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Turkey's Erdogan Calls Finland and Sweden Home to Terrorist Organizations - Doesn't Want them to Join NATO

Turkey's Erdogan Calls Finland and Sweden Home to Terrorist Organizations - Doesn't Want them to Join NATO | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
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President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday it was not possible for NATO-member Turkey to support plans by Sweden and Finland to join the pact given that the Nordic countries were "home to many terrorist organisations".  Though Turkey has officially supported NATO enlargement since it joined the U.S.-led alliance 70 years ago, its opposition could pose a problem for Sweden and Finland given new members need unanimous agreement.  Turkey has repeatedly slammed Sweden and other Western European countries for its handling of organisations deemed terrorist by Ankara, including the Kurdish militant groups PKK and YPG, and the followers of U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen. Ankara says Gulenists carried out a coup attempt in 2016. Gulen and his supporters deny the accusation.

Turkey has criticised Russia's invasion, sent armed drones to Ukraine and sought to facilitate peace talks between the sides. But it has not backed Western sanctions on Moscow and seeks to maintain close trade, energy and tourism ties with Russia. "We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we don't hold positive views," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding it had been a mistake for NATO to accept Greece as a member in the past. "As Turkey, we don't want to repeat similar mistakes. Furthermore, Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organisations," Erdogan said, without giving details. "They are even members of the parliament in some countries. It is not possible for us to be in favour," he added. Finland's plan to apply for NATO membership, announced Thursday, and the expectation that Sweden will follow, would bring about the expansion of the Western military alliance that Russian President Vladimir Putin aimed to prevent by launching the invasion of Ukraine.

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'Invincible' Russian tank equipped with exploding armour destroyed by Ukrainian troops

'Invincible' Russian tank equipped with exploding armour destroyed by Ukrainian troops | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
Russia debut its T-90M tank 'Breakthrough-3' in combat for the first time during its invasion of Ukraine but analysts are underwhelmed
Richard Platt's insight:

Since this T-90M tank is an engineering system, I think it bears mentioning at this time (that's a confirmed kill of a T-90M in Ukraine in the image):  "An "invincible" Russian tank equipped with exploding armour and a smokescreen to defend against laser-guided missiles has been destroyed by Ukrainian forces, British intelligence has confirmed."  The war in Ukraine is the 1st time that Russia has deployed the T-90M tank in the "Breakthrough-3" operation in combat but analysts said that its debut had been underwhelming. "At least one T-90M, Russia's most advanced tank, has been destroyed in fighting," the Ministry of Defence said. Ukrainian media reported that the T-90M tank had been destroyed on May 4 in a village in the Kharkiv region of northern Ukraine but the battlefield success had not been confirmed by Western intelligence until now.  In a video posted on the Telegram social media channel, a man inspects the burnt-out shell of a tank which appears to be the T-90M. It is unclear, though, how the tank was destroyed. "The system’s upgraded armour, designed to counter anti-tank weaponry, remains vulnerable if unsupported by other force elements."  Russia has already suffered enormous losses on the battlefield, with many estimating the army has lost about 460 tanks alone. Many have been destroyed by British-made Nlaw anti-tank missiles as well as armoured drones. The loss of a T-90M heaps further embarrassment on the Kremlin, not least because each unit is reported to cost ~$4.8M/tank.  "Approximately 100 T-90M tanks are currently in service amongst Russia's best equipped units, including those fighting in Ukraine," 

 

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Federal investigation Halts all US Solar Power Plans to see if China Broke Trade Rules 

Federal investigation Halts all US Solar Power Plans to see if China Broke Trade Rules  | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
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100s of large-scale solar power projects are on hold in the U.S. as the industry awaits the outcome of a federal investigation into potential trade violations involving solar panels bought from Asian suppliers.

Department of Commerce investigators are trying to determine whether Chinese manufacturers are skirting longstanding U.S. duty rules on solar imports from China by funneling components through affiliates in 4 nearby countries — Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam — where panels are assembled for export to the U.S. The 4 countries at the heart of the investigation account for more than 80% of solar panel imports, according to the American Clean Power Association. This situation was set in motion by a San Jose solar panel maker called Auxin Solar. In February, the company filed a petition with the Commerce Department alleging that Chinese companies were circumventing trade duties that are supposed to keep foreign, state-subsidized companies from dumping products in the U.S. and undercutting American manufacturers. The investigation process, designed to be insulated from political pressures, could stretch out for months as investigators work to understand foreign manufacturers' relationships with Chinese suppliers. A finding is expected by late August though the solar industry and its political allies are calling for a speedier review.  Benavides, the Commerce press secretary, told NPR in a statement that while industry concerns are taken into consideration as part of an investigation's damage assessment process, they do not influence the department's inquiries or determinations.

 

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US Intelligence Chief warns China is preparing for a Taiwan invasion

US Intelligence Chief warns China is preparing for a Taiwan invasion | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
Top US intelligence officials warned Tuesday that China is "working hard" to ​carry out a military takeover of Taiwan.
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Top US intelligence officials warned Tuesday that China is “working hard” to ​carry out a military takeover of Taiwan — and Beijing is closely watching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to gauge the level of the US's potential opposition. D​irector of National Intelligence Avril Haines told lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee that the threat to Taiwan is “acute.”  ​“It’s our view that they [the Chinese] are working hard to effectively put themselves into a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan over our intervention,”.  Haines and Defense Intelligence Agency chief Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier added that the US still doesn’t know what the Chinese may have learned from Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, in which Russian forces have been largely stymied by fierce resistance from the Ukrainian's. Berrier said China was learning “some very interesting lessons” from the Ukraine war, including the need for effective military leadership, small unit tactics and training with appropriate weapons systems — as well as the necessity of a professional NCO (noncommissioned officer corps), which Russia lacks. Haines said China had been “surprised” at how quickly the US and Europe united to counter the invasion by enacting sanctions against Russia, “something they obviously will be looking at in context of Taiwan.”

