Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Children coming across far-right material when researching, teachers say.

According to the Guardian, a teachers’ conference in the UK has said that their students are coming across far-right material while researching for class projects. During a NASUWT teacher’s conference, it was argued that because many young children and students have access to the internet and social media, they are more vulnerable to far-right propaganda. Some of the teachers believe this is due to the increasing normalization of far-right extremist viewpoints and are worried about how easy it is for the far-right to potentially influence young peoples’ minds. Examples of students finding far-right extremism is when researching about the Holocaust, which can result in them accidentally coming across holocaust denial material and propaganda. The NASUWT general secretary, Dr Patrick Roach, later stated that students and children are not immune to extremism and are often exposed to hate speech and propaganda. He also added that “Concerted government-level action is urgently needed to support schools in tackling the problem and to support pupils and teachers who have been targeted and victimised.”

 

I think the UK seems to be having similar issues as the United States, in terms of far-right extremist information being shared across social media. Schools in the United States may be equally susceptible to far-right viewpoints and propaganda and it may be necessary for schools or the government to step in to prevent young students from accessing materials that may potentially expose them to the far-right and information that they may not believe is entirely wrong. Children becoming indoctrinated into extremist views could be extremely problematic for the UK and the United States, and it could lead to a younger generation with increasingly extremist views and could lead to an increase in extremist and terroristic activity.

Children coming across far-right material when researching, teachers say | Far right | The Guardian

 

– AJ DeGeorge

Finland to Consider Joining NATO

Finland’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, has given a report to Finnish parliament which outlined some of risks that Finland would take if they were to join the alliance. She also stated that her country has a decision to make in the coming weeks. Russia has said in the past that Finland or Sweden joining would be a threat and that there would be “consequences”. The report also added that Sweden may join Finland if they decided to send a bid.

Personally I do believe that Finland will choose to send in an application to join the NATO alliance, however I believe that if would be in the interest of the members of NATO and the US to stall any decision at point. The current climate is volatile and extremely dangerous. Putin has already attacked the Ukraine, a country sharing a border, and has made threats to Finland, another country that shares a border. If would be in Finnish interests to have the military support of NATO but, the potential for a direct NATO war with Russia is too high.

What are your thoughts?

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61093302

Ethan

Autonomous robots used in hundreds of hospitals at risk of remote hijacks

This article talks about how robots that are being used in hospitals are potentially able to be hacked by individuals on the outside of the hospital, by infiltrating the servers used to control these robots, individuals may be able to access patient medical history, or access the medical cam in the robot on snoop on patients in hospitals, violating doctor-patient confidentiality. In some cases, the robots could be used to administer lethal doses to patients, if the hospital is particularly careless in managing the robots.
I think that this would present an opportunity for particularly savvy hackers to inflict a lot of damage and conduct themselves in a particularly nefarious manner.
This could also mean that LAWS in the future are susceptible to hacking attempts. Although the US is particularly good at encrypting signals. Other nations are not as good. Russia for example is unable to properly encrypt its data and communication signals in Ukraine. This could present an opportunity for the US to cause mayhem in an adversary


https://techcrunch.com/2022/04/12/aethon-robots-hospitals-hijacks/


Jacob Veil.

Possible Japan-Philippines Defense Agreement in the Works

On Saturday, the Foreign and Defense ministers of Japan and the Philippines began negotiations in Tokyo for a possible mutual defense agreement that would allow troops from each country to visit the other for the purposes of training and exchanging equipment for better defensive cohesion. This builds up on growing defense ties between the two countries since China has steadily grown more and more belligerent in the last few years, and continues the Indo-Pacific trend of countries coming together to thwart the aggression of China in the form of the Quad and more formal defense pacts. The “2+2” meeting was instigated following concerns of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upsetting the international order and that no country can unilaterally change international borders, though they didn’t cite China by name as the main source of their negotiations. The Biden administration must do all it can to foster growing Indo-Pacific ties, because once the crisis in Ukraine is ends and Russia enters into a period of recovery, China will become the main threat of the U.S. so these defense talks between Indo-Pacific nations gives the U.S. a head start in solidifying a coalition against China.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., left, and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, right, speak during a meeting at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo Saturday, April 9, 2022. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/japan-philippines-seek-pact-defense-cooperation-83978270

-Ryan Llufrio

Protests, Looting, Pets Destroyed and Mass Suicides in Shanghai China as People Starve During Lockdowns

Protests, Looting, Pets Destroyed and Mass Suicides in Shanghai China as People Starve During Lockdowns

This isn’t a mainstream news source but the video linked in is what I am blogging about. If you watch the video, be advised as it is graphic

Shanghai has had widespread lockdowns in response to a covid outbreak. I blogged recently about the lockdowns starting to take place and that they would probably get pretty bad given China’s authoritarian approach to things. The mainstream news is failing to report on a large majority of the events in Shanghai. People are locked in their homes without food or water, and unable to leave to get supplies. Nearly everything is shutdown there and people are starting to protest. You can hear people screaming from their windows for help, needing supplies, and overall losing their minds. Those who test positive are sent to quarantine and if they own pets, the pets are killed. Children are separated from parents without visitation. The measures China is taking are extremely draconian, prompting individuals to commit suicide due to the lack of food and supplies.

 

This is extremely heartbreaking to see. I have been to Shanghai twice, in 2015 and 2017. I could never have imagined the bustling city would be in the state it is in today. I think we should take note of what is going on currently in China and make effort to avoid a similar path. Given the recent uptick in covid cases, there is no telling what the future may hold. The lockdowns we encountered in 2020 were unexpected and not too bad given what we are seeing in China. Extreme measures such as the ones taking place in Shanghai should be avoided at all costs here in the states, no matter how unlikely it may be to happen here.

