National security wrap

Image courtesy of Flickr user Daniel Parks

The Beat

The most corrupt city in the world goes to…

Which are the most corrupt cities in the world? A new article from The Guardian has suggested that it depends on how urban corruption is defined. If it’s assessed by how robust legal protections for citizens are and on the necessity of bribes, then cities in Africa and Asia stand out—such as Lagos, Bangalore and Dhaka. But if ranked based on where illicit money flows and how it’s hidden, one city stands out above the rest: London. As part of the UK government’s plan to tackle the problem, it’s spearheading an anti-corruption innovation hub designed to link up experts from around the world to share ways of tackling financial crime. But The Huffington Post UK revealed this week that only one person will be employed by the UK government to work in the hub, leading Robert Barrington—Executive Director of Transparency International UK—to question whether the commitment will be properly implemented.

Bonus read: Global Drug Survey 2016

The Global Drug Survey has released its key findings (PDF) from 2016. The discoveries show that Australians pay well above the global standard for drugs like MDMA and cocaine but that isn’t deterring people from buying, and that more people globally are using the dark web to purchase illicit substances.  

CT Scan

Orlando shooting spurs question of US policy reform

In the wake of the 12 June Orlando shooting, debate over US terrorism and gun control policy has returned to centre stage. Last week, the US House of Representatives passed the Counter Terrorist Radicalisation Act, a combination of three previously passed bills—the ALERT Act, the Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act, and the Counterterrorism Advisory Board Actin a vote of 402 to 15. The Act refines previous legislation in order to amplify efforts against terrorist recruitment in the US. The Department of Homeland Security also issued a new national terrorism advisory, revising the implications of the global threat environment to US homeland security. Despite tighter terrorism legislation, Senators voted down separate Republican and Democrat measures that would prevent weapons sales to people on terrorist watch lists and expand background checks—a move, according to President Obama, that ‘failed the American people’.

Deja vu tensions in Brussels

On 22 June, a 26-year-old man was arrested in Brussels for claiming he was wearing a suicide vest of explosives that turned out to be filled with salt and biscuits. The call to police sparked a full counterterrorism operation that led to the evacuation of the City2 shopping mall complex. The incident occurred four days after three Belgians were charged with attempting to ‘commit terrorist murder’—the result of terror raids amid tight Euro 2016 security.


Hundreds dead at the Eritrean and Ethiopian border

On 12 June, fighting broke out between Eritrean and Ethiopian troopsincluding the deployment of tanks and heavy artilleryat their shared border near the Tsorona Central Front. While the Ethiopian government has acknowledged that a ‘major engagement’ occurred, the Eritrean Ministry of Information has stated that there were as many as 200 Ethiopian troops killed, with another 300 wounded. The confrontation between the two countries is the largest since the 1998–2000 Eritrean–Ethiopian border warwhich led to the deaths of up to 100,000 people. While a peace deal was made in 2000, it hasn’t been fully implemented, leaving both countries in a state of ‘neither war nor peace’. According to an Eritrean official, Ethiopia is considering a full-scale war. See Foreign Policy and the International Crisis Group for extensive pieces outlining the root causes that led to Ethiopia to its current position.

Radar Love

India has announced a comprehensive integrated border management scheme that will see CCTV, laser fences, motion sensors and a network of radars installed at the permeable international borders of Gujarat, West Bengal, Tripura and Punjab. The country has a history of border issues—particularly with China over their shared Himalayan border—and a series of border skirmishes with Pakistan since 2014.

First Responder

New resilience program for Pacific Island countries

Pacific Island countries will receive funding to the tune of US$32.29 million to boost their resilience to natural disasters, thanks to a new Pacific Resilience Program (PREP) launched in Fiji on Tuesday. The PREPa regional approach to disaster risk reduction that focuses on shared expertise and increased economies of scalewill strengthen early warning tools, increase risk reduction investment and boost financial planning for disasters. Participants from across the region will be involved in the programa partnership between Tonga, Samoa, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, the Pacific Community, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the World Bank.

Jobs in renewable energy targets

Achieving a 50% renewable energy target by 2030 would create over 28,000 jobs additional in Australia, a new report (PDF) released by the Climate Council last week has found. The report used independent economic modelling to compare Australia’s current renewable energy trajectory (34%) to the higher target and found both scenarios would create nation-wide employment opportunities. Job losses in coal fired electricity generation would be compensated by increased employment in the renewable energy sector and every state would experience net job growth. The importance of employment opportunities in renewable energy is already on show in Port Augusta, which is looking safeguard its future after its coal plant closed in May.