Fdd's overnight brief

June 8, 2023

In The News


Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will visit Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela next week, Iran’s state news agency IRNA announced on Wednesday, adding that the upcoming tour stemmed from invites from the presidents of each of the Latin American nations. – Reuters

China, Pakistan and Iran held their first trilateral meeting on counter-terrorism in Beijing on Wednesday, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement. – Reuters

Iran officially reopened its embassy in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, a Reuters witness said, following a deal to re-establish ties and ease a long rivalry that fuelled conflicts across the Middle East. – Reuters

In an effort to reach an agreement on a nuclear deal, the contacts between the United States and Iran have made major progress in the past few days. Israeli defense officials say the talks are moving forward more rapidly than expected, with the possibility that the two sides will reach an agreement within weeks. – Haaretz

Amir Tibon writes: At the same time, the Biden administration continues to work with Israel and Saudi Arabia on a diplomatic breakthrough between those two nations. Reality being what it is, Israel is not counting on significant Arab opposition to any new understandings, should such be reached in the coming weeks. – Haaretz

Russia & Ukraine

Flood victims in Russian-occupied areas of southern Ukraine described scenes of panic and desperation Wednesday as residents remained trapped in their homes and there was no sign of emergency responders coming to their rescue. – Washington Post

Vovchansk and the other towns and villages along Ukraine’s northeastern border with Russia have lived under shellfire from Russian forces across the border for months. But in the past five days, the attacks have exploded with a sudden intensity after groups of exiled Russian fighters — who are aligned with Ukraine against the Russian government — attacked several settlements inside Russia, and Russian forces responded with force. – New York Times

Floodwaters continued to rise on Wednesday after a major dam and power station in a Russian-occupied part of Ukraine were destroyed, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and throwing a curveball on the battlefield. – Wall Street Journal

A pipeline used to transport ammonia fertilizer from Russia via Ukraine that may be central to the future of the Black Sea grain deal has been damaged, according to both Kyiv and Moscow, potentially complicating talks around the accord. – Reuters

A week after fleeing her home in southern Russia to escape cross-border shelling from Ukraine, Irina Shevtsova is adjusting to life as a refugee inside her own country. Shevtsova is one of thousands of Russians who have abandoned their homes and taken shelter in Belgorod, the nearest big Russian city to the border with Ukraine. – Reuters

In peacetime, Viktor Tkachenko tracks local tenders, court registries and other open sources for a news outlet in central Ukraine. These days, the reserved 33-year-old fills a spreadsheet with the names of Ukrainian soldiers from Poltava region killed since Russia’s full-scale invasion began – 1,072 at last count – which is used in regular round-ups that typically contain between 10 and 40 names. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused Ukraine of destroying the Kakhovka dam at the suggestion of the West, in what he called a “barbaric” war crime that escalated the conflict with Moscow. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held a phone call with his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, the Kremlin said on Wednesday. The two leaders discussed “issues related to the well-known African initiative to find a solution to the Ukrainian conflict,” it added. – Reuters

The Russian embassy in the United States said on Wednesday that a report the United States knew of a Ukrainian plan to attack the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines was part of a coordinated Western attempt to confuse the world over the truth. – Reuters

A top Moscow-backed official in part of Ukraine controlled by Russia has said that the collapse of the giant Kakhovka Dam has handed the Russian military a tactical advantage, but a prominent U.S. military analyst saw little immediate impact. – Reuters

Ukraine has not yet launched a planned counteroffensive to win back territory occupied by Russia, and its start will be obvious to everyone when it happens, a senior security official said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Ukrainian troops have advanced up to 1,100 metres near the eastern city of Bakhmut in the past 24 hours, Kyiv said on Wednesday, the first gains it has reported since Russia said Ukraine had started a counter-offensive. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a phone call on Wednesday that an international commission could be formed to investigate the destruction of a vast dam on the front line between Russian and Ukrainian forces. – Reuters

