Senate braces for bitter fight over impeachment rules | TheHill


The Senate is barreling toward a bitter, potentially lengthy fight Tuesday over the rules governing President Trump’s impeachment trial.

After two days of pomp and bipartisanship last week, the battle over the trial proceedings is now expected to descend into raucous partisanship that threatens to hang over the rest of the trial.

Source: Senate braces for bitter fight over impeachment rules | TheHill

Putin Seeks to Plug Gaps in Russia’s State-Driven Tech Efforts | Defense One


While most media coverage of Vladimir Putin’s Wednesday speech focused on moves that may extend his hold on power, the president also announced various measures meant to foster the country’s technological efforts as well.

In his speech to the Russian parliament, Putin urged the Russian legislature to pass a “technological legislative package” intended to “launch a flexible mechanism of experimental legal regimes for the development and implementation of new technologies in Russia, such as artificial intelligence, to establish modern regulation of big data turnover based on the best world standards, as well as establish mechanisms for state support and instruments of direct and venture financing.”

He offered no details, yet his speech marks a mid-point, of sorts, in national efforts to spur innovation. Recent years have seen a proliferation of government-sponsored projects intended to lead and facilitate the country’s technological development.

Yet Putin appears to understand that Russia’s entrepreneurs are still not getting the necessary assistance and flexibility to be fully productive.

Source: Putin Seeks to Plug Gaps in Russia’s State-Driven Tech Efforts – Defense One

Who gained from global growth last decade—and who will benefit by 2030?


Around the world, household final consumption expenditure rose by $18.2 trillion in 2011 PPP terms between 2010 and 2020, from $46.5 trillion to $64.8 trillion.

This growth, averaging about 3.3 percent per year, was the same as the average growth over the previous forty years—a bit better than growth in the first decade of this century, a bit worse than the growth in the last decade of the last century. It represents a continuation of a period of sustained advances in material prosperity in most places across the world that has seen average real consumption per person more than doubling in the last 40 years.

But as we all know, averages can be deceiving. What matters is how growth has been distributed. Who gained most and who gained least?

To answer these questions, I broke down household consumption into four different groups—the poor, the vulnerable, the middle class and the rich—in 167 countries for which distributional data is available, representing 97 percent of the world’s population and 95 percent of global GDP.

Source: Who gained from global growth last decade—and who will benefit by 2030?

Central banks join forces to look at future digital currencies | Reuters


Major central banks are looking at the case for issuing their own digital currencies, the Bank of England and European Central Bank said on Tuesday, amid a growing debate over the future of money and who controls it.

The central banks of Britain, the euro zone, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland will share experiences in a new group headed by former European Central Bank official Benoit Coeure and assisted by the Bank of International Settlements, they said.

Source: Central banks join forces to look at future digital currencies – Reuters

Huawei CFO’s legal team to contest U.S. extradition in day 2 of Canada hearing | Reuters


Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is set to return to a Vancouver court on Tuesday, where her lawyers will build on their arguments against the U.S. extradition request that they say is based a sanctions violation and not bank fraud.

Meng, 47, arrived in a Vancouver courtroom on Monday for the first phase of a hearing that will last at least four days, during which her legal team argued that “double criminality” was at the heart of the case, as China repeated its call for Canada to release her.

Source: Huawei CFO’s legal team to contest U.S. extradition in day 2 of Canada hearing – Reuters

Apple dropped plan for encrypting backups after FBI complained | Reuters


Apple Inc (AAPL.O) dropped plans to let iPhone users fully encrypt backups of their devices in the company’s iCloud service after the FBI complained that the move would harm investigations, six sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The tech giant’s reversal, about two years ago, has not previously been reported. It shows how much Apple has been willing to help U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, despite taking a harder line in high-profile legal disputes with the government and casting itself as a defender of its customers’ information.

Source: Exclusive: Apple dropped plan for encrypting backups after FBI complained – sources – Reuters

Trump impeachment: What happens next? | Reuters


Here is what to look out for next as the proceedings advance in U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate …

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Source: Trump impeachment: What happens next? – Reuters

Swiss uncovered suspected Davos spy plot by Russian ‘plumbers’ | Reuters


Swiss officials foiled an apparent spying operation by Russians posing as plumbers in Davos, site of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, a newspaper reported on Tuesday, but police did not confirm key details of the account.

The report in the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper said the two Russians were checked by Swiss police in August last year in the ski resort, which is hosting the WEF gathering of the global business and political elite this week. The pair presented diplomatic passports and left the country, the paper said.

Source: Swiss uncovered suspected Davos spy plot by Russian ‘plumbers’: paper – Reuters

Five Questions About the Senate Impeachment Trial Answered | Council on Foreign Relations


The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump began today as the House trial managers read the articles of impeachment on the Senate floor and Chief Justice John Roberts swore in ninety-nine U.S. senators. (Senator James Inhofe was back home in Oklahoma attending to a family emergency; he will be sworn in next Tuesday.)

Each senator pledged to “do impartial justice according the Constitution and the laws.” The Senate then sent a writ of summons to the White House formally notifying the president that he will be tried for abuse of office and obstruction of justice, and inviting him to mount a defense. He has until Saturday evening to respond.

The impeachment trial will likely dominate the news for the rest of the month, if not longer. In doing so, it could potentially affect the conduct of U.S. foreign policy and the rhythms of the Democratic presidential campaign.

Source: Five Questions About the Senate Impeachment Trial Answered | Council on Foreign Relations

Why Fighting Corruption Is Key in a ‘New Era of Great-Power Competition’


Both countries are increasingly weaponizing corruption by using flows of illicit money and opaque deals to gain influence in foreign nations, from the Solomon Islands to Montenegro.

Efforts to export these kleptocratic practices are key elements of Chinese and Russian foreign policy. They imperil American interests by compromising the independence of affected states and corroding their democratic governance.

As the United States seeks to recalibrate its foreign assistance spending to compete with Beijing and Moscow, it should augment efforts to tackle corruption.

Political systems plagued by graft are more susceptible to foreign malign influence because they incentivize leaders to accumulate power and wealth rather than advance broader national interests. Newer democracies and authoritarian governments are particularly vulnerable because their institutions are weak or have been captured by elites.

Source: Why Fighting Corruption Is Key in a ‘New Era of Great-Power Competition’