8 September 2018

Regulate to Liberate Can Europe Save the Internet?

By Helen Dixon

Regulations to protect personal data don’t inspire much love. Companies frequently regard them as a nuisance, a needless expense, and a hindrance to innovation. Governments think the rules should apply to everyone but themselves. And ordinary people often act as if they don’t care whether their data is safeguarded at all. But such regulations matter now more than ever. The world is increasingly defined by technological asymmetries; a huge gulf has opened up, with big corporations and powerful governments on one side and ordinary individuals on the other. Even in wealthy democratic societies, individual autonomy is at risk now that even simple choices, such as what news stories to read or what music to listen to, are dictated by algorithms that operate deep within software and devices—so deep that users are usually unaware of the extent to which data processing shapes their decisions and opportunities. Today, technology “is being used to control what we see, what we can do, and, ultimately, what we say,” the cryptographer and privacy specialist Bruce Schneier has written. “It makes us less safe. It makes us less free.”

Japan's Auto Sector Is Poised to Weather a U.S. Tariff Storm

Washington may unveil tariffs on vehicles and automotive parts in the next few months that could have broad repercussions for Japan's massive automotive sector. The United States has long been pushing Japan to enter bilateral talks toward a trade agreement, while Japan has been pushing for the United States to reconsider the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The tariff threat may change Japan's opposition. However, Japan does have some insulation from the tariff pressure given that much of its manufacturing for the U.S. market takes place in the United States itself and Tokyo has had recent success breaking down barriers to the EU, Chinese and CPTPP markets.

Land redistribution in South Africa, Trump’s tweet, and US-Africa policy

Witney Schneidman and Landry Signé
Source Link

United States President Donald Trump’s incendiary August 22 tweet, contending that white farmers are being killed on a “large scale” in South Africa and that farms and other lands are being expropriated, has become part of his well-known toolkit for boosting appeal among his political base while sowing racial discord at home and abroad. Appropriately, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hit back at Trump within hours of the tweet, in a clear and forceful message in the Financial Times. The essence of Ramaphosa’s statement is that South Africa is a profoundly unequal society and the distribution of land is at the heart of that inequality, along with education, income, jobs, and skills. As president of South Africa, Ramaphosa has pledged to address this inequality resulting from land dispossession during the colonial and Apartheid eras. In light of the attention on South Africa’s land distribution issue, it is important to present the facts.

The Forgotten History of the Financial Crisis

By Adam Tooz

"September and October of 2008 was the worst financial crisis in global history, including the Great Depression.” Ben Bernanke, then the chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, made this remarkable claim in November 2009, just one year after the meltdown. Looking back today, a decade after the crisis, there is every reason to agree with Bernanke’s assessment: 2008 should serve as a warning of the scale and speed with which global financial crises can unfold in the twenty-first century. 

German Cabinet approves new cybersecurity agency

By: Sebastian Sprenger
Source Link

COLOGNE, Germany – Germany is one step closer to getting its own version of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, as officials here seek to bolster the country's cybersecurity posture. The Cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel this week approved the new organization, to be headed jointly by the Defense and Interior ministries. The outfit is slated to get a budget of €200 million ($230 million) between 2019 and 2022. The new “Agency for Innovation in Cybersecurity” will eventually have 100 employees. The German parliament, the Bundestag, will debate the proposal in the upcoming months. Once the funding is cleared, analysts will begin their work in earnest next year.

What Cyber-War Will Look Like

When prompted to think about the way hackers will shape the future of great power war, we are wont to imagine grand catastrophes: F-35s grounded by onboard computer failures, Aegis BMD systems failing to launch seconds before Chinese missiles arrive, looks of shock at Space Command as American surveillance satellites start careening towards the Earth--stuff like that. This is the sort of thing that fills the opening chapters of Peter Singer and August Cole's Ghost Fleet. [1] The catastrophes I always imagine, however, are a bit different than this. The hacking campaigns I envision would be low-key, localized, and fairly low-tech. A cyber-ops campaign does not need to disable key weapon systems to devastate the other side's war effort. It will be enough to increase the fear and friction enemy leaders face to tip the balance of victory and defeat. Singer and company are not wrong to draw inspiration from technological change; nor are they wrong to attempt to imagine operations with few historical precedents. But that isn't my style. When asked to ponder the shape of cyber-war, my impulse is to look first at the kind of thing hackers are doing today and ask how these tactics might be applied in a time of war.



