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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
Riding the slow train in China | The Economist – As 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.
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
Wintershall’s empty bank accounts expose plight of western companies still in Russia | Financial Times – “We helped create a very powerful and dangerous Russia without being cognisant of the risk,” he said, while acknowledging that the country had done its best to remedy this in the past 12 months. And he said BASF risked repeating its Russian mistake in China. “What I’m really surprised about, and almost upsets me, is that while this is all happening . . . BASF decides to invest €10bn in China,” he said, referring to a planned chemicals complex that will be the company’s largest ever foreign investment. “That’s the most upsetting part,” he said. “That we don’t learn from it.” – this quote from Thomas Schweppe of 7Square nails the problem neatly
Thousands of offshore companies with UK property still not stating real owners | Tax havens | The Guardian – wealthy businessmen, Gulf royalty and states such as China have legally bought up billions of pounds of mostly London property, often via jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the Channel Islands. Stephen Abbott Pugh, head of technology for Open Ownership, a non-governmental organisation focused on beneficial ownership transparency, said the fact that so many of the offshore companies are declared as owned by other companies or trusts means “the public still aren’t able to easily discover the people behind those companies in many cases”. “With access to many European beneficial ownership registers being shut off following a 2022 court ruling, the Register of Overseas Entities shows how useful public data is for tracking how offshore money is used to buy assets,”
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.
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.
This demonstrates a fundamental understanding about influence operations. Its not about persuading you about their truth, but throwin enough mud at your own truth that nobody bothers engaging – Chinese influence operations may lack critical element: influence | CyberScoop
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 Information – For 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
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
Blooming Terror – Building The Last of Us episode 2 – PlayStation.Blog – television adaption more about storytelling and character development than action compared to game
Inside the secret Facebook groups where women review men | Dazed – then there’s the whole other side of ‘Are We Dating The Same Guy’, which is a lot more ethically ambiguous. Is it ever OK to publicly share someone’s photos and private conversations without their consent? Or in other words, to ‘doxx’? There’s a clear power differential, but if genders were reversed and guys were exposing females to strangers on the internet, it’s unlikely we’d see the group in such a positive light. “If a boy posted me and people were writing ‘red flag’ in the comments, I would genuinely be quite hurt,” says Tara, 20. She notes how, sometimes, users make particularly unfair remarks: for example, they’ll lambast a date for having “shit chat”, or “[talking] like a 60-year-old dad”.
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
Getting Personal With State Propaganda – China Media Project – Nanchang 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
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