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World News Daily(2024-07-08) : Japan and Philippines Strengthen Defense Ties Amid Regional Tensions

Japan and Philippines Strengthen Defense Ties Amid Regional Tensions

Japan and the Philippines have signed a defense pact, allowing Japanese troops to train in the Philippines and vice versa. This marks Japan's first such agreement in Asia, following similar deals with Australia and Britain.

Under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Japan is increasing military spending, aiming to develop a counterstrike capability and shift away from its postwar focus on self-defense. The country plans to double its defense budget by 2027, targeting to become the third-largest military spender globally.

The Philippines, which experienced brutal Japanese occupation, now allies with Tokyo, both nations wary of China's assertiveness. The Philippines seeks a stronger military to protect its interests in the South China Sea.

The U.S. is strengthening its military alliances in the Indo-Pacific, reaffirming an "ironclad" commitment to defend Japan and the Philippines. Japan and China have disputes over islands in the East China Sea, and tensions are high in the South China Sea, with recent clashes between Chinese and Philippine vessels.

The Philippines is demanding $1 million and the return of seized rifles from China. The U.S. pledges support if the Philippines faces an armed attack in the South China Sea.



Gabriel Attal Resigns Amid Political Uncertainty

Gabriel Attal, France's Prime Minister, plans to resign. This follows the recent parliamentary elections where his party, Ensemble, and allies secured 150-180 seats. The New Popular Front leads with 180-215 seats. The far-right Rassemblement National, which won the first vote, trails behind.

France faces a hung parliament, with no single party holding an absolute majority. This scenario requires coalition building for governance. Attal, appointed in January, is expected to step down, setting the stage for new political alignments.

Attal emphasized the rejection of extreme majorities by the electorate. He views this as a new era for France, though uncertainty looms over the formation of a ruling coalition.

President Emmanuel Macron intends to complete his term until 2027, regardless of the election outcome. The markets watch closely as France navigates this political transition.



Cryptocurrency Market Drops $170 Billion Amid Mt. Gox Payout Concerns

Cryptocurrencies lost over $170 billion in value on Friday. Mt. Gox, a failed Bitcoin exchange, plans to pay nearly $9 billion to its users. This payout alarmed investors, leading to a sell-off. Crypto derivatives experienced $639.58 million in liquidations, primarily from long positions. Germany sold 3,000 bitcoins seized from a piracy case. Despite this, Tom Lee of Fundstrat predicts Bitcoin reaching $150,000. Mt. Gox creditors will receive 15% of their original Bitcoin holdings, but at current prices, this amount surpasses their initial investment.


In 2024, the sales of pure electric vehicles are expected to reach 10 million units, while the market share of internal combustion engine cars will decline.

In 2024, the sales of pure electric vehicles are expected to reach 10 million units, while the market share of internal combustion engine cars will decline.

Electric vehicle sales are projected to reach 10 million units in 2024. The market share of internal combustion engine vehicles is expected to drop below 50%. China's electric vehicle market is robust, with sales in 2024 anticipated to be four times that of North America. By 2027, China is set to account for more than 50% of global electric vehicle sales. In 2024, BYD is expected to surpass Tesla. Companies like Ford and General Motors are reshaping their supply chains to prepare for the launch of electric vehicles priced under $35,000, in response to market competition. This strategic reform will commence from the end of 2025, aiming to meet stricter emission regulations and leverage subsidy policies and consumer demand to stimulate the global electric vehicle market.


Global Heat Records Continue: June Marks 13th Consecutive Month

June's heat broke records, marking the 13th straight month of global temperature highs. Copernicus, the European climate service, reported a 1.5-degree Celsius increase over pre-industrial levels. This trend aligns with the Paris Agreement's critical threshold.

Nicolas Julien, a senior climate scientist at Copernicus, warns of rapid global warming. The 1.5-degree mark signifies a significant milestone, though actual danger might take 20 to 30 years to manifest fully.

Extreme events—floods, storms, droughts, and heatwaves—are already worsening. June's heat was particularly severe in southeast Europe, Turkey, eastern Canada, and the western U.S. Ocean temperatures also set records for the 15th consecutive month.

