News Roundup Archive

Thursday, October 23, 2014

PeaceTech News Roundup



United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, October 16 - 22, 2014


Peace Channel

Featured Story:
Will Malala's Nobel Prize Backfire?

by Elias Groll

Media and Social Media

Technology and Science

Media and Social Media

Blogs, Videos and Verse - An Iraqi Poet's Quest To Heal Her Homeland
Iraqi-born poet Amal al-Jubouri may not have the Hollywood recognition of Angelina Jolie, but both women are artists who have decided to use their talents and profile to help the victims of war. Her anthology "Hagar before the Occupation, Hagar after the Occupation" has received awards for both its Arabic and English language versions. Today, in addition to poetry, she uses blogging and video to help traumatised Iraqis cope with the horrors they still face, founding an online TV station to show what is happening inside the country, aiming to overcome sectarian divisions which threaten to break the country apart.
See the full article (Reuters, 10/22/14)
Click to read "Iraqi Youth in TV Reality Show Support Each Other Amid Crisis" an Olive Branch Post by Viola Gienger.
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American Veteran Fighting ISIS In Syria: 'I'm Ready to Stay Until The End'
Jordan Matson, a U.S. military veteran who quit his job to fight the Islamic State, was wounded in battle shortly after getting to Syria. But rather than discourage other Americans from coming to the front lines, he instead turned to Facebook, becoming an intermediary between Kurdish forces and Americans eager to join the battle against jihadi militants. While ISIS recruitment efforts of Westerners is well-documented, less has been written about the other side.
See the full article (Mashable, 10/22/14, Emily Feldman)
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She Tweeted Against The Mexican Cartels. They Tweeted Her Murder.
No newspaper dares to publish the truth about the drug lords in Tamaulipas. Those who break the silence on Twitter and Facebook are marked for death. Two rival drug cartels in Tamaulipas, the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas, have final say over what gets printed or broadcast in the local media. By necessity the people of the state increasingly have turned to social media to share information about organized crime and its infiltration of the government.
See the full article (The Daily Beast, 10/21/14, Jason McGahan)
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Blocking Islamic State's Online Propaganda Is The Wrong Answer To The Wrong Problem
ISIS is winning the propaganda war, it's been said, and top brass from the European Commission, EU member state governments, and representatives of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft have met to discuss what to do about extremist online content. They have yet to announce their decision, but it's likely to involve some form of content blocking.
See the full article (The Conversation, 10/21/14, Cristina Archetti)
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This Study Finds That Social Media Use Reduces Political Polarization Instead Of Increasing It
One of the most common complaints about social media is about filter bubbles - the idea that, because you choose your own universe of friends or accounts on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, you risk cocooning yourself in a world of like minded perspectives. But this new paper from NYU's Pablo Barberá argues that that's not true. The core of his argument: Social media encourages connections between people with weak ties - not just your best friends.
See the full article (Nieman Lab, 10/20/14, Joshua Benton)
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No LOL Matter: FBI Trolls Social Media For Would-Be Jihadis
ISIS recruits are more likely to reach out in the online universe seeking advice on how to reach the land of jihad than to consult the guidance of a traditional cleric or local community leader. FBI and other law enforcement officials hope that by infiltrating that universe and creating honeypots to draw in and capture potential ISIS recruits, they can help sow doubts in the minds of would-be jihadists in the overall reliability of the Internet as a medium for recruitment.
See the full article (NBC News, 10/22/14, Robert Windrem)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Risk, Recruitment and Retention: Engaging Foreign Publics in High Threat Environments" on October 24, 2015 at 8:30am.
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The Kardashian Look-Alike Trolling For Assad
Meet the Damascus regime's biggest fangirl on social media-at least in English language social media. Her name is Maram Susli. As "Partisangirl," Susli has emerged from the fever swamps of online conspiracy forums and onto social media to become a darling of truthers and state propaganda channels alike. Her YouTube videos have racked up hundreds of thousands of views.
See the full article (The Daily Beast, 10/17/14, Noah Shactman and Michael Kennedy)
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How Social Media Transformed Pro-Russian Nostalgia Into Violence In Ukraine
The Western media has covered both sides' protests thoroughly. But while it will probably have been easy for an outside observer to empathise with the pro-Europeans' desire to build a fairer society, battle corruption and make the country more democratic, the pro-Russian rationale has been less obvious. Neither journalists nor academics have really addressed why these people want to join Russia or what happens next.
See the full article (The Conversation, 10/16/14, Ivan Kozachenko)
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Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel

