26 March 2024

The Indian Giant Has Arrived


India’s recent economic success, solid momentum, and promising prospects are making the country ever more influential both regionally and internationally. But the experience of other countries – most notably China over the last three decades – suggests that such rapid influence and robust progress can be tricky to manage. After all, an action that makes sense domestically may conflict with what other countries expect from a systemically important economy. By the same token, actions that make sense internationally could complicate domestic economic progress.

Like China, India’s systemic importance has become apparent earlier in its growth and development process than was the case with other emerging economies, primarily because it boasts the world’s largest population (over 1.4 billion). Its growing presence is easy to detect. It is the world’s fifth-largest economy, and with an annual growth rate 5-6 percentage points above that of Germany and Japan, it could well move into third place in about four years.

Relative per capita incomes paint a different picture, however. India’s per capita GDP, at $2,389, is still far below the level of high-income economies, and remains considerably lower than that of China. In terms of overall economic size and income levels, India is roughly where China was in 2007, nearly a generation ago.

Adjusting for differential price levels – the so-called purchasing-power-parity adjustment – lower and lower-middle-income countries tend to move up in relative size. With the PPP adjustment, India is already in third place, at about half the size of the US economy.


Carbon dioxide emissions, another dimension of global impact, paint a similar picture. India ranks behind only China and the United States in terms of overall CO2 emissions. But this, again, is a function of its large population; its per capita emissions are still quite low, at 1.89 metric tons, well below the global average of 4.66 metric tons.

Poppies to Pig-Butchering: Inside the Golden Triangle’s Criminal Reboot


It all started with a Facebook ad. Rachel Yoong was bored and fed up at work when a job posting for a casino in the Myanmar capital Yangon popped up on her phone. The purported $4,500 monthly salary was seven times what the Malaysian earned as a real estate agent in Kuala Lumpur, so she eagerly applied. Before long, Yoong was invited to two separate interviews with suave, well-attired agents. By July 2022, she was booked on a flight to Yangon and upon arrival told to rest up in a hotel. On the third day a car arrived to take her to her new place of work.

“But when I got inside there were two big, tough guys with guns,” Yoong, 30, tells TIME. “That’s the moment I knew I was in trouble.”

Instead of a casino in the city, Yoong says she was driven over 18 hours through 700 miles of winding mountain roads to Myanmar’s lawless northern region of Kokang by the border with China. There, she was sequestered in what was effectively a 10-story concrete prison inside state capital Laukkai with about 200 other human trafficking victims from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and elsewhere across Asia. Sleeping eight to a cell, they were forced to conduct online scams for 17 hours each day, posing as attractive women using photos gleaned from social media to dupe predominantly American victims out of as much cash as possible. Those who didn’t meet their target of $1,000 every three days were subjected to beatings, electrocutions, and worse. “I saw three people die,” says Yoong. “One coworker jumped from the roof; two others were pushed.”

Yoong is one of hundreds of thousands of people across Southeast Asia and beyond who have been lured by fake job adverts into “pig-butchering” scam centers. (The term stems from fattening a hog for slaughter.) Whereas victims were originally drawn from Chinese-speaking communities in Malaysia, Thailand, or Singapore, today people are being trafficked to the region from as far afield as South America, East Africa, and Western Europe. Other than beatings, workers are subjected to sexual assault, rape, and having their organs forcibly harvested, according to Interpol. “What began as a regional crime threat has become a global human trafficking crisis,” said Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

China’s Public Wants to Make a Living, Not War

Tao Wang

“I am opposed to war, unless in self-defense.” This was the most-liked comment on Douyin—the Chinese counterpart to TikTok—in reaction to a speech delivered by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Jan. 9. In his address, Wang previewed China’s top diplomatic goals for 2024 and emphasized “the unwavering resolve of all 1.4 billion Chinese citizens to achieve reunification with Taiwan,” a statement made just days prior to the island’s general election.

The Indo-Pacific Strategy’s Fatal Blind Spot


STOCKHOLM – Is the dominance of “Indo-Pacific” thinking leading Western strategists astray?

Originating in Australian foreign-policy circles, the United States adopted this label in 2018, when the Hawaii-based US Pacific Command was officially renamed the Indo-Pacific Command. The status of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (“Quad”), comprising Australia, India, Japan, and the US, was duly elevated, and Europe, too, got on board, with a minor avalanche of policy documents bearing the same label.

