3 April 2015

Full Text: U.S. Statement on Iran Nuclear Deal


Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Nuclear Program 

Below are the key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program that were decided in Lausanne, Switzerland. These elements form the foundation upon which the final text of the JCPOA will be written between now and June 30, and reflect the significant progress that has been made in discussions between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran. Important implementation details are still subject to negotiation, and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. We will work to conclude the JCPOA based on these parameters over the coming months. 

Delhi must play in Kabul

Source Link
Apr 02, 2015

Thirteen months after the then external affairs minister Salman Khurshid promised to deliver helicopters to Afghanistan “soon”, New Delhi is all set to transport three helicopters to Kabul. Cheetal is an upgraded Cheetah (Alouette) helicopter with a newer Turbomeca TM 333-2M2 engine. These choppers are capable of operating in remote and high altitude mountainous region with higher speed (more than 200 km/hr), range (more than 600 km) and payload. The Cheetal can be used for personnel transport, casualty evacuation, reconnaissance and aerial survey, logistic air support and rescue operations.

Coming a few days ahead of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to New Delhi later in April, the delivery of helicopters is a significant development, going somewhat against India’s policy of seeking to influence Kabul through aid giving and avoiding getting directly embroiled in the conflict. At a time of the international drawdown of troops combined with President Ghani’s increasing tilt towards Pakistan, these supplies could be New Delhi’s last-ditch attempt to ensure its relevance in the changing power and security calculus in Afghanistan.

Method to fidayeen madness

Mar 31, 2015

The fidayeen attacks carried out recently in quick succession in the Jammu region in March 2015, the first on the police station at Hiranagar and the second the next day, on the camp of an armoured regiment at Samba, both located on or near national highway 1A, carry serious security implications for India.

The operational pattern of the infiltrators, both then and now, have been almost identical — infiltrate, hijack a civil vehicle inside India, kill the driver, drive on to NH1A, and attack the target with automatic weapons and grenades, causing as much damage as possible before being eliminated by Indian security forces.

On the Indian side is the Border Security Force, reporting directly to their hierarchy and the ministry of home affairs, Government of India. The separation of paramilitary and military is almost complete, and there is no interaction, other than social, between the two.Pakistan is well aware of the disconnect and does not hesitate to exploit it whenever the opportunity arises.

Narasimhanomics and the middle way

SANJAYA BARU

He may not have been the ‘architect’ of post-Nehruvian economic policy, but he demonstrated greater political courage in advocating and leading it than his predecessor. He was also, without doubt, the ‘architect’ of India’s post-Cold War foreign policy

The government of India has decided to honour the memory of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, more than a decade after his passing away, with a memorial in the national capital. New Delhi has streets named after all and sundry, from conquerors to councillors, and at least three members of PV’s Council of Ministers (Arjun Singh, Madhavrao Scindia and Rajesh Pilot) each have a street named after them, but not PV. 

While PV’s loyal Finance Minister, Manmohan Singh, respectfully paid tribute to him every year during his prime ministership, his government was neither able to build a memorial nor award PV the nation’s highest honour for his contribution to economic and foreign policy. Interestingly, the move to honour PV has come from non-Congress political leaders of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.Architect in his right.

Testing ground for 'Salman Doctrine' - Modi stumped by king's call

K.P. Nayar
Source Link

April 2: For the first time since Narendra Modi assumed a new public persona in 2001 with his dramatic entry into Gujarat's government, he was at a loss for words, but only briefly.

It happened on Monday, March 30. The time was around 9.30pm, not at all late for a workaholic Prime Minister who sleeps only a few hours but rather an unconventional time to take a phone call from a head of state, that too one who is in a time zone that is not very different from New Delhi's.

At the other end of the line was a caller who had in all probability never before dialled a number in India: Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the new king of Saudi Arabia.

Eye on Sana’a

April 3, 2015 

Put Saudi Arabia together with the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which it is a member, and you have a clutch of very rich market states that can afford to spend on the Yemen invasion. They are target-killing the Houthis in Sana’a, Aden and elsewhere, without any “boots on the ground”. The big army of Egypt is on board, but the “biggest Muslim army of Pakistan” is not yet taking part. In Pakistan, no one supports participation in the invasion, forcing Islamabad to say Pakistan will go in if Saudi Arabia is invaded. 

