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Middle East, Power Generation, China in Sudan

Dated: 10 Sep 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Technology

Middle East: United Nations and Western officials are attempting to push a tentative truce through negotiations now under way between the Assad regime and rebels backed by Western officials.   This uneasy peace is being forged in order to eliminate the threat posed by the Islamic State. The idea is to persuade both sides—as well as their regional backers, Iran for the regime; Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey for the rebels—that no one can win the war.  This comes as President Obama will address the nation this evening regarding his plans and strategy for the region.  The speech can be viewed here at 9:00 p.m. EST.

Power Generation: University of Washington researchers have created a power harvester that uses natural fluctuations in temperature and pressure as its power source. The device harvests energy in any location where these temperature changes naturally occur, powering sensors that can check for water leaks or structural deficiencies in hard-to-reach places and alerting users by sending out a wireless signal.

China in Sudan: China is deploying seven hundred soldiers to a United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan to help guard the country’s oil fields and protect Chinese energy interests in the areas.  The deployment marks the first time Beijing has contributed a battalion to a U.N. peacekeeping force.  In related news, Beijing has voiced interest in assisting the US-led coalition in combating ISIS, with Chinese officials recently saying that some nationals have traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside the radicals.

Today In The World

Dated: 27 Nov 2013
Posted by Thomas McIntyre
Category: International, Security, Technology

VMI 2013 General Industry Banner

The Top Line

B-52′s in Asia: Two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers flew over disputed islands in the East China Sea, ignoring a new airspace defense zone that China declared on Saturday with warnings that it would take “defensive emergency measures” if the zone was breached. China’s defense ministry said it monitored the flights without mentioning any intentions to retaliate.  It is quite possible that China might have overplayed its position by “angering not just Japan and the U.S., but South Korea and Taiwan—both of which have air-defense zones that overlap China’s”.    Indeed, the airspace defense zone may be a key gambit in China’s A2/AD strategy.

Memory Manipulation: Research is being done on mice to alter memories, with several studies having found chemical compounds that can be used to subdue or even delete memories, and in one MIT study, create a false memory.  While the concept of manipulating memories raises some serious ethical issues, applications for those who suffer from PTSD and addiction could help to drive this research.

Continuing NSA Fallout: Microsoft announced that it is considering new encryption initiatives for its internet traffic amid fears that the National Security Agency has compromised its global communications links. This comes as Google announced earlier in the week that it tightened encryption of traffic flowing between its data centers, as it looks to block alleged interception.    The two companies are also likely worried about the influx of competition into digital communications as startups focus on security and anonymity concerns.

By Thomas McIntyre, Consultant, VMI

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