Weekly Round-up

This week in development…

  • Indian officials have expressed interest in joining the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, proposed by Beijing last year as an alternative to the Japan and U.S. controlled Asian Development Bank. Indian officials will submit a report with recommendations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi within the next two months.
  • U.S. electric auto manufacturer Tesla Motors announced a new deal with state telecom giant China Unicom to install over 400 electric charging stations in 120 Chinese cities.  The deal comes against the backdrop of new government policy aimed at supporting the development of a domestic electric and hybrid car industry.  China is the world’s largest auto market, and there is pressing need to develop cleaner and more efficient vehicles to meet expanding demand.
Tesla Supercharger stations soon to come to China

Tesla plans to install hundreds of new charging stations around China

  • In an in-depth piece published this Wednesday in the National Interest, Dennis Blair (former Director of National Intelligence), Eric Olson (former SOCOM commander), and Ronald Neumann (former Ambassador to Afghanistan, Bahrain, and Algeria) propose a new approach to “Fixing Fragile States”.  The authors argue for a strategy that emphasizes interagency coordination, and empowers U.S. overseas personnel to make decisions and implement policy rather than relying on decision making and direction from leadership in Washington.  They assert that, “currently those carrying out military, economic, diplomatic and other programs in fragile states have very little authority or capability to react.”
  • Moderate Syrian rebels have produced a laptop reportedly seized from an Islamic State (IS) hideout in Northern Syria. The “terror laptop of doom” belonged to a Tunisian national who had studied chemistry and physics at two different universities in Tunisia.  The computer contained thousands of documents ranging from a fatwa authorizing the use of weapons of mass destruction to practical manuals for the creation of grenades containing the bubonic plague.  This discovery comes as the United States considers the legality of extending bombing campaigns against IS into Syria.
  • During the East Asia Summit on Wednesday, ASEAN members agreed to expedite talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) in response to delays in the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia user Jusdafax

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