USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, February 14 - 20, 2013

Table of Contents

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which includes a special section on Internet and social media.**

China, its Hackers, and the American Media
The New York Times' revelation that Unit 61398 of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) systematically hacked into U.S. computer networks has emerged as the latest salvo in the increasingly contentious Sino-American rivalry. While the story presented fresh evidence of Chinese hacking -- in stunning detail -- the aftermath presents more questions than answers.
See the full article (Atlantic, Matt Schiavenza, 2/20/13)
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Report: US Drone Attacks Rapidly Increasing in Afghanistan
According to a UN report released this week, civilian deaths in Afghanistan decreased in 2012 -- but drone attacks and deaths caused by anti-government groups such as the Taliban, however, increased significantly. The joint report released by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights tracks how the armed conflict affects civilians on an annual basis.
See the full article (, Liat Clark, 2/20/13)
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The Cool War
Cold War technology made war unthinkable. Cool War technology makes it irresistible. We are now in the midst of what could be called the Cool War. This successor to the Cold War shares the trait that it does not involve hot conflict on the battlefield, but is different in the nature and expectations surrounding the sub-rosa thrusts and parries by which it is conducted.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, 2/20/13)
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Wanted: Global Rules on Cyberwarfare
A report on cyberattacks and computer hacking originating with China's military highlights the need for international norms in cyberwarfare. Other new types of weapons led to new rules of war. Why not in cyberspace, too? A stunning report by a US digital-security company accuses China's military of conducting more than 100 cyberattacks on American corporate and government computers.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, 2/19/13)
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The Coming Water Wars
Globally, [conflicts over water] are bound to grow in number and ferocity. By 2050, the world's populations will be a third to a half again as large as today, with the biggest factor driving water consumption not being the home, school, or workplace tap or even industrial processes. Seventy percent of the world's usable water is consumed in agriculture-growing and raising our food.
See the full article (U.S. News and World Report, Clark S. Judge, 2/19/13)
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Climate Change's Links to Conflict Draws UN Attention
Imagine India in 2033. It has overtaken China as the most populous nation. Yet with 1.5 billion citizens to feed, it's been three years since the last monsoon. Without rain, crops die and people starve. The seeds of conflict take root. This is one of the scenarios presented today to members of the United Nations Security Council to show the connection between climate change and global security challenges.
See the full article (Bloomberg, Flavia Krause-Jackson, 2/15/13)
Click to read "Natural Disasters as Threats to Peace" a USIP Special Report by Frederick S. Tipson.
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New Data Tool Tracks Emerging Conflict Trends in Africa
A new online data tool for monitoring conflict trends in Africa can help governments and aid workers to analyse the impact of political, social and armed conflicts on communities, its creators said. By combining mapping, analysis and raw data from thousands of emerging and historical conflicts, the CCAPS Conflict Dashboard enables users to assess trends and detailed event data simultaneously.
See the full article (AlertNet, Astrid Zweynert, 2/15/13)
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Assessing the True Threat of Cyberwar
This week, President Obama issued an executive order to strengthen the nation's cyber security against what the government sees as a potentially cataclysmic threat. There has been plenty of drum beating about the threat of cyber warfare, but just how realistic is the threat of an attack that could wreak havoc on our national infrastructure?
See the full article (RFE/RL, 2/15/13)
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