The first text message showed up on Ahmed Mansoor’s phone at 9:38 on a sweltering August morning in 2016. “New secrets about torture of Emiratis in state prisons,” it read, somewhat cryptically, in Arabic. A hyperlink followed the words. Something about the number and the message, and a similar one he received the next day, seemed off to Mansoor, a well-known human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. He resisted the impulse to click on the links.

Next-gen RFID could improve how vehicles get to the battlefield

By: Adam Stone 

With incredible volumes of material on the move – think: arms and munitions, supplies, vehicles – the military quite simply needs a better way to track its stuff. “We hear a lot of concerns about getting in-transit visibility in the last tactical mile, from the supply point to the end user,” said Jim Alexander, product lead for automated movement and identification solutions in PEO EIS – Enterprise Information Systems. “We are working with our partners and with transportation command to gather up the requirements for the next generation of in-transit visibility for DoD.”

‘Threats are accelerating’ in computing speed and lethality: army chief

by Brendan Nicholson
Source Link

The Australian Army’s new chief calls it “accelerated warfare” — the rapidly changing nature and lethality of future combat and the need it brings to prepare troops and equipment to ensure the army’s sustained readiness for war. Adapting in time to the threats likely to emerge over the next 10 to 20 years is the biggest challenge the Australian Defence Force faces, Lieutenant General Rick Burr says. “The threats against us are accelerating in terms of the speed of cyber, the lethality of the weaponry, and the way in which information space is being exploited, and therefore we need to accelerate our response to these threats,’’ Burr says. “We can’t just continue along the way we’ve always done business.”

Space Is the Ultimate High Ground—That’s Why Militaries Fund Astrophysics

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang

Astrophysicists deduce nearly everything we know of the contents and behavior of the universe from the analysis of light. Most of the cosmic objects and events we observe materialized long ago, and so their attenuated light arrives here on Earth after delays that stretch up to 13 billion years. Most of the objects of our affection lie forever out of reach and are, at best, barely visible from Earth. They don’t grow in a laboratory, they release stupendous energy, and they’re immune to manipulation. So astrophysicists have learned to be lateral thinkers, to come up with indirect solutions, never forgetting that we’re the passive party in a singularly one-sided relationship.

7 September 2018


Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM(Retd)

A joint statement issued at the end of the bilateral dialogue declared.“They welcomed the signing of a Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) that will facilitate access to advanced defence systems and enable India to optimally utilise its existing US-origin platforms.”

I am reproducing the portion of COMCASA from my paper.

Sensitive Issues

Though no doubt that Indo – U.S relations have improved considerable since the cold war days, there are number of issues which need to be addressed to take the relationship forward. These are sensitive in nature and would required highest forms of diplomatic tight rope working, sagacity and maturity.

Trade. While the United States and India have made tremendous strides on defense cooperation and counterterrorism efforts, that progress has not translated into smooth and successful trade relations. India's exports to the US in 2016-17 stood at $42.21 billion, while imports were $22.3 billion. India has taken steps to increase imports from USA which helped narrow the gap by over $1 billion last year. India will be importing oil worth $2.5 billion from the US this year.

India On Quest For Undersea Dominance To Counter Chinese Navy’s Growing Presence – Analysis

By Abhijit Singh

As China and the US pursue development of unmanned underwater drones, the Indian navy is also adjusting its strategy to include autonomous vehicles in its armoury against China’s growing undersea footprint in the Indian Ocean Undersea warfare has come to the surface after the South China Morning Post reported on Beijing’s development of giant, smart, cheap unmanned submarines. The “sea bots”, operated by artificial intelligence, are intended to perform tasks as diverse as reconnaissance, mine placement and making self-destructive attacks. They are now undergoing testing at a facility in Guangdong province, and will be part of a network of manned and unmanned assets tracking rival submarines in the world’s oceans. China isn’t alone in its quest for undersea dominance. Last year, the United States commissioned its first-ever squadron of unmanned underwater vehicles, or drones, and contracted top defence firms to produce a new generation of such machines. It aims to enhance its combat potential, including in anti-submarine, mine clearance and even counter-underwater drone operations.

