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Russian Space Junk Hit a Chinese Satellite in March, Evidence Suggests

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The mysterious breakdown of the Yunhai 1-02 satellite in March has likely been solved. The discarded remnants of an old Russian rocket appear to have smashed into the Chinese satellite, in what is an ominous sign of things to come in our increasingly cluttered low Earth orbit.

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Source: https://gizmodo.com/russian-space-junk-hit-a-chinese-satellite-in-march-ev-1847511922
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The Article Was Written/Published By: George Dvorsky

China plans to build the first ‘clean’ commercial nuclear reactor

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Are you intrigued by the possibility of using nuclear reactors to curb emissions, but worried about their water use and long-term safety? There might be an impending solution. LiveSciencereports that China has outlined plans to build the first ‘clean’ commercial nuclear reactor using liquid thorium and molten salt.

The first prototype reactor should be ready in August, with the first tests due in September. A full-scale commercial reactor should be ready by 2030.

The technology should not only be kinder to the environment, but mitigate some political controversy. Conventional uranium reactors produce waste that stays extremely radioactive for up to 10,000 years, requiring lead containers and extensive security. The waste also includes plutonium-239, an isotope crucial to nuclear weapons. They also risk spilling dramatic levels of radiation in the event of a leak, as seen in Chernobyl. They also need large volumes of water, ruling out use in arid climates.

Thorium reactors, however, dissolve their key element into fluoride salt that mostly outputs uranium-233 you can recycle through other reactions. Other leftovers in the reaction have a half-life of ‘just’ 500 years — still not spectacular, but much safer. If there is a leak, the molten salt cools enough that it effectively seals in the thorium and prevents significant leaks. The technology doesn’t require water, and can’t easily be used to produce nuclear weapons. You can build reactors in the desert, far away from most cities, and without raising concerns that it will add to nuclear weapon stockpiles.

China is accordingly building the first commercial reactor in Wuwei, a desert city in the country’s Gansu province. Officials also see this as a way to foster China’s international expansion — it plans up to 30 in countries participating in the company’s “Belt and Road” investment initiative. In theory, China can extend its political influence without contributing to nuclear arms proliferation.

That might worry the US and other political rivals that are behind on thorium reactors. The US-based Natrium reactor, for instance, is still in development. Even so, it might go a long way toward fighting climate change and meeting China’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2060. The country is still heavily dependent on coal energy, and there’s no guarantee renewable sources will keep up with demand by themselves. Thorium reactors could help China wean itself off coal relatively quickly, especially small-scale reactors that could be built over shorter periods and fill gaps where larger plants would be excessive.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/china-molten-salt-thorium-clean-nuclear-reactor-214210381.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jon Fingas

White House blames China for Microsoft Exchange cyberattacks

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The Biden administration isn’t hesitating to blame China for a string of Microsoft Exchange cyberattacks. The White House has declared “with a high degree of confidence” that hackers linked to China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) were responsible for a digital espionage campaign using the Exchange vulnerabilities. Officials have confronted senior Chinese leadership with this and “broader” hostile online activity, the White House said.

The US further accused China of running an intelligence operation that relied on “contract hackers” who frequently launched attacks meant solely for profit, such as ransomware schemes and crypto jacking. The Chinese government’s reported unwillingness to tackle these abuses is believed to hurt businesses, governments and infrastructure with “billions of dollars” in damage, the White House said.

Accordingly, the Justice Department has revealed indictments of four MSS-affiliated Chinese men for allegedly conducting an extended hacking campaign meant to steal intellectual property and trade secrets, including health research. The initiative, which ran between 2011 and 2018, reportedly saw Ding Xiaoyang, Cheng Qingmin, Zhu Yunmin and Wu Shurong compromise comptuers worldwide to grab information ranging from autonomous vehicle technology and chemical formulas through to research on Ebola, AIDS and other diseases.

Biden’s administration has already taken multiple actions in response to attacks, including “proactive network defense actions” like deleting backdoors on compromised Exchange servers. It added private companies to its Unified Coordination Group to bolster its security incident response. CISA, the FBI and the NSA also released an advisory outlining China’s strategy for compromising US and ally networks using the Exchange holes and other methods.

