News Roundup Archive

Thursday, August 28, 2014

PeaceTech News Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, August 21 - 27, 2014


Peace Channel

Featured Story:
How Not to End a Plague

by Clair Macdougall

Media and Social Media

Technology and Science

Media and Social Media

From Ferguson to Syria, What Happens When Journalists Become the Story
In recent weeks, and in very different environments, journalists have found themselves in the unusual position of becoming the subject of news stories rather than the people telling them. There is a sense that when journalists become the story, something has gone wrong in the practice of the profession. I think it is absolutely true that media figures react particularly strongly to the mistreatment of our own, amplifying cases that are not necessarily different from the violence or injustice suffered by other civilians.
See the full article (Washington Post, Alyssa Rosenberg, 8/26/14)
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China's Silent War on Terror
On a clear, sunny morning last October, an SUV carrying three people turned right on to Beijing's Chang'an Avenue, plowed through crowds gathered near the entrance to the Forbidden City and burst into flames at the northern edge of Tiananmen Square. Almost immediately, eyewitnesses started posting pictures. Almost as quickly as the images were posted, however, they started to disappear. It became clear that the Chinese government, and the government alone, would tell this story.
See the full article (Time, Emily Rauhala, 8/25/14)
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The Risks And Rewards Of Reporting In A War Zone
There are lots of jobs in journalism that don't involve risking your life, especially when these days any man or woman with a mobile phone can send news to millions of people. So why do journalists still go to dangerous places? One reason (and no honest answer can avoid this) is professional reward. Covering wars can win attention, respect and awards in a crowded, competitive field, and the reporters acquire a matchless experience that can stamp and propel their careers.
See the full article (NPR, Scott Simon, 8/23/14)
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Jihad in a Social Media Age: How Can the West Win an Online War?
Last Tuesday Isis used YouTube to launch its video depicting the murder of US journalist James Foley - perhaps the most devastating social media salvo yet in a conflict punctuated by footage and images of torture, corpses, murder and visceral combat sequences. Never before has a conflict been played out in real time to a global audience. It is a phenomenon which last week's macabre viewing has placed at the forefront of the minds of the west's security services.
See the full article (Guardian, Mark Townsend and Toby Helm, 8/23/14)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Ensuring a Strong U.S. Defense for the Future" on September, 4, 2014 at 2:00pm.
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Steven Sotloff, Journalist Held by ISIS, Was Undeterred by Risks of Job
Steven J. Sotloff, a 31-year-old freelance journalist, self-described "stand-up philosopher from Miami," immersed himself in the tumult of the Middle East for years, repeatedly venturing into some of the most hazardous conflict zones. The risks caught up with him a year ago when he was abducted in northern Syria as he reported on the civil war that is still convulsing that country, the most dangerous place for journalists, with more than 70 killed and 80 kidnapped since the conflict began.
See the full article (New York Times, Rick Gladstone and Shreeya Sinha, 8/22/14)*NYT subscription may be required to access full story
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Execution of U.S. Journalist Reveals the Changing Business of War Coverage
A chilling video showing the execution of journalist James Foley by Islamist militants marks the second time an American reporter has been beheaded by captors overseas, echoing the murder of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002. The contrast underscores the changes that have been buffeting the news business, which in recent years has seen big staff reductions and fewer journalistic resources devoted to international coverage, including wars.
See the full article (Reuters, Jennifer Saba, 8/22/14)
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Islamic State Moves to Other Social Networks After Twitter clampdown
After the clampdown by Twitter and YouTube on Islamic State propaganda, the social media war has spread to open-source social network Diaspora - where the content is impossible to remove. Isis accounts are posting propaganda images, video and text via Diaspora sites, and the site's developers who once promised, in a now-deleted blogpost, that it offered "a brighter future for all of us" are powerless to stop them.
See the full article (Guardian, Samuel Gibbs, 8/21/14)
Click to read " When Trying to Get Help Hurts: Women Seeking Justice in Afghanistan" an Olive Branch Post by Bethany McGann.
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Tragedy on Twitter: James Foley Case Raises Hard Social Media Questions
Shortly after news of journalist James Foley's death, Twitter announced that it would suspend accounts that shared graphic imagery from a video showing his beheading by Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants. As Twitter becomes an increasingly popular news source, the social network now faces the tough questions that have plagued traditional news organizations for decades: to ban or not to ban graphic images.
See the full article (NBC News, Keith Wagstaff, 8/21/14)
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Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel

How Not to End a Plague by Clair Macdougall
Liberia's first experiment with urban quarantining amid the Ebola epidemic began last week in West Point, one of the poorest, most densely populated, and ethnically diverse communities in Monrovia, the country's capital. On the morning on Wednesday, Aug. 20, West Pointers woke up to find that they were cordoned off from the rest of the city by a makeshift barricade made of wooden tables and concertina wire and manned by armed police officers and soldiers. They panicked.
See the full article

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Technology and Science

Here's How to Track Terrorists on Google Earth
Videos and pictures posted online by terrorists are supposed to be tools of propaganda. But they can also play a crucial role in helping to identify the locations of these militants. The producers of the Web site Bellingcat have dedicated themselves to doing exactly that and recently were able to locate an Iraqi training camp of Islamic State militants.
See the full article (Washington Post, Rick Noack, 8/26/14)
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Police Called on video Game Developer Over 'Global Thermonuclear War' Plans
A British games developer's letting agency called the police after mistaking diagrams of his new game for a planned thermonuclear attack on Washington. Henry Smith is a software engineer from Bristol working on a game called "Global Thermonuclear War", which uses Google Maps to simulate an atomic conflict between nations. Smith was planning out the game using whiteboards in his home when his letting agent made a pre-arranged visit.
See the full article (Guardian, Alex Hern, 8/26/14)
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Sustainable Tech in Africa: 10 Lessons from a Cassava Company
To understand the potential impact of sustainable technologies and why their adoption is often difficult, especially in developing countries, it is helpful to examine a specific case study. C:AVA, the Cassava: Adding Value for Africa Project, promotes the production of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) as an alternative for starch and other imported materials such as wheat flour. C:AVA has developed value chains in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria and Malawi aiming to improve the livelihoods and incomes of at least 90,000 smallholder households, including women and disadvantaged groups.
See the full article (Guardian, Wayne Visser, 8/26/14)
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Does ISIS Have Drones? Propaganda Footage Shows Aerial View Of Syrian Raqqa Army Base
An ISIS-affiliated YouTube account has uploaded a video indicating the terrorist group is able to deploy remote-controlled drones to capture surveillance footage of the disputed regions of Iraq and Syria. The radical Islamist group has now posted a video that features footage that seems to have been captured by an unmanned-aerial vehicle, or UAV, a technology that could be hugely advantageous for the group's intelligence efforts.
See the full article (International Business Times, Jeff Stone, 8/25/14)
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