Maritime China Busy Making Close and Faraway ‘Friends’
- A plan for a Chinese military port got planning approval in Hong Kong, despite tensions between residents and the mainland that translate into protests denouncing Chinese “locusts.”
- Australia was surprised to see the Chinese navy conduct an exercise in the Indian ocean after sailing through the Sunda Strait in Indonesia then off Christmas Island, about a thousand miles northwest of Australia and more than twice as far from Southern China. This was all in international waters, but the exercise was unannounced and closer to Australia than past PLAN moves. If China keeps doing this they will validate the Indo-Pacific vision outlined in Australia’s 2013 white paper. China is pitching a “Maritime Silk Road” that could extend as far as India, which may sound more palatable to its neighbors than “Chinese Extended Zone of Naval Interdiction.”
- If you’re using Internet Explorer 9/10 and have recently visited the US Veterans of Foreign Wars website, you’ll want to check that your computer has not been infected with a trojan, possibly courtesy of China.
Germany, France Consider EUnternet to Safeguard Privacy
- Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande are discussing setting up some kind of regional network so that data about European citizens doesn’t end up stored on American servers: Deutsche Welle | Angela Merkel (video in German).
US Army Changes PEO STRI Leadership
- Maj. Gen. Jonathan A. Maddux has been assigned as the US Army’s new program executive officer for simulations, training and instrumentation. Since 2005 PEO STRI was led by James T. Blake, a civilian. Here’s an overview of what they do [Oct. 2013 PDF]. Maddux was previously PEO Ammunition then worked at the Army’s acquisition office.
Syria: What Next?
- As peace talks have so far failed to get Syria any closer to resolving its civil war, the Obama administration implicitly admits it has no idea what to do next, but they’d like to do something.
- Israel is beginning a process to convert its military air bases to full civil compatibility.
- State prosecutors in Portugal plan to appeal a not-guilty verdict for 7 Portuguese and 3 German businessmen accused of corruption and forging invoices. Two of the accused were former managers of Germany’s MAN Ferrostaal; a German court sentenced the firm to a EUR 140 million fine in a related 2011 case.
- Angola will only get 12 of India’s 18 used Su-30K fighters. The challenge, as always in Africa, will be keeping them operational – only 6 of their original 18 Su-27s are said to be in service. Russia says they will sell the other 6 soon, but Belarus, Ethiopia, Sudan and Vietnam have reportedly declined already.
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
- Think Defence objects to the Valentine’s Day formation on board HMS Daring. Thin Pinstriped Line defends “the Love Boat”, in the context of British realities.
Learning from Termites
- Scientists from Harvard University and engineers from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a system of autonomous robots dubbed TERMES that can collectively build 3D structures without supervision. Video below:
- Editorial note: DID is sort-of taking the day off because of
House of Cards binge watchingPresident’s Day.