Summaries of podcasts, lectures, and interviews.

September 24, 2015

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Quote of the Day

“No, ma’am, it isn’t even carbonated,”

-said the late Yogi Berra when someone asked him if his favorite chocolate drink, Yoo-Hoo, was hyphenated.

REFUGEE CRISIS IS GETTING WORSE

The refugee/migration mess in Europe keeps getting worse. Today we learned that Serbia has put an embargo on Croatian goods because Croatia is limiting the number migrants coming in from Serbia. The Croatian government has told Serbia’s government to send their migrants to Hungary or Romania: basically, no one really wants to deal with these people. Even the welcoming European nations like Germany realize they are quickly maxed out on the number of people they can take. 40,000 Syrian migrants have entered Croatia…. in the last 7 days. The scale is nearly unprecedented.

Context:

Croatia and Serbia have had serious problems in the past. From 1991 to 1995, the ruthless Serb killer Slobodan Milosevic backed Serbian rebels within Croatia. They have gotten along fairly well since that period. In 2013, Croatia joined the EU, and Serbia would like to do likewise someday. Read Mas

THE GIST

Hackers get fingerprints of 5.6 million US govt. employees

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said that the hackers who stole security dossiers also took the fingerprints of 5.6 million government employees. US intelligence agencies suspect that the hackers were Chinese, but don’t have any specifics. The OPM is tasked with holding and protecting the US government’s most important personnel files. The hack endangers American intelligence agents and security contractors. The use of biometrics is increasing, and this loss worsens already serious concerns about cyber security. A multi-agency group is investigating other ways the stolen prints can be abused. Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting the US, and cyber-security is one of the US’s top diplomatic priorities. Read Mas

US denies that its position on Syria has changed

After the US resumed diplomatic talks with Russia, whose policy is to back Bashar al-Assad, the Russian foreign minister told the Russian media, “I think the Americans are much more receptive of the arguments we have been presenting for several years now.” Although Washington is extremely wary of ISIS and the likelihood of a post-Assad government being radically Islamist, the US government’s policy of opposition to Assad has not changed. After 4 1/2 years, the civil war in Syria has shown no signs of abating. Read Mas

Nigerian military claims to have saved 241 women and girls from Boko Haram

The Nigerian military rescued 241 women and girls from Boko Haram’s camps in Northern Nigeria. They also claimed to have arrested 43 of the terrorist group’s leaders. Boko Haram, the extreme Islamist insurgency, controls a huge swathe of land in the north. Extremists move freely through the borders in West Africa. The Nigerian government is an ally of America. Because Nigeria has huge oil supplies, the US prioritizes security there. But military’s human rights record is also rife with abuses, causing serious concern in the international community. Read Mas

Cool Sh*t: RIP Yogi Berra

Read about Yogi Berra.

This Month’s Book Summary

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