Russia Plans to Cut Off Some Internet Access Next Week | Defense One


Russia will temporarily shut off many of its citizens’ access to the global Internet two days before Christmas in a test of its controversial RuNet program, according to an internal government document. RuNet aims to boost the government’s ability to better control internal digital traffic, launch cyber and information attacks against other nations, and track and censor dissidents.

The test will evaluate “the possibility of intercepting subscriber traffic and revealing information about the subscriber, blocking communication services,” according to a Dec. 5 document produced by Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media.

The document said the test was originally slated to take place on Dec. 19 but had been rescheduled for Dec. 23. (The documents were verified by the site Open Media.)

Source: Russia Plans to Cut Off Some Internet Access Next Week – Defense One

Welcome to third-world democracy and impeachment | TheHill


Are Chinese leaders correct in thinking that the U.S. is in irreversible decline, despite our current economic vitality?

The impeachment process in the House of Representatives certainly reinforces the view of certain foreign, authoritarian leaders that the U.S. is descending into a political chaos that characterizes third-world “democracies” and which often leads to one-person rule.

The impeachment of President Trump resembles attempts to impeach presidents in the Philippines.

That former U.S. territory has a constitution that in some ways is, and in important ways is not, like that of the U.S. The Philippine impeachment process is divided between two houses, as in the U.S.

Attempts to impeach presidents in the Philippines, however, have become routine in recent years, even an annual event from 2004 to 2008. The current president of the Philippines has been fighting off attempts to impeach him since his election in 2016.

Source: Welcome to third-world democracy and impeachment | TheHill

The Inevitable, Indefinite and Inconclusive Impeachment of Donald Trump | US News


Progressives had clamored for it for many months. Republicans called it a proxy attack on middle Americans. The House speaker didn’t want to do it but ultimately said the Constitution demanded it. A red-faced President Donald Trump, fuming and mocking his accusers, said it was an unfair personal affront that nonetheless would ultimately help him politically.

It seemed like a long time coming, and it finally happened this week: Donald J. Trump became the third president in American history to be impeached. The vote Wednesday night was its own historic resolution, a fact that will define Trump’s presidency and legacy even if he indeed wins reelection next year. And it was a goal of critics who wanted the president held accountable for actions they say violate his oath of office.

But the path forward is murky at best and does not look headed toward any kind of resolution for Congress or the country.

Source: The Inevitable, Indefinite and Inconclusive Impeachment of Donald Trump | The Civic Report | US News

Spotlight will be on U.S. chief justice in Trump trial and in major cases | Reuters


Roberts, 64, is set to preside over the trial in which the 100 U.S. senators will serve as jurors to decide whether to convict the president and remove him from office, an unlikely result considering Trump’s fellow Republicans control the chamber and a two-thirds majority is needed to oust him.

While the senators – not Roberts – set the rules for the trial and determine its outcome, he is positioned to play a central role in deciding significant cases now before the nine-member court that will directly impact Trump.

Source: Spotlight will be on U.S. chief justice in Trump trial and in major cases – Reuters

Pentagon to stockpile rare earth magnets for missiles, fighter jets | Reuters


The U.S. military plans to stockpile rare earth magnets used in Javelin missiles and F-35 fighter jets, according to a government document seen by Reuters, a step that critics say does little to help create a domestic industry to build specialized magnets now made almost exclusively in Asia.

The Pentagon is seeking proposals to cache a rotating six-month supply of neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) magnets, a type of rare earth magnet essential to weapons manufacturing, according to the document, detailing the latest attempt to weaken China’s control over the rare earths sector.

Beijing has been using that prowess for leverage in its trade war with Washington.

Source: Exclusive: Pentagon to stockpile rare earth magnets for missiles, fighter jets – Reuters

From housewives to hijab-clad students, women take center stage in Indian protests | Reuters


As protests in India against a new citizenship law that critics say targets Muslims grow by the day, they have drawn many women and girls – some housewives, some students with hijabs covering their hair, and others in full-length burqa robes – in a rare sign of public anger against the government.

The women can be seen painting graffiti on university walls, organizing rallies and gathering funds for posters and food for protesters.

Source: From housewives to hijab-clad students, women take center stage in Indian protests – Reuters

How murder, kidnappings and a miscalculation set off Hong Kong revolt


Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says the plan that ignited the revolt in her city was born of a straightforward quest for justice.

While on a trip to Taiwan, a Hong Kong man strangled his Hong Kong girlfriend, then returned home and confessed. The city lacked an extradition pact with Taiwan, and Lam argued the only way to send him back for trial was new laws that also would enable sending criminal suspects to mainland China. She dismissed fears about the proposal – which would mean Hong Kong residents could face trial in China’s Communist Party-controlled courts – and pushed ahead.

As protests raged this summer, even in private Lam kept to her story that she, not Beijing, was the prime mover, driven by “compassion” for the young victim’s devastated parents. “This is not something instructed, coerced by the central government,” she told a room of Hong Kong businesspeople at a talk in August.

A Reuters examination has found a far more complicated story. Officials in Beijing first began pushing for an extradition law two decades ago. This pressure to extend the arm of Chinese law into Hong Kong’s independent British-style legal system intensified in 2017, a year before the slaying and two years before Lam’s administration announced its extradition bill.

The impetus came from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the Communist Party’s powerful internal anti-corruption body, which has been spearheading Chinese President Xi Jinping’s mass anti-graft campaign.

Source: How murder, kidnappings and a miscalculation set off Hong Kong revolt

Australia fires: The huge economic cost of Australia’s bushfires | BBC News


Australia is facing a massive bill from unprecedented, deadly fires that have burned an area bigger than Belgium.

Insurers have received claims worth A$240m (£126m ; $165m) since October, and they expect the number will grow significantly.

Medical bills from the fires and smoke haze could also run into the hundreds of millions.

Source: Australia fires: The huge economic cost of Australia’s bushfires – BBC News

I Helped Write the ‘Afghanistan Papers.’ What They Reveal Shouldn’t Be a Surprise


Since the publication of the Afghanistan Papers, veterans of America’s longest war have pointed out that the shortcomings of U.S. policy were well known to anyone who had ever done a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Those failures were advertised by members of the U.S. government in congressional testimony and by U.S. military officials themselves. They were also meticulously documented in the myriad audits produced by both SIGAR and the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

It was hardly a secret to anyone who spent time there that many American officials charged with managing U.S. reconstruction efforts were “devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan,” in the words of Doug Lute, the former Afghan “war czar” for the Bush and Obama administrations.

It is important that Americans hear that, and that they hear it from the officials they vested with responsibility for overseeing the billions of dollars spent in the country.

Source: I Helped Write the ‘Afghanistan Papers.’ What They Reveal Shouldn’t Be a Surprise

25 Ideas That Will Shape the 2020s: Economy, Markets, Tech, Health, A.I., Work, Society and More | Fortune


Will paper money disappear? Will gene-tailored medicine transform how we treat disease? And will you finally trade in that juicy steak for “cell grown” meat?

As a new decade begins, it’s hard to think of an industry that doesn’t feel like it’s on the brink of a massive transformation.

Source: 25 Ideas That Will Shape the 2020s: Economy, Markets, Tech, Health, A.I., Work, Society and More | Fortune