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International News Coverage

 

Middle East, Terrorism and Counterterrorism

 

Planned Flogging of Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Postponed Again

Ian Black / The Guardian

The planned flogging is being suspended after a medical committee assessed that he should not undergo a second round on health grounds, said Amnesty International, which has adopted him as a prisoner of conscience.

 

Yemen Crisis: Houthi Rebels ‘Not Withdrawing’ in Sanaa

BBC

Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen remain in key positions in the capital Sanaa, despite a deal under which they agreed to withdraw, witnesses say.

 

Islamic State Conflict: London Hosts Coalition Talks

BBC

Foreign ministers from 21 countries are meeting in London to discuss ways to co-ordinate their efforts to combat the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

 

Give Diplomacy with Iran a Chance

Laurent Fabius, Philip Hammond, et al. / The Washington Post
In November 2013, after many months of negotiations, the E3+3 (France, Germany and Britain, together with the United States, Russia and China, a partnership also referred to sometimes as the P5+1) and Iran reached an interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. This agreement has had three main benefits.

 

Iraq Forces ‘Not Ready’ to Fight ISIS

Rowena mason / The Guardian

In the runup to a conference in London with the US secretary of state, John Kerry, and Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, Philip Hammond said it would be months before Iraqi troops were sufficiently trained by the international coalition to take on Isis.

 

Europe

 

NATO says Detects Signs of Increased Russian Involvement in Eastern Ukraine

Adrian Croft / Reuters

U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander Europe, said fighting in the pro-Russian separatist uprising was now more intense in some places than it was before September’s Minsk ceasefire agreement.

 

Africa

 

Falling Ebola Cases Show ‘Turning Point’

James Gallagher / BBC
Just eight cases were detected in Liberia in the last week down from a peak of 500-a-week in September. Guinea and Sierra Leone have also seen falls. The WHO said the figures were the “most promising” since the outbreak started.

 

Top Security Adviser Calls Soldiers Cowards After Boko Haram Attacks

Julian Borger / The Guardian
Nigeria’s national security adviser has blamed cowardice for the army’s failure to protect civilians from attacks by Boko Haram extremists, saying many soldiers had joined up because they wanted a job, but were not willing to fight.

 

Suicide Bomb Kills Two in Mogadishu Ahead of Visit by Turkish President

The Guardian

At least two police officers were killed but none of the Turkish delegates was wounded in the attack, which was claimed by Islamist al-Shabaab rebels, said officials.

 

The Americas

 

John Boehner Invites Netanyahu to Congress on Iran

BBC

Last night Barack Obama was arguing that negotiations were at a delicate stage with Tehran over a deal. A deal that would be jeopardised, he believes, by Congress voting for tougher sanctions against Iran at this stage.

 

U.S.-Cuba Begin Historic Talks on Restoring Diplomatic Ties

Lesley Wroughton and Daniel Trotta / Reuters

The United States and Cuba began historic discussions on restoring diplomatic relations on Thursday, aiming to reach agreement on the opening of embassies in each other’s countries.

 

Asia

 

China Censures 11 Officials Over Shanghai New Year Stampede

John Ruwitch / Reuters
China has punished 11 Shanghai officials for failing to prevent a New Year’s Eve stampede that killed 36 people, injured dozens and dented the image of the country’s most cosmopolitan city.

 

Japan ‘Exploring All Ways’ to Free Islamic State Hostages

BBC

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government was trying to contact the hostage-takers but that it would not give in to terrorism.

 

Energy Security, Science and Technology, Climate Change

 

Republicans Outfox Democrats on Climate Votes

Elana Schor / Politico

In a complicated maneuver that was the first politically perilous test for Senate Republicans, the new majority party split up the votes that Democrats had hoped would force the GOP into an awkward roll call on whether they believed in the science behind climate change — just hours after President Barack Obama slammed Republicans in his State of the Union address for dodging the issue.

How a Tax can Help Vermont’s People, Economy, and Climate

Samuel Ghazey / VT Digger
The American Security Project estimates that the economic cost of climate change, in a “business as usual scenario,” will cost the state of Vermont around $700 million of gross state product and 5,000 jobs between 2010 and 2050, most greatly impacting our state’s maple, dairy, and skiing operations.

 

Disaster Reduction Talks Split on Ways of Tracking Progress
Megan Rowling / Reuters

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), which is managing the process, wants the new framework to include at least two goals with percentage targets, for lowering the death toll and economic losses from disasters.

