Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Monday, 03 January 2022. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa
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- U.S. drought conditions worsen
- California pork laws drive national price hike
- Chinese intel datamining U.S. social media
- Desperate, lame duck Congress in 2022
- New lockdowns in China hit chipmakers
- Hazards Warning
UPGRADE TO EARLY WARNING AND GET THESE BRIEFINGS:
- Russia-NATO SITREP: NEW U.S.- RUSSIA PHONE CALLS, REVERSED GAS FLOWS & CYBER ATTACKS
- Indo-Pacific SITREP: CHINA CARRIER STRIKE GROUPS, INDIA SURPRISES WITH THIRD NUCLEAR MISSILE SUB
- LIC Summary/ INTSUM
U.S. DROUGHT CONDITIONS: Winter wheat in drought has increased seven percentage points from last week, expanding the drought area in the United States to 65%. Seen in the chart below, the USDA reports that 20% is in moderate drought, 28% in severe drought, 14% in extreme drought, and 3% in exceptional drought. Persistent dryness, enhanced winds, anomalous warmth, and worsening soil conditions prolongs the drought conditions. (Analyst Comment: Increases in drought conditions found in the Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas areas indicate worsening conditions in the near term. Drought conditions impact food prices and hinder firefighting efforts as seen in Colorado’s historic wildfires. – D.F.)
CHINA SECURITY SERVICES HARVESTING U.S. SOCIAL MEDIA DATA: China is using its domestic internet surveillance network to harvest social media data on U.S. citizens. Chinese security services are mining data from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to monitor and report on discussions about Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Taiwan, and Chinese leadership. The surveillance programs are producing reports on how negative content relating to China is spread on social media, including profiles on the accounts of individual academics, politicians, and journalists. The data feeds into a warning system that sounds real-time alarms for trends undermining Beijing’s interests.
CALIFORNIA PORK IMPACT: On 1 Jan 2022, a California ballot initiative known as the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act took effect. The State law prohibits the sale of meat from animals raised in housing conditions that don’t meet spacing requirements. Any supermarkets, restaurants, or meat processors in violation of the new regulations within the state could be fined or even jailed. California accounts for approximately 15% of pork consumption nationwide, and only 4% of farms are already compliant with the new policy.
DESPERATE, LAME DUCK CONGRESS IN 2022: Democrats are highly likely to lose control of the House and potentially the Senate. The Democrat-led Congress’ focus in 2022 is to pass the Build Back Better bill, end the Senate filibuster, federalize elections, and continue stop-gap funding measures. Democrats continue to blame Sens. Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema (D-AZ) for the lack of legislative progress and will likely use parliamentary rule changes to maneuver around their noncompliance.
CHINA LOCKDOWN OF XI’AN DISRUPTS GLOBAL CHIP PRODUCTION: China’s COVID lockdown of the city of Xi’an has impacted microchip production from two of the world’s major chip producers. Samsung Electronics and Micron Technology both warned that a COVID-19 lockdown in the Chinese city of Xian could affect their chip manufacturing facilities in the area. Micron said on Wednesday the lockdown could lead to delays in the supply of its DRAM memory chips, which are widely used in data centers. Samsung also stated that it will shift its production to other facilities to mitigate the effects of the Xi’an lockdown.
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