This comes on top of stricter security rules for pipeline companies as well as a pilot to tackle vulnerabilities in sectors like electricity and water supply.

China has historically denied involvement in attacks like these, and it’s doubtful the country will have a change of heart after this. The White House effort is more of a warning — the US will not only pin attacks on China, but respond to them in kind.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/white-house-blames-china-for-exchange-cyberattacks-132053693.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jon Fingas

TikTok blocked creators from using ‘Black Lives Matter’ in bios

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TikTok has reportedly blocked users of its newly rolled out Creator Marketplace from being able to use words and phrases including “Black” and “Black Lives Matter” in their bios, flagging the words as “inappropriate conte…

Source: https://thehill.com/homenews/media/562146-tiktok-blocked-creators-from-using-black-lives-matter-in-bios
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Cameron Jenkins

The newest MAGA app is tied to a Bannon-allied Chinese billionaire

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On Tuesday, Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese billionaire who runs a Chinese-language media network with Trump adviser Steve Bannon, posted a video on his site GNEWS reminding viewers to back up their social media posts on GETTR.

“Today I have to post this video on our G-TV to inform everybody that everything is fine, because the GETTR platform is adjusting,” he said in Mandarin, according to an English translation posted on the site. “GETTR is not ours, so we should follow the instructions. Right? GETTR is cleaning up all the data and accounts. Afterwards, everybody has to re-register their accounts.”

The site was then wiped.

Two days later, Donald Trump’s former adviser Jason Miller announced that GETTR — a Chinese-language site for dissidents opposing the Chinese Communist Party — would soon launch as a pro-MAGA free-speech social media platform.

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GETTR was announced as a brand new social media platform for Trump’s fans, a social media outpost where MAGA types could post freely and, through the mere act of signing up, stick it to Big Tech. It was billed as the logical extension of the former president’s monthslong battle with the major social media companies, two of which had booted him in the aftermath of the Capitol riots on Jan. 6. And though Trump himself had not committed to being on it, it seemed like the type of place where he inevitably would end up after having launched a failed professional blog of his own.

There was one major question: Just where did GETTR come from?

A POLITICO review reveals that prior to it being revealed on Thursday, GETTR had existed for nearly a year as a Chinese-language social media network linked to Guo and G-TV Media, and on which anti-CCP content had been promoted on a regular basis.

Miller told The Daily Beast, which first reported the connection, that Guo’s “family foundation” provided GETTR with early funding. In a separate interview with POLITICO, Miller said that Guo had “no formal role,” had not “contributed any money” and was “not part of the business day to day.” Miller added that “his family foundation is part of the international consortium of investors who gave seed money.”

Previous advertising for GETTR had been posted online before news broke of Miller’s venture. And it included logos for several entities in the G-TV Media Group, a media company owned by both Bannon and Guo. One poster includes the logos for their subsidiaries, G-TV and GNEWS, two sites that have been flagged as vectors of coronavirus and anti-CCP disinformation. An account for GETTR on G-TV, which has the same torch logo as Miller’s GETTR, has been uploading content for more than a year, though much of it is content from G-TV.

Even before its announcement, the GETTR app on Apple had more than 1,200 reviews dating back months, primarily from users praising its anti-CCP stance. “Finally there is a platform for freely disseminating the truth. Thanks to Mr. Wengui who broke the news that the revolution has created such a free-sounding platform,” one user wrote in a review on June 17th.

In the months leading up to GETTR’s reveal, plans for Trump returning to social media frequently hinged on the idea of owning his own Twitter or Facebook-like platform. Trump associates previously told POLITICO that the quickest way to bring him back, and keep him there, would necessitate his owning a majority of the company, if not the entire enterprise. But given the steep cost of building a viable Big Tech competitor from scratch — Twitter, Trump’s biggest competition, burned through hundreds of millions of dollars from launch to profitability over nine years — people involved in Trump’s building of a network had aimed to buy a pre-existing network outright and rebrand it for a MAGA audience.

