The U.S. Is Making Survival Harder for Women in Afghanistan


A month ago, when all eyes were on the war in Ukraine, the Taliban quietly reneged on their promise to put school-age girls back in classrooms. This followed a six-month period in which women faced crippling restrictions on their employment, freedom of movement, dress, access to healthcare and participation in sports, plus gender-based violence, torture and arrest if they protested. But the international community’s initial response—to pull humanitarian aid, for instance—threatens to make matters even worse.

Since the U.S. withdrawal in August 2021, U.S. government agencies and representatives, like the wider international donor community, have been struggling to determine how best to support women’s human rights in Afghanistan against the Taliban’s repression. Dilemmas abound. For instance, should the U.S. insist on improved conditions for women in return for lifting sanctions, even if the sanctions themselves are hurting women? And should the U.S. support contenders against Taliban rule even if renewed civil war puts women at risk?

Source: The U.S. Is Making Survival Harder for Women in Afghanistan

U.S. has fresh chance at energy independence with battery production


Batteries are the new oil — and the U.S. is lagging behind Europe and China in the race to make them.

Why it matters: The historic shift to electric vehicles will give the U.S. a fresh chance to achieve energy independence, but it will require complex strategic moves that won’t pay off for years.

The big picture: Most of today’s advanced batteries — not only to power cars and consumer electronics but also to store clean energy — are sourced in Asia.

Source: U.S. has fresh chance at energy independence with battery production

EETimes | Chipmakers Increase Share of Global IC Wafer Capacity


Samsung, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), Micron, SK Hynix, and Kioxia/Western Digital (WD) increased their share of the world’s silicon wafer capacity to a total of 57% by the end of 2021, according to market watcher Knometa Research. That share increased by 1% from 2020 as the industry becomes more top heavy, Knometa said in a report.

“The consolidation of IC manufacturers has contributed to annual volume changes in capacity being less dramatic,” said Knometa founder Trevor Yancey. “The reduction in the number of manufacturers has led to better overall regulation of supply vs. demand. Overcapacity conditions used to be more common and pronounced when there were many manufacturers vying for more market share.”

Source: EETimes – Chipmakers Increase Share of Global IC Wafer Capacity

US, EU LNG plan, take Russia out of energy loop | New Europe


Following a meeting in Brussels between US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on March 25, the United States and the EU Commission announced measures to reduce Europe’s dependency on Russian energy, planning to immediately establish a joint Task Force on Energy Security to set out the parameters of this cooperation and execute its implementation.

The US vowed to ensure additional liquified natural gas (LNG) volumes for the EU market of at least 15 billion cubic meters in 2022 with expected increases going forward. The EU Commission said it will work with EU Member States toward ensuring stable demand for additional US. LNG until at least 2030 of approximately 50 billion cubic meters per year, on the understanding that the price formula of LNG supplies to the EU should reflect long-term market fundamentals, and stability of the cooperation of the demand and supply side, and that this growth be consistent with our shared net zero goals.

Source: US, EU LNG plan, take Russia out of energy loop | New Europe

Sanctions expand as Russia approaches major default | New Europe


No American President ever travels to Europe without a bag full of so-called “deliverables” and US President Joe Biden duly arrived in Brussels last month for NATO, EU and G-7 Summits with a long list of new sanctions and related economic measures.  These new US sanctions, however, are unlikely to have a major impact on Russia’s economy because they were for the most part an expansion and deepening of similar sanctions announced in the first weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

For the Biden trip, the US announced on March 24 that it was “designating” (asset freezes and transaction/travel bans) what it called “key enablers” of the invasion. This included dozens of Russian defense companies, 328 members of the Russian State Duma, and the head of Russia’s largest financial institution. The full list here:  U.S. Treasury Sanctions Russia’s Defense-Industrial Base, the Russian Duma and Its Members, and Sberbank CEO | U.S. Department of the Treasury

Source: Sanctions expand as Russia approaches major default | New Europe

The Pandora Papers: Exposing Iran’s clandestine financial system | New Europe


As the international community continues to coordinate a response to the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, longstanding debates surrounding sanction efficacy and compliance have been thrust back into the public spotlight.

There is no better example than Iran to encapsulate the complex, dichotomous reality of international sanction regimes. Long tarnished for its support for regional terrorism and patronage of repressive governments around the world, the Iranian regime under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the dubious honour of being one of the most sanctioned regimes on the planet.

Source: The Pandora Papers: Exposing Iran’s clandestine financial system | New Europe

Nokia, Ericsson to Exit Russia | EE Times Europe


Scandinavian mobile infrastructure suppliers Nokia and Ericsson have successively announced their decision to suspend all business activities in Russia. The financial impact is expected to be limited.

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, the two European infrastructure makers confirmed they had stopped supplying Russian operators such as Veon, MegaFon, and MTS.

Nokia and Ericsson are now going one step further.

In a statement published last week, Nokia declared, “It has been clear for Nokia since the early days of the invasion of Ukraine that continuing our presence in Russia would not be possible. Over the last weeks we have suspended deliveries, stopped new business and are moving our limited R&D activities out of Russia.”

Source: Nokia, Ericsson to Exit Russia – EE Times Europe

China looks to learn from Russian failures in Ukraine | AP News


With its ground troops forced to pull back in Ukraine and regroup, and its Black Sea flagship sunk, Russia’s military failings are mounting. No country is paying closer attention than China to how a smaller and outgunned force has badly bloodied what was thought to be one of the world’s most powerful armies.

China, like Russia, has been ambitiously reforming its Soviet-style military and experts say leader Xi Jinping will be carefully parsing the weaknesses exposed by the invasion of Ukraine as they might apply to his own People’s Liberation Army and his designs on the self-governed island of Taiwan.

Source: China looks to learn from Russian failures in Ukraine | AP News

How Fracking Could Cushion Oil Price Shocks | Knowledge at Wharton


Fracking, or the extraction of oil and gas from shale rock formations, is suddenly more attractive with the surge in oil prices fueled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The conflict threatens disruption of natural gas flows from Ukraine to Europe, while oil companies with interests in Russia could be caught in the crossfire of sanctions by the U.S. and European countries. A recent research paper by experts at Wharton and elsewhere titled “A World Equilibrium Model of the Oil Market” makes the business case for fracking as a viable mitigating factor to soften the impact of oil and gas price shocks.

Source: How Fracking Could Cushion Oil Price Shocks – Knowledge at Wharton

Is This the End of Globalization? | Knowledge at Wharton


BlackRock CEO Larry Fink thinks the war in Ukraine is accelerating the end of globalization that has shaped the new world order for the last 30 years.

Oaktree Capital Management founder Howard Marks said the war is forcing the pendulum of international affairs to swing away from globalization as companies and governments rethink their interdependence.

Wharton management professor Exequiel (Zeke) Hernandez disagrees. He said it will take much more than a conflict between two countries to destroy the economic fundamentals of international trade.

Source: Is This the End of Globalization? – Knowledge at Wharton