PeaceTech News Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, March 20 - 26, 2014


Technology and Science

Media and Social Media

Media Freedom in Lebanon, Or Is It?
Satirists and caricaturists have been relentless in their criticism of thin-skinned and vindictive Lebanese officials and their progeny. "Yes to freedom of expression*," reads the collective comment in a caricature. The asterisk refers to the exceptions. "Except for attacks on the state, God, the Prophet Mohammed, Jesus Christ, the president, good manners, the church, the Bible, the Koran, the martyrs, the resistance, the army and its chief, the Pope, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (the Saudi king), the prophets, national unity, the civil war, sectarianism, friendly nations, the mufti (the highest Muslim authority)" the joke goes.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Magda Abu-Fadil, 3/26/14)
[Return to top]

British Journalist Declared A 'Subversive' Faces Deportation from Kenya
Lucy Hannan, a British journalist who has lived for more than 20 years in Kenya, has spent months fighting off a deportation order after the government declared her to be an illegal immigrant. In her latest court appearance, a Nairobi high court judge extended an order stopping the government from deporting her and told her to file her response to claims that she is engaging in subversive activities.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 3/25/14)
[Return to top]

Govt Complains to Bangladesh Over Rohingya Op-ed
Burma's government has been irked by a recent op-ed in a Bangladeshi newspaper suggesting that Rohingya-majority parts of Arakan State should hold a referendum on whether to secede from Burma. State-owned media reported that the government summoned the Bangladeshi Ambassador on Monday to hand over a memo expressing Naypyidaw's displeasure over the opinion piece, which appeared in the Dhaka Tribune on March 20.
See the full article (Irrawaddy, Nyein Nyein, 3/25/14)
Click to read "Can a Source of Conflict Be Turned Into a Unifier Instead?" an Olive Branch Post by Peter Weinberger.
[Return to top]

Al Jazeera Journalists Are On Trial in Egypt for Doing Their Jobs
Journalism itself was on trial in a Cairo courtroom Monday, where staff members of the Al Jazeera network stand accused of spreading false news and joining a terrorist organization. The defendants watched from within a steel-mesh cage in what often seemed a grim scene from Kafka or the theater of the absurd.
See the full article (Daily Beast, Jesse Rosenfeld, 3/24/14)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Preventing and Mitigating Conflicts: Role of the International Courts" on April, 11, 2014 at 11:15am.
[Return to top]

Journalist Deaths Highlight Deteriorating Security in Afghanistan
The murder of AFP reporter Sardar Ahmad and his family members as part of an attack that killed nine people in a luxury hotel in Kabul hit journalists in Afghanistan particularly hard. The brutal nature of the attack has spurred anger amongst a group of journalists that is used to witnessing violence that often targets innocent civilians. Violence is getting worse in the region, they told Mashable, indicative of the broader deterioration of security.
See the full article (Mashable, Jason Abbruzzese, 3/24/14)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "First Impressions of the Afghan Elections: Field Reports from Kabul, Analysis from Washington" on April, 9, 2014 at 12:00pm.
[Return to top]

The Cold War Narrative
The East versus West media narrative that was already hard to reconcile became further separated by a seemingly unbridgeable divide, reminiscent of the Cold War. Nevertheless, when President Vladimir Putin addressed Russia's Duma this week, the whole world stopped to listen. According to Putin, and the Kremlin propaganda machine, Russia's forces are protecting the Crimea from a new Ukrainian government with dangerous fascist leanings. For the Western media, nothing can justify a unilateral act against a sovereign nation. For Russia, Western criticisms resound with the hollow ring of hypocrisy.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 3/22/14)
[Return to top]

Viral Photo Of Syrian War Victims Comes To Times Square
The image is epic. It shows thousands of desperate people waiting in a gray canyon of rubble framed by shattered buildings to receive food aid in Yarmouk camp, near Damascus. The photo was shared millions of times last month via social media, and on Thursday, the image appears on a big screen in New York's Times Square in an effort to focus attention on besieged neighborhoods inside Syria and civilians who are literally starving to death.
See the full article (NPR, Deborah Amos, 3/20/14)
Click to read "Syrian Opposition Cites Reforms, Fight Against Terrorism in Pitching U.S. Aid" an Olive Branch Post by Viola Gienger.
[Return to top]

Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel

Another Kind of Surge by John Prendergast
A little over three years ago, in advance of the referendum for South Sudan's independence, the great fear of the Sudanese and the broader international community was that the war between the north and south might reignite. That crisis was averted because of immense international pressure, which resulted in a peaceful referendum and the birth of the world's newest country, demonstrating the power of preventive diplomacy when the international community is united, proactive, and engaged.
See the full article

[Return to top]

