31 August 2019

India-US ‘Tailoring’ Predator UAV For Multi-Service Buy


MQ-9 Reaper drone flies from Creech AFB

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon and India’s Ministry of Defense are working together to “tailor” a standardized version of the Predator B Reaper attack drone for use by all three Indian armed services, with officials actively discussing how to finalize the long-planned sale.

Key to revising, and finalizing, export of the armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is the ongoing effort by the Indian Army and Air Force to define their requirements, and the parallel work by India’s MoD to ensure that the sophisticated drone systems can work with current service platforms and systems, says Ben Schwartz of the Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-India Business Council.

Pakistan-run Kashmir faces human rights crisis


The Gilgit-Baltistan territory, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, has continued to witness a covert crackdown by the authorities.

The region is a part of Kashmir that’s been administered by Pakistan since the first war with India in 1947. Its legal identity and constitutional status have been under dispute for all that time. The occupation took place without the consent of the people and, for over 70 years now, the area has lacked a proper constitutional status, a working legal system – and the political autonomy that Indian-administered Kashmir had until earlier this month.

Lacking proper legal rights and a democratic set-up, the territory has faced a number of human rights violations over the years. Currently, over a hundred activists have been charged with sedition for demanding greater self-rule in the disputed territory. Students, social workers and political activists have also been languishing in jails.

We Need to Take the Best Deal We Can Get in Afghanistan


The United States has spent years slowly losing the war in Afghanistan. We have recently been losing with about 14,000 troops, but we were slowly losing in 2010 with 100,000 troopsas well.

We are not losing because of tactics or troop numbers but because of a catastrophic failure to define realistic war goals. After a messy but basically successful counterterrorism effort, we expanded our objectives in ways that were bound to fail. We mortgaged our counterterrorism objectives to more maximalist aims, making our original ambition harder to secure.

U.S. security requirements and national interests cannot begin to justify the human, strategic and financial costs of a continued, large-scale U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. It is long past time to accept the risks and difficult compromises of a negotiated settlement; they only become more severe the longer we delay.

Jarrett Blanc is a senior fellow in the Geoeconomics and Strategy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Islamic State Men and Women Must be Treated the Same

Source Link

Is a convicted ISIS member any less dangerous because she is a woman? Regrettably, the US criminal justice system seems to think so. Islamic State women are less likely to be convicted than men. And when women are convicted, they receive more lenient sentences than men. 178 individuals have been charged in the United States on offenses related to the Islamic State. As of summer 2018, the average sentencing for convicted men was 13.8 years. By comparison, the average sentencing for women was only 5.8 years. But treating men and women ISIS members differently in court not only undermines judicial fairness, it also hinders counterterrorism and threatens security.

The widely publicized cases of Jennifer W. and Hoda Muthana highlight the reality that Islamic State women often play critical roles in the group. Jennifer W., a 27-year-old woman on trial in Germany, is accused of joining ISIS and committing war crimes, including as an accomplice to the murder of a five-year-old Yazidi girl she allegedly enslaved. And Hoda Muthana, now 24, seeks to return to the United States after leaving her college in Alabama to join ISIS where she ran a recruitment Twitter account for the group. These women’s involvement in the group highlight that Islamic State women are not always victims, nor are they necessarily tricked into joining the group.

Top challenger of Afghan president says ready to quit elections for peace

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s main challenger in a election next month has said he is ready to abandon his bid for power for the sake of peace, raising more questions about prospects for an election the Taliban have vowed to block.

The twice-delayed presidential election comes as the United States and the Taliban are trying to seal an agreement under which U.S. forces will withdraw in exchange for a Taliban security guarantee and a promise of power-sharing talks with Ghani’s government.

The Taliban have denounced the election as a sham and vowed to attack rallies. Ghani is insisting an election he looks set to win should go ahead.

Ghani’s main challenger, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, told a campaign rally on Wednesday he would drop out of the race if that could help secure peace.

“My team is ready to quit elections for the sake of peace,” Abdullah said, according to his office.

Afghanistan peace talks open way for China's Belt and Road


ISLAMABAD -- As the U.S. and Afghanistan's Taliban militants head toward a long-awaited peace deal, China and its Belt and Road Initiative are looming larger over the Central Asian country's future.

