Saturday, October 31, 2015

Phase 2, week 2

Due on the night before we get back!

This should now only cover what has happened in the last week, unless it's really important to know about something that happened beforehand.

You don't have to cite your sources until next week, but if you do, that's good too.

Enjoy these last few precious hours before everything starts up again!


    Syria current events-week 2 november 2nd

    Russia and the USA working alongside

    At the talks in Vienna on Friday, were present 17 different countries including allies of the Syrian government and supporters of the rebels. There seems to be a change in atmosphere when John Kerry sat at the head of the negotiating table, right next to Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. Everyone has agreed by the end of the friendly meeting to explore the possibilities for a nationwide ceasefire-would Syria finally become a relatively more “peaceful” area? Although a gush of hope occurs, nobody has agreed over the grim future of Assad… some want him out-GB and USA, others say he is needed for a “transitory phase”-Russia and Iran. For now no one agrees on his departure… time will tell.

  2. Ukraine

    As Ukraine still refuses to resume its air service with Russia, as she demands her to stop daily flights coming in to Crimea, which she deems it as a “violations of airspace over Crimea,” the country is also faced with serious economic problems. Indeed, by December, she needs to repay a $3 billion dollar loan. Although some creditors offered a discount (going up to 20%), Russia still insists on full repayment on time. This is problematic for Ukraine, as she may lose the opportunity of receiving $17.5 billion dollar from the IMF in order to save itself from bankruptcy if she does not fulfil her obligations, due to the organisation’s rules that bar it from funding a nation that failed to pay back its debts on time. This debt is too big to be supported by Ukraine’s economy, as the loss of value of its currency can witness, and is not helped by the continuing raise in gas price due to Russia’s cut in supply.

    Adrien Lopez

  3. This Wednesday, the Somalian president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud addressed the terrorist group Al-Shabaab. His office had heard some chatter that the group might join Al-Qaeda or ISIS since the group’s separation and has since the issued a statement. He claims that the group is separating as it has lost its momentum, or as he says “the group has lost its way”. To support this, he claims that those who will choses peace will be In this statement, the Somalian president asks the group several times to consider peace rather than join ISIS. He also announces that anyone from the group will be welcomed and helped, as long as they give up the violent doctrine. He says that Somalia has experienced enough horror, it does not need the threat of another terrorist group.

  4. Ukraine conflict

    Even though a truce had been held for the past two months a Ukrainian soldier was killed during an exchange of mortar fire with pro-Russian separatist forces last tuesday(Oct. 27). However, last thursday (Oct.29), the Ukraine military and separatist forces exchanged prisoners, such an exchange had not occurred in nearly two months and thus, is a positive sign in attempts to resolve the crisis.
    The elections discussed in the previous post have shown political division in different regions of the country. Poroshenko’s government coalition had success in western and central Ukraine and on the other hand, voters in southern and central Ukraine leaned towards the Opposition Bloc, a largely pro-Russian party. These numbers are still incomplete, as only approximately one-third of the results have been submitted, with the full election results expected in early November. Approximately 46% of the voters came to the polls. There have been allegations of ballot manipulation by the Opposition Bloc.
    Russia expects repayment of the $3 billion loan by December and noted that Russia would take legal action if repayment is not forthcoming. The IMF may change lending rules to help Ukraine, making Russia outline Ukraine’s debt as a “very politicised” question.

  5. Plane crash in the Sinai region in Egypt :
    This friday, an Airbus-A321-200, from Metrojet airline, crashed in the Sinai region precisely in the Hassana area 44 miles south of el-Arish after only 23 min of flying. The plane took-off in el-Sheikh, a Red Sea resort, and was going to St Petersbourg. The plane had 224 passengers but no survivors. Authorities found one black box and they are currently analysing it, they also found the plane’s tail but otherwise only debris were found. Ayman al-Muqadem who works for the government Aviation Incident Committee (AIC) said “before the plane lost contact with air traffic controllers, the pilot had radioed and said the aircraft was experiencing technical problems and that he intended to try and land at the nearest airport.” claims the newspaper . Additionally the co-pilot’s wife says that before taking off, her husband complained of “technical conditions” in the aircraft. Nevertheless, Metrojet says that the aircraft was in good shape. Therefore the crash might be do to technical deficiencies or it might be an attack from the Islamic State. They couldn’t have sent a missile when the plane was in the sky at a normal height but they could have when it was decending do to technical difficulties.