In pushing the Indo-Pacific line, Western strategists usually emphasize the importance of bringing India into the fold. But the real objective – though it is seldom stated explicitly – is to contain China in the region.

Jordan: On the Edge?

Emily Milliken

Jordan, which has enjoyed deep relations with the United States for over seventy years and hosts nearly 3,000 American troops, is a vital partner in America’s presence in the Middle East. Having received over $20 billion of U.S. assistance since 1951, Amman has served as a valuable partner for American counterterrorism operations, particularly in Iraq and Syria, and a mediator between Israel and Palestine. In January 2023, Amman and Washington agreed to a $4.2 billion deal that would provide the Jordanian government with advanced Block 70 F-16 fighter jets as part of an expansion of a seven-year Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2022.

However, recent widespread protests across the country have brought Jordan’s status as a bastion of security and stability in the region into question.

Since the October 7 Hamas assault on Israel and the resulting Israeli invasion of Gaza, thousands of Jordanian protesters have taken to the streets to criticize the government’s policies toward Israel. This includes allowing the Israelis to use Jordanian territory as part of a land corridor for transporting goods amid insecurity due to the Houthi Red Sea attacks. In mid-February, Jordanian protesters chanted, “the land bridge is treason,” and even formed a human chain to block trucks carrying goods crossing the Jordan-Israel border. The development is unsurprising given that more than half of Jordan’s population is Palestinian, including two million registered Palestinian refugees. While many now hold Jordanian citizenship, an estimated eighteen percent of refugees live in thirteen official and unofficial refugee camps around the country.

Recognizing the powder keg it is sitting on, the Jordanian government has enacted a widespread crackdown that has included prohibiting demonstrations and gatherings in the Jordan Valley and along its borders, firing tear gas at demonstrators trying to storm the Israeli Embassy, closing roads and access to the United States and European Embassies, and arresting at least 1,000 people between October and November alone. The government has also leaned on its restrictive cybersecurity laws to arrest people for social media posts expressing pro-Palestinian sentiments that criticize Amman’s relationship with the Israeli government or incite public strikes and protests.

The Urgent Need to Deploy C-UAS Technology Domestically

Brian J. Cavanaugh

The United States confronts a critical imperative: safeguarding its borders, strategic defense installations, and domestic critical infrastructure against the escalating threat posed by illegal drone infiltrations. This month, General Gregory Guillot, Commander of NORAD, told congress that over 1,000 drone incursions into U.S. airspace occur from the southern border every month. As unmanned aerial vehicles proliferate, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD) find themselves engaged in a relentless battle for supremacy in the skies. What is urgently required is not merely heightened vigilance, but the swift operationalization of low or no collateral kinetic effectors capable of decisively neutralizing unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

UAS present a multifaceted threat to the security of U.S. borders, exploiting their nimbleness and versatility to bypass traditional defenses. Along the southern border, illegal drone incursions have become a favored tactic for smuggling people and contraband, including drugs and weapons, into the country. According to CBP, human smugglers are using small UAS to surveil agents on patrol, enabling them to evade ground detection. Some reports suggest the cartels are even conducting surveillance of agents themselves which presents a significant risk to law enforcement and their families. The ability of UAS to evade detection systems and navigate rugged terrain makes them formidable adversaries in the hands of criminal actors seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in border security.

At U.S. military installations, the proliferation of UAS poses a grave risk to national defense capabilities. A recent media report indicates Langley Air Force Base experienced waves UAS incursions throughout December 2023. Drones equipped with surveillance payloads can gather intelligence on military activities, infrastructure, and personnel movements, compromising operational security and potentially enabling hostile actors to plan and execute attacks with greater precision against U.S. military assets and personnel.

The menace of unmanned aerial systems extends beyond traditional security perimeters to encompass the nation's domestic critical infrastructure. Power plants, water treatment facilities, communication networks, transportation hubs, and even private industry trade secrets are all vulnerable to disruption or sabotage by drones operated by malicious actors. The potential for coordinated drone attacks to cripple essential services and infrastructure highlights the urgent need for robust countermeasures to detect, track, and neutralize rogue UAS threats before they can inflict catastrophic damage on the nation's economy, public safety, and national security.

New Gaza hospital raid shows Hamas is not a spent force

Yolande Knell and Rushdi Abualouf

Four months after Israeli troops first stormed Gaza's biggest hospital, al-Shifa, claiming it was a cover for a Hamas command and control centre, they have returned.

