• EspionageU.S. charges former Air Force intel officer with spying for Iran

    A former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence officer who defected to Iran six years ago has been charged with spying for the Iranian government and helping Iran target other U.S. intelligence agents. Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington on charges of disclosing the code name and classified mission of a U.S. military special access program to the Iranian government. She was also charged with helping Iranian intelligence services in targeting her former co-workers, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.

  • China syndromeHuawei espionage arrests in Poland: A wake-up call to Europe

    By Thomas Morley and Matt Schrader

    U.S. and European intelligence services have been warning that Huawei, a jewel in the crown of the China’s growing technology industry, cannot be trusted in its protestations that it does not cooperate with the country’s intelligence agencies, or that it respects the rule of law and the intellectual property of its competitors. European governments should exclude Huawei from their telecommunications infrastructure before the company becomes too enmeshed in the continent’s 5G systems to be fully, securely, and painlessly removed at a later date. Failure to do so would give China truly unprecedented tools to corrupt, influence, and subvert Western democracies and the rule of law that is so vital to their continued health and the health of the post-War international system.

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  • Software securityDeveloping a system to identify, patch software security holes

    DARPA is funding research of security vulnerabilities in web software. A new system called GAMEPLAY (for Graph Analysis for Mechanized Exploit-generation and vulnerability Patching Leveraging human Assistance for improved Yield) will spot security weaknesses in the millions – sometimes billions – of lines of code that run websites including banking and online shopping which are attractive to hackers.

  • SuperbugsNew estimates aim to define the true burden of superbug infections

    By Chris Dall

    Millions of Americans who experience complications from an antibiotic-resistant infection each year. These infections place a substantial clinical, emotional, and financial burden on patients, their families, and the US healthcare system. But just how many people in the United States are dying from antibiotic resistance? Many researchers and epidemiologists wrestle with that question.

  • ResilienceKeeping the lights on during and after a disaster

    The threat of an inevitable earthquake is the uncomfortable truth we all face in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which stretches from Alaska to California. Because the last major earthquake in the area was in the 1700s, our infrastructure developed without an appreciation and understanding of earthquake resilience. That means the next major earthquake will likely devastate our buildings, roads, bridges, and utility providers, posing immediate risks for the health and safety of those who live in the region. And later, there will be long-term economic aftershocks.

  • ResilienceUsing data utilization to augment community resilience, disaster response

    A civil engineering who researches resilience against extreme events and natural hazards is responding to lessons learned from California’s deadly Camp Fire by outlining how to utilize the power of data to improve disaster response and minimize economic loss and human harm in similar events.

  • Infrastructure protectionParadigm shift needed for making bridges tsunami-resistant

    Over the past fifteen years, big earthquakes whose epicenters were in the ocean off the coasts of Japan and Indonesia have caused tsunamis that killed more than 250,000 people and caused more than $200 billion in damage. The damage includes washing away or otherwise dislodging hundreds of bridges, emphasizing the need to better understand the wave impacts’ underlying physics. Researchers argue in a new study that a paradigm shift is needed for assessing bridges’ tsunami risk.

  • Climate threatsIn one generation, climate of North American cities will shift hundreds of miles

    In one generation, the climate experienced in many North American cities is projected to change to that of locations hundreds of miles away—or to a new climate unlike any found in North America today. New web application helps visualize climate changes in 540 North American cities.

  • Our picksThe other Maria Butinas; cybersecurity legislation 'goes to die'; blocking Saudi Arabia’s path to the bomb, and more

    ·  Maria Butina is not unique

    ·  Trump dismisses FBI data, asks followers to trust him when he says border fence made El Paso safer

    ·  GreyEnergy malware has ‘massive amounts of junk code’ meant to confuse researchers

    ·  New housing struggle emerges for those displaced by Hurricane Michael

    ·  Scoop: Israel rejected 2014 Saudi proposal on Palestinian peace talks

    ·  U.S. senate proposal would block Saudi path to atomic weapon in nuclear deal

    ·  The case for hiring more police officers

    ·  Where cybersecurity legislation ‘goes to die’ in Congress

  • Hemisphere watchDrug cartels target Obrador; Venezuela, Monroe Doctrine, Roosevelt Corollary; Haiti blackouts, and more

    ·  AMLO security crackdown met with Mexico cartel death threats

    ·  America’s cocaine habit fueled its migrant crisis

    ·  Former DHS chief: There’s no security crisis near the southern border

    ·  Alternative futures: United Kingdom options in Venezuela

    ·  Venezuela: What’s the mission, Mr. President?