  6. North Korean Conflict

    South Korean state media reported on Friday that North Korea’s Workers’ Party will hold its first congress since 1980, next May. According to the official Korean Central News Agency, the meeting is needed to strengthen the party’s role and build a “thriving” nation under Kim Jong Un’s leadership. A South Korean news report also announced on Friday that North Korea is digging a new tunnel at its nuclear test site which speculates the conduct of more tests of atomic weapons in the future. The report comes as the leaders of South Korea, Japan, and China are scheduled to meet in Seoul, South Korea on Sunday. The discussion will most likely involve the North's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Finally, on Sunday, today, Ashton Carter, the US Defense Secretary visited the Demilitarized Zone, dividing the Korean peninsula, with South Korean defense officials. In response to the North’s nuclear threat, he called on North Korea again to avoid provocations and step away from its nuclear program.

  7. Growing Instabilities in Thailand:
    The new US ambassador of Thailand, Glyn Davies, paid a visit to Prime Minister Prayut on Thursday, October 29th, 2015. They mostly discussed about Prayut’s plans to restore democracy in Thailand. The ambassador confirmed that the relations between the United States and Thailand have not changed. However, he also added that Americans believe in liberty and Thailand’s undemocratic ideas, such as taking away human’s rights are against the United States’ state of mind. Prayut Chan-o-Chan tried to link the two countries back by sharing the most with the ambassador about the future. Amongst other things, he is planning to reinforce the martial law and modify the Article 44 in order to have more power. Glyn Davies respects his choice because it will enforce security and will help with economy. He also emphasizes that the Thai population should support the idea for it to accomplish.
    Athina Gunnarsson 1C

  8. Intensification of violence in Nigeria

    Although Nigerian government predicts that the Boko Haram will soon be defeated, this Islamist group has declared allegiance to the Islamic State, making the group international and therefore fighting in neighboring countries such as Cameroon. In mid-october, Obama notifies the US congress that he will deploy 300 US troops to Cameroon helping with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. 90 of those troops have already been deployed. Attacks persist in Nigeria as well aimed at both Christians and Muslims. A little more than a week ago, two bomb attacks killed 27 people in a newly opened mosque in Yola. Furthermore, 15 were killed in a suicide bombing in Maiduguri as worshippers arrived for their dawn prayers. The Boko Haram is launching a new wave of attacks this month, but US involvement has been predicted to be a considerable amount of help.

  9. South China Sea

    On October 27th, the USS Lassen entered China's claimed sea zones around its artificial island. The US did this to push the idea of free navigation. Nothin significant happened during the US patrol. The USS Lassen was followed by two Chinese naval ships and was ordered multiple times to leave the area. However the USS Lassen did no such thing. No the important part of this is what happened after, because this is where things get interesting. Like the US entered "restricted are" with a military ship, China has ordered an increase in military presence in the sea. You might think that this is no big deal but it is, because the US has stated that they will conduct more operations along this line, and China has stated that these actions will not be tolerated.
    Something bad could happen between these two powers. On another note, Australia will continue its scheduled training exercises in the sea with Chinese forces. Yes I know it's weird, China and Australia working together. Australia is being very neutral about the whole South China Sea conflict. They train with Chinese forces but agree with US actions in the sea. The reason is that they want to keep their relationship with these countries strong.
    That's pretty much all that happened this week, that was important.

  10. Al Qaeda In the Arabian Peninsula

    The U.S. have named AQAP as the most active and dangerous Al Qaeda affiliate, mostly for its reputation for plotting attacks on overseas targets. It’s reach is far more significant than any other branch of Al Qaeda: AQAP has claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attacks, as well as greatly influencing the two Boston Bombers with their weekly english online magazine, “Inspire”.
    Today (November 1rst) two women, Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiquiwere, were arrested and accused of “building a bomb and planning to wage jihad in New York”. According to the US Justice Department, hey were linked to members of AQAP and the Islamic State.
    An NYPD officer ‘converted’ to Islam in order to go undercover and spy on Brooklyn College students. The officer, known as Melike, spent four years earning the trust of Islamic students at the college as a part of a controversial operation to spy on Muslims.
    The undercover officer established a friendship with one of the two convicted women, who allegedly had in-depth conversations with Melike about their violent aspirations. Altough not accused of planning a particular attack, materials for fabricating explosive devices as well as instructions for these were found in Siddiqui’s home. However, these arrests were only made four years after Melike’s infiltration.

