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Reuters

West faces a moment of reckoning over technology, UK top cyber spy says

The West faces a moment of reckoning unless it takes profound action to ensure technologies that define its prosperity are not controlled by competitors such as China, the director of Britain’s GCHQ spy agency said on Friday.

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GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming delivers a speech as he meets with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth during her visit at the Watergate House to mark the centenary of the GCHQ (Government Communications Head Quarters) in London, Britain, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool

The West faces a moment of reckoning unless it takes profound action to ensure technologies that define its prosperity are not controlled by competitors such as China, the director of Britain’s GCHQ spy agency said on Friday.

Britain’s spies believe that China could within decades dominate all of the key emerging technologies of this century, particularly artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and genetics.

In an unusually blunt speech, GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming said that the United Kingdom’s cyber power could not be taken for granted and that the rules were changing in ways that states did not always control.

“Without action it is increasingly clear that the key technologies on which we will rely for our future prosperity and security won’t be shaped and controlled by the West,” Fleming said in a lecture at London’s Imperial College, according a text of his speech released ahead of delivery.

“We are now facing a moment of reckoning.”

GCHQ, which gathers communications from around the world to identify and disrupt threats to Britain, has a close relationship with the U.S. National Security Agency as well as with the eavesdropping agencies of Australia, Canada and New Zealand in a consortium called “Five Eyes”.

Fleming said that if the United Kingdom wished to remain a global cyber power then it would have to develop “sovereign technologies” in areas such as quantum, including cryptographic technologies, to protect sensitive information and capabilities.

He also called for better fostering of the right market conditions to enable innovation, and create a diversity of supply in a broader set of technologies.

“The UK really is a global cyber power – a big animal in the digital world,” he will say. “But historic strength does not mean we can assume we will be in the future.”

In cyber intelligence, the United States is ranked by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center as the top global power, followed by Britain, China and Israel.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/technology/west-faces-moment-reckoning-over-technology-uk-top-cyber-spy-says-2021-04-22/

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Reuters

Chip shortage to hit about 100,000 Mazda vehicles in 2021

Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) said on Friday it expects a semiconductor crunch to affect around 100,000 of the Japanese automaker’s vehicles globally during the fiscal year.

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The logo of Mazda is pictured at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 20, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) said on Friday it expects a semiconductor crunch to affect around 100,000 of the Japanese automaker’s vehicles globally during the fiscal year.

However, Mazda will fully leverage available inventory to minimize the hit to about 70,000 wholesale units, it said in a statement.

The worldwide shift to remote work and learning during the pandemic had boosted demand for laptops and other gadgets, exacerbating a global chip shortage.

The shortfall will cost automakers $110 billion in lost revenues this year, up from a prior estimate of $61 billion, consulting firm AlixPartners said, forecasting the crisis will hit the production of 3.9 million vehicles. read more

Automobiles depend on chips for everything from computer management of engines for better fuel economy to driver-assistance features such as emergency braking.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The worldwide shift to remote work and learning during the pandemic had boosted demand for laptops and other gadgets, exacerbating a global chip shortage.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/chip-shortage-hit-about-100000-mazda-vehicles-2021-2021-05-14/

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Reuters

England to ease COVID restrictions further on May 17

England will press ahead with plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions further on May 17, including allowing people to meet indoors, thanks to favourable data on infections and vaccines, the government said on Sunday.

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Visitors to Greenwich Park sit and look towards Canary Wharf financial district as lockdown restrictions are eased amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in London, Britain, April 25, 2021. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

England will press ahead with plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions further on May 17, including allowing people to meet indoors, thanks to favourable data on infections and vaccines, the government said on Sunday.

The country is in the process of gradually lifting its latest lockdown over a period of months, in line with a four-step plan unveiled in February.

Under Step 3 of the plan, as outlined when it was first announced, people will be allowed to meet up indoors for the first time in months, in groups of up to six people or two full households together.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to host customers indoors, also for the first time in months and subject to certain rules. Other indoor entertainment, hospitality and sports venues will also be able to resume activity.

Johnson’s Downing Street office said the latest data on COVID vaccinations, on infections, hospitalisations and deaths, and on the risk posed by new variants had been taken into account in deciding to move forward with Step 3.

“The data reflects what we already knew – we are not going to let this virus beat us,” Johnson said, according to a Downing Street statement.

“The roadmap remains on track, our successful vaccination programme continues – more than two thirds of adults in the UK have now had the first vaccine – and we can now look forward to unlocking cautiously but irreversibly.”

Johnson was due to provide further details at a news conference on Monday.

Semi-autonomous administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own separate timetables for easing COVID restrictions.

The United Kingdom has lost more than 127,000 people to COVID-19. It experienced a devastating second wave that peaked in late January, but since then the numbers of new cases and deaths have plummeted. read more

On Sunday, a total of 1,770 new cases and two new deaths were recorded across the United Kingdom. That contrasts with the situation during the second wave, when the daily number of new cases peaked at over 80,000 while the daily death toll was above 1,300 on the worst day.

There are also expected to be significant changes for the arts and events sectors under Step 3, with both indoor and outdoor venues allowed to host far greater numbers of people than for many months.

The government had already confirmed last week that international travel would be allowed to resume on May 17, although still with severe restrictions in place except for a handful of countries. read more

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/england-ease-covid-restrictions-further-may-17-2021-05-09/

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Reuters

UK officials admit some markets to be subject to duties under post-Brexit deal terms – FT

Companies in freeports in Britain will not get to enjoy the full benefits of the new tax-efficient zones if they are exporting to certain countries including Canada, Norway, Switzerland and Singapore, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing government officials.

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An illuminated British flag is seen at 10 Downing Street on Brexit day in London, Britain January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Companies in freeports in Britain will not get to enjoy the full benefits of the new tax-efficient zones if they are exporting to certain countries including Canada, Norway, Switzerland and Singapore, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing government officials.

Freeports are a special kind of port where normal tax and customs rules do not apply. Goods that arrive into freeports from abroad are not subject to tariffs that are normally paid to the government.

However, the recent post-Brexit trade agreements with 23 countries include clauses which specifically prohibit manufacturers in freeport-type zones from benefiting from the deals, the FT report added, citing officials.

In March, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said freeports will be set up at East Midlands Airport, Liverpool, Felixstowe, Plymouth, Thames, Teesside, Humber And Solent.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-officials-admit-some-markets-be-subject-duties-under-post-brexit-deal-terms-2021-05-09/

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