    ·  Venezuela, the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary

    ·  Venezuela: U.S. sanctions hurt, but the economic crisis is home grown

    ·  Mexico’s fourth transformation

    ·  Guatemala must not grant amnesty to war criminals

    ·  Routine blackouts in Haiti symbolize a loss of political power for its citizens

    ·  Why Venezuela’s oil money could keep undermining its economy and democracy

  • Space securityRussia, China threaten U.S. space dominance: Pentagon

    The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon’s lead intelligence agency, has warned that Russia and China are building technologies which will soon threaten U.S. dominance in space. Both countries “are developing a variety of means to exploit perceived U.S. reliance on space-based systems and challenge the U.S. position in space,” the report said. Russian doctrine “involves employing ground, air, and space-based systems to target an adversary’s satellites, with attacks ranging from temporary jamming or sensor blinding to destruction of enemy spacecraft and supporting infrastructure,” the report said.

  • Skilled-work visasReform of U.S. skilled-worker visa program wins praise

    The Trump administration’s new rules for a U.S. visa program widely used for technology workers are getting cautious praise from Silicon Valley amid surging demand for high-skill employees. The H-1B visa program, which admits 85,000 foreign nationals each year, will give higher priority to people with postgraduate degrees from U.S. universities, under a final rule the Department of Homeland Security published in January.

  • ImmigrationGermany needs 260,000 immigrants a year to meet labor demand: Study

    Germany needs at least 260,000 new migrant workers per year until 2060 in order to meet growing labor shortages caused by demographic decline. Since migration to Germany from other EU countries is declining, at least 146,000 people each year would need to immigrate from non-EU member states.

  • School shootingsSchool shooters usually show these signs of distress long before they open fire, our database shows

    By Jillian Peterson and James Densley

    Our initial analysis of the school shooting data found some noteworthy patterns. All mass school shooters since 1966 had a large number of risk factors for violence. Forty-five percent had witnessed or experienced childhood trauma, 77 percent had mental health concerns, as evidenced in a prior diagnosis, previous counseling or hospitalization, or medication use, and 75 percent had an interest in past shootings, as evidenced in their writing, social media posts or other activities. The majority of mass school shooters – 87 percent – showed signs of a crisis, as exhibited in their behavior, before the shooting. Seventy-eight percent revealed their plans ahead of time, often on social media. As juveniles, they also used guns that they stole from parents, caregivers and other significant adults in their lives. Our analysis found that about 80 percent of mass school shooters were suicidal. These findings make it clearer why current strategies are inadequate.

  • Gun violenceMental illness not to blame for gun violence: Study

    Counter to a lot of public opinion, having a mental illness does not necessarily make a person more likely to commit gun violence. According to a new study, a better indicator of gun violence was access to firearms. Researchers found that the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence. The researchers found instead was that individuals who had gun access were approximately 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun. Individuals with high hostility were about 3.5 times more likely to threaten someone.

  • BiothreatsAntimicrobial resistance: A neglected biodefense vulnerability

    We typically think that biodefense is about defending against bioterrorism or the next pandemic – or, in extreme cases, about some laboratory accident. Biodefense is mostly about all these things, but also about much more. Antimicrobial resistance is not a headline-grabbing topic and it certainly is not getting its own apocalyptic outbreak movie anytime soon, but the microbial threat has been growing since antibiotics were first discovered.