The Israeli military said it had "concrete intelligence" that Hamas operatives had regrouped there. Palestinians have told the BBC of their fears at being trapped in fierce battles.

While this week's raid again highlights a desperate humanitarian situation, it is also a strong reminder that Hamas is far from a spent force.

Some analysts suggest it shows the desperate need for a comprehensive strategy to deal with the Islamist armed group and a clear plan on the post-war governance of Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) now claim to have killed "over 140 terrorists" in ongoing fighting at al-Shifa and to have made some 600 arrests, including dozens of top Hamas commanders as well as some from Islamic Jihad. Two Israeli soldiers have also been killed.

Israeli reports suggest that in recent weeks the army found that senior Hamas figures had resumed operations at al-Shifa and that some even took their families to the hospital. The IDF says it uncovered arms caches and a large quantity of cash at the site.

Hamas has denied that its fighters were based there and claims that those killed were wounded patients and displaced people.

Palestinian witnesses have told the BBC that gunfire and Israeli air strikes have been endangering patients, medics and hundreds of people still sheltering in the grounds.

A local journalist has shared footage of smoke billowing from the complex.

In another unverified video, shared on social media, dozens of women can be seen hunkering down in a building with their children. One says: "They took our men to an unknown place and now they're asking women and children to leave. We don't know where we'll go".

The United States Has Less Leverage Over Israel Than You Think

Stephen M. Walt

The Biden administration has faced relentless criticism for its failure to halt Israel’s retaliatory campaign in Gaza. U.S. President Joe Biden and his aides are reportedly alarmed by the mounting death toll (now exceeding 30,000 people) and frustrated by Israel’s refusal to allow an adequate supply of humanitarian assistance to reach the hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinians who have been forced to flee their homes. Yet Biden has not halted the flow of U.S. arms, and the United States has vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for a cease-fire (a resolution the U.S. might approve is reportedly in the works). Unlike Canada, the United States has yet to reverse its decision to halt funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), even though accusations that the UNRWA staff in Gaza was filled with Hamas supporters now seem dubious.

Technology Alone Won’t Break the Stalemate in Ukraine

Gavin Wilde

With U.S. aid to Ukraine stalled in Congress by an entrenched Republican Party and the Ukrainian counteroffensive stalled by entrenched Russian forces, Kyiv’s Western backers are grasping for ways to bolster its war effort. Since trained personnel and artillery are in short supply, their attention has turned to drones and artificial intelligence. However, overestimating the role such technologies can play in armed conflict risks solidifying the very stalemate that Ukraine needs to break.

US urged Ukraine to halt strikes on Russian oil refineries

Christopher Miller and Ben Hall and Felicia Schwartz and Myles McCormick

The US has urged Ukraine to halt attacks on Russia’s energy infrastructure, warning that the drone strikes risk driving up global oil prices and provoking retaliation, according to three people familiar with the discussions. 

The repeated warnings from Washington were delivered to senior officials at Ukraine’s state security service, the SBU, and its military intelligence directorate, known as the GUR, the people told the Financial Times. 

Both intelligence units have steadily expanded their own drone programmes to strike Russian targets on land, sea and in the air since the start of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. 

One person said that the White House had grown increasingly frustrated by brazen Ukrainian drone attacks that have struck oil refineries, terminals, depots and storage facilities across western Russia, hurting its oil production capacity. 

Russia remains one of the world’s most important energy exporters despite western sanctions on its oil and gas sector. Oil prices have risen about 15 per cent this year, to $85 a barrel, pushing up fuel costs just as US President Joe Biden begins his campaign for re-election. 

Washington is also concerned that if Ukraine keeps hitting Russian facilities, including many that are hundreds of miles from the border, Russia could retaliate by lashing out at energy infrastructure relied on by the west. 

This includes the CPC pipeline carrying oil from Kazakhstan through Russia to the global market. Western companies including ExxonMobil and Chevron use the pipeline, which Moscow briefly shut in 2022. 

“We do not encourage or enable attacks inside of Russia,” an NSC spokesperson said. The CIA declined to comment. In Kyiv, a spokesperson for the SBU declined to comment. Officials at GUR and Zelenskyy’s office did not respond to requests for comment. 

Houthi Cruise Missile Hits Israel in Ominous First

Brendan Cole

Yemen's Houthis have claimed responsibility for a cruise missile launched from the Red Sea which landed near Eilat, in what marks the first time a projectile fired from the Iranian-backed group has struck Israel's territory.