New world bank order

By Ajay Chhibber
April 3, 2015
Source Link

The Year of the Ram could be witnessing the first tremors of a tectonic shift in global power structures. Despite US objections, some of its closest allies — Australia, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and South Korea — have signed on to the new Chinese-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Some 45 countries, including Brazil and Russia, have signed up and more may join soon. Even Taiwan has applied for membership. Japan is still holding back and the US, under intense criticism for staying out, is now pledging cooperation.

China is signalling that while it has imported technology and capital for over 30 years, since the Deng Xiaoping reforms, it is now ready to turn around and export know-how and capital. China’s “One Belt One Road” project focuses on trade, infrastructure and telecommunications. But it also talks about people-to-people connectivity, cultural exchanges as well as learning from other countries’ development experiences. It emphasises peaceful development and cooperation with existing organisations, such as the Saarc, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and EU, to assuage fears that China is emerging as a global hegemon.

Exile across the waters - Outcome of extreme experience

Malavika Karlekar

If there is a common perception that jail memoirs can be depressing and dire, Barindra Kumar Ghose's The Tale of my Exile is somewhat of an exception. Written originally in Bengali (Dwipantarer Katha), the brief but detailed account was translated by Nolini Kanta Gupta and published in 1922. Out of print for almost a century, a new edition is now available, introduced and edited by the Hyderabad-based academic, Sachidananda Mohanty. The slim volume, written by a man sentenced for life, provides a meticulous account of the minutiae of jail existence, grim moments peppered with a wry turn of phrase as well as musings on the beauty of the Andamans. And of course, the growth of an individual sense of agency, so vital to prisoners in a colonial regime. As David Arnold points out in his work on Indian prison narratives, middle-class prisoners needed to believe that even in jail they were neither powerless nor irrelevant to the political struggle outside.

Why Washington Is Watching Modi's Moves in the Indian Ocean

By Jhinuk Chowdhury
April 02, 2015

If you believe the hype, India is intensifying its ocean diplomacy to counter the growing influence of China in the Indian Ocean. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-nation visit to Sri Lanka, Seychelles, and Mauritius in March has been seen in this light.

But that doesn’t explain what’s really happening. The power tectonics in the region are not between India and China, but are a result of Beijing hedging against Washington’s presence in the region. In the Indian Ocean, Delhi is increasingly aligning with the role that the U.S. wants it to play — that of a “net security provider.”

India and Japan Continue to Deepen Their Defense Ties

April 01, 2015

Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar has embarked on a four-day visit to Japan this week. The purpose of Parrikar’s visit – his first overseas trip since becoming defense minister in November 2014 – is to strengthen defense ties between India and Japan in the face of China’s growing military might in the region.

Parrikar already had meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani. Today, he also met with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

India to set up its own mini N-fusion reactor

Apr 1, 2015

VADODARA: Nuclear energy production in India is set to get a major boost with the department of atomic energy (DAE) giving nod to set up the country's own thermo-nuclear fusion reactor.

India is presently one of the seven partner countries in world's biggest energy research project - the ITER - that is coming up in Cadarche, France.

"Presently, our contribution as one of the seven partners in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project in France is 10%. The knowledge that we gain will be used to set up our own demonstrator reactors at home. We will begin by setting up an experimental version of the Cadarche ITER reactor in France here," ITER-India's project director Shishir Deshpande said here on Monday night.

Why Pakistan Is Footing the Bill for Afghan Army Training

By Jack Detsch
April 01, 2015

When Hamid Karzai sat in Afghanistan’s presidential palace, he often treated Pakistan with outright contempt. Karzai repeatedly turned down offers to train Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) at the Pakistani Military Academy in Abbottabad, sending elite recruits to train in India. By the time Karzai left office last August, he’d accepted $2 billion in weapons from India. There seemed to be very little doubt over who had become Kabul’s patron.

Just seven months later, the tide has shifted. In February, newly-elected President Ashraf Ghani agreed to send six elite Afghan troops to an eighteen-month course in Abbottabad. It’s largely a symbolic move: these six troops are just a handful in a force expected to grow to 352,000 strong by the beginning of 2017.

