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EU Starts Requiring Anti-Speeding Tech for New Cars - CNET

When you go over the speed limit, your car will have to let you know.

EU Starts Requiring Anti-Speeding Tech for New Cars - CNET

When you go over the speed limit, your car will have to let you know.


Prime Video's 'Paper Girls' trailer lets you meet the time-travelling gang

Everyone loves a time travel show right now, from The Umbrella Academy to Loki to Dark

Prime Video's 'Paper Girls' trailer lets you meet the time-travelling gang

Everyone loves a time travel show right now, from The Umbrella Academy to Loki to Dark


In a turbulent economy, here's how to weather the inflation storm

In a turbulent economy, here's how to weather the inflation storm. Experts offer ways to make better financial decisions as the government struggles to control inflation and head off a recession.

In a turbulent economy, here's how to weather the inflation storm

In a turbulent economy, here's how to weather the inflation storm. Experts offer ways to make better financial decisions as the government struggles to control inflation and head off a recession.


Amazon's 'Lord of the Rings' series offers hobbit sneeze of a sneak peek

Prime Video's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is one of the more anticipated shows of the year, and after some first-look images that polarised the internet over a t-shirt and the first epic trailer, we get another teeny-tiny look into Middle Earth.Well, you get 15 seconds. FIFTEEN. In it, you'll spy a few characters in costume and a stunning watchtower of some kind, looking over a valley.If you're a Prime member, you can see more of the clip

Amazon's 'Lord of the Rings' series offers hobbit sneeze of a sneak peek

Prime Video's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is one of the more anticipated shows of the year, and after some first-look images that polarised the internet over a t-shirt and the first epic trailer, we get another teeny-tiny look into Middle Earth.Well, you get 15 seconds. FIFTEEN. In it, you'll spy a few characters in costume and a stunning watchtower of some kind, looking over a valley.If you're a Prime member, you can see more of the clip


The man giving the California GOP its best shot at statewide office in years

Lanhee Chen isn?t the traditional Republican pick in California. That?s the point. On paper, Lanhee Chen seems like a perfectly fit candidate to be California?s top fiscal watchdog. The 44-year-old Bay Area denizen holds four degrees from Harvard; he teaches public policy at Stanford; he has deep policy experience working for both political parties; and he isn?t an average white guy. He was ? literally ? born on the Fourth of July.But there?s an elephant in the room: He?s running as a Republican.A Democrat has held the office of state controller since the 1970s, but Chen emerged as the top vote-getter in the June primary; he racked up about 2.4 million votes, or just under 40 percent of all votes cast. But it?s hard to say that that leaves him as the favorite for the general election. He faced a field of serious Democratic opponents who raked in about 60 percent of the vote combined and will face Malia Cohen, who serves on the state?s tax commission, like the last two controllers.Chen isn?t like other Republicans running in races around the country this year. His experience has been firmly in the party?s moderate establishment, television punditry, and, more recently, academia. He?s not swearing fealty to former President Donald Trump, and never challenged the legitimacy of President Joe Biden?s election. His immigrant, minority background gives him a different perspective on how the party should posture itself, and how the controller?s office should work. And he?s daring to offer a different vision for his state?s dying Republican Party ? even as it clings to pyrrhic victories in pockets of the West Coast.That his party will listen to his pitch is dubious. But that the state?s voters will care is a bet he?s willing to take.Who is Lanhee Chen?Chen is quick to list the ways he?s different from other Republicans in California. Born to Taiwanese immigrants, he grew up in Rowland Heights, a neighborhood with a large Taiwanese American community about 25 miles west of Los Angeles, and embedded himself in a world of civics, speaking, and political nerdiness. He founded his public high school?s chapter of the Junior State of America (a youth political education group), and competed in Lincoln-Douglas debate. While in college, he participated in Harvard Model Congress, an annual college conference that simulates how Congress works ? while also rooming with future Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). He says he felt motivated by his parents? immigrant experiences to understand how American government worked.?My parents didn?t have a family business to go into, they didn?t have a lineage,? Chen told me over a Zoom interview from his home in Mountain View, California, where he was recovering from a Covid-19 infection. ?That mentality from a very early age was something that I took on, that you have to work hard, you have to live by the rules, and you have to do your best to succeed in a society that gives you a lot of opportunity to do so.?He spent his post-college years as a political consultant, getting an education in advocacy at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in 2003, before a law degree and PhD at Harvard. He advised former President George W. Bush?s 2004 reelection campaign on health policy around that time, and when Mitt Romney prepared a run for the presidency in 2007, Chen jumped at the opportunity. It was a short-lived campaign, but Chen?s political future was just starting: he taught for a year at UC Berkeley in 2010 before joining Team Romney again in 2011, for Romney?s 2012 presidential campaign as its top policy director. By then he was described as a ?prodigy,? a ?dynamo,? and the campaign?s ?orchestra leader.??Here was a guy who was kind of wonky at heart, incredibly smart, and a very principled guy at his core,? Chen said. ?We didn?t agree on everything, obviously. But at the end of the day, I was really, really fortunate to have that experience working with him.?The two maintain a friendship, Chen said, and Romney emphasized Chen?s ?invaluable? counsel in a statement to Vox that also endorsed his run for state controller. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The man giving the California GOP its best shot at statewide office in years

