USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, December 5 - 11, 2013

Table of Contents

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APA Supports N-Energy Use for Peaceful Purposes
At its closing day, Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) in its Sixth Plenary Conference on Tuesday affirmed the inalienable right of every country to acquire, develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under IAEA safeguards. “We affirm the inalienable right of every country to acquire, develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under IAEA safeguards, including access to civil nuclear technology without discrimination,” says the Islamabad Declaration issued at the end of the APA Conference.
See the full article (The Nation, Imran Mukhtar, 12/11/13)
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Nobel Peace Winner Urges Holdouts to Join Chemical Weapons Pact
The head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons demanded that the six nations, including Israel, that have yet to adopt the convention banning the use of the arms to join without delay or conditions. “There has long been no reasonable defense for not doing so -– all the more now in the wake of the robust international reaction to recent use of chemical weapons,” Ahmet Uzumcu, OPCW director general, said today in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo. “It’s my fervent hope that this award will spur on efforts to make the Chemical Weapons Convention a truly universal norm.”
See the full article (Bloomberg, Mikael Holter, 12/10/13)
Click to read "Syria Gamers at USIP Jockey for 'Best Possible Peace'" an Olive Branch Post.
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Phone Apps Help Government, Others Counter Violence Against Women
Smart and mobile phones have helped authorities solve crimes from beatings that occurred during the London riots to the Boston Marathon bombing. A panel of experts gathered on Monday said the devices can also help reduce and combat rapes and other gender-based violence. Smartphone apps and text messaging services proliferated in India following a sharp rise in reported gang rapes, including the brutal 2012 rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi, according to panelists at the Wilson Center event on gender-based violence and innovative technologies.
See the full article (NextGov, Joseph Marks, 12/10/13)
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China Hackers 'Target EU Foreign Ministries'
Chinese hackers spied on the computers of five European foreign ministries over the summer, according to research from US security company FireEye. The hackers sent emails with malware-ridden attachments purporting to detail a possible US intervention in Syria. The company has not revealed which ministries were targeted but said the malware samples were meant for individuals involved in the G20 talks.
See the full article (BBC, Jake Wakefield, 12/10/13)
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“Take Back the Tech” Campaign: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
From 25th November to 10th December, 2013, the group “Take Back the Tech” invites you to the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women campaign, and to take action each of those days in order to end gender violence. “Take Back the Tech” was created in 2006 as a part of the women's rights program Association for Progressive Communications or (APC), a group of women from different parts of the world who “advocate for online collaboration in order to achieve social change and empower women through the use of information and communication technologies.”
See the full article (Global Voices, 12/7/13)
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Iran Presses Ahead With Uranium Enrichment Technology
Iran is moving ahead with testing more efficient uranium enrichment technology, a spokesman for its atomic energy agency said on Saturday, in news that may concern world powers who last month agreed a deal to curb Tehran's atomic activities. Although the development does not appear to contravene the interim agreement struck between world powers and Iran last month, it may concern the West nonetheless, as the material can also provide the fissile core of a nuclear bomb if enriched to a high degree.
See the full article (Reuters, 12/7/13)
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Why Should a Girl in Nigeria Learn to Code?
Teenage girls are some of the most active users of mobile phones. But they don't see themselves as inventors of technology. Technovation Challenge is the largest global technology entrepreneurship program for girls. Participants work with professional mentors to research, design, build, and launch mobile apps that solve real problems in their communities over the course of 3 months. Technovation was created to inspire girls be the next generation of innovators and problem solvers using technology. Over the past four years Technovation has introduced 1,374 girls worldwide to programming and entrepreneurship.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Tara Chkloviski, 12/6/13)
Click to read "Mandela’s Legacy: Timing, Spoilers, and Responsibility for Peace" an Olive Branch Post by Princeton N. Lyman.
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As Engineers, We Must Consider the Ethical Implications of Our Work
Technology as a means of social progress is arguably the common good that engineers pursue. We are focused on the technical and managerial sides of technology – how to design algorithms; how to build machines – but not so much on the context of its deployment or its unintended consequences. We are not very interested in the politics and social dynamics. Engineers who see themselves as builders of the shelter and infrastructure for human needs also use their expertise in order to destroy and kill more efficiently.
See the full article (Guardian, Abbas El-Zein, 12/5/13)
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The UN Launches its Own Spy Drone Program
The United Nations has turned to spy drones for the first time in its history in an effort to increase pressure in militias in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, marking both a major technological advancement in the organisation's peacekeeping arsenal as well as a shift in how it views the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.The first two drones were launched on Tuesday from the eastern city of Goma and officials expect another drone to be deployed by the end of the month with more to be delivered in the spring.
See the full article (Wired, Allen McDuffee, 12/5/13)
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