Confirmed: Pakistan Will Buy Eight Chinese Subs

April 02, 2015

Yesterday, the Pakistani government confirmed the purchase of eight new submarines from China. “The National Security Committee has approved, in principle, the acquisition of eight Chinese submarines,” Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Defense, Rear Admiral Mukhtar Khan, informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence in Islamabad.

Details on the type of vessels or their price tag are murky. IHS Jane’s quotes an unnamed Pakistani Foreign Ministry official who said that, “in the recent past, there have been reports of discussions for the Type 041 submarines.”

Pakistan's Looming Disaster in Yemen

April 1, 2015 

The possibility of Pakistan, a non-Arab South Asian country becoming embroiled in Yemen’s civil war is very high, as Saudi Arabia has been leaning heavily on Pakistan to join its military coalition there.

Pakistani involvement could include the deployment of land forces. There are already hundreds of Pakistani troops in Saudi Arabia conducting joint exercises with Saudi forces and Pakistan has voiced support for Saudi airstrikes in Yemen.

Explicit Pakistani involvement in Yemen could be dangerous for it, both militarily and politically. Although Pakistan’s population is majority Sunni, unlike Saudi Arabia or Iran, Pakistan was not founded on the basis of any particular understanding of Islam. Rather, Pakistan was founded on the more general basis of Islam as a whole, in order to serve as a homeland for South Asia’s Muslims, whether Sunni or Shia. Around a fifth of Pakistan’s population, or some 30-40 million people, are Shia, giving it (or neighboring India) the second largest Shiite population in the world outside of Iran.

The Dangerous, Delicate Saudi-Pakistan Alliance

BY ARIF RAFIQ
APRIL 1, 2015

Riyadh and Islamabad have long been close friends and military partners, but Pakistan can ill afford to anger Iran as it mulls entering the war in Yemen.

The Dangerous, Delicate Saudi-Pakistan Alliance

The former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal once described ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as “probably one of the closest relationships in the world between any two countries without any official treaty.”

Game of Nukes

01 Apr , 2015

The Stimpson Centre recently released an essay titled ‘Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Operational Myths and Realities’ by Dr Jeffrey D McCausland in which the author highlights following salient issues:

Pakistan has decided to rely on short-range nuclear capable delivery vehicles to deter India’s conventional militay advantage; 

mainstay of Pakistan’s TNWs is Nasr missile of 60 kms range; 

Pakistan’s efforts to develop and produce short-range, nuclear capable systems will seriously undermin deterrence stability and escalation control on the subcontinent; 

this places a heavier burden on India, Pakistan and the US (crisis-manger in South Asia) to address underlying causes of deterrence instability; 

Army for Rent: Pakistan has long tradition of dealing out its military – be it to Saudis or Americans

Mar 30, 2015

Islamabad has thus far sent mixed signals on whether it will join Saudi strikes on Yemen. Don't be surprised even if it does.

The liberal section of the civil society in Pakistan is aghast at Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s intent to send a contingent of the country’s armed forces to Yemen in support of Saudi operation to fight the Houthis. The obvious concern is that participating in such a battle will not serve Pakistan’s interests and instead deepen the sectarian divide in the country that has already cost thousands of lives.

East Asia's Bloodiest Border War

April 1, 2015

In some cases, the human rights group stated, soldiers have confiscated land in the presence of Sein Wut Hmon employees. In other cases, villagers have encountered soldiers who told them they worked for the company.

“The fact that the majority of confiscations in [northeastern Shan state] tend to be conducted either directly by the Tatmadaw or by companies and other actors with strong military ties exacerbates this situation,” the Global Witness report stated.

Could Okinawa Derail U.S.-Japan Relations?

April 2, 2015 

"Averting an alliance crisis over Okinawa was Reischauer and Kennedy’s challenge. Averting another one is ours."

No one shouted this time. A half century ago, the Okuma auditorium in Tokyo was the scene of a dramatic cry for a greater Japanese voice in its alliance with the United States—and a remarkable gesture, from a visiting Robert F. Kennedy, that it might be forthcoming.

This March, at a symposium at Okuma with a different Kennedy presiding, the theme of inclusion rang out again.