Lanhee Chen isn?t the traditional Republican pick in California. That?s the point. On paper, Lanhee Chen seems like a perfectly fit candidate to be California?s top fiscal watchdog. The 44-year-old Bay Area denizen holds four degrees from Harvard; he teaches public policy at Stanford; he has deep policy experience working for both political parties; and he isn?t an average white guy. He was ? literally ? born on the Fourth of July.But there?s an elephant in the room: He?s running as a Republican.A Democrat has held the office of state controller since the 1970s, but Chen emerged as the top vote-getter in the June primary; he racked up about 2.4 million votes, or just under 40 percent of all votes cast. But it?s hard to say that that leaves him as the favorite for the general election. He faced a field of serious Democratic opponents who raked in about 60 percent of the vote combined and will face Malia Cohen, who serves on the state?s tax commission, like the last two controllers.Chen isn?t like other Republicans running in races around the country this year. His experience has been firmly in the party?s moderate establishment, television punditry, and, more recently, academia. He?s not swearing fealty to former President Donald Trump, and never challenged the legitimacy of President Joe Biden?s election. His immigrant, minority background gives him a different perspective on how the party should posture itself, and how the controller?s office should work. And he?s daring to offer a different vision for his state?s dying Republican Party ? even as it clings to pyrrhic victories in pockets of the West Coast.That his party will listen to his pitch is dubious. But that the state?s voters will care is a bet he?s willing to take.Who is Lanhee Chen?Chen is quick to list the ways he?s different from other Republicans in California. Born to Taiwanese immigrants, he grew up in Rowland Heights, a neighborhood with a large Taiwanese American community about 25 miles west of Los Angeles, and embedded himself in a world of civics, speaking, and political nerdiness. He founded his public high school?s chapter of the Junior State of America (a youth political education group), and competed in Lincoln-Douglas debate. While in college, he participated in Harvard Model Congress, an annual college conference that simulates how Congress works ? while also rooming with future Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). He says he felt motivated by his parents? immigrant experiences to understand how American government worked.?My parents didn?t have a family business to go into, they didn?t have a lineage,? Chen told me over a Zoom interview from his home in Mountain View, California, where he was recovering from a Covid-19 infection. ?That mentality from a very early age was something that I took on, that you have to work hard, you have to live by the rules, and you have to do your best to succeed in a society that gives you a lot of opportunity to do so.?He spent his post-college years as a political consultant, getting an education in advocacy at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in 2003, before a law degree and PhD at Harvard. He advised former President George W. Bush?s 2004 reelection campaign on health policy around that time, and when Mitt Romney prepared a run for the presidency in 2007, Chen jumped at the opportunity. It was a short-lived campaign, but Chen?s political future was just starting: he taught for a year at UC Berkeley in 2010 before joining Team Romney again in 2011, for Romney?s 2012 presidential campaign as its top policy director. By then he was described as a ?prodigy,? a ?dynamo,? and the campaign?s ?orchestra leader.??Here was a guy who was kind of wonky at heart, incredibly smart, and a very principled guy at his core,? Chen said. ?We didn?t agree on everything, obviously. But at the end of the day, I was really, really fortunate to have that experience working with him.?The two maintain a friendship, Chen said, and Romney emphasized Chen?s ?invaluable? counsel in a statement to Vox that also endorsed his run for state controller. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images


How conservatism conquered America — and corrupted itself

The past month?s conservative victories were decades in the making. Three books about the right reveal what it cost the movement. The January 6 committee has been investigating, among other things, how it is that such a grievous attack on the Capitol could have happened in the first place. A key answer to that question will not be found not in White House call records or intercepted Proud Boys texts, but in a document released publicly last week: the Supreme Court?s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.That Trump would incite violence in pursuit of power was not only predictable but predicted ? including by his Republican opponents in the 2016 primary. Yet Republicans elevated him to the world?s most important job, and have made no secret why. ?The first thing that came to my mind [after Trump?s general election win] was the Supreme Court,? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told the Washington Post in a recent interview. With Trump?s election, the conservative establishment succeeded in cementing its control over the Court. But this victory required that they cede control over their movement to an unstable demagogue.American conservatism is thus simultaneously ascendant and in crisis. The right has extraordinary political power, but its traditional leadership seems less capable than ever of imposing limits on how it is wielded. The GOP?s future belongs to the radical forces represented by Trump and the members of the establishment most willing to cater to them. Those few Republicans in power willing to stand up to the rot of Trumpism ? like Rep. Liz Cheney, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, and Sen. Mitt Romney ? find themselves on the outside looking in. This state of affairs is perhaps the inevitable endpoint of the American right?s decades-old strategy for attaining power. Conservative doctrine never truly captured the hearts of a mass audience; to attain power, the movement needed to ally itself with forces of far-right reaction who raged against the idea of equality at the heart of modern democracy. American conservatism was an attempt to tame the untamable: to domesticate this reactionary impulse and channel it in electoral politics in service of an elite-driven agenda. Its leaders managed to exercise some control over radicals in the specific context of Cold War America ? but the effort was fated to fail eventually.And now it?s threatening to bring American democracy down with it.The dark heart of reactionary politicsModern democracy is, at heart, premised on the liberal ideal of equality: that because no person is inherently superior to any other, all deserve to help shape the rules that govern society as a whole. That this idea will strike many readers as banal speaks to the success of the liberal democratic project, which has taken a premise that challenges every historical hierarchy and elevated it to the level of received wisdom.These hierarchies, however, are not without their defenders. Anti-egalitarian politics have regularly proven to be politically potent, with many citizens in seemingly advanced democracies repeatedly showing themselves willing to support political factions that challenge liberalism?s most cherished ideals.Matthew Rose?s recent book A World after Liberalism tells the story of a handful of ?radical right? thinkers who built intellectual foundations for anti-egalitarian politics. The writings of the people he highlights ? German cultural essentialist Oswald Spengler, Italian quasi-fascist Julius Evola, American Nazi sympathizer Francis Parker Yockey, French philosopher Alain de Benoist, and the proto-Trumpian pundit Sam Francis ? range from mystical treatises about cultural symbology to conspiracy theorizing to more conventional political journalism.But according to Rose, a scholar of religion by background, they share key traits in common: most fundamentally, a belief in the group as the primary unit of political life. The group they champion happens to be European peoples or, for some, the white race.Liberalism centers individuals, treating them as equals and granting them rights against the state in order to be able to live their lives in the way they choose. Radical right theorists see this as a terrible mistake. Brian Blanco/Getty Images