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Wednesday that talks about resolving the conflict with Russia could not start with a mere cessation of hostilities. – Reuters

Germany blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the destruction of the Kakhova dam in Ukraine, and was joined by other European NATO members in denouncing it as a “war crime.” – Bloomberg

A mood of deepening gloom is gripping Russia’s elite about prospects for President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, with even the most optimistic seeing a “frozen” conflict as the best available outcome now for the Kremlin. – Bloomberg

The UK is drawing up a war-risk insurance scheme that it hopes will convince investment companies as well as tech, energy and defense firms to back Ukraine’s reconstruction with billions in aid, people familiar with the plans said. – Bloomberg

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s carefully crafted image as a former KGB “super spy” in the former Soviet Union is a fabrication, according to a report by the German newspaper Der Spiegel. – Arutz Sheva

Adam Taylor writes: If Ukrainian forces are not able to keep up the momentum seen in previous counteroffensives with all the new military equipment and training they’ve recently received, some Western allies may begin to push for negotiations as their own morale is sapped. It’s one more reason Ukraine has left many waiting for the counteroffensive: They need to get it right. – Washington Post

Isabel Coles and Ievgeniia Sivorka write: In the run-up to New Year’s Eve, a Russian adoption website launched a campaign requesting gifts for children. It posted photographs including of a blond girl it called Maryna P., saying she “now lives in the children’s home, and used to live in Kherson.” Kraniuk again recognized Maryna, and nine other children in the campaign, as former residents of the Kherson orphanage. – Wall Street Journal

Vladimir Kara-Murza writes: I have some advice for all of those who organized my and other show trials against opponents of the war by trying to present opponents of the authorities as “traitors to the Motherland,” for all of those who are so nostalgic for the Soviet system: Remember how it ended. All systems based on lies and violence end the same way. – Washington Post

Christopher Atwood writes: Of course, this paints a bitter reality. Atrocities like the ones in Bucha, Irpin, Izium—and now the cities and villages near Nova Kakhovka—will continue until the root of the problem is addressed. The only way to end a colonial war is to win it. And the only way for Ukraine to emerge victorious from Russia’s full-scale invasion is for the United States and its NATO partners to engage fully with Ukraine to ensure a Ukrainian victory. – Newsweek

Eric Ciaramella writes: The return to a Cold War–like security order in Europe is now a fact of life. Ukraine has become the fulcrum of this new order. NATO membership might not yet be in the cards for Kyiv, but leaving Ukraine without a reliable security arrangement would be a grave mistake. The United States and Europe must begin now to devise a workable plan, even as the war rages on. – Foreign Affairs

Geoff Dancy, Kathryn Sikkink, Mykhailo Soldatenko, and Patrick Vinck write: That Ukraine is grappling with the thorny issues relating to formerly occupied areas is a significant triumph: at the start of the Russian full-scale invasion, few observers might have predicted that Kyiv would not only resist the onslaught but also be able to liberate significant territory from Russian control. But this means that it will be all the more crucial for Ukraine to rebuild democracy in these areas—and address concerns about collaboration by the people who live in them. Indeed, the cohesion of Ukrainian society, as well as the country’s future security, may depend on it. – Foreign Affairs


Clashes erupted after Israeli forces mounted a rare raid into the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank early on Thursday, in what the military said was an operation to demolish the house of an assailant. – Reuters

Israel’s foreign minister chided U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday for speaking out against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned overhaul of the country’s judiciary. – Associated Press

Israel’s naval version of the Iron Dome air defense system, called C-Dome, successfully completed a new series of tests aimed at countering “existing and future threats,” the Israeli military said, in what could be a business boost as maker Rafael eyes potential sales abroad. – Breaking Defense

Jason M. Brodsky writes: In the end, Ben-Gurion’s description of ties with Iran in the 1950s — “friendly, informal, but not hidden, and based on mutual benefit” — offered a template for Israel’s development of relations with Arab countries years later. Nevertheless, there is a parallelism in the interests, processes, methods, and motives that have defined Israel’s bilateral relationships with regional powers. What was once covert became gradually more overt. Israel’s ties with pre-revolutionary Iran have offered a formula for the Abraham Accords and its expansion. – Middle East Institute