The U.S. and the Taliban "seem to be close to an agreement which, for the first time, could bring a cease-fire after 18 years," said a Western diplomat in Islamabad who spoke to the Nikkei Asian Review on condition of anonymity. But even before the peace talks picked up this year, China had been hosting Taliban representatives in Beijing since 2017, according to two senior Pakistani government officials who also did not wish to be identified.

"For China, the big interest in Afghanistan is getting a foothold" to be a part of the nation's "future economic prospects," one official said.

Afghanistan boasts mineral resources including lapis lazuli -- the coveted blue stone thought to have been used in a powdered form by some of the most famous European painters. Other deposits include gold, copper and chromite, which are still untapped due to recurring conflicts beginning with the 1979 invasion by the former Soviet Union.

Taliban hardliners turn to Isis over US peace deal

Hugh Tomlinson, Haroon Janjua
Source Link

The Taliban is showing signs of splitting, with thousands of fighters ready to defect to a resurgent Islamic State over peace talks that are being held with the United States.

American officials and the Taliban have resumed talks in Qatar to try to end the almost 18-year war, the longest in American history. Key details of a deal are still to be resolved, including the timing of a US withdrawal and a Taliban ceasefire.

While the insurgents appear confident — suggesting that President Trump’s eagerness to be rid of having to deal with Afghanistan means that an end to the foreign “occupation” is in sight — away from the talks the Taliban are in danger of splintering. Rifts have opened between the leadership and hardline military commanders…

As Taliban Talk Peace, ISIS Is Ready to Play the Spoiler in Afghanistan

By Mujib Mashal

KABUL, Afghanistan — Even as the United States and the Taliban seem close to a deal on an American troop withdrawal, the Islamic State in Afghanistan is making clear that it stands to inherit the role of violent spoiler if any peace agreement is reached.

That message was punctuated on Saturday by a suicide bomber who killed 63 wedding celebrants in Kabul, mostly from the country’s Shiite minority, in an attack that the Islamic State attributed to one of its loyalists from Pakistan. It was among the most devastating attacks in Afghanistan claimed by the Islamic State in the five years since it first established a beachhead in the eastern part of the country.

The bombing was a painful reminder of the immediate threat posed by the militants: that they can slip through tight security in the capital and cause the kind of carnage that devastates a vulnerable community, while cranking up pressure on a government already on the edge.

Asia's megacities must learn from Indonesia's capital move

James Crabtree
Source Link

It is often said that the battle against climate change will be won or lost in Asia. Yet this month has offered an unusually stark example of the unequal terms on which this battle will be fought, as Singapore and Indonesia outlined bold but contrasting plans to cope with rising seas.

On August 18, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong used martial language to justify a swathe of expensive new infrastructure projects to protect his island city-state.

At a cost of more than 100 billion Singapore dollars ($72 billion), over the next century Singapore plans to keep water at bay by building everything from giant new seawalls to Dutch-style "polders", or reclaimed land protected by dykes.

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo then confirmed on August 26 that he would shift Indonesia's capital from Jakarta, moving it to a new location in the state of East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.

Sri Lanka: Agreement Signed For Oil Exploration In Eastern Basin

The Sri Lankan government Tuesday inked an agreement with two energy companies from Norway and France to carry out a two-year oil and gas exploration exercise in the Eastern sea basin.

The tripartite agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka, France’s Total EP and Norway’s Equinor ASA for the exploration of oil and natural gas in the Ceylon Basin off the eastern coast was signed in Colombo.

Minister of Highways & Road Development and Petroleum Resources Development Kabir Hashim and officials of Total and Equinor signed the agreement at the Ministry.

The agreement will cover oil and gas exploration in two blocks identified as J5 and J6 in the eastern offshore region.

Speaking at the event Minister Hashim said Sri Lanka will be made an oil and natural gas producer by 2022. He said Sri Lanka has entered into a study agreement with Total and Equinor to explore two blocks JS-5 and JS-6, signed in 2016, for oil and natural gas.

History 2.0 (Version 2)

by Frank Li

The dramatic comeback of China over the past four decades not only has rocketed China's economy to the world's top (in terms of PPP - purchasing power parity), with no end in sight, but also is ending western domination over the past 200 years.

What does that mean to the world? Everything, from politics (End of Democracy?) to economics (Adam Smith vs. Karl Marx)!

To understand the profound implication of this change, we must truly understand the past, re-writing parts of the history as necessary, thus "History 2.0" ...