How conservatism conquered America — and corrupted itself

The past month?s conservative victories were decades in the making. Three books about the right reveal what it cost the movement. The January 6 committee has been investigating, among other things, how it is that such a grievous attack on the Capitol could have happened in the first place. A key answer to that question will not be found not in White House call records or intercepted Proud Boys texts, but in a document released publicly last week: the Supreme Court?s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.That Trump would incite violence in pursuit of power was not only predictable but predicted ? including by his Republican opponents in the 2016 primary. Yet Republicans elevated him to the world?s most important job, and have made no secret why. ?The first thing that came to my mind [after Trump?s general election win] was the Supreme Court,? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told the Washington Post in a recent interview. With Trump?s election, the conservative establishment succeeded in cementing its control over the Court. But this victory required that they cede control over their movement to an unstable demagogue.American conservatism is thus simultaneously ascendant and in crisis. The right has extraordinary political power, but its traditional leadership seems less capable than ever of imposing limits on how it is wielded. The GOP?s future belongs to the radical forces represented by Trump and the members of the establishment most willing to cater to them. Those few Republicans in power willing to stand up to the rot of Trumpism ? like Rep. Liz Cheney, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, and Sen. Mitt Romney ? find themselves on the outside looking in. This state of affairs is perhaps the inevitable endpoint of the American right?s decades-old strategy for attaining power. Conservative doctrine never truly captured the hearts of a mass audience; to attain power, the movement needed to ally itself with forces of far-right reaction who raged against the idea of equality at the heart of modern democracy. American conservatism was an attempt to tame the untamable: to domesticate this reactionary impulse and channel it in electoral politics in service of an elite-driven agenda. Its leaders managed to exercise some control over radicals in the specific context of Cold War America ? but the effort was fated to fail eventually.And now it?s threatening to bring American democracy down with it.The dark heart of reactionary politicsModern democracy is, at heart, premised on the liberal ideal of equality: that because no person is inherently superior to any other, all deserve to help shape the rules that govern society as a whole. That this idea will strike many readers as banal speaks to the success of the liberal democratic project, which has taken a premise that challenges every historical hierarchy and elevated it to the level of received wisdom.These hierarchies, however, are not without their defenders. Anti-egalitarian politics have regularly proven to be politically potent, with many citizens in seemingly advanced democracies repeatedly showing themselves willing to support political factions that challenge liberalism?s most cherished ideals.Matthew Rose?s recent book A World after Liberalism tells the story of a handful of ?radical right? thinkers who built intellectual foundations for anti-egalitarian politics. The writings of the people he highlights ? German cultural essentialist Oswald Spengler, Italian quasi-fascist Julius Evola, American Nazi sympathizer Francis Parker Yockey, French philosopher Alain de Benoist, and the proto-Trumpian pundit Sam Francis ? range from mystical treatises about cultural symbology to conspiracy theorizing to more conventional political journalism.But according to Rose, a scholar of religion by background, they share key traits in common: most fundamentally, a belief in the group as the primary unit of political life. The group they champion happens to be European peoples or, for some, the white race.Liberalism centers individuals, treating them as equals and granting them rights against the state in order to be able to live their lives in the way they choose. Radical right theorists see this as a terrible mistake. Brian Blanco/Getty Images


Nintendo Switch OLED Is Getting a Colorful Splatoon 3 Edition on Aug. 26 - CNET

It doesn't include the new game, which comes out Sept 9.

Nintendo Switch OLED Is Getting a Colorful Splatoon 3 Edition on Aug. 26 - CNET

It doesn't include the new game, which comes out Sept 9.


This Electric Air Fryer Is $20 Right Now (No, Really) - CNET

Save $30 on a small-yet-mighty air fryer and keep the big oven turned off until fall.

