Congressional Republicans are accusing China of attempting to hinder US coronavirus research by infiltrating US universities and spreading communist propaganda.
Reuters reports that ranking GOP members across seven House committees have delivered a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that warns Beijing is indoctrinating American students.
The letter was signed by Congressman Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight committee, as well as by members on the Homeland Security, Science, Armed Services, Education and Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees.
🚨🚨🚨 NEW: 7 top House committee Republicans announce probe into China's infiltration of U.S. colleges
“We cannot allow a dangerous communist regime to buy access to our institutions of higher education, plain and simple” – @Jim_Jordan
— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) May 4, 2020
The letter requests that DeVos provide more information pertaining to the allegations against China, including all documents related to schools that have accepted funds from China, as well as details of any investigations into colleges and education officials who may have accepted “gifts” from the communist state.
“We write to seek a better understanding of the Department’s efforts to address unreported foreign direct investment into the U.S. higher education system,” the letter reads.
“We have been concerned about the potential for the Chinese government to use its strategic investments to turn American college campuses into indoctrination platforms for American students,” the congressmen further write.
“China has strategically invested in U.S. academia to attempt to steal confidential information and technology from U.S. companies, and even the U.S. government,” the lawmakers state in the letter, pointing to a 2018 report from the Hoover Institution identifying upwards of 110 Confucius Institutes operating on American colleges to facilitate China’s espionage and theft of intellectual property.
They add that “Besides China peddling money for influence in U.S. institutions of higher education (IHE), China is restricting any research regarding the origins of COVID-19 that does not comport with CCP propaganda.”
These actions “bring into question whether U.S. [institutes of higher education] receiving federal taxpayer dollars should be allowed to accept funds from China, the CCP, or other affiliated organizations,” the letter concludes.
Commenting on the letter, Rep. Jim Jordan said “We cannot allow a dangerous communist regime to buy access to our institutions of higher education, plain and simple.”
“The Chinese Communist Party’s cover-up of the early outbreak of the coronavirus immeasurably worsened this disease’s impact on the United States and the world.” Jordan urged, adding that “We owe it to the American people to hold China accountable and to prevent them from doing further harm to our country.”
The suspicions of Chinese infiltration of US higher education pre-dates the coronavirus crisis, with the Department of Education instigating an investigation into several universities last year to determine if they had failed to disclose foreign funding.
In February, the department announced it has uncovered $6.5 billion so far in undisclosed foreign funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, China and Russia. The investigation has since been expanded to include Harvard and Yale.
The FBI has previously issued warnings regarding China investing in American higher education to steal sensitive information, primarily via access through federal grants.
In January, the Department of Justice also arrested a professor at Harvard, as well as two Chinese nationals for reportedly acting as foreign agents.
Last year President Donald Trump signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act which proposed an ultimatum to universities receiving financial assistance from the Pentagon: close the Chinese propaganda center on campus or lose funding. Since that time, at least 49 schools have closed their Confucius Institute, according to Human Rights Watch.
Report: Elon Musk ‘Turned Off’ Starlink to Thwart Ukrainian Drone Attack on Crimea
Musk himself said he actually declined a request to turn additional satellites on.
A new biography on Elon Musk claims that Musk “secretly ordered his engineers to turn off his company’s Starlink satellite communications network near the Crimean coast last year to disrupt a Ukrainian sneak attack on the Russian naval fleet,” though Musk himself said he actually declined a request to turn additional satellites on.
Elon Musk secretly ordered his engineers to turn off his company’s Starlink satellite communications network near the Crimean coast last year to disrupt a Ukrainian sneak attack on the Russian naval fleet, according to an excerpt adapted from Walter Isaacson’s new biography of the eccentric billionaire titled “Elon Musk.”
As Ukrainian submarine drones strapped with explosives approached the Russian fleet, they “lost connectivity and washed ashore harmlessly,” Isaacson writes.
Musk’s decision, which left Ukrainian officials begging him to turn the satellites back on, was driven by an acute fear that Russia would respond to a Ukrainian attack on Crimea with nuclear weapons, a fear driven home by Musk’s conversations with senior Russian officials, according to Isaacson, whose new book is set to be released by Simon & Schuster on September 12.