  • Truth decayHow to talk to anti-vaxxers

    By Sarah Fecht

    Despite an abundance of evidence showing that vaccines are perfectly safe and save lives, many people reject them, stoked by the frightening misinformation that spreads over social networks. Vaccine refusal is having a real-world impact. Two decades ago, measles was all but eradicated from the U.S. Now, cases are skyrocketing, with more than 1,700 infections since 2010. in the first six months of 2018, more than 41,000 Europeans contracted measles and 37 died.

  • Climate threats2018 fourth warmest year in continued warming trend

    Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Global temperatures in 2018 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean. Globally, 2018’s temperatures rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015. The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record.

  • Our picksPrivate Mossad for hire; foreign VPN apps; misguided active-shooter drills, and more

    ·  Private Mossad for hire

    ·  Active-shooter drills are tragically misguided

    ·  Foreign VPN apps need a close look from DHS, senators say

    ·  To save the Earth someday, team builds spacecraft to crash into an asteroid and shove it off course

    ·  We can’t tell if Chinese firms work for the Party

    ·  Mossad, MI6 smuggled Iranian nuclear scientist to the U.K.– report

    ·  Salvadoran man has evidence he’s not a gang member. US still separated him from his kids

    ·  Trump’s new Syria timetable raises concern among key anti-ISIS allies

    ·  SpaceX Texas launch site risks being split in two by border wall

  • The Africa watchRussian, Chinese inroads in Africa; French intelligence & Rwanda genocide; Africa is an opportunity for the world, and more

    ·  Security breakdown at this U.S. embassy echoes Benghazi

    ·  US general warns of Russian, Chinese inroads in Africa

    ·  Memo suggests French intelligence knew about attack on Rwandan president in lead up to genocide

    ·  The ever-adaptive Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) insurgency

    ·  Central African Republic armed groups reach peace deal

    ·  Figure of the week: Fragile states are ripe for disasters

    ·  Morocco freezes involvement in Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

    ·  Sahel leaders seek UN help against Jihadist attacks

    ·  U.S. Military intensifies airstrikes against Al Qaeda in Somalia.

    ·  Nigerian scientists patented a sickle cell drug using a traditional herbal remedy—then it all fell apart

    ·  Sahel Islamist groups’ networking skills growing: Security report

    ·  Details of Central African Republic rebel deal released

    ·  French lawmakers defend airstrikes against Chadian rebels

    ·  Pope to visit Moroccan Imam school to boost moderate Islam

    ·  Poorest countries in Africa set to wipe out neglected diseases while richest fall behind

    ·  Tens of thousands of Muslims attend anti-govt rally in Mali

    ·  Nearly 70 killed in Cameroon as separatists stop youth week activities

    ·  Africa’s free trade zone is ‘on course’

    ·  US imposes visa sanctions on Ghana for refusing to take back deportees

    ·  Africa is an opportunity for the world: Overlooked progress in governance and human development

  • MeaslesMeasles spreading in U.S., mostly among unvaccinated children

    Measles is spreading in the U.S. As of 5 February, there were 50 cases in Washington state and five in Houston. New cases are being added daily. Health officials, including the U.S. surgeon general, are urging parents to get their children vaccinated.

  • Considered opinion: Truth decay & measlesA global wave of measles cases fed by conspiracies and misinformation has health officials worried

    By Rick Noack

    The number of people infected with measles keeps rising in the Washington State and neighboring Oregon. Rick Noack writes that “complacency over vaccinations has been accompanied by outright rejection of the scientific evidence on measles vaccines that has saved over 21 million lives since 2000, according to the WHO. Unsubstantiated conspiracy theories on supposedly negative side effects of vaccinations, either against measles or in a broader context, have gained momentum in some communities, in the United States and other countries.” He notes that deliberately spreading misinformation on vaccines to suggest that citizens are being lied to by their leaders has become a go-to recipe of some populist politicians. Thus, after years of railing against vaccines and even proposing a law against them in 2015, Italy’s Kremlin-supported Five Star Movement is now part of the country’s government.