The primary cause of this warming is greenhouse gas emissions from coal, oil, and natural gas. El Ninos and cleaner air over Atlantic shipping lanes also contribute, albeit indirectly.

Climate scientists like Andrew Dessler and Andrea Dutton emphasize the escalating crisis. Dessler notes the disparity in impacts between the rich and poor, while Dutton highlights the increasing likelihood of climate-driven disasters.

The streak of record-breaking months may soon end, but the underlying climate chaos persists. Urgent action to curb emissions is imperative.


Taiwan's Walsin Lihwa Expands into Offshore Wind Energy

Taiwan's Walsin Lihwa Expands into Offshore Wind Energy

Walsin Lihwa, a major Taiwanese manufacturer of stainless steel and terrestrial power cables, is venturing into submarine power cables for offshore wind farms. They are partnering with Denmark's NKT Group through a joint venture, Walsin Energy Cable System. The objective is to support Taiwan's renewable energy initiative, aiming to increase offshore wind capacity from 2.25 GW to over 20 GW by 2035.

The new facility in Kaohsiung, scheduled for a test run in 2025 and full-scale production by 2027, is not only targeting Taiwan but also the broader Asia-Pacific region. This strategic move capitalizes on a global shortage of cables, fueled by a surge in offshore wind projects.

Submarine power cables, crucial for transmitting energy from wind farms to land, are large and require exceptional durability. Only a handful of top-tier suppliers exist worldwide. Walsin Lihwa faces challenges, particularly a shortage of expertise in submarine cables. They are tackling this by sending employees to Denmark for training.

This venture is pivotal for Taiwan's energy transition, aiming to decrease dependence on nuclear, coal, and gas. It is also essential for attracting high-tech investments, given Taiwan's strategic position in the semiconductor and AI sectors.



Sumitomo Corporation Plans Massive Investment in Next-Generation Energy Projects

Sumitomo Corporation Plans Massive Investment in Next-Generation Energy Projects

Sumitomo Corporation plans to invest 1.5 trillion yen in next-generation energy projects by 2030. CEO Ueno Shingo highlighted the firm's competitive edge in renewable energy, citing multi-sector experience. The strategy includes building power storage stations and launching a large wind power project in Fukushima. Ueno emphasized long-term profitability and social impact, hinting at further investments.

Power storage stations: facilities that store energy, typically from renewable sources like solar, to ensure stable supply.


RBC Highlights AI's Disruptive Potential Across Industries

RBC Capital Markets views AI as a game-changer, extending beyond tech giants like Nvidia and Amazon. They believe AI will disrupt industries and reshape interactions, much like the PC and the internet did.

Meta Platforms, parent of Facebook, is capitalizing on this trend, with a 52% increase this year. RBC anticipates that digital ads and virtual assistants will further boost Meta's growth.

Software stocks such as CrowdStrike and Adobe are also gaining attention. CrowdStrike benefits from increased security demands, while Adobe's AI tools, like Firefly, enhance creativity and digital advertising.

Accenture stands out in IT services, with AI bookings exceeding $2 billion. They are recognized as leaders in cloud migration and data management.

Other beneficiaries include Eaton for liquid cooling, Shopify for e-commerce, and Thomson Reuters and Moody's for data and analytics.

RBC believes AI's impact will unfold over several years, but its potential is immense. They suggest that the market underestimates AI's disruptive power.


Apple to Release Q2 Earnings and New Product Sales Data

Apple is set to release its Q2 financial results on August 2, which are expected to include sales figures for new products such as the新款iPad Pro. Prior to the earnings report, Apple introduced the M3 MacBook Air and new versions of the iPad Pro/Air. In the previous fiscal quarter, total revenue fell by 4% year-over-year, with a decline of 8.1% in the Greater China region.

The new iPad Pro aims to ship more than 9 million units. Apple plans to release the新款iPhone 16 next year, positioned above the Pro Max. The new iPad Air/Pro will no longer include stickers in their packaging. Apple does not intend to hold a launch event for the new iPad and is expected to release it directly online.

The iPhone 6 Plus and iPad mini 4 have been classified as obsolete products. Apple is planning to introduce an OLED iPad Pro and a new iPad Air. Ming-Chi Kuo revealed that Apple has reduced its annual iPhone shipment target to 200 million units.