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Worker Output fell 7.5% in Q1 2022, Biggest Decline since 1947

Worker Output fell 7.5% in Q1 2022, Biggest Decline since 1947 | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
Worker productivity fell to start 2022 at its fastest pace in nearly 75 years while labor costs soared.
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Worker productivity fell to start 2022 at its fastest pace in nearly 75 years while labor costs soared as the U.S. struggled with surging Covid cases, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.  Nonfarm productivity, a measure of output against hours worked, declined 7.5% from January through March, the biggest fall since Q3 of 1947.

At the same time, unit labor costs soared 11.6%, bringing the increase over the past 12 months to 7.2%, the biggest gain since Q3 of 1982. The metric calculates how much employers pay workers in salary and benefits per unit of output. Taken together, the numbers underline the inflation surge in the U.S., which has seen prices rise at the fastest level in more than 40 years. Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday announced they would be raising interest rates half a percentage point as part of an ongoing effort to control inflation. A separate Labor Department report Thursday showed that jobless claims increased to 200,000 for the week ended April 30, a 19,000 gain from the previous period and above the Dow Jones estimate for 182,000.

Continuing claims, which run a week behind the headline number, fell 19,000 to 1.38 million, the lowest level since Jan. 17, 1970.

The productivity data reflect a quarter in which a variety of factors converged to cause a 1.4% decline in the rate of economic growth as measured by gross domestic product (GDP).

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U.S. Manufacturing Activity Slowest in+18 months as Workers Quit

U.S. Manufacturing Activity Slowest in+18 months as Workers Quit | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
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U.S. factory activity grew at its slowest pace in more than 1-1/2 years in April amid a rise in workers quitting their jobs, and manufacturers are becoming more anxious about supply over the summer because of China's zero tolerance COVID-19 policy. Multiple manufacturers are reporting increases in workers quitting and there are mixed signals on supply chains; and prices increases are slowing.  The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) did a survey finding that coronavirus outbreaks overseas were "creating a near-term headwind for the U.S. manufacturing community," noting that some manufacturers worried "about their Asian partners' ability to deliver reliably in the summer months." The ISM's index of national factory activity fell to a reading of 55.4 last month, the lowest since a matching reading in September 2020, from 57.1 in March. The last time the index was lower was in July 2020. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing, which accounts for 12% of the U.S. economy. Fiore described manufacturing as remaining "in a demand-driven, supply chain-constrained environment."  Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index rising to 57.6. The 2nd straight monthly decline in the index also reflects spending rotating back to services like travel, dining out and recreation. Government data on Friday showed consumer spending on services increasing by the most in 8 months in March, while outlays on long-lasting manufactured goods dropped for a 2nd consecutive month.   5 of the 6 biggest manufacturing industries - machinery, computer and electronic products, food, transportation equipment and chemical products - registered moderate-to-strong growth. Manufacturers offered a mixed assessment of supply chains.  Makers of chemical products reported that supplier shutdowns in Shanghai and long delays at ports, including in the United States "are still providing supply challenges." In the food industry, supply chains were described as "still constrained."

The tough lockdowns in Shanghai have left at least 25 million people stuck indoors for more than a month, some sealed inside fenced-off residential compounds. Miscellaneous goods manufacturers said they had "extended lead times to customers and are ordering product from China to cover demand through the fourth quarter and early first-quarter 2023."

 

But transportation equipment manufacturers noted "improvements in the supply chain." Manufacturers of nonmetallic mineral products said "improvements in supply chain are occurring on larger scale items." 

 

"Manufacturing should continue to add to GDP growth but the breadth of growth has narrowed," said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. "Risks to the near-term outlook remain weighted to the downside because of the Fed's aggressive tightening cycle, financial market conditions and geopolitical conflict."

 

A separate report from the Commerce Department on Monday showed construction spending barely rose in March, prompting economists to expect that first-quarter gross domestic product would be revised lower to show the economy contracting at a 1.5% annualized rate instead of the 1.4% pace reported last week, when the government publishes it second GDP estimate later this month. read more

Construction spending
Construction spending
The Federal Reserve is expected to hike interest rates by half-a-percentage point on Wednesday. The U.S. central bank raised its policy interest rate by 25 basis points in March, and is soon likely to start trimming its asset holdings.

Stocks on Wall Street were mostly lower. The dollar rose against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices fell.

The ISM survey's forward-looking new orders sub-index dipped to 53.5 from 53.8 in March. Goods spending surged as the COVID-19 pandemic restricted movement. With customer inventories running extremely lean for more than 60 months, manufacturing is in no danger of stalling. Though order backlogs dropped for a second straight month, they remained at high levels, with computer and electronic products, machinery and transportation equipment manufacturers reporting a rise in unfinished work.

The survey's measure of supplier deliveries rose to 67.2 from 65.4 in March. A reading above 50% indicates slower deliveries to factories. Tight supply chains have been exacerbated by Russia's war against Ukraine, which has boosted prices of oil and other commodities. The Russia-Ukraine war is also restraining export growth.

But there was some encouraging news on inflation, with 4.4% of manufacturers in the survey reporting lower prices in April. A measure of prices paid by manufacturers dropped to a reading of 84.6 from 87.1 in March. That supports views that overall inflation has either peaked or is close to doing so.

There were fewer workers on factory floors last month. The survey's measure of factory employment fell to a reading of 50.9 from 56.3 in March. Manufacturers generally reported higher rates of quits compared to the previous months, with fewer saying there had been an improvement in meeting head-count targets. Just over a third expressed difficulty in filling positions, up from 28% in March.

There were a near record 11.3 million job openings at the end of February. The decline in the manufacturing employment index suggests factory payrolls moderated in April.