  11. As seen in the background information, the Iranian nuclear conflict is one that has been going on for many years even though it stays lively and interesting on a weekly bases. At the end of the background the United States and Iran were in the middle of the negotiation of a deal that could solve the main problems still existing in the conflict. The conflict is still at that point even though this week was quite an important one with one important statement and an important integration regarding Iran. The statement comes from Ali Khamenei, who played an important role in the developing of Iran's nuclear program in the 1980s and who this week publicly endorsed the deal between the U.S and Iran. He therefore added that all the sanctions would have to be lifted for the deal to be fair.
    Apart from the deal that is being negotiated, the U.S and Iran have not been talking and working on affairs a lot. Well for the first time in a long time Iran has been integrated in the discussions regarding a global conflict, Syria, and the possible solutions to the civil war happening there. This integration shows the importance of Iran's voice concerning succession issues surrounding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but more importantly, for the conflict that interests us it shows that the U.S and Iran are now in a good enough relationship to communicate through diplomacy and not through sanctions. This is encouraging for what could happen in the common week. See you then.

    Nicolas Rival
    Week 1 and 2.

  12. Iranian Nuclear Conflict:

    This past Wednesday, the 28th, Iran was present during negotiations on the Syrian war in Vienna. This is quite the sign of progress as Iran was on bad terms with several countries that were present during this meeting for example Saudi Arabia, and the United States. Iran’s presence in these talks reflects the agreement between the United States and Iran on the nuclear deal. Indeed in the past month or so both parties have agreed on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is the nuclear agreement between both countries, Iran has agreed to limit its nuclear activities, and the United States and the United Nation have agreed to lift sanctions placed on Iran. The IAEA, is currently separately investigating Iran’s nuclear facilities to know if Iran’s nuclear facilities are made for weapons or not, and they will give their final verdict on December 15th.

  13. Crisis in Venezuela: Recent News dating back to September and the beginning of October (no breaking news in Venezuela this past week, so I prefer to focus on China's implication in the Venezuelan hyperinflation)

    In September, Maduro announced a new $5 bn loan from China. China is expecting it to be invested in oil. However, the deal hasn't been confirmed by China yet, even though it does appear in the Chinese press. This is not the first time China has loaned money to Venezuela. Since 2007, China has already sunk $56.3 bn in loans. Venezuela, in return, will have to pay back China with oil. This deal originates from a 2007 agreement with Hugo Chávez. Ironically, it seems that both countries won't benefit from the deal. China tends to store imported oil in emergency reserves rather than being consumed. On the other hand, Chinese oil investments will not help Venezuela since the government needs short-term cash (imports, salaries, basic goods, social security) rather than long-term investments in the oil production.

  14. Increasing violence and instability in Afghanistan

    As the Taliban are growing stronger with the new offensive tactics employed by Mullah Mansoor Akhtar, the new leader, the Afghan conflict is now growing on a larger scale than a simple state-rebel conflict. With the capture of Kunduz, Taliban now have easier access to Tajikistan, which is worrying the Tajik government. The deceptively quiet border has therefore been increased in garrisons and wariness. It has been reported that “hundreds of Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Uighurs and Chechen” have been fighting for the Taliban in Kunduz. The alarming spread of the extremist group has set the Afghan government and other countries on edge; its undermining tactic of participating to “peace-meetings” with the government while attacking and seizing cities has especially confused the government. The attacks have been partly countered by governmental army and foreign military aid, but also by local militias who fight the Taliban in more remote or deserted areas. To the recent attacks inflicted by the Islamic group, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake killed 115 people in northern Afghanistan on October 26th.