At face value, GETTR could have been that service. But the choice of Guo’s entity brought with it particularly thorny issues.

G-TV Media has had a rocky history, and was the subject of a federal probe into its fundraising, with the FBI and SEC investigating the company’s $300 million private fundraising round. The links between Guo and Bannon go back years. Famously, Bannon was arrested aboard Guo’s yacht in 2020 over fraud charges related to a separate crowdfunding project to help build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2019, it was reported that Guo was a member of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.

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Guo himself was an active promoter of GETTR, frequently posting daily video blogs onto the site over the past two months, titled “Miles Guo’s Getter” to share his views on China, the coronavirus pandemic and the Biden administration. Those GETTR videos were then cross-posted to GNews and translated into both English and French, according to the site.

In the days leading up to Miller announcing the launch of a MAGA-version of GETTR, several videos appeared on GNEWS and G-TV showing GETTR users how to save their data and eventually upload it to the new platform.

A Twitter user named Dicky Zhang, whose account identifies him as connected to G-TV and GNEWS, also reminded his followers that they needed to back up their GETTR accounts.

“Gettr will officially be launched on July 4th,” he tweeted in English on June 29th. “In order to build it into a multilingual & international platform, we will clear all the data on the platform on June 29th, Eastern US Time, including posts, photos & accounts. Sorry for the inconvenience. Save important information pls.”

Meridith McGraw contributed to this report.

Source: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/01/maga-app-bannon-chinese-billionaire-497767
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Tina Nguyen

Bitcoin Plunges as China’s Sichuan Province Pulls Plug on Crypto Mining

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Bitcoin continued its dramatic plunge to $32,281 Monday morning, down 17.65% from a week earlier as some of China’s largest bitcoin mining farms were shut down over the weekend. The bitcoin mining facilities of Sichuan Province received an order on Friday to stop doing business by Sunday, according to Chinese state…

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Source: https://gizmodo.com/bitcoin-plunges-as-chinas-sichuan-province-pulls-plug-o-1847139438
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Matt Novak

China is about to attempt a highly ambitious landing on Mars

Photo taken on Dec. 4, 2020, shows the model of China's first Mars probe Tianwen-1 lander and Zhurong rover at the Zhejiang International Intelligent Transportation Industry Expo 2020.

Enlarge / Photo taken on Dec. 4, 2020, shows the model of China’s first Mars probe Tianwen-1 lander and Zhurong rover at the Zhejiang International Intelligent Transportation Industry Expo 2020. (credit: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

As early as Friday evening in the United States, China will attempt to set its Tianwen-1 lander down on the surface of Mars. After weeks of speculation, the China National Space Administration confirmed that the country will seek to land the mission, including its “Zhurong” rover, sometime between 23:00 UTC on Friday, May 14 and May 19.

Named after an ancient fire god in Chinese mythology, the Zhurong rover has a mass of about 240 kg. This means the Chinese rover is comparable in size to the Spirit and Opportunity rovers that NASA landed on Mars in January 2004.

There is a lot of intrigue surrounding the high-risk mission. Before this mission, China had never sent a spacecraft to Mars. In this single spacecraft, the country packed both an orbiter and a modest-sized lander with a rover. Moreover, no country other than the United States has successfully soft-landed a spacecraft on Mars or deployed a rover. Other countries have tried and failed multiple times.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/05/china-is-about-to-attempt-a-highly-ambitious-landing-on-mars/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Eric Berger

China leads the world with new state-backed digital currency

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In a push to dominate global financial technology, the Chinese government is aiming to roll out the world’s first state-backed digital currency.

Why it matters: China’s new currency could set global standards for the use of national digital currencies — and give Beijing unprecedented visibility and control over domestic financial transactions.


  • At least 60 countries are exploring the use of an official digital currency, but China is furthest along in making those plans a reality, while the U.S. has largely sat on the sidelines.