According to a Reuters survey of economists, manufacturing employment likely increased by 35,000 jobs last month after rising by 38,000 in March. Overall, nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 400,000 jobs after advancing by 431,000 in March.

"We expect a somewhat slower pace of monthly employment growth in upcoming months as lack of available labor constrains hiring," said Veronica Clark, an economist at Citigroup in New York. "Indications of weaker employment would not necessarily be a signal of a more dovish Fed, as tighter monetary policy intentionally acts to weigh on demand for labor in order to bring demand more in line with supply."

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US Dept of Energy Chief touts $3B plan to boost EV Batteries 

US Dept of Energy Chief touts $3B plan to boost EV Batteries  | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
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Continuing its push to dramatically boost sales of electric vehicles, the Biden administration on Monday announced $3.1 billion in funding to U.S. companies that make and recycle lithium-ion batteries.  The investments from last year’s $1 trillion infrastructure law are separate from an executive order President Joe Biden issued this spring, invoking the Defense Production Act boost production of lithium and other critical minerals used to power EVs.  Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the new program will offer grants to companies that process or recycle battery components to increase domestic supplies of a market now dominated by China and other countries. The grants will help strengthen U.S. energy independence and support Biden’s goal to have electric vehicles make up half of all vehicles sales in America by 2030,. “Positioning the United States front and center in meeting the growing demand for advanced batteries is how we boost our competitiveness and electrify our transportation system,” Granholm said.  The $3 billion will be allocated as grants to ~30 companies, and represents ~1/2 of $7 billion approved under the infrastructure law to improve the domestic battery supply chain. Companies will be required to match grants on a 50-50 basis, with a minimum $50 million investment. The money will go to companies that can create new, retrofitted or expanded processing facilities as well as battery recycling programs. The focus on battery processing and recycling is part of a broader effort by Biden to shift the country away from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles and combat climate change. A March 31 executive order intended to increase mining of lithium and other critical minerals does not waive or suspend existing environmental and labor standards. It does address the chief hurdle to increased domestic mining: the years-long process needed to obtain a federal permit for a new mine.

 The grant program “will give our domestic supply chain the jolt it needs to become more secure and less reliant on other nations,″ while creating good-paying jobs and reducing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. “It’s now up to DOE to get the money out the door to projects that will make us stronger in the short- and long-term,″ she said, and “help make sure the United States isn’t just playing catch-up, but leading.″

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How the Pandemic Broke Silicon Valley’s Stranglehold on Tech Jobs

How the Pandemic Broke Silicon Valley’s Stranglehold on Tech Jobs | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it

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New research shows that the migration of tech talent from America’s “superstar cities” has begun in earnest, driven by the rise of remote work and the maturation of the internet and related technologies From the “Silicon Prairie” to “Philicon Valley,” it’s been a slow build to the present inflection point, and some regional tech hubs are growing more quickly than others.  In a feedback loop that could transform the economic geography of the U.S., millions of Americans are moving, and companies are following them—tech companies in particular. In turn, this migration of companies and investment is attracting more workers to places that in the past usually lost talent wars. This is a reversal of a decade-long trend in the opposite direction. It could have big implications for which parts of the U.S. will prosper and for income inequality, and so possibly also for politics, innovation and America’s overall ability to compete.  For decades, the success of America’s so-called “superstar cities” was driven by the tendency of the nation’s most productive workers and firms to cluster in a handful of places such as Silicon Valley.  Now, in the economic equivalent of the blink of an eye—the 2-year span of the pandemic—that has begun changing.  In terms of companies’ willingness to hire workers remotely, what we’re seeing is a ratcheting effect. The pandemic has increased the hiring of people into remote and hybrid roles, and a lock-in of that kind of work as a new norm that isn’t going away, says a professor at George Washington University who conducted the 20-country survey as a senior fellow at Indeed.  “We knew remote work was feasible, and we knew job seekers wanted it, but it was the pandemic that made it an actual day-to-day experience, and once it happened it stuck,”.  The surge in pandemic-induced remote work happened to coincide with another phenomenon, years in the making, according to data from Brookings: a decade or more of increased investment in tech firms clustered in cities outside regions that typically consume the lion’s share of investment and talent.  The result of the convergence of these two reinforcing trends is that, in 2021, 6 of 9 rising-star cities all saw growth in the number of postings for tech jobs, a proxy for future employment in those cities. During the same period, postings in Boston, the Bay Area, New York and Los Angeles declined, according to data from Brookings.

“One of the secrets of Silicon Valley is time,” says Dr. O’Mara. The ascension of these new tech hubs is hardly an apocalypse for America’s superstar cities or the tech companies and tech workers in them, says Mark Muro, who conducted the research for Brookings. But it does seem to be the 1st full-year data in a shift that is just getting under way. Data in 2022 and beyond should show an even more profound shift in employment (patterns) away from what have in the past been dominant cities for tech, he adds, especially as a number of tech companies, such as Oracle and Tesla, transfer workers as a result of moving their HQ's out of the Bay Area.

After the rise of remote work and the growth of more tech hubs, a 3rd underlying trend could also be driving this geographic shift: the maturation of some of the technologies that for decades have underpinned Silicon Valley and other hubs, in particular the integrated circuit and the internet itself.   While it’s impossible to precisely copy the formula that worked for the Bay Area and build the “next Silicon Valley,” regional tech hubs can prosper by finding their own niches, she adds.

 

 

 

But a cornucopia of new research has yielded eyebrow-raising statistics documenting the scale and speed of this change in how people with jobs that can be done remotely work and live:

 

Nearly 5 million Americans say they have moved since 2020—and 18.9 million more are planning to do so—on account of remote work, according to a survey released this past week by Upwork, a platform connecting employers and freelance workers. In the U.S., ~25% of all full work days will happen at home after the pandemic ends, as opposed to 5% before the pandemic, according to economists at Stanford University, University of Chicago and the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México.

