Ghost ships + more news

16 minutes estimated reading time

Ghost ships tankering black market oil to and from sanctioned countries around the world

Tanker companies warn of rise in armada of ghost ships | Financial Times – older ships are being bought and then used for sanctions running as these ghost ships. Ghost ships have safety implications due to their age. Given that these ghost ships are operated on the down low, they won’t have the same maintenance and you don’t know how their sailors are treated. What’s also interesting is the economic data implied by the ghost ships. Looking at this article black market oil (excluding pirate ships stolen in places like the Straits of Malacca) shipped by the ghost ships fleet is running at about 10 percent of all oil consumed worldwide. The fleet of ghost ships must have suddenly increased if the supply of ships being sent to be scrapped has dropped in the way it has. How have the operators of ghost ships managed to short circuit the ship breaking business? How are the ghost ships avoiding the world’s largest navies and surveillance networks? Will the number of ghost ships continue to grow?

Here’s a picture of Chinese tanker vessel, just to give you an appreciation of how big each of the ghost ships must be.

Chinese Oil Tanker


The myth of Chinese supremacy – UnHerd 

China’s Self-Defeating Economic Statecraft | Foreign AffairsObservers routinely worry that by throwing around its ever-growing economic weight, the country is managing to buy goodwill and influence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing has exploited its dominance of manufacturing supply chains to win favor by donating masks and now vaccines to foreign countries. And it has long used unfair state subsidies to tilt the playing field in favor of Chinese companies. – the lesson that China seems to take away is that bullying works. Until China sees that bullying doesn’t work it won’t listen

Enemies of My Enemy | Foreign AffairsThe strongest orders in modern history—from Westphalia in the seventeenth century to the liberal international order in the twentieth—were not inclusive organizations working for the greater good of humanity. Rather, they were alliances built by great powers to wage security competition against their main rivals. Fear and loathing of a shared enemy, not enlightened calls to make the world a better place, brought these orders together. Progress on transnational issues, when achieved, emerged largely as a byproduct of hardheaded security cooperation. That cooperation usually lasted only as long as a common threat remained both present and manageable. When that threat dissipated or grew too large, the orders collapsed. Today, the liberal order is fraying for many reasons, but the underlying cause is that the threat it was originally designed to defeat—Soviet communism—disappeared three decades ago. None of the proposed replacements to the current order have stuck because there hasn’t been a threat scary or vivid enough to compel sustained cooperation among the key players – until now China’s belligerence in East Asia and wider

What Does Yahoo’s Recent China Exit Mean for American Companies? / Digital Information World

Consumer behaviour

Why the experts are losing – UnHerd 

‘Lying flat’: Why some Chinese are putting work second – BBC Newsthere are young rural migrants in Beijing or Shanghai, who now realise “how far behind they are, in terms of being able to make enough money to buy a house, or compete with the city kids who grew up speaking English and wearing sophisticated clothing”. Dr Johnston explains some of this group may now be thinking of returning to their home towns and taking lower-paid jobs instead to be with their families. On the other side, there are the children of richer, successful parents who are not “as hungry as the super-achieving kids from poorer families”. Dr Johnston thinks China’s so-called “tiger” culture is an added barrier, where parents feel under intense pressure to help their child achieve, that school on its own is not enough

How Chinese Nationalism Hit Nike, Adidas After Western Brand Boycotts | Bloomberg – makes sense to pay less attention to these consumers and be less beholden to their needs. This is multi-sectoral with it already playing out in FMCG sectors

The Pandemic Changed Youth Culture in the Asia Pacific – What Does that Mean for Brands?“proactively making fundamental life changes to shape a new future in a post-pandemic world which will never be the same again,” says Vice Media. ‘The Next Chapter – Re-Emergence’ is the latest from VICE Media Group’s ongoing series of youth culture tracking studies which monitors behavioural change to forecast the future of culture. The online quantitative study of 1,740 Gen Z and Millenials was conducted via VICE, Refinery29, i-D websites and social channels in Australia, India, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. – it looks like they expect to change how they work. If that means greater balance it might go down badly with Chinese and Vietnamese authorities who would be concerned that this looked like ‘lying down’

America Is Focusing on the Wrong Enemy by Brahma Chellaney – Project Syndicate

The Metaverse Might Have a Serious Sexual Harassment Problem / Digital Information World


The Paris Review – Ray Bradbury’s Unpublished Essay, “The Pomegranate Architect”


EU is preparing to legalize a single port for smartphones and other gadgets 


Pandemic triggers exodus of older people from UK workforce | Financial Times – interesting that businesses aren’t adapting to these new dynamics in the workforce, much of what is in the article is also echoes in this US IBM case. IBM Execs Call Older Workers ‘Dinobabies’ in Age Bias LawsuitInternal emails show IBM executives calling older workers “dinobabies” and discussing plans to make them “an extinct species,” according to a Friday filing in an ongoing age discrimination lawsuit against the company. The documents were submitted as evidence of IBM’s efforts “to oust older employees from its workforce,” and replace them with millennial workers, the plaintiff alleged. It’s the latest development in a legal battle that first began in 2018, when former employees sued IBM after the company fired tens of thousands of workers over 40-years-old. One high-ranking executive, whose name was redacted from the lawsuit, said IBM had a “dated maternal workforce.” “This is what must change,” the email continues, per the filing. “They really don’t understand social or engagement. Not digital natives. A real threat for us.”