India, China face mounting pressure from US; Trump says stop buying oil from Iran or face sanctions

The world’s top oil buyers are discovering that U.S. sanctions on Iran will squeeze their trade flows whether they agree with America or not. It was only about three months ago that India’s foreign minister said that the country won’t adhere to unilateral restrictions and will continue buying Iranian crude. China also made similar comments and was said to have rejected an American request to cut imports. Japan and South Korea have held talks with the U.S. aimed at securing exemptions. Yet for all the pushback and negotiations, an emerging pattern shows U.S. sanctions are succeeding in throttling Iran’s sales to its customers even before the measures take effect in early November. While America initially wanted a complete halt in purchases, traders are now concerned that even a revised aim for only cuts would take out enough supply to create a market deficit — which other producers may struggle to fill.

China, India need to coordinate in face of US pressure

By Yu Jincui 

The two-plus-two dialogue between the US and India is scheduled for September 6 in New Delhi. Talking at an event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on the forthcoming meeting in late August, Randall G. Schriver, US assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, said "China and how to respond to it will be front and center" of the dialogue. Despite the two-plus-two dialogue being postponed unilaterally twice by the US citing "unavoidable reasons," the world has witnessed positive development in the US-India strategic partnership. Washington declared New Delhi a "major defense partner" in May, which puts India on a par with the closest allies and partners of the US. The same month the Pentagon renamed the Pacific Command the Indo-Pacific Command, signaling the growing importance of India to the US. 

Don’t Buy the Panic About the Rupee’s Fall


Since January, the Indian rupee has tumbled more than 9 percent, hitting a new all-time lowof about 70 to the dollar in mid-August. The fall has caused much hand-wringing in the media and in policy circles, where observers lament the currency’s status as Asia’s worst performing, charge Prime Minister Narendra Modi with economic mismanagement, and fret about India’s ability to pay its debts. Calls for the government to do something—anything—to stop the rupee’s slide abound. But should India’s central bank, which has responsibility for managing the exchange rate, reverse the fall? My short answer is: no.

The US-China Cold War Is Now Playing Out in Pakistan


On Sept. 1, days before U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, were due to arrive in Islamabad, a Pentagon spokesman announced that the department of defense intended to permanently cut $300 million from funds allocated to support Pakistan in the fight against America’s enemies in Afghanistan. So does this mean America and Pakistan are finally breaking up? The short answer is no. As much as both states are fed up with each other, they remain far too co-dependent to simply walk away. What we are seeing instead is a tough and protracted re-negotiation over the terms of the relationship. The question of Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan is not necessarily the hardest issue; there might even be convergence given the greater realism in Washington, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad.

Former U.S. ally turned implacable foe dies in Afghanistan, Taliban announces

By Sayed Salahuddin and William Branigin

KABUL — A top leader of an insurgent group affiliated with the Taliban, who was once an ally of the United States and later became one of its fiercest opponents in Afghanistan, has died, the Taliban announced Tuesday. The radical Islamist group said in a statement that Jalaluddin Haqqani, leader of one of the most effective militant networks in Afghanistan, “passed away after a long battle with illness.” It did not specify a time, place or cause of death. He reportedly was afflicted with Parkinson’s disease and had been paralyzed for a decade. Haqqani “was ill and bedridden for the past several years,” the statement said. He was believed to be in his late 70s. His sons long ago took over the day-to-day running of the group known as the Haqqani network, and at a time of increased Taliban attacks on the government, his death is expected to have little impact. 