This Electric Air Fryer Is $20 Right Now (No, Really) - CNET

Save $30 on a small-yet-mighty air fryer and keep the big oven turned off until fall.


Bale, Robbie, De Niro, Etc: 'Amsterdam' Trailer Has Too Many Stars To Fit in This Headline - CNET

Olyphant, Salda?a, Taylor-Joy, Taylor Swift... Check out the bonkers cast list for David O Russell's quirky crime flick.

Bale, Robbie, De Niro, Etc: 'Amsterdam' Trailer Has Too Many Stars To Fit in This Headline - CNET

Olyphant, Salda?a, Taylor-Joy, Taylor Swift... Check out the bonkers cast list for David O Russell's quirky crime flick.


These Standards Could Protect Your Data From Quantum Computer Attacks - CNET

The US government is overseeing the design and testing of new post-quantum cryptography technology.

These Standards Could Protect Your Data From Quantum Computer Attacks - CNET

The US government is overseeing the design and testing of new post-quantum cryptography technology.


A U.S. uranium mill is near this tribe. A study may reveal if it poses a health risk

The Utah mill has long concerned a tribal community next door. They hope a new health study will answer their questions. "A lot of our people mysteriously started getting sick," a tribal member says.

A U.S. uranium mill is near this tribe. A study may reveal if it poses a health risk

The Utah mill has long concerned a tribal community next door. They hope a new health study will answer their questions. "A lot of our people mysteriously started getting sick," a tribal member says.


It's official: MacBook Air with M2 chip will be available to order on Friday

The rumors were right: Apple's new MacBook Air with M2 chip will be available to order on July 8, and it will start arriving to customers on July 15, the company has announced.The orders will open at Apple's online store on July 8 at 5 a.m. PT, Apple said. Next Friday, it will be available at "select Apple Store locations and Apple Authorized Resellers." The M2 MacBook Air, originally announced during Apple's WWDC event in June, was originally said to be launching in July, without a firm launch date. Prior to the event, reports said that the device might come later than expected, and be in short supply when it does launch, likely because of Covid-related factory shutdowns in China. The jury is still out on the second point; we'll see how quickly those delivery dates move into the future when the new MacBook Air becomes available to order. The new MacBook Air is a big step up from the last generation, with a new design that resembles the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, including a 13.6-inch display with thinner bezels.

It's official: MacBook Air with M2 chip will be available to order on Friday

The rumors were right: Apple's new MacBook Air with M2 chip will be available to order on July 8, and it will start arriving to customers on July 15, the company has announced.The orders will open at Apple's online store on July 8 at 5 a.m. PT, Apple said. Next Friday, it will be available at "select Apple Store locations and Apple Authorized Resellers." The M2 MacBook Air, originally announced during Apple's WWDC event in June, was originally said to be launching in July, without a firm launch date. Prior to the event, reports said that the device might come later than expected, and be in short supply when it does launch, likely because of Covid-related factory shutdowns in China. The jury is still out on the second point; we'll see how quickly those delivery dates move into the future when the new MacBook Air becomes available to order. The new MacBook Air is a big step up from the last generation, with a new design that resembles the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, including a 13.6-inch display with thinner bezels.


'Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith' Makes Luke Skywalker the 'Most Powerful Person in the Galaxy' - CNET

Author Adam Christopher reveals where Rey's parents' names came from, the fun of defining classic characters and how he jumped into weird Sith lore in his Star Wars novel.

'Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith' Makes Luke Skywalker the 'Most Powerful Person in the Galaxy' - CNET

Author Adam Christopher reveals where Rey's parents' names came from, the fun of defining classic characters and how he jumped into weird Sith lore in his Star Wars novel.


Save $60 on a Kindle Kids tablet for your little bookworm

SAVE $60: As of July 6, you can grab an Amazon Kindle Kids

Save $60 on a Kindle Kids tablet for your little bookworm

SAVE $60: As of July 6, you can grab an Amazon Kindle Kids


Everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Day 2022, from dates to early deals

UPDATE: Jul. 6, 2022, 9:39 a.m. EDT This story has been updated with new predictions for Prime Day 2022, as well as information on current deals.Amazon's exclusive Prime Day sale is back for its seventh year in 2022, but record-high inflation rates have made it harder than ever to figure out which deals are actually worth adding to your cart. Below, we've rounded up some must-know Prime Day info that you can use to make smart shopping decisions and stretch your dollar against soaring prices.What is Prime Day?Prime Day is an annual sitewide sale that Amazon puts on for its Prime members. First held in 2015 in honor of Amazon's 20th anniversary (with mixed success), it was originally plugged as a "one-day-only event filled with more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members around the globe." In the years since, it's morphed into a 48-hour affair that's preceded by a couple weeks of teaser deals. "Prime Day" is a misnomer at this point.When is Prime Day 2022?After teasing the announcement in its first-quarter earnings report, Amazon confirmed in a press release that Prime Day will begin on Tuesday, July 12 at 3 a.m. ET and run through Wednesday, July 13 in 2022. (Can't wait 'til then? Early Prime Day deals and exclusive new offers began rolling out on Tuesday, June 21

Everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Day 2022, from dates to early deals

