USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, August 1 - 7, 2013

Table of Contents

**Click here to subscribe to USIP's Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding News Roundup,
which includes a special section on Internet and social media.**

Obama Cancels Meetings with Putin Amid Tensions
President Obama is canceling plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next month — a rare diplomatic snub. The move is retribution for Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
See the full article (AP, Julie Pace, 8/7/13)
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Searching Big Data for ‘Digital Smoke Signals’
The United Nations Global Pulse team — a tiny unit inside an institution known for its sprawling bureaucracy, not its entrepreneurial hustle, [focuses] on harnessing technology in new ways — using data from social networks, blogs, cellphones and online commerce to transform economic development and humanitarian aid in poorer nations. The efforts by Global Pulse and a growing collection of scientists at universities, companies and nonprofit groups have been given the label “Big Data for development."
See the full article (New York Times, Steve Lohr, 8/7/13)*NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Obama Administration Authorized Recent Drone Strikes in Yemen
The Obama administration authorized a series of drone strikes in Yemen over the past 10 days as part of an effort to disrupt an al-Qaeda terrorism plot that has forced the closure of American embassies around the world, U.S. officials said. The officials said the revived drone campaign — with five strikes in rapid succession — is directly related to intelligence indicating that al-Qaeda’s leader has urged the group’s Yemen affiliate to attack Western targets.
See the full article (Washington Post, Greg Miller, 8/7/13)
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New Images Show Destruction In Syrian City Of Aleppo
Satellite images released Wednesday by Amnesty International show widespread devastation that is "severely lopsided" in opposition-controlled parts of the Syrian city of Aleppo. The group says the images highlight human rights violations against Aleppo's civilian population amid the country's civil war.
See the full article (NPR, Krishnadev Calamur, 8/7/13)
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U.S. Plans to Monitor Afghanistan Relief Projects Remotely
As the U.S. military presence dwindles in Afghanistan, officials are finalizing a $200 million plan to use smartphones, GPS-enabled cameras and satellite imagery to monitor relief projects that will continue in areas deemed too remote or unsafe for Americans to visit. It is a risky strategy, say experts and watchdogs, because the U.S. Agency for International Development has been chastised for past oversight failures in Afghanistan and has never used the technology to monitor projects on so grand a scale.
See the full article (Richmond Times Dispatch, 8/6/13)
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Will Global Warming Lead to More War? It’s Not That Simple.
At a basic level, it’s easy to dream up all sorts of ways that hotter temperatures or other climatic disruptions might make conflict more likely. But that hardly means that conflict is inevitable in a warmer world. After all, the 2000s were the warmest decade on record, but they also managed to be “the least conflict-ridden decade since the 1970s.”
See the full article (Washington Post, Brad Plumer, 8/5/13)
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Rise in Violence 'Linked to Climate Change'
Shifts in climate are strongly linked to increases in violence around the world, a study suggests. US scientists found that even small changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a rise in assaults, rapes and murders, as well as group conflicts and war.
See the full article (BBC, Rebecca Morelle, 8/2/13)
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Despite Administration Promises, Few Signs of Change in Drone Wars
There were more drone strikes in Pakistan last month than any month since January. Three missile strikes were carried out in Yemen in the last week alone. And after Secretary of State John Kerry told Pakistanis on Thursday that the United States was winding down the drone wars there, officials back in Washington quickly contradicted him.
See the full article (New York Times, Mark Mazzetti and Mark Landler, 8/2/13)*NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Video Game Pits China against Japan Over Island Dispute
A new online video game has just been released in China which invites players to fight Japan over a group of islands whose sovereignty is disputed by the Chinese and Japanese governments. The islands are known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China and millions of gamers have already registered to play "Glorious Mission".
See the full article (BBC, 8/1/13)
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Snowden Granted Asylum in Russia, Leaves Moscow Airport
On Thursday afternoon, Edward Snowden, who is wanted in the U.S. for leaking the secrets of American intelligence agencies, received asylum in Russia for one year and left the transit zone of the Moscow airport where he had been marooned for five weeks.
See the full article (Time, Simon Shuster, 8/1/13)
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People's Radio: Tried and True Technology Meets New Innovation
There's an armed conflict in your country and violence is escalating. You don't have access to the Internet and your mobile phone is unable to connect to a network. Perpetrators capitalize on this and try to isolate you further by preventing journalists and humanitarian aid organizations from entering the area where you live. This is the reality for many of the 1.5 billion people who are living in countries affected by violent conflict today.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Karoline Kirchhübel, 8/1/13))
Click to read "Lightning Rounds Spark Tech Solutions for Media Dangers" an Olive Branch Post by Michael Dwyer.
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which includes a special section on Internet and social media.

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