Why China Is Wooing Eastern and Central Europe

by John Van Oudenaren

When Donald Trump entered office last year there was speculation that his “America First” foreign policy would corrode Transatlantic relations, and drive Europe and China towards closer cooperation. The 2017 Davos World Economic Forum, which occurred in the days leading up to Trump’s inauguration, was perhaps the high watermark of this sentiment. Xi Jinping, the first Chinese leader to address the annual gathering of global elites, delivered a keynote speech strongly defending free trade, economic globalization and an open international economic system (despite China’s own long record of quasi-mercantilist policies). European elites expressed hope that closer EU-China ties would prop up existing international institutions as they anticipated U.S. foreign policy taking a nationalistic turn. For example, in a January 2017 China Daily op-ed, Fraser Cameron, director of the EU-Asia Centre and a former European Union (EU) diplomat, argued that Europe and China should “make common cause to save the multilateral system from opposing forces in the US.”

Ecuador’s All-Seeing Eye Is Made in China


On his second and last day in Quito nearly two years ago, President Xi Jinping, the highest-ranked Chinese official to ever head to Ecuador, made a largely overlooked visit to a boxy government facility. Xi was driven up a small hill to the headquarters of one of Ecuador’s proudest public safety achievements: a national emergency response and video surveillance system built entirely by Chinese companies and financed by Chinese state loans. Inside the main building’s cavernous command center, a ticker atop a giant screen made up of dozens of monitors read “Welcome Mr. President Xi Jinping to ECU 911” in Spanish and Chinese.

Beijing's global 5G ambitions threaten to disrupt telecoms

Alex Capri

Beijing's central planners are aiming to use China's Belt and Road Initiative to dominate the next wave of wireless technology by becoming the global leader in the development of 5G networks. The 5G standard represents a quantum leap over today's wireless technology by providing lightning-fast connectivity and better bandwidth. It is the essential infrastructure for the internet of things, which will drive the next phase of the digital economy. Beijing is pouring billions of dollars into 5G, which is also part of the "Made in China 2025" technology master plan that has raised concerns about China's ambitions in U.S. President Donald Trump's administration.

France's Determined Struggle Against Salafi-Jihadism

Since 2015, terrorist attacks have killed 246 people in France, deepening political divides and undermining the country’s unity. France has undergone drastic reforms to reshuffle its judicial, security, and intelligence architecture to address the threat; it is now mobilizing the entire society to counter Salafi-jihadi radicalization. This brief examines how France escaped the trap of division, which sacrifices it accepted, and how such unique experience can prove useful to other Western countries. 

The Toll of Putin’s Wars


By intervening in Syria, annexing Crimea, and sustaining military presence in Eastern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to have overextended himself. With an annual growth rate of just 1.5%, Russia is now expending 5.3% of its GDP on its military budget, while losing another 3-4% to legal, civilian, and other costs. STOCKHOLM – Wars are expensive, as the Russian people are now learning. The Kremlin is pursuing military adventures in Eastern Ukraine and Syria, and though these conflicts are limited in scope, one wonders if the country can really afford them. As the word’s 11th largest economy, Russia can manage in the short term. But the long term is quite another matter. From 2008 to 2016, Russia increased its military expenditures from 3.3% of GDP – which roughly corresponds to the current US level – to 5.3%, according to the authoritative Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

American Political Economy, Disrupted


With the help of markets and the state, technological innovations such as electrification and the steam engine have periodically transformed the economic system from which they emerged. But never before has a technological revolution defined the entirety of economic, political, and social life – until now. History shows that the interactions between a mission-driven state, financial speculators, and the market economy – what I call the Three-Player Game – can marshal the funding needed to drive technological innovation beyond the frontier of visible economic value and commercial exploitation. Over time, the fruits of such innovation have transformed the market economy itself.

China has spent billions in Africa, but some critics at home question why


China has promoted its massive global infrastructure plan, the Belt and Road Initiative, with dancing children singing a propaganda pop song, an animated rap and TV bedtime storieswith tinkly background music on how “it helps everyone.” “We’ll share the goodness now, the Belt and Road is how,” the children sing in a 2017 video about President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy cornerstone. But lately the government’s big spending in Africa and elsewhere faces a growing domestic backlash, from leading academics to everyday Chinese on social media websites. “Why is China, a country with over 100 million people who are still living below the poverty line, playing at being the flashy big-spender?” wrote an influential Tsinghua University law professor, Xu Zhangrun, in a wide-ranging critique of Xi in July. “How can such wanton generosity be allowed?”