The value of the Turkish lira as measured in dollars plunged Wednesday by more than 7 percent to a record low, signaling a potential shift in the government’s economic policy. – New York Times

Liam Peach writes: If Erdoğan’s shift proves only temporary, Turkey goes back to square one. A severe currency crisis would become a bigger threat and this could ultimately cause major strains in the banking sector and, perhaps most worryingly, the public finances. – Financial Times

Daniel Moss writes: Whatever Kavcioglu or his successor do, communication will be paramount. I’m just talking about smart forward guidance or a commanding press conference. Keeping the presidential palace onside will be vital. The press release will be read far and wide. But only one set of eyes will really matter. – Bloomberg

Can Selcuki writes: The opposition, on the other hand, now must reinvent itself and find ways to overcome the big split that for the past decade has kept it below the 50 percent threshold. The 48 percent it won is no small feat, but in an executive presidential system, it is simply not enough. – Foreign Policy 

Saudi Arabia

For most of the last six years, the leaders of Russia and Saudi Arabia worked with each other to control the global oil market during times of war, pandemic and dizzying price gyrations. But their alliance appears to be straining in ways that could help the Biden administration, which was eager to head off another significant jump in energy prices just ahead of Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s visit to Saudi Arabia this week. – New York Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman praised, during a telephone discussion on Wednesday, their cooperation within the context of the OPEC+ oil producers’ group, the Kremlin said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Kim Ghattas writes: Right now, the risk of confrontation between Israel and Iran’s proxies is also rising. In both cases, Saudi Arabia will find itself once more at the heart of things, probably pressed further to normalise ties with Israel. However the next global phase takes shape — the new that is not yet born — the Middle East will again prove key. – Financial Times

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Golf may not be as complex as ties with Iran, but it’s obvious that Riyadh has been able to make a lot of changes that a year ago no one would have predicted. If Saudi Arabia can also move on Israel normalization, that would be another game changer. – Jerusalem Post

Gulf States

U.N. investigators are compiling evidence on the development and use of chemical weapons by Islamic State extremists in Iraq after they seized about a third of the country in 2014, and are advancing work on the militant group’s gender-based violence and crimes against children, Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Christians and Yazidis, the head of the investigative team said Wednesday. – Associated Press

Voters in Kuwait returned most of their lawmakers to parliament in the third election in as many years amid widespread frustration with the ongoing political gridlock, according to results released Wednesday. – Associated Press

John Calabrese writes: Under these circumstances, whether Sudani’s administration will function any better than its predecessors or be fully able to seize on the oil revenue windfall to improve Iraqis’ welfare instead of further enriching the ruling elite remains to be seen. So, too, does the extent to which the roots and branches of China’s involvement in Iraq will grow deeper and longer. – Middle East Institute

Middle East & North Africa

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser visited Rabat on Wednesday as his government mulls a possible announcement of recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over disputed Western Sahara, officials said. – Reuters

The Egyptians are seeking to broker a deal that would allow the Palestinian Authority to resume control of the Rafah crossing between the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and Egypt, a Palestinian official in Ramallah said Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: Ohana was not exaggerating when he said that “history is happening before our eyes.” His visit is a meaningful and significant one in the strengthening of ties between Israel and a key Muslim state in the region. – Jerusalem Post

Eric Mandel writes: A combined U.S.-Saudi initiative to cover Omani cooperation with Israel is in the interests of all the nations involved, as well as the Palestinian people. But that will take political capital to happen. Perhaps, if America cannot convince Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman to normalize relations with Israel at this time, involving the Omanis could be an intermediary step—Washington could provide economic incentives and security guarantees to alleviate Omani worries. This would be in America’s and its Gulf allies’ interests, as anything that stabilizes the region is a benefit for all. – The National Interest