UPDATE: Jul. 6, 2022, 9:39 a.m. EDT This story has been updated with new predictions for Prime Day 2022, as well as information on current deals.Amazon's exclusive Prime Day sale is back for its seventh year in 2022, but record-high inflation rates have made it harder than ever to figure out which deals are actually worth adding to your cart. Below, we've rounded up some must-know Prime Day info that you can use to make smart shopping decisions and stretch your dollar against soaring prices.What is Prime Day?Prime Day is an annual sitewide sale that Amazon puts on for its Prime members. First held in 2015 in honor of Amazon's 20th anniversary (with mixed success), it was originally plugged as a "one-day-only event filled with more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members around the globe." In the years since, it's morphed into a 48-hour affair that's preceded by a couple weeks of teaser deals. "Prime Day" is a misnomer at this point.When is Prime Day 2022?After teasing the announcement in its first-quarter earnings report, Amazon confirmed in a press release that Prime Day will begin on Tuesday, July 12 at 3 a.m. ET and run through Wednesday, July 13 in 2022. (Can't wait 'til then? Early Prime Day deals and exclusive new offers began rolling out on Tuesday, June 21


Inside Ukraine’s lobbying blitz in Washington

A ground staff directs a MIG-29 fighter jet of the Ukrainian Air Force after a training flight at a military airbase in Vasylkiv village, some 30 kilometers from Kiev, Ukraine, on November 23, 2016.  | Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Meet the Ukrainian fighter jet pilots hobnobbing with Washington influencers.

At a white-tablecloth dinner on the second floor of an Italian bistro in Dupont Circle, two Ukrainian fighter pilots took a break from the battlefield to describe facing off with Russian jets above Kyiv to a rapt group of reporters.

The four journalists chimed in with questions. Do the Ukrainians really want MIGs, the outdated Soviet-designed fighter jets? What was their message for an American audience more concerned with high oil prices than Russian threats, one that might even blame gas prices on US support for Ukraine?

“Um, this is a tricky one,” an American PR executive interjected, “but answer carefully.”

“You tell me if it’s off the record,” one of the pilots said, to laughs.

“It’s just that Russia is a really big threat,” he continued. “If it’s not stopped right now, right here in Ukraine, on the ground, and with the sanction pressure, the rest of this democratic world could find themselves in a much, much worse situation.”

“Well said, bravo,” the PR executive said.

Ukraine has unleashed an incredible influence campaign in Washington. There’s a lag to the filing of lobbying disclosures. But even in the lead-up to the war last year, Ukraine’s lobbyists made more than 10,000 contacts with Congress, think tanks, and journalists. That’s higher than the well-funded lobbyists of Saudi Arabia, and experts on foreign lobbying told Vox they expect that this year’s number will grow much higher.

This spring, I’ve been invited to an elegant dinner with a parliamentary delegation and morning briefings (no breakfast, just coffee) at think tanks with Ukraine’s chief negotiator with Russia. Foreign policy reporters in DC have been inundated with requests. A journalist from another outlet, who asked for anonymity to be blunt, concurred: It’s been “a nonstop cycle” of Ukrainian visitors in Washington, they told me, “And think tanks that have basically become lobbyists but with a nonprofit status.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington and other parliamentarians pop up at foreign policy events. Their express purpose has been amplifying support for bigger weapons packages for Ukraine. The requests are very specific and have evolved as the war goes on: Right now, Kyiv wants F-16s and drones, more artillery and armored vehicles. The messages conveyed by Ukrainian politicians and members of the armed forces are remarkably disciplined.

Visiting officials and meals with journalists are part of how Washington works, and there’s an ecosystem of experienced power brokers operating largely within — but sometimes in the gray zone — of US laws regulating foreign influence. And Ukraine, of course, is under siege and has mobilized its most eloquent advocates to speak with Washington influencers. But the sheer intensity and coordination of the effort reveal how Ukraine views the US as an active participant in the war, and at times pushes the legal boundaries around foreign lobbying.

In the case of the Italian dinner, a public affairs firm called Ridgely Walsh hosted and paid for the event and assembled the journalist guest list. The fighter pilots, who go by their call signs, Juice and Moonfish, to protect themselves and their families, had also met with members of the House and the Senate, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State. The two pilots were quoted widely in news media, and appeared on CNN alongside actor Sean Penn, before returning to their units the following Monday.

According to the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), anyone working for a foreign entity must register, whether or not they’re being paid. Indeed, there’s been a major trend of PR and lobbying firms doing pro bono work for Ukrainians. In part because it is good PR.

Ridgely Walsh, according to Department of Justice filings, had not registered, and in response to Vox’s inquiry, the firm said it would change its status. “As a prudential matter, we’re gonna go ahead and register immediately to represent the Government of Ukraine on a pro bono basis,” Juleanna Glover, the founder and CEO of the firm, told me.

FARA is a peculiar law that requires voluntary disclosure, and it wasn’t all that well understood or enforced until the Trump era when some of then-President Donald Trump’s inner circle got caught without registering — Michael Flynn working for Turkey, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates lobbying for pro-Russia interests in Ukraine, and Tom Barrack allegedly acting as an unregistered agent of the United Arab Emirates.