What’s happening: The Chinese government has started pilot programs in Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities that give small amounts of the currency, known as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), to residents on a lottery system, with a limited number of retailers participating.

  • Chinese officials have stated they hope DCEP is ready for wider use in time for the Beijing Olympics in February 2022.
  • Some officials also hope DCEP could help internationalize China’s currency, though China’s tight capital controls have made the renminbi less attractive for international transactions.

The big picture: Rolling out a national digital currency offers several advantages.

  • Improving efficiency in the financial system. Cash and coins are inefficient and expensive to store.
  • Reducing systemic risk. “The existing system is owned by private companies. Should Alipay or WeChat pay [go] bankrupt, which is extremely unlikely, it creates systematic risk,” Trivium China analyst Linghao Bao told CNBC. A government alternative would provide a layer of security.
  • Spurring innovation. A state-backed digital currency could potentially provide a host of new opportunities for businesses, tech companies, and trade.

But it isn’t just about efficiency and innovation. Chinese officials have made it clear that they view the digital currency as a key staging ground for global geopolitical competition, according to a January report by Yaya Fanusie and Emily Jin of the Center for a New American Security.

  • “Fintech is the commanding heights of future global financial competition,” Chinese central bank vice-governor Fan Yifei said in November 2019. “Whoever grasps this advanced productive capability will possess the strongest core competitiveness in finance.”

Background: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum exist on a decentralized ledger and are intended to skirt controls by governments or companies. But DCEP would be managed directly by China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

  • Chinese officials have said DCEP offers “controllable anonymity” — meaning payments could be anonymous to companies and other users but not to the government.

In the hands of an authoritarian government, a digital currency also offers unprecedented surveillance and control. “Never before has a government ever had access to individual user transactions directly. Technology hasn’t allowed that,” Fanusie told Axios.

  • “DCEP offers a direct route for the government to cut a person off from payments, from their funds, from their accounts. Right now, the government has to go through a private company or a bank to do that.”
  • This capability could be used to reduce criminal abuse of the financial system, but also in theory to monitor and shut down the accounts of dissidents, human rights activists, persecuted groups such as Uyghurs, and others engaging in non-criminal behavior that the Chinese Communist Party may want to suppress.

What to watch: Though DCEP could help internationalize the renminbi to a moderate degree, it’s unlikely to challenge the U.S. dollar any time soon.

  • But international DCEP transactions could bypass SWIFT, the most widely used international payments system, making it easier for people and governments to evade U.S. financial sanctions.

Go deeper: What central bank digital currencies mean for crypto

Source: https://www.axios.com/china-digital-currency-dd20ff05-7562-4e10-966e-43caf00e629e.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

Chinese hackers are leveraging flaws in Microsoft Exchange Server to steal emails

Security researchers reported at least 30,000 organizations across the US have been hacked over the past few days by an unusually aggressive Chinese cyber-espionage unit focused on stealing email. The researchers say that many of the organizations targeted in the act include small businesses, cities, and local governments. The group of hackers is exploiting four newly-discovered flaws in Microsoft Exchange … Continue reading

Source: https://www.slashgear.com/chinese-hackers-are-leveraging-flaws-in-microsoft-exchange-server-to-steal-emails-08662578/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Satsuki Then

Microsoft Says Chinese Hackers Responsible for Exchange Attacks

Microsoft-Exchange-Attacks-Featured.jpg Microsoft had a warning for its customers on Tuesday, and it’s boldly calling out the bad actors. According to Microsoft, Chinese hackers are behind Exchange attacks. The company claims American businesses were targeted by exploits of a flaw in the email product. Chinese Attackers Exploit Microsoft Exchange Microsoft called attention to four zero-day vulnerabilities that were recently discovered. The company connected the Exchange attacks to patches and a list of compromise indicators. Researchers with the company have labeled the hacking group as “HAFNIUM.” They explained the group is a “highly skilled and sophisticated actor” with… Read more14327099.gif

Source: https://tracking.feedpress.com/link/12555/14327099/microsoft-says-chinese-hackers-responsible-exchange-attacks
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Laura Tucker

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