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27 октября, 23:42

Report from Mosul: How the Epic Battle for the ISIS Stronghold Will End

Seth J. Frantzman Security, Middle East Everyone agrees about the need to remove ISIS from Mosul, but on little else. Akram Suleiman introduced himself as the head of the Kurdistan journalists’ syndicate in Mosul. But he’s not in Mosul today. Along with hundreds of thousands of others from what was once Iraq’s second largest city, he lives in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. They fled the advance of Islamic State in the summer of 2014. Even before 2014 he says it was dangerous to go back and forth to Mosul if you were Kurdish or a member of a minority group. People used to pretend to be Sunni Arabs so as not be targeted by extremists after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Along with a news crew from Kurdistan TV, Suleiman was preparing to go with Kurdish peshmerga into the thick of the fighting on October 20. On day four of the massive offensive to liberate Mosul from Islamic State, the Kurds were hoping to liberate several villages east of the city. Airstrikes and artillery were pounding ISIS positions; gunfire was sporadic in the distance. In pickup trucks, SUVs, Humvees, bulldozers and an assortment of other equipment, Kurdish fighters poured into the battle via a frontline called Nawaran. Today those Kurdish peshmerga have advanced several kilometers toward the city and liberated the villages that were their objective. But it’s a difficult and time-consuming task to reduce ISIS. The extremists have dug tunnels beneath these villages on Nineveh plains. They have planted improvised-explosive devices everywhere. And they are proficient with mortars and snipers. Col. John Dorrian of the U.S.-led coalition says that as the offensive enters the dense urban area the coalition will have to adjust its air campaign to suit the difficult circumstances. ISIS is no longer the force it was in June of 2014 when it rolled into Iraq’s Sunni cities. It’s been reduced to less than 10,000 fighters, many of whom, when they are captured or killed, look emaciated, blackened from soot, their long hair and beards caked in dust. This is the death knell of the extremist “caliphate” that they proclaimed, but how ISIS dies in Iraq will determine much. In a speech on October 17 as the offensive got under way, Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani said it was a historic day. “This is the first time the blood of Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces are mixed…We hope Mosul will be liberated through this offensive, but that does not mean it’s the end of terror. It’s also a sign that Baghdad and Erbil should coordinate with the support of coalition forces.” Read full article

27 октября, 03:41

The Risk of a Humanitarian Disaster in Mosul

Jessica Brandt Security, Middle East If we do it wrong, a battlefield win may come to seem like a strategic loss. The fight for Mosul has finally begun. On Monday, Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by allied militias and American air support, launched the long-anticipated campaign to retake what is perhaps the most critical population center that Islamic State captured in its 2014 onslaught, now its last substantial stronghold. After months of careful preparation, victory on the battlefield is all but assured. Yet when it comes to dealing with the operation’s humanitarian consequences, success is far from certain. That’s a grave concern, since the consequences are likely to be dramatic. The UN estimates that two hundred thousand people will flee the violence during the first few weeks of battle, seeking safe haven and shelter. That number may reach 1.2 million before the operation ends. The majority of them will not attain refuge in well-established displacement camps. Instead, they will be directed to “emergency sites” that provide only the most basic services. Last week, those sites had the capacity to hold sixty thousand people—far short of the number in need. The looming crisis compounds an ongoing one that has relief agencies and frontline states stretched to the brink. The number of people in Iraq who need some form of humanitarian assistance already exceeds ten million. That's nearly one-third of the country’s population. The scale of need is so great and the political terrain so fraught that the task ahead is daunting. Yet accomplishing it is necessary—not just for humanitarian reasons, but for political and security ones. Research shows that fear of or exposure to violence may exacerbate communal tensions, already running high in Iraq. That can harden political attitudes. To the extent that protecting civilians and delivering effective humanitarian assistance bring down the level of desperation, they will positively impact how Iraqis interact with one another once the violence is over. That, more than anything, is consequential to the country’s future. Fortunately, there are steps that the U.S. administration can take, together with the international community, to stave off a catastrophe. Read full article

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27 октября, 02:32

Mosul battle: Inside one of Islamic State's tunnels

Orla Guerin goes inside one of Islamic State's tunnel networks on the frontline outside the northern Iraqi city Mosul.

