• The Russia connectionMaria Butina pleads guilty to U.S. charge of foreign-agent conspiracy

    A Russian woman has pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to act as a foreign agent in a case that the U.S. government said highlighted Moscow’s efforts to influence Washington’s foreign policy. Butina, who received a graduate degree from American University in Washington and who publicly advocated for gun rights, sought to build relationships with influential conservative political groups, including the powerful National Rifle Association.

  • Democracy imperiledDemagogues on the right and left use digital tools to exploit popular resentment, dissatisfaction

    The digital era has spurred many advancements in many areas of human society, but it has also led to growing instability and inequality, notes Tom Wheeler, a Visiting Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings’ Center for Technology Innovation. At the political level, the digital engine which is driving economic and social instability also provides the tools to exploit the resulting dissatisfaction so as to threaten liberal democratic capitalism, he argues.

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  • Democracy imperiledThe time of the trolls

    The West woke up to the threat of Kremlin trolls in 2016, however it had already been very damaging in 2014–2015. The Ukraine crisis saw the deployment of trolls to Facebook and VKontakte, as well as YouTube and Twitter. The investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election showed that trolling was never completely dependent on a technology like bots, nor that it was predominantly about Kremlin employees sitting somewhere in Russia manufacturing anti-Clinton propaganda. Rather, it was ordinary Americans and Europeans that were sharing the messages launched by trolls, and often posting them themselves.

  • HateWomen’s March leaders accused of making anti-Semitic remarks at first organizational meeting

    During the first meeting of the Women’s March in November 2016, leaders of the organization endorsed virulent anti-Semitic tropes, claiming that Jews were “leaders of the American slave trade” and “bore a special collective responsibility as exploiters of black and brown people,” Tablet Magazine reported on Monday. The comments about Jews were made by two of the leaders of the Women’s March, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez, and were allegedly informed by the teachings of anti-Semitic hate preacher Louis Farrakhan, including his book The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews.

  • HateMemes are taking the alt-right’s message of hate mainstream

    By Emiliano De Cristofaro

    Think of an internet meme and you’ll probably smile. The most memorable viral images are usually funny, from Distracted Boyfriend to classics like Grumpy Cat. But some memes have a much more sinister meaning. They might look as innocuous as a frog, but are in fact symbols of hate. And as memes have become more political, these hateful examples have increasingly found their way onto mainstream social media platforms.

  • First responseVitalTag to give vital information in mass casualty incidents

    When mass casualty incidents occur — shootings, earthquakes, multiple car pile ups — first responders can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer number of victims. When every second counts, monitoring all the victims in a chaotic situation can be difficult. Researchers developed a stick-on sensor that measures and tracks a patient’s vital signs to help first responders quickly triage, treat and transport the injured.

  • Search & rescueFoldable drone flies through narrow passages in rescue missions

    Researchers have developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

  • Food securityMidwest at risk: Big-picture look at climate change impact on U.S. agriculture

    A new study shows that Midwest agriculture is increasingly vulnerable to climate change because of the region’s reliance on growing rain-fed crops. The researchers set out to assess the impact extreme weather is having on agricultural productivity in the United States. While previous studies have looked at the vulnerability of individual field crops, which make up one-third of the country’s agricultural output, researchers haven’t addressed the whole scope of agricultural production, including livestock, at the national level.

  • Water securityWater resources in Western U.S. threatened by declining snow mass

    Since 1982, some parts of the West have had a 41 percent reduction in the yearly maximum mass of snow. In Western U.S., winter snows and subsequent snow melt contribute substantially to water resources. Snow melt contributes to groundwater and to surface water sources such as the Colorado River.

  • Our picksBlood will tell; Chinese economic espionage; ISIS terror and Yellow Vests, and more

      No evidence for Trump claim on “terrorists”: Government sources

    ·  Blood will tell

    ·  Senate bill targets Chinese economic espionage

    ·  ISIS terror and Yellow Vests: The great French conspiracy machine cranks up

    ·  Global hacking campaign takes aim at finance, defense and energy companies

  • The Russia watchMueller’s Phase Two: The Middle East connection; Russia takes fresh aim at America; hacking the 2020 election, and more

      Get ready for Mueller’s Phase Two: The Middle East connection

    ·  Accused Russian secret agent pleads guilty

    ·  Russia’s disinformation chief takes fresh aim at America

      Despite inactivity during midterm elections, hackers are likely to ramp up attacks in 2020

    ·  Troll factory contributes to Russia’s worldwide interference

    ·  Google’s public response to Russian trolls is very different from Facebook’s

    ·  Russia and collusion: ‘Peanut stuff’ or elephant in the room?

    ·  Criminals act like nation-state attackers in Russian campaign

     

  • Strasbourg terrorSearch underway for suspect in Strasbourg Christmas market attack

    The French police has launched a manhunt for a criminal suspected of opening fire on a Christmas market in Strasbourg on Tuesday evening, killing two people and injuring more than a dozen others. The authorities regard the attack as an act of terrorism. The famous Strasbourg Christmas market has been the target of terrorists in the past.