Chinese Media: Maybe It's Time the US Heeded Deng Xiaoping's Advice

April 02, 2015

During the Deng Xiaoping era, China’s foreign policy was characterized by the phrase “tao guang yang hui,” generally translated as “keeping a low profile.” In recent years, however, observers have begun to question whether this strategy still holds sway in Chinese diplomacy, particularly in light of Xi Jinping’s recent exhortation for China to practice “major power diplomacy.”

Chinese media just turned that debate over on its head, by positing that it’s Washington, rather than Beijing, that is entering a period of “low profile” foreign policy today.

Exposed: How China's Navy Went Global

April 2, 2015 

"The PLAN is likely to gradually increase the frequency of far seas combat readiness patrol deployments."

Over the last decade, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has increased the frequency, duration, distance from the mainland, and complexity of its operations.

Not only does China now maintain a permanent counter-piracy escort flotilla in the Indian Ocean, it also routinely conducts naval exercises and operations beyond the First Island Chain, which stretches from the Kurile Islands near Russia through Japan, the Ryukyu Archipelago, Taiwan, and the Philippines to Borneo Island. These changes illustrate growing PLAN capabilities and raise the prospect of changes in Chinese maritime strategy and an expanded PLAN geographic role.

Blast from the Past: When Hawks Wanted to Bomb a 'Suicidal' China

April 1, 2015

Hawks once said Mao was suicidal. They're wrong about Iran, too.

Even before the P5 +1 negotiations with Iran regarding its nuclear program reach a conclusion, hawks in the United States are beating their war drums. Longtime neoconservative activist Joshua Muravchik published a piece in theWashington Post on March 13 ridiculing the notion that diplomacy might work with Tehran, insisting that war as the only prudent alternative. Less than two weeks later, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton published an op-ed in the New York Times advocating air strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Geo-economic Significance of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

March 30, 2015

Since the dawn of civilization, except for the last 250 years, Asia had half the world’s wealth and two centres of gravity – China and India. With Asia estimated to possess two-thirds of global GPD in 2050, because of favourable demographics India has the potential to overtake the United States and once again become the world’s second largest economy. As in the past the Asian giants will share this space, now requiring even closer economic integration of Asia enabled by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The new bank

On October 24, 2014, 20 countries, including India, signed an MoU in Beijing to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which will have a paid up capital of $100 billion. Unlike the IMF and World Bank, no country will have a veto in this new bank. Voting rights are expected to be based on a combination of GDP and PPP, and India is expected to be the second largest shareholder. There are only three seats for non-regional countries in the Board; a sharp reversal from the current situation in multilateral financial institutions. After some initial hesitation over fears of China using the new bank to project its power in Asia, India, along with other countries in Europe and East Asia, is seeing the institution in terms of providing new economic opportunities.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: China's rise is a worry for 'flat-footed' US

 30 March 2015 

The decision of key American allies like the UK, Germany, France, South Korea and Australia to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB) marks another step forward in the shaping of a Chinese-led Asian economic and, possibly, security order. 

It also underscores the missteps of the US in dealing with the consequences of the rise of China. 

The Obama Administration actively discouraged its allies from participating in the AIIB, in which countries like India are founder members. 

The Middle Eastern Balance of Power Matures

April 1, 2015

Last week, a coalition of predominantly Sunni Arab countries, primarily from the Arabian Peninsula and organized by Saudi Arabia, launched airstrikes in Yemen that have continued into this week. The airstrikes target Yemeni al-Houthis, a Shiite sect supported by Iran, and their Sunni partners, which include the majority of military forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. What made the strikes particularly interesting was what was lacking: U.S. aircraft. Although the United States provided intelligence and other support, it was a coalition of Arab states that launched the extended air campaign against the al-Houthis.

ISIS Wants a Truce


In the new edition of its magazine, ISIS floats the idea of a truce. Is the group flagging—or is this just another trick?

After months of being targeted by U.S.-led airstrikes, losing ground in Iraq and suffering defeat in a weeks-long assault to capture the Syrian border town of Kobani, is the Islamic State flagging and putting out feelers to see if a truce might be possible? Or is it just seeking to sow confusion in the ranks of its opponents and to undermine their unity and resolve by raising the idea of negotiations? 

Intriguingly, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, floated the idea on Tuesday of a negotiated truce in the latest issue of the militants’ English-language magazine Dabiq, via an article written by one of the group’s remaining Western hostages, British photojournalist John Cantlie.