27 октября, 01:11

Remarks by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice at American University on Global LGBTQ Rights

“Promoting and Protecting LGBT Rights” National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice Remarks As Prepared For Delivery American University, Washington, D.C. Wednesday, October 26, 2016   Good afternoon.  Thank you, Chad, Elisa, and Jim.  I’m deeply grateful to the Human Rights Campaign and Human Rights First—who fight so admirably to promote equal rights and dignity for all.  I also want to thank the AU School of International Service, President Kerwin, and Dean Goldgeier for hosting us.  Jim and I were colleagues on the NSC back in the 1990s.  These days, I spend a lot of my time in the Situation Room—no windows, no natural light.  So, this beautiful atrium is a welcome change of scenery.    And, I’m honored to join so many dedicated advocates and allies in the fight for equality.  A couple years ago, I had the privilege to meet with one of those advocates—a Ugandan LGBT activist named Frank Mugisha.  Many of you know of him.  I first heard of Frank when he led opposition to Uganda’s notorious “Anti-Homosexuality Act.”  A day after the law passed, a Ugandan tabloid published his picture in a list of “top 200 homos,” exposing Frank to grave personal risk.  Shortly after that, sitting in my office in the West Wing, we discussed the situation he and other LGBT persons faced in Uganda, and how best the U.S. could support their efforts.  Frank’s spoke softly but with vision and the moral authority that comes from standing up to persecution.  I came away impressed by Frank’s eloquence and moved by his courage.    This past August, Frank was attending a Pride Week event when the police raided the venue.  They beat a number of trans people in attendance, forcibly touching them to establish their so-called “real gender.”  Some participants were held at gunpoint.  Frank himself was handcuffed and thrown into a police truck.  Within 45 minutes of the raid, our team at the White House started receiving reports from civil society organizations, including the HRC.  That same evening, the State Department organized an emergency call with the U.S. Embassy in Kampala.  Our ambassador engaged the Ugandan government.  The next day, I tweeted a photo of Frank and myself that we had taken during his visit to my office.  Our message was unmistakable: the United States government cares.  Within 24 hours, Frank and the other activists were released.                                      We cannot give every case the attention we gave to Frank, as much as I wish we could.  And, sometimes, our efforts are best served by raising our concerns privately.  But, when a gay, civil soceity activist from a far-away country can be heard at the highest levels of the U.S. government, that itself is progress.  When the United States can encourage another nation to do the right thing, together we are bending that arc of the moral universe ever so slightly towards justice.  Yet, when countries enshrine homophobia and bigotry into law, when police abuse and arrest citizens simply for being who they are, when Frank’s friend and fellow advocate David Kato is bludgeoned to death with a hammer in his own home, we still have a great deal of work to do.  So, today, I’d like to discuss the significant progress we’ve made in advancing LGBT rights, the challenges we still face, and where I believe the United States must continue to focus in the years to come.   The unshakeable conviction that all people are equally endowed with fundamental and irrevocable rights has been central to our nation from the beginning.  The story of America is one of striving to fulfill our ideals and always gradually expanding the circle of inclusion; it stretches from Selma to Stonewall to frontiers yet to come.  For me, this issue is deeply personal.  As the daughter of proud citizens who suffered the indignities of Jim Crow, I never forget that I stand here today because those who came before me pried open doors that had long been shut to people who looked like me.  As a public servant and as a mother, I don’t want my children, or anyone else’s, to be limited by how they look, who they worship, or whom they love.     As President Obama has said, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law—for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”  Of course, it has taken generations of protest and struggle to begin to realize that vision.  Many have fallen in the battle that continues, heroes like Harvey Milk, Eric Lembembe, Xulhaz Mannan, and too many others.  Matthew Shepherd—killed for the crime of being himself—would have turned 40 this year.    Whether we are talking about race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, this fight for equal rights is what our history and values demand.  It is also profoundly in our interests.  If we reduce the disparities that can lead to instability and violence, we increase our shared security.  Countries do better—across every metric—when they tap the talents of all their people.  A 2014 USAID study estimates that expanding rights for a country’s LGBT population is associated with an increase in GDP.  So, advancing equality is both morally right and strategically smart.     From his earliest days in office, President Obama and those of us on his national security team have worked to strengthen LGBT rights at home and promote them abroad.  There’s no question that we still have a distance to go.  