. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi mocked it as a ‘headline-grabbing idea’ that would dissipate ‘like the sea foam in the Pacific or Indian Ocean’. But continued Chinese expansionism, combined with former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s determination to build broad resistance to it, has produced an increasingly consolidated group with real potential to bolster regional security. The question is whether it will deliver. (read more)

Russia – Ukraine

  • April 28. By Al Jazeera. Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, has called for accountability after touring devastated areas near Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, where Russia has been accused of committing war crimes. The visit on Thursday, Guterres’s first to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in late February, comes two days after he met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, where he stressed the need for so-called “humanitarian corridors”, particularly out of the besieged southeastern city of Mariupol. (read more)

Southeast Asia

  • April 28. By Meg Hocking, The Interpreter. The Philippines has made considerable strides in wage equality between men and women in recent years. So too in the areas of female participation in politics and female education attainment. The Philippines ranked 17 out of 156 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021. (read more)

Sri Lanka

  • April 28. By Kai Schultz, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg. Ahead of the November 2019 election, Sri Lankan presidential challenger Gotabaya Rajapaksa proposed sweeping tax cuts so reckless the incumbent government thought it must be a campaign gimmick. The finance minister at the time, Mangala Samaraweera, called a briefing to assail the “dangerous” pledge to reduce the value-added tax to 8% from 15% and scrap other levies. To him, it was simple math: Sri Lanka collected relatively less revenue than nearly any other country, and its high debt load had forced it to seek cash from the International Monetary Fund. (read more)


  • April 28. By  Late on an April weeknight, the mood in a basement office workshop in Taipei is surprisingly upbeat as participants take turns wrapping each other in homemade stretchers and learn how to pack a gunshot wound. The event, organised by non-governmental organisation Forward Alliance, is the first of a series of workshops designed to teach civilians the basics of trauma medicine and the skills to survive an emergency. (read more)

Timor – Leste

  • April 27. By Joao da Cruz Cardoso, The Interpreter. Following Timor-Leste’s presidential run-off election on 19 April, José Ramos-Horta has been confirmed as the country’s next president in a landslide victory over Francisco “Lú-Olo” Guterres. The outcome reveals a political scene still dominated by the old guard – the heroes of the independence struggle. The election campaign provided a glimpse of the rift between one-time friends in arms, while solidifying the alliance of the political parties that form the current government. Both José Maria Vasconcelos “Taur Matan Ruak” (president of Partido Libertação Popular, PLP) and José dos Santos Naimori Bukar (president of Partido Kmanek Haburas Unidade Nasional Timor Oan, KHUNTO) were campaigning for the incumbent Guterres. (read more)

Turkey – Iraq – Syria

  • April 28. By Fehim Tastekin, Al Monitor. Turkey’s fresh military operation against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, under way since April 18, has sparked debates in the Iraqi parliament over claims of a secret deal between the two countries, allowing Turkish troops to advance 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) inside Iraq. (read more)

Turkey – Saudi Arabia

  • April 28. By Al Jazeera. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia and meet the country’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), marking a turnaround in relations that had hit a low following the 2018 murder of a prominent Saudi critic at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. (read more)

Turkey – Syria

USA – Taiwan

  • April 28. By Al Jazeera. The US House of Representatives has unanimously passed legislation calling on the State Department to submit a plan to help Taiwan regain its observer status at the World Health Organization (WHO) in a rare show of bipartisan cooperation. The House passed the bill 425 to 0 on Wednesday, after it passed the Senate last August. It will now go to the White House where President Joe Biden is expected to sign the measure into law. (read more)

West Papua

  • April 28. By Eduard Lazarus, The Interpreter. On 12 April, the Indonesian parliament announced plans to establish three new provinces in West Papua. Currently, the western part of the island of New Guinea consists of two provinces: West Papua Province and Papua Province. The plan is to break down these two administrative regions into five, with the addition of the South Papua Province, Central Papua Province, and the Papua Central Highlands Province. (read more)


  • April 28. By
  • April 27. By Theresa Hitchens, Breaking Defense. Once the Pentagon’s top-priority program to speed the use of artificial intelligence across the military, Project Maven is now being transferred to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, according to senior Intelligence Community officials. (read more)
  • April 27. By Justin Katz, Breaking Defense. The Navy has changed its projected date for when it will resolve its ongoing strike fighter shortfall — again. (read more)
  • April 28. By Riad Kahwaji, Breaking Defense. A spike in seizures of arms and drugs in an already volatile region underlines the benefits of multinational maritime operations and the value of creating a new naval multinational task force dedicated to the security of the Red Sea waters, the head of United States Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) tells Breaking Defense. (read more)
  • April 28. By , The Strategist. In 2009, Australia’s government decided that it would replace eight Anzac-class frigates with nine ships optimised for antisubmarine warfare (ASW). There was no justification in the Royal Australian Navy capstone doctrine for acquiring and optimising a frigate for ASW, which it regarded as among the most difficult of naval operations to be conducted and most effectively performed using submarines and aircraft. General-purpose ships can contribute to ASW, but their primary tasks are air defence, anti-shipping and land attack, and command and control at sea. Soon, this can be expected to include serving as controlling nodes for unmanned vehicles of various types. (read more)


  • April 28. By Adam Lucente, Al Monitor. A major cryptocurrency hacking event is returning to Dubai next month. (read more)
  • April 28. By Saritha Rai, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg. He co-founded software powerhouse Infosys Ltd., became a billionaire and went on to spearhead a colossal government program to create biometric identification for India’s almost 1.4 billion people. Now 66, Nandan Nilekani has one more ambitious goal. The high-profile mogul is helping Prime Minister Narendra Modi build an open technology network that seeks to level the playing field for small merchants in the country’s fragmented but fast-growing $1 trillion retail market. (read more)
  • April 27. By Patrick Jones, Brookings. Over the past decade, the Indian government has assembled a sprawling biometric database designed to improve the delivery of social services to the country’s more than 1 billion citizens. The Aadhaar database is one of the world’s largest biometric identity programs and has been credited with making it easier for Indians to access subsidies and pension payments. Using fingerprints and iris scans, Aadhaar has made it possible for the government to verify the identity of the country’s residents with relative ease. Now, the Election Commission of India wants to link their voter registration database with Aadhaar, a move that would have profound consequences not only for the privacy of Indian citizens but for the future of biometric databases worldwide. (read more)