Musk’s concerns over a “mini-Pearl Harbor” as he put it, did not come to pass in Crimea. But the episode reveals the unique position Musk found himself in as the war in Ukraine unfolded. Whether intended or not, he had become a power broker US officials couldn’t ignore.
The new book from Isaacson, the author of acclaimed biographies of Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein, provides fresh insights into Musk and how his existential dread of sparking a wider war drove him to spurn Ukrainian requests for Starlink systems they could use to attack the Russians.
After Russia disrupted Ukraine’s communications systems just before its full-scale invasion in February 2022, Musk agreed to provide Ukraine with millions of dollars of SpaceX-made Starlink satellite terminals, which became crucial to Ukraine’s military operations. Even as cellular phone and internet networks had been destroyed, the Starlink terminals allowed Ukraine to fight and stay connected.
But once Ukraine began to use Starlink terminals for offensive attacks against Russia, Musk started to second-guess that decision.
“How am I in this war?” Musk asks Isaacson. “Starlink was not meant to be involved in wars. It was so people can watch Netflix and chill and get online for school and do good peaceful things, not drone strikes.”
Musk was soon on the phone with President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, the chairman of the joint chiefs, Gen. Mark Milley, and the Russian ambassador to the US to address anxieties from Washington, DC, to Moscow, writes Isaacson.
Meanwhile, Mykhailo Fedorov, a deputy prime minister of Ukraine, was pleading with Musk to restore connectivity for the submarine drones by telling Musk about their capabilities in a text message, according to Isaacson. “I just want you—the person who is changing the world through technology—to know this,” Fedorov told Musk.
Musk, the CEO of electric carmaker Tesla and private space exploration firm SpaceX, replied that he was impressed with the design of the submarine drones but that he wouldn’t turn satellite coverage back on for Crimea because Ukraine “is now going too far and inviting strategic defeat,” according to Isaacson.
Musk did not respond to CNN’s request for comment but did respond to the story on Twitter/X.
“The Starlink regions in question were not activated,” Musk said. “SpaceX did not deactivate anything.”
The Starlink regions in question were not activated. SpaceX did not deactivate anything.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 7, 2023
“Both sides should agree to a truce,” Musk said. “Every day that passes, more Ukrainian and Russian youth die to gain and lose small pieces of land, with borders barely changing. This is not worth their lives.”
Both sides should agree to a truce.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 7, 2023
Every day that passes, more Ukrainian and Russian youth die to gain and lose small pieces of land, with borders barely changing. This is not worth their lives.
“There was an emergency request from government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol,” he said in a follow-up tweet. “The obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor. If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”
There was an emergency request from government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 7, 2023
The obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor.
If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and…
Wishful thinking doesn’t win wars— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 8, 2023
Ironically, the Ukrainian military (and by extension the war) is being kept alive entirely due to Starlink. If not for Starlink, Ukraine would have been forced to go to the negotiating table a long time ago.
That said, Musk still deserves credit for advocating for peace while the bloodthirsty neocons running our government are doing everything in their power to escalate the war.
Civil Unrest Fears Grow As Youth Unemployment Accelerates
In nearly every country in the world, youth unemployment is much higher than general unemployment.
Unfortunately, the pandemic only exacerbated matters. During a crucial stretch of their early careers, young adults were locked out of entry-level jobs, destroying their ability to pick up work experience and potentially impacting their long-term earnings.
Now, nearly three years after COVID-19 first hit, young adults from some countries, like China, are struggling to find jobs. Using data from the OECD and the National Bureau of Statistics of China, Visual Capitalist’s Pallavi Rao and Niccolo Conte chart out the youth unemployment rate for 37 countries.
Ranked: Countries With the Highest Youth Unemployment
At the top of the list, Spain has the highest youth unemployment in the OECD, with nearly one in three young adults unable to find a job.
ℹ️ Unemployed people are those who report that they are without work, are available for work, and have taken active steps to find work in the last four weeks. The youth unemployment rate is calculated as a percentage of the youth labor force.
A mismatch between educational qualifications and the labor market has been cited as a significant reason for Spain’s lack of employed adults between the ages of 15–24.
Meanwhile, the country’s reliance on temporary contracts and dependence on seasonal sectors—like tourism—to generate jobs are some of the many reasons for its persistently high reported unemployment across demographic groups.
