Tag Archives: MARS-STAT

DHS’ empty positions; agriculture security at risk; positive train control, and more

Our picksDHS’ empty positions; agriculture security at risk; positive train control, and more

Published 20 December 2017

· All the key Department of Homeland Security positions Trump has left unfilled

· The National Security Strategy papers over a crisis

· Is agriculture security at risk? More than you realize

· Reciprocal rage: why Islamist extremists and the far right need each other

· The Internet of Things is going to change everything about cybersecurity

· Cybersecurity in the Trump era

· What Trump’s National Security Strategy says on cyber

· Could positive train control have prevented the Washington wreck?

All the key Department of Homeland Security positions Trump has left unfilled (Heather Timmons, NextGov)
The Department of Homeland Security is tasked with keeping the US safe, from securing the country’s borders to protecting against attacks on its electrical grids and thwarting terrorism attacks. One of its biggest challenges in recent months has come from the White House itself: Since Donald Trump took office in January, dozens of top jobs have been left unassigned, hollowing out the massive agency.

The National Security Strategy papers over a crisis (Thomas Wright, Defense One)
The NSS is a stunning repudiation of Trump, and Trump’s speech was a stunning repudiation of the NSS.

Is agriculture security at risk? More than you realize (Sara Brown, Drovers)
When U.S. Navy Seals entered the hiding place for Osama Bin Laden they found a list of 16 deadly agricultural pathogens that Al Qaeda intended to use as bioweapons, said former Sen. Joe Lieberman during a recent Senate Committee on Agriculture hearing on agro-defense. Six of the bioweapons targeted livestock production. Four targeted crop production. Six more targeted humans.

Reciprocal rage: why Islamist extremists and the far right need each other (Sean Illing, Vox)
How two complementary extremisms are defining global politics.

The Internet of Things is going to change everything about cybersecurity (Yevgeny Dibrov, Harvard Business Review)
Cybersecurity can cause organizational migraines. In 2016, breaches cost businesses nearly $4 billion and exposed an average of 24,000 records per incident. In 2017, the number of breaches is anticipated to rise by 36%. The constant drumbeat of threats and attacks is becoming so mainstream that businesses are expected to invest more than $93 billion in cyber defenses by 2018. Even Congress is acting more quickly to pass laws that will — hopefully — improve the situation.

Cybersecurity in the Trump era (Wall Street Journal)
It isn’t much different than under President Obama, say Gregory Touhill and Christopher Krebs. That says a lot about the issue.

What Trump’s National Security Strategy says on cyber (Mark Pomerleau, Fifth Domain)
Here’s what the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy means for the nation’s cybersecurity strategy.

Could positive train control have prevented the Washington wreck? (David A. Graham, The Atlantic)
The NTSB said the train that derailed south of Seattle on Monday was traveling 80 miles per hour, 50 miles faster than the speed limit on the curve where it crashed.

The United Nations Rome-Based Agencies Commit To Enhance Their Cooperation In The Global South To Achieve Zero Hunger By 2030

FAO, IFAD and WFP present a road map aiming at increasing their collaboration in support of South-South and Triangular Cooperation

28 November 2017 – Rome/Antalya. At the Global South-South Development Expo in Antalya (Turkey), the Rome-based Agencies (RBAs) presented today a joint roadmap for discussion, which aims to strengthen the collaboration amongst the three Agencies in facilitating South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the context of achieving progress towards Zero Hunger by 2030.

“Considering our respective mandates, comparative advantages and distinctive strengths, all centered around the realm of food security and agriculture, we know we will be more effective if we work together in mainstreaming this cost-effective and innovative mechanism into the development cooperation agenda to achieve the SDGs,” said Dongxin Feng, FAO’s Deputy Director of the Division for Partnerships and South-South Cooperation.

Country-led and based on the notion of solidarity among equals, South-South and Triangular Cooperation helps to complement the traditional North-South Cooperation mechanisms.

“It is a proven cost-effective delivery mechanism that attaches great importance to the in-kind contributions that can help bridge the gap in many cases for exchanges to happen, meaning that every country has something to offer” said Ashwani Muthoo IFAD’s Director, Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy Division.

Muthoo also stressed IFAD’s commitment to support South-South and Triangular Cooperation, which has become one of the Fund’s preferred implementation modalities. “It will be one of the key drivers of the Organization for the future alongside the work with the private sector and youth employment,” he said.

The Roadmap

The RBAs already share a common vision for an effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, through holistic approaches aimed at achieving in particular Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2, “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”.
This joint roadmap builds upon the overall framework of collaboration signed last year among the United Nations Rome-based Agencies to deliver on the 2030 Agenda.
“With this roadmap we aimed to identify our shared priorities in South-South and Triangular Cooperation and to put in place a working methodology to enhance our coordinated efforts in the years to come to make Zero Hunger a reality by 2030,” explained Kenn Crossley, WFP’s Deputy Director of the Policy and Programme Division.

Strong partnership

This partnership will facilitate building on and further creating synergies and complementarities between the RBAs, as well as increasing the visibility on the benefits of South-South and Triangular Cooperation and the concrete results that can be achieved through this alternative development mechanism.
Crossley noted that this roadmap is a step further towards a more systematic collaboration amongst the Agencies, moving away from ad hoc initiatives: “We now envision a systematized collaboration amongst the RBAs on South-South Cooperation at all levels”,” said Crossley.

