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National security wrap

Posted By , , and on May 2, 2019 @ 13:47

The beat

Sri Lanka’s police chief suspended

Sri Lanka’s police chief has been suspended [1] in the wake of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. Pujith Jayasundara had refused to stand down voluntarily despite reports that information about the attacks was known in advance and accusations that he’d failed to act [2] on the intelligence. Senior Deputy Inspector-General Chandana Wickramaratne is now acting police chief.

On-the-spot fines to be issued in WA

Police in Western Australia will have the means to issue on-the-spot fines via email and text message [3] in an effort to reduce paperwork. The WA police force has been given extra funding to buy 3,500 new handheld devices that can also be used to log crime scene details and evidence in real time. WA isn’t the first state or territory to introduce this system. New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory have started to issue tickets this way in recent years.

France to tackle high police suicide rate

The French government has created [4] a new suicide prevention unit to deal with the alarmingly high rate of suicide among its police officers. It’s been reported [5] that one officer has committed suicide every four days on average since the beginning of this year. Police union officials have noted that the physical and emotional strain on police has dramatically increased since the start of the ‘yellow vests’ protests late last year.


Hiking along the DMZ

UN Command has approved [6] phase one of South Korea’s ‘Peace Trail’ project, which proposes three hiking routes along the demilitarised zone. The Goseong trail will be the first to open. Beginning at the Odusan Unification Observatory and ending at the Mount Kumgang Observatory, it will be an hour-long [7] course alongside a fortified coastal road and minefields. Over the six decades of the DMZ’s existence, the 250-kilometre-long, 4-kilometre-wide no-go area has become a refuge for many rare and endangered species, including red-crowned cranes, white-naped cranes, mandarin ducks and musk deer.

Lebanon plans to demarcate maritime border with Israel

The speaker of Lebanon’s parliament, Nabih Berri, said on Tuesday that Beirut is preparing to demarcate [8] its maritime border with Israel under supervision of the United Nations. Berri told the head of the UN peacekeeping force in Southern Lebanon that Lebanon’s maritime borders and exclusive economic zone would be drawn under the same procedure used for the ‘Blue Line’ in 2000. The discovery of oil and gas reserves in the Mediterranean reignited the long-standing border dispute between the two countries last year.

Parrot squawks on Brazilian police

Brazilian police in the northeastern state of Piauí have seized a parrot [9] that alerted suspected drug dealers of the officers’ arrival. The parrot screeched ‘Múmia! Polícia!’ (‘Mummy! Police!’) when police closed in on the home, and a police spokesman asserted that the parrot must have been trained to do so. The parrot’s owner had two convictions for drug trafficking, and she and her husband were arrested after a search of their home uncovered crack cocaine.

CT scan

New Baghdadi video could be a sign of IS split

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has appeared in a video [10] for the first time in five years.

Many analysts believe [11] the video may be part of a recruitment drive and an attempt to strengthen control and quieten dissent within IS. In the past six months, there have reportedly been several attempts to oust Baghdadi. In April, a prominent IS member released a 200-page online book calling for members to overthrow Baghdadi, and in March it’s believed [12] he had to flee an attempted coup [13] from IS foreign fighters.

In an audio message reportedly from Baghdadi added to the end of the video, he takes credit for the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka, saying that they were in revenge for IS’s defeat in its final stronghold of Baghouz.

Political infighting in Sri Lanka led to intelligence failures

Intelligence failures surrounding the terror attacks in Sri Lanka are coming under more scrutiny. Political infighting [14] between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe meant that the prime minister and his close ministers were excluded [15] from intelligence briefings.

Wickremesinghe has said he wasn’t aware of warnings from the Indian intelligence service about an upcoming attack. He also wasn’t invited to security council meetings. With the president overseas at the time of the attack, he called a security council meeting but the members refused to come. It seems that other important intelligence wasn’t sufficiently followed up, including the discovery [16] of large quantities of explosives stored in remote areas around Sri Lanka in previous months.

