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March 17, 2023
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Tech Workers Warm to Defense Work

A third of tech workers say they are more likely to consider working in the defense industry than they were last year according to recent surveys from Morning Consult. Read more about how the slowing tech industry is creating an opportunity for companies critical to national security in the latest memo from Sonnet Frisbie, our managing director for geopolitical risk in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and tech analyst Jordan Marlatt: Tech Workers Take Another Look at Defense in Light of Layoffs.


Today’s Top News

  • French President Emmanuel Macron used special constitutional powers to bypass the National Assembly and unilaterally raise France’s retirement age from 62 to 64, triggering more intense protests across France. Macron took the radical move of invoking Article 49.3 of the French Constitution that allows the president to enact legislation without legislative approval after the unrest shook his support in parliament and the effort looked likely to fail. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Moscow next week for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in his first trip abroad during his third term in office as Beijing attempts to demonstrate support for its ally. China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the war in Ukraine would be central to discussions. (CNN)
  • Slovakia and Poland both pledged to provide Ukraine with Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighter jets after weeks of requests from Kyiv for more air support. Ukrainian pilots are already trained on the fighter, and Poland says its first four jets will arrive within days. (The New York Times)
  • Iran has agreed to halt arms supplies to the Houthi fighters in Yemen as part of the Chinese-brokered deal to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia, per U.S. and Saudi officials, which could accelerate efforts to end the war in Yemen. The conflict has acted as a proxy for tensions between Riyadh and Tehran for years, and if the arms shipments are indeed halted, the next step could be to mutually reopen embassies. (The Wall Street Journal)

Happening today (all times Eastern):

  • 11 a.m. The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts Dr. Jason Rathje, director of the Pentagon’s Office of Strategic Capital, for a discussion of the Pentagon’s role in supporting defense innovation amid concerns about production capacities.  

Chart Review


What Else You Need To Know


Japan, U.K. and Italy seek next-generation fighter jet design by 2024

Ryo Nemoto, Nikkei Asia 

Joint venture aims to develop GCAP plane for 2035 deployment.


Xi, Cast as Peacemaker, Wades Into Russia’s War in Ukraine

David Pierson et al., The New York Times 

China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, is expected to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia this month and speak with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.


In Myanmar, Atrocities Rise as Army Comes Under Pressure

Richard C. Paddock, The New York Times 

The rebellion against military rule is gaining strength, and analysts say soldiers are responding with increased brutality.


Japan, South Korea rebuild defense ties, with U.S. backing

Yosuke Onchi and Yukihiro Sakaguchi, Nikkei Asia 

Yoon tells Kishida that Seoul will normalize intelligence-sharing pact.


Yoon returns to storm in South Korea after Japan breakthrough
Steven Borowiec, Nikkei Asia 

President must overcome lack of support from public, political opposition.


Japan’s trade deficit soars on costly fuels, slowing exports

Kohei Sakai, Nikkei Asia 

Murky economy saps shipments to U.S., China, Europe.


India approves purchase of military equipment worth $8.5 bln

Krishn Kaushik, Reuters 

India on Thursday approved purchases of missiles, helicopters, artillery guns and electronic warfare systems worth $8.5 billion as it sought to add more teeth to its military.


Xi Jinping tightens party control of China’s government

Joe Leahy and Chan Ho-him, Financial Times 

Communist commissions will oversee civilian-military technology and financial regulation.


China suspends Deloitte’s Beijing office over Huarong audit ‘deficiencies’

Chan Ho-him, Financial Times 

Finance ministry says accounting firm failed to assess asset quality of bad-debt manager


Chinese ships ‘swarming’ Vietnamese waters, think-tank says

Radio Free Asia 

A 2,600-ton Chinese survey vessel was also seen inside Vietnam’s EEZ, a local research organization said.


German minister to visit Taiwan despite Berlin’s push for dialogue with Beijing

Kathrin Hille et al., Financial Times 

Planned trip by Bettina Stark-Watzinger next week would be first of its kind in 26 years.


