Summary of “After a week of Russian propaganda, I was questioning everything”

Like its sister outlet RT, Sputnik is a Russian government-funded media outlet, widely seen by Russia experts as a vehicle to disseminate disinformation for the Kremlin, and, like its space-dwelling namesake, to make the West look bad. While RT is television, Sputnik lives on the radio, a wire service and website.
Today, Sputnik operates in 34 countries in more than 30 languages, including, as of this past summer, on an FM station in Washington, D.C. When Sputnik launched stateside, the investigations into Russia’s supposed interference in the U.S. election were accelerating, and the media outlet was greeted with critical coverage.
Because its provider is now a foreign agent, Sputnik is now required to disclose that it is funded by the Russian government.
Over the last month, questioning the chemical attack in Douma dominated the news at Sputnik.
While at Sputnik’s offices, I also sat down with Mindia Gavasheli, a Russian national who runs Sputnik’s D.C. newsroom.
When I sat down with Lee Stranahan, the former Breitbart reporter, who calls himself a “Political futurist,” he shrugged off the idea that Sputnik was Russian propaganda by employing some whataboutism of his own.
“When you work for Sputnik, you get called a traitor and a Putin puppet But why does no one bring up the coup we fomented?” he said, referring to Russian allegations that the U.S. fomented a coup in Ukraine.
As one last attempt to better understand Sputnik, I put myself on a weeklong Sputnik media diet.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China’s Carmakers Want to Dominate World’s Next Era of Driving”

On a bright spring day in Amsterdam, car buffs stepped inside a blacked-out warehouse to nibble on lamb skewers and sip rhubarb cocktails courtesy of Lynk & Co., which was showing off its new hybrid SUV. What seemed like just another launch of a new vehicle was actually something more: the coming-out party for China’s globally ambitious auto industry.
Li is spearheading China’s aspirations to wedge itself among the big three of the global car industry-the U.S., Germany and Japan-so they become the Big Four.
He’s not alone: At least four Chinese carmakers and three Chinese-owned startups-SF Motors Inc., NIO and Byton-plan to sell cars in the U.S. starting next year.
Carmakers may get better visibility of their futures, and those Chinese companies that fear losing sales at home may sense a greater impetus to go abroad. “They are in a better position now than they ever have been,” Anna-Marie Baisden, head of autos research in London with BMI Research, said of Chinese carmakers.
The creeping global influence of China’s industry isn’t limited to getting their wheels on U.S. and European roads.
“China does intend to lead and dominate the electric-vehicle industry.”
China’s knack for speedy adaptation has put the country in a position to lead the auto industry in new technologies, Toyota Motor Corp.’s China Chief Executive Officer Kazuhiro Kobayashi said.
“Developing new-energy vehicles is the only way for China to move from a big automobile country to a powerful automobile hub,” he said when visiting SAIC Motor Corp., a Shanghai government-owned company that partners with GM and Volkswagen in China.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Tammy Duckworth: ‘The Military Has Seen the Writing on the Wall’ in North Korea”

When Senator Tammy Duckworth returned from a recent trip to South Korea and Japan, she brought back a sobering message: “Americans simply are not in touch with just how close we are to war on the Korean peninsula.” In a speech at Georgetown University, she laid out the U.S. military maneuvers over the past several months-including a nuclear-powered submarine heading to South Korea, the movement of three aircraft carriers to the Western Pacific, and the Army testing out “Mobilization centers” for deploying troops and training soldiers to fight in tunnels like those beneath North Korea-that inform this worry.
In an interview with me, she said the U.S. military seems to be operating with the attitude that a conflict “‘will probably happen, and we better be ready to go.
Even though the administration continues to emphasize its preference for a diplomatic solution, “I feel like the military hears the war-mongering tendencies coming out of the executive branch and many in the legislative branch and have seen the writing on the wall and they said, ‘Holy cow. We’re more likely to be called on now than we were two years ago,'” Duckworth said.
“But it’s painfully clear from my visit to the and these movements that I am seeing that we shouldn’t ignore the signals that our military is sending with these actions. We know that the North Koreans and our allies in the region are certainly paying attention.”
The drums of war are not booming; there have been no major U.S. military movements or public-messaging campaigns by the Trump administration or new advisories to American civilians or companies, for instance.
Robert Neller, the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, acknowledged the limitations of military plans during an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Thursday.
Alexander Vorontsov, a Russian Korea scholar, recently wrote that North Korean Foreign Ministry officials he visited in Pyongyang in November told him they did “Not want war” but would “Not hide from it either.” They “Feared that the U.S. was already trying to shape the battlefield for a military operation against the North.” And, Vorontsov continued, the North Korean government “Is not bluffing when it says that ‘only one question remains: When will war break out?’ [O]ur counterparts emphasized that ‘our soldiers have long been sleeping without removing their boots.'”.
Gallego worries that “We [could] trip ourselves into a war” no one wants-if, “For example, the North assumes one of our moves is a strike and they decide to do a preemptive strike.” Neller might respond that one of the points of U.S. military preparations is to prevent war by deterring the adversary.