“The very small group of FARA lawyers who have been doing this for a long time were shouting from the rooftops to everyone: beware,” Joshua Rosenstein, a lawyer at Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, told me, “because FARA is more broad than you think.”

To understand the scale of Ukraine’s lobbying, it’s useful to review the history of a law that was meant to bring transparency to international activities at a time when, according to some metrics, there are more foreign agents registered than ever.

FARA: From obscurity to the front page

FARA was enacted in 1938 to combat Nazi propaganda and Soviet influence. It doesn’t regulate or censor speech as such, whether an individual represents the best of regimes or the worst of them.

It’s just registering and disclosing those interests, but any “informational materials” disseminated — like articles — must include a conspicuous statement of that work. The scholar Daniel Rice, who has registered to advise the Ukrainian president on a pro bono basis, is legally bound to add something like this to his articles: “This material is distributed by Daniel Rice on behalf of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Additional information is available at the US Department of Justice, Washington, DC.”

The 50 years before 2016 saw only seven criminal prosecutions for FARA violations. But during the Trump years, the once-obscure area of law became a front-page story. “Before that, you know, we were probably a little naive,” says Virginia Canter, the chief ethics counsel of the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “You start seeing how foreign government interests and other foreign entities are trying to influence US policy.”

David Laufman is a partner at Wiggin and Dana who oversaw FARA enforcement at the Department of Justice from 2014 to 2018. “It quickly became apparent to me, by as early as early 2015, that we were not fully meeting our enforcement responsibilities under FARA,” he told me. “So I set about energizing enforcement of FARA, and it has built upon itself steadily since then.”

The Justice Department now is likely paying more attention to unfriendly governments and potentially unregistered lobbying, according to Rosenstein. “I would imagine that doing lobbying work, for example, on behalf of, say, a Chinese entity is given more scrutiny than lobbying work on behalf of a Canadian company,” he said.

The FARA unit has grown to five attorneys, five analysts, two support staffers, an intern, and an FBI agent detailed to it, but it still has “finite resources,” a Department of Justice official familiar with its workings, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told me. “Certainly, the scope of the potential national security threat is always going to drive our choices.”

It’s not yet clear what renewed enforcement of FARA will mean for the army of Ukrainian lobbyists in Washington, especially since the DOJ likely doesn’t see Ukraine as a “potential national security threat.” But the US government does have the power to make sure readers and viewers have clarity about foreign interests. “One of the beautiful things about FARA and how we run things is everything goes online. So you’re seeing what we’re seeing,” another DOJ official said.

How Ukraine lobbies

The number of firms registered to lobby on behalf of Ukrainian clients has exploded this summer. Six new firms registered in June alone, bringing the total to 24 firms or individuals now registered to lobby on behalf of Ukrainian clients, up from 11 registered to work for Ukraine last year.

Ben Freeman, a researcher at the nonpartisan Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, says that current Ukrainian efforts rank among the most active foreign government lobby he has ever analyzed.

He is particularly surprised that major lobbying and comms shops in DC are giving their services away. “That’s just unheard of in the foreign lobbying space,” says Freeman, who authored the book The Foreign Policy Auction. “There’s no such thing as a free lobbyist in DC.”

That’s because there may be a business motive behind gratis lobbying.

Take, for example, Mercury Public Affairs, a prominent consulting and PR group based in Washington. It’s now doing pro bono work for GloBee International Agency for Regional Development for Ukraine. Prior to that, Mercury worked for Russian firms. In January of this year, Sovcombank, one of Russia’s largest banks, hired Mercury for $90,000 monthly in the hope of preventing new sanctions against it. On February 25, a day after Russia’s invasion, Mercury dropped Sovcombank as a client.

Qorvis, another powerhouse communications firm, is now working for Ukrainian aid relief groups after years representing Russian interests in Washington. “In a matter of months, they’re sort of switching sides on who they’re representing in this lobbying fight,” Freeman said.

Shai Franklin is a lobbyist at Your Global Strategy who worked closely with Ukrainian groups before the Russian invasion in February. He registered as a pro bono lobbyist for Ukraine and has been connecting Ukrainian mayors with American mayors, and has also been working for GloBee. “The first week I was doing the work, I realized I better file,” he told me. “And that brought its own publicity, which was great, because it shows that Washington people are standing up for Ukraine.”

The negative association with registering as a foreign agent has perhaps made some less interested in registering. The American Bar Association recently recommended changes to the law, including replacing the phrase “‘agent of a foreign principal’ with a term that elicits less stigma.” As Franklin put it, “I tell foreign clients that there’s no shame in filing under FARA, but some of them are still pretty spooked by it, because of what happened over the last few years, because FARA has been associated with a crime.”

Even working for those who seem like heroes requires registration. “When it comes to foreign governments lobbying or lobbying on behalf of foreign interests, people have to realize that whether it’s a foreign interest we see as a good guy or a bad guy or an ugly guy, that’s not the US interest,” said Freeman. There is a narrow humanitarian carveout that exempts some from registering, and those lobbying on behalf of foreign companies register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

The Ukrainians were savvy to send fighter pilots to a country that made the film Top Gun twice. Over risotto drizzled with asparagus puree and saffron fondue, they talked about flying low over the country on risky missions last month, making eye contact with Ukrainian farmers on tractors in the fields of grain and waving to agricultural producers who they see as also fighting on the front lines. But the purpose of their trip was not merely to raise awareness about the plight of Ukrainian farmers amid an emerging global food crisis.