The Iran-aligned militants have repeatedly launched drones and missiles at international commercial shipping in the region since November, in what they say is in solidarity with Palestinians against Israel's military assault in Gaza.

Previously, missiles and drones fired from Yemen had hit neighboring countries or were intercepted by air defenses.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Tuesday it had tracked a "suspicious aerial target" which it confirmed was a cruise missile, The Times of Israel reported. No damage or injuries were caused and Newsweek has contacted the IDF for comment.

In this handout photo provided by the Houthi media center, fighters participate in a military exercise on March 17, 2024, in Sana'a, Yemen. Houthis have claimed responsibility for a firing a missile that landed near.

The Houthis also targeted the Marshall Islands-flagged liquefied petroleum gas tanker MADO in the Red Sea with naval missiles, the group's military spokesperson Yahya Saree said.

Hamas Is Bleeding Support in Gaza

David Brennan

Militant group Hamas appears to have questionable support within the devastated Gaza Strip among the 2.3 million Palestinian civilians withering under Israel's excoriating offensive.

New poll results shared with Newsweek by the Institute for Social and Economic Progress (ISEP) think tank on Wednesday showed that fear, despair and anger are roiling Gazans, who have little hope that their immediate situation will improve.

The survey results included responses from 1,000 Palestinian adults—600 in the West Bank and 400 in Gaza—polled between March 3 and 10 in face-to-face interviews conducted on the street.

The West Bank sample included respondents from 62 random locations, including East Jerusalem. The Gaza survey was conducted at 39 random locations in the southern border town of Rafah, where most residents of the Strip have fled to escape the fighting between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian militants, chief among them Hamas fighters.

An Israeli tank is seen at a position along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on March 19, 2024. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel intends to retain full security control of Gaza.

Hamas' two most prominent leaders polled badly in the ISEP survey. Ismail Haniyeh, the group's top political leader who resides in Qatar, has support of around 22 percent among Gazans, 10.5 percent of whom express only "soft support." Around 78 percent of Gazans say they are opposed to Haniyeh.

Yahya Sinwar—the group's leader inside Gaza who has so far evaded Israeli forces—has the support of 23.5 percent, of whom 9.5 percent say their support is "soft." Almost 77 percent say they are in opposition to Sinwar.

The Creeping Politicization of the U.S. Military

Risa Brooks

When Senator Tommy Tuberville finally lifted his blanket hold on promotions for 440 senior military officers last December, many in the Pentagon breathed a sigh of relief. The Alabama Republican had blocked the promotions to protest a Biden administration policy granting paid leave and travel reimbursement for abortion services to military personnel based in states where the procedure is illegal. For nearly ten months, officers awaiting promotion were prevented from taking on new assignments, creating bottlenecks in the chain of command and disrupting the lives of service members and their families. 

The Case for Palestine

Raja Khalidi

Since the first weeks of the brutal war in the Gaza Strip, Washington has devoted an inordinate amount of attention to the idea that reforming the Palestinian Authority is an essential part of any postwar governance in the territory. The United States, as well as its Arab and European allies, want neither Hamas nor Israel in charge of administering Gaza once the war ends. The default candidate for that job is the PA, established by the Palestine Liberation Organization as its governing executive during the Oslo peace accords, a series of agreements in the 1990s meant to lead to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The PA continues to govern in part of the West Bank, having largely retreated from Gaza in 2006 in the wake of Palestinian political division. On March 14, PA President Mahmoud Abbas appointed a technocratic prime minister to form a new Palestinian government with the aim of reunifying the two regions politically, administratively, and economically—with the eventual goal of reconstructing the battered Gaza Strip. But the relevance of the PA today as a vessel for such profound change is dubious.

Faith in renewing the PA borders on the delusional. The PA has become increasingly ineffective since anything resembling an Israeli-Palestinian peace process collapsed a decade ago. The authority is widely distrusted by most Palestinians and seen as corrupt by foes and some friends alike. Its 88-year-old president has become autocratic, and support for him among Palestinians is lower than ever, according to recent polls. In the absence of a legislative assembly, Abbas has ruled by decree for 15 years. Well before the war, Abbas had been facing mounting pressure from Palestinians, Arab countries, and the Biden administration to relinquish some of his powers.

