Washington - France's withdrawal from Niger could jeopardize counterterrorism operations in the Sahel

Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is the 18th largest state by land area and the 13th largest by population, with over 7 million people residing in the state as of 2021. The state was named after the first President of the United States, George Washington, and it is often referred to as the “Evergreen State” because of its abundant forests.


Washington was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Duwamish, Suquamish, Puyallup, Yakama, and Spokane. The first European to explore the area was the Spanish navigator Juan Perez in 1774, followed by British explorer Captain James Cook in 1778.

In 1792, American explorer Robert Gray sailed into the mouth of the Columbia River, and in 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition explored the region as part of their journey to the Pacific Ocean. In 1811, fur trader John Jacob Astor established a trading post at Fort Astoria on the Columbia River.

Washington became a territory of the United States in 1853, and in 1889, it was admitted as the 42nd state of the Union.


Washington is located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, bordered by Oregon to the south, Idaho to the east, and Canada to the north. The state has a diverse geography that includes mountains, forests, beaches, and numerous bodies of water.

The Cascade Range runs north-south through the state, and it includes several active and dormant volcanoes, including Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Baker. The coast of Washington is home to long and rugged beaches, as well as islands like the San Juan Islands.

The state’s largest bodies of water are Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and Lake Chelan, while the Columbia River runs through the eastern part of the state and serves as a major source of hydroelectric power.


Washington has a varied climate due to its diverse geography. The western part of the state is typically wetter and cooler, with mild winters and cool summers, while the eastern part of the state is drier and often experiences extreme temperature variation between summer and winter.

The state receives significant precipitation in the form of rain and snow, particularly in the mountains. The Cascade Range acts as a barrier, trapping moisture from the Pacific Ocean and creating a rain shadow effect that makes the eastern part of the state drier.


Washington has a diverse economy that includes numerous industries. The state’s largest employer is Boeing, which has a significant presence in the Seattle area. Other major industries in the state include software development, healthcare, and agriculture.

The state is home to several major technology companies, including Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia. In addition, Washington is a major producer of apples, cherries, and other fruits. The state is also known for its wine production, particularly in the Yakima Valley and Walla Walla regions.


Washington is known for its laid-back, outdoor-oriented culture. The state’s residents are often enthusiastic about outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and boating. Seattle, the largest city in the state, is a hub for music and the arts, with a thriving live music scene and several art museums.

The state is also home to several professional sports teams, including the Seattle Seahawks (football) and the Seattle Mariners (baseball).


Washington is known as a politically progressive state, with a history of supporting Democratic candidates. The state has voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since 1984. The Legislature is split between a House of Representatives and a Senate, and the Governor is currently Jay Inslee.


Washington state is known for its natural beauty, thriving technology industry, and laid-back culture. With an economy that spans several industries, Washington is a hub for innovation and growth. Overall, it is a unique and fascinating state, filled with opportunities for visitors and residents alike.

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Appetite for geopolitical risk management is growing

Financial Times

23-05-15 04:20

Consultancy firms including Lazard, Ankura and Kissinger Associates are all opening up advisory services for institutions looking to evaluate geopolitical risk. Clients, watching US-China tensions and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are seeking services that offer geopolitical advice, as the need for businesses to better understand such risks is on the rise, with more people having access to information. Consultancies offer access to professionals with exceptional diplomatic, military or government backgrounds and provide relevant geopolitical risk-evaluation for clients as well as help them establish their own internal risk-evaluation units. However, issues around pricing exist with some branding the industry as having “a wild west approach".

US crypto tsar promises crackdown on digital platforms

Financial Times

23-05-15 04:19

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) is planning to target cryptocurrency exchanges and other platforms that are known to enable money laundering for criminals, according to Eun Young Choi, the head of the agency's cryptocurrency enforcement team. Companies that do not comply with anti-money laundering laws and client identification rules will be subject to increased scrutiny, Choi said. The Justice Department has recently taken down Bitzlato, an exchange linked to the dark net, and seized $112m worth of crypto from pig butchering investment scams. The agency will also focus on decentralised finance, particularly exchange platforms known as chain bridges.