All of Africa is now competing for Chinese money. Except for one country.

By Rick Noack

As more than 40 African heads of state arrived at the China-Africa Cooperation summit Monday, one figure stood out: $60 billion. That's how much additional funding Chinese President Xi Jinping promised the continent as the two-day summit got underway. And all of Africa is competing for it — except for one country: Swaziland, an absolute monarchy that has in recent months renamed itself eSwatini. The tiny kingdom was absent from this week's Africa summit and appears to have no plans of attending anytime soon. It's the last African nation that still recognizes Taiwan as an independent country, much to the dismay of the Chinese leadership in Beijing, which considers Taiwan to be a wayward province. 

Conference Report: 2018 Vienna Conference on Strategy


A few new concepts have come to dominate the more recent Western discourses on security and defence, both in the academic and practitioners’ sectors; these concepts include ‘hybrid war’, ‘cyber war’, ‘narratives’ and ‘resilience’.[i] They are invoked to help us understand, explain and react to threats that Europe and the United States are currently facing. Hence, think tanks, academics, politicians and military institutions have invested a great deal of resources, and produced a vast amount of papers trying to better understand these threats. But for the sceptic, questions remain.

RESOLVE Network 2018 Global Forum Innovative Approaches to Understanding Violent Extremism

The threat of violent extremism is evolving. However, significant knowledge gaps continue to pose obstacles to those seeking to prevent and address it. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace and the RESOLVE Network for the Third Annual RESOLVE Network Global Forum on September 20 to explore new research angles and approaches for prevention and intervention of violent extremism in policy and practice.Members of a peace march walking to Wardak, Afghanistan, from Ghazni. (Jim Huylebroek/The New York Times) As the territorial hold by violent extremist organizations diminishes, new problems are emerging as these groups evolve and others seek to manipulate governance and security vacuums to spread their warped mission to new populations and locations. To effectively address dynamic global trends, policymakers and practitioners require a holistic understanding of the nature of violent extremism at both the global and local level.

Solving the United Kingdom’s productivity puzzle in a digital age

By Jacques Bughin, Jonathan Dimson, Vivian Hunt, Tera Allas, Mekala Krishnan, Jan Mischke, Louis Chambers, and Marc Canal

New research explains why the United Kingdom has been experiencing historically low productivity growth and what can be done to return to long-run averages. Declining labor-productivity growth characterized many advanced economies after a boom in the 1960s, but since the mid-2000s that decline has accelerated. Against that backdrop, the United Kingdom stands out as one of the worst productivity performers among its peers. Its absolute level of productivity has persistently ranked toward the bottom of a sample of advanced economies. Moreover, in the aftermath of the crisis, the United Kingdom, along with the United States, recorded one of the lowest productivity-growth rates and steepest declines in productivity growth, falling by 90 percent. Between 2010 and 2015, UK productivity growth flatlined at 0.2 percent a year, far below its long-term average of 2.4 percent from 1970 to 2007. 

Clash of Civilizations—or Clash Within Civilizations?


As parlous as the clash of civilizations might be, the implosion of our own is much more to be feared. The third in a series of three essays celebrating the 25th anniversary of the publication of Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations. Other contributors include Francis Fukuyama and Daniel E. BurnsSamuel Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations” caused a stir when Foreign Affairs published it in the summer of 1993. Grand theoretical views by eminent thinkers deserve to cause stirs, whether they are right in the main or not—for being wrong grandly can start ultimately useful conversations in ways that being right trivially cannot. But Huntington’s “Clash” caused a stir for a special reason: He flew against prevailing zeitgeist, which...

Tenth Anniversary Of Financial Collapse, Preparing For The Next Crash – OpEd

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

Ten years ago, there was panic in Washington, DC, New York City and financial centers around the world as the United States was in the midst of an economic collapse. The crash became the focus of the presidential campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain and was followed by protests that created a popular movement, which continues to this day. On the campaign trail, in March 2008, Obama blamed mismanagement of the economy on both Democrats and Republicans for rewarding financial manipulation rather than economic productivity. He called for funds to protect homeowners from foreclosure and to stabilize local governments and urged a 21st Century regulation of the financial system. John McCain opposed federal intervention, saying the country should not bail out banks or homeowners who knowingly took financial risks.

