• Revised ban excludes Iraq, current visa holders; no priority to religious minorities

    President Donald Trump has signed a revised travel ban which will go into effect on 16 March. The revised executive order will halt entry to the United States for ninety days for people from six Muslim-majority nations who are seeking new visas. Iraq has been removed from the list of travel ban countries, and Syrian refugees will now be treated as other refugees. Religious minorities will not be given preferential treatment.

  • Ukrainian businessman with links to Trump, Russia dies in mysterious circumstances

    Alex Oronov, 69, a Ukranian-born millionaire businessman with ties to both Donald Trump and the Russian business elite, has died on 2 March in unexplained circumstances. Oronov, a naturalized American citizen, ran a large agricultural business in his native Ukraine. Oronov also had family ties to Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer: Cohen’s brother, Bryan, was Oronov’s partner in an ethanol business in Ukraine. Oronov’s death is the latest in a series of mysterious deaths which have visited senior Russian diplomats in the past three months.

  • Up to $600 billion in American intellectual property stolen annually

    The theft of American intellectual property (IP) remains a systemic threat to the U.S. economy, inflicting an estimated cost that exceeds $225 billion in counterfeit goods, pirated software, and theft of trade secrets and could be as high as $600 billion annually. China remains the world’s principal IP infringer, driven by an industrial policy that continues to prioritize both acquisition and development of science and technology.

  • Why farmers and ranchers think the EPA Clean Water Rule goes too far

    President Trump issued an executive order 28 February directing federal agencies to revise the Clean Water Rule, a major regulation published by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers in 2015. Framers and ranchers are particularly worried that the Clean Water Rule could expand federal regulations that impact their private property rights. However, regulatory agencies and the regulated community need to know the limits of the Clean Water Act’s reach so they can take appropriate measures to protect water resources. If the rule is scrapped, we still will need to know which water bodies require protection under the law. If the Trump administration withdraws or weakens the Clean Water Rule, it is likely to leave regulators interpreting case by case whether tributaries and adjacent waters are covered, as they have been doing since 2006, and land and water owners guessing about what they can do with their resources. So in the end, repealing the rule won’t answer the underlying question: how far upstream federal protection extends.

  • Russia's interference in U.S., European elections could be “act of war”: NATO commander

    General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, has said that Russian cyberattacks on NATO member states could be deemed an act of war and trigger the principle of the military alliance’s collective defense. Bradshaw said reports of Russian interference in American and European elections and Russian international disinformation campaign could lead alliance leaders to broaden the definition of an “attack.” European intelligence agencies have said that Russia’s successful interference in the U.S. 2016 presidential election has emboldened Moscow to replicated in Europe the methods it used in the U.S. There is already evidence that Russia has launched a hacking and disinformation campaign aiming to help far-right, ethno-nationalist, and populist politicians win the coming elections in France, the Netherlands, and Germany.

  • Palestinian terrorist leader: Hezbollah is getting ready for war against Israel, and so are we

    The leader of the Damascus-based Palestinian terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command said last month that the Iranian proxy group Hezbollah is preparing for war against Israel, “and so are we.” In an interview with the Hezbollah-affiliated Mayadeen TV, Ahmad Jibril called on Iran to ramp up its support of Palestinian terrorist groups.

  • In Europe, nationalism is rising

    Over the past seventy-five years, many Western nations moved steadily toward cooperation and interconnectedness, as their shared economic and political interests converged during this period called globalization. But the political winds are shifting, and there are signs of a new age of populism and nationalism emerging in Europe, a development that eventually could undermine post-war security and unity. After the triumphs of Trump and Brexit, right-leaning parties see paths to political power.

