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Taiwan signals its chip firms will follow new U.S. rules on China



(Last Updated On: October 9, 2022)

Taiwanese semiconductor companies attach “great importance” to complying with the law, the island’s government said on Saturday, signaling they would comply with new U.S. export controls that aim to hobble China’s chip industry.

The rules announced Friday by President Joe Biden’s administration include a measure to cut China off from certain chips made anywhere in the world with U.S. equipment, vastly expanding its reach in its bid to slow Beijing’s technological and military advances, AP reported.

Taiwan, a major chip producer, is home to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) (2330.TW), the world’s largest contract chipmaker and a major supplier to companies including Apple Inc (AAPL.O).

In a statement in response to the U.S. announcement, Taiwan’s Economy Ministry said Taiwanese firms were law-abiding.

“Taiwan’s semiconductor industry has long served global customers and attaches great importance to compliance with laws,” it said.

“In addition to complying with domestic laws and regulations, it will also cooperate with the needs of international customers who place orders and the norms of customers in their countries.”

Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is a technological leader and continues to “maintain an advantage in the competition for international orders”, the ministry said.

The government continues to maintain close contact with manufacturers and supports them in investing in factory expansion and supplying products to the world for technological development, the ministry said.

TSMC declined to comment on the U.S. rules, saying it was in its quiet period ahead of quarterly earnings next week. Smaller competitor United Microelectronics Corp (2303.TW) also declined comment ahead of its earnings release later this month.

Taiwan has its own concerns about China, especially efforts by Chinese companies to poach chip talent and technical know-how. The government tightly restricts Taiwanese chip investment in China, the island’s largest trading partner.

Taiwan’s worries have gained pace as China mounts regular military drills near the island in an attempt to force it into accepting Beijing’s sovereignty.

The United States is Taiwan’s most important international supporter and arms supplier, despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties.

Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua will visit the United States next week to respond to what her office called “concerns” about supply chains and geopolitical issues. She will visit U.S. tech firms that are major customers of Taiwanese semiconductor companies.

Science & Technology

Venice’s waters turn fluorescent green near Rialto Bridge



(Last Updated On: May 29, 2023)

The waters in Venice’s main canal turned fluorescent green on Sunday in the area near the Rialto bridge and authorities are seeking to trace the cause, Italy’s fire department said.

The regional environmental protection agency has received samples of the altered waters and is working to identify the substance that changed their color, the department said in a tweet, Reuters reported.

The Venice prefect has called an emergency meeting of police forces to understand what happened and study possible countermeasures, the Ansa news agency reported.

The incident echoes recent episodes in Italy where environmental groups have been coloring monuments, including using vegetable charcoal to turn the waters of Rome’s Trevi fountain black in a protest against fossil fuels.

However, unlike previous cases, no activist group has come forward to claim responsibility for what happened in Venice.

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Science & Technology

Gladis the killer whale and her gang of orcas, out for revenge



(Last Updated On: May 28, 2023)

A British sailor’s boat was targeted on Thursday in the latest attack near Gibraltar, by Gladis, a killer whale and her gang of orcas.

Gladis, believed to be traumatized, is thought to be teaching other orcas to target boats.

So far this month there have been 20 attacks on small vessels sailing in the Strait of Gibraltar. However the Atlantic Orca Working Group (GTOA) have reported dozens of attacks on ships along the Spanish and Portuguese coasts this year.

Experts believe Gladis may have suffered a “critical moment of agony”, such as colliding with a boat or becoming entrapped during illegal fishing, which altered her behavior in a “defensive” fashion, the Independent reported.

“That traumatized orca is the one that started this behavior of physical contact with boats,” Dr Lopez Fernandez told Live Science.

“We do not interpret that the orcas are teaching the young, although the behavior has spread to the young vertically, simply by imitation, and later horizontally among them, because they consider it something important in their lives,” he said.

The behavior has baffled scientists, with some initially suggesting it could be related to the harmful scarcity of food facing the mammals, or the disruptive resumption of business-as-usual nautical activities in the wake of the pandemic, while others have suggested it could be playful behavior.

Although known as killer whales, endangered orcas are part of the dolphin family. They can measure up to eight meters and weigh up to six tonnes as adults.

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Science & Technology

Microsoft chief says deep fakes are biggest AI concern



(Last Updated On: May 26, 2023)

Microsoft President Brad Smith said Thursday that his biggest concern around artificial intelligence was deep fakes, realistic looking but false content.

In a speech in Washington aimed at addressing the issue of how best to regulate AI, which went from wonky to widespread with the arrival of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Smith called for steps to ensure that people know when a photo or video is real and when it is generated by AI, potentially for nefarious purposes, Reuters reported.

“We’re going have to address the issues around deep fakes. We’re going to have to address in particular what we worry about most foreign cyber influence operations, the kinds of activities that are already taking place by the Russian government, the Chinese, the Iranians,” he said.

“We need to take steps to protect against the alteration of legitimate content with an intent to deceive or defraud people through the use of AI.”

Smith also called for licensing for the most critical forms of AI with “obligations to protect security, physical security, cybersecurity, national security.”

“We will need a new generation of export controls, at least the evolution of the export controls we have, to ensure that these models are not stolen or not used in ways that would violate the country’s export control requirements,” he said.

For weeks, lawmakers in Washington have struggled with what laws to pass to control AI even as companies large and small have raced to bring increasingly versatile AI to market.


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