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission said Thursday it will investigate 237 more cases of South Korean adoptees who suspect their family origins were manipulated to facilitate their adoptions in Europe and the United States. – Associated Press

South Korea pledged support for its chip sector on Thursday, with President Yoon Suk Yeol describing competition in the industry as an “all-out war” amid heightened Sino-U.S. tension. – Reuters

A British marine insurance salesman and football club owner “kept North Korea’s foreign trade fleet afloat” in apparent violation of UN sanctions, years after the UK government was made aware of suspicions over his activities. – Financial Times

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen traveled to South Korea on Wednesday and met with Foreign Minister Park Jin in Seoul. He was in the Philippines earlier this week on a historic trip. The visit to South Korea is aimed at strengthening cooperation in the face of similar security challenges and deepening ties in East Asia, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. – Jerusalem Post

Gedaliah Afterman and Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein write: Then-president Shimon Peres visited South Korea, in 2010, as the first Israeli president to do so, and president Reuven Rivlin followed, in 2019. A visit by Yeol and other South Korean leaders to Israel could truly elevate the Israel-South Korea partnership not only bilaterally but in the Middle East and beyond. – Jerusalem Post


The day begins with goose-stepping. In the prison yards of juvenile facilities across Hong Kong, young men and women practice the form of marching used by the Chinese military, kicking their legs up high as guards yell out commands. – Washington Post

Walking through Nagu, a small town in the mountains of southwestern China, the signs of a vibrant Muslim community are ubiquitous. […]For decades, the mosque has been the pride of the Muslim Hui ethnic minority that lives here. Last month, it was also the scene of a confrontation. – New York Times

Democratic and Republican U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday urged the State Department to bar Hong Kong’s chief executive, who faces U.S. sanctions, from visiting San Francisco during November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. – Reuters

The US and China have only just started renewing diplomatic exchanges after tensions led to a rupture in communications and the trajectory of any rapprochement remains “uncertain,” the White House’s top Asia official said. – Bloomberg

Editorial: Last weekend—the 34th anniversary of the massacre—Hong Kong police announced eight arrests for seditious acts or breaching the public peace. Press reports put the arrested in the dozens. Whoever you are, wherever you live, the Communist Party’s Hong Kong agents are listening and ready to strike. – Wall Street Journal

Tommy Tuberville writes: The Chinese Communist Party is working overtime to infiltrate the American economy and exert control over our markets. We must take quick and decisive action to protect the investors and innovators who are driving our economic growth. The SEC and Finra need to wake up. – Wall Street Journal

Josh Rogin writes: The best the administration can do under these circumstances is bolster its alliances, stay active and present in Asia, stand up for American interests and values, and leave the door open for Beijing. But it takes two to tango, and China’s stance indicates that things will likely get worse before they get better. – Washington Post

Nicholas Kristof writes: Some day, I believe, China will also hail its heroes of 1989. In the meantime, all we can do is try to honor truth — often a messy, nuanced truth that still hides mysteries — and thus play our part in what the Czech-born writer Milan Kundera described as “the struggle of memory against forgetting.” – New York Times

Reid Smith writes: Ironically, perhaps, one may return to Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech to be reminded that “if history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.” If that is the case, then let us learn from the past to plan for the present. Perhaps we may yet avoid the sort of obsessive overreactions that will squander what we seek to preserve. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

Afghanistan urged Pakistan on Wednesday to stop arresting Afghan refugees, after 250 were detained by counterterrorism officials and other agencies for not having travel documents. – Associated Press

Pakistan stands to secure one board review under the current bailout package of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if measures in its budget, set to be unveiled on Friday, meet the lender’s expectations, a Fund official said. – Reuters

India is in talks with the United States to seek an exemption on steel and aluminum tariffs that were imposed by former U.S. President Donald Trump, while offering withdrawal of some retaliatory tariffs, three Indian sources told Reuters. – Reuters


