• Huawei and TikTok Are at the Forefront of a New Drift to Regionalism – Many Others Will Follow

    Huawei and TikTok were two of the most successful examples of globalization. Both of these Chinese companies are now at the mercy of a widening geopolitical divide. The U.S. has led an increasingly successful campaign to eliminate Huawei from the global market over alleged security fears, and is threatening to ban TikTok too. These developments are signs of attempts by the U.S. to decouple from China’s economy and concentrate on alliances within its own political and economic sphere. It chimes with the wider drift away from globalization towards a more regional approach to trade.

  • Autotalks Deploys Smart Traffic Signals in Alpharetta, Georgia

    When an emergency vehicle comes speeding towards an intersection, drivers know to pull over and give the ambulance or firetruck the right of way. Israeli automotive technology firm Autotalks takes that one step further by sending a wireless signal from the emergency responder to the traffic lights so the signals will automatically change to stop cross traffic.

  • U.K. to Overhaul Treason Laws

    Britain is overhauling its treason laws, the most sweeping reform of these laws since 1695. The overhaul will see a new Treason Act and a new Espionage Act for tracking foreign agents and agents of influence, as well as a rewriting of the Official Secrets Act to make it suitable for the digital age. Government officials say the reforms are needed better to deal with the Russia’s sustained campaign to undermine Western democracies and corrupt the politics liberal societies, and the growing efforts of China to steal intellectual property and gain access to other countries’ critical infrastructures by encouraging them to buy subsidized Chinese technology.

  • The Right Approach to Getting out of the Current Crisis

    Four leading Israeli researchers call for a realistic, science-based, myths-free approach to the coronavirus crisis. They argue that the Swedish approach, despite early localized setbacks, has not only been a success – it also helps explode the three myths which have led governments around the world to impose economically ruinous and socially destructive lockdowns. These myths are: 1) That the immunity triggered by infections does not last long, and hence cannot be relied upon to create herd immunity; 2) that in order to achieve herd immunity through infection-triggered immunity, at least 60 percent of the population must be infected; and 3) that the number of death resulting from wider infection would higher than the number of deaths resulting from economic lockdown and social restrictions.

  • Lockdown May Cost 200,000 Lives, U.K. Government Report Shows

    More than 200,000 people could die from the impact of lockdown and protecting the NHS, an official government report shows. Sarah Knapton writes in The Telegraph that as national restrictions were imposed, experts from the Department of Health, the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the government’s Actuary Department and the Home Office forecast the collateral damage from delays to healthcare and the effects of recession arising from the pandemic response. It estimated that in a reasonable worst case scenario, around 50,000 people would die from coronavirus in the first six months of the pandemic, with mitigation measures in place. But in the report published in April they calculated that up to 25,000 could die from delays to treatment in the same period and a further 185,000 in the medium to long term - amounting to nearly one million years of life lost. 

  • How French Technology Can Control Wearing of a Mandatory Mask

    The French government announced that as of Monday, wearing a face mask in enclosed public places will become mandatory. How would it be possible to check whether thousands of people are following the government’s instructions or not? Several French start-ups have developed solutions which are now being tested. Valentin Hamon-Beugin writes in Le Figaro [in French] that some companies have developed tools which rely on the use of CCTVs. Software is installed in the cameras, and using artificial intelligence, it detects masked faces. “It’s not about facial recognition. We simply recognize the human form behind the mask, but we don’t have access to the identity of the people filmed,”explains Virginie Ducable, project manager at RedLab, a Normandy-based start-up. No image is stored on servers, only statistical data is sent to the client. “These statistics can serve them in a concrete way. For example, if they find that too few people are wearing a mask at any given time, they will be able to automatically launch voice announcements urging them to follow health guidelines,” she adds. Olivier Gualdoni, CEO of Drone Volt, whose subsidiary, Aérialtronics, is working on a similar project, “Our solution aims to prevent, not to punish. We are completely opposite of the repression stereotypes associated with artificial intelligence.”

  • Chinese Government Hackers Charged with IP, COVID-19 Research Theft

    U.S. DOJ accused China on Tuesday of sponsoring criminal hackers to target biotech firms around the world working on coronavirus vaccines and treatments, as the FBI said the Chinese government was acting like “an organized criminal syndicate.”