0. History

Data Leviathan: China’s Burgeoning Surveillance State

Kenneth Roth and Maya Wang
Source Link

Classical totalitarianism, in which the state controls all institutions and most aspects of public life, largely died with the Soviet Union, apart from a few holdouts such as North Korea. The Chinese Communist Party retained a state monopoly in the political realm but allowed a significant private economy to flourish. Yet today, in Xinjiang, a region in China’s northwest, a new totalitarianism is emerging—one built not on state ownership of enterprises or property but on the state’s intrusive collection and analysis of information about the people there. Xinjiang shows us what a surveillance state looks like under a government that brooks no dissent and seeks to preclude the ability to fight back. And it demonstrates the power of personal information as a tool of social control.

Xinjiang covers 16 percent of China’s landmass but includes only a tiny fraction of its population—22 million people, roughly 13 million of whom are Uighur and other Turkic Muslims, out of nearly 1.4 billion people in China. Hardly lax about security anywhere in the country, the Chinese government is especially preoccupied with it in Xinjiang, justifying the resulting repression as a fight against the “Three Evils” of “separatism, terrorism, and extremism.”

China’s Long March to Technological Supremacy

By Julian Baird Gewirtz 

Until recently, American perceptions of Chinese technology tended to be either hopeful or dismissive. On the hopeful side, the information revolution was taken as a sure drive of greater freedom. “Imagine if the Internet took hold in China,” George W. Bush said in a presidential debate in 1999. “Imagine how freedom would spread.” Some observers noted considerable theft and imitation of U.S. technology firms, but Chinese technology was generally thought to represent little or no competitive threat, with analysts explaining—as a 2014 Harvard Business Review headline put it—“why China can’t innovate.”

But China has quickly moved up the value chain, creating world-class industries in everything from 5G and artificial intelligence to biotechnology and quantum computing. Some experts now believe that China could unseat the United States as the world’s leading technological force. And many U.S. policymakers view that prospect as an existential threat to U.S. economic and military power. “Very dangerous,” President Donald Trump said recently when talking about the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei; National Security Adviser John Bolton has warned of a “Manchurian chip.”

China Studies the Contours of the Gray Zone

by Lyle J. Goldstein

There is good news out of Ukraine, for once. A fresh face, Volodymyr Zelensky, won the presidency back in April with a resounding victory. Ukrainian nationalists have been thrown back on their heels, and the Zelensky wave seems to have been confirmed in the parliamentary elections. The young president, short on experience but possessing impressive wit, now has the mandate to make difficult decisions that could pull Ukraine in a more stable, peaceful, and prosperous direction if these efforts are not derailed by the recent seizure of a Russian tanker.

A Chinese strategic assessment of contemporary Black Sea security offers us a glimpse of the impact Russia’s actions have had. There is a reasonably high degree of similarity between Russia’s position in the Black Sea and China’s situation in its own “near seas,” especially with regard to the South China Sea. Beijing has been watching with admiration and has been effectively “taking notes” on Russian actions in the delicate region since 2014–15 and even before that time. It is not simply that China could opt for a lightning Crimea-like annexation of Taiwan (although it might), but also that China has been observing so-called “gray-zone tactics,” or military actions with major political effects that are beneath the threshold of all-out war.

Russia and China’s Strategic Marriage of Convenience

by J. Berkshire Miller Benoit Hardy-Chartrand

Last month, there was a peculiar event occurring in the skies over the Sea of Japan. Military aircraft from Russia and China were conducting a joint air patrol and entered the respective Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZ) of Japan and South Korea. The patrol, which was the inaugural joint exercise of long-range nuclear-capable bombers for Moscow and Beijing, should raise significant eyebrows for the United States and its allies in the region. Magnifying concerns on the incident was the fact that the Russian planes twice intruded into the airspace of the disputed Takeshima-Dokdo islets, which are administered by South Korea but claimed by Japan.

In response, Seoul scrambled fighter jets and fired more than three hundred warning shots, according to Korean defense officials. This drew a sharp rebuke by Japan, which also dispatched its air force in response to the incursion. A Japanese official called the Korean maneuvers “totally unacceptable and extremely regrettable,” as they occurred over islands that Tokyo considers its sovereign territory. Given the number of aircraft involved and the repeated intrusions into the air defense zones, the incident was likely carefully designed by Russia and China to elicit a strong reaction from Tokyo and Seoul as well as to further undermine their already strained bilateral relationship, which has reached its lowest point in years over historical matters and a brewing dispute over new export control restrictions levied on South Korea.

