• COVID-19: UpdateU.S. COVID-19 Cases Surge Past 82,000, Highest Total in World

    Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, reached 82,404 yesterday in the United States, giving it the most cases in the world. And yesterday was the most active day so far in the country, with 14,042 new cases reported, and the national death toll reaching 1,069 fatalities. The numbers came on day 10 of the White House’s “15 days to slow the spread campaign,” a nationwide effort at social distancing measures that has been implemented in a patchwork fashion across the 50 states.

  • Hemispheric securityU.S. Announces Narcoterrorism Charges Against Venezuela's Maduro

    The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday announced narcoterrorism charges against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other top officials, accusing them of collaborating with a leftist Colombian guerrilla group to traffic cocaine to the United States.

  • Homegrown terrorismFBI Foils Neo‑Nazi Plot to Blow Up Missouri Hospital

    FBI agents on Tuesday shot and killed a white supremacist in Belton, Missouri while trying to arrest him for plotting to use a car bomb to blow up a local hospital overflowing with patients. Timothy Wilson, 36, was initially considering blowing up a mosque or a synagogue, but with the onset of the epidemic, he reasoned that blowing up a hospital would allow him to kill more people.

  • ExtremismGermany Bans Far-Right “Reichsbürger” Movement

    German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer last week banned a faction of the far-right “Reichsbürger” movement, also known as the Imperial Citizens’ Movement, a group which combines far-right nationalism and yearning to 1930s Germany. The movement rejects the legitimacy and authority of the modern-day German government, because all post-Second World German governments were not interested in reclaiming the territories Germany gained under Adolf Hitler – what the movement calls the German Empire — but was forced to relinquish when the Allies defeated Nazi Germany.

  • PerspectiveCyber Attacks against Hospitals and the COVID-19 Pandemic: How Strong are International Law Protections?

    In a situation where most, if not all of us are potential patients, few government-provided services are more important than the efficient delivery of health care. The strain on hospitals around the world is rapidly growing, to which states have responded by mobilizing military medical units, nationalizing private medical facilities, and building emergency hospitals. All of this underlines the urgent need to understand what protections the law offers against attacks – including cyberattacks – on medical facilities.

  • The Russia connectionIn Politics and Pandemics, Russian Trolls Use Fear, Anger to Drive Clicks

    Facebook users flipping through their feeds in the fall of 2016 faced a minefield of Russian-produced targeted advertisements pitting blacks against police, southern whites against immigrants, and gun owners against Obama supporters. The cheaply made ads were full of threatening, vulgar language, but according to a sweeping new analysis, they were remarkably effective, eliciting clickthrough rates as much as nine times higher than what is typical in digital advertising. The Kremlin-sponsored troll farms are still at it, already engaged in disinformation campaigns around COVID-19.

  • COVID-19: UpdateNew York Notes Dramatic Increase in COVID-19 Numbers as Trump Mulls Lifting Restrictions Soon

    Yesterday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the COVID-19 pandemic case count is doubling every 3 days in his state, as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the United States could become the next epicenter of the novel coronavirus, given that the country accounted for 40 percent of new cases recorded globally over the past 24 hours. Meanwhile, yesterday in the Rose Garden, President Donald Trump told viewers during a Fox News virtual town hall that he wants the country “opened up and raring to go by Easter Sunday,” which this year falls on 12 April.

  • CybersecurityStrengthening Cybersecurity in Sports Stadiums

    Someone pulled a fire alarm during the February 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 students and teachers. The alarm caused more students to move into the hallways and into harm’s way. “Hackers no longer use cyberattacks to cause cyber damage,” says an expert. Instead, “they are using these attacks to cause physical damage or put people in locations to maximize physical damage.” Sports venues, with tens of thousands of spectators, are especially vulnerable. To combat the cyber threat in sports, scientists built an assessment tool for team and stadium owners to fix vulnerabilities.

  • Better protectionProtecting U.S. Energy Grid and Nuclear Weapons Systems

    To deter attempts to disable U.S. electrical utilities and to defend U.S. nuclear weapon systems from evolving technological threats, Sandia researchers have begun two multiyear initiatives to strengthen U.S. responses.

  • COVID-19: UpdateSurgeon General on COVID-19: “This Week It's Going to Get Bad”

    Yesterday the Surgeon General of the United States, Jerome Adams, MD, said on the Today Show that this week could get bad for many Americans who will face a growing rise of COVID-19 cases in their communities. Confirmed U.S. cases rose by 9,541 yesterday, to 42,817, according to the Johns Hopkins online tracker, with 458 associated deaths.

  • ArgumentWe Were Warned

    When, inevitably, an investigative commission will be set up to investigate the government’s response to COVID-19 crisis, it will conclude that signs of a coming crisis were everywhere. Uri Friedman writes that President Donald Trump has referred to the coronavirus outbreak as “an unforeseen problem,” as “something that nobody expected,” and as a crisis that “came out of nowhere,” but as is so often the case with Trump, he was not telling the truth. In fact, the investigative commission will conclude that the warning lights were blinking red for years, within the government and outside the government. Despite the warning lights, the voluminous studies, and the alarming reports from the U.S. intelligence community, the U.S. government was not sufficiently prepared when the virus SARS-CoV-2, finally came calling.

  • Nuclear warEven a Limited India-Pakistan Nuclear War Would Bring Global Famine, Says Study

    By Kevin Krajick

    The concept of nuclear winter—a years-long planetary freeze brought on by airborne soot generated by nuclear bombs—has been around for decades. But such speculations have been based largely on back-of-the-envelope calculations involving a total war between Russia and the United States. Now, a new multinational study incorporating the latest models of global climate, crop production and trade examines the possible effects of a less gargantuan but perhaps more likely exchange between two longtime nuclear-armed enemies: India and Pakistan.

  • Quick Takes // By Ben Frankel Where Is Helmut Schmidt When We Need Him?

    Helmut Schmidt came to the attention of Germans, and Europeans, in February 1962, when he competently and effectively managed the crisis which followed the massive flood which inundated the city of Hamburg. His determined, unbureaucratic, and effective management of the crisis earned him the reputation of a Macher — someone who gets things done regardless of obstacles. This reputation carried him all the way to the chancellorship (1974-1982). He was a competent, low-key, trustworthy straight shooter who told it like it is. Someone who offered a calm, steady, and reassuring leadership in trying times. A pair of safe hands in a time of crisis. On Wednesday, the title of an editorial in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung told us something about the mood, and yearnings, in Germany – and around the world: “Wer ist heute der Helmut Schmidt?” (Who Is Today’s Helmut Schmidt?).

     

  • COVID-19: UpdateModeling Study Suggests 18 Months of COVID-19 Social Distancing, Much Disruption

    On 16 March, when White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx, MD, stood beside President Donald Trump and announced the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” campaign, she said guidance on home isolation was informed by the latest models from the United Kingdom. Birx was likely referring to a new modeling study by Imperial College of London epidemiologists on likely U.S. and U.K. outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The model, which has been lauded by epidemiologists around the world, analyzes the two approaches to managing the virus – mitigation vs suppression.

  • COVID-19: UpdateWuhan Reports No New Coronavirus Cases for First Time

    The Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus pandemic has for the first time reported no new daily cases, reporting Thursday that there were no new cases Wednesday. Wuhan has spent about two months on lockdown as authorities tried to stop the spread of the virus, and in recent weeks the number of new infections there dwindled.