USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, February 21 - 27, 2013

Table of Contents

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Forest Whitaker's Non-Profit Thinks Tech Will Bring Peace to Africa
PeaceEarth, a digital-first project, aims to create a network of "peace builders" by educating youth in war-torn areas across the world on the topic of conflict resolution. More specifically, it strives to teach how technology and new communication tools can be used to promote a global message of well-being. It was founded by actor and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Forest Whitaker.
See the full article (Mashable, Eric Larson, 2/27/13)
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Killer SMS: Incitement and the Kenyan Elections
Mass atrocities don't just occur, they have to be organized and promoted. These days they can be instigated by something as simple as a text message or tweet. In the aftermath of the 2007/8 conflagration four Kenyans were indicted by the International Criminal Court for directing the violence. Text messages about "stolen elections" and calling on one group or another to "terminate" or "exterminate" ethnic rivals were widely circulated.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Simon Adams, 2/26/13)
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Stuxnet Missing Link Found, Resolves Some Mysteries Around the Cyberweapon
As Iran met in Kazakhstan this week with members of the UN Security Council to discuss its nuclear program, researchers announced that a new variant of the sophisticated cyberweapon known as Stuxnet had been found, which predates other known versions of the malicious code that were reportedly unleashed by the U.S. and Israel several years ago in an attempt to sabotage Iran's nuclear program.
See the full article (Wired, Kim Zetter, 2/26/13)
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Fearing Election Turmoil, Kenyans Seek a Tech Solution
As Kenya prepares for a presidential election next Monday, it's trying to prevent a recurrence of the last such poll, in December 2007, when more than 1,000 people were killed in postelection violence. Last time, technology helped incite that violence. This time, the hope is that technology will help prevent a similar outburst.
See the full article (NPR, Gregory Warner, 2/25/13)
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Israel Says It Successfully Tests New Missile Defense
Israel carried out a successful test of its upgraded Arrow interceptor system on Monday, which is designed to destroy in space the kind of missiles held by Syria and Iran. The U.S.-backed Arrow III system deploys "kamikaze" satellites that target ballistic missiles above the earth's atmosphere, hitting them high enough to allow for any non-conventional warheads to disintegrate safely.
See the full article (Reuters, Dan Williams, 2/25/13)
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Foreigners To North Korea to Get Uncensored 3G
Foreign visitors going to North Korea will be able to receive uncensored 3G data starting March 1. According to the AP, services typically banned like Twitter and Skype will be available on Koryolink's network. North Koreans are blocked from the global Web, and only allowed some 3G services, such as MMS messaging and subscriptions to the state-run paper, Rodong Sinmun. Calls to foreign numbers are also blocked.
See the full article (TechCrunch, Victoria Ho, 2/24/13)
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Iran's First Encounter with 3G Technology Chastised by Fatwa
Four grand ayatollahs issued a fatwa that strips Iran's third mobile phone operator from its rights to use a new 3G mobile internet operator. The fatwa was issued towards Iran's mobile service provider, Rightel, which enables customers to use video calling and multi-media messaging technology. The service uses 3G technology which is Iranian's first encounter with telecommunication expansion.
See the full article (Al Arabiya, 2/22/13)
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New Drone Base in Niger Builds U.S. Presence in Africa
Opening a new front in the drone wars against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, President Obama announced on Friday that about 100 American troops had been sent to Niger in West Africa to help set up a new base from which unarmed Predator aircraft would conduct surveillance in the region. The new base is an indication of the priority Africa has become in American antiterrorism efforts.
See the full article (New York Times, Eric Schmitt and Scott Sayare, 2/22/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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