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Report: Germany spying on Netanyahu, US military

Netanyahu and Merkel in Berlin

Πηγή: Israel International News
By David Rosenberg
April 2 2016

German newspaper reveals that BND spy agency keeping tabs on Israeli Prime Minister, US military, and other friendly governments.

The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s federal intelligence agency, has been spying on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for years, according to a report publicized Saturday in the Der Spiegelmagazine.

Israel was not the only friendly nation targeted by the BND’s spying activities. The report reveals that along with the Israeli Prime Minister, Germany’s top intelligence service also kept tabs on government ministries, militaries, and international organizations around the globe.

The United States Air Force, NASA, and US State Department were reportedly all targets of the BND’s spying operation.

Government ministers in the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Austria were also on the BND’s list, along with the International Monetary Fund.

Saturday's report is hardly the first evidence of friendly nations spying on one another.

In 2013 German Chancellor Angela Merkel called President Obama demanding an explanation following reports that the US had been tapping into her telephone conversations.

In December 2015 the Wall Street Journal revealed that NSA hadc ontinued its spying program on Netanyahu, despite a 2013 pledge by President Obama to halt monitoring activities on friendly heads of state.

China Innovation Power: Far Out-Ranks U.S. And Japan In New Patent Applications

Πηγή: Forbes
By Rebecca Fannin
April 2 2016

his past week, I heard Chen Xu, CEO of the Bank of China, discuss how important innovation is to drive continued growth of the Chinese economy while state owned enterprises diminish in power. He mentioned the disruptive breakthroughs that are coming from such leading tech leaders as social communications titan Tencent and drone maker DJI. He noted that innovation is being driven returnees with degrees from top U.S. business and tech degrees. And he talked about how tech hubs Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Beijing are vying with one another to attract more up and comers to base headquarters in their turf.

In case you missed it, China far outstripped the U.S. in the number of new patent applications, according to the 2015 edition of the World Intellectual Property Indicators. This is the third year in a row that China’s increase has outranked other leading nations.

China recorded 928,177 patent fillings in 2014, trailed by the U.S. at 578,802, Japan at 325, 989 and Korea at 210,292. Most of the growth in patent filings was due to China’s surge of 12.5% compared with a 1.3% increase for the U.S. and Japan at a decline of .7%. Interestingly, Iran topped growth increases globally with a 18.5% gain in patent applications.

Moreover, China has climbed steadily over the past seven years to rank third worldwide for the number of patents in force, at 1.2 million. The U.S. leads with the number of patents at 2.5 million and Japan at 1.9 million.

Turning to specific technology advancements, Japan leads innovation in robotics, with auto makers Toyota, Nissan, Honda leading. The U.S. comes out on top for the most number of new patent applications in nanotechnology and 3D printing. Looking at a longer time span from 2005, China accounted for more than one-quarter of patents globally in 3D printing and robotics, the highest share among all countries.

A look at the Asian region as a whole underscores a shift in innovation to the East. Asia’s percentage of patent applications has grown from 49 percent in 2004 to 60 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, North America has slid from 25.1 percent to 22.9%.


China’s $50 Trillion Plan to for a Global Energy Grid

Πηγή: The Diplomat
By Shannon Tiezzi
April 1 2016

Your Friday roundup of China links…

China’s State Grid Corp. has unveiled an ambitious blueprint for creating a global electricity network. As Wall Street Journal reports, on Wednesday State Grid chairman Liu Zhenya outlined the $50 trillion plan, which calls for long-range transmission lines to create a world grid that heavily incorporates wind and solar energy from the Arctic and the Equator regions, respectively. The project could come on line by 2050, but State Grid wants to begin pilot projects in the next 10 years. WSJ explains the plan:

In the near term, the focus will be on long-range interconnection domestically and on developing battery and other technology needed for better transmission of renewable power resources.

Then, over subsequent decades, China’s grid would be connected with others, starting with northeast Asian neighbors like Mongolia and South Korea. Construction of the huge solar power bases and Arctic wind farms, as well as long-range power lines to demand centers, would follow.

Elsewhere, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative takes a closer look at the rumors surrounding Scarborough Shoal. According to their satellite imagery, as of March 24 there was “no Chinese dredging or construction activity at Scarborough Shoal.” ATMI looks in detail at what the implications of (as yet hypothetical) Chinese reclamation at Scarborough Shoal would be – strategically, diplomatically, and environmentally.

Speaking of the South China Sea, Asahi Shimbun focused on that topic during a rare interview with a Chinese military official. Major General Qian Lihua told Asahi that China’s artificial island-building and construction “will continue in the future” – but he also said that Beijing was not yet discussing the idea of setting up an Air Defense Identification Zone in the South China Sea.

In other news, a week after Nepali Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli made his first visit to China, Nepal’s Chief of Army Staff General Rajendra Chhetri made his own trip to Beijing. China Military Online has more details on Chhetri’s meetings with two of China’s top military leaders, General Fang Fenghui and General Xu Qiliang, both vice chairs of China’s Central Military Commission. In both conversations, Nepal and China pledged to increase defense cooperation, particularly with regards to disaster relief and personnel training.

Meanwhile, China’s Ministry of National Defense announced on Thursday that Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar will visit China in 2016, but did not confirm report that Parrikar will head to Beijing in the next few weeks.

Finally, Financial Review looks at Arthur Kroeber’s new book, China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know. Reviewer Angus Grigg argues that “the book could be called China’s Economy: Banishing the popular myths,” as it lays out why concerns about an economic collapse in China are overblown. That doesn’t mean Kroeber is optimistic however; rather, as Grigg puts it, he foresees “a slow Japanese-style decline” — not an outright crash — ahead for China’s economy.