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Japan/China Relations, Iran, US Cybersecurity

Dated: 7 Nov 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Security, Uncategorized

Japan/China Relations: China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and Japanese National Security Advisor Shotaro Yachi agreed to a four-point agreement that acknowledged the existence of a dispute over islands in the East China Sea and called on both sides to gradually resume political, diplomatic, and security dialogue to improve relations.  Nearly everyone involved is likely to be cheered by the development, with one notable exception: the People’s Liberation Army.  China’s military is arguably the biggest beneficiary of the territorial tensions that have hovered over the East and South China Seas these past two years, with China’s navy and air force acting as the vanguard in confrontations with Japanese and other powers.  Now, with the proposed détente, the PLA may be concerned about the further erosion of its powers amid a corruption crack down and purging of its leaders.

Iran: Obama wrote a secret letter to Iran’s supreme leader, saying the U.S. and Iran have a shared interest in fighting ISIS, according to a WSJ report.  This comes as the nuclear negotiations are scheduled to wrap-up this month; with senior administration officials in recent days have placed the chances for a deal with Iran at only 50-50. While the emergence of ISIS has drastically changed both Washington’s and Tehran’s policies in the Middle East, it has also isolated allied nations such as Saudi and the UAE.

US Cybersecurity: recent report from DHS stating that the hacking campaign has been ongoing since 2011, but no attempt has been made to activate the malware to “damage, modify, or otherwise disrupt” the industrial control process. So while U.S. officials recently became aware the penetration, they don’t know where or when it may be unleashed.  Russia is also believed to be behind July’s cyberattack on JPMorgan Chase & Co. that compromised the names, addresses, phone numbers and contact information of over 83 million people. The company was unable to completely shut out its attackers until August.

Wireless Pressure Sensor, John McCain, Russia

Dated: 5 Nov 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Technology, Uncategorized

Wireless Pressure Sensor: A wireless pressure sensor that has already been used to measure brain pressure in lab mice with brain injuries. The underlying technology has such broad potential that it could one day be used to create skin-like materials that can sense pressure, leading to prosthetic devices with the electronic equivalent of a sense of touch.

John McCain: Republicans have seized the Senate majority in decisive nationwide elections that’ll propel Sen. John McCain to the top spot on the Senate Armed Services Committee and give the GOP more leverage to demand an end to defense sequestration. According to Politico, McCain’s ascension to the SASC chairmanship is a nightmare for just about every major defense firm except Raytheon, which is the No. 1 contractor in his home state. It’s especially bad for Lockheed Martin, since the company’s F-35 fighter jet and Littoral Combat Ship are frequent targets of his angry floor speeches about the military-industrial complex. The SASC gavel will also give McCain a bigger platform to blister the Obama administration and push his hawkish foreign-policy views.

Russia: The Russian military test-fired an intercontinental missile from a submerged submarine in the Barents Sea on Wednesday; the test comes after pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists held elections earlier this week. President Vladimir Putin has emphasized the importance of nuclear deterrence in the standoff over the crisis in Ukraine.