But we can be proud of the steps we’ve taken towards a more perfect union and a more just and equal world.   Just eight years ago, when President Obama took office, the federal government treated violent crimes motivated by anti-LGBT bias the same as any other.  Today, law enforcement has the tools to prosecute these heinous acts as what they are—hate crimes.  Eight years ago, LGBT service members had to hide who they loved to serve the country they loved.  Today, as President Obama said, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell don’t exist no more.”  The Secretary of the Army is a proud gay man.  And, transgender Americans can now serve openly.  Eight years ago, same-sex marriage was legal in just two states.  Today—thanks to many people in this room—DOMA is history, and marriage equality is the law of the land in all 50 states.  That Friday night of the landmark Supreme Court ruling, my husband I took a photo together that we cherish, outside of the White House lit up in the colors of the rainbow to celebrate what we’ve always known—that love is love is love.    When I started in government in the ‘90s, an openly gay ambassador was almost inconceivable.  You couldn’t even get a security clearance if you were LGBT.  One of my closest staffers, as a young Foreign Service officer, once asked if he and other employees could screen a documentary at the State Department about a gay nightclub in Cairo that was brutally raided by the Egyptian police.  He was told no—it would be too controversial and too damaging to our relationship with Egypt.  That was in 2003.  Not long ago, the State Department would pay for a diplomat’s pet to travel to his overseas post, but not his or her same-sex partner.  In the event of an embassy evacuation, a diplomat’s loved one could even be left behind.  I’m not making this up.     Under President Obama, LGBT federal employees and their families now enjoy the same benefits as their coworkers.  Federal contractors cannot discriminate against LGBT people. Transgender employees can obtain passports that accurately reflect their gender identity.  LGBT people can serve openly and proudly throughout government—from desk officers to the NSC staff to eight openly gay ambassadors.  In Vietnam this past May, I got to catch up with Ambassador Ted Osius, who is skillfully advancing American interests in Southeast Asia.  He and I were colleagues as junior staffers 20 years ago.  As one aide commented, Ted “is not ‘the gay ambassador to Vietnam.’ He is the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam who also happens to be gay.”  Secretary Kerry also created a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, and appointed Randy Berry, a distinguished veteran diplomat, who we’re honored to have with us today.  Randy’s position is the first of its kind in the world, and he’s been relentless and indefatigable—visiting dozens of countries, engaging governments, and working with civil society, faith, and business leaders to help strengthen LGBT rights.    In 2011, President Obama released a landmark Presidential Memorandum, directing that our diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect LGBT rights, all around the world—from ensuring our assistance advances equality, to protecting vulnerable LGBT refugees, to engaging international organizations in the fight against discrimination.  We’re putting this directive into action through efforts like the public-private Global Equality Fund, which has allocated $30 million to support advocates on the front lines in 80 countries. And, we’ve hosted three major White House conferences on LGBT rights to bring together activists, government leaders, and civil society to strategize on how to advance these goals.      I’m equally proud of the progress we’ve made in our multilateral institutions—an effort I was honored to lead during my four and a half years as UN Ambassador.  In 2010—for the first time ever—the United States joined the UN “Core Group,” a group of countries working to put LGBT rights front and center.  We worked in the UN Human Rights Council to pass the first UN resolution exclusively on the human rights of LGBT people—and succeeded.  We fought to allow several LGBT organizations to gain UN accreditation and have their voices heard—and won.  When a UN committee voted to eliminate any mention of LGBT individuals from a resolution condemning the extrajudicial killing of vulnerable people around the world, I said “hell no.”  On Human Rights Day, I pledged to use all of America’s influence to reverse that outrage.  We battled to restore the reference to sexual orientation.  And, once again, we won.   These were some of my proudest moments at the UN, and I’m gratified that my successor, Ambassador Samantha Power, has been a great champion of LGBT rights and continued strong American leadership on this issue.  Last year, the United States blocked a mean-spirited Russian effort to deny benefits to the families of gay UN employees.  Ambassador Power might have had to drag some folks out of the bathroom, but we won that one, too.  In August of last year, the United States and Chile co-sponsored the first-ever UN Security Council meeting on LGBT issues, which focused on ISIL’s violence against LGBT people.  After the appalling terrorist attack in Orlando, the United States secured a strong condemnation from the Security Council including the first-ever mention of “sexual orientation.”  And, this year, we successfully lobbied to appoint the first “Independent Expert” on sexual orientation and gender identity, giving the UN a strong advocate to report on and work to prevent violations of LGBT rights worldwide.    