Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

 John Kerry Arrives in Russia for First Direct Talks with Putin in Two Years

Felicia Schwartz / The Wall Street Journal
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Russia on Tuesday in the first top-level U.S. visit to the country in two years, hoping to carve out areas of common interest with Russian President Vladimir Putin despite soured relations over the Ukraine crisis and the Syrian civil war.

Nepal Rattled by Powerful New Earthquake East of Capital
Ellen Barry / The New York Times

A powerful earthquake shook Nepal on Tuesday, less than three weeks after a devastating temblor there killed more than 8,000 people. Dozens of deaths and more than a thousand injuries were reported.

American Competitiveness & Economic Diplomacy

OECD Says Signs of U.S. Economy Flagging, China Loses More Steam

Brian Love / Reuters
Economic growth appears to be flagging in the United States and continues to slow in China, while France and Italy are outperforming as the euro zone economy recovers, a monthly OECD measure showed on Tuesday.


National Security & Strategy

Saudi FM Says U.S.-Gulf Summit to Focus on ‘Aggressive’ Iran

Noah Browning, Sam Wilkin / Reuters
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said a summit between Gulf Arab leaders and U.S. President Barack Obama later this week will focus on Iran’s “aggressive” moves in the Middle East, Saudi state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.

US Cyber Commander: Hackers Will ‘Pay a Price’
Joe Gould / Defense News

US deterrents to cyber attacks could include a range of responses, including conventional force and economic sanctions, the chief of US Cyber Command said Monday.

U.S. Says Absences Won’t Deter Arab Talks

Carol Lee, Jay Solomon / The Wall Street Journal
The White House sought to salvage expectations for President Barack Obama’s summit this week with Persian Gulf states after the majority of rulers, including the king of Saudi Arabia, declined to attend.

Germany Gives Huge Amount of Phone, Text Data to U.S.: Report

Madeline Chambers / Reuters
Germany’s BND intelligence agency sends mammoth amounts of phone and text data to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) each month, Die Zeit Online reported, highlighting the scale of spying cooperation which has unleashed a political row here.


Asymmetric Operations

Air Strikes Hit Yemen Capital, U.N. Envoy Arrives Hours Before Truce

Mohammed Ghobari, Mohammed Mukhashaf, Stephanie Nebehay, Tom Miles / Reuters
Saudi-led air strikes pounded the rebel-held Yemeni capital Sanaa on Tuesday and the new United Nations envoy to the country arrived there hours before a five-day ceasefire after over six weeks of war was set to begin.

Russian Opposition: 220 Russian Soldiers Died in Ukraine
The Associated Press via The New York Times
Russian opposition activists published a report Tuesday that they claim proves that Russia is deeply involved in the war in Ukraine, seeking to counter overwhelming state media reports casting the events as a local uprising against the Ukrainian government.

Boko Haram Fight ‘Hampered by Poor Chad-Nigeria Co-ordination’

Chad’s President Idriss Deby has said the fight against Boko Haram militants is being hampered by poor co-ordination between his country and Nigeria.

Has ISIS Lost Its Head? Power Struggle Erupts with Al-Baghdadi Seriously Wounded
Jamie Dettmer / The Daily Beast

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s leader, has been moved from Iraq to the Syrian city of Raqqa, the terror army’s de facto capital, amid tight security two months after sustaining serious shrapnel wounds that left his spine damaged and his left leg immobile, say jihadi defectors.


Climate Security

El Nino Will be ‘Substantial’, Warn Australian Scientists
Madeleine Coorey / AFP
Australian scientists on Tuesday forecast a “substantial” El Nino weather phenomenon for 2015, potentially spelling deadly and costly climate extremes, after officially declaring its onset in the tropical Pacific.

Sea Levels are Rising at Faster Clip as Polar Melt Accelerates, New Study Shows
Joby Warrick / The Washington Post
Global sea levels are climbing at a faster rate than previously thought, according to a new analysis that underscores scientists’ concerns about the impact of melting glaciers and ice sheets near the Earth’s poles.


Energy Security

Shell Gets ‘Conditional’ US Arctic Drilling Approval

Oil firm Royal Dutch Shell has won approval from the US Department of Interior to explore for oil in the Arctic. The approval depends on Shell getting a nod from other US regulators, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said. Shell stopped Arctic exploration more than two years ago after problems including an oil rig fire and safety failures.

Putin’s Next Takeover Target is a $34 Billion Siberian Oil Giant
Bloomberg via Energy Voice
A decade ago, Vladimir Putin’s allies had Mikhail Khodorkovsky jailed and seized his Yukos Oil Co. Last year, they forced billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov to hand over OAO Bashneft. Now they’re coveting the biggest corporate treasure of all: OAO Surgutneftegas.

The First Solar Bike Path is Producing More Energy Than Expected
Jon Fingas / Engadget
Back in November, SolaRoad launched a test bike path that generates energy through solar cells embedded in the concrete. It sounds like an outlandish idea, but it’s apparently paying off very quickly. The company has revealed that its road has generated much more energy than expected — it produced 3,000kWh of electricity in the space of just six months, or enough to power a single person’s home for a year.


Nuclear Security

US Nuclear Deal with China Raises Proliferation Concerns

Steven Mufson / The Washington Post
The deal would allow Beijing to buy more US-designed reactors and pursue a facility or the technology to reprocess plutonium from spent fuel. China would also be able to buy reactor coolant technology that experts say could be adapted to make its submarines quieter and harder to detect.


 On Our Flashpoint Blog

Vulnerability of Caribbean Discussed at Climate Summit

Philip Rossetti
On May 9th about 40 heads of state, top level officials, and organization heads from the Caribbean met for the Caribbean Climate Summit. This summit marked a high level meeting to discuss the impact of climate change on the region as well as what steps can be taken to prevent the worst of it.

What Tesla’s Powerwall Means for Energy Security

Philip Rossetti
The Powerwall and Powerpack mark the first commercial success in bringing batteries powerful enough to power a home—or even a factory, as the factory where Tesla will produce the Powerpacks will be powered entirely by (naturally) Powerpacks.

 The ISIS Threat in U.S.

American Security Project
ASP’s Director of Strategy and Communications Paul Hamill was featured on Fox Local News yesterday discussing the threat of ISIS terror cells in the United States. A report from someone claiming to have ties to the terrorist organization reported over 70 militants living in 15 states across the country.


Exporting the Best of America – What the Business Sector Can Learn From Jazz

Chad Tragakis
Jazz, once a uniquely American art form, has been embraced in nearly every corner of the populated world. Many of its most ardent and enthusiastic devotees – both listeners and performers themselves – are now found outside of the United States. And, there are dozens of wonderful programs around the world that use Jazz as a means to promote peace and foster cross-cultural understanding, even among those who share little if any other common ground. It is a grand idea, though not a new one.


ASP Recently Published


Critical Issues Facing Russia and the Former Soviet Union: Governance and Corruption

American Security Project

When it comes to Russia and the other post-Soviet states, corruption is the subject of constant academic, policy, and popular debate. According to many, persistent corruption is the major factor undermining post-Soviet states from achieving broad-based political, economic, and social development along liberal-democratic lines.

 Environmental Threats to Louisiana’s Future: Climate Change

American Security Project

As one of the centers of energy production, transit, and storage, Louisiana is a hub for the whole country. This ensures that any problems in Louisiana are transferred throughout the country by energy price volatility and uncertainty.

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