Technology and Science

Palestinian ISP Offers Broadband Band-Aid in West Bank
CoolNet is rolling out a street-level Wi-Fi network that will allow mobile-phone subscribers of Wataniya to get broadband services throughout the West Bank. It turns out that the Palestinian solution is in demand elsewhere in the developing world as well. CoolNet is rolling out similar Wi-Fi networks in Togo, South Sudan, and Iraq - giving residents there wireless broadband access even though there's no cellphone infrastructure, Mr. Alami, the chief executive and founder of Palestinian internet service provider CoolNet, said. The Palestinian public Wi-Fi service will be available later this year.
See the full article (Wall Street Journal, Joshua Mitnick, 3/26/14)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Mapping Israeli-Palestinian Peace: Architecture and Planning in Conflict Resolution Panel Discussion and Exhibit" on April, 8, 2014 at 11:30am.
[Return to top]

Virtual Reality Can Help Treat PTSD
A new study has shown that therapy using virtual reality technology can help combat veterans overcome post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, by re-exposing them to traumatic events in a simulated, controlled cyber-environment, researchers said Tuesday. In the new study, 28 individuals suffering from PTSD were "returned" via computer simulation to the stress-inducing event. The report said the simulation process was done carefully and systematically so that the individuals would not become re-traumatized.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Renee Lewis, 3/25/14)
[Return to top]

Ethiopia Spies on Dissidents Using Foreign Technologies, Report Says
The Human Rights Watch report accused the government of spying on citizens' phone calls and Internet activity. It details how Ethiopia's ruling party intercepts cellphone communications and emails, censors websites and harasses opposition bloggers and Facebook users - all with the help of technology made in Germany, Italy, China and the UK. Intercepted communications have been used to crack down on opposition party members, political dissidents, journalists and young members of the ethnic Oromo population, according to the report published on Tuesday.
See the full article (Mashable, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, 3/25/14)
[Return to top]

World Cyber War: Govts Will Continue to Seek 'Actionable Information'
International cyber war, world cyber war is happening right now. And to some extent it is being conducted against citizens within countries. You see that in Egypt, you see that in China against Falun Gong. And the suppliers, interestingly enough, even the great firewall of China has been supplied by large companies like Cisco, IBM. The biggest American companies have been suppliers to this technology for internal uses in these other countries. And some of this stuff is being turned around and being used outside.
See the full article (Reuters, Pawel Kopczynski, 3/25/14)
[Return to top]

Afghan Doctors Treat Rural Patients Remotely Over the Web
Many Afghans are still coping with the consequences of more than three decades of conflict, including the lack of adequate health care. The United Nations estimates that up to 40% of the Afghan population does not have access to medical care - and many of those people live in its most inaccessible areas. But now, some doctors are turning to technology to help diagnose and treat patients remotely.
See the full article (BBC, 3/25/14)
Click to read "Rappers and Roundtables: USIP's Support for a Successful Afghan Election" an Olive Branch Post by Emily Horin.
[Return to top]

The Forgotten Genocidal War in Darfur Revealed in New Satellite Photos
In their fight to bring the horrors of Sudan's wars to world attention, George Clooney and John Prendergast use images taken from space, and the latest ones are grim indeed. With the publication of each of these images, the Satellite Sentinel Project seeks to bolster local human rights reporting and challenge the government's denials.
See the full article (Daily Beast, Akshaya Kumar and Jacinth Planer, 3/24/14)
[Return to top]

Weekend Gun Report: March 21-23, 2014
Gun owners and gun-control advocates alike are looking to smart gun technology to reduce gun violence. In January, a group of Silicon Valley investors announced four $1 million prizes to be awarded for innovation that can lead to safer guns. But the intense backlash has so far prevented smart guns from taking off in America.
See the full article (New York Times, Joe Nocera, 3/24/14)*NYT subscription may be required to access full story
[Return to top]

Rwanda Reaches for New Economic Model
Rwanda hopes to turn itself into an information-technology hub for the roughly 135 million people in the East African Community, a regional common market. The nation has wired itself with well over 1,000 miles of fiber optic cables, and last year the government signed a deal to build a 4G network that would cover 95 percent of the country.
See the full article (New York Times, Nicholas Kulish, 3/23/14)*NYT subscription may be required to access full story
[Return to top]

Spreadsheets and Global Mayhem
In this age of fine-grained prediction, a variety of algorithms hover around us all the time to divine what we might buy, whom we might mate with, and whom we are likely to vote for at election time. Now social scientists are using some of these same tools to predict when we are likely to do horrible things to one another. Australian researchers say they have developed a mathematical model to predict genocide.
See the full article (New York Times, Somini Sengupta, 3/22/14)*NYT subscription may be required to access full story
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "General Election 2014 and the Protests in Bosnia: Is Change Possible?" on April, 2, 2014 at 10:00am.
[Return to top]

How to Get Around Turkey's Twitter Ban
Since Turkey banned Twitter, almost 2.5m tweets have been posted from the country - around 17,000 tweets a minute. But how are Turkish users getting around the ban? Here are the three main ways Turkey is still tweeting despite their prime minister's vow to "root out" the social network.
See the full article (Guardian, Elena Cresci, 3/21/14)
[Return to top]

Did we miss anything?



Share this: FacebookTwitterDeliciousDiggMySpaceStumbleUponGoogleMicrosoftYahoo! BookmarksLinkedIn| Forward this to a Friend