Syrian refugees: World Bank and UN urge major change in handling of crisis
Sam Jones / The Guardian
The World Bank and the UN refugee agency have called for a “paradigm shift” in the way the world responds to refugee crises such as the Syrian emergency, warning that the current approach is nearsighted, unsustainable and is consigning hundreds of thousands of exiled people to poverty.
Russia urges Montenegro to hold referendum on NATO
Russia has urged Montenegro to hold a referendum on joining NATO, arguing that less the half of its population backed joining the military alliance.
China Touts Its Great Firewall in Push for Internet Control
Gillian Wong / The Wall Street Journal
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for individual countries to have broad authority to regulate the Internet at home, outlining a digital future in which governments could set online standards and challenge the free flow of information and content across borders.
U.S. on verge of lifting 40-year oil export ban in spending bill
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
The United States appears on the brink of ending a four-decade-old ban on most exports of crude oil, an abrupt end to a years-long fight triggered by the domestic shale boom.
China central bank sees economic growth slowing to 6.8 percent in 2016
China’s annual economic growth is likely to slow to 6.8 percent next year from an expected 6.9 percent this year, the People’s Bank of China said in a working paper published on Wednesday.
The doomsayers have it wrong about China
David Pilling / The Financial Times
It is easy to imagine China’s economic freight train going off the rails. When I came to Asia 14 years ago, many people in Japan, where the economy was then three times the size of China’s in nominal terms, were predicting precisely that. Surely, they reasoned, the system must crumble under its own contradictions.
National Security Strategy
U.S., Russia agree to push ahead with Syria talks
Dave Clark / Yahoo News
The United States and Russia agreed to plough on with efforts to halt Syria’s brutal civil war, with a fresh round of international crisis talks set for this week in New York.
First Japanese-built F-35 Begins Assembly
Lara Seligman / Defense News
In a key milestone for the international program, the first Japanese-built F-35 joint strike fighter began its assembly today at a facility in Nagoya, Japan.
U.S. Navy Commander Implies China Has Eroded Safety of South China Sea
Jane Perlez / The New York Times
A senior American naval commander has implicitly accused China of creating “so-called military zones” close to artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea, declaring that such actions are eroding the security of one of the world’s busiest waterways.
Hyeon Soo Lim: Canadian pastor given life sentence in North Korea
A North Korean court has sentenced a Canadian pastor to life in prison with hard labor for what it called crimes against the state.
Pentagon warns ISIS offshoot growing in Afghanistan, ‘operationally active’
The Pentagon delivered a warning Tuesday about the growth of the Islamic State offshoot in Afghanistan, saying the branch has become “more operationally active” there by carving out territory and openly fighting the Taliban.
Muslim nations form coalition to fight terror, call Islamic extremism ‘disease’
Ed Payne and Salma Abdelaziz / CNN
Calling Islamic extremism a disease, Saudi Arabia has announced the formation of a coalition of 34 predominately Muslim nations to fight terrorism.
Paris attacks: Two suspected ISIS militants found posing as refugees in Austria
Lizzie Dearden / The Independent
Two suspected Isis militants believed to have links to the Paris attacks have been found posing as refugees in Austria.
India, Choking on Pollution, Restricts Vehicles Use in New Delhi
Nida Najar / The New York Times
The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday ordered several transportation restrictions in the nation’s capital to help curb pollution, issuing a temporary ban on the registration of some diesel cars and setting a time frame for all taxis in the region to switch to compressed natural gas.
What the Paris Climate Agreement means for Vulnerable Nations
Amanda Little / The New Yorker
Just before negotiators at the United Nations Climate Change Summit, in Paris, released the final text of their agreement, on December 12th, the members of the Alliance of Small Island States started to sing.
Scientists See U.N. Climate Accord As a Good Start, But Just a Start
Nell Greenfieldboyce / National Public Radio
The United Nations climate summit is over, the weary diplomats have gone home, and now the historic deal is being dissected by scientists.
Germans worried about relaunch of old Belgian nuclear reactors
Dagmar Breitenbach / Deutsche Welle
Many Germans are upset about the relaunch of a Belgian nuclear power plant that was shut down because of “micro-cracks.” Local politicians are condemning it as a risky, irresponsible move.
After Paris Climate Talks, U.S. still far from a Clean Energy Revolution, Green Jobs Boom
Maria Gallucci / International Business Times
When global leaders reached a landmark climate change deal in Paris this week, they set out to shift the world away from fossil fuels and toward carbon-free energy. But for the United States, the historic accord won’t greatly expand the clean energy sector, or drive a green jobs boom just yet. The U.S. is still lagging in the types of aggressive policies and massive technology investments needed to spur a clean economy transformation, energy experts say.
China’s Sate Power Investment Corporation to Buy Renewable Energy Company
Amie Tsang / The New York Times
China’s State Power Investment Corporation agreed on Wednesday to buy Pacific Hydro, a renewable energy company, from the Australian pension fund IFM Investors for an undisclosed price.
Iran’s October missile test violated U.N. ban: Expert panel
Louis Charbonneau / Reuters
Iran violated a U.N. Security Council resolution in October by test-firing a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, a team of sanctions monitors said, leading to calls in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday for more sanctions on Tehran.
Obama’s N. Korea Strategy Leaves Nuclear Issue for Successor
Brian Padden / Voice of America
Even though U.S. President Barack Obama reached historic diplomatic breakthroughs with other longtime adversaries of the United States, it is unlikely he will realize any progress in limiting North Korea’s nuclear program during the remaining year of his presidency.
On Our Flashpoint Blog
Doubling Down on Norms in Paris
On Saturday the world held its breath with anticipation, awaiting the crack of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’ gavel. A deal was struck, one that achieved the participation of nearly two hundred states. The Paris Agreement is remarkable for achieving such broad cooperation—but is also remarkably imperfect. Some already see it as a hollow agreement, demanding nothing of states but their willing contributions, and offering no penalty for failure on one of the most important collective action problems the world has ever known. However, the Paris Agreement does exactly what global leaders needed: it lays the foundation for global “norms” and a climate regime.
Event Recap: Department of Defense Action on Climate Change
On Friday, December 11, the American Security Project hosted the Department of Defense Action on Climate Change event. It featured a distinguished panel discussing the Department of Defense Climate Adaptation Roadmap and the results of ASP’s National Climate Security Tour.
ASP’s Consensus Member David Titley (Ret.) Featured in Washington Examiner
ASP’s Consensus Member, Dr. David W. Titley, Rear Admiral USN (Ret.), recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Examiner discussing the implications climate change has on national security. This concern has resonated among defense officials for quite some time now, he notes, starting with the Bush Administration in 2003. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have begun acknowledging the need to develop a comprehensive climate strategy.
US LNG Exports are Good for America and the World
This week the U.S. House of Representatives takes up ‘The North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act.’ If passed, it’s supporters claim it would re-stock the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, modernize America’s energy infrastructure, and streamline the approval process for LNG export projects. Lawmakers may also vote on a repeal of the 40 year old ban on crude oil exports.
ASP Recently Published
Perspective – Alleviating the Resource Curse
American Security Project
Very soon, the Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to announce new proposed regulations under Section 1504 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act. The goal is to increase transparency and provide the public with greater access to information related to the payments that U.S.-listed companies make to foreign governments to extract oil, gas, and mineral resources. The rulemaking has been delayed by lawsuits and SEC inaction. But now the SEC has an opportunity to put in place a policy for disclosure that is accessible and effective.
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