In late April, a fictional Netflix drama about Taiwanese politics went viral on the island with a story line about sexual-assault allegations that convulse the ruling party. A little more than a month later, the plot has crossed over into the real world, with potential ramifications for political forces that the U.S. relies on to keep pressure on China. – Wall Street Journal

The US, Taiwan and Japan are to share real-time data from naval reconnaissance drones, according to four people familiar with the project, demonstrating Washington’s push to strengthen co-ordination in the event of a Chinese attack on Taiwan. – Financial Times

Australia’s trade minister has warned the EU that he will not sign off on a trade deal unless the bloc opens its market to more Australian farm products — while hailing the thawing relations between Canberra and Beijing. – Financial Times

Separatists in the Indonesian region of Papua where a New Zealand pilot was taken hostage in February have been siphoning off government aid money to buy black market guns for a deadly guerrilla war, officials say. – Reuters

Taiwan activated its defence systems on Thursday after reporting 37 Chinese military aircraft flying into the island’s air defence zone, some of which then flew into the western Pacific, in Beijing’s latest mass air incursion. – Reuters

South Korea will discuss with Japan re-establishment of their bilateral foreign exchange swap line that expired in 2015, its finance minister said on Thursday. – Reuters

Russian and Chinese long-range strategic bombers carried out joint patrols over the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea and the western Pacific Ocean but were at times accompanied by jet fighters from unidentified states, Russia said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Japan has conveyed “strong concern” and lodged a protest against China after the Chinese Navy entered Japan’s waters near Yakushima Island on Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said. – Reuters

New Zealand, long known for its staunch independence in foreign policy, sees like-minded partners as key to helping it navigate a more strategically challenging environment in the Asia Pacific region, its foreign minister said on Thursday. – Reuters

The German government said Wednesday that it is concerned by the recent detention of a prominent environmental campaigner in Vietnam, warning that a recent multi-billion-dollar deal to help the country phase out coal use requires the involvement of civil society activists. – Associated Press

An isolated murder, a brutal attempted killing and a murky disappearance: Laotian activists have been caught up in a series of alarming recent incidents that have spooked the reclusive communist state’s embattled dissident community. – Agence France-Presse

Myanmar singer Lily Naing Kyaw died in a Yangon hospital a week after being shot in the head – allegedly by gunmen opposed to the military she championed. Her death has not only shocked military supporters but also celebrities working with the pro-military media. – BBC

Taiwan’s Republic of China Navy is facing two looming threats from China and has been struggling to create a force structure to handle both. First, the ROCN must be able to meet the risk of a potential full-scale invasion by the People’s Republic of China. Second, it has to confront the constant grey zone activities carried out by Chinese forces that are harassing Taiwan’s borders on a daily basis. – USNI News


President Biden will meet with the U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Washington on Thursday as the British leader looks to leverage his country’s status as the U.S.’s premier security ally to deepen economic cooperation between the two nations. – Wall Street Journal

Even as Beijing moves closer to Moscow, and despite the war in Ukraine, a majority of Europeans still see China predominantly as “a necessary partner,” according to the poll of more than 6,000 people in 11 E.U. member states carried out in April by the European Council on Foreign Relations. – New York Times

Russia intends to block European Union countries from hosting next year’s U.N. international climate negotiations, according to internal emails seen by Reuters, a potential setback for EU-member Bulgaria’s competition with Azerbaijan and Armenia to draw the massive conference. – Reuters

The United States and the European Union told Kosovo on Wednesday to back down in a tense standoff with Serbs in the north of the country or face “consequences” from its longtime Western allies. – Reuters

Britain has committed to the removal of Chinese-made surveillance equipment from sensitive government sites as part of its latest plans to address national security concerns related to China. – Reuters

Britain’s King Charles may travel to France in September after a planned state visit in March was cancelled because of sometimes violent protests over reforms to the French pension system, BFM TV reported. – Reuters

