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SnapshotsOct 19, 2020 | 22:14 GMT
A protester uses a loudspeaker to talk to the crowd during an anti-government rally in Bangkok, Thailand, on Oct. 19, 2020.
Gauging the Thai Government’s Response to Growing Protests
The recent escalation of the monthslong Thai student protest movement will compel the government to step up its restrictions on dissent and intensify efforts to co-opt the protesters’ less controversial demands through a limited constitutional reform process. This could cause protests to drag on amid continued controversy over the scope and pace of such amendments, even as it eases overall public support for demonstrations. Between Oct. 13 and Oct. 19, Thai protesters turned out on the streets of Bangkok for the most sustained period of protest-related disruptions since the movement kicked off in earnest in July. Demonstrators also appeared in 20 other locations nationwide in smaller numbers. 
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SITUATION REPORTOct 9, 2020 | 21:08 GMT
U.S.: Possible Xilinx Acquisition by AMD Points to More Consolidation in Semiconductor Industry
In another potential move that could continue to reshape the semiconductor industry -- and draw regulatory scrutiny in China -- Santa Clara-based Advanced Micro Devices is in talks to buy San Jose-based Xilinx in a deal that could reach $30 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 9. Its sources said a deal could be finalized as early as next week.
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AssessmentsOct 7, 2020 | 17:00 GMT
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends the inauguration ceremony of Supreme Court Justice Luiz Fux on Sept. 10, 2020, in Brasilia, Brazil.
What Bolsonaro's New Spending Push Means for Brazil’s Fiscal Future
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s announcement of a new social cash-support program has raised concerns about the government’s long-term fiscal discipline, as well as its policies to balance the needs for domestic social spending with longer-term debt issues. On Sept. 28, Brasilia announced a new cash transfer social program, dubbed the “Citizens Income,” which offers an extension of current COVID-19 support programs for low-income citizens into 2021. To soften the blow of the COVID-19 outbreak, Bolsonaro’s government has offered multiple fiscal stimulus programs in the past few months at a cost estimated to be more than eight percent of the country’s GDP.
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AssessmentsOct 5, 2020 | 20:23 GMT
A photo illustration shows banknotes of the Vietnamese dong on May 21, 2019.
For Vietnam, Trump’s Re-Election Would Translate to Tariffs
A new U.S. investigation into Vietnam’s potential currency manipulation and undervaluation could result in a limited amount of tariffs being levied against Vietnamese goods, should U.S. President Donald Trump be reelected in November. On Oct. 2, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced the launch of the investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which is the United States’ most powerful tool in enacting tariffs on foreign governments with policies deemed harmful to U.S. commercial interests. If concluded by the Trump administration, the investigation -- which will likely take months and could last into 2021 -- would probably find that Vietnam’s currency, the dong, is undervalued due to government policymaking.
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SnapshotsAug 26, 2020 | 21:36 GMT
The U.S. Expands Its South China Sea Fight to Chinese Firms and Officials
New U.S. restrictions on Chinese companies and individuals involved in supporting Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea still fall short of more extreme options, demonstrating Washington’s desire to avoid derailing outreach to China, even as overall U.S.-China tensions continue to mount. On Aug. 26, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added 24 Chinese companies to its entities list, which increases U.S. export controls, for supporting the militarization of China's maritime claims in the South China Sea, specifically citing the violation of Philippine sovereignty as upheld by the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling. The list of entities includes five subsidiaries of the massive state-owned enterprise China Communications Construction Company, as well as one shipbuilding group and numerous telecommunications and electronics companies. The new export controls coincide with the U.S. State Department announcing it would also impose a visa ban on Chinese nationals found to be
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AssessmentsJul 16, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
The Huawei logo is pictured on a router during a 5G event in London on Feb. 20, 2020.
