The Defense Department Needs a Real Technology Strategy | Defense One


Defense Department leaders agree the U.S. military must reinvigorate its technological edge.

They just can’t agree on which technologies matter. Nor do they appear to be laying out arguments that would help the rest of the Pentagon, lawmakers, and industry understand which technologies will matter most in tomorrow’s wars, and therefore which should receive top priority in terms of effort and funding.

In short, DOD needs a technology strategy.

Source: The Defense Department Needs a Real Technology Strategy – Defense One

Hear our prayers – coronavirus cuts off France’s Mont Saint-Michel | Reuters


In normal times, the mount draws more than 2 million visitors a year. Now it lies empty except for 30 local residents whose restaurants, souvenir shops and cafes depend on the influx of tourists.

The abbey was founded in 966, built on a sanctuary dedicated to the Archangel Michel, but it was in the 13th century that work began on the Gothic center-piece of its architecture, with towering walls and soaring pinnacles.

Tourists began swarming to the abbey and the village that arose in the shadows of its walls in the 1980s after it was designated a World Heritage Site.

Now with France under virtual lockdown, however, the Mont Saint-Michel is closed to the public and tourism is almost the only source of income.

Source: Hear our prayers – coronavirus cuts off France’s Mont Saint-Michel – Reuters

India’s migrant workers fall through cracks in coronavirus lockdown | Reuters


In the shutdown, India has banned domestic and international travel, and factories, schools, offices and all shops other than those supplying essential services have been shut. Taken together, the measures amount to one of the harshest lockdowns in the world.

Cases here have spiked to nearly 17,000, with more than 500 deaths. On April 14, the government extended the curbs until at least May 3, prompting clashes between police and migrants trying to leave India’s financial capital, Mumbai.

Migrants are the backbone of the urban economy. Construction workers such as Dayaram are a necessity for India’s rapidly expanding cities. Others clean toilets, drive taxis and deliver takeout. They predominantly earn daily wages, with no prospect of job security, and live in dirty, densely populated slums, saving money to send back home.

Source: Special Report: India’s migrant workers fall through cracks in coronavirus lockdown – Reuters

China says ‘resolutely’ supports Hong Kong’s arrest of activists | Reuters


China on Tuesday offered strong support to the Hong Kong government’s decision to arrest 15 activists, and said certain “radicals” in the city were blind to the interference of outside forces, in pointed reference to Washington and London.

Hong Kong police arrested 15 activists, including veteran politicians, a publishing tycoon and senior barristers, in raids on Saturday in the biggest crackdown on the city’s pro-democracy movement since the outbreak of mass protests last year, drawing condemnation from the United States and Britain.

They were detained on charges of illegal assembly.

Source: China says ‘resolutely’ supports Hong Kong’s arrest of activists – Reuters

Dropping Medicare age to 60? No more than a start in the right direction | Reuters


A higher Medicare age was an awful policy idea when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives pitched it in 2017 (reut.rs/3cjvT01). It was just as bad in various proposals from Paul Ryan to reform federal spending when he ran the House Budget Committee and served as speaker of the House. And just imagine what it could have meant during today’s coronavirus outbreak, which disproportionately affects older adults who rely on Medicare.

The pandemic has made the yawning gaps and inequities in our health insurance system painfully obvious. And until now, the dream of universal health insurance coverage has seemed very distant.

Source: Column: Dropping Medicare age to 60? No more than a start in the right direction – Reuters

How US support for North Korea’s dire medical system could help build trust


In light of the devastating nature of COVID-19, there may be a face-saving opening to reinvigorate U.S. diplomatic engagement with North Korea. Even if the DPRK regime rebuffs attempts to restart talks on denuclearization amid the COVID crisis, the U.S. should attempt to better understand and bolster the DPRK’s medical capabilities in the short and medium term.

Such efforts could prevent the country from becoming an opaque disease reservoir in Asia. In the long term, U.S. assistance — through robust medical exchanges and funding a large-scale international program — would help limit future pandemics, enhance life expectancy for North Korean citizens, foster goodwill, and build credible trust to strengthen future bilateral talks.

Source: How US support for North Korea’s dire medical system could help build trust

What all policy analysts need to know about data science


Conversations around data science typically contain a lot of buzzwords and broad generalizations that make it difficult to understand its pertinence to governance and policy. Even when well-articulated, the private sector applications of data science can sound quite alien to public servants.

This is understandable, as the problems that Netflix and Google strive to solve are very different than those government agencies, think tanks, and nonprofit service providers are focused on. This does not mean, however, that there is no public sector value in the modern field of data science.

With qualifications, data science offers a powerful framework to expand our evidence-based understanding of policy choices, as well as directly improve service delivery.

Source: What all policy analysts need to know about data science

Mexican criminal groups see Covid-19 crisis as opportunity to gain more power | The Guardian


As Mexico braces for Covid-19 – the peak of infections is expected in May – criminal groups are positioning themselves to leverage the pandemic for their own ends.

Over the past 20 years, successive Mexican governments have proven incapable of curbing illegal armed groups whose expanding territorial control has brought ever- worsening levels of lethal conflict.

Close to 200 criminal groups are active in the country, according to open-source analysis conducted by Crisis Group, driving new homicide records by the year.

34,582 homicides were recorded in 2019, making it the bloodiest year in the country since modern record-keeping began in the 1990s.

Source: Mexican criminal groups see Covid-19 crisis as opportunity to gain more power | World news | The Guardian

Australia to make Google and Facebook pay for news content


Global digital platforms Google and Facebook will be forced to pay for news content in Australia, the government said Monday, as the coronavirus pandemic causes a collapse in advertising revenue.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would release in late July draft rules for the platforms to pay fair compensation for the journalistic content siphoned from news media.

Source: Australia to make Google and Facebook pay for news content

Nationalizing Supply Chains Is the Wrong Response to COVID-19


There is nascent evidence that Trump’s trade war with China has caused some reshuffling of supply chains, but mainly to other parts of Asia, not to America. Now, though, some trade hawks in the administration appear to view the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to encourage firms to move their supply chains to the U.S., no matter the cost.

The Trump administration is not the only government looking to reduce reliance on imports of critical medical equipment and supplies. French President Emmanuel Macron recently expressed sympathy for the idea, and his finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, has reportedly directed French companies to review their supply chains and suggested that they diversify away from China and the rest of Asia. But the European Union has authority over trade policy for its members, and the bloc’s director-general for trade, Sabine Weyand, recently expressed skepticism that any country—even a whole continent—could achieve self-sufficiency in these or other products.

That means new protectionist policies are more likely to gain traction in Washington.

Source: Nationalizing Supply Chains Is the Wrong Response to COVID-19