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AssessmentsJan 31, 2020 | 18:47 GMT
This photo shows a masked vendor and customers of his wares in an alley in Wuhan, China, on January 31, 2020.
Measuring the Economic Impact of the Coronavirus Outbreak
The coronavirus outbreak that has killed scores and sickened thousands is set to deliver a significant blow to China's already-weakening economy. Quarantines and travel bans put into place to limit the spread of the illness already have disrupted one of the country's busiest travel and spending periods of the year, the Lunar New Year holiday, which began Jan. 25. The lockdowns have created major supply chain disruptions in Hubei province, the key Chinese transit hub and major manufacturing center for automobiles, fiber optic cable and machinery where the outbreak started. Public transportation, including trains, planes and ferries in and out Hubei -- whose provincial capital, Wuhan, was the epicenter of the outbreak -- have been suspended, with the freedom of movement curtailed for some 60 million people. The disruptions are not limited to the province, however, as business and industrial activities across the nation, already substantially slowed or even suspended
Partner PerspectivesOct 19, 2018 | 11:00 GMT
Investors watch stock price movements at a securities company in Beijing on Oct. 12.
The 8 Major Forces Shaping the Future of the Global Economy
The world is changing faster than ever before. With billions of people hyper-connected to each other in an unprecedented global network, it allows for an almost instantaneous and frictionless spread of new ideas and innovations. Combine this connectedness with rapidly changing demographics, shifting values and attitudes, growing political uncertainty, and exponential advances in technology, and it's clear the next decade is setting up to be one of historic transformation. But where do all of these big picture trends intersect, and how can we make sense of a world engulfed in complexity and nuance? Furthermore, how do we set our sails to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this sea of change?
SnapshotsSep 25, 2018 | 19:12 GMT
U.S.: The White House Takes a Quantum Leap
A subcommittee of the White House's National Science and Technology Council released a report, the "National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science," on Sept. 24. The 15-page document recommends goals for President Donald Trump's administration to pursue to help strengthen U.S. capabilities in quantum information science (QIS). Representatives from companies such as Alphabet, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell and Northrop Grumman met at the White House with various academics and government officials to discuss QIS strategy.
AssessmentsSep 14, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
A container ship is docked at the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas in Michoacan state on April 4, 2017.
Can Blockchain Technology Bring Smooth Seas to Global Shipping?
There are a handful of technologies that, if widely adopted, have the potential to revolutionize how the world works. Distributed ledger technology is one such invention, and shipping is an industry that would obviously benefit from adopting blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies. Given shipping's struggles and its vulnerability to geopolitical risk, creating a transparent, distributed ledger that would remove middlemen and increase efficiencies could help the industry evolve and improve economically. To reap the benefits, however, the constraints of widespread adoption must be overcome. This challenge highlights a broader struggle to influence global standards across many emerging technologies, a struggle that often pits the United States (more broadly the West) against China. The use of blockchain in global shipping is no different.
AssessmentsAug 22, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Tencent founder and CEO Huateng "Pony" Ma (left) and Alibaba co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma have more than just a name in common: The two entrepreneurs are archrivals in China's increasingly competitive tech sector, and both have steadily expanded their companies' products and services to maintain an edge.
Alibaba and Tencent: Disrupting China, Dozens of Industries at a Time
Alibaba and Tencent are archrivals in China's burgeoning tech sector. Having carved up the consumer internet sector -- including social media, e-commerce, streaming media and mobile payments -- the two tech juggernauts are increasingly expanding beyond their core operations. And in every vertical they enter they wind up in fierce competition, creating a dichotomy in the Chinese market that sometimes forces domestic and foreign firms to choose between them when launching a new product or service. The rise of the two companies has been a blessing and a curse for China. While the investment and innovation they offer have helped the economy, the sway Alibaba and Tencent now hold over China's people and economy is putting the government ill at ease. But as much as it can't afford to cede authority to these companies, it can neither afford to rein them in too tightly.
On SecurityJul 31, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
As tensions rise with the United States, hackers in Iran are expected to boost their attacks in the coming months.
When It Comes to Cyberattacks, Iran Plays the Odds
The war of words between the United States and Iran appears to be heating up in cyberspace. In recent weeks, the tension has grown palpable as the United States leads the drive to reimpose sanctions on Iran on Aug. 6. U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have traded heated threats with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force. Though both sides are certainly capable of direct physical attacks, conventional warfare is not in their immediate interests. Iran has embraced cyberattacks as part of its asymmetric response to its Middle Eastern rivals and the United States, and this latest round of belligerence will likely be played out through cyber actions. And even though Iran doesn't pose as great a threat as China or Russia, its persistence and reliance on unsophisticated, yet tried-and-true tactics allow it
On GeopoliticsJun 28, 2018 | 19:11 GMT
Conference attendees walk past a booth for Chinese telecommunications company at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Huawei has not drawn the concern in Europe that it has in the United States.
Huawei's Success Puts It in Washington's Sights
Few companies play such an outsized role in geopolitics as Huawei, which has become a global leader in the development of several key technologies, including 5G telecommunications infrastructure. Despite more than a decade worth of efforts, however, Huawei has struggled to break into the U.S. market in the face of near-constant resistance. Allegations that the company has stolen U.S. technology have combined with suspicions over its ambiguous ties to the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to drive bipartisan political opposition to its U.S. ambitions. The unwanted attention from Washington, however, will do little to hinder Huawei’s global rise -- or reduce its importance to Beijing.