Georgia Can Still Be a Hub for China, But Only If the Belt and Road Survives

By Revaz Topuria

More than three years ago in a previous article for The Diplomat I made the bold assertion that Georgia could become key to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). A lot has changed in that time. Since 2015 Georgia has had six different ministers of economy and may have a fourth prime minister coming soon. Meanwhile China rebranded the “One Belt One Road” into BRI and even rebooted the program recently. With all of this in mind, I thought to provide an overview of how things between the two countries have developed since my last piece, what has changed, and where Sino-Georgian relations as well as BRI in general are going.

Even back in 2015 there was a lot of skepticism, but for a period it looked as if Georgia could indeed play a vital role in the BRI and help China pursue its ambitious goals. The Chinese side asking the Georgian government to start negotiations on a free trade agreement between two countries was the first shocking event to prove that point. In 2016 I joined the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia as a chief specialist of trade negotiations and was able to witness some aspects of Georgia-China FTA negotiations firsthand. It should be noted that the Georgian side had made offers regarding a potential FTA in years before, but was met with refusal. However, this time China was more than keen to make it happen.

Turkey’s Presidential Regime Rests on Zero Rule of Law


In Turkey, the presidential regime sought by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is now firmly in place.

Hardly any area of public life is not in his hands. It would seem that Turkey’s one-man-rule system knows no limits despite its economic cost, dissent within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and international criticism. But to liberal Turks and to Western observers, such a trend looks utterly unsustainable. In a democracy, leaders and systems are not forever.

The April 2017 constitutional referendum, which gave way to Turkey’s current presidential system, and the June 2018 presidential and legislative elections were hard-fought and unconvincingly won by the president and his party, AKP.

Complaints from opposition parties of voting irregularities were promptly dismissed, and the government forged ahead with the March 2019 municipal elections—largely presented as a presidential referendum of sorts.

U.S. Cyberattack Hurt Iran’s Ability to Target Oil Tankers, Officials Say

By Julian E. Barnes

WASHINGTON — A secret cyberattack against Iran in June wiped out a critical database used by Iran’s paramilitary arm to plot attacks against oil tankers and degraded Tehran’s ability to covertly target shipping traffic in the Persian Gulf, at least temporarily, according to senior American officials.

Iran is still trying to recover information destroyed in the June 20 attack and restart some of the computer systems — including military communications networks — taken offline, the officials said.

Senior officials discussed the results of the strike in part to quell doubts within the Trump administration about whether the benefits of the operation outweighed the cost — lost intelligence and lost access to a critical network used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Iran’s paramilitary forces.

U.S. Carried Out Cyberattacks on Iran

By Julian E. Barnes and Thomas Gibbons-Neff

WASHINGTON — United States Cyber Command on Thursday conducted online attacks against an Iranian intelligence group that American officials believe helped plan the attacks against oil tankers in recent weeks, according to people briefed on the operation.

The intrusion occurred the same day President Trump called off a strike on Iranian targets like radar and missile batteries. But the online operation was allowed to go forward because it was intended to be below the threshold of armed conflict — using the same shadow tactics that Iran has deployed.

The online attacks, which had been planned for several weeks, were ultimately meant to be a direct response to both the tanker attacks this month and the downing of an American drone this week, according to the people briefed on the operations.

Emmanuel Macron's Iran Maneuver at the G7

by Curt Mills 
Source Link

French president Emmanuel Macron, only two years into office, has already enjoyed at least four different phases in his relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump. 

First, there was Macron the establishmentarian’s reaction to Trump’s ascension. In 2017, he thumped Marine Le Pen of the National Front to become France’s youngest leader since Napoleon; Le Pen had been tacitly supported by major White House allies, including the then-Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. Macron’s runaway victory was seen as vinegar on the acidic rise of populism internationally. 

Second, there was Macron the Trump toady. Macron surprised observers in forging a tight relationship with Trump’s Washington. With the British on their backs with Brexit, and Trump’s relationship with Germany’s Angela Merkel intractable, the cunning Macron smelled opportunity. The duo’s wives hit it off; Melania Trump decades her husband’s junior, with Brigette Macron, decades her husband’s senior. They were 2017’s odd couple. Macron was granted the first state visit to Washington of the Trump era.