  • Oroville dam danger shows how Trump could win big on infrastructure

    This near catastrophe at Oroville dam — America’s tallest dam — is just the latest symptom of the chronic ill-health of America’s civil infrastructure, which has suffered from decades of under-investment and neglect. But the Oroville dam crisis could provide an unexpected opportunity for the new Trump administration to take on both problems – and win. The main problem in dealing with U.S. infrastructure is money, as up to $1 trillion would be required to repair or replace ageing dams, bridges, highways, and all the other components that support modern civilization. But there is a way for Trump to harness market forces and persuade corporate investors to invest in U.S. infrastructure. The Oroville dam near catastrophe demonstrates that some of the largest imminent threats to infrastructure will increase through climate change, and provides compelling evidence of the hard economic costs of inaction on infrastructure. If Trump moves away from climate change denial and accepts the strong balance of scientific evidence and opinion about human contribution t climate change, then a pathway to dealing with U.S. infrastructure could open up by appealing to “natural capitalism” – a market-driven economics which centers on the value of natural resources. Accepting man-made climate change could provide Trump with a chance to deliver on one of his major campaign promises, change the face of capitalism, and perhaps even save the world along the way.

  • DHS has found only $20 million of the $21 billion needed for border wall

    President Donald Trump’s pledge to use existing funds to launch the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border has run into an obstacle: There is only little money available to start the project. DHS has identified only $20 million that can be reallocated to the $21 billion project. DHS searched for available funds only within its $376 million budget for border security fencing, infrastructure and technology. Redirecting funds from other departmental accounts would require congressional approval. The funds currently available would cover 0.1 percent of the project’s cost — or pay to build 2.5 miles of border barrier.

  • Experts: Iran advancing nuclear program with help of North Korea

    Iran is using its strategic ties to North Korea to advance its illicit nuclear weapons program, experts say. Nuclear and ballistic missile ties between the two nations are longstanding and ongoing, though unlike Iran, North Korea already has developed nuclear weapons. While Iran is temporarily constrained by the nuclear deal, it can contribute to the development of North Korea’s program by sharing its technology and through finance.

  • Building privacy right into software code

    It is the programmer’s job to enforce these privacy restrictions. Because privacy-related code is scattered throughout all the programs Facebook uses to run its systems, the programmer must be vigilant everywhere. To make sure nobody finds out where I am unless I want them to, the programmer must tell the system to check my privacy settings everywhere it uses my location value, directly or indirectly. The best way to avoid these problems is to take the task of privacy protection away from humans and entrust it to the computers themselves. We can – and should – develop programming models that allow us to more easily incorporate security and privacy into software. Prior research in what is called “language-based information flow” looks at how to automatically check programs to ensure that sloppy programming is not inadvertently violating privacy or other data-protection rules.

  • ISIS’s “industrialized” martyrdom resembles Japan’s use of kamikaze pilots: Report

    ISIS’s suicide attacks resemble Japan’s use of kamikaze pilots in the Second World War, says a new study which looked at nearly 1,000 ISIS suicide operations in one year. Between December 2015 and November 2016, at least 923 ISIS jihadists killed themselves in suicide attacks according. The report analyzed these ISIS suicide operations and found that 776 of them – or 84 percent – were aimed at military targets, often in an attempt to slow down the advances of opposing ground forces. Winter said ISIS had “industrialized the concept of martyrdom.” Two-thirds of the suicide attacks took place in Iraq, and about 80 percent of the suicide attackers were Iraqi and Syrian.

  • Italy pardons ex-CIA operative for 2003 rendition in Rome

    Sabrina de Sousa, a former CIA officer who faced the prospect of becoming the first intelligence official to be sent to prison for being involved in rendition of terrorists as part of President George W Bush’s War on Terror, has been granted a last-minute pardon by Italy. De Sousa was convicted in absentia in 2009 for taking part in the rendition of a radical Egyptian cleric known as Abu Omar. Abu Omar is to be extradited by Egypt to Italy this week to serve a four-year sentence there.

  • Jewish cemetery vandalized in Philadelphia, JCCs hit with fifth wave of bomb threats

    There have been 89 bomb threats made against 72 Jewish community centers and day schools in 30 U.S. states and Canada since the start of 2017. Over 52 percent of all anti-religious hate crimes in the U.S. were directed at Jewish targets in 2015, the latest year for which FBI statistics are available.

  • Turkey completes half of its Syrian border wall

    Turkey has completed more than half of a planned 317-mile wall along its border with Syria. The wall is not built as a regular wall would: It consists of portable concrete blocks, each weighing seven tons, placed next to each other. The concrete blocks are 6.5-foot thick at the base and 10-foot high. Each block is topped with three feet of razor wire. The government says the wall will improve security, but human rights groups warn refugees fleeing war will be tapped on the Syrian side.