 

A paper from researchers at Oxford Universify, the OECD Economics Department and Indeed, the job-postings site, found that as of December 2021, the proportion of job listings in 20 countries that mentioned the possibility of remote work had more than tripled from before the pandemic, to 8.5% from 2.5%. The same researchers also tracked how such postings changed as pandemic restrictions ebbed and flowed, and found evidence these figures are unlikely to budge after pandemic restrictions end.

 

Yet another paper published this past week, from economists at Stanford, MIT Sloan, Princeton University and other institutions, makes the case that the U.S. government has undercounted the share of Americans working remotely by 33 percentage points, and about half of all U.S. workers currently perform their jobs remotely at least some of the time.

 

Finally, research out this past week from the Brookings Institution provides fresh evidence that the rise of work-from-anywhere as both a technological and cultural phenomenon is driving a mass migration of capital, companies and workers. They are heading to a diverse array of cities that for decades saw their best and brightest drained away to places like the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City and Seattle. These new “rising star” cities include Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and St. Louis, according to Brookings.

 

The movement of capital, talent and companies has typically been a relatively slow process, and can take decades, says Margaret O’Mara, a professor of history at the University of Washington and author of “The Code,” a history of Silicon Valley. The development of America’s existing superstar tech hubs are the clearest example of that—after all, the term “Silicon Valley” was coined a half-century ago.

 

 

 The “silicon” in Silicon Valley is, after all, a reference to what microchips are made of. The first commercially available integrated circuit was produced in 1961 by Fairchild Semiconductor, in Santa Clara, Calif. The PC revolution and later the internet created the tech giants of today, mostly in and around the Bay Area and Seattle.

 

But the outsourcing of electronics manufacturing and the rise of cloud services have made it much easier to build a tech startup anywhere. The dispersal of the knowledge required to build companies, and the precipitous drop in the cost to launch a startup in the tech industry, are both hallmarks of what historians call a “mature” set of technologies. This doesn’t mean these technologies are done evolving, just that the rate of breakthroughs has slowed enough that companies built far from where they were first invented can now participate in their development.

 

Some historians and economists have declared our current age the “fourth industrial revolution.” If that’s so, then in some ways it might be following the path of past industrial revolutions, says Dr. O’Mara. From England’s 18th-century Industrial Revolution—which quickly became America’s, after the requisite expertise and technologies were transplanted across the Atlantic—to the rise of Detroit, history is full of new technologies that started in one place, made those who lived there enormously wealthy, and eventually became global phenomena, leading to specialized hubs of knowledge and production all across the world.

 

 

 Atlanta is a good example of these trends. While it was largely left out of the early decades of the rise of the PC and the internet, the presence of corporate headquarters and the Georgia Institute of Technology meant it had both demand for the products of enterprise tech startups and the talent to build them.

 

America’s 9-largest metro area (Atlanta) has quietly become an assembly line for tech unicorns, with 5 of its startups topping $1 billion valuations in 2021 alone, including Calendly, which streamlines the process of scheduling meetings, and Stord, which helps businesses with fulfillment and logistics. The result of successive waves of startup exits, followed by mentorship and reinvestment from startup founders, plus the proximity of potential customers in the headquarters of Fortune 500 companies like Home Depot and UPS, means that the city has built up all the elements necessary to churn out tech startups.

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US Trade Representative's Report:  China using Intellectual Property laws to Dominate Markets and is the Leading Source of Counterfeit and Pirated goods

US Trade Representative's Report:  China using Intellectual Property laws to Dominate Markets and is the Leading Source of Counterfeit and Pirated goods | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
China was among six other countries — Argentina, Chile, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Venezuela — put on a ‘priority watch list’.
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China appears intent on using its intellectual property (IP) laws to unfairly dominate markets and, while Beijing has made some progress strengthening patent, copyright, and criminal statutes, implementation and enforcement remain insufficient, according to a US government report released on Wednesday.  “China must provide a level playing field for IP protection and enforcement,”said the US Trade Representative (USTR) office’s annual Special 301 report, which catalogs IP infringement by trade partners. The document noted that China is the leading source of counterfeit and pirated goods ranging from cosmetics and fertilizer to medicines, accounting for 83% of all products seized in the US in 2020 for these violations. “It has become increasingly clear over recent years and in the past few months that China continues to double down on a state-centred economic system and plans that do not include meaningful reforms that address our concerns, or those of our allies,” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai testified to the House Ways and means Committee last month.

“Statements by Chinese officials that tie IP rights to Chinese market dominance continue to raise strong concerns,” the report said.
“Despite recent trademark law amendments, the limited success brand owners have had in challenging bad faith registrations is insufficient when compared to the overwhelming number of bad faith trademark applications filed and registrations granted,” it added.
USTR reviewed over 100 trading partners for the report and placed 27 of them on watch lists. China was among six other countries — Argentina, Chile, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Venezuela — put on a priority watch list of the worst offenders by practices or impact. While the USTR has kept this designation on China for years, Covid-19 test kits made the list of counterfeit goods for the first time.