The RBAs want to respond to the growing demand for South-South and Triangular Cooperation by joining forces to mainstream this modality throughout their Organizations and Member States. “This joint event and the Roadmap are a clear and strong signal that we take our collaboration very seriously,” said Feng referring to the RBA joint session held in Antalya on how to accelerate country-led progress towards Zero Hunger through joint and complementary efforts of RBAs.

The roadmap, still open for discussion, is centered around the period 2018-2019 leading up to the celebration during a UN High-level event, organized by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, of the 40th anniversary of the adoption in 1978 of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, known as BAPA+40.

Opinion – Gender Equality in EU Trade Agreements – PE 610.543v02-00 – Committee on Development

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Shouf Groundwater stable action needed to rectify seasonal fluctuation in spring and river flows, finds Nestl� Waters joint study

NNA – A two-year monitoring study in Lebanon’s Shouf Mountains, done in collaboration between the Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR) and Nestlé Waters, found the area’s overall groundwater balance to be positive by around 12 million cubic meters per year, and detected high impact stemming from climate change and human activities.

With the rainy season mainly extending from October to April, the “Groundwater assessment of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve-Lebanon” study, implemented by leading water and environmental management consultancy ANTEA Group, also found a need to better manage water resources to avoid droughts caused by significant seasonal shifts in surface water flows in the area’s springs and rivers.

The news was announced at a ceremony in Beirut held under the auspices of Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water Cesar Abi Khalil, in the presence of Justice Minister Selim Jreissati, Mrs. Noura Joumblatt, SBR Committee President Charles Njeim, as well as representatives of the ministries of Health and Environment, and Nestlé global Water Resources Manager Carlo Galli.

“The results are very reassuring as far as groundwater levels in the Shouf are concerned,” said Abi Khalil. “We now look forward to continued collaboration with the private sector and local authorities and institutions, which were pivotal in taking the lead in this initiative, in order to implement the study’s recommended means to ensure sustainable water supply during dry seasons. This initiative is fully in line with the government policy on water basin management.”

“The Shouf Biosphere Reserve is ready to support the implementation of this important initiative without further delay, insisting on establishing a steering committee, as per report recommendation to implement the roadmap, which would include representatives from the ministries of Water & Energy and Agriculture, municipalities, representatives of local agriculture cooperatives, local water authorities, concerned NGOs, the private sector, women groups and others,” said Joumblatt. “This study is undoubtedly a significant step forward in the preservation of our environment and water resources. Without exaggeration, we can easily say we would be preserving life itself.”

“We at Nestlé Waters advocate for effective water stewardship,” concluded Galli. “Our collaboration with the Shouf Biosphere Reserve in Lebanon and local stakeholders is allowing us to create shared value for society, the environment and us, by ensuring integrated water resources management of the watershed.”

The “Groundwater assessment of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve-Lebanon” study is the fruit of a 2015 Memorandum of Understanding between Nestlé Waters and the Shouf Biosphere Reserve.

Launched in 2016, its key objective was to assess the water resources of the area extending over Lebanon’s western mountain chain from Mount Kneisseh in the North, to mount Niha in the South – one of the most plentiful freshwater-generating hotspots in Lebanon and the Middle East.

A basin committee is currently being formed to follow up on the study’s proposed action plan and recommendations.


Follow the latest National News Agency (NNA) news on Radio Lebanon 98.5, 98.1, and 96.2 FM

News in Brief 13 November 2017 (AM)

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United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

UN teams rushing to help victims of Iran-Iraq earthquake

United Nations teams are rushing to assist local authorities in Iraq in the wake of a deadly earthquake which hit the country and neighbouring Iran.

The 7.3-magnitude quake struck the border region between the two countries on Sunday evening, killing nearly 400 people and injuring thousands more, according to media reports.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has expressed his sadness over the loss of life and damage.

Meanwhile, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande reported that an assessment team arrived in Darbandikhan, one of the worst-impacted areas, on Monday.

“We’ve also received a request from the Government to dispatch a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team from Geneva. This is a highly specialised team that will help to assess conditions and coordinate the response,” she said in a statement.

Ms Grande added that the World Health Organization (WHO) has also dispatched an Immediate Response Team and two ambulances to the primary hospital in the area, along with trauma and surgical kits.

South Sudan: UN official welcomes presidential decree on aid access

The UN’s top humanitarian official in South Sudan has welcomed a presidential decree ordering free, unimpeded and unhindered movement of aid organizations in the country.

“Ensuring unhindered humanitarian access is essential to save lives,” Alain Noudéhou said in a statement issued on Monday, just days after President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued the order.

It comes at a time when food insecurity “continues to deteriorate and humanitarian organizations face pressure to expand their response,” he added.

Mr Noudéhou expressed hope that the decree will help in reducing what he described as “the many constraints faced by humanitarian partners that delay or prevent the provision of urgently needed help and which too often place humanitarian staff at risk.”

Papal gift provides farming kits for South Sudan families: FAO

A gift from Pope Francis to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will help approximately 5,000 hungry families in South Sudan to make ends meet, the UN agency said on Monday.

The families, located in Yei, in Central Equatoria state, have received vegetable-growing kits and agricultural hand tools courtesy of the Pope’s €25,000 donation to the UN agency, made in July.

The kits are being provided in areas where farming and other livelihoods have been wiped out due to conflict.

FAO estimates 145,000 people in Central Equatoria are facing “emergency levels of food insecurity,” which it describes as one step below famine.

Overall, nearly five million people in South Sudan are experiencing severe food insecurity, according to the agency, which projects that the situation will deteriorate at the start of the coming year.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

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