What We’re Watching: Iran’s Nuclear Intentions & Saudi’s Newest Target

Iran's belated response to Trump's Walkout – To mark the one-year anniversary of President Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, Tehran announced this morning that it will no longer abide by parts of the agreement. It will suspend sales of its uranium stockpile – key to removing them from the country – and has threatened to resume higher uranium enrichment within 60 days unless other countries in the pact help it get around US sanctions. To date, all the parties to the deal except the US have continued to honor its terms. We'll be watching closely for the response of European governments.

Another critic in Saudi Arabia's crosshairs – An Arab pro-democracy activist and prominent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman now living under asylum in Norway faces a credible threat from Saudi Arabia, according to the CIA. Ironically, the activist in question, Iyad el-Baghdadi, warned last year that unless Western powers held Riyadh to account for the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Crown Prince would become more dangerous.

What We're Ignoring: Pompeo's Cartographic Skills & "Pardons" in Myanmar

Mike Pompeo's Fake Geography – The US Secretary of State claimed during a speech to the Arctic Council on Monday that Canada's territorial claims over the Northwest Passage are "illegitimate." Leaving aside the geographical reality that the passage in fact moves between and around Canadian islands, Ottawa responded to Pompeo by citing the 1988 Arctic Cooperation Agreement, which specifies that the US government must ask Canada's permission for its icebreakers to navigate the waterways of the Northwest Passage.

Myanmar's "pardon" of two Reuters journalists – The government of Myanmar has released two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, after 17 months in prison as part of a broader amnesty that saw 6,000 prisoners set free. That's wonderful news for these men, their families, and for journalists everywhere. But let's be clear: the only "crime" these two men committed was to provide fearless coverage of the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by the country's security forces and Buddhist civilians in western Myanmar's Rakhine State in 2017. Their show trial was condemned by outside observers, including the UN.

Ferrera Erbognone, a small town in the northern Italian province of Pavia, is home to one of the most cutting-edge computing centers in the world: Eni's Green Data Center. All of the geophysical and seismic prospecting data Eni produces from all over the world ends up here. Now, the Green Data Center is welcoming a new supercomputing system: HPC5, an advanced version of the already powerful HPC4. Due to be completed by early 2020, HPC5 will triple the Green Data Center's computing power, from 18.6 to 52 petaflops, equivalent to 52 million billion mathematical operations per second.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

A few days ago, the New York Times published a bombshell report on the Chinese government's systematic oppression of Muslims in Western China. The story was about many things: human rights, geopolitics, Chinese society – but it was also about technology: Beijing's repression in Xinjiang province is powered in part by facial recognition, big data, and other advanced technologies.

It's a concrete example of a broader trend in global politics: technology is a double-edged sword with sharp political consequences. Artificial intelligence, for example, can help develop new medicines but it can also support surveillance states. Social media helps nourish democracy movements and entertains us with cat memes, but it also feeds ISIS and 4Chan.

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Increasingly violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong have dealt a major blow to the city's once booming economy. Tourism – an economic lifeline in that city – has dropped, and retailers are suffering from a sharp decline in sales. Now, six months since the unrest began, Hong Kong has recorded its first recession in a decade, meaning its economy has contracted for two consecutive quarters. Here's a look at how Hong Kong's quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) growth has fared during the past two years.

Tehran's Next Move: "We don't want an Islamic Republic, we don't want it," was the chant heard among some protesters in Tehran over the weekend after the government announced a 50 percent fuel price hike meant to fund broader support for the country's poor. Under crippling US sanctions, the country's economy has plummeted, unleashing a "tsunami" of unemployment. What started Friday as nationwide economic protests took on a political coloring, as protestors in some cities tore up the flag and chanted "down with [Supreme Leader] Khamenei!". The unrest seems to be related, at least indirectly, to widespread demonstrations against Tehran-backed regimes in Iraq and Lebanon as well. Economically-motivated protests erupt in Iran every few years, but they tend to subside within weeks under harsh government crackdowns. So far, the authorities have shut down the internet to prevent protestors from using social media to organize rallies. But Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps has warned of more "decisive action" if the unrest continues.

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