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Major Intellectual Property Shift - ‘Innovation is shifting to China' as it amasses Patents

Major Intellectual Property Shift - ‘Innovation is shifting to China' as it amasses Patents | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
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China’s new plan for self-reliance focuses on intellectual property, and they approved about 700,000 patents for inventions last year, a 30% increase compared to 2020, according to the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA). CNIPA head Shen Changyu said China also witnessed significant improvements in the efficiency of the use of intellectual property rights. In 2020, the added value of patent-intensive industries reached US$1.86 trillion, accounting for nearly 12% of GDP. That was up from 11.6%in 2019. with aims to raise this to 13% by 2025, according to the “Outline of Building an Intellectual Property Rights Powerhouse (2021-35)” report released by the Communist Party’s Central Committee and the State Council in September. The document said that by 2035, the country would be an intellectual property rights powerhouse with Chinese characteristics and world standards.   With an average of 7.5 of high-value patents/10,000 patents filed, or nearly double the ratio for 2017.  “China performed well in many segmented indicators … It indicates that China is transforming from an intellectual property importer to a major creator of intellectual property,”. China has stepped up efforts to transform itself into an intellectual property (IP) powerhouse over the past five years. It has authorised more than 2.53 million invention patents in that period, with an average annual growth rate of 13.4%, according to the administration. China was 12th in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Innovation Index for 2021, up from 22nd in 2017.  The Ministry of Science and Technology organised the first National Disruptive Technology Innovation Competition last year, in an effort to identify and explore forward-looking disruptive technologies. Among the winners was a group of researchers from the eastern province of Jiangsu who developed microfluidic chips that can partially simulate organ function.

 

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‘Greenflation’ Is Driving Up Metal Prices. What’s a Manufacturer to Do?

‘Greenflation’ Is Driving Up Metal Prices. What’s a Manufacturer to Do? | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
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Increasing energy costs, geopolitical conflicts, political roadblocks around growing mining capacity and the overall supply chain imbalance have no doubt contributed to current price levels, but demand is also higher than before.  Companies have been grappling with inflationary pains for some time now, especially in the manufacturing space. Labor, materials and equipment costs have soared to record levels, compressing profit margins. While economists expect high inflation to subside once supply chains stabilize, the growing focus on environmentally friendly materials, products and processes will ensure that prices for some commodities—even after stabilizing—will settle well above their pre-pandemic levels.  For manufacturers that rely on metals and other commodities that are experiencing surging demand, we expect this “greenflation” is not transitory and will have an impact regardless of a particular company’s climate objectives. Increasing energy costs, geopolitical conflicts, political roadblocks around growing mining capacity and the overall supply chain imbalance have no doubt contributed to current price levels, but demand for these metals is also higher than before.   To prepare for these continued higher prices for green metals, product design teams should explore ways to reduce consumption of these materials or explore designs that work around them. Companies might also consider designing products that are more easily recyclable, so they can reuse either the material or product. Collaborating across the supply chain can also help organizations build recycling capacity and share the costs/benefits between various third parties. Purchasing teams can use advanced technologies to monitor and predict input pricing movements and lock in the right prices. Companies may also consider ‘product-as-a-service’ business models to extend the commercial life of products beyond a single customer.

 

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Drones, Hackers and Mercenaries - The Future of War - Investigative Journalism

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The German television and internet media company Deutsche Welle, has done an excellent piece of investigative journalism on the current reality of war and how it has playing out.  "A shadow war is a war that, officially, does not exist. As mercenaries, hackers and drones take over the role armies once played, shadow wars are on the rise. States are evading their responsibilities and driving the privatization of violence. War in the grey-zone is a booming business: Mercenaries and digital weaponry regularly carry out attacks, while those giving orders remain in the shadows. Despite its superior army, the U.S. exhausted its military resources in two seemingly endless wars. Now, the superpower is finally bringing its soldiers home. But while the U.S.’s high-tech army may have failed in Afghanistan, it continues to operate outside of official war zones. U.S. Special Forces conduct targeted killings, using drones, hacks and surveillance technologies. All of this is blurring the lines between war and peace. The documentary also shows viewers how Russian mercenaries and hackers destabilized Ukraine. Indeed, the last decade has seen the rise of cyberspace armament. Hacking, sometimes subsidized by states, has grown into a thriving business. Digital mercenaries sell spy software to authoritarian regimes. Criminal hackers attack any target that can turn a profit for their clients. But the classic mercenary business is also taking off, because states no longer want their official armies to go into battle. Former mercenary Sean McFate outlines how privatizing warfare creates an even greater demand for it. He warns that a world of mercenaries is a world dominated by war.

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Singapore, Korea lead Asia's Central Bank Battle Against Inflation

Singapore, Korea lead Asia's Central Bank Battle Against Inflation | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
Singapore and South Korea both tightened monetary policy on Thursday, hot on the heels of rate hikes in Canada and New Zealand, as global policymakers moved quickly to prevent soaring inflation from derailing a fragile world economic recovery.
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Singapore and South Korea both tightened monetary policy on Thursday, hot on the heels of rate hikes in Canada and New Zealand, as global policymakers moved quickly to prevent soaring inflation from derailing a fragile world economic recovery.  While the four central banks began tightening policy last year to stem price rises caused by coronavirus-driven logistics bottlenecks, the war in Ukraine, which started Feb. 24, has since intensified supply pressures, heightening the urgency for policymakers to bring forward planned rate hikes.   The challenge for many economies is they have only just started to embed a sure-footed recovery from large pandemic-led downturns, though inflation has since forced their hands on concerns prices could trigger broader financial and price instability.  Asia-Pacific economies largely lagged U.S. and European reopenings from the pandemic, which meant central banks in Australia, India and Southeast Asia had up until now mostly seen inflation pressures as transitory, with a focus more on shoring up their recoveries.

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Analysis: South Korea's High-Speed 5G Mobile Revolution - Not So Much

Analysis: South Korea's High-Speed 5G Mobile Revolution - Not So Much | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
Richard Platt's insight:

South Korea was the 1st country to launch a 5th-gen mobile network in 2019, heralding a warp-speed technological transformation to self-driving cars and smart cities, 3 years on, the giddy promises are unfulfilled.  Some 45% of the country's people are now on 5G, one of the highest rates globally, after some $20 billion in spending on network upgrades that have boosted connection speeds five-fold. But telecommunications companies have not been willing to invest in the fancier technology that would ramp speeds by 20X over 4G technology.  That is because the demand is not there yet. App makers have not brought to mass market services like autonomous driving that would require more firepower (bandwidth at lower latency). Telcos have adapted by diversifying. To make the quantum leap to the highest-speed 5G will require the roll-out of essential services that need such fast connections.  South Korean telcos have built ~215,000 5G base stations, but only 2% of them can handle mmWave. Other countries that have introduced 5G, such as the US and China, also largely rely on the slower mid-band spectrum. The lesson for other countries racing toward 5G may be: curb your enthusiasm. The new technology holds great promise, but for now there will still be as much evolution as revolution in the high-speed internet future.