Geopolitical Tremors: America, Nuclear Talks and the New Middle East


The Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland is the site where the US and Iran are hoping to reach a nuclear deal on Tuesday.

The US is rethinking its approach to the Middle East and has even found commonalities with erstwhile archenemy Iran. Meanwhile, relations with traditional American allies, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, are cooling. A nuclear deal could further the shift.

Sorry, America: Iran Will Always Be an Enemy

April 2, 2015 

Amid optimism that negotiators can hammer out an acceptable deal over Iran’s nuclear program, many see this as an opportunity for a possible rapprochement with Iran. This optimism is tempting, but a candid review of Iran’s recent behavior exposes this to be an unfortunate misjudgment.

While the headlines are consumed with the atrocities and seeming success of the Islamic State, it is not an existential threat to the United States. The Islamic State has not only not launched a successful attack in the United States, the only American citizens it has killed to date have been in Syria or Iraq. However, the enduring threat to American interests, allies, and stability in the region, as David Petraeus recently pointed out is Iran, whose proxies have killed hundreds of Americans in numerous countries across the region for decades.

The Thirst for Revenge Threatens to Destroy Iraq

BY TIRANA HASSAN
APRIL 1, 2015

For too long, the United States and its allies have turned a blind eye to abuses by Shiite militias. With the militias now in the city of Tikrit, that has to stop.

The Thirst for Revenge Threatens to Destroy Iraq

In October, I met dozens of families huddled in the hillsides around Amerli, a town of some 26,000 people 110 miles north of Baghdad. They had sought shelter there, helplessly watching as their homes burned and exploded in the weeks and months after government-backed Shiite militias took control of their villages, after expelling fighters from the Islamic State.

The U.N.’s War on Israel

By RON PROSOR
MARCH 31, 2015 
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. It was intended to be a temple of peace, but this once great global body has been overrun by the repressive regimes that violate human rights and undermine international security.

In 1949, when the United Nations admitted Israel as a member state, it had 58 member countries and about half had a democratic orientation. Today, the landscape of the organization has changed drastically. From 51 member states at its founding in 1945, the institution has grown to 193 members — fewer than half of which are democracies.

The very nations that deny democratic rights to their people abuse the United Nations’ democratic forums to advance their interests. The largest of these groups comprises members from the 120-member-strong bloc known as the Non-Aligned Movement. Since 2012, the bloc has been chaired by Iran, which has used its position to bolster its allies and marginalize Israel.

The Right Peace for Ukraine

March 25, 2015

"There was never a bad peace nor a good war," Benjamin Franklin once said. The Russian language version of this is somewhat more direct: Bad peace is always better than a good war. In Ukraine today, we have a bad peace. Although violations of the cease-fire occur daily, full-scale warfare has, for now, abated. But it could start again, and our situation is as precarious as ever. We as Ukrainians need to unify now, before it is too late. The next step to be taken is not on the battlefield - it is in Kiev.

The world has seen how unpredictable our adversary is. Yet our fate today depends as much as ever on ourselves, and on whether we learn from past events or repeat mistakes.

Tough Love: Obama's New Hardline Israel Policy

April 2, 2015 

Strong indications that the Obama administration may seek UN Security Council (UNSC) backing for a U.S. resolution outlining the terms of a final Middle East peace settlement has rightfully been described as an “earthquake” and potential game-changer. The resolution, reportedly drafted last year by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Middle East negotiating team, would break with a nearly half century old U.S. policy that the terms of a final peace agreement must come out of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, and not be imposed from the outside. And for nearly half a century U.S. attempts to prod each side to reach such a negotiated settlement have failed.

The Lee Kuan Yew Conundrum

MAR 30 2015

Singapore's late leader governed undemocratically but effectively. Which raises a question: What is the ultimate purpose of government?


Tim Chong/ReutersWashington, D.C., is fast becoming an acronym for “Dysfunctional Capital.” Singapore, in contrast, has become the poster child for “the concept of good governance,” to quote the Financial Times’s obituary for the country’s longtime leader, Lee Kuan Yew, who was laid to rest on Sunday. For Americans in particular, this contrast presents a conundrum. On the one hand, Americans hold as a self-evident truth that their democracy is the best form of government. On the other hand, they see mounting evidence daily of Washington’s gridlock, corruption, and theatrical distractions, which makes their system seem incapable of addressing the country’s real challenges.