Serbia’s president said his country will hold early elections as he faces unrelenting opposition protests over accusations that he’s promoting a “culture of violence” and stifling democracy. – Bloomberg

Japan’s defense minister expressed his country’s support for Sweden’s NATO membership during talks Wednesday with his Swedish counterpart, as the two sides called for stronger military ties amid shared concern over threats from Russia and China. – Associated Press

The president of Belarus has pardoned the girlfriend of a dissident journalist arrested in 2021 after being pulled off a commercial flight that was diverted to the country, a Russian governor reported Wednesday. – Associated Press

Greek officials have launched a series of high-level contacts with the newly elected government in Turkey in an effort to counter a surge in attempted crossings by migrants over a river that divides the two countries. – Associated Press

Germany is preparing to host the biggest air deployment exercise in NATO’s history, a show of force intended to impress allies and potential adversaries such as Russia, German and American officials said Wednesday. – Associated Press

The European Commission on Wednesday launched legal action against Poland over its creation of a controversial body probing “Russian influence” that is seen as targeting the opposition. – Agence France-Presse

Now, however, after a decade in which enlargement has been something of a dirty word in Brussels, a potentially transformational era has opened. Enlargement is back on the EU agenda. Suddenly, everyone in Brussels is talking about it. This time it is not just a matter of honeyed words. The change of tack is the latest unintended consequence of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. – Financial Times

The top dog at Paris just made Vladimir Putin’s day. President Macron, through a representative, nixed a recent proposal that would have seen the North Atlantic Treaty Organization open a liaison office in Japan. – New York Sun

U.S. and NATO officials are increasingly optimistic that Sweden will join the military alliance as its newest member by this summer, bringing an advanced military already closely integrated with Western allies into the fold as tensions with Russia increase. – Foreign Policy


The gunmen arrived at dawn on motorcycles, horses and in cars. For hours afterward, they fired into houses, rampaged through shops and razed clinics, witnesses said, in a frenzied attack that upended life in El Geneina, a city in the Darfur region of Sudan. – New York Times

A massive fire broke out on Wednesday near a military complex containing an arms factory in southern Khartoum that Sudan’s army has battled to defend in some of the fiercest fighting for weeks in its conflict with a rival faction, witnesses said. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Senegal’s President Macky Sall on Wednesday, and the two discussed the political situation and recent unrest in the African country, a State Department spokesperson said. – Reuters

Cameroon will begin construction in August of a railway line connecting its coast to a large iron ore deposit straddling its border with Congo Republic, the interim mines minister said. – Reuters

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba laid out his country’s plans to counter Russia’s influence in Africa, while saying he has no indication of what leaders from the continent are proposing in a planned peace initiative. – Bloomberg

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The bulwark states that are connected to the US and the West, and also are supposed to be more free and democratic, are the keys to not enabling extremists or groups linked to Russia or Iran to jump into the vacuum. As such, African Lion and countries like Senegal are important to keep an eye on for what may come next. – Jerusalem Post

Salem Alketbi writes: At the onset of the crisis, we issued a warning about this very matter: if the Saudi and American endeavors to seek resolutions to this unyielding crisis come to an end, the situation may deteriorate further. This is particularly true considering that African efforts have completely halted following the unsuccessful mediation attempts made at the incipient conflict. – Jerusalem Post

Latin America

El Salvador’s president signed into law an electoral reform on Wednesday that reduces the size of Congress by nearly a third, a move the ruling party says will reduce spending and critics say consolidates power ahead of elections. – Reuters

More top officials could soon follow the foreign minister in quitting to compete for the presidency, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday, as the race to succeed him begins to thin out the government. – Reuters

France is not against a long-delayed trade deal with South America’s Mercosur bloc, but doesn’t want to rush negotiations it says would risk its rejection by European parliaments if environmental and social concerns were not addressed. – Reuters

A new Constitutional Council dominated by conservative parties in charge of drafting Chile’s new constitution began its official duties on Wednesday, in the second attempt to replace the current text that dates back to the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship. – Reuters

