USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, January 5 - 11, 2012

Table of Contents

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A War of Words Over Water
Futurologists say that the next world war will be fought over water because fresh supplies will become increasingly scarce. Pakistan has already added water to the long list of disputes with India and people in India have grown concerned about what they say are Chinese efforts to dam the Brahmaputra River.
See the full article (New York Times, T.P. Sreenivasan, 1/8/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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US Marines Testing Drone Cargo Helicopter for Hazardous Missions in Afghanistan
The U.S. military is testing a pilotless helicopter intended to fly cargo missions to remote outposts where frequent roadside bombs threaten access by road convoys. Surveillance drones for monitoring enemy activity and armed versions for launching airstrikes have become a trademark of America's wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. But this is the first time a chopper version designed for transport has been used operationally.
See the full article (AP, 1/7/12)
Click to read "Year in Review: Afghanistan," a USIP On the Issues by Shahmahmood Miakhel.
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Al Jazeera, Ushahidi Join in Project to Connect Somalia Diaspora via SMS
Al Jazeera launched Somalia Speaks to help amplify stories from people and their everyday lives in the region -- all via SMS. The goal of Somalia Speaks is to aggregate unheard voices from inside the region as well as from the Somalia diaspora by asking via text message: "how has the Somalia conflict affected your life?" Responses are translated into English and plotted on a map.
See the full article (PBS, Melissa Ulbricht, 1/6/12)
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Stuxnet Cyberweapon Looks to be One on a Production Line, Researchers Say
Somewhere in the world, the creators of the Stuxnet worm are involved in a cyberweapon manufacturing operation that can pump out supersophisticated malicious software tweaked for specific missions, new targets, and detection evasion. The platform appears to be able to fire and reload - again and again - to recalibrate for different targets and to bolt on different payloads, but with minimal added cost and effort.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Mark Clayton, 1/6/12)
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Kenyans Crowdsource to Combat Corruption
A few years ago paying a bribe in Nairobi was a silent indignity. Kenya's growing tech sector has moved to change that. Over the last few years a number of sites have popped up to try to combat this problem, empowering people that often feel powerless in the face of official corruption. Hatari (Swahili for "danger") is one of the best known. Using a mapping platform, Hatari allows people to report when and where they experience corruption or crime.
See the full article (CBS, Dave Mayers, 1/6/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming book launch event "Customary Justice and Rule of Law in War-Torn Societies" on January 12 at 9:30am.
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Iran Further Restricts Facebook and Twitter, Prepares Its Own Internet
Iran is testing a domestic Internet, a "Halal" network that will restrict citizens from penetrating foreign sites. Internet users this week reported delays in their network connections, which is believed to be connected to the new network's trial run. The network - technically an Intranet - should be ready to go live within a few weeks, Iranian media reported.
See the full article (Mashable, Zoe Fox, 1/6/12)
Click to read "Media and Peacebuilding: Trends in 2011 and Looking Ahead to 2012" a USIP On the Issues by Sheldon Himelfarb.
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Panetta: Cyber Warfare Could Paralyze US
Back in 2010, the Pentagon established cyber command to wage war and defend America's computer systems. It's a top priority for Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. In an interview for "60 Minutes," CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley spoke with Panetta while he was touring the Middle East last month, flying in a command post that's rigged to conduct nuclear war if need be. The Secretary told CBS News cyber war is one of his biggest worries.
See the full article (CBS, Scott Pelley, 1/5/12)
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