America’s Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific: On Track

By Janine Davidson and Lauren Dickey
April 01, 2015

Since the United States’ rebalance to Asia was first codified in policy some four years ago, there has been no shortage of criticism and debate surrounding Washington’s diplomatic, economic, and security initiatives in the region. American “hawks” claim the administration of President Barack Obama has not matched its verbal commitments to the region with substantive diplomatic action, trade deals, and – most particularly – defense posture and investments. “Doves,” meanwhile, fret that the rebalance flexes too much American military might in the region, running the risk of provoking China. Both arguments are wrong, and their follow-on debates entirely miss the reality of the U.S. role in Asia. While the rebalance is not, and was not meant to be, a purely military strategy focused on China, it is still real. The United States has no plans to leave Asia.

Russia Launches Next Deadly Phase of Hybrid War on Ukraine

MARCH 31, 2015 

Pushing his baby daughter in a pram in front of him, 37-year-old Dmitriy Komyakov paused as marchers ahead adjusted their positions around a huge Ukrainian flag. It was a bright day in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. A good day for the hundreds in attendance to celebrate one year since Euromaidan demonstrators ousted president Viktor Yanukovych.

Just as the march moved off again, an explosion ripped into the crowd. Komyakov was close enough to feel the heat of the blast wave. As bloodied victims slumped to the floor, he searched for his wife and 12-year-old daughter among the panicked crowd. “I could see pieces of metal flying and people starting to fall,” he says. “First I checked the baby to see if she was injured, then myself, looked around and that’s when my wife and daughter ran to me.” Miraculously, the whole family had escaped unscathed. But four people, including two teenage boys, were killed in that blast and another nine seriously wounded.

German government approves controversial fracking bill


German cabinet has decided to allow shale gas fracking in Germany, but only under strict regulation and for testing purposes. Even so, lawmakers criticized the proposed bill for not being strict enough.

German government approves controversial fracking bill

According to the government proposal, fracking should be prohibited in so-called sensitive regions such as nature parks or water bore areas, and in depths above 3,000 meters. However, the bill allows for exceptions such as scientific tests, and it does not eliminate the possibility of commercial drilling past 2018.

The public remains hostile to the plan, with environmentalists, unions and even churches criticizing the proposal. There is even strong resistance within the ruling coalition itself, which holds 504 out of 631 seats in the German parliament.

South Korea Beefs Up Cyber Security With an Eye on North Korea

April 01, 2015

South Korea has announced it will create a new presidential post handling cyber security. The move is seen an effort to better prepare Seoul for a possible cyber attack from North Korea.

Presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook explained at a general briefing on March 31 that the creation of the new presidential post is designed to beef up the country’s control tower over cyber security.

When the computer networks of South Korean broadcasting companies and banks were paralyzed in 2013 in an attack attributed to North Korea, there was a rumor that South Korea’s Blue House was mulling a special post that would cyber security. The Blue House later denied those reports.

Insurgents Used Cell Phone Geotags to Destroy AH-64s in Iraq

MARCH 15, 2012

Here’s a battlefield safety issue that some people have been warning about –and others have been ignoring — for a while now; an enemy using social media and cellphone geotagging to identify the precise location of troops on a battlefield.

When you take a photo with your cellphone, the gps coordinates of the location you took the picture is embedded into the image. When you upload said photo onto the internet for all to see, people can pull the location data from that picture. If you think this is just people being paranoid and that the Taliban would never do this in Afghanistan, think again. Insurgents figured out how to use this to their advantage in Iraq years ago. In 2007, a group of Iraqi insurgents used geotags to destroy several American AH-64 Apache choppers sitting on a flightline in Iraq.

Fortune's World's Greatest Leaders: 50 intrepid guides for a messy world


MARCH 26, 2015

Governments are failing, companies are under siege, and age-old institutions are losing their grip. How do you lead in a time when everyone is a free agent, following his own star? We’ve found 50 living lessons. 

