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The global shortage of semiconductors, or microchips — the “brains” in all electronic devices, has heightened the geopolitical significance of Taiwan and its chip-making sector. The island is home to the world’s largest contract chipmaker: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC).
Many describe Taiwan’s strength in microchips as its “silicon shield,” which can protect it against Chinese aggression.
But others suspect the sector, coveted by China, may also trigger China to accelerate its efforts to take advantage of Taiwan’s tech prowess.
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‘Not let war happen’
When asked to explain the shield, TSMC chairman Mark Liu told CBS News’ “60 Minutes” program last week that it means “the world all needs Taiwan’s high-tech industry support. So, they will not let the war happen in this region because it goes against the interest of every country in the world.”
While refusing to comment on whether the industry will keep Taiwan safe, Liu added that he hoped no war would occur in Taiwan. It is widely believed that any war fought in Taiwan could disrupt the global supply chains of microchips.
More than 1 trillion chips are currently being produced annually. Industry watchers, including the National Bank of Canada, estimated earlier that TSMC alone accounts for one-fifth of the world’s chip production and up to 90% of the supply of the most advanced chips.
In an “extremely hypothetical scenario,” such a disruption in Taiwan’s chip production could cause $490 billion in annual losses for electronic device makers worldwide, according to estimates by the U.S.-based Semiconductor Industry Association last month.
American tech giants including Apple, major European automakers, and even Chinese companies would have to halt production in the event of a TSMC collapse, said Frank Huang, chairman of Taiwan’s third-largest chipmaker Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp.
That, he said, will make China think twice about using force against Taiwan, the self-ruled island Beijing views as a renegade province.
“China likes [to]… threat [threaten] Taiwan. But realistically without Taiwan, they cannot move either. Their semiconductors also shut down. So, the problem is: can you take over Taiwan without [triggering] impact [on] semiconductors? That is not [going to] happen,” Huang told VOA.
The term “silicon shield” was first coined by Craig Addison in late 2000, who argued in his book “Silicon Shield: Taiwan’s Protection Against Chinese Attack” that the island’s rise as the key supplier for the world’s digital economy would serve as “a deterrent against possible Chinese aggression.”
The debate over such a deterrent has heated up now that the pandemic has seriously disrupted most supply chains. The U.S. has also placed restrictions on exports of chips and chip-making equipment using U.S. design and technology to China — a development that some observers also fear may end up provoking China to increase aggression toward Taiwan.
But Darson Chiu, a research fellow at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER) in Taipei, disagreed, saying that he believes the world will stand behind Taiwan.
“The world’s superpowers will view TSMC as a key driver behind the future global economic revival, which belongs to no one but the world. Hence the world will not tolerate China’s use of force to control TSMC,” Chiu told VOA over the phone.
Double layer of protection
The island’s dominance in chip-making has fueled the debate over its silicon shield, but the U.S. is more concerned that the shield may “have holes in it” and the technology is being used by China’s military, according to Alexander Neill, a former Shangri-La Dialogue senior fellow for Asia Pacific security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
An earlier Washington Post report alleged that a Chinese firm had used TSMC chips in the Chinese military’s development of hypersonic missiles. But the company denied the charges.
The U.S. is also concerned about vulnerabilities caused by TSMC production being concentrated in Taiwan. The island’s water and electric supply shortages could disrupt production.
“What the United States wants to do is to help TSMC diversify its production base so that there’s a double layer of protection. So, if the first shield is being penetrated, the second [reinforcement] shield is to nurture the chip production base in friends and ally countries including the United States,” Neill told VOA over the phone.
TSMC has planned to invest $100 billion in the next three years on new production facilities including a state-of-the-art wafer fabrication plant in the U.S. state of Arizona and expansions of its Nanjing, China-based fab to produce 28-nanometer chips for automakers.
The move aims to increase TSMC’s capacity, which is currently working at full capacity, to meet surging demand and support future growth in the global economy, TIER’s Chiu said.
In a stock exchange filing last month, TSMC said it “is entering a period of higher growth as the multiyear megatrends of 5G and HPC (high-performance computer) are expected to fuel strong demand for our semiconductor technologies in the next several years. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic also accelerates digitalization in every aspect.”
But Powerchip’s Huang questions if overseas wafer fabs will be as cost-effective as those based in Taiwan. He said that many fabs in the U.S. and Germany have proved to be too expensive to sustain.
Expansion in China
For years, China’s attempts to manufacture chips have failed since China lacks access to the intellectual property required for the process.