U.S. Actions Against Huawei Will Only Embolden China’s Push to Grow Its Tech Sector
Escalating U.S. actions against Huawei will only motivate China to pump its domestic technology sector with even more funding and talent, which will in turn prompt the United States to impose more restrictions on international companies doing business with Huawei and other Chinese firms that pose a threat to its global tech dominance. This will result in a cat-and-mouse game in which Washington deploys whatever financial and diplomatic tools are at its disposal to close any loopholes that China and Chinese tech companies can exploit to better compete with the West. 
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SnapshotsJul 13, 2020 | 19:09 GMT
High Turnout in Hong Kong’s Opposition Primary Portends a Contentious Election Season
High voter turnout in Hong Kong's opposition primary demonstrates the pro-democracy camp's continued momentum toward a strong showing for the city's September legislative election. Despite fears of low turnout amid the draconian national security law, Hong Kong's July 11-12 unofficial pro-democratic primary attracted 610,000 voters -- 13.8 percent of the city's electorate and in excess of the 170,000-person target. The strong public mandate will help the opposition winnow down the normally massive pool of candidates in order to avoid splitting the vote to the advantage of pro-Beijing opponents. Instead of exerting a chilling effect on politics in the city, it also appears that the new national security law has galvanized the opposition, which bodes well for electoral turnout in September.
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AssessmentsJul 1, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An image depicts waving Chinese and Indian flags overlaying a map of the world.
In India, Anti-China Anger Will Bring Out Modi's Hawkish Side
A surge of anti-China sentiment among Indian lawmakers, business leaders and voters will prompt Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a more aggressive approach against Bejing in the wake of the two countries' recent border clash. This could include a variety of actions ranging from diplomatic moves to economic and trade measures, as well as a continued military build-up against China, which will only further ratchet up tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors. 
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AssessmentsJun 30, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Syrian refugees walk outside a tent at a camp near the Iraqi Kurdish town of Bardarash on Oct. 18, 2019.
COVID-19 Cash Shortages Will Cripple Global Humanitarian Efforts
Reductions in funding for multilateral aid due to the economic fallout from COVID-19 are impacting the fight against the epidemic in conflict zones such as Yemen, raising the prospect of migration flows and renewed fighting, while increasing pressure on private aid organizations to fund humanitarian programs. Funding for multilateral humanitarian aid is dwindling as donor countries increasingly turn inward to solve their own COVID-19 crises at home. Donor countries are providing pandemic relief in various ways, including debt relief, financial swaps and bilateral aid. But global economic contractions, estimated to hover around 7 percent this year, are reducing aid contributions to the United Nations and other institutions, creating severe systemic funding gaps. 
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SITUATION REPORTJun 16, 2020 | 16:56 GMT
China, U.S.: Washington Allows U.S. Firms to Work With Huawei on Tech Standards 
The U.S. Commerce Department announced it was modifying its export controls to allow for U.S. companies, employees and researchers doing business with Chinese tech giant Huawei to work together in standards-setting bodies, including those related to the 5G development, Reuters reported June 15.
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SnapshotsJun 10, 2020 | 09:00 GMT
Libya's Government of National Accord Rejects an Egyptian Cease-fire
In Libya, the Government of National Accord has rejected an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with the rival Libyan National Army and instead appears to be pushing farther east. But if the GNA succeeds in pushing deep into central and eastern Libya, it risks prompting the LNA's main foreign backers -- Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates -- into deepening their involvement in the war-torn North African country.
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SnapshotsMay 12, 2020 | 16:09 GMT
COVID-19 Puts EU Defense Spending in Doubt
On May 12, the chief executive of the European Defence Agency, Jiri Sedivy, said the bloc will probably reduce defense spending in its budget for the 2021-2027 period as EU governments focus their resources on dealing with the economic fallout from the pandemic. After the 2016 Brexit referendum, a group of countries led by France pushed for deeper defense cooperation in the European Union to reduce the bloc’s military reliance on the United States, streamline defense spending by pooling resources, and better prepare Europe for geopolitical challenges in the 21st century, which include an emerging China and a potentially aggressive Russia. But Europe’s deepening recession due to COVID-19 has now put these plans in doubt as governments increasingly prioritize stimulus measures, such as granting cheap loans for companies and providing greater financial assistance to low-income households.
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