Leung Chun-ying is the leader of Hong Kong. As chief executive, he signs bills into law, issues executive orders, appoints and removes judges and other public officials, and pardons convicted criminals. He’s the leader—except that last fall well over 100,000 Hong Kongers chose dramatically not to follow him. When they learned that the 2017 election for Leung’s position would not be free and democratic, as authorities had previously suggested, they poured into the streets and followed Joshua Wong, then 17, who had started a pro-democracy student group. Leung, 60, commanded a vast city administration, including police wielding pepper spray and truncheons. Wong had a cellphone. Yet the protesters paralyzed Hong Kong for three months, Leung’s already low approval ratings plunged to their lowest ever, and Wong landed on the cover of Time’s Asia edition, which called him the “Voice of a Generation.”

can-halo-master-chief-save-microsoft-internet


A few days ago, Microsoft made it official – it is killing off the Internet Explorer brand. The move is understandable, as IE is a brand with baggage and bad connotations for a significant portion of the Internet surfing public, who saw the browser as slow and outdated.

Soon – the thinking is sometime in April – Microsoft will introduce a new browser with a new brand.

And what will they call the new browser? As Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela said, “we have to name the thing.”

This is no small matter. The brand Microsoft chooses will be front-and-center for millions of its customers. This is an opportunity for Microsoft to send a message that it’s no longer your grandfather’s gateway to the Internet; that’s hip and cool.

A Critic’s Case for Critics Who Are Actually Critical

AUG. 15, 2012 

In the spring of 1983, Esquire convened what it called a revenge symposium. The editors asked a group of well-known writers to “let go unbridled comments” on their harshest and least favorite critics. The results were spectacular.

Jim Harrison called his detractors “tweed fops” and “snack-food artists.” Roy Blount Jr. declared about Larry McMurtry, who panned one of his books: “I hear he is absurdly, egregiously — especially in a cowboy hat — short.” Erica Jong recalled that Paul Theroux, while reviewing her novel “Fear of Flying,” referred to her as a “mammoth pudenda.” (Actually he was referring to the novel’s main character.) She replied: “Since Mr. Theroux has no personal acquaintance with the organ in question, I cannot help but wonder whether some anxieties about his own anatomy were at the root (as it were) of his review.”

Mexico Is Arming Itself With U.S. Military Hardware

By ROBERT BECKHUSEN 

In recent years, Mexico has made a major shift in how it equips its military. Instead of largely relying on European nations to sell it weapons — as was the case for decades — Mexico is increasingly turning to the United States. 

Because there’s a drug war going on … which the U.S. is eager to help bankroll. 

It’s not just money, of which the U.S. has provided $2.5 billion since 2008. The U.S. continues to supply Mexico with battle rifles, Humvees, helicopters and gobs of night vision gear. It all comes during an internal conflict that’s killed tens of thousands of people and is still extremely violent. 

Here’s How U.S. Air Force Drones Snoop on Latin America

By JOSEPH TREVITHICK

Drones are only getting more and more ubiquitous, but large military-grade unmanned spies are still too expensive for most countries to fly.

Well aware of these issues, the U.S. Air Force is working to make its massive RQ-4 Global Hawks available to its allies in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to an official briefing we obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.

During the 2011 briefing, the flying branch explained that the RQ-4—which has a longer wingspan than a Boeing 737 airliner—is useful for finding drug fields and helping plan offensives against rebel groups.

The ‘Tsar Bomba’ Was a 50-Megaton Monster Nuke

By PAUL HUARD

Maj. Andrei Durnovtsev, a Soviet air force pilot and commander of a Tu-95 Bear bomber, holds a dubious honor in the history of the Cold War.

Durnovtsev flew the aircraft that dropped the most powerful nuclear bomb ever. It had an explosive force of 50 megatons, or more than 3,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima weapon.

Over the years, historians identified many names for the test bomb.

Che Guevara Was Really Into Shotguns and Molotov Cocktails

By DARIEN CAVANAUGH

Shotguns and Molotov cocktails are standard fare during the early phases of revolutions. They’re common and easily obtained in urban and rural areas. Spent shotgun casings are relatively simple and inexpensive to reload.

Likewise, Molotov cocktails can be made from an array of readily available household materials — basically, a liquor bottle and some flammable liquid.

But these weapons have obvious limitations, and rebel groups tend to abandon them in favor of more versatile and effective weapons as soon as they can.