National security wrap

The beat

Andromeda defeated

A collaboration between the FBI, various European crime and cyber crime investigators, Europol, Eurojust and private-sector partners has ‘dismantled one of the longest running malware families in existence’, the Andromeda botnet. Andromeda aimed to spread malware to other computers. A suspect was arrested in Belarus.

South Sudan taking on crime

The world’s youngest country aims to improve security in its capital. South Sudanese officials launched a CCTV and drone system, with 11 cameras and two drones, and more to come. The country’s president, Salva Kiir, promises that ‘those who snatch things … can now be traced’. Israeli company Global Group installed the system, which is costing the impoverished state millions of dollars. The plan is for 150 local police officers to take over management eventually.

Nigeria reacts to police brutality

Nigeria is also taking action against robbery, although in a different manner. Following an online campaign calling for its disbandment, the inspector general of the police announced the re-organisation of the national special anti-robbery squad, while a Senate committee will investigate allegations of brutality. People had complained about ‘arbitrary arrests, detention without charge and violent threats’. Initially, the police threatened the leader of the campaign; now the force is calling for the public to submit complaints.

CT scan

Death of Yemeni ex-president

Ali Abdullah Saleh, an ex-president of Yemen was killed on Monday by Houthi rebels in fighting sparked by his ‘betrayal and treason’. Saleh was a politician of ‘charisma, duplicity and brute force’ who had ruled Yemen for over 30 years before being deposed in 2012 and returned to prominence after siding with the Houthis in Yemen’s civil war. The Iran-backed Houthis killed Saleh after he publicly advocated talks with Saudi Arabia. The death is expected to deepen the already horrific conflict.

British intelligence report

Britain’s MI5 and police force have released a report assessing their response to terror attacks in London and Manchester. The report says that the Manchester attack could have been averted ‘had the cards fallen differently’. Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, told cabinet that MI5 had thwarted nine terrorist attacks in the past year, but that five had gotten through.

Chinese Twitter surveillance

Chinese anti-terrorism official Mei Jianming announced that China has been tracking and analysing social media accounts in Australia connected to Islamic terrorism. Mei said the analysis showed that Islamist terrorists were ‘collaborating with other anti-Chinese forces’. Three Australian Uyghur community associations were among those tracked.

Check point

Third time lucky for Trump’s travel ban

The US Supreme Court has given legal sanction to Donald Trump’s amended travel ban after two earlier versions met legal obstacles earlier this year. The latest version of the ban will prevent people from Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Chad, North Korea and Iran, and government officials from Venezuela, from entering the US. Despite the ruling, the ban still faces ongoing legal challenges.

Brexit border headache

Theresa May’s leadership has again been called into question after she failed to negotiate a border agreement between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, Arlene Foster, reportedly led the charge to block the deal. Northern Ireland’s 500-kilometre border with the Republic of Ireland is the subject of much of the controversy.

India–Pakistan diplomatic struggles contribute to border hazards

Border dwellers on the line of control (LoC) between India and Pakistan remain under constant threat. Close to 70,000 people live within 5 kilometres of the LoC on the Indian side. Pakistani bombardments often force them to relocate. The Assistant Commissioner in Rajouri, a town on the LoC, has said that his administration has built 20 bunkers to protect civilians, and will have an additional 20 completed before the end of the year.

First responder

Internet of things helping first responders

The Harvard Business Review has published an article on how the internet of things (IoT) might help first responders deal with emergencies. IoT sensors can collect and broadcast data about temperature, water quality, pressure and smoke, allowing better decision-making. The IoT could also help residents make better decisions about when to stay and when to evacuate.

Guide to urban resilience

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have launched a guide to urban resilience with the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The 103-page document explains what urban resilience is and how governments can improve it.

Resilience or austerity

According to Sotriria Theodoropoulou of the London School of Economics, the European Commission is focusing increasingly on ‘economic resilience’ as a priority, particularly the ability to absorb shocks. The EC counsels member states to enact austerity policies and shrink their current account deficits. Not so fast, says the author: placing the onus solely on member states while ignoring the shortcomings of EU institutions could ‘lead to further divisions’ among Eurozone members. The shadow of the 2008 sovereign debt crisis still looms large over Europe.