This is what progress looks like.  This is what sustained American leadership can help achieve.  This is what we mean when we insist that LGBT rights are human rights.        At the same time, we’re seeing public attitudes evolve with breathtaking speed.  Brave professional athletes have come out.  The show Transparent continues to rack up Emmy Awards.  Last week, dozens of White House staffers gathered on the steps of the Executive Office Building, wearing purple to take a stand against anti-LGBT bullying.  And, earlier this month, on National Coming Out Day, Americans across the country told friends and family who they were, and in countless instances were reassured that they were as loved and valued as ever.   Across the globe as well, equality is on the march.  A decade ago, nearly half the countries in the world—92 nations—criminalized same-sex relationships.  As of last year, that’s down to 75 countries—still far too high.  Anti-LGBT laws are being challenged and lifted, from Mozambique to Belize.  The United States is one of nearly two dozen countries with marriage equality.  Nepal’s new constitution is the first in Asia to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  A surge of openly LGBT politicians are being elected, including the prime minister of Luxembourg and transgender legislators in Venezuela and the Philippines.  Boisterous Pride parades are appearing in rather unexpected places, like Kiev and Taipei.    Day by day, we’re overturning discriminatory laws, changing hearts and minds, ending what Harvey Milk called “the conspiracy of silence.”  Yet, as President Obama has warned, progress is not inevitable.  History does not just move forward.  It can travel backwards.  Paradoxically, the growing acceptance and visibility of LGBT rights—at home and abroad—has, in too many cases, prompted a troubling backlash.  Just five months ago, the world was jolted by the horrendous attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando—the deadliest mass shooting in American history.  Across the United States, we’ve seen a disturbing increase in laws denying services to gay people and proposals for so-called “bathroom bills” targeting the trans community.    Meanwhile, countries like Indonesia are making it harder for LGBT citizens to enjoy their rights.  Governments in Central Asia and Eastern Europe are considering or have passed laws even worse than Russia’s infamous “propaganda” law, which prohibits disseminating information about “non-traditional” sexual relationships—meaning gay parents can’t talk to their own children about their relationships.  Last summer, Russian authorities arrested a gay couple for the “crime” of placing a candle at a memorial for the Orlando victims.  By some counts, in as many as ten countries, same-sex acts are punishable by death.   And, in Syria and Iraq, ISIL has unleashed a unique brutality on LGBT people—dragging gay men behind trucks, stoning them, and burning them alive.  ISIL works with chilling efficiency, often going through the cell phones and social media accounts of their victims to identify more LGBT individuals for slaughter.  As we speak, the United States is supporting Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they push to liberate Mosul, where ISIL fighters were taped hurling gay men off of buildings.  As one Iraqi man testified before the UN: “In my society, being gay means death.”  So, while we can be proud of what we have done together, we cannot forget that our work is very far from finished.  And, with the time remaining, allow me to focus on how I believe the United States should intensify our efforts to protect and promote these rights.   First, the United States must continue to integrate LGBT rights into our government and foreign policy.  That includes creating a more diverse national security workforce.  This is an issue that I’m particularly passionate about, and one that President Obama has prioritized.  Because without tapping America’s full range of races, religions, ethnicities, social and economic experiences—without embracing people of every sexual orientation and gender identity—we’re leading in a complex world with one hand tied behind our back.                               The United States also needs to do more to institutionalize efforts to promote LGBT rights.  As part of that commitment, I’m pleased to note that just yesterday a new rule went into effect that explicitly prohibits discrimination by USAID contractors.  This rule means that any organization that contracts with USAID must ensure that all people can benefit from its federally-funded programs, regardless of race, religion, disability—or sexual orientation and gender identity.  It’s a major step towards ensuring that American assistance is provided in a fair and equitable manner.    In addition, the Administration has made clear that the President would veto the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act because, among other provisions, it would undermine important worker protections prohibiting discrimination by federal contractors, including against LGBT people.  This provision is a step in the wrong direction, and that’s why we’ll continue working to ensure that every qualified American worker can hold jobs funded by the American people.   Second, the United States must continue to stand up and speak out when the rights of LGBT people are threatened.  