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Showing posts from March 12, 2013

NATO force hit by fatal Afghanistan crash

At least five troops dead after helicopter goes down during heavy rainstorm in southern province of Kandahar.


Five members of the NATO-led international force in Afghanistan have been killed in a helicopter crash in bad weather

in the country's south, according to coalition and provincial authorities.

Police in the southern province of Kandahar said the accident occurred on Monday evening during a heavy rainstorm in Daman district.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) does not release the nationality of casualties, but US, British and Australian soldiers operate in the country's south.

"The cause of the crash is under investigation. However, initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time," ISAF said following the incident.

Helicopter crashes are fairly frequent in Afghanistan, where the 100,000-strong international mission relies heavily on air transport.


"There was bad weather in the area and the helicopter cra…

In cyberwarfare, rules of engagement still hard to define

When Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, comes to the Hill on Tuesday, he will probably be asked to describe his plans for building a military force to defend the nation against cyberattacks.

But one question remains unclear: Under what circumstances will these cyberwarriors be used?
President Obama last fall signed a classified directive that requires an “imminent” or ongoing threat of an attack that could result in death or damage to national security before a military cyber-action can be taken to thwart it.
But the definition of “imminent” is, like the definition of an “act of war,” subjective and dependent upon circumstances.
A century ago, when one nation’s army massed at another’s border, imminence was clearer. An attack seemed about to happen. Most acknowledged the threatened nation had a right to defend itself.
But today, technology and terrorism have confused the application of old rules. In cyberspace, where attacks can launch in milliseconds, a natio…

The Vatican goes dark: Inside the conclave’s high-tech blackout

Eight of the cardinals who will choose the next pope are active Twitter users, but the Vatican is going to long lengths to ensure their accounts stay silent during the conclave.

On Monday, jamming devices designed to block cellphone calls, Internet signals and hidden microphones were installed inside the Sistine Chapel and nearby guest residences. WiFi will be blocked throughout Vatican City until the end of the conclave. And the conclave’s active Twitter- and Facebook-users have been “forbidden access to their accounts along with all other forms of communication with the outside world,” according to Catholic News Service.

“In this electronic age, I worry some cardinals may go into iPad and Twitter withdrawal,” joked Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a blog post last week.

The strict social media lockdown isn’t particularly surprising — the conclave, which literally means “with key,” has long been obsessed with secrecy. The cardinals swear…

In cyberwarfare, rules of engagement still hard to define

When Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, comes to the Hill on Tuesday, he will probably be asked to describe his plans for building a military force to defend the nation against cyberattacks.

But one question remains unclear: Under what circumstances will these cyberwarriors be used?


President Obama last fall signed a classified directive that requires an “imminent” or ongoing threat of an attack that could result in death or damage to national security before a military cyber-action can be taken to thwart it.

But the definition of “imminent” is, like the definition of an “act of war,” subjective and dependent upon circumstances.

A century ago, when one nation’s army massed at another’s border, imminence was clearer. An attack seemed about to happen. Most acknowledged the threatened nation had a right to defend itself.

But today, technology and terrorism have confused the application of old rules. In cyberspace, where attacks can launch in milliseconds, a nation…

U.S. publicly calls on China to stop commercial cyber-espionage, theft of trade secrets

In an unusually direct appeal, the Obama administration on Monday called on China to halt its persistent theft of trade secrets from corporate computers and engage in a dialogue to establish norms of behavior in cyberspace.

The demands mark the administration’s first public effort to hold China to account for what officials have described as an extensive, years-long campaign of commercial cyber-espionage.


“Increasingly, U.S. businesses are speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyber-intrusions on an unprecedented scale,” President Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, said in a speech to the Asia Society in New York.

Donilon said China must recognize the risk such activities pose to the reputation of Chinese industry, to bilateral relations and to international trade. Beijing, he said, must also “take serious steps to investigate” allegations of commercial ha…

Bodies dumped in Syria's 'river of death'

An exclusive report from Aleppo where 12 more corpses with bullet wounds have been recovered from the Queiq.

Twelve more bodies have been recovered from the Queiq River in Syria's Aleppo city a day after 22 corpses were pulled out.

Corpses have been appearing on the river shores since late January when at least 80 bodies were found, many with bullet wounds to the head.

The opposition says government forces are responsible for dumping the bodies in what has become known as the River of Martyrs.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr filed this exclusive report after meeting some of the victims' families in Aleppo.

Pakistan defies US with gas pipeline to Iran

Construction of pipeline, intended to help Pakistan overcome its increasing energy needs, begins despite US opposition.

Iranian and Pakistani leaders have inaugurated the construction of a much-delayed section of a $7.5bn gas pipeline linking the two neighbours, defying the threat of US sanctions.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched the project with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at a ceremony on the border on Monday, hailing the agreement as a blow to US-led sanctions targeting his country's oil and gas sector.

The two leaders unveiled a plaque before shaking hands and offering prayers for the successful conclusion of the project, which involves the laying of a 780km section of the pipeline on the Pakistani side, expected to cost some $1.5bn.

The pipeline is intended to help Islamabad overcome its increasing energy needs at a time when the country is facing increased blackouts and energy shortages.

There are serious doubts, however, about how Pakistan can finance the pr…