Japan's Auto Sector Is Poised to Weather a U.S. Tariff Storm

Washington may unveil tariffs on vehicles and automotive parts in the next few months that could have broad repercussions for Japan's massive automotive sector. The United States has long been pushing Japan to enter bilateral talks toward a trade agreement, while Japan has been pushing for the United States to reconsider the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The tariff threat may change Japan's opposition. However, Japan does have some insulation from the tariff pressure given that much of its manufacturing for the U.S. market takes place in the United States itself and Tokyo has had recent success breaking down barriers to the EU, Chinese and CPTPP markets.

Setting the Record Straight on Secular Stagnation


Echoing conservatives like John Taylor, the Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz recently suggested that the concept of secular stagnation was a fatalistic doctrine invented to provide an excuse for poor economic performance during the Obama years. This is simply not right. Joseph Stiglitz recently dismissed the relevance of secular stagnation to the American economy, and in the process attacked (without naming me) my work in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. I am not a disinterested observer, but this is not the first time that I find Stiglitz’s policy commentary as weak as his academic theoretical work is strong.

Russia Opens a New Front in Its War Against Ukraine: the Sea of Azov

Nolan Peterson 

After more than four years of constant combat, the artillery still thunders daily in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region along the 250-mile-long, entrenched front lines of Europe’s only ongoing land war. There, Ukraine’s military remains locked in combat against a combined force of pro-Russian separatists, foreign mercenaries, and Russian regulars. For years, the physical effects of the war have remained more or less geographically quarantined to the Donbas battlefield. This summer, however, Russian naval forces have stepped up their harassment of Ukrainian merchant vessels in the Sea of Azov, effectively blockading the body of water through which roughly 80 percent of Ukraine’s exports pass.

German far right fuels Muslim ‘takeover’ fears

That question is once again at the center of the country’s public discourse amid the violent protests that followed last week’s brutal killing of a German man, allegedly at the hands of two Muslim refugees, and the publication of a new book titled “Hostile Takeover, how Islam halts progress and threatens society.” On Saturday, about 11,000 people (8,000 right-wing and far-right protesters and about 3,000 anti-Nazis, according to police estimates) took to the streets of the eastern German city of Chemnitz, where the killing occurred. Eighteen people were injured, including a TV reporter who was thrown down a flight of stairs.

Why Technology Favors Tyranny

Favors Tyranny

I. The Growing Fear of Irrelevance

There is nothing inevitable about democracy. For all the success that democracies have had over the past century or more, they are blips in history. Monarchies, oligarchies, and other forms of authoritarian rule have been far more common modes of human governance. The emergence of liberal democracies is associated with ideals of liberty and equality that may seem self-evident and irreversible. But these ideals are far more fragile than we believe. Their success in the 20th century depended on unique technological conditions that may prove ephemeral.

Fighting Terrorism on the Dark Web: New Tech to Fight Advanced Enemy Tactics

By Kris Osborn Warrior 

Private security firms are working with US law enforcement and intelligence professionals to integrate downloadable software products able to access, investigate and ultimately thwart criminal and terrorist activity on the Dark Web. Described as exploited areas of the “deep web,” the part of the web not indexed by search engines, the “Dark Web” often affords bad actors an opportunity to engage in money laundering, human and drug trafficking, illegal business transactions and many other activities known to inhabit the dangerous nexus between transnational crime and terrorism. Emerging technology can now synthesize elements of various available products such as a free software called TOR -- a product designed to enable anonymous communication directing traffic through a network of more than 7,000 relays.

What Does Google Know About You: A Complete Guide

John Mason

Thanks to the data the tech giant collects in order to sell ads, Google has a wealth of information on you — from what you look like to where you live and where you’ve traveled. The corporation may even be able to guess your favorite food. Just how does Google know all of this? Jump to our infographic for a quick overview of everything Google knows about you, or check out our full guide by clicking on the icons below. Although “Google it” has officially entered the cultural lexicon, the mega-corporation is much more than a search engine. It’s through its apps, internet-related services, acquired companies and more that the technology company collects data on you. Below, we’ve broken down the most common app, product or service Google uses to track data, as well as an overview of the specific data collected.