Pakistan court rejects ex-PM Khan’s plea to suspend warrant

Babar Dogar and Munir Ahmed, The Associated Press 

A Pakistani court on Thursday rejected a petition from former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s lawyers to suspend a warrant for him to appear in court in a graft case linked to his term in office — a development that increases the likelihood of another police attempt to arrest the ousted premier.


ECB raises rates with signal that market unrest will direct next steps

Martin Arnold, Financial Times 

Benchmark increases from 2.5% to 3% ahead of crunch UK and US central bank meetings next week.


EU seeks to diversify critical raw material supply away from China

Catherine De Beaurepaire, Nikkei Asia 

Concerns grow over dependence on imports during pandemic, Ukraine war.


Zelenskyy digs in against calls to quit Bakhmut

Jamie Dettmer and Veronika Melkozerova, Politico 

Holding Bakhmut made sense while Russia was suffering far higher casualties, but the logic of slogging it out is now in question.


Watch Credit Suisse Crisis: What Comes Next?

Francine Lacqua, Bloomberg 

In an effort to stem a crisis of confidence that send shockwaves through the global financial system, Credit Suisse tapped the Swiss National Bank for as much as 50 billion francs ($54 billion).


Pay deal for NHS workers in England paves way to end strikes

Sarah Neville et al., Financial Times 

Trade unions representing nurses and other staff agree to recommend offer to members


Farmer protest party triumphs in provincial Dutch elections

Andy Bounds, Financial Times 

Populist movement rides wave of rural anger in challenge to Mark Rutte’s ruling coalition.


Who Blew Up Nord Stream? Investigators Focus on Six Mysterious Passengers on a Yacht

Bojan Pancevski et al., The Wall Street Journal 

A boat rented in Germany sailed close to the spots in the Baltic Sea where explosions sabotaged the gas pipeline from Russia.

Latin America

U.S.-Bound Migrants Surge at Darien Jungle Crossing in Panama 

Ryan Dube and Shen Lu, The Wall Street Journal 

People fleeing Haiti, Ecuador and even China make the perilous journey, portending a coming increase at U.S. border.


El Salvador’s congress extends anti-gang crackdown

The Associated Press 

El Salvador’s congress has voted to approve yet another extension of emergency rules allowing police to round up suspected members of street gangs.


Foreign policy of Brazil’s Lula takes shape, irking the West

Eléonore Hughes and Carla Bridi, The Associated Press 

Brazil’s new President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has so far shown little concern about defying consensus in the West on foreign policy — even when it comes to dealing with authoritarian governments.


Protests in Peru: How Police Used Lethal Force Against Demonstrators

Brent McDonald and Ainara Tiefenthäler, The New York Times 

A New York Times investigation found that the country’s police and military fired lethal ammunition at unarmed civilians during protests in December and January.

Middle East and Africa

Missing uranium ore in Libya raises nuclear security fears

Heba Saleh, Financial Times 

Militia group later claims to have recovered the barrels of uranium after worries they had been stolen.


Child detainees in Iran subjected to torture, says Amnesty

Hande Atay Alam, CNN 

Iranian authorities have used torture methods including sexual violence against imprisoned children as part of a crackdown on recent protests, according to rights group Amnesty International.

North America

US prosecutors probe ByteDance’s use of TikTok to track journalists

Stefania Palma, Financial Times 

The US Department of Justice is probing ByteDance’s surveillance of American journalists via TikTok, according to a person familiar with the matter, as authorities scrutinise the popular social media platform’s Chinese owner after it admitted to improperly obtaining user data.


Janet Yellen says US banking system remains ‘sound’ despite bank failures

James Politi and Lauren Fedor, Financial Times 

Treasury secretary defends Biden administration’s response to fallout amid fears of broader contagion.


Silicon Valley and Capitol Hill Build an Anti-China Alliance

Georgia Wells, The Wall Street Journal 

A group of Silicon Valley executives, including investor Peter Thiel, and Washington lawmakers are quietly mobilizing against China’s involvement in the U.S. tech industry ahead of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s Capitol Hill testimony next week.

Morning Consult