Used Car Prices Are Now Up 40 Percent From Just A Year Ago 

Which London-listed Russian firms could be hit by sanctions? | Russia | The GuardianUnder the most extreme scenario, companies operating in the UK, US or EU – including most of the world’s major financial institutions – could be forbidden from any transactions with sanctioned entities. That could mean the indefinite suspension of their shares, and an inability to issue new debt or shares in London. Asked whether the UK was likely to impose sanctions that would damage the interests of big British companies, Bernardine Adkins, a partner at the London law firm Gowling WLG, said: “I’ll believe it when I see it.” “The modern way of sanctions tends to be very focused, and they’re not sweeping to hurt the economy,” she added.

Apple: Thief | No Mercy / No Malice – interesting perspectives on what a trillion dollar turnover looks like


When you count users instead of dollars, the NFT world is tiny | Financial Times and more on cryptocurrencies here as well: DSHR’s Blog: EE380 Talk 

Hong Kong

Norton Rose directs Hong Kong office to make China pivot | Financial TimesNorton Rose, whose biggest clients include HSBC and AIG, is the latest international business to reconsider its Hong Kong strategy. Both the Mandarin Oriental hotel group and Pernod Ricard have asked executives to move temporarily out of Hong Kong in response to strict pandemic restrictions. Bank of America is reviewing whether to relocate some of its staff to Singapore. The head of a large recruitment consultancy in Hong Kong said similar changes were happening at other global companies. “As expats retire they are most likely to be replaced by Mandarin-speaking people,” he said. “The old set-up of having a local team who speak Mandarin doing the deal, but the guy at the top is white, that will change across the board.” – Hong Kong refocusing on being just another city in China – Chinese banks’ Hong Kong ranks on track to outnumber global rivals | Financial Times

Next China: Hong Kong Elections Uncertain as Covid Crisis Spirals – Bloombergthere was little surprise this week when Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong’s sole representative member of China’s top legislative body, suggested postponing the election. His logic was simple: Some of those who might run will be too busy dealing with the outbreak to campaign. If more voices begin jumping in with the same line, a delay could very quickly become fait accompli. – way before COVID got out of control there were no candidates putting themselves out there. Even self publicist CY Leung hadn’t throw his hat in the ring


How France’s Largest Semiconductor Company Got Nationalized in Plain Sight

An Apple Patent Reveals more work on a Folded Camera Lens that will advance Zoom Capabilities for iPhones – Patently Apple 


Denso joins TSMC’s Japanese wafer fab club eeNews Europe | EE News Europe – I can understand the strong imperative of Japanese supply chains being managed domestically

Mos Burger mascot retires to make way for new character in Japan | SoraNews24 -Japan News – Mos Burger changes mascot. Interesting that they are changing rather than getting rid of a mascot as a fluent device

Is Japan’s “Hai, Cheese!” photo culture becoming obsolete? | SoraNews24 -Japan News


Why Are Luxury Labels Cheaper Online? – The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – Business > BusinessAccording to Statistics Korea, purchases through overseas online retailers last year surpassed W5 trillion for the first time ever and surged 26.4 percent compared to 2020. Clothing and accessories accounted for W2 trillion of the total. The Korea Consumer Agency said a survey last year showed consumers here believe products are around 25 percent cheaper from foreign online retailers than in Korea. Yet importers insist they have no choice but to slap huge margins on goods due to high operating costs as well as tariffs and delivery fees. One staffer with a major importer said, “Department stores charge 20 to 30 percent in fees to sell our products, plus we have to cover advertising and store overheads.” But industry insiders say big businesses and department stores in Korea compete fiercely for exclusive import deals with foreign luxury brands, which ends up costing them a lot of money. They end up agreeing to unrealistic volumes and expensive advertising to bring in popular luxury brands and pass the cost on to the customer. Another reason is simply that demand seems insatiable, so people will pay whatever is asked. The head of a foreign luxury brand’s Korean branch said, “The market is changing in Korea and China where the more expensive products are, the higher the demand is. For instance, handbags must cost at least W9 million and coats more than W4 million to be considered a ‘luxury’ product. That means lower-tier brand prices are also rising.” 

Axios Login – 1 big thing: Both sides gear up for tech antitrust showdown – bipartisan approaches to big tech are very different. Both believe that antitrust regulation is needed, but to solve very different problems.