“Our main goal is self-explanatory,” Moonfish said. “We’re meeting media and lawmakers in order to push the weapon flow to Ukraine.”

Inside Ukraine’s lobbying blitz in Washington

A ground staff directs a MIG-29 fighter jet of the Ukrainian Air Force after a training flight at a military airbase in Vasylkiv village, some 30 kilometers from Kiev, Ukraine, on November 23, 2016.  | Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Meet the Ukrainian fighter jet pilots hobnobbing with Washington influencers.

At a white-tablecloth dinner on the second floor of an Italian bistro in Dupont Circle, two Ukrainian fighter pilots took a break from the battlefield to describe facing off with Russian jets above Kyiv to a rapt group of reporters.

The four journalists chimed in with questions. Do the Ukrainians really want MIGs, the outdated Soviet-designed fighter jets? What was their message for an American audience more concerned with high oil prices than Russian threats, one that might even blame gas prices on US support for Ukraine?

“Um, this is a tricky one,” an American PR executive interjected, “but answer carefully.”

“You tell me if it’s off the record,” one of the pilots said, to laughs.

“It’s just that Russia is a really big threat,” he continued. “If it’s not stopped right now, right here in Ukraine, on the ground, and with the sanction pressure, the rest of this democratic world could find themselves in a much, much worse situation.”

“Well said, bravo,” the PR executive said.

Ukraine has unleashed an incredible influence campaign in Washington. There’s a lag to the filing of lobbying disclosures. But even in the lead-up to the war last year, Ukraine’s lobbyists made more than 10,000 contacts with Congress, think tanks, and journalists. That’s higher than the well-funded lobbyists of Saudi Arabia, and experts on foreign lobbying told Vox they expect that this year’s number will grow much higher.

This spring, I’ve been invited to an elegant dinner with a parliamentary delegation and morning briefings (no breakfast, just coffee) at think tanks with Ukraine’s chief negotiator with Russia. Foreign policy reporters in DC have been inundated with requests. A journalist from another outlet, who asked for anonymity to be blunt, concurred: It’s been “a nonstop cycle” of Ukrainian visitors in Washington, they told me, “And think tanks that have basically become lobbyists but with a nonprofit status.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington and other parliamentarians pop up at foreign policy events. Their express purpose has been amplifying support for bigger weapons packages for Ukraine. The requests are very specific and have evolved as the war goes on: Right now, Kyiv wants F-16s and drones, more artillery and armored vehicles. The messages conveyed by Ukrainian politicians and members of the armed forces are remarkably disciplined.

Visiting officials and meals with journalists are part of how Washington works, and there’s an ecosystem of experienced power brokers operating largely within — but sometimes in the gray zone — of US laws regulating foreign influence. And Ukraine, of course, is under siege and has mobilized its most eloquent advocates to speak with Washington influencers. But the sheer intensity and coordination of the effort reveal how Ukraine views the US as an active participant in the war, and at times pushes the legal boundaries around foreign lobbying.

In the case of the Italian dinner, a public affairs firm called Ridgely Walsh hosted and paid for the event and assembled the journalist guest list. The fighter pilots, who go by their call signs, Juice and Moonfish, to protect themselves and their families, had also met with members of the House and the Senate, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State. The two pilots were quoted widely in news media, and appeared on CNN alongside actor Sean Penn, before returning to their units the following Monday.

According to the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), anyone working for a foreign entity must register, whether or not they’re being paid. Indeed, there’s been a major trend of PR and lobbying firms doing pro bono work for Ukrainians. In part because it is good PR.

Ridgely Walsh, according to Department of Justice filings, had not registered, and in response to Vox’s inquiry, the firm said it would change its status. “As a prudential matter, we’re gonna go ahead and register immediately to represent the Government of Ukraine on a pro bono basis,” Juleanna Glover, the founder and CEO of the firm, told me.

FARA is a peculiar law that requires voluntary disclosure, and it wasn’t all that well understood or enforced until the Trump era when some of then-President Donald Trump’s inner circle got caught without registering — Michael Flynn working for Turkey, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates lobbying for pro-Russia interests in Ukraine, and Tom Barrack allegedly acting as an unregistered agent of the United Arab Emirates.

“The very small group of FARA lawyers who have been doing this for a long time were shouting from the rooftops to everyone: beware,” Joshua Rosenstein, a lawyer at Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, told me, “because FARA is more broad than you think.”

To understand the scale of Ukraine’s lobbying, it’s useful to review the history of a law that was meant to bring transparency to international activities at a time when, according to some metrics, there are more foreign agents registered than ever.

FARA: From obscurity to the front page

FARA was enacted in 1938 to combat Nazi propaganda and Soviet influence. It doesn’t regulate or censor speech as such, whether an individual represents the best of regimes or the worst of them.

It’s just registering and disclosing those interests, but any “informational materials” disseminated — like articles — must include a conspicuous statement of that work. The scholar Daniel Rice, who has registered to advise the Ukrainian president on a pro bono basis, is legally bound to add something like this to his articles: “This material is distributed by Daniel Rice on behalf of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Additional information is available at the US Department of Justice, Washington, DC.”