Biden to hold talks with Kishida ahead of Hiroshima G7 summit

Japan Times

23-05-15 04:08

Joe Biden will visit Japan for talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ahead of the annual G7 summit, which will be hosted from Friday to Sunday in Hiroshima. The agenda will address whether or not US and Japanese allies' security cooperation is ready to face shared challenges including nuclear threats made by North Korea, supply chain challenges, and energy security. The meeting will also see leaders discuss strategic coordination measures. It is expected to attract attention due to the US's decision to oppose a Chinese invasion into Taiwan. President Biden will become the second sitting US president to visit the atomic-bombed city of Hiroshima.

GOP state lawmakers try to restrict ballot initiatives, partly to thwart abortion protections

The Independent

23-05-15 04:05

Republican-leaning US states, Ohio, Missouri, North Dakota, and Idaho have moved to undermine direct democracy through proposed legislation aimed at restricting citizens’ abilities to bypass lawmakers through ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments. Democrats and left-leaning groups have increasingly used the initiative process to force public votes on issues opposed by Republican lawmakers which are popular among voters. In Ohio, last week thousands of republican-defying protesters gathered to protest the proposed constitutional amendment that would alter the simple majority threshold for passing citizen-led initiative that has been in place since 1912. Anti-abortion and pro-gun groups were the primary forces behind the push in favor of the proposed Ohio amendment. In Missouri, fearing a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights, they vowed last week to make it a priority in 2024 to adopt a ballot measure that would establish a 57% threshold for passing future amendments. Debate continues as to whether such measures are anti-democratic and go against the founding principles of the US's constitution and Bill of Rights.

Biden, India’s Modi out to deepen their bonds, but geopolitical friendships have their limits

The Toronto Star

23-05-15 04:04

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to visit Washington on 22 June on a trip that marks the importance Joe Biden is placing on relations between the US and India. However, the situation is complicated by tensions and policy differences between the countries. India abstained from voting on UN resolutions criticising Russia following its annexation of Crimea, and has not joined the coalition formed by the US and other countries. The relationship with the US is important to India as its relations with China have become more fraught, with the two nations embroiled in a three-year standoff involving thousands of soldiers stationed along their disputed border in the eastern Ladakh region. Both the US and India have been emphasising technology partnerships, including defence, clean energy and space, which are likely to be discussions at the upcoming meetings.

A barbecue frenzy is gripping China. Can street food revive the economy?


23-05-16 01:34

China is set to allow street peddlers to operate in many of its cities to try to revitalise the economy and tackle youth unemployment, which stood at 19.6% in March and is expected to worsen with a record 11.6 million college students expected to graduate this year. Several cities relaxed their rules on street selling this year, following on from a viral sensation featuring an outdoor barbecue in Zibo, a little-known city in China's Shandong province. CNBC said the trend revealed the Chinese leadership's struggle to tackle the country's economic challenges. Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute at the SOAS University of London said: "It does look like the Chinese leadership cannot find better ways to create employment and thus maintain stability and order than encouraging young people to be street vendors. For workers or graduates with skills for the digital era, taking on street vending is a sign of desperation rather than creative thinking."

G7 host Japan seeks unity on threat from China

Financial Times

23-05-16 01:23

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s key aim during the annual G7 summit this weekend is to establish a united G7 response to China's military ambitions and "economic coercion," as the country continues to seek closer ties with NATO and imposes sanctions against Moscow as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine. China’s interventionism has driven Japan to adopt a very cautious approach, revamping its military organisation and increasing security cooperation with nations in Southeast Asia and Europe. However, it is anticipated that the G7 will not agree on any specific new economic tools of security, and crucially, China will not be named in the statement. This widespread caucus approach aims to support countries being bullied by China rather than being completely focused on an offensive strategy. The EU, as well as other G7 members, remain very reluctant to adopt a more antagonistic stance, preferring to improve relations with emerging economies, particularly from Asia, Africa and South America.