  15. East China Sea Confrontation:

    About a month ago in September, the first parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII was organized in Beijing. What is surprising about this new commemoration is that about 85% of the missiles that were exposed were arms that has never been revealed in public. However, one of the missiles, the Dongfeng (East Wind in Chinese) 21D, or also known as the DF-21D, is attracting a larger international audience than the others. It appeared to be the first anti-ship ballistic missile the world has every known, which means in short that it has been designed to destroy war ships at sea by following a precise path with a guidance system as well as high-tech sensors. The existence of this missile is threatening to the US, since the DF-21D could quickly wipe out US navy force if necessary in the conflict region. Plus, the missile is capable of being sent outside of the atmosphere, take profit of the Earth's orbit to get closer of it's target, and finally strike at enemy war ship up to 10 times the speed of sound. Worst, all this can happen without having the DF-21D detected by satellites.

  16. FROM BEN
    The Influence of the Taliban in Late October

    Following the earthquake of 7.5 magnitude that hit Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Taliban overran a small district in Takhar. This is the second town the Taliban took in a month with Kunduz being the first. Also, Taliban are present in some areas of Badakhshan, they claim their fighters will help with the relief efforts there.
    Afghan forces believe that the Taliban were assisted by other insurgent groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. These groups therefore acted in the seizure of Kabul and other attacks in the north. Furthermore, by spreading in the north of Afghanistan they could reach Central Asia.
    In the south, Afghan forces moved inmates from the Hemland prison by fear of a rumor that the Taliban would liberate them as they did in Kunduz.

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  18. Libyan civil war- On the 26th a helicopter of the "Libya dawn" (backed by the general new congress) was shot down, killing 13 passengers and probably 3 more. The aircraft, carrying 16 people, crashed into the sea near Al-Maya, just west of Tripoli. Several high-ranking members of the Libya Dawn coalition who control Tripoli were on board the helicopter. The speaker of the Libyan army Colonel Ali al-Sheikh said that their response to the attack will "come at the appropriate time and place." The attack likely came from the internationally recognized Tobruk government. Tensions have certainly been rising this past week near the Capital and inside it as the citizens of the capital continue to protest against the UN for backing the Tobruks.

    Recently, Dania al-Husseini Irsheid, a 17 year old palestinian student, was killed at an Israeli checkpoint. She had already been checked twice for weapons, but an Israeli soldier asked her to take her knife out of her bag. She answered she didn’t have any, and a few seconds later was shot down. The soldiers saw she was not dead, and let her bleed to death on the ground until an ambulance arrived. On some pictures, a knife is visible next to her corpse, but Amnesty International says that her execution was completely unjustified; "eyewitness accounts indicate she was not posing a threat to Israeli forces when she was shot".
    This incident is one of the many happening in Palestine today, but isn’t much talked about. When Palestinians murder an Israeli, it makes the headlines, but when it is the other way around, no one hears about it, which seems unlikely, when looking at statistics. Since the beginning of October, eleven Israelis were killed by stabbing or shooting, and Israeli soldiers killed sixty nine Palestinians, of which only thirty nine were armed.
    This shows how violent the Israeli army is compared to the Palestinians that they are killing, and how unsure the life is for Palestinians, even those who pose no threat for anyone.

  20. This week in the South China Sea, tension has increased between the United States and China. The warship U.S.S. Lassen sailed near the coast of two of China’s man made islands, to prove that they will do whatever it takes to have freedom of navigation. The Chinese were not happy at all about this, and asked the boat to leave on many occasions although the U.S.S Lassen did not listen to these warnings. The Chinese government protested against this intrusion by issuing warnings to Washington as well as summoning its ambassador to Beijing. The former CIA deputy says that there is absolutely a risk of China and the US going to war sometime in the future.

  21. Cyberattacks

    As cyberattacks are one of the largest threats to the United States at the moment, defnse measures are needed. That is why the US and UK biggest banks will undergo a simulated cyberattack to test how well they countermeasures work. This test is a first, as it will not only test how the personnel would respond to an attack and how the financial institutions would work together with regulators to fight it, but it will also require cross-Atlantic communication. It will essentially verify the quality of the communication between each government, the government and the banks they regulate, and the banks' communication in between each other. This countermeasure is a result of the increasing fear of other countries such as Russia orchestrating a cyberattack on the countries' financial district, and of the recent cyberattack on TalkTalk, during which around 1.2 million customers’ email addresses, names and phone numbers were stolen, along with around 21 000 bank account numbers.
    Quentin Siart

  22. Internal Violence in South Sudan

    This week, the African Union publicly communicated a report that had been overdue for long, delivering an investigation on the crimes that have been perpetrated in South Sudan. These crimes are now verified; they include killings, torture, mutilations, rape against civilians, even more gruesomely, forced cannibalism. These crimes have even intensified in the past fifteen months, with some serious Human Right’s violations and abuses on both sides of the conflict, the Government and the rebels. By acknowledging these crimes the African Union hopes to show the world the urgency for impartial investigations into war crimes, and to hold under international law those responsible. The frustration caused by the unresolved crimes have also been shown to install new cycles of violence in South Sudan, insisting on the pressing need to take action.