Hence, TSMC’s expansion plan in its Nanjing plant is welcomed by many in China despite worries that the survival of homegrown chipmakers may be threatened by the Taiwanese chipmaker, according to Song Hong, assistant general director at the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
“28nm chips aren’t high-end. But mid-to low-end chips are in higher demand. So, I think this shows TSMC’s optimism in China’s future demand. It is in our hope to bolster homegrown chipmakers, but we also welcome competition,” Song told VOA.
Song, however, shrugged off the geopolitical implications of Taiwan’s silicon shield, saying that China views Taiwanese issues as domestic affairs and will not be deterred from its goals by U.S. action. (VOA/KB)
The sporting industry thrives on the success of the patron teams, or at least, teams that the people love. It is common knowledge how much time and energy people are willing to spend watching matches between their favourite team and its rival. Matches that take place across the world, in different time zones, do not matter much when it comes to expressing patronage for a star player or team. Late nights, crowded sitting rooms, and rain-checked appointments are absolutely welcome during match season.
Cricket has gained the world's love when it comes to making them stop everything and stare at a screen, awaiting the next run, boundary, or wicket. No other sport across the world receives as much love and undying allegiance. In this scenario, it is only natural to have an entire system in place that makes use of this immense love for the sport. Creating leagues that run annually, and pit one team against another, to measure prowess, skill, and popularity does not seem odd at all. In fact, it pumps the adrenaline more than ever, and receives an incredible amount of support. People will do anything to watch their team in action one more time.
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Like in every other cricket-loving nation, Australia's Big Bash League reigns supreme among the predictors, who weigh the statistics of each team, player, and season. They go by the name of KFC Big Bash League, more popularly, BBL, and were established in 2011. Their franchise Twenty20 matches are held during the summer season, between the months of December and February. Currently, there are six local teams, Sydney Sixers, Perth Scorchers, and so on, the former being the latest champion. Apart from the Indian Premier League, BBL has the most attendance.
A batsman swinging the ball Image credit: Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash
Since the world's eyes are on Australia anyway during this season, BBL also predicts its winners and losers, hosting events and putting up charts of the same. Experts that work under them regularly update the ravenous public about the latest developments based on experience, how often team members change hands, leadership developments, and even predict the success of each player in turn. The BBL points table sees a raving amount of reviews each year from the publicity of the franchise itself. People from all over world want to be able to know the outcome of the match beforehand, to increase the excitement of watching it.
Over the years, newer features have been introduced to make the franchise more enticing. Awards, both real and imaginary, are handed out to winners, and to exceptional players. Online betting also takes place to see who wins and who loses, based on personal opinions coupled with the experts' predictions. The BBL chart is extremely useful in this context. They even have a Women's Big Bash League that is gaining momentum.
Also read: The Ultimate Cricket Stay
The odds offered by BBL takes into account all the minute factors that most predictors do not pay attention to, such as weather conditions, and a list of probable players, including match details. What makes BBL reliable is that the experts who give out suggestions do their best field work, and have sound knowledge of the game and players. On Crictips, BBL has truly made a name for itself as an all-round cricket guide to all kinds of sporting audiences.
(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and contains some commercial links)
Keywords: Australia, BBL, Crictips, Cricket, Betting
Cinema and movie making is constantly changing, and the result is in front of us we've come a long way from silent black and white short movies to high definition, colour, 5-D movies. It has evolved for the last 108 years and continues to grow. India's first auteur-filmmaker Dhundiraj Govind Phalke popularly known as Dadasahen Phalke directed and produced India's first feature film Raja Harishchandra which was a hundred per cent made by the Indian crew. The movie was released in Bombay's (Mumbai) Coronation Theatre on the 3rd of May 1913 under the label of being India's first home production, full-length film.
Raja Harishchandra was the first to be 'acted, directed and produced by an all-Indian team. Phalke's inspiration to make a "Swadeshi" movie comes from when he viewed the silent movie, "The Life of Christ" in 1911. He wrote in Navayug, November 1917 that While the Life of Christ was rolling fast before my physical eyes, I was mentally visualizing the gods, Shri Krishna, Shri Ramachandra, their Gokul and Ayodhya… He wanted to feel the connection with the movies but that connection failed to form as the context of the movie was foreign.
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Phalke went to London the very next year to learn about filmmaking techniques. He even imported the hardware required for filmmaking to India from England, France, Germany, and the United States of America. Upon his return to India, he founded Phalke Films Company. Phalke published classified in various newspapers for the cast and crew to apply, what's unique about the film was that even the female roles were played by male actors this happened as no women were available for the role.
Phalke was a one-man crew for the production, he was in charge of writing script, direction, production design, make-up, film editing along with film processing. The filming of the whole movie took six months and 27 days.
The female roles were played by male actors in the movieWikimedia Commons
As the name itself suggests the film closely follows the story of Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra from the Vedas who is known to be the epitome of truth as maharishi Vishvamitra makes him go through numerous torturous tests to prove himself.
