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National security wrap

Posted By , , and on December 6, 2018 @ 14:06

The beat

A case of mistaken identity in Victoria
The wrong man [1] was taken to Victoria’s Supreme Court to be sentenced for murder. Peter Brown was due to be sentenced a week ago, but a different Peter Brown was brought to court in his place. The accidental switch was detected by the judge’s associate. Government solicitor Debra Coombs said [2] the mistake was made by a Corrections Victoria officer in training using an old computer system. Ultimately the correct Peter Brown was delivered to court and sentenced to 30 years in jail.

Vice syndicate busted in joint Singapore–China operation
The Singapore Police Force and China’s Ministry of Public Security conducted a month-long joint investigation [3] into a transnational prostitution ring. The Singapore police announced on Monday that the operation resulted in the arrests of 201 people who were bringing Chinese women to work as prostitutes in Singapore. The 185 people arrested in Singapore were held under the country’s Women’s Charter, which bans both activities that help a person work as a prostitute and the receiving of rewards by someone working as a prostitute.

Sleeping on autopilot
Police in California used a new technique [4] to stop a runaway Tesla car and its sleeping driver, who was arrested for suspected drink driving. Officers stopped the car by driving in front of it and slowing down. Tesla’s autopilot system apparently slowed the car, which allowed officers to eventually bring it to a halt. Another police car alerted traffic on the highway behind. Tesla said [5] it was ‘looking into what happened’, but the incident has raised concerns about potential abuse of autopilot technology [6].

CT scan

Luring youth into militancy
Pakistan terror groups are using [7] women to lure young men into militancy, according to Indian security agencies. Security officials said suspects arrested on suspicion of terrorism had told them the women were persuading young men to deliver weapons and to act as guides. A suspected female recruiter was arrested after using social media to contact youths with a promise to meet them if they carried consignments on her behalf. Last month, a woman arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir Police was searched and found to be carrying 20 grenades. She told police she’d handed over other weapons and ammunition to two young men.

US embassy temporarily closed in the DRC
The American embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo was closed for 11 days [8] for fear of an attack by an Islamic State–linked group. Although the terrorist organisation is not known to be operating in the DRC, intercepted communications indicated members were planning to cross from a neighbouring country. The US has approved [9] a plan to reduce the number of troops it has conducting counterterrorism missions in Africa.

Radicalised US soldier sentenced over IS support
An American soldier has been sentenced to 25 years in prison [10] for providing classified military documents, a drone and other help to the Islamic State terror group. Sergeant 1st Class Ikaika Kang, who was radicalised online, pledged to support and fight on behalf of IS. He unwittingly made his declaration to an undercover FBI agent. Kang is believed to have watched hundreds of IS videos of beheadings, shootings and suicide bombings.


Families reunite at US–Canada border library
The Haskell Free Library and Opera House, which straddles the US–Canada border, has become an unintended hotspot [11] for the reunion of families separated by US President Donald Trump’s travel ban. The library is in a jurisdictional grey zone—half in Stanstead, Quebec, and half in Derby Line, Vermont. The entrance is on American territory and US officials have ‘tolerated’ visitors from Canada crossing the few metres of American soil without officially entering the US. Between March and November, around 12 Iranian families met at the library. Some had been separated for as long as seven years. While this is seen by many as a positive story, pressure from authorities [12] has reportedly restricted gatherings.

Border settlement could pave way to EU membership
As Kosovo and Serbia look to join the EU, Brussels has decided that disagreement over Kosovo’s sovereignty must first be resolved [13]. The dispute—10 years on from the Kosovo–Serbia split—remains the critical point of contention between the two countries, aggravated by tariff scuffles [14] and the formation of a national army [15] in Kosovo.

No-deal Brexit could increase criminal activity
Amid Brexit shenanigans, the importance of avoiding a hard border [16] between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic is still strongly in focus. Considering the history of criminal groups [17] smuggling cigarettes, alcohol and fuel from south to north, there are concerns that a no-deal Brexit will make the problems worse. While many insist that the issue of criminal activity has been taken into account [18] in contingency planning, others argue Brexit will have unknowable consequences.

