National security wrap

The beat

Trouble on the dance floor

Cambodian police detained 90 foreigners last week for ‘singing and dancing pornographically’. The arrests took place at a popular pool party event called ‘Let’s Get Wet’ in Siem Reap, close to the Angkor Wat temple complex. Most of the detainees were released, but 10 have been charged with ‘producing pornographic pictures’ and face up to a year in prison and a fine of $500 if convicted.

Scottish police in crisis

Scottish chief constable Phil Gormley is facing his seventh complaint of misconduct. Gromley was placed on ‘special leave’ in September when allegations of bullying first emerged. The Scottish Police Authority Board cleared him to return to work in November but reversed its decision when Justice Secretary Michael Matheson intervened. Matherson now faces calls to resign over claims of political interference in the policing system.

Guilty pleasure, sticky fingers

Thieves made off with 44 tons of chocolate in a stunning heist in the southwest German city of Freiburg. The two stolen trucks were recovered near the French border, but the drivers and up to half the chocolate were missing. The heist, valued at €400,000, is the latest in a string of chocolate thefts, perhaps indicating that German robbers have a bit of a sweet tooth!

CT scan

Clashes in Nigeria

Nigeria continues to hold the title for the third most terrorised country. In separate incidents on Saturday, killings by Boko Haram and clashes between farmers and nomadic Fulani herdsmen left six dead. According to the Global Terrorism Index, extremist Fulani herdsmen are the fourth most dangerous terrorist group globally and were responsible for more deaths than Boko Haram in 2016. President Muhammadu Buhari, himself an ethnic Fulani, has been criticised for his silence on the issue, and the government has been blasted for its poor response. Whether the Fulani are actually responsible for all of the killings in the past four years is also unclear: last week Nigeria’s Department of State Services said that Islamic State in West Africa is responsible for many of the deaths.

State of emergency after car bomb on Ecuador–Columbia border

Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno declared a state of emergency in two cities after a car bomb exploded outside a police station on Sunday. Defense Minister Patricio Zambrano blamed residual elements of FARC that refused to demobilise in 2016 and now engage in drug trafficking.

IRA double agent arrested

Freddie ‘Stakeknife’ Scappaticci was arrested last week for the murders of 18 people. He was allegedly working as a British counterterrorism spy when he was the IRA’s ‘chief spycatcher’, responsible for tracking down informers.


Water woes

During tripartite talks held this week, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to form a permanent committee to resolve ongoing tensions over the construction of the Renaissance Dam. Cairo claims that the $64.8 billion project will jeopardise critical water supplies, while Addis Ababa promises that it will quench Ethiopia’s electricity thirst. In the meantime, continued construction of the dam threatens a de facto agreement on water control in the region.

Something’s fishy

Tensions continue to rise between Croatia and Slovenia over control of Piran Bay in the northern Adriatic Sea. A month after beginning to implement the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s resolution that recognised the bay as Slovenian territorial waters, Slovenia issued its first fines to Croatian fishermen for ‘illegally crossing Slovenia’s maritime border’. Croatia, however, rejected the fines. Zagreb has also dismissed an EU membership requirement that new members must ‘promise to recognise the territorial integrity of every other member state’.

Why did the elephant cross the road?

Well, perhaps to unsettle the sovereignty of nations. An elephant showed its disregard for international borders as it crossed between China and Laos in search of food. You can see the gripping footage here.

First responder

Climate resilience for Nauru trade

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $79.59 million project to develop Nauru’s first international maritime port. The Sustainable and Climate Resilient Connectivity Project is co-financed by the ADB, the Australian government, the Nauru government and the Green Climate Fund. Australia is contributing $14.08 million. The project will help mitigate the adverse weather conditions caused by climate change that increasingly disrupt Nauru’s maritime trade.

Humanitarian challenges in South Sudan

The civil conflict in South Sudan is now in its fifth year. The International Organisation for Migration announced a $103.7 million appeal for humanitarian programs. There are approximately 7 million South Sudanese who need assistance, which doesn’t include the 2 million who are refugees in neighbouring countries.

Money makes the world go round

Oxfam’s annual global inequality report reveals that 82% of new wealth created last year went to the richest 1%. 2017 also saw the biggest increase in the number of billionaires in history. Ninety per cent of the 2,043 billionaires worldwide are men.

Tragedy at sea

Australia is assisting in the search for a missing Kiribati ferry in the Pacific Ocean that was reportedly carrying 100 passengers, many of them students returning to school.