The story goes as Raja (King) Harishchandra was teaching his son, Rohitashva how to shoot with a bow and arrow as Queen Taramati watches over her son and husband. Later the people of the Kingdom request the king to go on a hunting expedition as the animals have been creating havoc. While on the hunt, Harishchandra hears the cries of some women. Upon following the voice Harishchnadra discovers the sage Vishwamitra was performing a yajna to get help from Triguna Shakti (three powers) against their will. After witnessing the sight Harishchandra revolts and interrupts the sage, which infuriates the egoistic sage. To calm his wrath Harishchandra offers to sacrifice his kingdom to the sage. He informs his queen of the events and the family is exiled from the kingdom by Vishvamitra. The sage asks the poor king for Dakshina within the time period of 48 days. While in exile Rohitashva meets his demise, the king asks his wife to visit Dom king in the hope of free cremation only to face more difficulties on the path Vishvamitra frames her for the murder of the prince of Kashi. Taramati faces trial, pleads guilty and is ordered to be beheaded by Harishchandra. With a torn heart but as he could not turn away from his duty, the king raises his sword to behead his wife, Lord Shiva appears, and it is revealed that all the difficulties they have been going throw were the tests laid down by Vishvamitra to test the integrity of the king, Harishchandra gets back his kingdom, his son is brought back to life and the movie ends.
A legacy of the century
Only a handful of "firsts/indigenous" movies made in India have survived the century. Raja Harishchandra being one of them still holds the same meaning and inspiration for its audience as it did a century ago. Film historian Firoze Rangoonwalla describes the film's impact on the public as "a wide impression and appealed to a large audience in different places" and its box office success provided "the seal of acceptance and laid the foundation of the film industry" in the country.
The debate over whether Raja Harishchandra is truly the first full-length Indian feature film has been argued over for decades. Some film historians claim that Shree Pundalik by Dadasaheb Torne was released in the same theatre a year before Raja Harishchandra was the maiden Indian Film. However, other historians differ they argue that Shree Pundalik is a simple cinematographic recording filmed by a British cameraman on a single fixed camera, and later processed in London. On the other hand, Raja Harishchandra was completely made in India, from cameraman to final editing of the movie. Thus, it has recognition from the government of India as the first Indian feature film.
Keywords: Filmmaking, India's first feature film, Raja Harishchandra, Dadasaheb Phalke, filmmakers in India
As fall nesting is upon us, opt for tasteful wallpapers if you're looking to dramatically overhaul your interiors. Besides being more durable and cost-effective in the long run, wallpapers can add texture and dimension to a space, transforming an ordinary room into something special. Take your pick from muted backdrops to geometric prints from a splash of vibrant hues to intricate patterns.
Artisan Furnishings curates a few trends to dress your walls up for the season:
If yours is a minimalistic home with clean simple designs and home accessories, covering your wall with a muted color and simple floral motifs will work like a charm. An interplay of the yesteryear's cottage core vibe with a contemporary design aesthetic, your walls will play muse to the season of new beginnings.
An interplay of the yesteryear's cottage core vibe with a contemporary design aesthetic, your walls will play muse to the season of new beginnings. | Photo by Unsplash
Cover Me in Sunshine
Vibrant hues of sunshine orange and yellow with intricately lined patterns in white bring out a certain allure and warmth to your home along with adding a statement to your wall. Paint your home in this subdued backdrop to give it a fresh makeover.
Vibrant hues of sunshine orange and yellow with intricately lined patterns in white bring out a certain allure and warmth to your home. | IANSlife
Go Rustic with Earthy Tones
Invoking the aura of the charming English countryside, the rustic trend blends the neutral backdrops and an earthy colour palette of beige, brown, and blue. Infusing a sense of tradition and craftsmanship, these wallpapers are designed with ingenuity and love for our diverse roots.
The rustic trend blends the neutral backdrops and an earthy color palette of beige, brown, and blue. I Photo by Unsplash
Bold Hues on Muted Backdrops
Give your home a festive spirit and feel with wallpapers created on a simple color palette of cream with gold accents. Reminiscent of palaces and their vintage and regal vibe, this wall-covering trend goes perfectly for every kind of space.
Floral motifs and structural designs create a bespoke line of wall arts to bring out the essence of fall in your home. | IANSlife
A melange of Pattern and Prints
Uniquely designed patterns on a plethora of backdrops colored white, cream, beige, and bold hues of violet, this trend is perfect for all seasons. Floral motifs and structural designs create a bespoke line of wall arts to bring out the essence of fall in your home. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Wall trends, Minimalistic Decor, Floral motifs, and structural designs, home accessories, Contemporary design aesthetic.