Listed below is the youth unemployment rate for all the OECD countries, and China, as of the second quarter of 2023.
|2||🇨🇷 Costa Rica||27.1%|
|18||🇨🇿 Czech Republic||13.7%|
|20||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||11.4%|
|28||🇺🇸 United States||8.0%|
Announced in June, China’s youth unemployment rate has climbed to 21.3%, a meteoric rise since May 2018, when it was below 10%. The Chinese economy is in the midst of a slowdown and its steadily climbing youth unemployment prompted the government to suspend age-specific unemployment data for the near future.
On the other side of the spectrum, in Japan, only 4.2% of young adults are without a job. A key reason for this is Japan’s shrinking and aging population that’s made for a tight labor market.
Youth Unemployment: Men vs Women
In most OECD countries, it’s common to see young men experiencing a higher unemployment rate compared to young women.
This contrasts with the trend across all age groups in the OECD, where the unemployment rate is 6.3% for women and 6% for men.
We visualize the countries in the dataset with the biggest gaps in youth unemployment below.
There is no singular reason that explains this common gap.
Across the OECD, more young women opt for tertiary education than young men, which may lead to better employment prospects. At the same time women are overrepresented in the health and social welfare sectors—both growing rapidly thanks to an aging population—that may make it easier for them to find jobs.
Why Does Tracking Youth Unemployment Matter?
Aside from being an indicator of general opportunities within a country, youth unemployment is a key metric to track, because it can be a bellwether for future economic prospects.
High rates of youth unemployment also correlate to brain drain within a country, as young adults move elsewhere to find better jobs.
Finally, large increases in unemployed youth have historically led to the potential of civil unrest, which makes it a politically-charged metric to identify and monitor for governments.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Kremlin Rejects “Absolute Lie” That Putin Ordered Killing Of Wagner’s Prigozhin
Russian investigators say they are currently conducting DNA testing on the recovered bodies from the Wednesday plane crash northwest of Moscow believed to have killed Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and his top commanders.
In yesterday’s condolence speech, President Putin referred to the Wagner chief in the past tense, remembering him as a “talented” businessman who made “mistakes”—which was widely seen as high level confirmation he went down in the plane.
State media sources have revealed new details of the status of the investigation at the crash site, with RT underscoring that DNA tests will take time, and that “the probe was entrusted to Ivan Sibula, a senior investigator who previously led inquiries into high-profile air incidents in Russia.”
As for the US reaction, President Joe Biden had been quick to point the finger directly at Putin, saying while on vacation Wednesday he was “not surprised” as “There’s not much that happens in Russia that Putin’s not behind.” Biden had been briefed soon after reports of the crash emerged, but said, “I don’t know enough to know the answer. I’ve been working out for the last hour and a half.”
A Thursday Pentagon briefing gave an official US assessment, with Pentagon spokesman Gen. Pat Ryder saying an intentional explosion brought down Prigozhin’s plane. Ryder called initial US reports of a surface-to-air missile “inaccurate” amid other reports saying it was a bomb detonated midair. The Pentagon assessed that Prigozhin was likely on board and was killed in the crash, but didn’t attempt to posit a precise cause.
Interestingly, Ryder also strongly suggested that Wagner mercenaries are no longer active in a significant way on the Ukraine battlefield:
Ryder recalled that after the rebellion of the Wagner Group two months ago in Russia, these forces were actually withdrawn from near Bakhmut and the battlefield in general.
“But for all intents and purposes their combat effectiveness has been diminished. And they are no longer a significant factor when it comes to the conflict inside Ukraine.”
Importantly, the Kremlin has on Friday rejected Biden’s allegation that Putin was behind it, with presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov calling attempts to incriminate Russian government leaders absolute lies.
“There is a lot of speculation around the plane crash and the tragic death of the passengers, including Yevgeny Prigozhin,” Peskov told reporters during a briefing. “Of course, in the West, this speculation is being presented from a certain angle. All of this is an absolute lie,” he added.
Meanwhile, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has said those Wagner fighters currently in Belarus can stay there, according to state-run BelTA, at a moment the fate of the organization is uncertain. Makeshift memorials have been seen at Wagner offices in Russian cities, including in St. Petersburg where the group’s large HQ building is located.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
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