China’s Intelligent Weaponry Gets Smarter
John Markoff and Matthew Rosenberg, THE NEW YORK TIMES
The United States no longer has a strategic monopoly on A.I. technology, which is widely seen as the key factor in the next generation of warfare. The Pentagon’s plan to bring A.I. to the military is taking shape as Chinese researchers assert themselves in the nascent technology field. And that shift is reflected in surprising commercial advances in artificial intelligence among Chinese companies.
Deleted Postings about Missing Chinese Billionaire Hint at Tensions
Julie Zhu and Venus Wu, REUTERS
Scores of China social media postings about a well-connected billionaire who went missing from a Hong Kong hotel have been deleted, pointing to what appears to be heightened sensitivity in Beijing over the case of Xiao Jianhua. Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of Xiao, one of China’s richest men who has close ties to some of its leaders and their relatives. He was last seen at Hong Kong’s Four Seasons hotel in late January, with some media saying he was abducted and taken to the mainland.
US-China War Would Be a Disaster for the World, Says Communist Party
Tom Phillips, THE GUARDIAN
A military conflict between the US and China would spell disaster for the world, the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece has warned, in its first pronouncement on ties between the world’s two largest economies since Donald Trump moved into the White House. “Were the United States and China to wage war on one another, the whole world would divide itself,” the People’s Daily newspaper argued in a commentary, paraphrasing the veteran US diplomat Henry Kissinger.
Trump’s Warnings Grow, But So Do Travelers and Flights to Cuban Soil
Harriet Baskas, CNBC
Last week, the newly inaugurated Trump administration warned it was in the middle of a “full review” of US policy toward Cuba—prompting new questions about how committed President Donald Trump will be to the political and cultural thaw began under his predecessor. However, uncertainty over Trump’s Cuba policy did not prevent American Airlines from opening a ticket office in Havana this week, a mere two months after the carrier flew the first scheduled commercial flight from the US to Havana since 1961.
North Korean Economics 101: How Much Is a Dollar Worth?
Eric Talmadge, ASSOCIATED PRESS
As capitalist-style markets have grown more important in North Korea, so has a market-friendly exchange rate for the much-coveted US dollars, euros and Chinese yuan that lubricate the North’s economy. But the official and unofficial rates are totally out of whack. And as one big investor recently found out, the difference can mean hundreds of millions of dollars in lost profits.
Life Under Alternative Facts
Mikhail Iossel, THE NEW YORKER
There was no real cognitive dissonance existing in the minds of most people in the Soviet Union of the nineteen-seventies and eighties. Everyone knew that everything said on the radio or on television, everything (with the exception of weather reports or sports results) was a blatant lie. Despite the state propaganda, everyone knew that the country was mired in poverty and decay and stagnation and degradation, drowning in lies and cynicism and all-out drunkenness.
In Cuba Visit, Colorado Governor Sees Government Desire to Work with Trump
Marc Frank, REUTERS
The governor of Colorado said on Sunday he believes the Cuban government wants to further improve relations with the United States under President Donald Trump, as he wrapped up a three-day visit to the Communist-run island nation. “They seemed eager for the chance to build a relationship with President Trump and have it be a constructive one,” Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said of his meeting with Cuba’s point person for US relations, Josefina Vidal.
Republicans Decry Trump’s Defense of Putin, Russia
Ashley Parker and Mike Debonis, THE WASHINGTON POST
President Donald Trump offered a fulsome defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend, leaving Republican lawmakers frustrated and flummoxed yet again by the president’s warm feelings toward the rival nation. In an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Putin “a former KGB agent” and “a thug,” and he rejected any comparison between the two nations, citing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, its incursions into Ukraine and its interference in the US presidential election.
Venezuela’s New Iron-Fisted Boss Facing US Trafficking Probe
Andrew Rosati and Fabiola Zerpa, BLOOMBERG
Facing economic collapse and anemic public support, President Nicolás Maduro has chosen as his chief deputy one of Venezuela’s most controversial and feared politicians, government critics say. Tareck El Aissami, 42, is one of a number of Venezuelans under investigation by US authorities for alleged participation in drug trafficking and money laundering rings as well as for playing a key role in helping Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Islamist group, gain footholds in Latin America.