    Source:- Amnesty International
    -Global Conflict Tracker

  23. The US has joined Russia in the war against IS. This halloween John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said that it has become necessary to intervene on the field and that soldiers might be sent to northern Syria in order to defend the western world against the danger that is IS. Kerry also said that it was in no way an alliance with the forces of Assad but a fight that the US shall lead on their own. October 30th was as well a day to remember. The US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran gathered in Vienna in order to discuss the Syrian war. The discussions are going to evolve as time passes by because for now tension has spread and sides are forming: Russia and Iran do not want a change of regime while the US and Saudi Arabia do. Let us hope that they put aside their differences and start fighting for the same ideal.

  24. Civil War and Sectarian Violence in Iraq

    Last Friday, the Washington Post released this quote, coming from the Pentagon:
    Pentagon: “We’re in combat’ in Iraq
    It is Col. Steve Warren, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad who pronounced, “We’re in combat” whilst speaking via video the Pentagon reporters.
    On October 27, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, said he believes that the placement of additional U.S. troops alongside the Iraqi troops would improve their fight against Islamic State. This directly contradicts what President Obama said in the middle of last year:
    -“We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq.” – President Obama,
    June 13, 2014
    Unlike President Obama, he seems to believe that additional forces in Iraq would take part in the solution of defeating ISIL.
    On October 28, the surviving soldiers brought back the soldier who had died during the raid.

  25. Terrorist Attack on the US Homeland

    This week a hearing on port security was held in the United States. Lawmakers on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee discussed about the potential vulnerability of american ports against "dirty-bomb" attacks. According to The Hill, there has been reports of recent attempts to smuggle radioactive material by terrorists. Port industry groups told the lawmakers they had to increase their funding in agencies related with the ports' security, like border patrol, to ensure the safety of the nation. According to Joseph Lawless, Massachusetts Port Authority Director of Maritime Security, "CBP and ports rely on Radiation Portal Monitors to detect dirty bombs in containerized cargo shipped into this country. What we hear repeatedly from our member ports is, the lack of clarity in funding and administering the RPM program, has become a real hindrance in how we protect our ports." At the end of the hearing, Rep. Hahn agreed to initiate the SCAN Act, a program that would scan 100 percent of the cargo packages. It was decided the nation would test its practicality in two of its ports. Although some have insisted that scanning all cargos will slow down the port operations, new technologies could be created that would not impede the flow of commerce in U.S ports. These procedures seem to be of extreme importance to enforce the security in U.S ports considering the growing substantial threat posed by terrorists.
    Source: "Lawmakers Fret about Potential Terrorist Attacks at US Ports." TheHill. N.p., 27 Oct. 2015. Web. 01 Nov. 2015.


  26. “Saudi-led military ops nearing end in Yemen”
    Recently, the situation in Yemen has been changing a lot since last week. Last Monday, as the coalition reinforced its air strikes, a hospital of Medecin Sans Frontieres was destroyed. Now the Saudi-coalition campaign in Yemen is nearing its end, and its troops are already starting to leave the country. As they leave, the coalition has been dropping weapons and artillery in Islmasist group lines, groups who fight the Houthis in the city of Taiz, city leading to Sanaa, the capital. Though the coalition’s departure sounds like the war is over, the situation hasn’t actually really changed, the Houthis still dominate and control Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, and made it through the Saudi Arabian bombing campaign. Now that Saudi-Arabia’s coalition has retreated (no website says that they retreated, yet why would they pull out if the Houthis haven’t moved), the fighting still goes on between the Islmasist groups, which we could safely suppose the majority are related to Al-Qaeda, and the Houthis.