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Coca-Cola Chemist Gets 14 Years for Passing 8 Trade Secrets related to Can's to China

Coca-Cola Chemist Gets 14 Years for Passing 8 Trade Secrets related to Can's to China | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
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A chemist who worked at Coca-Cola was sentenced Monday to 14 years in prison for stealing trade secrets related to a BPA-free coating for the inside of cans and passing them to a Chinese company. Xiaorong You, a Pennsylvania woman also known as Shannon You, was convicted in Tennessee in April 2021 of stealing 8 trade secrets owned by various entities, economic espionage, and wire fraud. She sold the stolen confidential information to Weihai Jinhong Group, which was backed by the Chinese government’s Thousand Talents program to recruit leading experts in research and innovation.  Acting Assist. Director Bradley S. Benavides of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division called technology theft “a crime against American workers whose jobs and livelihoods are impacted.”  

The trade secrets in this case—owned by companies including Dow Chemical Co., PPG Industries Inc., Sherwin-Williams Co. and Eastman Chemical Co.—collectively cost about $120 million to develop, according to the indictment in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. You gained access to the proprietary information on various chemicals, formulas, and processes through work at Coca-Cola in Atlanta and Eastman in Kingsport, Tennessee.

The secrets all related to a bisphenol-A-free (BPA-free) coating for the inside of cans. BPA, an industrial chemical long used to make certain plastic and resins to preserve flavor, has been shown to leach into food or beverages and tied to a range of health problems.

 

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Volkswagen to Bring Back the Scout as an EV Brand

Volkswagen to Bring Back the Scout as an EV Brand | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
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One of the 1st SUVs will return to the U.S. in its original form and as an EV pickup.  - International Harvester sold the proto-SUV Scout from 1961 to 1980, with the truck maker going belly up in 1985 after ~80 years of production. VW acquired what was left of International in 2020 with its purchase of Navistar International Corp. The Scout was a 4-wheel drive alternative to the Jeep or Land Rover beloved to this day by enthusiasts for its rugged blocky design and expansive interior. The reincarnation of the Scout is official according to a press release from VW. According to Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG:  After Volkswagen’s successful turnaround in the U.S., we are now taking the opportunity to further strengthen our position in one of the most significant growth markets for EVs. Electrification provides a historic opportunity to enter the highly attractive pick-up and R-SUV segment as a Group, underscoring our ambition to become a relevant player in the U.S. market. VW’s board of directors is expected to approve the plan on Wednesday, according to people familiar with the meeting’s agenda. The plan would see Scout operate as a subsidiary of VW in the U.S. alongside other VW brands—Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley. The move would mark the first time that VW has created a new brand based in the U.S. VW’s leadership hopes the Scout name can help the company break into the hard-fought and highly profitable American market for big SUVs and pickup trucks. VW hopes to eventually sell up to 250,000 Scout-branded vehicles a year in the U.S., with production set to start in 2026.

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CCP Orders Government, State Firms to Dump Foreign PCs within 2 years and Only Buy Chinese Alternative PCs

CCP Orders Government, State Firms to Dump Foreign PCs within 2 years and Only Buy Chinese Alternative PCs | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
Richard Platt's insight:

China has ordered central government agencies and state-backed corporations to replace foreign-branded personal computers with domestic alternatives within two years, marking one of Beijing’s most aggressive efforts so far to eradicate key overseas technology from within its most sensitive organs.  Staff were asked after the week-long May break to turn in foreign PCs for local alternatives that run on operating software developed domestically, people familiar with the plan said. The exercise, which was mandated by central government authorities, will replace ~50 million PCs on a central-government level alone, they said, asking to remain anonymous discussing a sensitive matter.  The decision advances China’s decade-long campaign to replace imported technology with local alternatives, a sweeping effort to reduce its dependence on geopolitical rivals such as the U.S. for everything from semiconductors to servers and phones. It’s likely to directly affect sales by HP Inc. and Dell Technologies Inc., the country’s biggest PC brands after local champion Lenovo Group Ltd. Shares of HP and Dell were both down about 2.5% in New York Friday morning.  The latest government directive is likely to cover only PC brands and software, and exclude hard-to-replace components, including microprocessors. China will mostly encourage Linux-based operating systems to replace Microsoft’s Windows. Shanghai-based Standard Software is one of the top providers of such tools.  Certain agencies, including state-owned media and cybersecurity bodies, may continue to buy advanced foreign equipment under special permits as they always have. But that permit system could be tightened in future.  Lenovo erased losses to climb as much as 5% on Friday in Hong Kong, while software developer Kingsoft Corp. also recouped its earlier decline to gain as much as 3.3%. On mainland Chinese exchanges, Inspur Electronic Information Industry Co., a server maker, gained 6% while peer Dawning Information Industry Co. jumped more than 4%. Inspur Software Co., an affiliate of the Inspur group, and China National Software & Service Co. both soared their daily 10% limits.