Amazon becomes world's second company to be valued at $1tn

Rob Davies and Dominic Rushe

Amazon’s $1tn valuation marks the latest chapter in an astonishing story of growth for Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man. Amazon has become the second company to be valued by Wall Street at $1tn, a matter of weeks after Apple reached the milestone firstOn Tuesday, a rise in the share price of Amazon, which is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in the US, briefly took it above the trillion-dollar watermark for the first time. Crossing the $1tn threshold marks the latest chapter in an astonishing story of growth for the company, founded by businessman Jeff Bezos in Seattle in 1994. Less than 25 years later, Amazon has garnered a major presence in everything from retail, to groceries, to video streaming, helping it rack up revenues of $178bn (£139bn) last year.

Six Leadership Fallacies

L. Burton Brender

One of the hardest things a leader will ever have to do is accurately assess the performance and potential of his or her workers. Often, leaders have so much on their plate that really observing their people is a challenge, and it doesn’t help that there are false signals out there that can fool even the wisest of supervisors. These fallacies can make people who are less competent, and less scrupulous, appear better than they are. To be on guard against them, leaders must constantly assess themselves when meting out rewards, promotions, and punishment. Falling for a leadership fallacy can see the wrong person advanced and drive the right people away.

Air Force Secretary: The Law of War and the Power of Computing

by Heather Wilson

On July 20, 1969, a Purdue graduate from Wapakoneta, Ohio, stepped onto the surface of the moon. I watched it on a black-and-white Zenith television sitting on the floor in the den of our New England farmhouse with my two brothers. That den was not a big room, and the television was wedged between the fireplace and the family bookshelf. In the next room, under windows that looked out on a hedge of lilacs, was a stereo—a solid wooden cabinet the size of a dining-room sideboard. On its turntable we set a fragile arm with its embedded needle into grooves on black vinyl disks and listened to Broadway show tunes. On the wall in the kitchen in the next room was an avocado green telephone with a rotary dial and an extra long cord so that my mother could talk on the phone while doing dishes.

A 12 Step Program To Fix Army Generalship


I question whether the Army even values strategic thinkers. I did not participate in the whiteboard exercise because I was not aware of it, but if had, I would give the US Army a “D-”. The military leadership we need is one that can deal with the strategic issues of the First World and the asymmetric challenges of the Third World. Our future success in large wars and in small wars will be dependent on leadership and their ability to think strategically, adjust and change the institution, improve interoperability among services and Special Operations, and discontinue petty differences for the greater good. The second reading I did that influences this paper is the article informing us that Congress is poised to pass the most sweeping reforms to the military’s officer promotion system in almost four decades. The bill aims to make military promotion boards place more emphasis on merit and job performance which is needed, but the recommended changes will not change education, develop senior leader strategic thinkers, improve talent management, improve senior leader selection, and address the mediocrity problem. There is change needed and it will have to be legislated because the services will not change without it.

6 September 2018

The impact of the river linking project

Mohit M Rao

India’s massive civil engineering project, the National River Linking Project (NRLP), will not only reduce inflow of the northern rivers, but also significantly reduce the sediments deposited by the rivers in deltas, a study shows. Fertile deltas will be under threat, with coastal erosion expected to threaten the land and livelihoods of local economies that support 160 million people. Four researchers from the University of Colorado sought to fill critical knowledge gaps in the understanding of the impact of the project: reduction in river discharge due to extensive canal works, and silt trapping in newer reservoirs and barrages. The study was published earlier this year in the journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.

India Pushes Back Against Tech ‘Colonization’ by Internet Giants

By Vindu Goel

NEW DELHI — In India, American companies dominate the internet. Facebook’s WhatsApp is the most popular app on phones. Virtually every smartphone runs on Google’s Android system. YouTube is the favorite video platform and Amazon is the No. 2 online retailer. For some Indian political leaders, it is as if their nation — which was ruled by Britain for a century until 1947 — is being conquered by colonial powers all over again.  And they are determined to stop it. “As a country, we have to all grow up and say that, you know, enough of this,” Vinit Goenka, a railways official who works on technology policy for India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party, said at a conference last week.