Chad, as you put it, “Nations that place LGBT people in the cross hairs of danger must know that the United States will not turn a blind eye.”  This is not merely to “name and shame.”  It’s not about being self-righteous.  It’s about leading the world to the recognition that in the 21st century, discrimination cannot be tolerated, and prejudice comes with a price.   I don’t pretend that the United States has a perfect record.  Hardly.  And, yes, in service of our national security interests we sometimes engage with governments that do not respect the rights we hold most dear.  But, I’m proud that when we’ve witnessed anti-LGBT violence or discrimination, the United States has put our opposition to this behavior front and center.   That’s why President Obama spoke out on this issue in Senegal and Kenya, where he publicly declared that treating people differently because of who they love is wrong.  That’s why, when Ambassador Wally Brewster—a former HRC board member—was viciously slandered and pressured to leave the Dominican Republic this year, we didn’t bow to bigotry.  We underscored that Ambassador Brewster had the full support of President Obama, the White House, and the entire U.S. government.  And, when the President of The Gambia said that gay Gambians should have their throats slit, we strongly condemned those abhorrent comments, as well as legislation that restricted the rights of LGBT people and reports of arrests and torture of LGBT individuals.  Based in part on this shameful record, we revoked The Gambia’s trade preferences.  And, the United States government should continue to respond swiftly and surely to this kind of repression.   Third, the United States must continue working with our partners in multilateral organizations to build international support for LGBT rights.  Now, it’s not always easy to make change through an organization like the UN.  Take it from a former UN Ambassador.  But, we’ve had some great partners, including our outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who I want to thank for his leadership on this issue.  We’ve also enjoyed vital support from our friends in the Global South.  And, these partnerships are a very good thing.  Because, as influential as the United States is, to change behavior around the world, we have to work as a team.    You might ask whether a UN resolution ever changes behavior in the “real world.”  The truth is, sometimes it can.  A few decades ago, the idea that women and girls should be treated equally was controversial.  Now, thanks in part to work in multilateral institutions, gender equality is written into our new Sustainable Development Goals.  It’s on the agenda in countless meetings.  Views—and policies—have shifted.  So, when we include language acknowledging sexual orientation in a UN resolution, or hold an unprecedented Security Council meeting on LGBT issues, we create new norms and expectations.  We redefine what’s acceptable and what’s not.    Finally, the United States must continue to work with civil society and other partners to improve LGBT lives on the ground.  I’ve joined President Obama as he’s met with LGBT activists from St. Petersburg to Havana.  Earlier this year, I got to meet 30 advocates from around the world attending an HRC global summit.  I’m constantly amazed by the passion, creativity, and commitment of activists on the frontlines of change.  So, help us understand and address the challenges you face.  Help us explore ways to keep expanding the reach of equality, such as by recognizing the unique concerns of intersex individuals.  Keep coming to us with your stories, your insights, and your requests.  Press us to live up to the ideals I’ve just described.   I know the challenges are daunting.  The slurs, the hate, the violence can feel overwhelming.  But when I look at what we’ve accomplished, I’m filled with hope.  I’m hopeful when I think of how my own son and daughter are part of a generation in this country that embraces LGBT rights as obvious and uncontroversial.  I’m hopeful because of you.  And, I’m hopeful because, last month, my husband and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary.  For many couples, that might not seem remarkable.  But, we remember, when we started dating almost 35 years ago, that many people said that someone who looked like me shouldn’t marry someone who looked like him—that inter-racial marriage was unnatural and immoral.  Stop me if that sounds familiar.    That fight for equality was just—so is this one.  We have largely won that fight—and we’ll win this one.  Ultimately, we will realize, as the activist Audre Lord said, “It is not our differences that divide us.  It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”   Somewhere in the world right now, there is a young boy lying awake at night guarding a secret he has kept for as long as he can remember.  Somewhere, there is a young woman who can love both men and women and has nobody to tell her that’s OK.  Somewhere, in the United States, there is a man who has always felt like a stranger in his own body.  So, to every person who might still be struggling with who they are, trying to reconcile who they love with the faith or traditions they love, know this: we see you.  We hear you.  We are here for you.  And, on behalf of all those people—each of them a child of equal worth, a child of God—let us renew our efforts to battle discrimination in all its guises and embrace diversity in all its forms.  Until every one of us is truly treated equally—no matter who we are, where we live, or whom we love.  Thank you.  