Those who argue that the PA must reform itself so that it can be entrusted with governing in Gaza are missing the point. Under Abbas—who was elected in 2005 for one term that was never legitimately renewed—successive prime ministers have tried every possible reform within their power, with little to show for it. The deeper trouble with the PA is not merely a matter of execution or personnel. The PA has far outlived its shelf life. Its days have long been numbered owing to its lack of legitimacy and its inherent weakness: the PA is a government without a sovereign state to govern. In its case, with great responsibility came little power. It was destined to be not an interim vehicle toward self-determination as planned but a guardian of an unsustainable status quo. It became a tool not of liberation but of subordination.

A Tiny Drone With A Directional Airburst Warhead Could Mow Down Enemy Infantry In A 60-Degree Arc

David Axe

They first began appearing in large numbers in the sky over Ukraine last fall: small, first-person-view drones packing grenades or shells with airburst fuzes.

Remotely detonated in mid-air and blasting tiny fragments over a wide area, the airburst drones pose an ever greater danger to unprotected infantry than do the usual explode-on-impact FPV drones. And those drones already were pretty dangerous.

Now it’s possible something even worse—for enemy infantry, that is—is becoming common in Russia’s 25-month wider war on Ukraine: remotely-detonated airburst drones with directional warheads. That is, warheads that concentrate their murderous fragments in a narrow cone.

Like a shotgun. Or like an airborne claymore mine. An American M18 claymore blasts 700 three-millimeter steel balls in a 60-degree arc, six feet high, out to 100 feet or farther. “Designed for use against massed infantry attacks,” is how the U.S. Army described the claymore.

Forbes contributor David Hambling extensively wrote about Ukraine’s ‘flying claymores.’

There’s no shortage of videos depicting drones—sometimes Russian, usually Ukrainian—blasting opposing forces with airburst or directional airburst charges. But one recent video might be the most tragically comic.

In the video, two Russian soldiers stroll across a shell-pocked landscape when a Ukrainian FPV buzzes toward them. The Russians swat at the drone, but to no effect. The drone’s operator, steering the machine from potentially miles away, circles the FPV around the Russians until its directional warhead is aimed at the hapless soldiers.

French watchdog fines Google 250M euros for AI IP infringement


Google has accepted a fine from the French government’s competition watchdog for a past breach of European Union intellectual property (IP) laws relating to its media publishers.

The French competition authority cited concerns about Google’s AI service, Gemini, previously known as Bard, alleging it was trained on content from local publishers and news agencies without the proper notification and clearance.

On its French-language blog, Google responded to the fine, claiming to be the “first and only platform” to have licensing agreements with 280 French press publishers, which amounts to “several tens of millions of euros per year.”

According to the Big Tech company, the fine from French authorities is a result of “the way” it conducted negotiations with the firms, along with demands for changing negotiation tactics.

Google accepted this demand and the fine to finally end a case that, in its own words, “has been open for too long.”

“We have compromised because it is time to turn the page and, as our many agreements with publishers prove, we want to focus on sustainable approaches in order to connect Internet users with quality content and work constructively with French publishers.”

Russia says it is pushing Ukrainian forces back, will create two new armies

Guy Faulconbridge

Russia said on Wednesday its soldiers were pushing Ukrainian forces back and that Moscow would bolster its military by adding two new armies and 30 new formations by the end of this year.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine in 2022, swiftly pulled back some of its forces in the east and south after over-extending but has been slowly advancing after a Ukrainian counteroffensive last year failed to make significant gains.

Russia controls a little under one fifth of Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to push further forward after Moscow took the small eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka last month.

"Groups of Russian troops continue to squeeze the enemy out of their positions," Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told senior generals. "The United States and its satellites are extremely concerned about the success of the Russian Armed Forces."

"The combined grouping of troops will continue to build on the successes achieved and increase the live fire impact on enemy targets."

Russia, which has recruited hundreds of thousands of contract soldiers, will create two new armies and 30 formations including 14 divisions and 16 brigades, Shoigu said.

Western spy chiefs say the war could be at a turning point as Kyiv needs more arms from its Western allies to avoid more battlefield setbacks. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday Ukraine's survival was in danger.

Warning About Drinking Water Issued Nationwide

Matthew Impelli

A warning about drinking water was issued nationwide this week over concerns about potential cyberattacks.

"Disabling cyberattacks are striking water and wastewater systems throughout the United States. These attacks have the potential to disrupt the critical lifeline of clean and safe drinking water, as well as impose significant costs on affected communities," Michael S. Regan, an administrator with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, said in a letter to governors nationwide.