EU accuses China of ‘power grab’ over smartphone technology licensing | Financial Times


Louis Vuitton to raise price tags as costs climb | RTÉ 

‘Golden visa’ lawyers call for UK to rethink blanket ban | The super-rich | The Guardian


Novo Nordisk wins over doctors with AI email subject lines — and a human touch – Endpoints News

in two minds right now – by Rob Estreitinho – Salmon Theory – on scamps in strategy


China’s Shenghe to pick stake in Australian firm Peak Rare Earths


British company found to be making slick propaganda films for China | Telegraph Online

China Reviews Don’t Look Up: “A sharp sword piercing the heart of the American people” – fascinating interpretations

Musicians like Neil Young lack the market power to force Spotify’s hand over Joe RoganIt’s a simple case of gigantic supply and relatively limited distribution. As the world turns to music streaming, only a handful of global players led by Spotify, Apple and Amazon control the market. Five companies represent 80% of the global streaming opportunity. Now, turn that around and think about it from an artist’s point of view. Spotify currently has 70 million songs and adds an additional 60,000 each and every day. These stupendous numbers have two implications. First, even when an artist like Young pulls his music from the service there are literally millions of potential replacements to fill the gap in a listener’s playlist. Second, artists cannot fuck with any of the big distributors of their music, because losing access to 31% of the market is the difference between success and failure for many of the record companies that run these artists


A Personal Take on the Facebocalypse | Phil Gomes 

Foreign money funding ‘extremism’ in Canada, says hacker | Canada | The GuardianA hacker who leaked the names and locations of more than 90,000 people who donated money to the Canadian trucker convoy protest has said it exposed how money from abroad had funded “extremism” in the country. In an exclusive interview, the hacker told the Guardian that Canada was “not safe from foreign political manipulation”. “You see a huge amount of money that isn’t even coming from Canada – that’s plain as day,” said the hacker, who belongs to the hacktivist group Anonymous. The leaked data showed that more than 90,000 donations were made via GiveSendGo, with most funds appearing to come from Canada and the US. According to the data, individuals in countries including the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland and Denmark also donated. Amarnath Amarasingam, a professor at Canada’s Queens University and an expert in extremism and social movements, tweeted that of the 92,844 donations, “51,666 (56%) came from the US, 36,202 (29%) came from Canada, and 1,831 (2%) came from the UK.” US-based donations totalled US$3.62m, while Canadians donated US$4.31m, he added.

Hong Kong rights group says website not accessible through some networks | Reuters

UK Home Office demands Big Tech block ‘legal but harmful’ posts | Financial Times and interesting changes in California California to adopt UK-style child data law in global push against Big Tech | Financial Times

US accuses financial website of spreading Russian propaganda | Yahoo Finance – accusation against Zero Hedge

Didi to layoff 20% of employees 

Meta, Google, other American tech giants face EU data blackout as ruling looms on their contracts to transfer vast amounts of user information to US | South China Morning Post 

Hong Kong Arrests Singer Tommy Yuen on National Security Grounds, Restricts Internet | Variety – interesting that this got covered in Variety


Want to buy an Ineos Grenadier? Here’s how | CAR MagazineIn some very rural parts of the UK, for example, we will partner with companies whose franchises are agricultural franchises – JCB, Massey Ferguson, those kind of franchises. They are next to auction centres and livestock centres. Their neighbours are NFU regional offices, that kind of thing. Because that is where the customers go and they live and they work.

Exclusive: Chinese fashion firm Shein on Singapore hiring spree as it shifts key assets there | Reuters and more here Shein shifts parent firm to Singapore | Techasia 


Poland Army adds new cyber component with offensive capabilities – The Record by Recorded Future

TikTok Can Circumvent Apple and Google Privacy Protections and Access Full User Data, 2 Studies Say (Exclusive) 

Digital sovereignty: Commission proposes Chips Act 

Lost SpaceX internet satellites show the power of solar weather — Quartz 

Mozilla warns Chrome, Firefox ‘100’ user agents may break sites | Bleeping Computer

How a Saudi woman’s iPhone revealed hacking around the world | National Post 

How Roblox ‘Beamers’ Get Rich Stealing from Children | Vice – basically hacking accounts and stripping the virtual goods for resale

MACAU DAILY TIMES 澳門每日時報 » Cyberattacks knock out sites of Ukrainian army, major banks

Chinese naval vessel aims laser at Australian surveillance plane | Financial Times 


Taiwan to change law to prevent ‘economic espionage’ by China — Radio Free Asia


Intel is betting $5 billion on old semiconductor technology — Quartz 

EETimes – A Big Week for RISC-V 


Chinese MI6 informant gave information to MPs about Huawei threat | The Guardian

Web of no web

Video games’ future is more than the Metaverse: Let’s talk ‘hyper digital reality’ | Playable Futures | 

The metaverse is just a new word for an old idea | MIT Technology Review

Raph Koster’s real talk about a real metaverse | VentureBeat 

How SoftBank’s costly bet on the ‘internet of things’ backfired at Arm | Financial Times – having been in meetings with ARM pre-Softbank acquisition, I wasn’t surprised that things went horribly wrong

Beijing and Shanghai welcome the metaverse as economy slows – Protocol and this time there is state money going in so that there aren’t independent businesses a la Tencent, Baidu, ByteDance etc: Chinese state pumps money into metaverse stakes | Financial Times 

Americans are embracing QR codes. But the FBI says be careful Axios 

Why you can’t have legs in virtual reality (yet) – CNN 

Metaverse’s userbase has grown up to 300,000 users per month / Digital Information World


Motorola and Verizon Announced 5G Neckband For AR and VR Headsets