Illicit finance + more stuff

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Illicit finance

RUSI put together a great presentation on the nature of illicit finance from the perspective of terrorism and terrorist states including Russia and the People’s Republic of China. The foundations of illicit finance seems to be the offshore financial structures that were build up by the United Kingdom in the post-war period to capture the EuroDollar market.

In some ways this lecture on Illicit finance felt very familiar. It is exactly the same structures that John Le Carre outlined in his post-cold war novel Single and Single. The nature of illicit finance was also covered in Michael Oswald’s documentary The Spider’s Web – Britain’s Second Empire. This linkage was not lost on the audience attending the talk.

The concerns about illicit finance now are because these structures are being used to attack democracies at their core and buy influence for hostile states such as Russia and China. It is like the west is slowly awakening from a slumber as its enemies try to slit their throat.

More related content here.


China’s Top Nuclear-Weapons Lab Used American Computer Chips Decades After Ban – WSJ – sanctions merely raise the cost of acquisition rather than being an outright ban

Chinese carmakers line up for ‘phenomenal opportunity’ in the UK | Telegraph 

MERICS EU-China Opinion Pool: Calibrating interdependence with China | Merics and EU warns of ‘unfair’ Chinese subsidies in Green Deal plan – draft | Reuters 

Fiji suspends top cop, discards police training deal with China | South China Morning Post 

Riding the slow train in China | The EconomistAs Mr Xi enters his second decade as supreme leader, his sternly paternalist version of Communist Party rule seeks to draw ever more legitimacy from the provision of customer-friendly public services, supplied via modern infrastructure. In the case of China’s railways, at least, that promise of order and efficiency has been kept.

Consumer behaviour

Which superstitions are Britons most likely to believe in? | YouGov 


TI points to semiconductor market slowdown | EE Times – Texas Instruments is pointing to the slowdown in the semiconductor market for analog and logic over the next year in its latest results

Econ Dean at Renmin University: Old ways of stabilizing growth may not work 

The Great (British) Stagnation – Marginal REVOLUTION

mainly macro: Should Quantitative Easing be reducing public services? 


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The 1964 House Report on how smoking affected the health of Americans went around the world. Sales dropped 30 percent in a week, and then picked up back to normal after existing smokers addiction kicked in.

Hong Kong

Biden grants Hong Kongers in the U.S. a 2-year deportation reprieve – POLITICO 

36 pictures that prove Hong Kong’s Canton Disco is a nostalgic time capsule that never ended – Galleries – Mixmag Asia 

Who is Beijing’s new top gun in Hong Kong? Will Zheng Yanxiong help the city with ‘prosperity’ ambitions or security concerns? | South China Morning Post – lets be honest about it security is going to be easier to address than Hong Kong economics


Some of the better research and analysis I have seen about Russian sentiment and attitudes.

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NVIDIA Webcam Filter Fakes Your Eye Contact for Video Chats and Presentations – Core77 

Bosch, APCOA start commercial roll-out of Automated Valet Parking | EE Times – this works because its a specialist use case on automation

Denso powers up next-gen lidar with AMD Xilinx MPSoCs | Denso – and Toyota seems to be going in a similar direction to Bosch above

Leoni expands production facility in Mexico | EE Times – the point about changing cable technology driven by electric cars is very interesting

How Microsoft’s Stumbles Led to Its OpenAI Alliance — The InformationFor more than a decade, Microsoft Research, the company’s in-house research group, has touted artificial intelligence breakthroughs such as translating speech to text and software that could understand human language or recognize objects in images. But the company’s effort to commercialize its AI research moved at more of a crawl – this was at the centre of Microsoft’s innovation narrative for the best part of two decades. It’s embarrassing


Inside Japan’s long experiment in automating eldercare | MIT Technology Review 


China’s ‘sharp increase’ in car exports leaves South Korea searching for a solution | South China Morning Post – Competition is expected to intensify for South Korean car companies as Chinese firms increase exports with governmental support. South Korea can boost competitiveness and develop new markets by signing trade deals and incentivising investment, carmakers say


Solar Panels Disguised As Terracotta Tiles – COOL HUNTING® 


Blooming Terror – Building The Last of Us episode 2 – PlayStation.Blog – television adaption more about storytelling and character development than action compared to game


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Apple beefs up smartphone services in ‘silent war’ against Google | Financial Times – mapping is interesting, Google Maps are ripe for disruption

We tried to run a social media site and it was awful | Financial Times – the FT experiment running a Mastodon server

China purges Internet of ‘sexy’ women and ‘overeating’, RT’s Africa plan, and UN debates cyber crime – Coda Story – Chinese ‘campaigns’ are commonplace, there will still be sexy women online within and outside China. Russian media in Africa is a bigger issue led by Russia Today


Why my bittersweet relationship with Shein had to end | MIT Technology Review 


Getting Personal With State Propaganda – China Media ProjectNanchang Aviation University (南昌航空大学), located in China’s southern Jiangxi province, announced that it had launched the “Jiangxi International Communication Research Center” (江西国际传播研究中心) in cooperation with the China Media Group, the state media conglomerate formed in 2018 directly under the CCP’s Central Propaganda Department. According to coverage by China Education Daily, a newspaper directly under the Ministry of Education, the new center is an experiment in combining central CCP media and universities (央媒+高校) to carry out international communication by using the “overseas student resources” (留学生资源) of the university.

America’s China Policy Is Not Working | Foreign Affairs – author doesn’t realise the game has changed

Iran Says Face Recognition Will ID Women Breaking Hijab Laws | WIRED 

Web of no web

Subject: Focusing on our short- and long-term opportunity – The Official Microsoft Blog – combine these cut to the HoloLens team and shutting down Altspace implies Microsoft’s metaverse ambitions are currently on pause