"We are writing to describe the nature of these threats and request your partnership on important actions to secure water systems against the increasing risks from and consequences of these attacks," the letter added.

The letter noted that threat actors affiliated with the Iranian Government Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have executed several "malicious cyberattacks" against the U.S.'s infrastructure, such as drinking water systems.

"In these attacks, IRGC-affiliated cyber actors targeted and disabled a common type of operational technology used at water facilities where the facility had neglected to change a default manufacturer password," the letter said.

In November, CNN reported that federal authorities were investigating an Iranian cyberattack on a water utility facility in Pennsylvania.

"We are closely engaged with sector and interagency partners to understand this evolving situation and provide any necessary support or guidance," Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) senior official Eric Goldstein said in a statement to CNN.

Why America needs interoperable, ever-evolving cyber defense- Opinion

Lisa Donnan

The cyclical nature of technological evolution and defense has seen various booms and busts. Not too long ago, the rise of communication and technology integration marked a significant shift in defense. Now, we are witnessing the surge of cybersecurity in light of coordinated state-sponsored attacks that are affecting — and have the potential to affect — physical and digital domains. Even in the president’s budget requests for fiscal 2024 and fiscal 2025, the White House is seeking to increase cyber defense spending from $13.5 billion to $14.5 billion in addition to $12.7 billion for civilian activities in fiscal 2024.

Unlike commonly perceived notions, defense spending has been considerably reduced since the 1990s when examined as a percentage of gross domestic product. Nonetheless, it is imperative to consider the strategic importance of sectors drawing attention within these budget allocations, and we must treat cybersecurity in particular with a dedicated and evolving response.

This graphic shows U.S. defense spending as a percentage of gross domestic product.

In the grand scheme of the digital battlefield — and amid the emergence of a new type of warfare that blends the spatial and non-spatial worlds — the conversation around security is one fraught with urgency and complexity. The integration of cyber defense systems is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity that directly affects our national security, economy and privacy rights. We need a comprehensive solution — a first-of-its-kind cyber defense integrator.

The cyberwar in Ukraine is as crucial as the battle in the trenches

There is nothing to identify who is inside the office building in Kyiv, but the Russians do not need a nameplate to tell them. Windows on its higher floors are still smashed from a drone attack last summer on the nerve centre of Ukraine’s cyber-defence operations. Both sides are locked in combat to steal intelligence and sow panic by attacking telecommunications, critical infrastructure, military computers and whatever else they can hack into.

This war is being fought in the shadows, says a Ukrainian intelligence official. Last June, he says, “big strikes” shut down petrol stations and internet providers in Russia’s Belgorod and Rostov regions; but few outsiders noticed and the Russian authorities said nothing about it. Tim Karpinsky, head of the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance, a “hacktivist community”, says that many Ukrainians and Russians, including vast criminal networks, once worked together in it and cyber. When the two countries went to war, this meant the Ukrainians had “the skills, tools, knowledge and abilities to fight back effectively”. 

The U.N. Gets the World to Agree on AI Safety

Rishi Iyengar

The United Nations on Thursday adopted a U.S.-led resolution on artificial intelligence, marking what Washington says is a major step toward establishing a global baseline to regulate the rapidly developing technology.

Cyber Warfare: Understanding New Frontiers in Global Conflicts

Gerasim Hovhannisyan

In recent decades, the nature of warfare between nations has evolved substantially with the integration of offensive cyber tactics. In late 2023, Israel's cyber-defense chief, Yigal Unna, voiced concerns that Iran would escalate the intensity of its cyberattacks on Israeli infrastructure and government agencies. This exemplifies the new reality we live in, where cyber warfare has become a critical domain alongside land, air, and sea tactics in armed conflicts across the world.

The integration of offensive cyber operations alongside conventional military force represents a strategic shift toward what experts call "fifth generation" or "hybrid warfare." The goal is to undermine the adversary using the tools available to achieve political and military objectives. In addition to traditional personnel and weapons, modern hybrid warfare leverages things like weaponized propaganda, election interference, and strategic hacks on critical infrastructure.