India will be number three in world military spending

brian wang 

The US defence budget is about three times as large as China’s. China’s military spending was three times more than India in 2017. China percentage of GDP spent on defence was less than India’s. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) database, estimated that China’s military expenditure was USD 228 billion in 2017 while India spent 64 billion. In 2017, India has spent 2.5% of its GDP in military, while China has spent 1.9% of the GDP in military. The government’s spending on military in India was 9.1% in 2017, China’s spending was 6.1%. India has been close to or below military spending of Russia and Saudi Arabia and is also passing Germany and the UK. With 7-8% GDP growth and with talk about increasing towards 3% of GDP spending on the military. India will clearly be able to sustain a world number three military spending level. Each year will see India get a wider margin of spending over the fourth and fifth place military spending countries.

Who are the Haqqanis, Afghanistan's most feared insurgents?

Kabul (AFP) - The Taliban announced Tuesday the death of Jalaluddin Haqqani, a former CIA asset whose eponymous militant group is now considered one of the most dangerous factions fighting Afghan and US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Haqqani network was founded by Jalaluddin, an Afghan mujahideen commander fighting the Soviet occupation in the 1980s with the help of the United States and Pakistan. Now a Taliban affiliate, it is blamed for some of the most shocking and brutal attacks across Afghanistan since the US invasion of 2001. Designated a terror group by Washington, targeting it is one of the top US priorities in the region. Long suspected of links to Pakistan's shadowy military establishment, the network was described by US Admiral Mike Mullen in 2011 as a "veritable arm" of Pakistani intelligence.

- Who are they? -

All hail the omnipotent

While in the last two weeks the PTI government has fallen prey to its own rhetoric and produced some humour, it is firmly in the saddle for two reasons. One, the opposition stands divided and the only thing it seems to agree on is that it won’t agree on anything soon. And two, the military is firmly in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s corner. The manner in which the GHQ received IK is how an elected PM ought to be received by generals who report to him. But we have seen nothing of the sort in recent history.

Pakistan’s military elite

Paul Staniland
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The Pakistan Army is a politically important organization, yet its opacity has hindered academic research. We use open sources to construct unique new data on the backgrounds, careers, and post-retirement activities of post-1971 corps commanders and directors-general of Inter-Services Intelligence. We provide evidence of bureaucratic predictability and professionalism while officers are in service. After retirement, we show little involvement in electoral politics but extensive involvement in military-linked corporations, state employment, and other positions of influence. This combination provides Pakistan’s military with an unusual blend of professional discipline internally and political power externally – even when not directly ruling.

The US-China Cold War is now playing out in Pakistan

By Johann Chacko

On Sept. 01, days before US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, were due to arrive in Islamabad, a Pentagon spokesman announced that the department of defense intended to permanently cut $300 million from funds allocated to support Pakistan in the fight against America’s enemies in Afghanistan. So does this mean America and Pakistan are finally breaking up? The short answer is no. As much as both states are fed up with each other, they remain far too co-dependent to simply walk away. What we are seeing instead is a tough and protracted re-negotiation over the terms of the relationship. The question of Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan is not necessarily the hardest issue; there might even be convergence given the greater realism in Washington, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad.

Why we shouldn’t sign Phase II of Pak-China FTA

Zafar Hasan Khan

PAKISTAN and China are set to sign the second phase of the Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA); ten rounds of talks have already concluded in Beijing and Islamabad. In the first phase, Pakistan gave concessions on 5,686 tariff lines to China; while China gave concessions on 6,418 tariff lines. Chinese exports to Pakistan grew from $4.2 billion to around $12bn, whereas Pakistan’s exports to the country only moved up marginally from $0.6bn to $1.6bn. Besides the terms of trade under the FTA, several other barriers to trade should be discussed, including sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade. These were not reviewed before the first phase of the agreement was signed.