Week 6 of 2023 – YPF Around the Globe (English)

Timeframe: February 5 to February 11, 2022

Contributors: Affan Bin Saber, Safin Mahmood, and Farhan Uddin Ahmed

To read Bangla, click here.

1. Politics

Landmark national security trial of Hong Kong democracy activists begins

The “Hong Kong 47,” as the group of pro-democracy activists in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory has come to be known, will start appearing in court from Monday facing charges that could send them to prison for life.

Sixteen of the defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges laid against them and are expected to be the first ones to take the stand.

Their alleged crime? Organizing and participating in an unofficial primary election that prosecutors have called a “massive and well-organized scheme to subvert the Hong Kong government.”

This is Hong Kong’s largest national security law trial since Beijing imposed the sweeping legislation on the city following mass anti-government protests in 2019. The law criminalizes vaguely defined acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces, all of which are punishable by life in prison.

The landmark trial – the first involving subversion charges – is expected to run for weeks, but its implications could last for years or even decades in a city critics say is rapidly losing its political freedoms and autonomy.

Source: CNN

US Navy Unveils First Images of Chinese Balloon Remnants

In a dramatic move, a U.S. fighter jet took down a suspicious Chinese balloon floating across several American states off the coast of South Carolina. According to multiple American officials familiar with the intelligence, the balloon was part of a large-scale surveillance program run by the Chinese military and operated out of the small Chinese province of Hainan.

With the U.S. unable to determine the exact size of the fleet of Chinese surveillance balloons, sources reveal that the program has carried out missions on at least five continents in recent years. The Chinese spy balloons come in multiple variations, making it even more challenging for the U.S. to keep track of them.

The U.S. Navy provided a closer look at the high-altitude aircraft that has caused tensions between the two nations, releasing photos of the crews recovering the remains of the Chinese spy balloon shot down over the Atlantic Ocean. The images offer a glimpse into the mysterious capabilities and purposes of these balloons that have been spotted across the continental U.S.

The Chinese government’s claim that the balloon was a harmless weather monitoring device was quickly dismissed by the Pentagon.

The incident highlights the ongoing threat posed by the Chinese military and their surveillance activities to the United States and its allies.

Source: Axios, CNN

2. Economics & Business

Chinese companies investing billions in Mexico to ship to US

Scores of major Chinese companies are investing aggressively in Mexico, taking advantage of an expansive North American trade deal. Tracing a path forged by Japanese and South Korean companies, Chinese manufacturers are establishing factories that allow them to label their goods “Made in Mexico”, then truck their products into the United States duty-free.

Their interest in Mexico is part of a broader trend known as near-shoring. International companies are moving their production closer to customers to limit their vulnerability to shipping problems and geopolitical tensions.

The participation of Chinese companies in this shift attests to the deepening assumption that the breach dividing the United States and China will be an enduring feature of the next phase of globalization. Yet it also reveals something more fundamental: Whatever the political strains, the commercial forces linking the two countries are even more powerful.

Chinese companies have no intention of forsaking the American economy, still the largest in the world. Instead, they are setting up operations inside the North American trading bloc as a way to supply Americans with goods, from electronics to clothing to furniture.

Source: Business Times

Bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Korea soars to an all-time high

Bangladesh and Korea’s bilateral trade volume reaches a new height in 2022 exceeding 3 billion USD. The bilateral trade volume in 2022 recorded USD 3.035 billion, a 38.71 percent increase from 2021 which was USD 2.188 billion according to the statistics of the Korea International Trade Association.

Korea’s export to Bangladesh rose by 44.10 percent to USD 2.357 billion in 2022 from USD 1.636 billion in 2021 while Bangladesh’s export to Korea increased by 22.9 percent to USD 678 million in 2022 from USD 552 million in the previous year. The main export items of Bangladesh to Korea are RMG, sports and leisure items, and bronze scraps, etcKorea’s export of diesel to Bangladesh rose by 450 percent in 2021 to USD 121 million. While other major export items of Korea to Bangladesh are machinery, petrochemical products, steel, pesticides, etc., they all saw a decrease in 2022.

Ambassador Lee said that the year 2023 which marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Korea and Bangladesh will mark a momentous turning point in the bilateral ties between the two countries overcoming the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic challenges derived from the Russian-Ukraine war.

Source: Financial Express

3. Science & Technology

Robot inspired by lizard is being sent to explore Mars

In the midst of Technological advances which have opened exciting possibilities for space exploration, Robots have proved to be particularly promising tools to explore other planets, particularly Mars.

To aid the exploration of Mars surface, Researchers at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics have recently developed a new four-legged robot inspired by lizards. The robot consists of a flexible body structure that can replicate a desert lizard’s movements and locomotion style. To replicate the “creeping” motion typical of lizards to move on soft soils and climb over rocks, every leg features two hinges and a gear that elicits a swinging movement. The researchers created a series of kinematics models for each of their robot’s components. They then used these models and numerical calculations to plan the robot’s movements.

They are now working on machine learning models that would modify their robot in such a way that it can adapt to different movements to different terrains. A system that would provide continuous power supply for the robot is also in a works as said by the scientists.

Source: TechXplore

Colombian Judge Used ChatGPT to Make a Court Decision

A judge in Colombia used ChatGPT to make a court ruling, in what is apparently the first time a legal decision has been made with the help of an AI text generator.

Judge Juan Manuel Padilla Garcia, who presides over the First Circuit Court in the city of Cartagena, said he used the AI tool to pose legal questions about a case involving a dispute with a health insurance company over whether an autistic child should receive coverage for medical treatment.

“The purpose of including these AI-produced texts is in no way to replace the judge’s decision,” Garcia wrote in the decision. “What we are really looking for is to optimize the time spent drafting judgments after corroborating the information provided by AI.”

Colombian law does not forbid the use of AI in court decisions, but systems like ChatGPT are known for giving answers that are biased, discriminatory, or just plain wrong. This is because the language model holds no actual “understanding” of the text—it merely synthesizes sentences based on probability from the millions of examples used to train the system.

Source: Vice

Disclaimer: The information provided here is obtained solely from the aforementioned third parties. Youth Policy Forum (YPF) is not responsible for any misinformation or misrepresentation.

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