Beyond the Hype: The EU and the AI Global “Arms Race”


We live in times of high-tech euphoria marked by instances of geopolitical doom-and-gloom. There seems to be no middle ground between the hype surrounding cutting-edge technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and their impact on security and defence, and anxieties over their potential destructive consequences. AI, arguably one of the most important and divisive inventions in human history, is now being glorified as the strategic enabler of the 21st century and next domain of military disruption and geopolitical competition. The race in technological innovation, justified by significant economic and security benefits, is widely recognised as likely to make early adopters the next global leaders.

Technological innovation and defence technologies have always occupied central positions in national defence strategies. This emphasis on techno-solutionism in military affairs is nothing new. Unsurprisingly, Artificial Intelligence is often discussed as a potentially disruptive weapon and likened to prior transformative technologies such as nuclear and cyber, placed in the context of national security. However, this definition is problematic and sets the AI’s parameters as being one-dimensional. In reality, Artificial Intelligence has broad and dual-use applications, more appropriately comparable to enabling technologies such as electricity, or the combustion engine.

20 Years of Vladimir Putin: How Russian Foreign Policy Has Changed

By Dmitry Trenin

Vladimir Putin has been in power for 20 years, but the time has not yet come to pass final judgment on his rule, including in the foreign policy sphere. The situation is dynamic, and the future, as always, unpredictable, but at the time of writing Putin has almost five years left of his current mandate — and it appears he will continue to be an influential political figure in Russia for a period beyond this term. 

Nonetheless, it is clear that the Putinist era is drawing to a close and an attempt to make sense of what has (and has not) been achieved over the last 20 years is not only useful, but necessary in view of the inevitable changes that await Russia in the future.

The results of Russia’s foreign policy during the Putin era can be evaluated on various grounds and criteria. Since 1999, as far as I can see, the president has pursued two main goals: To preserve the unity of Russia and to restore its status as a great power in the global arena. He has achieved this. 

Africa must use tech to chase corruption out of the shadows

Large-scale corruption is the elephant in the room in the ongoing conversation about Africa’s growth story. If countries on the African continent want to successfully attract the investment required for inclusive growth, governments and private sector players must take urgent action to tackle corruption. This is not to say that graft is not a serious problem elsewhere in the world, but lessons from the fastest-growing economies in the world show that the fight against corruption must be prioritized if investors are to have confidence that their money will be safe in a particular country.

Too much talk and too little action on corruption is one of the biggest barriers to investment on the African continent. Despite commitments from African leaders in declaring 2018 as the African Year of Anti-Corruption, this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) published by Transparency International presents a largely gloomy picture. Only eight of the 49 participating countries scored more than 43 out of 100 on the index. In short, corrupt activities continue to stifle economic growth and good governance across the continent.

While advanced digital technology is now available to forensic investigators to help them uncover and prosecute corruption across Africa, the fight is being hampered by a lack of supporting legal frameworks, a lack of law-enforcement capacity and skills and, in some cases, increasing administrative hurdles imposed by data-protection laws. However, there are a number of ways African governments can use forensic technology to root out fraudulent activity, improve governance and bring those guilty of corruption to book.

The Uneven Global Response to Climate Change

Recently published climate science ultimately underscores the same points: The impacts of climate change are advancing faster than experts had previously predicted, and they are increasingly irreversible. The latest blockbuster report, from a United Nations grouping of biodiversity experts in early May, found that 1 million species are now in danger of extinction unless dramatic changes are made to everything from fuel sources to agricultural production. Despite these warnings, however, scientists confirm that the world remains on pace to blow past the goal of restricting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, likely with catastrophic consequences.

Persistent climate skepticism from key global figures, motivated in part by national economic interests, is slowing diplomatic efforts to systematically address the drivers of climate change. In particular, U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement immediately undermined the pact but has also had long-term implications. Countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia, who were never eager to participate in the first place, now have cover to back away from their commitments.

The Positives Of Climate Change? Research Shows Agricultural, Economic Possibilities

Depending on your side of the aisle, climate change either elicits doomsday anxiety or unabashed skepticism.

Jason Hubbart, director of Institute of Water Security and Science at West Virginia University, takes a more centered approach.

