USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, June 23 - 29, 2011

Table of Contents

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The Virtue-less War of the 'Nintendo Bomber'
As unbridled use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan continues, another casualty of war may be democracy in the US. In April, the British Ministry of Defence published a study which for the first time gave serious consideration to the moral, ethical and legal aspects of the drone wars. The study advises defense planners that 'before unmanned systems become ubiquitous' they must 'ensure that, by removing some of the horror, or at least keeping it at a distance, we do not risk losing our controlling humanity and make war more likely.'
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, 6/28/11)
Click to read "On the Issues: USIP Reports from Afghanistan," by USIP's Shahmahmood Miakhel.
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Sudan Seeks $1 Bln in Darfur Water-for-peace Bid
Sudan's government and the United Nations launched a $1-billion cash appeal Monday to help reverse the rapid decline in Darfur's water supplies, seen as one of the key drivers in the region's conflict. "We are here to transfer water from being a cause of frequent conflict to an instrument for sustainable peace," Salahedin Yussef, Sudan's state minister for irrigation and water resources, told delegates.
See the full article (AFP, 6/27/11)
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Technology is a Great Tool - but it Is People That Will Change Politics
New technology can help citizens create political movements, but progress only comes when they develop a sense of agency. The real change for Egyptians was not the technology of Facebook - it was the moment when one by one, people realised they were not alone. As the We Are All Khaled Said Facebook page accumulated thousands and thousands of people, young Egyptians for the first time realised that together, they had the numbers.
See the full article (Guardian, Jeremy Heimans and Time Dixon, 6/26/11)
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Google Ideas Think Tank Gathering Former Extremists to Battle Radicalization
Technology giant Google, having conquered the Internet and the world around it, is taking on a new challenge: violent extremism. The company, through its eight-month-old think tank, Google Ideas, is paying for 80 former Muslim extremists, neo-Nazis, U.S. gang members and other former radicals to gather in Dublin this weekend to explore how technology can play a role in de-radicalization efforts around the globe.
See the full article (Washington Post, Allen McDuffee, 6/24/11)
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Is the Inter-Korean Conflict Going Cyber?
South Korea has one of the most advanced IT infrastructures on the planet, offering the world's cheapest access to the fastest internet connection anywhere. Approximately 95 per cent of its near 50 million citizens surf the web - a statistic virtually unmatched by any other country. Despite being so technologically advanced, however, the country continues to suffer from ongoing cyberattacks, which authorities say are from North Korea.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Sangwon Yoon, 6/24/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Informal Markets and Peacebuilding in North Korea" on July 19 at 9:00am.
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Pentagon Gets Rules of Cyber-War
Amidst the recent flurry of news coverage on hacks and hackers, President Barack Obama has signed executive orders that set down the rules-of-war for cyber attacks. James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies says that while the actual threat of cyber warfare has been widely exaggerated, many countries around the world are adopting policies to combat such attacks.
See the full article (NPR, James Lewis and Mike Pesca, 6/24/11)
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A Free Press Helps Drive Scientific Progress and Innovation
The ongoing "Arab Spring" - courageously propelled by youth and individuals determined to have their voices heard and their human rights respected - is writing a new chapter in the region's storied history. Freedom of the press inevitably helps drive scientific progress, which in turn propels innovation and economic prosperity. Moreover, science and the accurate communication of science go hand-in-hand: good journalism, like good science, thrives on openness and a respect for truth based on evidence.
See the full article (Wired, Alan I. Leshner and Mohamed H. A. Hassan, 6/23/11)
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