• U.S. Imposes Curbs on Exports by China's Top Chipmaker SMIC

    The U.S. government has placed new export restrictions on China’s most advanced maker of computer chips, citing an “unacceptable risk” that equipment sold to the country’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) could be used for military purposes.

  • The Weakest Link of Global Supply Chains

    From toilet paper to industrial chemicals, there’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive to global supply chains. But how important are large, multinational companies in maintaining both local and international logistic networks and should governments be so focused on maintaining larger organizations through subsidies and bail-outs over their smaller counterparts? A new study finds that smaller operators can deliver the hardest logistic shocks.

  • Pandemic Crushes Guyana’s Dreams of Big Oil Profits as “Resource Curse” Looms over Oil-Producing Nations

    This year was supposed to bring great things for Guyana. ExxonMobil discovered massive oil deposits off the South American country’s Caribbean coast in 2015, and Guyana sold its first cargo of crude oil this February. But Guyana’s dreams of fabulous wealth this year have been dashed by COVID-19, which has delayed production and slashed oil demand. Compounding its coronavirus troubles, Guyana shows warning signs of the so-called “resource curse,” in which a country’s new oil wealth crowds out other productive economic sectors, breeds corruption and triggers political conflict. Very few petrostates have adequately diversified their economies. Exceptions include Malaysia and Dubai, which have both used oil wealth successfully to build a broader economic foundation and have avoided the dreaded “resource curse.” Those countries should be models for Guyana.

  • Trillions of Dollars Laundered Through U.S., European Banks after Russian Sanctions

    Documents leaked to BuzzFeed News show that in almost two decades, between 1999 to 2017, major European and U.S. financial entities processed more than $2 trillion worth of suspicious transactions. Kremlin insiders and friends were the beneficiaries. Three names stand out: Arkady Rotenberg, a childhood friend of Vladimir Putin who has gone from an obscure businessman in the 1990s to a billionaire during Putin’s 20 years in power, and who was sanctioned, along with his brother and son, after the Russian annexation of Crimea; Semion Mogilevich, a Russian organized crime boss who is named on the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list; and Paul Manafort, a political strategist who led Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign from early June until mid-August 2016.

  • U.S.-China Fight over Fishing Is Really about World Domination

    China’s aggressive, sometimes illegal fishing practices are the latest source of conflict with the United States.

    China has the world’s largest fishing fleet. Beijing claims to send around 2,600 vessels out to fish across the globe, but some maritime experts say this distant-water fishing fleet may number nearly 17,000. The United States has fewer than 300 distant-water ships. Governments often use the fishing industry to advance their diplomatic agenda, as my work as a historian of fishing and American foreign relations shows. The United States used fishing, directly and indirectly, to build its international empire from its founding through the 20th century. Now China’s doing it, too.

  • Does Experiencing Wildfires Create Political Consensus on Resilience Measures?

    As of last weekend [12-13 September], 97 large fires have burned 4.7 million acres across the American West, causing widespread evacuations in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Idaho and Utah.  The smoke from these summer wildfires has spread very widely over the region, curtailing outdoor activity and sending many to the hospitals with respiratory ailments, heat attacks and strokes.  Will this move us any closer to achieving a consensus on the topic of dealing with climate change?

  • Insurance Markets Face Challenges in Higher Fire-Risk Areas

    Wildfires in California destroy thousands of structures each year, and in 2017 that number jumped to 10,800. In 2018, wildfires wrought even greater destruction, with more than 22,000 structures destroyed. Those conflagrations can devastate homeowners and bring heavy costs for the insurance industry. In a new study, RAND researchers found that while the insurance market in lower-fire-risk areas was working relatively well as of 2017, higher-fire-risk areas faced challenges.

  • TikTok and WeChat: Curating and Controlling Global Information Flows

    “The Chinese state has demonstrated a propensity for controlling and shaping the information environment of the Chinese diaspora—including via WeChat,” three researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in a new report. “The meteoric growth of TikTok has now put the CCP in a position from which it can shape the information environment on a largely non-Chinese-speaking platform—with the help of the highest valued start-up in the world and its opaque advanced AI-powered algorithm”: Excerpts from the report.

  • New Cybersecurity Degree Offered at UH West O’ahu

    The University of Hawaiʻi–West O’ahu has unveiled a new slate of academic offerings—including another STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degree—to address the state’s workforce needs, in time for the start of the fall 2020 semester.

  • The Pandemic Has Revealed the Cracks in U.S. Manufacturing: Here’s How to Fix Them

    The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed glaring deficiencies in the U.S. manufacturing sector’s ability to provide necessary products – especially amidst a crisis. Globalization is at the heart of the problem. With heavy reliance on global supply chains and foreign producers, the pandemic has interrupted shipping of parts and materials to nearly 75% of U.S. companies. Decades of “offshoring” domestic manufacturing to other countries have led the U.S. to the current crisis. It has seriously damaged the nation’s industrial base, increased income inequality and caused stagnation in U.S. living standards. How the U.S. responds will determine the long-term health and prosperity of the nation.

  • U.K. Nuclear Power: The Next Huawei?

    London’s relations with China — hailed as entering a “golden era” only four years ago — have deteriorated badly over the coronavirus crisis and the Hong Kong issue, hitting a nadir when the U.K. finally bowed to U.S. pressure to ditch Huawei’s involvement in its new-generation internet (5G) rollout. China warned the U.K. it would face “consequences if it chooses to be a hostile partner” after London announced its Huawei’s decision. Nuclear power, once a key part of the U.K. energy plans, faces rising costs, cheaper renewables, and domestic opposition – but it also finds itself at the center of a row between London and Beijing that could prove fatal.

  • Thwarting Illicit Cryptocurrency Mining with Artificial Intelligence

    Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are forms of digital money. Instead of minting it like coins or paper bills, cryptocurrency miners digitally dig for the currency by performing computationally intense calculations. A new artificial intelligence algorithm is designed to detect cryptocurrency miners in the act of stealing computing power from research supercomputers.

  • EU Payments to Farmers Fail to Deliver on Competitiveness, Sustainability

    Over 40 billion euro is given annually to European agriculture as direct payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Yet, the policy fails to deliver on what EU citizens are promised. The majority of payments are going to the regions causing the most environmental damage and the farmers in the least need of income support.

  • Steve Bannon Charged with Defrauding Donors to “We Build the Wall” Campaign

    Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former top political adviser, was charged today (Thursday) in New York with defrauding donors in a scheme related to an initiative called “We Build the Wall,” an online crowdfunding effort which collected more than $25 million from citizens who wished to help Trump’s border wall project for the U.S.-Mexico border. “As alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction,” Audrey Strauss, the acting United States attorney in Manhattan, said in statement Thursday.

  • Is China’s Fishing Fleet a Growing Security Threat?

    China’s distant-water fishing vessels have long caused controversy in waters around Asia. As the fleet has grown, so have complaints. Experts say that Chinese illegal fishing is not only used by Beijing to stake maritime claims, the fleet’s massive overfishing helps drive food insecurity and ecological problems.