26 октября, 21:42

Watching the Army Evolve Over 15 Years

Sergeant First Class Patricia Robert talks about how an “impulse decision” to enlist in her mid-20s has, unexpectedly, served her well.

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26 октября, 20:12

Mosul: Iraqi forces evacuate 1,000 from frontlines

Iraqi forces move at least 1,000 civilians from dangerous areas, but up to one million remain trapped in ISIL-held city.

26 октября, 17:44

When It Comes To Your Brand's Health, No Detail Is Too Small

If you're responsible for leading a brand, you can likely recall times when issues considered "below your pay grade" rose to your attention. With the 10,000-foot view required to keep all parts moving, the instinct to delegate the more minor details is often the right one. But not always. Not all of us lead brands, and even fewer are CEOs. However, many of us are leaders in our own right, and we all have a stake in the brand's overall health and bear responsibility for its success. Equally, we all encounter details we might deign beneath our attention. I was reminded of this as I read about the resignation of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf in the wake of a scandal where it was revealed that the Big 4 consumer bank had opened thousands of fake accounts without customers' permission or knowledge. The net effect has been considerable: an erosion of trust in the brand, a cratering stock price, 5,300 allegedly complicit employees fired, and costly legal actions and increased regulatory scrutiny sure to come down the pike. The malfeasance at Wells Fargo grew from an overly ambitious commission structure that encouraged frontline sales teams to fudge their numbers. While he may have signed off on aspects of that structure at some point, it is doubtful that Stumpf was actively monitoring his sales teams inner workings. Knowing how many business verticals demand a brand leader's daily attention, I would not be shocked if Stumpf found out about the endemic fraud around the same time the rest of us did. What Stumpf knew and when he knew it is beside the point. As the brand leader, the buck stopped with him--fair or not. This is an attitude that good corporate cultures strive to instill not just in CEOs, but also in all leaders--managers, directors, up to executives. Accountability is important, not just in your own area of concentration, but for everything affecting the brand's wellbeing. "Not my job" is not an acceptable phrase from any leader. As such, the Wells Fargo scandal should be a wakeup call. Before this scandal, Stumpf was an executive whose reputation and integrity was never in question, even called "Mr. Clean" by some news outlets. When one or two or a few dozen employees take advantage of a systems gap to fraudulently enrich themselves, it can be explained as a series of isolated incidents. When thousands do it, as a matter of practice, you have institutional dysfunction. Before potential hazards become real sinkholes, there are a few due diligence best practices we should incorporate into our day-to-day. 'Walk the floor.' The concept of the "floor walk" is as old as retail itself, but it is just as pertinent today as ever. For those not acquainted with it, a floor walk is exactly what it sounds like: management walks the floor of a store, restaurant or retail center to make sure the granular aspects of operations are in line with what should be happening. It's a concept applicable beyond retail. Whether you have a storefront, thousands of bank branches, or operate in purely digital space, you should make a floor walk a regular part of your routine. How are your customer-facing team members doing their jobs? How are they interacting with each other? How do they feel about their compensation package (apart from generally wanting more money, a sentiment shared by employees at all levels)? Is there a schism between what they're tasked to do and how they get it done? Follow a dollar. Consider your cash flow management. Inspect your points of sale, where the transactions happen, where the rubber meets the road. Follow a dollar through your cash flow, from wallet to bank. Witness a transaction play out all the way. Don't leave this exclusively to your operations or IT teams--you need to see it for yourself. Listen to your customers. Whether or not your job directly involves customer service, you should know what your customers are saying. Don't leave this job solely to your customer care or response teams to report back to you. Get in the weeds a bit. Hear it for yourself. I recommend having an active customer service line piped into your office, and answer at least one inbound call every day. There is simply no replacement for a good firsthand look at what your customers are thinking. Listen to your people. Just as important is having open, unabridged lines of communication with your workforce. If something is amiss, they can be your eyes and ears. Many leaders pay lip service to an "open-door policy," but this is only part of the equation. In-person interactions can be daunting. Instead, open a hotline where employees can report shady behavior. Take steps to ensure this protocol is incorruptible. At Wells Fargo, it has been reported that employees faced retaliation that included disciplinary action up to termination for attempting to flag fraud. This kind of retribution is as corrosive to morale, culture and brand wellbeing as the fraud itself. These may seem like mundane aspects of your operation to monitor so closely, and it may be even harder to justify such close scrutiny when you consider how much you spend on salaries for top professionals whose job it is to do so. But they are not you, and in the event of a crisis, it won't be their reputations on the line. There is only one brand leader. Any one of the best practices above, followed in good faith, could have prevented the spread of corruption at Wells Fargo. Yes, they are details, and yes, they seem small in the larger scheme of things. But if the question is "how small is too small," when your brand's health and reputation are on the line, the answer is "there's no such thing." -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

26 октября, 15:00

Case Study: How Much Should a New CEO Shake Things Up?