Apple will launch a 14.1-inch iPad Pro next year. The initial orders for the iPhone 15/Pro have entered the "ready to ship" phase. Apple has optimized the retail approach for the iPhone 15 series, offering next-day delivery services.


Thai Corporate Fraud Scandal Exposes Governance Issues

Thai Corporate Fraud Scandal Exposes Governance Issues

BANGKOK — Vonnarat Tangkaravakoon, once a tycoon, now sits in a courtroom, accused of a $409.8 million fraud. His company, Stark Corp., duped investors with false financials and bogus sales. The scandal implicates Kasikornbank, Deloitte, and Credit Suisse.

Stark raised 10.7 billion baht through debentures, plus 5.58 billion baht from stock sales. These funds, meant for expansion, were used to repay debts. A PwC audit revealed "unusual transactions" and "material misstatements."

Investors, including retirees, have filed class-action lawsuits. The defendants face potential damages of up to 27 billion baht. The case aims to set a new standard for Thai corporate governance.

Stark's financial maneuvers, including repeated debenture issuances for debt servicing, should have raised red flags. The company's low-margin products and rising input costs further strained its finances.

This scandal underscores the need for rigorous oversight and transparency in corporate practices.



SpaceX to Attempt Risky Booster Capture in Upcoming Starship Test

SpaceX is preparing for its fifth Starship orbital test flight, with the goal of capturing the 232-foot booster using a launch tower's mechanical arm. This risky maneuver, a first in the industry, could result in launch pad damage or regulatory scrutiny if it fails. Musk aims for an early August attempt for this daring endeavor.

Key Terms:

  • Starship: SpaceX's next-generation spacecraft.
  • IFT-5: The fifth integrated flight test of Starship.
  • Booster: The rocket's first stage, designed for lift-off and initial acceleration.

Simplifying Web Development with Vercel Functions

Vercel Functions simplify web development by handling traffic without traditional server management. They offer:

  • Secure Environments: Automatically updated and patched.
  • Predictable Performance: Scales with demand, reducing latency risks.
  • High Availability: Automatic failover and scaling across zones.
  • Cost Efficiency: Scales up and down based on usage, avoiding unnecessary spend.
  • Real-Time Controls: Manage function duration and monitor usage to prevent unexpected costs.
  • Built-In Observability: Integrated tools for monitoring and logging.

Insight: Vercel Functions abstract infrastructure complexities, allowing developers to focus on product creation rather than server upkeep. This shift streamlines operations and enhances security, making it ideal for dynamic, high-traffic applications.


iOS 18 Photos App Update Enhances Privacy and Efficiency

Apple's iOS 18 updates focus on enhancing privacy and efficiency within the Photos app. With the app managing over three trillion images annually, security is paramount.

The redesign incorporates AI features to assist users in better managing their photos. Notable improvements include quicker search capabilities, more straightforward removal of unwanted content, and intelligent album creation.

Third-party apps will undergo more stringent privacy checks before gaining access to Photos. Users will have the ability to dictate which images these apps can view, thereby strengthening personal data protection.

Apple's Private Cloud Compute will support AI features on compatible devices, ensuring that data remains secure.

New functionalities such as voice-activated photo search and automatic album generation will streamline photo management.

In essence, the update is designed to make photo handling more personalized and secure, aligning with individual user workflows.


Novel Electrically Charged Adsorbent Enhances Efficient Carbon Capture

Novel Electrically Charged Adsorbent Enhances Efficient Carbon Capture

Professor Li Huaiguang and his team have developed a new type of charged adsorbent that can efficiently capture carbon dioxide from the air. During a continuous 11-day test, the performance of this adsorbent remained at 100%, and after 14 months, it only dropped by 8%. Its adsorption heat reaches 137 kJ mol⁻¹, showing a strong affinity for carbon dioxide.

The charged adsorbent utilizes electrochemical technology, employing charged ions as adsorption sites to achieve efficient carbon dioxide capture. Its preparation process is similar to charging a battery, with low costs and readily available raw materials. The adsorbent boasts high chemical adsorption capacity and low physical adsorption desorption energy consumption, significantly reducing the energy cost of carbon capture.