    Lucas Tournier

  27. This week Denmark has officially announced that it will keep it’s promise to send 45 special operations men to Mali. Their foreign minister has commented on this by saying: “We are doing it in order to create stability in Mali, which is one of the world’s most fragile countries but a country that in June established a peace agreement. Therefore, we wish to support the UN’s important work in the country”. In further news, the Daily Maverick and the Foreign Policy Journal both talked about the big smuggling problem in Mali since the beginning of the war. The general consensus was that the Sahel area of Mali incredibly difficult to control and police therefore when the government was overthrown and chaos reigned in the land, smugglers set foot and created giant drug, weapon and general smuggling cartels. Furthemore an article by the Huffington Post has called out the lack of funding for UN peacekeeping missions by stating : “Put simply, real challenges require real capacities. Highly-trained military, police and civilian personnel enabled by technology and aviation support will allow UN Peacekeeping to conduct more effective and efficient operations” which would then allow peace to be restored in some places.

    Lawmakers fret about potential terrorist attacks at US ports

    A new issue has been raised this past week in the U.S. It concerns terrorism and how the U.S acts to keep their citizens in security. The concern was about U.S ports being potential places for terrorist attacks due to ther low security level. In 2006 a mandate was passed through congress obligating a review of all packages going and coming through U.S ports. However, this mandate has not correctly been respected. Today, in the U.S, only 3% of the cargos are checked. The action of scanning cargos is important since terrorists could smuggle bombs or radioactive bombs due to the size of ports which permits terrorists to move large quantities of materials undetected. The article was encouraging the patrol borders to control more cargos by increasing funding to these agencies.

  29. Last saturday, the advisor to the prime minister said that the US should refrain from fanning South Asian instability. In the mean time, in Pakistan itself, the earthquake in Khyber has left many in dire financial need. So Pakistan's government decided to send out individual cheques to each person touched by this earthquake. The cheques should be fully distributed by November 14. The same advisor Sartaj Aziz, stated that global warming was a far bigger issue than terrorism in Pakistan, and believes that now is not the right time for Pakistan to work on the revival of Afghan reconciliation process. To explain what's been going on, Pakistan hosted the first peace process in Muree, and and offered the Afghan government its help, however, the Afghan government hasn't replied to their offer yet, creating some tension. According to him, reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban is the best solution.
    Meanwhile, Mr Sindhu, a lawyer, complains about the fraud and misconduct committed by 4 members of the Election Commission of Pakistan. However, this reference was rejected without proper cause. So Mr Sindhu brought his case to the media. Now his case is being more carefully observed.

  30. Surprise!
    This past week officers of the Mexican Government have made charming discoveries. On October 26th, according to a video filmed by police officers, a kilo of methamphetamines was found hidden in the filling of a teddy bear. A few days earlier, they had almost managed to capture the country’s most wanted criminal, “El Chapo”, thanks to an unsettling clue: his twin daughter’s pet monkey Boots was being sent back to his family. Indeed, El Chapo had arranged for the monkey to be sent back to him and his family and was travelling in his brother-in-law’s car when it was recognized; police tracked the cellphone signal and arrived at his place before he slipped out of their grasp once more.

  31. On October 27, over 300 UK scholars published an ad pledging to boycott Israeli academic institutions, such as refusal to participate in conferences organised by Israeli institutions, claiming they were dedicated to the rights of Palestinians. Although they believed their boycott to be a symbol of their commitment to the cause, they were in fact imposing a general punishment simply based on nationality, not opinions, actions, or merit. The boycott discriminated against Israelis as a whole, without taking individuals into account. This boycott makes it clear that many people still have trouble differentiating individuals and their opinion from the stance of their country’s majority.

  32. Due to cyberattacks making energy companies under constant assault and exposing Americans’ personal information, Senator Orrin Hatch wants to take action to shore up government vulnerabilities. The U.S. and South Korea have deepened their military-to-military cooperation in fighting cyber crime and boosted threat-information sharing, but the question of who is in charge of those attacks remains open, as hackers hide behind the anonymity of the Internet. Recently, cybercriminals have breached IRS servers to gain access to 330,000 American taxpayers’ tax returns. Brent Stacey, the lab’s associate director, told a pair of House subcommittees that the case is getting more urgent to solve. “The dynamic threat is evolving faster than the cycle of measure and countermeasure, and far faster than the evolution of policy,” he said.