Will Malala's Nobel Prize Backfire? by Elias Groll
The Nobel Peace Prize went the child rights campaigners Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi. It's hard to think of two more deserving candidates. For her efforts to ensure that all Pakistani girls are able to gain an education, Yousafzai, now 17, was shot in the head as a 15-year-old by Taliban militants. Those in Pakistan who are hostile toward Yousafzai may only harden in their opposition now that she has received the Peace Prize. That may set her work back more than it advances her cause.
See the full article

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Technology and Science

'Population Growth Far Outpaces Food Supply' In Conflict-Ravaged Sahel
Researchers say conflict and climate change mean the region's resources will be unable to sustain the increasing population. The Sahel's ability to produce food is not keeping pace with its growing population, and global warming will only exacerbate the imbalance, according to a new study. In a region racked by several insurgencies and conflicts, an increase in food scarcity is particularly worrying.
See the full article (The Guardian, 10/22/14, Chris Arsenault)
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These Satellite Images Show Kobani's Transformation Into A Warzone
It's been a challenge for the media to get photos of what's going on in Kobani. A new series of striking satellite images from the UN released this week shows the massive impact war has had on the city. These images show just how extreme the landscape has changed between Septebmer 6th and October 15th.
See the full article (RYOT, 10/22/14, Alex Smith)
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Police: Technology Will Help Us Beat Arab Rioting
Police said that observation balloons they have been flying over Arab neighborhoods have been very helpful in stemming violence. The balloons, equipped with cameras, beam high resolution pictures of the areas to police, who can analyze them and take action to prevent small incidents from getting out of hand. The balloons are just one aspect of new advanced technology police are using as part of a new plan to combat terrorism in Jerusalem.
See the full article (10/22/14, Israel National News, Yaakov Levi)
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US To Investigate Video Showing ISIS With Weapons Drop Meant For Kurdish Fighters
The US Defense Department is investigating video footage appearing to show Islamic State fanatics with at least one cache of weapons airdropped by coalition forces that was meant for Kurdish militiamen battling the extremist group in a border town. The caches were airdropped early Monday to Kurds in the embattled Syrian town of Kobane that lies near the Turkish border. On Tuesday, ISIS loyalists on social media posted sarcastic thank you notes to the United States, including one image that said 'Team USA.'
See the full article (The Daily Mail, 10/21/14, Sam Webb)
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Mistaking Love For Hate Drives Intractable Conflict
Despite possible solutions being obvious to outsiders, the parties in the conflict seem to have problems negotiating and voting for compromise, says Ginges. In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he and colleagues report on a series of studies that found possible clues as to why this is the case. the researchers found each side was biased in how they explained their own, versus the other side's, motives for aggression.
See the full article (ABC, 10/21/14, Anna Salleh)
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Teenagers In Sudan Developing Apps To Teach Themselves
Civil war has caused a teacher shortage in Sudan, but that hasn't stopped a group of teenagers from wanting to learn or an inspiring foreign teacher from joining the class to teach students how to teach themselves via development of their own learning app. any students are entering class after fleeing from civil war, poverty and famine in South Sudan or from the from tribal conflicts in Darfur. Learning in a Sudanese classroom is not easy, but it can made more manageable it seems, with clever deployment of technology.
See the full article (IT News Africa, 10/18/14)
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