Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads


Malala’s attackers quietly freed by Pakistan
Tucker Reals / CBS News
At the end of April, Pakistani officials told CBS News that 10 men linked to the Taliban had been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the attempted assassination of teen activist Malala Yousafzai in the country’s Swat province. Friday, however, it emerged that eight of those men were subsequently set free — and may never have been convicted in the first place — by a secret military court that found the evidence against them “had gaps.”



South Korea identifies hospital at center of MERS virus outbreak
Choe Sang-Hun
The South Korean government on Friday identified a hospital where it said most of the country’s known cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome had originated, saying that it was trying to find everyone who had been there during a two-week period in May. “Finding them and placing them under monitoring is a key to containing the spread” of the outbreak of the illness, known as MERS, which has killed four people in South Korea, Health Minister Moon Hyung-pyo said at a news conference.


Iraqis at risk as UN says aid could be cut by ‘more than half’

The UN has warned it may be forced to shut down or reduce more than half of its critical aid operations for those affected by conflict in Iraq. It is appealing for nearly $500m (£325; €443) to cover the immediate needs of 5.6m Iraqis for the next six months. Three million have been displaced since Islamic State (IS) begin its campaign to seize vast swathes of Iraqi territory last year, the UN estimates.




American Competitiveness & Economic Diplomacy


IMF urges Fed to wait on interest rates until 2016
New York Times

The International Monetary Fund on Thursday slashed its forecasts for U.S. economic growth, calling for the Federal Reserve to hold off its first rate increase in nearly a decade until 2016. In its annual review of the U.S. economy, the IMF said a series of negative shocks, including a strong dollar and bad weather, had sapped momentum for job creation and expansion, prompting a downgrade to its growth expectations to 2.5% for the year. Its last estimate in April was for a 3.1% expansion.



National Security & Strategy


U.S. suspects hackers in China breached about 4 million people’s records, officials say
Devlin Barrett, Danny Yadron and Damian Paletta
U.S. officials suspect that hackers in China stole the personal records of as many as four million people in one of the most far-reaching breaches of government computers. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing the breach, detected in April at the Office of Personnel Management.


Ukraine repels separatists in fierce fighting, Poroshenko says
David Herszenhorn / New York Times
Ukrainian forces repelled an attack by about 1,000 pro-Russian separatist fighters in the town of Maryinka, west of Donetsk, this week and captured at least 12 of them, including a Russian citizen, President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine said on Friday. Mr. Poroshenko, speaking at a news conference in Kiev, the capital, described the battle as a show of strength and resolve by his country’s military, which he has been working to rebuild since taking office a year ago amid the violent separatist uprising in the east.




Asymmetric Operations


Deadly bombing hits busy market in northeastern Nigeria

Al Jazeera

At least 31 people have been killed in an explosion at a busy market in the northeastern Nigerian city of Yola, an emergency official has said. The blast happened at about 7:40pm on Thursday at the Jimeta Main Market in the Adamawa state capital, just as traders were finishing business for the evening. “So far, we have 31 dead victims and 38 people in hospital receiving treatment” as a result of the blast, said Sa’ad Bello, Yola’s National Emergency Management Agency coordinator.

Kenya charges five over al-Shabab’s Garissa massacre
Five men have been charged in a Kenyan court with 162 counts of terrorism following the deadly assault by militant Islamists on Garissa University College in April. The four Kenyans and one Tanzanian conspired to commit “a terrorist act” at the university, the charge sheet alleges. The men denied the charges. They are the first people to be charged in connection with the massacre.


Social media photo from ISIS member gives U.S. clues for bombing attack

CBC News

An ISIS member’s posting of a photo and comment on social media gave the U.S. military enough information to trace the man in less than a day and destroy a command center, defense officials have revealed. U.S. Air Force Gen. Hawk Christie described the attack at a recent breakfast meeting in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Air Force Association, the website reported Thursday.



Climate Security


Study: Global warming risks changes to ocean life unprecedented in the last 3 million years

Joby Warrick

Continued warming of the Earth’s oceans over the next century could trigger disruptions to marine life on a scale not seen in the last 3 million years, scientists warn in a study released Monday. The changes could include extinctions of some of the ocean’s keystone species as well as a widespread influx of “invasive” animals and plants that migrate to new territory because of changing environmental conditions, the report says.



The subtle – but real- relationship between global warming and extreme weather events
Chris Mooney / Washington Post
It’s a particularly pressing question of late, following not only catastrophic floods in Texas and Oklahoma, but also a historic heatwave in India that has killed over 2,000 people so far, and President Obama’s recent trip to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, where he explicitly invoked the idea that global warming will make these storms worse (which also drew criticism). As the Nye case indicates, there is still a lot of pushback whenever anyone dares to link climate change to extreme weather events. But we don’t have to be afraid to talk about this relationship. We merely have to be scrupulously accurate in doing so, and let scientists lead the way.


Global warming ‘Hiatus’ challenged by NOAA research

Justin Gillis / New York Times

Scientists have long labored to explain what appeared to be a slowdown in global warming that began at the start of this century as, at the same time, heat-trapping emissions of carbon dioxide were soaring. The slowdown, sometimes inaccurately described as a halt or hiatus, became a major talking point for people critical of climate science.


Norway, in a push against climate change, will divest from coal

John Schwartz / New York Times

Norway’s $890 billion government pension fund, considered the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, will sell off many of its investments related to coal, making it the biggest institution yet to join a growing international movement to abandon at least some fossil fuel stocks. Parliament voted Friday to order the fund to shift its holdings out of billions of dollars of stock in companies whose businesses rely at least 30 percent on coal. A committee vote last week made Friday’s decision all but a formality; it will take effect next year.





OPEC agrees to keep pumping as oil glut fears persist
Alex Lawler and Raina El Gamal / Reuters
Oil group OPEC agreed to stick by its policy of unconstrained output for another six months on Friday, setting aside warnings of a second lurch lower in prices as some members such as Iran look to ramp up exports. Concluding a meeting with no apparent dissent, Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali al-Naimi said OPEC had rolled over its current output ceiling, renewing support for the shock market treatment it doled out late last year when the world’s top supplier said it would no longer cut output to keep prices high.


Fracking has not had big effect on water supply, E.P.A. says while noting risks

Coral Davenport / New York Times

A landmark Environmental Protection Agency report on the impact of hydraulic fracturing has found no evidence that the contentious technique of oil and gas extraction has had a widespread effect on the nation’s water supply, the agency said Thursday. It notes several specific instances in which the chemicals used in fracking led to contamination of water, including drinking water wells, but it emphasized that the number of cases was small compared with the number of fracked wells.




Nuclear Security


China urges no new demands at Iran nuclear talks
Ben Blanchard / Reuters

China’s foreign minister has urged that all parties involved in talks on Iran’s nuclear program make no new demands and that the legitimate concerns of the participants be respected, the Chinese government said late on Thursday. Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China reached a tentative framework for a nuclear pact on April 2 in Lausanne but several issues remain unresolved.


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