 

European Parliament Committee Fails to Agree on Carbon Reform Date
Barbara Lewis and Susanna Twidale / Reuters

A European Parliament committee, in a surprise about-turn, rejected on Thursday a previous vote to begin carbon market reforms in 2021, clearing the way for another body next month to back action to prop up the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

 

India to Push Renewable Energy Drive During Obama Visit
Valerie Volcovici and Aditya Kalra / Reuters

Efforts to combat climate change will also figure prominently in talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama when the U.S. leader begins a landmark visit to New Delhi this weekend.
ASP Recently Published

 

Libya: On the Brink
Giancarlo Lima
This report analyzes the recent events that have placed Libya on its current path. In order to understand events on the ground, this report includes a breakdown of key Libyan parties and figures as well as an examination of the economic and energy dimensions of the conflict. The report then concludes with a look forward for Libya and recommendations for the U.S. and international community.

 

U.S. Fusion Program Recommendations
Caroline Julia von Wurden and Andrew Holland
This report on fusion energy is informed by a roundtable discussion of fusion energy that was hosted by ASP on December 4, 2014. The report goes on to explain the potential benefits of fusion energy in the U.S. as a safe and clean source of power, but only if certain barriers to the implementation of this technology are overcome.

 

On Our Flashpoint Blog

 

The Importance of Net Neutrality and America’s Role
Porter Brockway

In Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda’s article, “The World Is Watching Our Net Neutrality Debate, So Let’s Get It Right”, he discusses in the importance of network neutrality and what it means for the world. But what is network neutrality? Why is there a debate happening in our nation’s capital about this issue?

 

After Ebola

Christy Vines

Though the worst of the Ebola epidemic may indeed be behind West Africa, its aftermath, especially its heavy toll on the stability and economic viability of significant parts of those countries hardest hit by the virus, is likely just beginning. The impact of the virus across Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea has thrown entire civil and political ecosystems out of balance, ecosystems only recently recovering from long periods of instability and violence.

 

Three Energy Security Issues to Watch Out For in 2015

William George

It’s 2015, and the New Year brings with it several critical energy issues that loom large for the United States.  Many of these issues are not new, but recent developments- domestically and internationally- are poised to affect these problems in new ways. What are these issues, and how will they affect U.S. energy security moving forward?

 

A National CRO: Risk Management for the American Enterprise

Dante Disparte

Last week the President signed the reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) of 2002, it begs the question whether a siloed risk transfer approach is the most effective strategy for national risks borne by taxpayers.  TRIA was first designed to shore up the insurance industry, which suffered large property, casualty and life losses due to the terrorist attack on 9/11.  Additional losses were borne by the airline industry and many other sectors, which never anticipated such a large scale event.

 

58 Million Have Right to Education: How do we deliver?
Luke Lorenz
The United States and its allies must understand the critical nature of education in the developing world. In their acts of barbarity, terrorist organizations like Boko Haram have revealed the weakness at the heart of their ideology. Their belief structure is a house of cards which can only stand on a foundation of ignorance.

Rivkin: the link between prosperity and national security
Luke Lorenz
“Market forces displace as much weight as military might” stated Rivkin (quoting U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman). This comprehensive perception of economic diplomacy is the central operating principle of Secretary of State John Kerry, who has endeavored to instill it as a cornerstone principle of the State Department. Rivkin sums up the Department’s economic agenda with the motto “economic policy is foreign policy”.

Critical Issues Facing Africa: Terrorism, War, and Political Violence
John Bugnacki
During 2014, along with the horrific outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, the continent as a whole experienced one of the more turbulent years in its recent history with widespread protests, unrest, civil wars, and insurgencies. The most recent flare-up of these ongoing conflicts resulted in Boko Haram’s deadliest attack ever, the massacre of an estimated 2,000 people in the northeastern village of Doron Baga.

State of the Union – national security
Paul Hamill
The 2015 State of the Union (SOTU), to be given next Tuesday, comes at a pivotal time for the United States and the world. In his role as Commander-in-Chief and negotiator with foreign powers President Obama will have to touch on a number of threats, challenges and even opportunities the United States faces in the realm of foreign affairs and national security. Here is a list of key topics I believe the President should cover….

Upcoming Events

Conference – Energy Security in the Caribbean: Unique Challenges

February 4 @ 12:00pm – 5:00pm

Join ASP as we host a conference on February 4, 2015, discussing the challenges facing the Caribbean in securing their energy future and how to move forward in the years to come.

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