He’s studied the undisputable changing patterns in West Virginia’s climate. And, believe it or not, there is at least one silver lining stemming from changing climate, he insists: The growing season is getting longer.

“Our future climates in West Virginia are likely to be more conducive to agricultural production,” said Hubbart, a professor of hydrology and water quality in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. “We should plan for that now.”

In research published in Regional Environmental Change, and the journals Water and Climate, Hubbart found that, between 1900 and 2016, maximum temperatures in West Virginia trended downward, average minimum temperatures ascended and annual precipitation increased. Specifically, precipitation increased about an inch each of the last few decades.

Learning From Kazakhstan: Making Nuclear Weapons Safer for the World

By Stephen Blank

Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM via AP

Russia’s recent nuclear disaster’s impact transcends its borders. The information about an alleged nuclear powered and nuclear-capable weapon’s test going awry in the White Sea in Russia’s North trickled slowly. Whether or not the weapon in question was the nuclear-powered cruise missile, Burevestnik (Storm Petrel), or a nuclear anti-ship missile like the Tsirkon (Zircon), this weapon was expressly invented to circumvent U.S. missile defenses and existing arms control treaties. 

Like the Novator missile that caused the demise of the INF treaty, the deadly weapons systems represent Russia’s belief that the U.S. is conspiring to attack it, and that Moscow’s existing nuclear weapons cannot adequately defend Russia. The result so far has been the shredding of the previously existing arms control regime and mounting threats to Russia’s people and environment. 

Neither is Moscow the only state shredding arms control. China is building more nuclear weapons than ever before, eschews participation in arms control talks, and avoids providing a verifiable basis for estimating its true nuclear capabilities. 

U.S. Natural Gas is the New, Global, Soft-Power Weapon

by Todd Royal

U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the power sector, and broader economy have declined 61 percent between 2006–2014; mainly from “switching from coal-to-gas-powered generation,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Second Installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review, January 2017. These environmentally sound numbers from higher use of natural gas can also be translated globally to help with pollution in countries such as China, India, and across the continent of Africa.

The United States now uses natural gas converted to liquid natural gas (LNG) from shale deposits in states such as Texas, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania to transform geopolitics. Lower LNG prices stymie terrorist-financing budgets in Tehran and lower the ability for Vladimir Putin’s Russia to weaponize their energy assets for geopolitical adventures in Ukraine, Crimea, Syria, Central Asian and the Middle East.

The US Must Prepare for a Cyber ‘Day After’


The government needs a continuity plan to ensure that critical data and technology remains available after a devastating network attack.

Stealing personal data is not the worst thing that can happen in cyberspace. For years, the U.S. government has warned that foreign nations have been hacking our critical infrastructure and inserting malware that could sabotage dams, pipelines, water supplies, or even transportation systems. Three years ago, an Iranian state-sponsored hacker was indicted for hacking a dam in New York State. 

In its 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence warned that China has the ability to cause “localized, temporarily disruptive effects” on corporate networks, while Russia “is mapping our critical infrastructure with the long-term goal of being able to cause substantial damage.” And recent news reports indicate that the U.S. has similarly embedded malware into the Russian power grid, pointing digital missiles back at Moscow. 

Google Is Tightening Its Grip on Your Website

Owen Williams
Source Link

Almost five years ago, Google debuted a splashy new project called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) that promised to speed up load times on websites accessed via phone. Fast-forward to today, and AMP has grown into something much more ambitious: Earlier this month, Google rolled out a new feature that allows AMP to use server-side rendering (SSR), boosting performance for sites that adopt the technology across their entire domain.

The overall AMP project launched with a focus on news publishers. They’re asked to create a second, lightweight version of their articles; these versions surface in Google Search and load relatively quickly on mobile devices. In return, Google raises the search-results ranking of pages that use AMP, providing an influx of free traffic. Google itself even hosts “approved” AMP pages for publishers accepted into Google News, circumventing publishers’ websites entirely unless users click through on a separate URL that appears at the top of a page. AMP adoption is also the only way to gain access to Google’s Discover feed, which features articles on the page that appears when you open a new tab in the Chrome browser, potentially driving hundreds of thousands of views if the algorithm chooses your content.

Infographic Of The Day: Who Are The Biggest Importing Countries?

Have you ever wondered how much your home country relies on imports to thrive? Check out today's infographic to find out which countries spend the most on imports.