  • Strasbourg terrorStrasbourg attack suspect has criminal past in Germany

    Cherif Chekatt, 29, the suspect in the Tuesday’s Strasbourg terror attack, has a criminal record in France, Germany, and Switzerland, and spent time in German and French jails. French investigators say the suspect was radicalized in prison and was on a watch list.

  • The Russia connectionSen. Warner: Moscow has closed cyber gap with U.S.

    By Jeff Seldin

    The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee warns the United States is being outgunned in cyberspace, already having lost its competitive advantage to Russia while China is rapidly closing in. “When it comes to cyber, misinformation and disinformation, Russia is already our peer and in the areas of misinformation or disinformation, I believe is ahead of us,” Senator Mark Warner told an audience Friday in Washington.

  • Nuclear wasteU.S. must start from scratch with a new nuclear waste strategy: Experts

    The U.S. government has worked for decades and spent tens of billions of dollars in search of a permanent resting place for the nation’s nuclear waste. Some 80,000 tons of highly radioactive spent fuel from commercial nuclear power plants and millions of gallons of high-level nuclear waste from defense programs are stored in pools, dry casks and large tanks at more than seventy-five sites throughout the country. “No single group, institution or governmental organization is incentivized to find a solution,” says one expert.

  • Nuclear wasteWhat should we do with nuclear waste?

    The failure to develop a strategy for permanent storage and disposal of this fuel costs Americans billions of dollars a year and jeopardizes the future of nuclear power as a carbon-free source of energy, according to nuclear security expert Rodney C. Ewing. He recommends a new not for profit independent corporation that’s owned and supported by the utilities that operate nuclear power plants. The new organization would deal only with spent fuel from commercial reactors. Defense waste is an entirely different issue and should, at this time, remain the responsibility of the federal government.

  • EbolaEbola count in DRC hits 500 in growing outbreak

    The world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak hit another milestone today, as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 2 new cases, raising outbreak totals to 500, including 289 deaths. According to the latest weekly update from the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) African regional office, among the 500 cases are 3 healthcare workers who have been infected since 1 December. Since August, when the outbreak began, 49 healthcare workers have been infected, and 15 of those have died.

  • EpidemicsNew vaccines center to protect U.K. from pandemic threats

    The U.K.’s first dedicated Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC represents a major commercial opportunity and also a new front line in the nation’s defense against global pandemic threats. To be up and running by 2022, the VMIC addresses the U.K.’s structural gap in late-stage vaccine manufacturing process development. It will allow development and manufacture of vaccines for clinical trials and at moderate scale for emergency preparedness for epidemic threats to the U.K. population.

  • Flash floodsForecast-based financing for flash floods

    Forecasts are increasingly used to help reduce the impacts of floods in vulnerable communities. Not all floods are created equal, however. Flash floods are one of the most deadly types on a global scale. While early warning and early action systems for slow-onset floods (from rivers, for example) have improved significantly over the past fifty years, efforts to create a comparable system for flash floods has lagged behind. Forecast-based Financing (FbF) is a mechanism that releases early humanitarian funding based on in-depth forecast information and risk analysis.

  • Our picksStopping the next ISIS; flawed crime reporting system; record year for gun deaths, and more

      Trump administration won’t back up president’s terror claim

      When cyberattacks occur, who should investigate?

      Start small to stop the next ISIS

      FBI moves to fix critical flaw in its crime reporting system

      The grim future of urban warfare

      Guns killed more people than car crashes in 2017

      Global warming is setting fire to American leadership

      As climate change bites in America’s Midwest, farmers are desperate to ring the alarm

  • The Russia watchMueller indictments so far: Lies, trolls and hacks; smaller democracies & Russian meddling; targeting “deep fakes,” and more

      The Mueller indictments so far: Lies, trolls and hacks

      Secretive State Dept. offensive targets propaganda, ‘deep fakes’

      NRA leader, Jack Abramoff and GOP operative tied to alleged Russian spy Maria Butina have long history as foreign agents lobbying together

      Smaller democracies grapple with the threat of Russian interference

      Russia undermines the European order

      Russia linked to hacking of anti-propaganda initiative

      Russian influence in the media sectors of the Black Sea countries: Tools, narratives and policy options for building resilience

      Denigrating Ukraine with disinformation

  • TerrorismDeaths from terrorism fell for the third consecutive year, after peaking in 2014

    The Global Terrorism Index 2018, just released by the Institute for Economic & Peace (IEP), shows the total number of deaths decreased by 27 percent in 2017, with the largest falls occurring in Iraq and Syria. A drop in fatalities was also reflected in country scores with 94 countries improving, compared to 46 that deteriorated. Alongside the fall in terrorism, the global economic impact of terrorism has also dropped, decreasing by 42 percent to $52 billion in 2017.