Common Forms of Cyber Warfare

One major type of cyber threat targets critical infrastructure like power grids, water systems, transportation networks, financial systems, and government systems. Successfully breaching these can allow adversaries to monitor or control systems that keep societies functioning. For example, Iranian hackers briefly took control of a small dam in New York in 2013 after stealing usernames and passwords. Should control systems or operational networks become compromised, adversaries could shut down essential services or send them into dangerous states. For example, in 2021, Israel was allegedly responsible for a cyberattack on a primary nuclear facility in Iran, which led to a blackout and damage to the region's electricity grid.

Aside from critical infrastructure, security gaps in everyday technologies can be used for strategic advantage during war. For example, reports suggest that poorly configured security cameras in Israel and Palestine are vulnerable to attack from adversaries or supportive hacktivists with basic skills. Access risks range from invasion of privacy through recording private spaces to manipulating feeds for espionage or to incite panic. Adversaries can also introduce wiper malware to destroy or manipulate data and systems permanently.

Apple becomes the latest tech giant under siege

Zoe Kleinman

To understand how much the US government's new lawsuit strikes at the heart of the identity Apple has forged for itself, let's first consider the firm's fanbase.

Apple has a unique position as a tech brand.

I've sat through a lot of Apple events in my time, both virtually and in person, and one thing that always makes us journalists raise an eyebrow is the whooping and cheering from the audience every time a new feature, no matter how small or incremental, is announced.

When a new hardware product goes on sale, Apple employees form a guard of honour outside stores and applaud its first buyers - some of whom will have camped outside for hours in advance, and spent thousands of dollars (who else could get away with charging $3,500/£3,499, for a VR headset?).

People get tattoos of Apple's distinctive fruit logo.

"Apple is like a strange drug that you just can't quite get enough of," wrote Leander Kahney in his 2006 book The Cult of Mac.

It is this "strange drug" or "magical experience", as Apple put it in a statement on Thursday, which is now under fire.

So far, Apple's ethos is a wildly successful business model. As I write, the firm is worth $2.6 trillion.

Analysis firm CCS Insight estimates that 72% of smartphone handsets bought in North America alone in the last three months of 2023 were iPhones. Samsung took 25%, leaving just 3% for everybody else in the handset business.

One of Apple's big selling points is its focus on privacy and security. But the question is whether it achieves this by shutting out the competition.

Is Microsoft Building an Unassailable Lead in A.I.?

Andrew Ross Sorkin, Ravi Mattu, Bernhard Warner, Sarah Kessler, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni

Microsoft makes another bid for A.I. supremacy

The heavyweight fight to dominate artificial intelligence just entered a new round. Microsoft has poached an A.I. pioneer just as Apple and Google discuss forming a united front to make up lost ground.

The latest maneuvers add serious firepower to Microsoft’s bid to lead in artificial intelligence. But they could lead to more regulatory scrutiny into the company’s deal making in this high-stakes sector.

Microsoft hired a former Google executive to run its consumer A.I unit. Mustafa Suleyman co-founded DeepMind, a British start-up that was acquired by the search giant in 2014 and became the heart of its A.I. push. He left in 2022 and started Inflection AI with Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn co-founder, raising billions — including from Microsoft.

The tech giant also hired most of Inflection’s employees, including the chief scientist Karén Simonyan.

The hires are another big win for Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s C.E.O. When he took over in 2014, Microsoft was on the cusp of technological irrelevance. Nadella has rebooted it — one reason he’s been able to do the big A.I. deals.

Microsoft’s A.I. strategy is heavy on deal making. It has invested $13 billion in OpenAI and signed a partnership with the French start-up Mistral. Both start-ups are using Microsoft’s cloud computing platform to build their large language models. In exchange, the Windows maker is deploying their services in its own offerings.

Making Emerging Technologies Safe for Democracy


Dozens of countries around the world, from the United States to India, will hold or have already held elections in 2024. While this may seem like a banner year for democracy, these elections are taking place against a backdrop of global economic instability, geopolitical shifts, and intensifying climate change, leading to widespread uncertainty.

Underpinning all this uncertainty is the rapid emergence of powerful new technologies, some of which are already reshaping markets and recalibrating global power dynamics. While they have the potential to solve global problems, they could also disrupt economies, endanger civil liberties, and undermine democratic governance. As Thierry Breton, the European Union’s commissioner for the internal market, has observed, “We have entered a global race in which the mastery of technologies is central” to navigating the “new geopolitical order.”

To be sure, technological disruption is not a new phenomenon. What sets today’s emerging technologies apart is that they have reached a point where even their creators struggle to understand them.