First responder

NASA and other agencies take part in ‘asteroid impact’ simulation

At this year’s five-day planetary defence conference in the US state of Maryland, NASA, the European Space Agency, and other space agencies took part in a hypothetical disaster scenario involving an asteroid impact [17]. In the simulation, the asteroid was around 300 metres wide and had been detected eight years before it hit earth. NASA, which has led efforts to prevent such a catastrophe, has planned a double asteroid redirection test [18] for mid-2021.

India braces for Cyclone Fani

India is bracing itself for major damage on its eastern coastline as Tropical Cyclone Fani [19], the first major cyclone to threaten the area in five years, makes its way up the Bay of Bengal. The National Disaster Response Force, coast guard, and other emergency services have been put on high alert [20]. The storm is expected to make landfall on Friday, with wind gusts reaching 215 kilometres per hour.

Potential antidote found for box jellyfish stings

Researchers at the University of Sydney say they may have found an antidote [21] to box jellyfish venom. Box jellyfish [22] are native to northern Australia, and they’re known to have one of the most painful stings of any animal. Using the gene-editing tool CRISPR [23], scientists discovered that cyclodextrins, a family of drugs used in treating cholesterol-associated vascular and neurodegenerative diseases, could be used to treat the stings.

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URL to article: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/national-security-wrap-155/

URLs in this post:

[1] suspended: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/sri-lanka-suspends-police-chief-over-easter-attacks

[2] failed to act: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/sri-lanka-police-chief-refuses-to-quit-over-easter-attacks

[3] fines via email and text message: https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/wa-police-to-issue-fines-via-text-email-ng-b881182472z

[4] created: https://www.thelocal.fr/20190429/french-government-opens-suicide-prevention-unit-for-police-officers

[5] reported: https://www.thelocal.fr/20190409/its-a-massacre-one-french-police-officer-commits-suicide-every-four-days

[6] approved: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/korea-dmz-wildlife-hiking-trails/index.html

[7] hour-long: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/04/29/First-hikers-of-DMZ-trail-program-witness-pain-of-division/2801556515416/

[8] demarcate: https://www.timesofisrael.com/lebanon-ready-to-demarcate-maritime-border-with-israel-under-un-supervision/

[9] seized a parrot: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0c14a618-66b6-11e9-adc2-05e1b87efaea

[10] appeared in a video: http://time.com/5579918/isis-leader-appears-in-video/

[11] analysts believe: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/30/isis-leaders-video-an-attempt-to-shore-up-control-say-experts

[12] believed: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/07/isis-leader-believed-to-have-fled-coup-attempt-by-his-own-fighters

[13] attempted coup: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/10/foreign-isis-fighters-launched-failed-coup-attempt-say-witnesses

[14] Political infighting: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sri-lanka-blasts-politics/sri-lanka-pm-not-alerted-to-warning-of-attack-because-of-feud-minister-idUSKCN1RY15D

[15] excluded: https://theconversation.com/islamic-state-has-claimed-responsibility-for-the-sri-lanka-terror-attack-heres-what-that-means-115915

[16] discovery: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-24/can-we-really-believe-isis-was-behind-the-sri-lanka-attack/11044588

[17] involving an asteroid impact: https://www.space.com/asteroid-impact-simulation-nasa-planetary-defense-2019.html

[18] double asteroid redirection test: https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense/dart

[19] Tropical Cyclone Fani: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/30/world/india-cyclone-fani-wxc/index.html

[20] put on high alert: https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/cyclone-fani-disaster-response-force-coast-guard-put-on-high-alert-2030189

[21] may have found an antidote: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-01/antidote-found-for-box-jellyfish-by-sydney-university/11061244

[22] Box jellyfish: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/group/box-jellyfish/

[23] Using the gene-editing tool CRISPR: https://theconversation.com/how-we-used-crispr-to-narrow-in-on-a-possible-antidote-to-box-jellyfish-venom-116283

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