First responder

Poland spruiks coal while hosting climate talks
Poland, the host country for the UN’s 24th annual climate change conference this week, used [19] the occasion to promote its coal industry. The conference aimed to establish a framework for executing the Paris Agreement [20] to prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 2°C and to eliminate the use of coal by 2050. Speaking at the summit, British naturalist David Attenborough said [21] that unless nations acted promptly to halt climate change, civilisation was at serious risk of collapse.

Paramedics join protests in France
Paramedics and students are the latest groups to join major anti-government protests [22] in France over the country’s economic inequalities and consumers’ declining purchasing power. The gilets jaunes (‘yellow vest’) movement, which started over a now-abandoned plan to increase the tax on fuel, is said to be driving the most serious crisis faced so far by President Emmanuel Macron’s government. Four people are [23] reported to have died in clashes between protesters and police.

Polio-like disease peaks in the US
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said [24] that the incidence of acute flaccid myelitis cases in children has reached its peak this year and the illness is now expected to decline. The CDC has created a task force to investigate the polio-like disease and research its treatment options. Experts suggest that prevention measures [25] like regular hand-washing and strict quarantine for those affected could contain the illness.

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URLs in this post:

[1] The wrong man: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/judge-unimpressed-after-wrong-man-brought-into-court-again-for-murder-sentence-20181129-p50j2i.html

[2] said: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/man-who-fatally-bashed-melbourne-woman-jailed-for-30-years-20181129-p50j40.html

[3] joint investigation: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/transnational-vice-syndicate-smashed-201-people-arrested-in-singapore-and

[4] new technique: https://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Drunk-driver-slept-while-Tesla-drove-Hwy-101-on-13435295.php

[5] Tesla said: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2018/12/tesla-model-s-appeared-to-drive-seven-miles-on-autopilot-while-drunk-driver-slept-police/

[6] abuse of autopilot technology: https://www.wired.com/story/tesla-sleeping-driver-dui-arrest-autopilot/

[7] using: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/pakistan-terror-groups-use-women-to-honey-trap-youths-officials-5475113/

[8] closed for 11 days: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/03/politics/isis-threat-us-embassy-drc/index.html

[9] approved: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/15/politics/us-reduce-troops-africa/index.html

[10] sentenced to 25 years in prison: https://journaltimes.com/news/national/soldier-who-tried-to-help-terrorists-gets--year-sentence/article_fdc9bbf8-f442-5c59-8af8-215e37fceca1.html

[11] become an unintended hotspot: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-ban-insight/separated-by-travel-ban-iranian-families-reunite-at-border-library-idUSKCN1NX1P2

[12] pressure from authorities: https://newrepublic.com/minutes/152455/library-straddling-canadian-border-become-haven-trumps-travel-ban

[13] Kosovo’s sovereignty must first be resolved: https://www.voanews.com/a/kosovo-president-defining-borders-will-help-solve-disputes-with-serbia/4678732.html

[14] tariff scuffles: https://www.rferl.org/a/eu-says-kosovo-s-tariff-on-serbia-bosnia-only-complicates-situation-/29627828.html

[15] national army: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/belgrade-threatens-to-intervene-if-kosovo-s-new-army-moves-to-subjugate-serbs-1.3721413

[16] hard border: https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/uk-politics-struggles-with-the-idea-of-being-trapped-in-the-backstop-1.3718310

[17] history of criminal groups: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/cross-border-smuggling-the-organised-crime-element-worries-me-1.3715099

[18] taken into account: https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/cross-border-criminality-taken-into-account-in-brexit-planning-varadkar-889114.html

[19] used: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/world/europe/poland-coal-un.html?smid=tw-nytimesworld&smtyp=cur

[20] Paris Agreement: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

[21] said: https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/civilisation-may-collapse-if-climate-change-ignored-attenborough-20181204-p50jzs.html

[22] protests: https://www.9news.com.au/2018/12/04/07/30/france-yellow-vest-protests-paramedics-students-rallies-emmanuel-macron-meetings-injuries-arrests

[23] are: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46437904

[24] has said: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2018/12/03/polio-like-disease-us-kids-appears-have-peaked-cdc-says/?utm_term=.bfbe55853765

[25] prevention measures: https://www.ksnblocal4.com/content/news/501655481.html

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