The orginal article.

Summary of “U.S. soldiers are revealing sensitive and dangerous information by jogging”

An interactive map posted on the Internet that shows the whereabouts of people who use fitness devices such as Fitbit also reveals highly sensitive information about the locations and activities of soldiers at U.S. military bases, in what appears to be a major security oversight.
Zooming in on those areas brings into focus the locations and outlines of known U.S. military bases, as well as of other unknown and potentially sensitive sites – presumably because American soldiers and other personnel are using fitness trackers as they move around.
Adam Rawnsley, a Daily Beast journalist, noticed a lot of jogging activity on the beach near a suspected CIA base in Mogadishu, Somalia.
The site does not identify app users and shows many locations that may be connected to aid agencies, U.N. facilities and the military bases of other nations – or any group whose personnel are likely to use fitness trackers, said Tobias Schneider, an international security analyst based in Germany.
The data also offers a mine of information to anyone who wants to attack or ambush U.S. troops in or around the bases, Schneider said, including patterns of activity inside the bases.
The map of Afghanistan appears as a spider web of lines connecting bases, showing supply routes, as does northeast Syria, where the United States maintains a network of mostly unpublicized bases.
At a site in northern Syria near a dam, where analysts have suspected the U.S. military is building a base, the map shows a small blob of activity accompanied by an intense line along the nearby dam, suggesting that the personnel at the site jog regularly along the dam, Schneider said.
The perimeter of the main Russian base in Syria, Hmeimim, is clearly visible – as are several routes out of the base that are presumably taken by patrols, he said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Dark Side of America’s Rise to Oil Superpower”

Almost five decades later, with oil hovering near $65 a barrel, daily U.S. crude output is about to hit the eight-digit mark again.
It’s a significant milestone on the way to fulfilling a dream that a generation ago seemed far-fetched: By the end of the year, the U.S. may well be the world’s biggest oil producer.
U.S. shale is “Seemingly on steroids,” says Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. in London.
A decade ago, U.S. net oil imports stood at more than 12 million barrels a day.
With shale surging, U.S. imports of Saudi oil plunged to a 30-year low last year.
It’s now possible for the U.S. to argue that other countries should help shoulder the burden of policing the shipping lanes leading to Middle Eastern and North African oil exporters.
The quality of shale oil is so high that it yields little diesel, the fuel that powers manufacturing.
There’s a chance the world will witness that rarest of market loop-de-loops-high oil prices as well as rising U.S. production.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China’s breathtaking transformation into a scientific superpower”

The report’s main conclusion lies elsewhere: China has become – or is on the verge of becoming – a scientific and technical superpower.
China has become the second- largest R&D spender, accounting for 21 percent of the world total of nearly $2 trillion in 2015.
Only the United States, at 26 percent, ranks higher, but if present growth rates continue, China will soon become the biggest spender.
Although the United States and the European Union each produce more studies on biomedical subjects, China leads in engineering studies.
American papers tend to be cited more often than the Chinese papers , suggesting that they involve more fundamental research questions, but China is catching up.
Technology is mobile, and gains made in China could be enjoyed elsewhere, and vice versa.
In our contentious world, China’s technological prowess is potentially threatening, as the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressional watchdog group, has often pointed out.
If China makes a breakthrough in a crucial technology – satellites, missiles, cyberwarfare, artificial intelligence, electromagnetic weapons – the result could be a major shift in the strategic balance and, possibly, war.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Norwegians Aren’t Moving to the U.S.”

