Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Twenty-Seven Killed in Attacks on Tunisian Hotels
Tamer El-Ghobashy / WSJ
At least 27 people were killed when gunmen stormed two hotels in the Tunisian coastal city of Sousse on Friday, the country’s interior ministry said.

Islamic State Kills at least 145 Civilians in Syria’s Kobani: Monitor
Sylvia Westall / Reuters
Islamic State fighters killed at least 145 civilians in an attack on the Syrian town of Kobani and a nearby village, in what a monitoring group described on Friday as the second worst massacre carried out by the hardline group in Syria.


North Korea’s historic drought expected to cause famine, U.N. says

Kathy Novak / CNN
North Koreans are again facing a “looming humanitarian disaster in the DPRK,” or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, according to the United Nations human rights chief. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein told CNN, “We call for the international community to support the DPRK and help the DPRK in a respect of what is going to be a very difficult famine.”



American Competitiveness & Economic Diplomacy


Greece Says it Cannot Accept ‘Unviable’ Debt Solutions
Al Jazeera
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said his country has done everything it could to accommodate the “strange demands” made by its creditors, and was determined to remain part of the eurozone.
Lending to Eurozone’s Private Sector Rises in May
Brian Blackstone and Todd Buell / WSJ
Lending to the eurozone’s private sector rose at its fastest rate in more than three years in May, according to a report on Friday from the European Central Bank, suggesting the region’s economic recovery is beginning to broaden out and boost demand for new credit.


House clears extension of African Trade and Governance Bill
Neanda Salvaterra / WSJ
On Thursday, the House cleared an extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which is designed to advance the U.S. goal of expanding trade with Africa while encouraging democratic governance. Originally enacted with bipartisan support by Congress in 2000 as an assistance program to foster economic growth, the law gives about 40 African countries tariff-free access to the U.S. market. The U.S. is playing catch-up on the continent. China eclipsed the U.S. as the Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009. But unlike the U.S., China doesn’t tie its trade programs to good governance matters.



National Security & Strategy


U.S. Intelligence Chief: China Top Suspect in Government Agency Hack

U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper said on Thursday that China was the top suspect in the massive hacking of a U.S.  Government agency that compromised the personnel records of millions of Americans.


UK Faces Calls for Intelligence Sharing Over Drone Attacks
Alice Ross / The Guardian
A former counter-terrorism minister has joined calls for the British government to publish its rules on intelligence sharing, that could lead to drone strikes beyond traditional battlefields. Admiral Lord West, who served as a Home Office minister in the Gordon Brown Labour government, said that intelligence sharing with allies such as the US is “crucially important” for protecting the country from national security threats.



National Security & Space

The Why and How of Landing Rockets
A jumbo jet costs about the same as one of our Falcon 9 rockets, but airlines don’t junk a plane after a one-way trip from LA to New York. Yet when it comes to space travel, rockets fly only once—even though the rocket itself represents the majority of launch cost. The Space Shuttle was technically reusable, but its giant fuel tank was discarded after each launch, and its side boosters parachuted into corrosive salt water every flight, beginning a long and involved process of retrieval and reprocessing. So, what if we could mitigate those factors by landing rockets gently and precisely on land? Refurbishment time and cost would be dramatically reduced.



Asymmetric Operations


Decapitated body, daubed with Arabic, found at French attack site
Catherine Lagrange / Reuters

A decapitated body covered in Arabic writing was found at a U.S. gas company in southeast France on Friday, police sources and French media said, after an assailant rammed a car into the premises, triggering an explosion.

Explosion Hits Mosque in Kuwait During Friday Prayers: TV Stations
An explosion hit a Kuwaiti Shiite Muslim mosque in Kuwait city during Friday prayers and there were a number of casualties, Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera television networks reported.



Climate Security

Greenhouse gas blamed for ‘climate expulsion’ driving temperature rises across Pacific nations

Graham Readfearn / Guardian

Australian Bureau of Meteorology study finds temperatures across 13 Pacific nations will keep climbing, even with radical cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. The finding comes in a new study from scientists at Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology and published in the International Journal of Climatology. Scientists examined temperatures between 1953 and 2010 in an area of the Pacific that includes the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The study analyzed data from weather observations in that west Pacific region and found temperatures have been rising by about 0.15C per decade.

Giant earthquakes are shaking Greenland and scientists just figured out the disturbing reason why
Chris Mooney / Washington Post
If Greenland goes, it is becoming clear that it won’t go quietly. Scientists have already documented entire meltwater lakes vanishing in a matter of hours atop the vast Greenland ice sheet, as huge crevasses open beneath them. And now, they’ve cast light on the mechanisms behind another dramatic geophysical effect brought on by the rumbling and melting of this mass of often mile-thick ice: earthquakes.


New ‘Arctic-proof’ drone to track the effects of climate change
Phys Org
Drones generally get a bad press but there’s far more to them than destruction and war – for example drone technology can help save lives in disaster zones reaching places that no humans can tread. Now researchers from Laval University in Canada have revealed another surprising and positive drone application – tracking the impact of climate change in the Arctic. Laval University’s Argo drone can survive in the extreme conditions of the Arctic Ocean, plunging depths of almost 2 000 meters to collect data about marine organisms. This means that it can collect previously inaccessible information to improve our understanding of the Arctic marine ecosystem and track the effects of climate change.



Energy Security


Governors urge EPA to keep renewable fuel standards intact
Bill Draper / AP
A plan to reduce the amount of renewable fuels required in the U.S. gasoline supply drew heated condemnation of the petroleum industry Thursday from two governors who said health of the ethanol industry is vital to their states’ economy. Hundreds of people took turns reading prepared three-minute statements on an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to lower biofuel requirements set by Congress by 4 billion gallons this year and 5 billion gallons next year.



Nuclear Security

As Iran nuclear talks near completion, the issues get ‘tougher and tougher’
Carol Morello / Washington Post

After more than 18 months of grueling negotiations, the United States and five other world powers are about to find out if they can strike a deal with Iran that would open its nuclear program to unprecedented scrutiny and in return ease a punishing raft of sanctions. Secretary of State John F. Kerry left Friday morning for the final round of talks in Vienna. The other foreign ministers will trickle in over the weekend in advance of a June 30 deadline, but negotiators acknowledge the endgame may take a few days longer in order to work through some major differences still separating the sides

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