 

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Chinese Hackers Caught Stealing Intellectual Property from Multinational Companies

Chinese Hackers Caught Stealing Intellectual Property from Multinational Companies | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
In a new cyber espionage operation, Chinese Winnti hackers have been caught stealing intellectual property from multinational corporations.
Richard Platt's insight:

An elusive and sophisticated cyberespionage campaign orchestrated by the China-backed Winnti group has managed to fly under the radar since at least 2019.  "Winnti is one of the most industrious groups operating on behalf of Chinese state-aligned interests," Cybereason said. "The threat [actor] employed an elaborate, multi-stage infection chain that was critical to enabling the group to remain undetected for so long."  (Many Chinese Hackers are run by the CCP state intelligence services and/or organized teams under them) Dubbed "Operation CuckooBees" by Israeli cybersecurity company Cybereason, the massive intellectual property (IP) theft operation enabled the threat actor to exfiltrate hundreds of gigabytes of information.  Targets included technology and manufacturing companies primarily located in East Asia, Western Europe, and North America.  "The attackers targeted intellectual property developed by the victims, including sensitive documents, blueprints, diagrams, formulas, and manufacturing-related proprietary data," the researchers said. "In addition, the attackers collected information that could be used for future cyberattacks, such as details about the target company's business units, network architecture, user accounts and credentials, employee emails, and customer data." 

 

 

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US National Guard’s aging APCs find new use in Ukraine Fight

US National Guard’s aging APCs find new use in Ukraine Fight | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
At least five states are sending their aging M113 armored personnel carriers to Europe.
Richard Platt's insight:

The U.S. National Guard in at least 5 states is sending aging M113 armored personnel carriers (APCs) to Europe to support the Pentagon’s race to send equipment to Ukraine.  The governors of Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia announced that, at the request of the DoD, they’re turning M113s from their fleets over to Ukraine. The aid stems from President Joe Biden’s announcement April 13 of an $800 million package that included 200 M113s, among more than a dozen other capabilities.  “The National Guard is able to support equipment and training efforts expeditiously,” National Guard Bureau spokesman Wayne Hall said in an email. “The first shipment of equipment flowed two days after the president authorized support on April 13.”  The U.S. Army considers the M113, its Vietnam War battle taxi, obsolete and stopped buying them in 2006. As the fighting in the Donbas region of Ukraine faces a rainy, muddy spring, the M113 ― which has tracks and weighs far less than an Abrams tank ― could offer the country’s forces transportation and protection from small-arms fire and the effects of artillery. “You need mobility on the battlefield, and protected mobility is even better,”.  

A NC National Guard spokesman said the M113 is an all-around great, utilitarian vehicle that deployed to Iraq with the state’s guard units and is still used. “They’re not just parked somewhere, they’re all operational,” Lt. Col. Matt Handley said of the vehicles. “The M113′s gone through upgrades over the the years, and they’re still functional.” Ohio announced they were not only donating M113s, but also that its law enforcement agencies were sending 75 ballistic and riot helmets as well as 840 pieces of body armor, including vests and plates, through the Fund to Aid Ukraine, a nonprofit.

 

 

The director of the Indiana National Guard’s joint staff, Brig. Gen. Justin Mann: “So, we got short notice, the team did a complete technical inspection and we’re able to get all these things ready ahead of time, in less than five days. So a monumental, herculean effort by our maintainers, doing great work and getting this equipment ready.” 

 

 

“The governors are the commanders in chief of their respective national guards, and they’re proud to do this,” National Guard Association of the United States spokesman John Goheen said Friday.

 

After the Indiana National Guard got the request, it had its technicians at Camp Atterbury inspect, repair and road test their M113s. From there, the vehicles were staged for transport and could be seen leaving atop flatbed trucks.

“We’ve been ordered to ship these out at the president’s directive, to provide military equipment to Ukraine,” 

The latest announcement on M113s came from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday.

“The reports of war crimes perpetrated by Russian forces amid their ongoing attacks on Ukraine are heartbreaking and demand serious action,” Cooper said in a news release. “North Carolina stands with the people of Ukraine and is ready to support their fight for democracy and freedom.”

 

 

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Japan considers programs to Develop Talent in Semiconductors, Batteries

Japan considers programs to Develop Talent in Semiconductors, Batteries | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
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Japan is considering establishing talent development programs involving industry, academia and government sectors across the country to boost domestic development in semiconductors and batteries, government sources said. The programs, which will be based on a framework established in the Kyushu region in March, aim to secure human resources for industries becoming increasingly important in an era of digitalization and decarbonization, as demand for such professionals around the world grows, according to an official of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.  A joint chip-making venture established by TSMC and Sony Group Corp, as well as Kyushu University and nine local governments from all 7 prefectures in Kyushu, are among those involved in the program on the southwestern main island. The Kinki region of western Japan is aiming to develop talent in the field of storage batteries, which are needed to meet the growing demand for EVs, with Panasonic Holdings Corp expected to join the program. The programs in the Tohoku and Chugoku regions, in northeastern and western Japan, respectively, are expected to focus on semiconductors, while the Kanto region centering around Tokyo and the Chubu region of central Japan will focus on AI and other types of digital technologies.

Industry ministry bureaus in each region are overseeing the development programs, which will be tailored to the needs of companies, and launches are expected to be made from summer through fall. The government has also established a subsidy program to support the construction of new manufacturing facilities, with TSMC's new plant in Kumamoto Prefecture expected to be the first recipient. The Kumamoto factory plans to hire more than 1,000 people, with shipments scheduled to begin in December 2024.

The industry ministry plans to compile a national strategy for storage batteries around the summer to strengthen support for development.

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California takes on Big Plastic over Recycling Myths & Lies

California takes on Big Plastic over Recycling Myths & Lies | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it

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California wants to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for perpetuating myths about recycling. The state’s attorney general launched an investigation and issued a subpoena to ExxonMobil. The investigation marks a fresh attempt to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for downplaying the harm their products inflict on the planet. California will be looking into whether companies have misled consumers into thinking that recycling keeps plastic out of landfills and ecosystems — and whether they’ve broken any laws in the process. The vast majority of plastic — +90% of all plastic ever made — never gets recycled. Plastic is actually difficult to recycle (more so than some other materials) and degrades each time it gets rehashed. Despite decades of failure with plastic recycling, many companies are still trying to sell consumers on products that they say are more sustainable because they use recycled or “recyclable” plastic.  Recycling just can’t make our plastic addiction sustainable.  If companies like ExxonMobil knew this (like Exxon knew early on that fossil fuels would drive a climate crisis) and decided to use that misinformation anyway to lure customers, California could ultimately hold them accountable. Similar lawsuits are still making their way through court.