The 50 years before 2016 saw only seven criminal prosecutions for FARA violations. But during the Trump years, the once-obscure area of law became a front-page story. “Before that, you know, we were probably a little naive,” says Virginia Canter, the chief ethics counsel of the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “You start seeing how foreign government interests and other foreign entities are trying to influence US policy.”

David Laufman is a partner at Wiggin and Dana who oversaw FARA enforcement at the Department of Justice from 2014 to 2018. “It quickly became apparent to me, by as early as early 2015, that we were not fully meeting our enforcement responsibilities under FARA,” he told me. “So I set about energizing enforcement of FARA, and it has built upon itself steadily since then.”

The Justice Department now is likely paying more attention to unfriendly governments and potentially unregistered lobbying, according to Rosenstein. “I would imagine that doing lobbying work, for example, on behalf of, say, a Chinese entity is given more scrutiny than lobbying work on behalf of a Canadian company,” he said.

The FARA unit has grown to five attorneys, five analysts, two support staffers, an intern, and an FBI agent detailed to it, but it still has “finite resources,” a Department of Justice official familiar with its workings, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told me. “Certainly, the scope of the potential national security threat is always going to drive our choices.”

It’s not yet clear what renewed enforcement of FARA will mean for the army of Ukrainian lobbyists in Washington, especially since the DOJ likely doesn’t see Ukraine as a “potential national security threat.” But the US government does have the power to make sure readers and viewers have clarity about foreign interests. “One of the beautiful things about FARA and how we run things is everything goes online. So you’re seeing what we’re seeing,” another DOJ official said.

How Ukraine lobbies

The number of firms registered to lobby on behalf of Ukrainian clients has exploded this summer. Six new firms registered in June alone, bringing the total to 24 firms or individuals now registered to lobby on behalf of Ukrainian clients, up from 11 registered to work for Ukraine last year.

Ben Freeman, a researcher at the nonpartisan Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, says that current Ukrainian efforts rank among the most active foreign government lobby he has ever analyzed.

He is particularly surprised that major lobbying and comms shops in DC are giving their services away. “That’s just unheard of in the foreign lobbying space,” says Freeman, who authored the book The Foreign Policy Auction. “There’s no such thing as a free lobbyist in DC.”

That’s because there may be a business motive behind gratis lobbying.

Take, for example, Mercury Public Affairs, a prominent consulting and PR group based in Washington. It’s now doing pro bono work for GloBee International Agency for Regional Development for Ukraine. Prior to that, Mercury worked for Russian firms. In January of this year, Sovcombank, one of Russia’s largest banks, hired Mercury for $90,000 monthly in the hope of preventing new sanctions against it. On February 25, a day after Russia’s invasion, Mercury dropped Sovcombank as a client.

Qorvis, another powerhouse communications firm, is now working for Ukrainian aid relief groups after years representing Russian interests in Washington. “In a matter of months, they’re sort of switching sides on who they’re representing in this lobbying fight,” Freeman said.

Shai Franklin is a lobbyist at Your Global Strategy who worked closely with Ukrainian groups before the Russian invasion in February. He registered as a pro bono lobbyist for Ukraine and has been connecting Ukrainian mayors with American mayors, and has also been working for GloBee. “The first week I was doing the work, I realized I better file,” he told me. “And that brought its own publicity, which was great, because it shows that Washington people are standing up for Ukraine.”

The negative association with registering as a foreign agent has perhaps made some less interested in registering. The American Bar Association recently recommended changes to the law, including replacing the phrase “‘agent of a foreign principal’ with a term that elicits less stigma.” As Franklin put it, “I tell foreign clients that there’s no shame in filing under FARA, but some of them are still pretty spooked by it, because of what happened over the last few years, because FARA has been associated with a crime.”

Even working for those who seem like heroes requires registration. “When it comes to foreign governments lobbying or lobbying on behalf of foreign interests, people have to realize that whether it’s a foreign interest we see as a good guy or a bad guy or an ugly guy, that’s not the US interest,” said Freeman. There is a narrow humanitarian carveout that exempts some from registering, and those lobbying on behalf of foreign companies register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

The Ukrainians were savvy to send fighter pilots to a country that made the film Top Gun twice. Over risotto drizzled with asparagus puree and saffron fondue, they talked about flying low over the country on risky missions last month, making eye contact with Ukrainian farmers on tractors in the fields of grain and waving to agricultural producers who they see as also fighting on the front lines. But the purpose of their trip was not merely to raise awareness about the plight of Ukrainian farmers amid an emerging global food crisis.

“Our main goal is self-explanatory,” Moonfish said. “We’re meeting media and lawmakers in order to push the weapon flow to Ukraine.”


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One night, while photographing biofluorescent corals with his team, marine biologist David Gruber's camera was suddenly brightened by an unlikely sight: a turtle glowing in neon-like red and green colours. This accidental discovery set the beginning of Gruber's ambitious study of marine life's biofluorescence. From exploring the coral reefs of the Solomon Islands to diving beneath icebergs in the Arctic's frosty waters, Gruber has been travelling across the oceans to better understand their secrets.


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