This technology leverages the principles of supercapacitors, enhancing carbon capture efficiency through precise control of charging voltage and optimization of key components. Professor Li Huaiguang's team is dedicated to transferring this laboratory technology to industrial production and plans to integrate AI technology to enhance system intelligence and stability.

This innovative technology is expected to become an important tool in addressing climate change and achieving carbon neutrality goals.


Video Game

Satisfactory Game to Launch Version 1.0 on September 10

Satisfactory Game to Launch Version 1.0 on September 10

Coffee Stain Studios plans to end Early Access for "Satisfactory" on September 10. The game, a sprawling factory builder, has seen significant updates. The upcoming 1.0 release will refine gameplay and systems, finalize narrative elements, and enhance world details.

Key features at launch include mod support, dedicated servers, and an achievements system. Anticipated price increases make the current summer sale a good entry point. The team values player feedback, maintaining an open dialogue with the community.


AMD Plans RDNA 4 GPUs for 2025 with Enhanced Ray Tracing and Efficiency

AMD Plans RDNA 4 GPUs for 2025 with Enhanced Ray Tracing and Efficiency

AMD plans to release RDNA 4 GPUs in 2025, with Navi 48 leading the lineup and Navi 44 following. Both models are expected to enhance ray tracing capabilities and efficiency. The Navi 48 is targeted to perform close to the Radeon RX 7900 XT, while the Navi 44 is set to replace the RX 7600. Utilizing 4nm technology, these GPUs will improve power efficiency. The Navi 48 features 32 WGPs, 64 CUs, a 256-bit interface, and a bandwidth of 693GB/s. The Navi 44 includes 16 WGPs, 32 CUs, a 128-bit interface, and a bandwidth of 288GB/s. AMD is focusing on ROCm for AI profitability.


Ubisoft and Double Jump Tokyo collaborate to advance Web3 gaming technology.

Ubisoft and Double Jump Tokyo collaborate to advance Web3 gaming technology.

Ubisoft and Double Jump Tokyo have joined forces to advance the application of Web3 and NFT technologies in the game "Champion Tactics." The goal is to accelerate the global adoption of Web3 gaming technology. Didier Genevois, Ubisoft's Web3 Technology and Product Director, emphasized that this collaboration aims to explore the integration of decentralized technologies with gaming. Ubisoft plans to issue in-game NFTs, such as unique avatar images, through the Oasys Layer 2 HOME Verse blockchain. Despite the failure of the previous "Quartz Project," Ubisoft remains committed to exploring the use of NFTs in games. "Champion Tactics" is scheduled for release later this year, with only the PC version currently confirmed.

NFT (Non-Fungible Token): A digital asset based on blockchain technology, each NFT is unique and can be used to prove ownership of digital items.



Gustav Mahler: Composer and Conductor

Gustav Mahler: Composer and Conductor

Gustav Mahler, born in 1860, was a composer and conductor known for his complex, philosophical music. Despite early recognition as a musical prodigy, Mahler struggled with personal and professional conflicts throughout his career. He was often at odds with his peers and faced anti-Semitic backlash due to his Jewish heritage.

Mahler's music was initially met with mixed reviews, seen as too complex and philosophical for mainstream audiences. However, his later works, like the "Eighth Symphony," also known as the "Symphony of a Thousand," gained critical acclaim. Despite this, Mahler's health deteriorated, and he died in 1911.

Posthumously, Mahler's music was suppressed during the Nazi era but was later revived in the mid-20th century, thanks to conductors like Leonard Bernstein. Today, Mahler's compositions are celebrated for their depth and emotional resonance.

His life and music reflect a profound struggle with identity and acceptance, yet they also embody a relentless pursuit of artistic expression and innovation.


Alec Baldwin Faces Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter in Rust Shooting

Alec Baldwin Faces Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter in Rust Shooting Alec Baldwin Faces Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter in Rust Shooting

Alec Baldwin faces trial for involuntary manslaughter over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust in 2021. The case has drawn widespread attention, with prosecutors arguing Baldwin's negligence led to Hutchins' death. Baldwin claims the gun malfunctioned; however, forensic analysis suggests he pulled the trigger.