Quarterly ForecastsMar 11, 2018 | 22:11 GMT
The White House will bump up against the laws of the United States and the central tenets of the World Trade Organization as it launches a global trade offensive in the name of national security.
2018 Second-Quarter Forecast
All eyes will be fixed on the White House this quarter as it launches a trade offensive whose collateral damage will span the globe. As economic and political pressure mounts against China, North Korea will use a temporary detente with the South to undermine the United States' containment strategy against it.
AssessmentsFeb 27, 2018 | 19:26 GMT
When U.K. voters elected to leave the European Union in 2016, they also -- perhaps unwittingly -- put the peace agreement between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at risk. But blockchain technology could help provide a solution.
Could Blockchain Solve a Brexit Sticking Point?
Representatives on both sides of the arduous Brexit talks are confronting their biggest challenge yet: the future of the Irish border. In December 2017, the United Kingdom and the European Union agreed that the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would remain an open one after Brexit was final, but that agreement was so vague that they are still working out the details of how to make that promise a reality. As negotiators look toward innovative new methods for maintaining the peace, they may discover that blockchain could contribute to a solution.
AssessmentsAug 19, 2017 | 13:27 GMT
The Eternal Struggle to Plug D.C.'s Leaks
Information leaks have always been a part of the institutional fabric of politics and intelligence inside Washington's Beltway. The most celebrated D.C. leak case centered around "Deep Throat," Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's highly placed source who helped him uncover White House wrongdoing in an unfolding case that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The reporter and the source would meet clandestinely in parking garages in Rosslyn, Va., where Deep Throat would provide the clues that Woodward and colleague Carl Bernstein used to advance the investigation of the Watergate burglary. The details of those encounters were detailed in their Pulitzer Prize-winning book "All the President's Men," a great read full of examples of old-school tradecraft at its best.
On GeopoliticsJul 11, 2017 | 08:00 GMT
European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager gives a press conference explaining the commission's antitrust case against Google.
The U.S. Trusts in Technology
A handful of tech companies -- Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft -- have become so ubiquitous in our daily lives that their devices and algorithms are nearly inescapable. Each of the companies has become a juggernaut in its corners of the market. And their role in geopolitics has steadily grown to the point that it's practically cliche anymore to say big data is the new oil. The comparison is apt, though. As it was for oil companies before them -- and for steel companies before that -- the growth of tech firms, and the effective monopolies they've established in certain areas, are concerns that Washington will eventually have to address. The only questions are when and how.
AssessmentsMar 27, 2017 | 09:30 GMT
A loaded cargo ship heads out to sea from New York Harbor. Over the past decade, the world's available shipping capacity has grown faster than global trade has.
Why the Global Shipping Industry Will Be Tough to Salvage
The political order that defines the world is changing, and with it, the global shipping industry. The advent of container shipping in the mid-1950s propelled the age of globalization forward as the world's biggest economies forged new and closer trade links with one another. International trade is now undergoing another massive overhaul as the rise of Western isolationism, the restructuring of China's economy, the weakening of European growth and the Fourth Industrial Revolution alter how goods and services flow between countries in the coming decades. But these fundamental shifts won't change the fact that the cheapest way to move things in large quantities is over water. As a result, the shipping industry will continue to limp along, struggling to stay afloat as countries with competing imperatives -- whether shipping, shipbuilding, shipbreaking or banking -- pull it in different directions over the next few years.
Contributor PerspectivesMar 22, 2017 | 08:00 GMT
The geopolitical consequences of a world after fossil fuels
Imagining a World After Fossil Fuels
Since 1750, mankind has pumped some 150 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Almost half that amount has been emitted since 2000, 9.9 billion tons of it in 2016 alone. U.S. President Donald Trump claims to think that links between carbon emissions and climate change are "a hoax," but if so, the hoax has taken in almost every scientist in the world. By burning fossil fuels, they believe, we have altered the chemistry of the air and the oceans. Last year was the first on record in which the atmosphere's carbon content never dropped below 400 parts per million, a level not seen for 800,000 years. The climate is warming and becoming more volatile, the ice caps are melting, and mass extinctions are underway. Another species of plant or animal disappears forever every 20 minutes or so.
Contributor PerspectivesNov 23, 2016 | 08:00 GMT
Identifying the modern Renaissance man can be difficult without the benefit of historical hindsight, but a handful of today's visionaries seem likely to withstand the test of time.
The New Renaissance Man
Leonardo da Vinci, perhaps the most famous Renaissance man in history, once claimed, "The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding." If anyone were qualified to say so, it would be him: Da Vinci excelled in nearly every field of science, technology and art that existed in his time. During the Renaissance, it seemed as if there were no limits to man's capacity to learn. But the world has changed since da Vinci's day.
AssessmentsJun 11, 2016 | 13:28 GMT
The Ghosts of Crimes Long Past
I had been on the job as a special agent for four years when, in 1989, the chairman of Germany's Deutsche Bank was assassinated in a plot so sophisticated that the case remains unsolved to this day. Alfred Herrhausen was riding in an armored Mercedes limousine when an explosion ripped through the vehicle's plating, destroying its passenger side. The bomb, it turns out, had been hidden in a bicycle on the side of the road and synced to detonate precisely as the three-vehicle motorcade passed. Authorities suspected that a German terrorist group called the Red Army Faction (RAF) was behind the attack. And like many –- even most -- terrorist groups, the RAF eventually faded from prominence in the world of international crime. But what of its members? No one was ever charged with Herrhausen's murder. The operatives who planned and executed that attack, among so many others, remain at large.
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