The Aussie circus king trying to bring a Californian ghost town back to life

The Sydney Morning Herald

23-05-16 01:05

Ross Mollison, the founder of live entertainment firm Spiegelworld, is hoping to convert the dusty hamlet of Nipton in the Mojave Desert, California, into a luxury attraction for tourists and a retreat for circus performers. Mollison, who bought the town for $2.5m last year, has made plans for multiple eateries, a hotel, runway for small planes and solar panels. The unincorporated town has fewer than two dozen residents who spend months at a time there. “It smells like Australia,” said Mollison, from Melbourne. Most previous efforts to exploit the town’s potential had ended in failure.

House GOP lawmaker readies contempt charge over Afghanistan dissent cable

Associated Press

23-05-16 00:23

The chair of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee has said he will push forward a legislative effort to hold US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in contempt of Congress if he does not release a classified cable sent from US diplomats in Kabul shortly before the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. Rep Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, has been demanding access to the cable as part of a larger inquiry into the withdrawal. Should a contempt of Congress charge go ahead, it would be voted on and require a full committee vote and while not leading to prosecution, the charge would be referred to the US Department of Justice to consider charges.

B.C. to refer some cancer patients to Washington to cut radiation therapy wait

The Toronto Star

23-05-16 00:23

Cancer patients in British Columbia will be able to receive radiation therapy in two clinics in Washington state as part of an effort to cut wait times. The treatment, travel, accommodation and meal costs for eligible patients will be covered by the British Columbia government-run BC Cancer centre. Breast and prostate cancer patients will be the first to be given the opportunity to be treated at the clinics in Bellingham. If the programme demonstrates a lack of available capacity for radiation therapy, it will be expanded to other patients waiting in British Columbia.

EU top diplomat calls on bloc to court developing countries

Financial Times

23-05-16 05:18

The EU's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, has called for a tailored approach to reaching out to countries in the developing world, and has urged the EU to accept that these countries will not take sides in disputes such as that between Russia and Ukraine. Borrell's comments come ahead of a G7 summit in Japan, a meeting that will aim to persuade developing countries to align themselves with the G7 in condemning Russia's actions. Borrell added that Europe would need to work hard to gain the trust and respect of developing nations.

Research suggests that Europe’s desire to plough billions of dollars into gas infrastructure banks on a future that may not materialise. Even if energy becomes cheaper, gas consumption is set to fall in Europe, with the fossil fuel infrastructure being seen as unnecessary by 2030 by some. The push towards renewables due to environmental concerns will coincide with a reduction in gas consumption, which could decrease by almost a third in a low price scenario. Politicians have argued that much of the gas infrastructure can be converted for use in the production of green hydrogen produced by renewable power, however, engineers have warned this may not be a cost-effective investment.


With eye on Ukraine, top Chinese general calls for unconventional warfare capabilities


23-05-16 04:44

General Wang Haijiang, commander of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Western Theatre Command, has urged greater integration of artificial intelligence with conventional warfare tactics ahead of any confrontation with the West. He points out that a new genre of hybrid warfare has emerged from the Ukraine conflict, with the intertwining of "political warfare, financial warfare, technological warfare, cyber warfare, and cognitive warfare". To fend off perceived threats from the West, China continues to prepare the country for security challenges despite a slowing economy and COVID-19. Defence spending is set to rise for the eighth straight year in 2023.

Putin launches fresh wave of deadly strikes on Kyiv – live

The Independent

23-05-16 04:23

Russian forces have launched another volley of missile attacks on Kyiv, killing three people and injuring others, according to official sources. The wave of rocket and missile assaults targeted the Ukrainian capital as well as the regions surrounding it and came a week after similar attacks garnered worldwide condemnation. The Putin-led regime's actions have triggered air raid alarms, with city-dwellers across the country bracing themselves as Ukraine declares advanced weapon sales across European nations. Meanwhile, China's envoy is preparing to visit both Ukraine and Russia despite slim hopes of brokering a peace agreement between the two countries.

US and EU step up efforts to co-ordinate sanctions policies

Financial Times

23-05-16 04:19

The US and EU are increasing collaboration on sanctions policies in an effort to make western economic policies more effective. The two will jointly target Russia and other important countries and will harness technical coordination to make deployment of economic weapons easier in the future. Both countries have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia’s banks and top officials along with co-ordinated regulatory efforts to speak with a single voice. However, splits did occur over how far to go in isolating Russia, with G7 export bans failing due to resistance from European countries.

