USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, September 19 - 25, 2013

Table of Contents

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

The Power Of Connections To Change The World
This week, heads of state, Nobel Prize winners, nonprofit leaders, and influential CEOs will attend the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) -- whose mission is to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. In preparing for the event, I sat down with Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, who is also attending, to talk about the role of technology in driving positive change.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Tae Yoo and John Chambers, 9/25/13)
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U.S. Moves Drone Fleet from Camp Lemonnier to Ease Djibouti’s Safety Concerns
The U.S. military has been forced to relocate a large fleet of drones from a key counterterrorism base on the Horn of Africa after a string of crashes fanned local fears that the unmanned aircraft were at risk of colliding with passenger planes, according to documents and interviews. Air Force drones ceased flying this month from Camp Lemonnier, a U.S. installation in Djibouti, after local officials expressed alarm about several drone accidents and mishaps in recent years.
See the full article (Washington Post, Craig Whitlock and Greg Miller, 9/24/13)
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Nairobi Shopping Mall Attack: Islamist Terror is Now a Hi-tech Global Brand
These days, new adherents to the extremist movement are more likely to have been recruited and radicalised over the internet rather than by having to make their way to some remote and inhospitable location. As part of al-Qaeda’s quest for global reach, a new generation of Islamist radicals has enthusiastically embraced modern communications technology, skilfully exploiting the internet and social media to disseminate a nihilistic ideology to all corners of the world.
See the full article (Telegraph, Con Coughlin, 9/24/13)
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Scientists Use Math -- and Computer War Games -- to Show how Society Evolved
How did human societies ever manage to evolve from small, tight-knit groups into vast, organized states? New findings, published in the journal PNAS, used mathematical formulas and computers to simulate warfare in ancient Europe, Asia and Africa. Researchers concluded that an increase in the intensity of armed combat -- and the spread of military technology -- spurred the rise of large, complex societies.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, Monte Morin, 9/24/13)
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Photos: Egypt's Entrepreneurs Try to Build a New Tech Hub Amid Unrest
Amid Egypt's ongoing political turmoil, there is another, tech-ier revolution afoot: the birth of Cairo’s start-up culture. Young entrepreneurs there have created everything from taxi calling services to portable solar water desalination companies, and everything in between. Despite Egypt’s recent struggles, there is hope among those in the start-up crowd.
See the full article (Atlantic, Jonathan Kalan, 9/23/13)
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Snowden Disclosures Prompt Warning on Widely Used Computer Security Formula
In the latest fallout from Edward Snowden's intelligence disclosures, a major U.S. computer security company warned thousands of customers on Thursday to stop using software that relies on a weak mathematical formula developed by the National Security Agency. RSA, the security arm of storage company EMC (EMC.N) Corp, told current customers in an email that a toolkit for developers had a default random-number generator using the weak formula, and that customers should switch to one of several other formulas in the product.
See the full article (Reuters, Joseph Menn, 9/23/13)
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Access Denied: Phone Politics in Palestine
Smartphones are ubiquitous in Ramallah. "This is a tech hungry place," said Omar, a phone shop owner. "People want to be connected to news, politics, culture and to each other." But Palestinians are spending hundreds of dollars on the latest smartphones that cannot do what they're built for: The West Bank's two service providers, Jawwaland Kuwait-based Wataniya, cannot provide fast 3G mobile data services because of Israel's refusal to grant the Palestinian Authority sufficient bandwidth.
See the full article (Aljazeera, Samuel Nelson Gilbert, 9/22/13)
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Hacking U.S. Secrets, China Pushes for Drones
For almost two years, hackers based in Shanghai went after one foreign defense contractor after another, at least 20 in all. Their target, according to an American cybersecurity company that monitored the attacks, was the technology behind the United States’ clear lead in military drones. The hacking operation, conducted by a group called “Comment Crew,” was one of the most recent signs of the ambitions of China’s drone development program.
See the full article (New York Times, Edward Wong, 9/20/13)*Subscription may be necessary to read full story
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Water is One Key to a Peaceful World
What do Cochabamba, Bolivia, India’s Deccan Plateau and Norcross, Ga., have in common? They’re all areas that have experienced water conflict. Whether it’s due to privatization, climate change or state regulation, water is often a source of contention in both the developed and developing world.
See the full article (Thomas Reuters Foundation, Alice Urban, 9/20/13)
Click to read "USIP to Sharpen Focus on Preventing Conflicts over Water" an Olive Branch Post by Thomas Omestad.
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Syrian Rebel Uses iPad for Weaponry
Resourceful Syrian rebels have apparently found or devised an app to aim a homemade mortar that lacked a sighting component, according to a photo taken this week. A photo taken on Sept 15 in Damascus shows a member of the Free Syrian Army using an iPad to help fire the mortar.
See the full article (ABC News, Jon M. Chang, 9/19/13)
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which includes a special section on Internet and social media.

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