Archive for January, 2015

Ebola Cure May Come From Unlikely Source

Genetically engineering animals to hold human DNA is by no means a new area in scientific community, and it has been used to benefit mankind greatly over the years. Most recently genetically engineered cattle which have been supplied with human DNA may be the key to solving the crisis brought by the deadly ebola virus.
The idea is that transferring plasma from survivors of the virus into Ebola patients may help patients heal, because the blood of a survivor contains antibodies proven to fight the virus. Once these cows get vaccinated against the diseases, they make antibodies in large quantities.
As it stands there is no cure to Ebola which is decimating parts of West Africa and creates instability in the region. The virus burdens the area in a manner which is detrimental to the economy of the infected area, and this may be what can bring the area back from the brink.

NSA confirms that North Korea was behind the Sony Hack

After the cyber attack on Sony many private cyber security companies have raised questions about the certainty that North Korea was behind the attack. However, recently more evidence has come forward to back up those claims. It turns out in 2010 the NSA hacked into Chinese networks that connected North Korea to the world wide web and they imbedded malware into the networks that were used by North Korea’s cyber spies, which included those who were believed to behind the attack. The NSA said that the malware was intended to be an “early warning radar”, however it did not seem to warn U.S. Intelligence officials till after the fact. The malware seems to be only partially doing it’s job. It is lucky that the attack was not any worse. At least it added additional proof on top of other classified information that showed North Korea’s involvement and allowed U.S. to appropriately respond. It would seem that for the future this malware could use some tweaking to allow it to work as the preventative measure that it was intended to be.


Lawmaker’s Call to Action against ISIS

Since the withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq, the Islamic terrorist group known to the world as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria),  has been able to grow in power and territory while President Obama and congress casually sit on the capital hill debating what the proper course of action should be against this ever growing threat.

The Obama administrations wanted the states of the Middle East to develop their own form of democracy for years to come. However, instead of a stable democracy as the Obama administration hoped would happen, the states of the Middle East are arguably in worse condition than ever before, and our ideals of a government dictated by citizens with undisputed natural rights has now been replaced by a militant state dead set on enforcing Sharia laws by any means necessary including the death of thousands. Finally lawmakers have realized that action is required again in the Middle East regardless of the type of action they decide. Preferably immediate military intervention.

At this moment the Obama administration has approved drone surveillance into Syria to monitor the growing militant group, but yet this is arguably not enough, because as the administration continues to think of a “proper” course of action, ISIS continues expand their influence throughout the region. So what is the right action to take against ISIS? Lawmakers finally want this question answered immediately and decisively. The Obama administration needs to expedite this process by any means necessary, in the direction of immediate intervention. If this situation is not dealt with soon with the technology and tactics that keep harm away from our fighting men and women, the day will soon come where full intervention will be necessary for peace to be maintained in the region. And that possible will be seen as unnecessary because the Obama administration’s foreign policy did not take action when it was called for. ISIS Policy


Court to Look Into Possible Israeli War Crimes in Palestinian Territories

The International Criminal Court accuses Israel of “systematic and blatant” breaches of international law, including during the Gaza war last summer.  The I.C.C. opened a preliminary examination of possible war crimes committed in Palestine; this is the first formal step that could lead to charges against Israelis.  Palestinian officials welcomed the announcement while Israeli officials are seeking to disband the court. The United States has warned that American aid to the Palestinian authority could also be imperiled.  The article provided a statement by Jeff Rathke a State Department spokesman: “We strongly disagree with the I.C.C. prosecutor’s action today.  As we have said repeatedly, we do not believe that Palestine is a state and therefore we do not believe that it is eligible to join the I.C.C..  It is a tragic irony that Israel, which has withstood thousands of terrorist rockets fired and its civilians and its neighborhoods, is now being scrutinized by the I.CC.”

The I.C.C. opening a preliminary examination of possible war crimes does not require any immediate action from the Obama administration.  All things considered, this is not a priority right now.  However, if there was an investigation and actual charges were to be made, the Obama administration would have to react.  President Obama would have to hold Israel accountable for its actions, whether or not he will actually do this is a different story.  It is clear that spokesman Rathke disapproves of Palestine joining the I.C.C., however, it is difficult to see a resolution in this conflict if Palestine is unable to have a voice in the international community.


Chemical Plant Threatens Impoverished Americans

The linked article, which is a mix of evidence and professionals’ opinions, explains the history of chemical catastrophe. When a chemical factory is established the surrounding area, in terms of real estate, plummets. This causes impoverished families to be able to purchase a home and start a new life. All these different accounts of chemical mishaps are very concerning to these newcomers. The lack of responsibility our government is showing is also a major issue. If there could be some kind of sanction that made it impossible for homes to be built within a certain mileage of the plant, it could drastically reduce the amount of casualties when chemical plant mishaps occur. Along with explosions another concern is the contamination of water source. It not only has the capability of killing people, but also the marine ecosystems living in close proximity. It’s important to protect not only ourselves but our resources so I soon hope to see new sanctions concerning emissions and even the construction of chemical factories.

-Noah Bey

Romania Commits to Raise Defense Spending

As Ukrainian separatist, who the U.S. and much of the international community believe Russia is supporting, wage a civil war in Ukraine, and Russian nationalists within Moldova maintain a tense peace, it is logical for Romania to increase its defense spending.  While NATO members have historically been relaxed about meeting the alliance’s defense spending requirement (right now 2% of each individual state’s GDP is the goal), over the weekend Romania committed to meeting it by 2017.  Newly elected Romanian president Klaus Iohannis made clear references to the disturbance in Ukraine and seemed to argue that concern with the security of the region was what provided the impetus for this commitment.  A Russian invasion of Romania seems highly unlikely though, as there is no nationalist card to play and it is reasonable to think that NATO members, particularly the U.S., would intervene in such an event.  Still, it is prudent of Romania to boost defense spending as unlike other NATO members the security problems in Eastern Europe are occurring close to its borders.  This commitment also sends clear messages to Russia (that Romania will not roll over) and to NATO (don’t forget about Romania).  Here is a link to the press conference and transcript;      Edward Scheirer

Fighting for Donetsk international airport intensifies.


The clashes with the Russian-backed insurgents in the eastern part of Ukraine has continued for quite a while now. Among the most strategically important objects in the area is the Donetsk international airport. The fighting was going on almost continuesly, starting around May 2013,  with a ragtag militants trying to (and ocasionally succeeding) take control over the airport, only to be forced out. By now, however, the situation around the airport had escalated to a full-blown siege, with artilery and other military equipment used by both insurgents and the government forces.

Now, the question is, why are the insurgents still interested in controlling the airport? Approximately in May through July the airport was still in a fairly good condition, so at that point one might have assumed that the insurgents were planning to use the airport to receive the shipments of arms or “volunteers” from Russia, or perhaps it was part of a scenario, similar to the one that had unfolded in Crimea. By now, however, the airport is a little more than a pile of rubble, with just about anything that could have been of use for insurgents damaged beyond repair. At this point it is unclear what the insurgents are trying to achieve by taking over the Donetsk airport, other than simply knocking the ukrainian forces out of a strategic position, one of the closest ones to the downtown Donetsk.

Even if one assumes that the landing strips are still in usable condition, the following question arises. Where will the insurgents, or, how they are usually called in Ukrainian media, simply terrorists, will get the aircrafts? And where will they get the personnel to operate them? Should the Donetsk airport fall and the insurgents suddenly found to be in posession of the military aircrafts, it will be likely that both the aircrafts themselves and the personnel were delivered by Russia.

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