News Roundup Archive

Friday, December 19, 2014

PeaceTech News Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, December 11-17, 2014


Technology and Science

Media and Social Media

Pakistani English Press Asks Govt To Take Tougher Line On Terror
Following the Peshawar attack that left 145 dead, 132 of them school children on Tuesday, the Pakistani English press that represents the intellectual class of the country has unanimously asked the Nawaz Sharif government to take a more tenacious and belligerent line against Islamic extremism and terror groups.
See the full article (The Times of India, 12/17/14, Aarti Tikoo Singh)
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At Least 66 Journalists Were Killed In 2014 As Attacks Grow More 'Barbaric'
Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday that at least 66 journalists were killed over the course of the year as the number of reporters' kidnappings soared in 2014. While the number of journalists' deaths dropped slightly from 71 in 2013, the high-profile beheadings of Western reporters at the hands of Islamic State militants in the Middle East signaled a grisly new threat in the types of violence used against the media.
See the full article (Mashable, 12/15/14, Christopher Miller)
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8 Arabs Arrested In East Jerusalem For Using Facebook To Incite Terrorism
A joint, protracted undercover investigation between the Shin Bet and Jerusalem and Border Police culminated in the arrest of eight Arab suspects in east Jerusalem late Sunday night for using Facebook to incite terrorism, police announced Monday. According to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, over the past several months the unidentified suspects, some of whom are affiliated with Hamas and Fatah, used the social media site to propagate photos and videos imploring Arabs to attack Jews and Israeli security forces.
See the full article (The Jerusalem Post, 12/15/14, Daniel K. Eisenbud)
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#illridewithyou: Hashtag Offers Solidarity With Sydney's Muslims After Siege
With hostages still in danger and central Sydney in lockdown, residents have turned to social media to spread a message of tolerance. Locals have became concerned about the potential for rising intolerance or aggression towards people wearing religious dress. One woman started what soon blossomed into a social media campaign to stand in solidarity with the city's Muslims.
See the full article (The Guardian, 12/15/14)
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Across The Divide In Northern Ireland
No actor could act - and no writer could script - the charming but poignant scene when two 17-year-olds from either side of divided County Derry in Northern Ireland switch school uniforms and behold themselves, and each other, in a mirror. The gesture is simple and effervescent, but utterly subversive. The defiance was the schoolgirls' own idea for a short film, In Peace Apart, in which, having changed uniforms, they walk through the city and demonstrate how their lives hitherto have been almost entirely segregated.
See the full article (The Guardian, 12/14/14, Ed Vulliamy)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "'Refusing to be Enemies' at Israel's Hand in Hand Schools" on December 18, 2014 at 1:00pm.
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5 Years Jail For British Mother Who Posted 'Jihadi' Photos On Social Media
A British mother of six has been sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of promoting terrorism on Facebook. Runa Khan, from Luton, admitted to inciting terrorism in Syria and posting a picture of a suicide vest on her social media page. Additionally, she admitted to providing details of a route into Syria to an undercover officer posing as an aspiring jihadi.
See the full article (RT, 12/12/14)
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Unmasked: The Man Behind Top Islamic State Twitter Account
He sent thousands of tweets of propaganda about the Islamic State militant group, acting as the leading conduit of information between jihadis, supporters, and recruits. His tweets, written under the name Shami Witness, were seen two million times each month, making him perhaps the most influential Islamic State Twitter account, with over 17,700 followers. He has until now been able to remain anonymous, but the man operating the account is called Mehdi and he is an executive in Bangalore working for an Indian conglomerate.
See the full article (Channel 4 News, 12/11/14)
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Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel

What Do We Really Know About Wartime Rape? by Paul Kirby and Kathleen Kuehnast
Whether spurring mass protests in India or being covered up on American university campuses, rape and other forms of sexual abuse are being discussed openly as never before. This goes too for sexual violence committed in war. And with that openness are increasing calls to change the way the world handles these crimes. There's more will than ever before to fight sexual violence in conflict, but the world can't stop what it doesn't understand.
See the full article

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Technology and Science

Report: Water, Temperature Changes Not Central Drivers Of Sub-Sahara Africa Conflicts
As forecasts for global climate change become increasingly dire, a growing body of research is focused on untangling the links between human violence and events like heatwaves, droughts, and floods. Organizations including the International Panel on Climate Change and the United States Department of Defense have identified increased conflict as one of the most troubling potential consequences of climate change. Researchers in the field - though largely in agreement that climate disturbances will have some effect on levels of conflict - differ markedly in their views of what patterns, if any, the data show.
See the full article (Circle of Blue, 12/16/14, Codi Kozacek)
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What Climate Conflict Looks Like: Recent Findings And Possible Responses
Climate change and conflict - what's the relationship? In a recently completed set of field-based studies for USAID, the Foundation for Environmental Security and Sustainability set aside "yes-or-no" questions about whether climate change causes conflict and replaced them with pragmatic and politically informed questions about how climate change is consequential for conflict in specific fragile states.
See the full article (New Security Beat, 12/16/14, Jeffrey Stark)
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Real toll of extremist attacks shown in global jihad study
Over 5,000 people died in the name of jihad across the world during the month of November, according to a report from the BBC. In one day alone (Nov. 2) 410 people were killed in 41 separate attacks globally. The details are the results of a study, done in conjunction with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at Kings College, that was released Thursday and presents a breakdown of the human cost of jihadi attacks. The data also shines light on a complex movement of distinct groups.
See the full article (Mashable, 12/12/14, Megan Specia)
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Syria, ISIS Have Been 'Ignoring' Each Other On Battlefield, Data Suggests
Syria's military and ISIS may be sworn enemies but instead of wiping each other off the battlefield they have been delicately dancing around each other, according to new data. Around 64 percent of verifiable ISIS attacks in Syria this year targeted other non-state groups, an analysis of the IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center's database showed. Just 13 percent of the militants' attacks during the same period targeted Syrian security forces. That's a stark contrast to the Sunni extremist group's operations in Iraq, where more than half of ISIS attacks were aimed at security forces.
See the full article (NBC News, 12/11/14, Cassandra Vinograd and Ammar Cheikh Omar)
Click to read "Integrated Iraq-Syria Strategy Needed to Defeat the Islamic State" an Olive Branch post.
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Islamic State Orders Wifi Cut During Prayers: Syria Monitor
Islamic State militants have ordered shopkeepers to shut down their wireless Internet during prayer times in the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zor, a group monitoring the Syrian conflict said on Thursday. It was a further example of Islamic State imposing controls on public life as it seeks to build what it describes as a caliphate in the heart of the Middle East. The ultra-radical insurgents hold large tracts of territory in Syria and Iraq and are the target of a U.S.-led bombing campaign in both countries.
See the full article (Reuters, 12/11/14)
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There will be no News Roundup distributed the next two weeks. Happy Holidays and New Year from PeaceTech Lab!

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