China’s Military Moves
October 1, 2019
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”
“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War
China’s Military in Hong Kong
- New reports by Chinese envoys have revealed that China has been slowly increasing the number of troops stationed in Hong Kong since the first demonstrations and protests began earlier this year.
- Upwards of twelve thousand Chinese troops are now stationed in Hong Kong, and amongst them are members of the People’s Armed Police, a paramilitary force that answers directly to President Xi Jinping. Arriving by trucks, armored cars, busses, and ships as late as last month, armed forces have been moved into the island territory under the guise of being a “routine rotation” of Chinese forces kept in Hong Kong since the city’s handover from Britain in 1997.
- The envoys who have revealed the news have not disclosed how they determined that the recent troop movement was a reinforcement or how they arrived at their troop estimates. China’s Ministry of National Defense has made no comment on the situation.
- Foreign analysts have chimed in on the news, stating that it was on a larger scale than previously estimated and expected. The most surprising fact was that the People’s Armed Police, often referred to as the PAP, were present, as they have been an increasingly important military unit. A force to be reckoned with, demonstrations and protests have been careful to avoid stepping too far out of line as to have direct confrontation with the PAP.
- At 70, People’s Republic Of China Faces Economic And Political Headwinds (NPR)
- China anniversary: The deep cuts of 70 years of Communist rule: China’s extraordinary rise was a defining story of the 20th Century, but as it prepares to mark its 70th anniversary, the BBC’s John Sudworth in Beijing asks who has really won under the Communist Party’s rule. (BBC)
- Exclusive: Nasdaq cracks down on IPOs of small Chinese companies (Reuters)
- The Tenacity of Chinese Communism: How the party revived an ancient philosophy to extol order and compel obedience. (NYT, $)
Dude, Where’s My Plastic?
- Do you really know where your “recycled” plastics end up? A slew of reports that Canadian plastic has been washing up on foreign shores have sprouted up in the past year, prompting CBC’s Marketplace to try and solve the mystery.
- Journalists bought bales of plastic ready to be recycled and reintroduced them into the recycling stream in British Columbia with trackers embedded inside. Three major waste collection businesses were contacted: Merlin Plastics, Waste Connections of Canada, and GFL Environmental Inc.
- Out of the three companies used, only one fulfilled its promise of recycling plastic waste bales. Merlin Plastics properly processed, recycled, and resold the renewed plastic to a customer, while GFL’s plastic ended up at a waste-to-energy facility, and Waste Connections plastic lead straight to a landfill and junkyard.
- Recent reports have shown that out of an average 3.3 million metric tonnes of plastic consumed annually, about 2.8 million metric tonnes were thrown away as garbage instead of being recycled properly – in most part due to lax policies and regulations set by the government. (CBC)
Brexit? He Regrets It
- In his new book, For The Record, former British prime minister David Cameron described calling for the Brexit referendum as his ‘greatest regret’.
- In 2016, Cameron called for a vote on the Brexit referendum, asking British voters whether the country should stay in the Europen Union or not. Cameron opposed the exit, and ultimately left his post as prime minister when voters decided to leave the EU, citing an inability to carry out negotiations in good faith for a result which he did not support.
- Cameron voiced his support for current British prime minister Boris Johnson as he tries to work out a deal for the UK to leave the EU, but still believes that the UK would be better off as part of the EU.
- Cameron expressed that he will always wonder if he could have done more to change the outcome of the vote, and also stated that he feels “deeply depressed” at the state of UK politics today. (NPR)
- U.S. Businesswoman Admitted Affair With Boris Johnson, U.K. Report Says (NYT, $)
Command and Conquer: Russian Revanchism
- The government of the Central African Republic has turned to Russian assistance in an effort to regain control of the country’s diamond mines. The mines are currently held by different rebel groups, who have fought over control of the mines throughout the nation’s six year civil war.
