International cooperation

  • U.S., South Korea delay nuclear fuel deal

    The president of South Korea, Park Geun-Hye, has been campaigning to get the United States to lift the ban on South Korea from enriching uranium and processing spent nuclear fuel. The ban was part of a 1972 treaty, which was set to expire next March. A deal appeared to be on the way at some point this year, but officials from both countries said the deadline would be extended to 2016. What did not help the negotiations were statements by some South Korean officials that the country should build its own nuclear weapons reather than rely on U.S. nuclear umbrella.

  • U.S., China in high-level military talks

    Representatives of China and the United States met on Monday for the highest-level military talks between the two counties in almost two years. In the meeting, a senior Chinese general pledged to work with the United States on cybersecurity because the effects of a major cyber attack “may be as serious as a nuclear bomb.”

  • China catches 12 times more fish beyond its waters than it reports

    Chinese fishing boats catch about $11.5 billion worth of fish from beyond their country’s own waters each year — and most of it goes unreported. Researchers estimate Chinese foreign fishing at 4.6 million tons per year, taken from the waters of at least ninety countries — including 3.1 million tons from African waters, mainly West Africa.

  • DHS helps tear down technological “Tower of Babel” along U.S. borders

    First responders and international officials on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border had been preparing since last fall for the Canada-U.S. Enhance Resiliency Experiment (CAUSE) — demonstrating the ability to exchange information between local, state, provincial, and national systems and software applications. With these preparations, a recent joint experiment held in Maine and New Brunswick proved that even across borders, any immediate confusion or lack of information following an incident should not greatly affect overall rescue efforts.

  • Israel and Turkey end acrimony, normalize relations

    In a major coup for the Obama administration’s Middle East policy, Turkey and Israel have today (Friday) announced that they were putting an end to the increasing acrimony which has characterized their relationship since 2006, acrimony which has intensified even further in May 2010, when Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish citizens who were on a flotilla which tried to break the Israeli maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. The normalization of relations between the two staunchest U.S. allies in the region would make it easier to establish a U.S.-Israel-Sunni Arab coalition to contain Iran and thwart its hegemonic designs in the region, and will tighten the coordination among Syria’s neighbors as the civil war in Syria enters its final phase, and as preparations for post-Assad Syria are undertaken in earnest.

  • Final U.S. infrastructure report offers a sober message

    In its fifth and final report on the state of U.S. infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has a sober message for elected officials, policy makers, businesses, and general public: unless the United States invests an additional $1.57 billion per year in infrastructure — drinking water and waste water, electricity, airports, seaports and waterways, and surface transportation — between now and 2020, the nation will lose $3.1 trillion in GNP (gross national product), $1.1 trillion in trade, a $3,100 per year drop in personal disposable income, $2.4 trillion in lost consumer spending, and a little over 3.1 million jobs.


  • France gains international backing, faces complicated situation on the ground

    France on Monday received a unanimous support from all members of the UN Security Council for the military action French forces have initiated last Friday against Islamists in Mali. On the ground, the situation is more complicated. The Islamists were driven out of one town south of the demarcation line between north and South Mali, but on Monday they managed to send another column south toward the town of Diabaly, on the western side of the Niger River, located 250 miles from the capital Bamako. French general admitted that the Islamists rebels are better-equipped and better-organized than initial estimates indicated. France faces a choice: send French ground troops to fight the Islamists in the north, or wait until late summer for a reconstructed Mali army and a West Africa multi-national force to conduct the ground war necessary to evict the Islamists from north Mali.

  • Egypt’s president Morsi used blatantly anti-Semitic language in 2010 speech, TV interview

    President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt used blatantly anti-Semitic language in a speech and in a TV interview – both in 2010, when he was a top official of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. The speech and the TV interview were video-taped, and just came to light.

  • Israel’s isolation grows

    Last Thursday UN General Assembly vote to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority to that of a non-state observer highlighted the growing isolation in which Israel finds itself as a result of its policies toward the Palestinians; Israel’s isolation is only going to grow: in response to Israel’s decision to make preparations to build 3,000 housing units in a sensitive area east of Jerusalem,  France and the United Kingdom are now considering recalling their ambassadors from Tel Aviv for consultations

  • Himalayan glaciers retreating at an uneven rate, making South Asia water supply future unclear

    MI6, the U.K. intelligence service, four years ago predicted that the world’s first water war – that is, war between countries over access to water resources — will take place between India and Bangladesh sometime between 2015 and 2020; the reason for the war: intensifying conflicts over dwindling Himalayas water sources; glaciers in the eastern and central regions of the Himalayas appear to be retreating at accelerating rates, similar to those in other areas of the world, while glaciers in the western Himalayas are more stable and could be growing, a new report says

  • Toilet Challenge, 1: Caltech’s solar-powered toilet wins Reinvent Toilet Challenge

    The World Health Organization reports that 2.5 billion people around the globe are without access to sanitary toilets, which results in the spread of deadly diseases; every year, 1.5 million people, mostly those under the age of five, die from diarrhea; Caltech scientist awarded grant to develop solar-powered sanitation system

  • U.S. losing patience with Pakistan over Haqqani network’s growing boldness

    Last week the Pakistan government-supported Haqqani network released a video of a 1 June operation, showing members of the group driving an explosive-laden truck into Camp Salerno, an American military base in Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border; the truck exploded, opening a breach in the camp’s fence, through which Haqqani militants entered the camp, shooting in all directions; only two GIs died in the attack — but it could have been far worse, as hundreds of American soldiers were in the mess hall only yards away; Congress has already voted to designate the Haqqanis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and administration officials say that the United States is “one major attack” away from unilateral action against Pakistan

  • By the numbers: Terrorism and the Olympics

    The 2012 Summer Olympic Games open today in London; history offers a warning, but no clear pattern on the true risk of terrorism at the Olympic Games, concludes a new report

  • U.S. to send hand-launched UAVs to Kenya to help fight Somali al Shabaab

    The United States will include hand-launched Raven UAV’s in the $41.4 million military aid package to Kenya; the package also includes trucks, communications gear, and rifles for Burundi, Djibouti, and Uganda; the military aid aims to help east African countries cope with the growing menace of al Shabaab, a Somali al Qaeda affiliate

  • Short-sighted Tuareg leadership dooms independence quest

    With the quickening pace of preparations for a military intervention to remove an al Qaeda-affiliated Islamist group from a break-away region of Mali, and disrupt this group’s plan to turn the region into what African leaders call “Africanistan,” the leaders of the MNLA, the Tuareg movement which fought for the independence of the region, said the MNLA would not participate in the operation against the Islamists unless it receives guarantees from outside powers that the goal of the operation will not be to re-unify Mali; the cause of Tuareg independence never had much support among the Tuareg people, and was resolutely opposed by neighboring states; the MNLA refusal to help in removing the Islamists from Azawad all but guarantees that the dream of Tuareg independence will remain just that – a dream