As President Trump has cracked down on illegal immigration and reportedly disparaged the ‘shithole’ countries immigrants leave, there’s at least one place from which he’d like more immigration: Norway.
The number of Norwegians immigrants to the U.S. has steadily declined over the past five decades, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute, which studies global migration trends.
There are fewer Norwegians living in the U.S. than any other major European country.
There’s little evidence to suggest that Norwegians, because they are overwhelmingly white, had an easier time assimilating in the U.S. during the period of mass migration that ended with the Immigration Act of 1924.
A 2013 working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research noted that wages for first- and second-generation Norwegians were lower than any other immigrant group in that period of mass immigration, except those from Portugal.
Simply put, there’s little economic incentive for Norwegians to immigrate to the U.S. That’s true not just of Norway, but of all Western European countries that have become more prosperous over the past several decades.
European immigration to the U.S. has fallen dramatically, and the place of European immigrants have been taken by those from Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
As Nowrasteh, the immigration expert, pointed out on Twitter Thursday night: “I have nothing against Norwegians or Norway but this shows that the ‘loser immigrants’ from yesterday’s ‘shit holes’ tend to turn into excellent, rich Americans after a few generations while their countries improve substantially.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Drugs To Fight ‘Neglected Tropical Diseases’ Can Cost Far More In The U.S. Than Abroad”

It’s one of several drugs for “Neglected tropical diseases” that are priced differently in the United States than they are in the developing world.
Drugs for diseases of the developing world, in particular what are known as “Neglected tropical diseases” like hookworm and leishmaniasis, are enormously more expensive in the United States than in the developing world.
Prices for generic drugs that treat neglected tropical diseases are skyrocketing in the U.S. When a disease affects only a small number of patients in the U.S., “There’s less incentive for generic companies to enter the market,” Alpern explains.
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, says certain neglected tropical diseases in the U.S. are surprisingly widespread, especially among those who may not be able to afford treatment.
“We have now identified nearly half-a-dozen neglected tropical diseases that are widespread in the U.S. among the poor, especially in the American South,” says Hotez, who last year published Blue Marble Health, a book evaluating neglected diseases in America.
In the years following albendazole’s price hike in 2011, Medicaid spending on the drug went from under $100,000 in 2008 to more than $7.5 million in 2013.
Medicaid spending on Daraprim, another tropical disease drug that just experienced a price hike, went from $2.2 million in 2014 to $15.7 million in 2015.
According to its website, Impax is “Committed to making ENVERM more affordable.” The pharmaceutical company shared an online coupon that can save patients up to $60 for a prescription that would cost more than $369. Alpern hopes to see more companies start manufacturing the generic version of the drug.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Aren’t U.S. Cars Popular in Japan?”

The American Automotive Policy Council says that historical practices like requiring lengthy car inspections of foreign-made vehicles and prohibiting existing car dealers from selling foreign cars have prevented foreign companies from gaining a large market share.
While Japanese cars are right-hand-drive, requiring manufacturing modifications before American cars can be sold there, this is no different from many other markets where foreign cars are prevalent.
U.S. companies have made inroads in countries like China that have more restrictive trade policies than Japan, in shorter amounts of time-General Motors now sells more cars in China than it does in the U.S., for example.
Japanese companies increased their presence in the U.S. market for decades, even after the U.S. asked Japan to impose voluntary export restraints, limiting its export of cars to the U.S., in 1981.
Foreign companies have begun to sell more cars in Japan, with few complaints about Japan’s trade policies.
There are sleek cars and bicycles in a vast showroom, while another showroom sells car accessories and BMW memorabilia.
It delivers cars to customers who buy them, and has a “Delivery bay” where customers who buy new cars can get them delivered in a new car ceremony that some Japanese customers request.
Because Japan is such an urban society, cars are often stored in garages or in compact spots that require cars to be light and small.

The orginal article.

Summary of “2-Party System? Americans Might Be Ready For 8”

There’s a lot of them – 8 percent of the population, or roughly 20 million people.
13 percent of the country, 31 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of politically engaged Republicans.
6 percent of the country, 14 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of politically engaged Republicans.
12 percent of the country, 22 percent of Republicans, but only 17 percent of the most politically engaged.
11 percent of the country, 17 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of the most engaged Republicans.
14 percent of the country, 23 percent of Democrats, 11 percent of the most politically engaged.
12 percent of the country, 20 percent of Democrats, 13 percent of the most politically engaged.
16 percent of the country, 33 percent of Democrats, 25 percent of the most politically engaged.

The orginal article.