- Russian mercenaries are training government soldiers, a Russian spy is now the top security advisor to the president, and Russians are also facilitating peace talks with local warlords.
- The man behind these efforts is Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, who is close with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Prigozhin was recently indicted by the US for meddling in the controversial 2016 presidential election. He has ties to many businesses in the Central African Republic, from mining to security. Three journalists were also mysteriously killed last year as they researched his links to mining in the country.
- The Central African Republic’s government is seeking to regain control of the mines and use profits from the diamond trade to rebuild stability in the nation, but Russian aid in reclaiming the mines comes at a cost: Russia has secured deals to mine diamonds there in the future, and have been observed mining blood diamonds already.
- After Saudi attacks, Russia makes its regional presence felt (Reuters)
- Why Vladimir Putin Suddenly Believes in Global Warming: Russia was happy that global warming opened up Arctic oil, but the melting of permafrost poses a huge threat to its hydrocarbon heartlands. (Bloomberg, $)
Out With The Old, In With The Old
- Three days after President Donald Trump spoke with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, the director of national intelligence was suddenly out of a job. President Trump rallied for the position to be filled by John Ratcliffe, a Republican congressman, who lacked national security skills but was an insistent supporter of the president in Congress.
- That timeline has increased suspicion regarding the timing of Trump’s adjournment by tweet of the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, on 28 July and his persistence that the deputy, Sue Gordon, a career intelligence professional, should not gain the role, even in a temporary capacity.
- Ratcliffe was no longer an option after it was revealed that he had overstated his national security abilities and falsely claimed that he had engaged in prosecutions in terrorist financing cases. Regardless of the collapse of the Ratcliffe nomination, Gordon did not receive the position and was pushed out. (Guardian)
- The Week That Everything Changed (Slate)
- The Ukraine Scandal Is a Fitting Symbol of Trump’s Presidency. It May Finally Be His Downfall. (NY Mag)
- The Integrity of the Trump Impeachment Inquiry (New Yorker)
- Trump loyalists are working hard to defend the president. It isn’t going well. (Vox)
Who Shames The Fat-Shamers?
- Psychologists say that individuals with obesity lack the choice in their condition and that it is not positive to cause shame in these individuals.
- Health professionals are encouraged to learn new ways to talk to people suffering from obesity. Obesity levels increased by 18% in England from 2005 to 2017 with a similar statistic occurring in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- As claimed by the British Psychological Society report that obesity “is not simply down to an individual’s lack of willpower.”
- The study also suggests that individuals who are exposed to daily living environments that encourage lack of exercise and overeating. People who live in underprivileged areas often times face increased levels of stress and trauma and do not have easy access to physical activity options as well as inexpensive healthy food options.
- Tension caused by fat shaming by public health campaigns, general practitioner, nurses and policymakers generally leads to an increase in overeating and weight gain. (BBC)
- Dark Mode Is for Suckers (Gizmodo) Despite this article, we do strongly prefer dark mode. In fact, we think dark mode should be the default. And why is it called dark mode and not black mode? Additional video: Key & Peele – Black Ice
- The Great Public Market Reckoning (AVC)
- Today’s backlash isn’t just again Big Tech, it’s really about technology generally: The Church of Techno-Optimism: Neither liberal nor conservative, the true ideology of Silicon Valley is an unwavering belief in the power of technology. (NYT, $) and The Dark Side of Techno-Utopianism: Big technological shifts have always empowered reformers. They have also empowered bigots, hucksters, and propagandists. (New Yorker, $)
- U.S. online privacy rules unlikely this year, hurting big tech (Reuters)
- Ahead of 2020, Facebook Falls Short on Plan to Share Data on Disinformation (NYT, $)
- Spoofing emails: The trickery costing businesses billions: The email came in like any other, from the company chief executive to his finance officer. (BBC)
“One mark of a great soldier is that he fight on his own terms or fights not at all.” – Sun Tzu
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