The defense alleges FBI testing damaged the weapon, potentially skewing results. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer denied a dismissal request, noting the prosecution must inform the jury of the testing's destructive nature.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, Rust's armorer, was previously convicted of involuntary manslaughter, complicating Baldwin's case. Prosecutors must now prove Baldwin's negligence beyond Gutierrez-Reed's involvement.

Baldwin's past comments and behavior on set, deemed reckless by some, could undermine his defense. His role as producer also raises questions about his oversight responsibilities.

Halyna Hutchins' family, represented by attorney Gloria Allred, seeks accountability, emphasizing the need for justice to prevent future tragedies. The trial promises to be a pivotal moment in the intersection of Hollywood and criminal law.



Study Reveals PFAS Chemicals Can Penetrate Human Skin

Study Reveals PFAS Chemicals Can Penetrate Human Skin

Recent study shows PFAS, "forever chemicals," can soak through skin. This challenges old beliefs and highlights a new way we're exposed. PFAS are used everywhere, from clothes to cosmetics, because they repel water and stains. Some are banned, but many aren't, and their dangers aren't fully known.

PFAS are linked to health issues like weak immune responses, liver problems, and low birth weights. Before, it was thought PFAS couldn't pass through skin. But new research, using 3D skin models, found most PFAS can get in through skin.

Oddný Ragnarsdóttir, the lead researcher, says past thinking was wrong. PFAS, due to their electric charge, were thought to be blocked by skin. Not so, says the study. It found 15 out of 17 tested PFAS could be absorbed, some quite easily.

The study suggests more research is needed on how these chemicals affect us. Especially since industries are moving to shorter-chain PFAS, thinking they're safer. But these might be absorbed more easily, raising new concerns.


Massive Heatwave Threatens Millions Across the US

Massive Heatwave Threatens Millions Across the US

A massive heatwave grips the US, affecting 134 million people. Temperatures soar 15 to 30 degrees above average, mostly in the west. The National Weather Service warns of potential record-breaking heat.

In Oregon, cities like Eugene, Portland, and Salem brace for record highs. Cooling centers open nationwide. At Portland's Waterfront Blues Festival, attendees cope with heat using cold water, shade, and water misters.

Death Valley, California, hits 127F, breaking its previous record of 122F. More extreme highs are forecasted, including 130F in Death Valley. The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 134F in 1913, though some dispute this.

The intense heat, coupled with winds and low humidity, heightens wildfire risks. Red flag warnings are in effect across California. Over two dozen wildfires burn, with the Thompson fire in Butte County forcing evacuations and destroying structures.

The eastern US also faces high temperatures. Baltimore and Maryland are under excessive heat warnings. Heat index values could reach 110F.

In Maricopa County, Arizona, at least 13 confirmed heat-related deaths have occurred this year, with more under investigation. A 10-year-old boy died in Phoenix after a heat-related medical event while hiking.



Ohtani's Rare Performance Leads Dodgers to Victory

Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Dodgers star, broke out of a batting slump with an exceptional performance on Saturday. He hit a home run, a triple, took two walks, was hit by a pitch, and stole a base—an accomplishment achieved only twice before since 1909. Ohtani's impressive day at the plate contributed to the Dodgers' 5-3 victory over the Brewers.

His batting average now stands at .316, tying him for the top spot in the National League. Prior to this game, Ohtani had been struggling, striking out six times in a row and going 1 for 12 in his last three games. Manager Dave Roberts observed Ohtani's tendency to chase low pitches out of the strike zone but thought facing Milwaukee's Freddy Peralta, known for his high fastballs, might be beneficial.

Ohtani's adjustments proved effective. He walked twice and was hit by a pitch in his first three at-bats. Subsequently, he hit a triple and a home run, demonstrating his ability to reset and dominate at the plate. This isn't the first time Ohtani has delivered a unique performance; he previously achieved a similar rarity on the mound for the Angels, striking out seven while walking six in four shutout innings.

Ohtani's versatility and resilience make him a standout in modern baseball, challenging conventional roles and expectations.