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China’s March semiconductor output extends decline, dragged down by supply chain disruptions

China’s March semiconductor output extends decline, dragged down by supply chain disruptions | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
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China’s total output of semiconductors in March declined further from the previous two months, dragged down by supply chain disruptions in manufacturing industries, as the government once again initiated lockdowns and other restrictions under its zero-Covid-19 policy.  The country’s production of integrated circuits (ICs) last month dropped 5.1% from a year earlier to 28.5 billion units, compared with a 1.2% decrease in the January-February period, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday. NBS data also showed that China’s Q1 industrial capacity utilization rate in computer, communications and other electronic equipment manufacturing reached 77% in March, down 2.3% points from the same period a year earlier. Despite those headwinds, China’s gross domestic product in Q1 beat expectations, with a 4.8 per cent growth from a year earlier. Meanwhile, China’s IC imports in Q1 shrank 9.6% in volume from 2021, marking a sharp retreat from the 33.6% increase in the same period in 2021, according to figures released last week by the General Administration of Customs.

 The latest lockdown in Shanghai has further aggravated the situation by disrupting logistics and clogging up supply chains, which has affected many small and medium-sized enterprises,” said William Wang, chief executive at Shanghai-based semiconductor manufacturing consultancy IC Cafe. China’s latest Covid-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions have created a nightmare for logistics operators, who are desperate to get cargo to ports and across borders, as the country’s manufacturers and exporters race to meet delivery deadlines.

 
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Nation-State Plans and Policies will Diversify Semiconductor Supply Chain 

Nation-State Plans and Policies will Diversify Semiconductor Supply Chain  | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
Richard Platt's insight:

Geopolitical dynamics will shape the future of the semiconductor market, an angle that has come under increased attention. Various ‘alliances’ and ‘councils’ are already at work preparing plans to diversify the supply chain and gain “self-sufficiency”. We have the Quad alliance taking shape in the Indo-Pacific region, and the newly formed EU-US tech alliance called the "Trade and Technology Council", where France is expected to pivot the semiconductor negotiations. And the European Alliance for Processors and Semiconductors is bringing many EU member states together for business, research and technology under the semiconductor ambit.  A key differentiator among all these efforts would be how well each economy utilizes the combination of $, time, innovation and "know-how", using both international and homegrown talent. They will all have to position themselves in a way that minimizes risks and reshoring impact when it comes to trade inflows and outflows. This is especially true with respect to the US, EU and Southeast Asia considering other changing factors like labor cost, economic tensions (Ukraine-Russia war) and even the not-so-gone COVID-19, which have the ability to impact the demand-supply harmony of this ecosystem.

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White House Guidance Directs Infrastructure Projects to Use US-Made Materials

White House Guidance Directs Infrastructure Projects to Use US-Made Materials | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
Federal guidelines direct that money from the $1 trillion infrastructure bill should be spent on American metals, not imported.
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The White House is looking to ensure U.S. infrastructure is built using U.S. metals. A memo released by the Biden Administration on April 18 details the requirements and exceptions for federally-funded infrastructure projects to use metals, construction materials, and products manufactured in the US. The new rules go into effect by May 14 of 2022.  The memo, consistent with last fall’s passage of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill clearing billions of dollars for new roads, bridges, and pipelines and a January 2021 executive order, stipulates that projects built using the federal funds should use 100% U.S.-made iron, steel, and construction materials, as well as at least 55% other manufactured products by cost.  It also, however, includes 3 conditions for which an infrastructure can escape those guidelines. If the leader of a federal agency finds that enough necessary materials for a project can’t be found in the US, if the necessary materials would make the project 25% more expensive than if they were sourced elsewhere, or if applying them would “be inconsistent with the public interest” somehow, they can waive the requirements.  Waiver proposals will be made public for at least 15 days, according to the White House memo, and all such waivers will be reviewed by the Made in America Office after a period of required public comment is over. Despite the allowance for waivers, the Made in America office says its ultimate goal is to “increase reliance on domestic supply chains and reduce the need for waivers” by making the waivers transparent and setting consistent requirements.

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200mm Semiconductor Fab Capacity Set to Surge 21%(25 New Fabs coming online by 2027)

200mm Semiconductor Fab Capacity Set to Surge 21%(25 New Fabs coming online by 2027) | Internet of Things - Technology focus | Scoop.it
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Semiconductor manufacturers worldwide are on track to boost 200mm fab capacity by 1.2 million wafers, or 21%, from the start of 2020 to the end of 2024 to hit a record high of 6.9 million wafers/month, SEMI announced today in its 200mm Fab Outlook Report. After climbing to $5.3 billion last year, 200mm fab equipment spending is expected to be $4.9 billion in 2022 as 200mm fab utilization remains at high levels and the global semiconductor industry works to overcome the chip shortage.  “Wafer manufacturers will add 25 new 200mm lines over the five-year period to help meet growing demand for applications such as 5G, automotive and Internet of Things (IoT) devices that rely on devices like analog, power management and display driver integrated circuits (ICs), MOSFETs, microcontroller units (MCUs) and sensors,” said Ajit Manocha, SEMI president and CEO.  The SEMI 200mm Fab Outlook Report, covering the 12 years from 2013 to 2024, also reveals that foundries will account for more than 50% of fab capacity worldwide this year, followed by analog at 19% and discrete/power at 12%. Regionally, China will lead the world in 200mm capacity with 21% share in 2022, followed by Japan with 16% and Taiwan and Europe/Mideast at 15% each.

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