 

Nathan

US Assesses Putin May Increase Efforts to Interfere With US Elections

The US intelligence community believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be willing to engage in more aggressive actions against the US in response to US support for Ukraine. No solid intelligence has come out confirming whether Putin has made a decision on interfering or has a preferred candidate in the next US elections. Intelligence officials believes that as the US and Ukraine continue to pressure Russia, Putin will eventually expand his options he considers in his response. No direct intelligence has come out suggesting any certain response, but the Federal government is anticipating the possibility. The Federal government has warned companies and businesses to take steps to protect themselves.

No firm intelligence has come out suggesting anything. this might cause an intelligence failure as the officials see the lack of intelligence to be a sign that Russia is planning something. US pressure could force Putin’s hand and critical US infrastructure is vulnerable. I worry that the lack of intelligence could cause the US to react poorly.

-Bryce

https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/11/politics/us-russia-election-interference/index.html

Abuja-Kaduna Train Attack

Central and northwest Nigeria have been ravaged by bandits for several decades, with regular killings, kidnappings, and raids. A series of attacks in the last few weeks in Kaduna state culminated in an attack on a train in which eight people were killed, and several were abducted with a ransom video being released later on. This is a serious escalation by the bandits which has lead many to conclude that there was additional involvement by members of Boko Haram and/or ISWAP. This conclusion is largely based on the style of the ransom video- the jihadist-style positioning of the gunmen (one on either side of the hostage) and the use of Islamic prayers and words used favored by militants. The use of explosives in the train attack may also point to involvement by Ansaru, another break away faction of Boko Haram.

Personally, I am somewhat skeptical of Boko Haram involvement in this attack. They have little to gain from it; maybe some money, but they would probably have to split it with the bandits, so it would be more trouble than it’s worth. Furthermore, the bandits have incentive to make it look like Boko Haram is involved to make the government take them more seriously, and copying their style of videos is not hard to do.

-Thora Gibbs

https://www.theafricareport.com/192729/nigeria-who-is-behind-the-abuja-kaduna-train-attack/

Congress negotiates new covid package; removes global aid

Last week Congress announced that they had negotiated a new $10 billion coronavirus aid package with hopes of ending the pandemic. This new deal differs significantly from the original $15.6 billion proposal, which guaranteed $5 billion for global vaccination efforts. Despite the Biden administration promises to provide global aid and end the pandemic, the new package focuses almost exclusively on domestic efforts. This has raised concerns amongst the global health community who fear that vulnerable populations will remain unvaccinated, thereby enhancing the longevity of the pandemic. While wealthier nations overcome the pandemic within their own borders, middle to low-income nations could continue to bear the physical, emotional, and economic burdens of the coronavirus.

Although I believe Congress has a duty to serve the American public first, I also believe tackling covid on a global scale will be the most effective way to preserve the health and safety of Americans. If only a handful of countries develop an immunity to the virus, the root of the problem will not have been sufficiently addressed. It is still likely that a deal could be reached to address global aid, but I have a feeling that it will not be popular amongst fiscally conservative members of Congress.

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/04/04/world/covid-19-mandates-cases-vaccine

https://www.cleveland.com/news/2022/04/experts-say-us-suspension-of-covid-aid-will-prolong-pandemic.html

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/05/joe-biden-covid-summit-postponed-00023173

Darcy Spicer

Ukraine’s forces are still holding strong as Russia regroups to form new strategies

Russian forces have retreated from Northern Ukraine, making Eastern Ukraine the main focus (Kharkiv all the way to Kherson). Mariupol seems to be the hotspot of the war for the moment, as Ukrainian forces are struggling to hold it down. This may not last long though, as Russian forces are upping the ante in that region. Zelensky has recently reached out to South Korea because of this, in search of military aid from them. At this point, South Korea has only aided Ukraine with non-lethals, so the probability of receiving weapons from them is low. Russian forces are continually shelling The Donbas, resulting in many civilian casualties. An example is a train station last week, resulting in 57 dead. It seems as though Putin is actively trying to commit war crimes as there appears to be a deliberate targeting of non-threatening structures. According to research from 2020, Ukraine has been the poorest European country with one of the most corrupt governments. Making their economic situation even worse, central banks have projected that Ukraine’s economic output this year will fall to 45%. That is unless Russian naval barricades back off, allowing grain exports to take off.

https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/ukraine-repulses-attacks-east-russia-presses-control-mariupol-2022-04-11/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60506682

-Luke H

Violence continues in Israel as tensions rise with upcoming overlap of religious holidays

Terror attacks continue, the most recent taking place last Thursday in Tel Aviv where a gunman open fired in a bar ultimately killing 3 Israelis.  This poses a problem as within the upcoming weeks Jews and Muslims will pray at the same sites in Jerusalem during an unusual overlap between Jewish Passover, and Islam’s holy month Ramadan.  Israel has been engaging in peace talks emphasizing trust building and aiding in economic measures in efforts to improve Palestinian quality of life, especially over Ramadan. Israel as provided thousands of coveted permits to work in Israel, approval to build new housing in the West Bank, given loans to the Palestinian Authority and permission for women, children and men over the age of 50 to pray in Jerusalem during Ramadan.

However, these actions are at risk of being revoked in leu of conflict. Diana Buttu, a former Palestinian Authority peace negotiator, said the problem is that the Israeli strategy offers no hope of ending the conflict. She explains this strategy is “just favors”, and that “They’re trying to dole out small little things but not change policy, and that’s one of the biggest problems now.”

 

Jenny

https://www.wsj.com/articles/terrorist-attacks-in-israel-jerusalem-tensions-challenge-palestinian-strategy-11649417879

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