USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, December 19 - January 8, 2014

Table of Contents

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Study Cites 'Dangerous Weak Link' In Nuke Security
The number of countries possessing the makings of a nuclear bomb has dropped by almost one-quarter over the past two years, but there remain "dangerous weak links" in nuclear materials security that could be exploited by terrorist groups with potentially catastrophic results, according to a study released Wednesday. The study by the Nuclear Threat Initiative said Mexico, Sweden, Ukraine, Vietnam, Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary have removed all or most of the weapons-usable nuclear materials on their territories since 2012.
See the full article (AP, Robert Burns, 1/8/14)
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Using Tech to End Wars
Corporations may not have a direct responsibility to end wars in far-flung corners of the Earth. But when parts of their products may come from a war zone, they can, in fact, help support peace by assuming more control over their supply chains. Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is a case in point.
See the full article (USA Today, Brian Krzanich and John Prendergast, 1/7/14)
Click to read "Iraqi Peacebuilder Receives U.N. Recognition for Human Rights Efforts" an Olive Branch Post by USIP Staff.
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Cyberwarfare Greater Threat to US than Terrorism, Say Security Experts
Cyberwarfare is the greatest threat facing the United States – outstripping even terrorism – according to defense, military, and national security leaders in a Defense News poll, a sign that hawkish warnings about an imminent “cyber Pearl Harbor” have been absorbed in defense circles. The nebulous term "cyberwarfare" refers to full-on conflict between countries or terror groups featuring digital attacks on computer systems.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Michael Pizzi, 1/7/14)
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How the NSA Threatens National Security
Secret NSA eavesdropping is still in the news. With all this going on, it's easy to become inured to the breadth and depth of the NSA's activities. But through the disclosures, we've learned an enormous amount about the agency's capabilities, how it is failing to protect us, and what we need to do to regain security in the Information Age.
See the full article (Atlantic, Bruce Schneier, 1/6/14)
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Why Tech is A Double-Edged Sword for Human Rights
Tech has been turned against human rights – or so it seemed from Edward Snowden’s revelations last year. The technological advances that enabled the Arab Spring and empowered citizen journalists were exposed as facilitating unfettered surveillance worldwide and outstripping legal protections.
See the full article (CNN, Emma Daly, 1/5/14)
Click to read about USIP’s upcoming event “Getting it Right in Afghanistan” on January 16, 2014 at 11:00am.
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First Globals Technology Corps: Merging Jobs and Public Diplomacy
"In our book, First Globals: Understanding, Managing, and Unleashing the Potential of Our Millennial Generation, Joan Snyder Kuhl and I present a number of prescriptions for welcoming Millennials into the workforce. One of my favorites involves the creation of a First Globals Technology Corps, a practical and cost-efficient way of utilizing the special skills of this mobile and techno-savvy age cohort, while at the same time, allowing them to make a real difference in the world."
See the full article (Forbes, John Zogby, 1/5/14)
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Washington Post Says CIA Helped Colombia Kill FARC Leaders
An investigation by The Washington Post suggests the CIA has helped the Colombia government kill at least two dozen members of the Farc rebel group. It says the CIA programme was funded through a black budget separate from the main US military aid package for Colombia. The technology provided by the US allowed the Colombian Air Force to locate and bomb Farc members in their jungle hideouts.
See the full article (BBC, 12/22/13)
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U.S. Reportedly Sending Arms To Iraq Amid Worst Violence in Years
The United States is supplying Iraq with arms and surveillance technology to combat al-Qaeda-backed insurgents amid worsening violence, the New York Times reported Thursday, two years after the last American combat troops left the country. Citing unnamed Obama administration officials, the Times reports that the U.S. is providing lethal aid, including 75 Hellfire missiles, and 10 ScanEagle reconnaissance drones.
See the full article (Time, Noah Rayman, 12/26/13)
Click to read about USIP’s upcoming event “Governance and Stability in Iraq: Remarks by Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq” on January 14, 2014 at 5:00pm.
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Palestine’s Startup Ecosystem Stirs into Life
For Palestinian startups based in the West Bank and Gaza, Job’s experiences four millennia ago are a template for the difficulties they face in creating a tech ecosystem in the 21st Century. Israeli authorities control cellular networks in Palestine and have still to grant 3G licences to Palestinian operators although smartphone use is widespread in the country.
See the full article (Telegraph, Monty Munford, 1/5/14)
Click to read "What Might Persuade Israelis, Palestinians to Back Peace? " an Olive Branch Post by Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen.
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