North Korea steps up cybercrime amid pandemic hardship, sanctions

South China Morning Post

23-05-16 09:30

North Korea is conducting cyber-operations and hacking cryptocurrency exchanges in order to help fund its nuclear and missile programmes, according to Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology for the Biden administration. She said that about half of North Korea's missile programme had been funded through cyberattacks and cryptocurrency theft. Reports have suggested that North Korea stole up to $1bn worth of virtual assets in 2021. Researchers have emphasised the need for international cooperation to combat the country's activities.

Move over, U.S. dollar. China wants to make the yuan the global currency.

Washington Post

23-05-16 09:00

Large Argentinian home appliance retailer, Newsan, has started to settle its deals in Chinese yuan in a bid to protect itself from the weakening American economy. With access to US dollars in short supply, and Argentine companies being prevented from importing goods as a result of it, Newsan started ordering its products in yuan, and is being joined by others, including importers in Brazil which has just announced the ability for its companies to settle their trade in yuan. The use of the yuan by more economies, particularly as it is used instead of the dollar for large amounts of trade, is the first indication that it could be successful in causing a shift in the current global economic order. Furthermore, as western sanctions have been applied to Russia, and Russia and China conduct more trade, the use of the yuan is likely to become more commonplace.

Biden launches Asia trip aimed at taking on China

Washington Post

23-05-16 09:00

President Biden is to travel to Japan, Australia, and Papua New Guinea as part of a vast trip that aims to counter China's growing military, political and economic power. The trip seeks to build support for Ukraine, tackle global inflation, combat climate change and shore up allies in the face of China's aggression. The visit comes amid rising tension between the US and China, which analysts warn could be dangerous. While the president doesn't want a new Cold War with China, he has made it clear that other countries' support is essential in dealing with Beijing's aggressiveness.

Biden’s visit will begin with a summit of the Group of Seven in Hiroshima in Japan. Officials will meet survivors of the 1945 atomic bombing. Biden will also visit Papua New Guinea to address the 18-member Pacific Islands Forum aimed at creating a global alliance against China’s expanding military operations in the South Pacific. He will sign a defence pact to create security infrastructure within Papua New Guinea and facilitate more joint training exercises with the US military. Biden will also push in Australia to counter China’s military expansion in the Indo-Pacific region.

Biden’s visit is in keeping with his administration’s more assertive posture towards the region, including efforts to wrap in smaller countries which had long felt neglected. The president’s trip could be overshadowed by Congress’s concerns about a potentially catastrophic US government default, while Republicans challenging the US’s long-standing foreign policy pillars argue for less US engagement with the world and confrontation with authoritarian states.


Hong Kong leader says China’s sentencing of US citizen exposes national security threats

The Toronto Star

23-05-16 08:35

Hong Kong's Chief Executive, John Lee, has used the life imprisonment sentencing of a US citizen in eastern China on spying charges to further justify the semi-autonomous region's need for vigilance against national security risks hidden in society. Lee was appointed to his position after being unanimously voted in by Beijing following draconian new security legislation. His comments follow the arrest of John Shing-Wan Leung whose trial and charge details are unavailable, although it is notable that he had links to pro-Communist Party organisations. The implications of the sentencing are likely to further exacerbate already strained tensions between Beijing and Washington, especially as the US has refrained from commenting on the case, and as President Biden travels to Japan for the G7 summit and to Papua New Guinea, a nation prioritised by the Beijing government for its increased military and economic expansion in the Pacific region.

Law firm Crowell adds intellectual property team from Allen & Overy


23-05-16 08:31

Law firm Crowell & Moring has hired three lawyers from Allen & Overy in New York. Among them is Paul Keller, who led the UK-founded firm's US IP disputes practice and represents automotive, life sciences and fintech clients in IP litigation. The other two appointed are Michelle Wang and James Reed. Laura Lydigsen, co-chair of Crowell's IP department, said the trio worked in "disruptive technologies", including autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence. The move comes after Crowell merged with Chicago-based IP firm Brinks Gilson & Lione this year.