A Brazilian Supreme Court justice on Wednesday asked for more time to study a case pitting the country’s Indigenous people against its powerful farm sector, a decision that is likely to give lawmakers more time to pass the measure favoring Big Agriculture. – Reuters

Senior U.S. policy makers took aim at China on Wednesday over its approach to Latin America, accusing Beijing of breaching economic norms and urging it to do more to help combat the illegal fentanyl trade. – Reuters


A former executive at ByteDance, the Chinese company which owns the popular short-video app TikTok, says in a legal filing that some members of the ruling Communist Party used data held by the company to identify and locate protesters in Hong Kong. – Associated Press

U.S. and British cybersecurity officials warned Wednesday that a Russian cyber-extortion gang’s hack of a file-transfer program popular with corporations could have widespread global impact. Initial data-theft victims include the BBC, British Airways and Nova Scotia’s government. – Associated Press

Britain will host a global summit on artificial intelligence safety later this year and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and U.S. President Joe Biden will discuss the technology at their Thursday meeting, the UK government said. – Reuters

Ransomware wasn’t even a thing the last time the White House updated its playbook for cooperating with industry to guard critical infrastructure, but a new, bipartisan report offers 12 recommendations for bringing the decade-old policy into the present day. – Defense One

The Defense Department is considering extending a “secure pipeline” to small businesses to help them protect the department’s controlled unclassified information (CUI) while also speeding up their software deliveries, according to an official in the DoD Chief Information Office (CIO). – Breaking Defense

For decades, Chinese hackers focused on wholesale and often ham-handed theft of Western trade secrets, what then-NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander called in 2012 “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.” But in recent years, the NSA and independent experts agree, the Chinese have gotten a lot subtler — and some of their best hackers have changed tactics, moving from using cyberspace for theft to using it to prepare the battlefield of a future conflict. – Breaking Defense

But less than a month after BIMI’s roll-out, scammers found a way around its controls and were able to successfully impersonate brands, sending emails to Google users that impersonated the logistics giant UPS. Now Google says it is tightening its BIMI verification process and is blaming an unnamed “third-party” for allowing its services to be used in ways that bypassed its security controls and delivered spoofed messages to inboxes. – CyberScoop

The U.S. government’s top cybersecurity agency and the FBI on Wednesday shared technical details associated with CL0P ransomware group after the group claimed responsibility for infiltrating a popular file sharing service, exposing companies globally to further attacks. – CyberScoop

U.S. government policies designed to protect critical infrastructure against hackers are woefully outdated and inadequate to safeguard sectors such as water and transportation against cyberthreats, according an influential congressionally mandated group of experts. – CyberScoop

The notorious North Korean hackers of Lazarus Group could potentially be responsible for the $35 million cryptocurrency heist from the decentralized wallet platform Atomic Wallet, according to analysts. – The Record

Japanese zipper giant YKK confirmed that its U.S. operations were targeted by hackers in recent weeks but said it was able to contain the threat before damage was caused. – The Record


The Pentagon needs to give the defense industry a more consistent demand signal on how many missiles, munitions and spare parts companies will need to build, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown said on Wednesday. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy must stay forward and  “in the way” to deter nations that challenge international rules, the chief of naval operations said Wednesday, days after a Chinese ship crossed dangerously close to American and Canadian navy ships in the Taiwan Strait. – Defense One

The US and China are neck and neck in quantum technology, witnesses warned the House Science Committee today. And if the US is to gain the edge, officials and experts argued, Washington should step up the National Quantum Initiative’s support to academic researchers still struggling to get access to experimental equipment and to startup companies still struggling to get investors. – Breaking Defense

The Space Force’s acquisition command plans to release “within a couple weeks” a draft “framework” for how commercial satellite services could be called up in times of crisis or conflict to support military missions for industry feedback — with an official “industry day” to discuss it planned for sometime next month, according to an officials involved. – Breaking Defense