  • U.S., Britain Increasingly See Eye-to-Eye on China

    The United States and the United Kingdom appear to be increasingly seeing eye-to-eye about the challenges posed by the Chinese government, say analysts and Western diplomats. The United States wants to capitalize on Britain’s hardening line toward Beijing. The U.K. Huawei ban was a major policy U-turn for Britain which has been trying to walk a tight rope between Washington, its long-stranding traditional ally, and Beijing, which it has been courting heavily since the 2016 Brexit vote in the hope of securing a lucrative trade deal.

  • Twitter Hack Exposes Broader Threat to Democracy and Society

    In case 2020 wasn’t dystopian enough, hackers on July 15 hijacked the Twitter accounts of former President Barack Obama, presidential hopeful Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian and Apple, among others. The hack on the surface may appear to be a run-of-the-mill financial scam. But the breach has chilling implications for democracy. What happened is not about financial crime. It is a serious threat to us all.

  • Guyana: U.S. Imposes Sanctions as President Granger Refuses to Accept Election Defeat

    The United States has imposed sanctions on the current government of Guyana, led by President David Granger and his APNU party, after the refusal of Granger and his supporters to accept the results of the March election, which saw the opposition PPP, led by Irfaan Ali, winning the election by about 16,000 votes. Regional leaders called on Granger to respect the democratic process and step aside.

  • U.K. Bans Huawei Components from 5G, Earlier Networks

    The British government, in a reversal of a January decision, will not allow Huawei access to the U.K. nascent 5G network. The government has also imposed a “rip and replace” requirement, giving British companies until 2027 to remove all Huawei gear from their networks and replace it with components from “trusted vendors.”

  • Cost-Effective Ways to Reduce Risks in the Supply Chain

    The coronavirus pandemic has hit the economy hard. What lessons can be learned from this experience? And what’s the best way for companies to protect themselves against this kind of crisis in the future? The answer will certainly involve a combination of different approaches – but new mathematical methods look likely to be a very promising piece of the puzzle.

  • The Fatal Mistakes Which Led to Lockdown

    On the basis of what were fateful decisions about economic lockdowns as a proper response to the coronavirus made? And why is there such resistance to efforts to go back, cautiously and intelligently, but in a determined fashion, back to semblance of normalcy? Dr. John Lee writers in The Spectator that those who insisted on lockdowns and who now question economic and social reopening explained that they are being “guided by science.” In fact, he writes, “they are doing something rather different: being guided by models, bad data and subjective opinion. Some of those claiming to be ‘following the science’ seem not to understand the meaning of the word.” The decision-making leading to lockdowns was of exceedingly low quality, as is the resistance to economic and social reopening. The reason for both? “An early maintained but exaggerated belief in the lethality of the virus reinforced by modelling that was almost data-free, then amplified by further modelling with no proven predictive value. All summed up by recommendations from a committee based on qualitative data that hasn’t even been peer-reviewed.” Lee concludes: “Mistakes were inevitable at the start of this. But we can’t learn without recognizing them.”

  • Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Cure Really Worse than the Disease? Here’s What Our Research Found

    The coronavirus pandemic catapulted the country into one of the deepest recessions in U.S. history, leaving millions of Americans without jobs or health insurance. There is a lot of evidence that economic hardship is associated with poor health and can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseasemental health problemscognitive dysfunction and early death. All of that raises a question: Is the U.S. better off with the public health interventions being used to keep the coronavirus from spreading or without them? In a new working paper, Olga Yakusheva, Associate Professor in Nursing and Public Health at the University of Michigan, writes in The Conversation that she  and a research team of health economists from U.S. universities set out to answer that question from a humanitarian perspective. They estimate that by the end of 2020, public health measures to mitigate COVID-19 – including business lockdowns, school closings, etc. —  would save between 900,000 and 2.7 million lives in the U.S. The economic downturn and loss of income from shelter-in-place measures and other restrictions on economic activity could contribute to between 50,400 and 323,000 deaths, based on an economic decline of 8%-14%.

  • U.S. Will Pay $1.6 Billion to Novavax for Coronavirus Vaccine

    The federal government will pay the vaccine maker Novavax $1.6 billion to expedite the development of a coronavirus vaccine. It’s the largest deal to date from Operation Warp Speed, the sprawling federal effort to make coronavirus vaccines and treatments available to the American public as quickly as possible. Katie Thomas writes in the New York Times that the deal would pay for Novavax to produce 100 million doses of its new vaccine by the beginning of next year — if the vaccine is shown to be effective in clinical trials. That’s a significant bet on Novavax, a Maryland company that has never brought a product to market.