Comfortably Reelected, Indonesia’s Jokowi Opens the Door to China’s Belt and Road

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The ballots hadn’t even been counted yet when the deals were announced. On April 26, just two days after Election Day, Indonesia signed 23 memorandums of understanding with China, worth $14.2 billion in all, for several major infrastructure projects.

They came after months of silence about Chinese investment in Indonesia—by design, as President Joko Widodo feared attempts by the opposition to paint him as being too pro-China.

It worked, as, in the end, the issue of Chinese investment did not play the same divisive role in Indonesia that it did in elections in Malaysia, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Instead, Jokowi, as Widodo is widely known, easily won reelection.

Source: Comfortably Reelected, Indonesia’s Jokowi Opens the Door to China’s Belt and Road

Understanding the China-North Korea Relationship


China is North Korea’s most important trading partner.

It has helped sustain Kim Jong-un’s regime, and has opposed harsh international sanctions on North Korea in the hope of avoiding regime collapse and a refugee influx across their 870-mile border.

Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and missile launches have complicated its relationship with Beijing, which has advocated for the resumption of the Six Party Talks, the multilateral framework aimed at denuclearizing North Korea.

A purge of top North Korean officials since Kim came to power also spurred concern from China about the stability and direction of North Korean leadership. Yet North Korea’s recent diplomatic push with the United States and South Korea appears to have paved the way for a rapprochement between Kim and China’s Xi Jinping.

Source: Understanding the China-North Korea Relationship

This Norwegian Island Wants to Become the World’s First Time-Free Zone | Smithsonian

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During winters on Sommarøy, a small Norwegian island that sits north of the Arctic Circle, the sun does not rise. And for 69 days during summer, it doesn’t set. Needless to say, residents of Sommarøy have a different conception of time than people who live in parts of the world where the hours of the day are split into darkness and light.

Kjell Ove Hveding is among those who want to see time abolished on Sommarøy. Last week, he presented a Norwegian member of parliament with a petition, signed by the island’s residents, asking for Sommarøy to become the world’s first time-free zone.

The proposal is “sparse on details,” according to Gizmodo’s Ryan F. Mandelbaum, and O’Hare notes that a publicity boost for this tourist destination “could well be the primary aim of the campaign.”

But in practice, living on a time-free island might mean that stores would open when staff is available, school hours would be flexible and, reports Joseph Brean of the National Post, there would be no clocks.

Source: This Norwegian Island Wants to Become the World’s First Time-Free Zone | Smart News Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

Great Power Competition Ushers in a New Generation of European Weapons | Defense One


This week’s Paris Air Show marked the western European debut of Russian Helicopters’ Ansat light helicopter, just part of Russia’s recently renewed visibility at a show that was once known for dueling superpower aircraft demonstrations.

Add that to the buzz around various European advanced-weapons efforts launched since Russia illegally annexed Crimea, and this year’s Paris show began to look like the latest example of great power competition, the foreign-policy chess match predicted by the U.S. National Defense Strategy that’s expected to play out in the coming decades.

“It’s like the Cold War all over again,” quipped one U.S. defense executive nearby.

Source: Great Power Competition Ushers in a New Generation of European Weapons – Defense One

Embraer foresees world demand for 10,550 new aircraft with up to 150 seats over the next 20 years | Intelligent Aerospace


Embraer announced at the 53rd International Paris Air Show that over the next 20 years, the company forecasts a steady market demand for 10,550 new aircraft with up to 150 seats worldwide, worth USD $600 billion.

Market growth will drive 55% of total demand and the remaining 45% will be delivered to replace ageing aircraft.

Source: Embraer foresees world demand for 10,550 new aircraft with up to 150 seats over the next 20 years | Intelligent Aerospace

CISA Warns Someone is Impersonating Its Emails | Nextgov


The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency delivered a new warning this week against an email phishing scam in which bad actors con users into opening malicious attachments that appear to be legitimate notifications from the Homeland Security Department.

According to an alert from the agency, the email campaign uses a spoofed email address that looks like a real alert from the National Cyber Awareness System. If opened, the message entices recipients to download malware through an attachment.

This is only the latest of a variety of spamming threats targeting the government in recent months.

Source: CISA Warns Someone is Impersonating Its Emails – Nextgov

House Democrats Want To Kill This More Useable Nuke. They’re Right. | Government Executive


After the 2018 midterm elections, it seemed likely that the new Democratic-led House would provide more aggressive oversight of the Trump administration’s unnecessary, unsustainable, and unsafe plans to augment the role of nuclear weapons and retreat from the longstanding U.S. leadership role on arms control and nonproliferation.

So far, the House appropriations and armed services committees have done just that.

The early versions of the House’s 2020 defense and energy and water appropriations bills and national defense authorization act send a resounding message of concern about the new nuclear capabilities proposed in the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, or NPR, released in February 2018.

Most notably, the legislation provides none of the requested $29.6 million for and prohibits fielding of the W76-2, a new and more usable low-yield warhead for submarine-launched ballistic missiles, or SLBMs.

Source: House Democrats Want To Kill This More Useable Nuke. They’re Right. – Government Executive

Inside President Trump’s Untested Re-Election Strategy | Time


Once again, Trump is putting his own instincts at the center of his campaign. The political mercenaries who tried to discipline his impulses in 2016 have been shown the door.

The 2020 campaign is unmistakably Trump’s show. “We all have our meetings,” the President says. “But I generally do my own thing.”

Gone is the rickety operation that eked out an upset victory over Hillary Clinton. In its place, advisers boast, is a state-of-the-art campaign befitting an incumbent President.

Trump’s campaign is gearing up to spend $1 billion, and may well get there. His team has spent more money, earlier in the campaign, than any re-election bid in recent history.

Campaign staff sit in slick offices in a glass-skinned tower overlooking the Potomac River in Arlington, Va. And Trump has won total control of the Republican National Committee, which fought against him for much of 2016.

Source: Inside President Trump’s Untested Re-Election Strategy | Time

The Spirit of the Inquisition Lives in Science | Nautilus


Jerome was Europe’s pre-eminent inventor, physician, astrologer, and mathematician in the 16th century. He created the first theory of probability, and discovered the square root of a negative number, something we now call the imaginary number and an essential part of our understanding of how the universe holds together.

He invented the mechanical gimbal that was to make the printing press possible. His idea led to the “Cardan joint” that takes the rotary power in the driveshaft of your car’s engine and allows it to be transmitted to the front and rear axles.

He pioneered the experimental method of research in areas as diverse as medical cures for deafness and hernia, cryptography, and speaking with the dead (forgive him, his were not strictly scientific times).

Source: The Spirit of the Inquisition Lives in Science – Issue 73: Play – Nautilus

Trump’s EPA Signs ‘Deadly’ Clean Power Plan Replacement | EcoWatch

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Former coal lobbyist and Trump-appointed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a rule Wednesday that officially replaces the Obama-era Clean Power Plan with a new regulation that Wheeler said could lead to the opening of more coal plants, the Associated Press reported.

Source: Trump’s EPA Signs ‘Deadly’ Clean Power Plan Replacement – EcoWatch