Sena Aslan, the CEO of FDM Turkey, wished the drive from the Ankara airport to the bank’s largest branch were a bit longer. She had made site visits a hallmark of her short tenure at the company’s helm, because they helped her see how frontline employees were weathering the changes she’d been spearheading across the bank. She also used them to scout for talent, keeping an eye out for young managers ready to move into more-senior positions and perhaps transfer to headquarters. But this time Sena wasn’t making the trip alone. Sophie Renou, her longtime friend and mentor and a board member at FDM Turkey’s French parent company, was in the car with her, and the two women could have used much more than a half hour to catch up. Editor's NoteThis fictionalized case study will appear in a forthcoming issue of Harvard Business Review, along with commentary from experts and readers. If you’d like your comment to be considered for publication, please be sure to include your full name, company or university affiliation, and email address. “I want to hear about work, of course, but first tell me how Deniz and the girls are doing,” Sophie said. “They’re good. Sweet, but strong-willed.” “Just like their mother,” Sophie said with a smile. “We were at a theme park this weekend,” Sena continued. “Zehra was on the Tilt-A-Whirl for what felt like hours. We finally had to yank her off—over her very loud protests—and I found myself saying, ‘You know, Zehra, we all need to slow down sometimes.’ Which was funny, because Erkan said the exact same thing to me last week!” Sophie didn’t look surprised. Erkan Malas was FDM Turkey’s COO, and from the start he had chafed at Sena’s appointment and approach. While her supporters, including Sophie, saw a bright 35-year-old former consultant to the financial industry who had lots of energy and big ideas for how the company should adapt to a rapidly changing market, detractors saw a young industry outsider who’d never held an executive position or even worked at a bank—and who still had a lot to learn. Although the board had clearly given Sena permission—a mandate, even—to shake things up, Erkan had challenged every strategic shift she’d made: moving away from the siloed branch structure, letting about 40% of the bank’s long-tenured and stodgy senior managers go to make room for fresh talent, and pushing to transform the hierarchical corporate culture into a more performance-driven one. “I can just hear Erkan saying that,” Sophie said. “He hates change.” “Or hates everything I touch,” Sena replied. “So what?” Sophie asked. “You don’t need his approval. You’re doing the right thing. And as long as he’s still executing on your decisions, there’s no problem.” “He really doesn’t like the new strategy, though,” Sena said. Tasked with rethinking the bank’s retail approach, she’d rejected the traditional path of expanding the branches. Instead she was ramping up mobile-banking operations—which competitors were also doing—and looking to experiment with something more innovative: partnerships with supermarkets and electronics stores that would allow FDM to set up kiosks within them. This would enable the bank to serve customers when and where they needed access to cash and make it more convenient to apply for loans. “He says the staff has ‘change fatigue’ and won’t be able to get it done. And I expect some of board members will agree with him. I’m afraid they’ll dig in their heels this time.” “Let them,” Sophie replied with a wink. “Our heels are sharper.” Stress on the Ground The branch manager, Meryem Kartal, met them in the lobby and introduced a few staff members before showing them to her office. As they sat down, Sena noticed an org chart on the desk. It had x’s through lots of roles and a few arrows signifying structural changes. She could barely read the names and titles that remained. Meryem caught her looking. “I know that must seem old school—to print out and mark up an org chart. But I was just using it to help employees understand what’s happening with the broader business.” Sena’s heart sank a bit at seeing such a messy visual representation of the changes she’d been making. “Are people confused?” “It’s like any reorganization,” Meryem said. “There’s an adjustment period. We’ve all been a little surprised by the, um, high level of turnover at headquarters. But I think people also see room for advancement where they didn’t before.” “Does everyone understand the reason for the changes? Do you?” Sena needed managers like Meryem on her side. “Oh, yes. The industry is changing. No one wants to come into the branch anymore. Customers want to do everything on their computers or their phones. And just yesterday someone asked one of our mortgage specialists if he would mind dealing with her by text, since she no longer checks e-mail. He didn’t know if he was allowed to do that.” “He is,” Sena replied. This was exactly the kind of agility and customer responsiveness she was trying to encourage. “Of course, and I coached him through it. But people are wondering how they’ll fit into the business going forward. They want to know if we’re going to start closing branches. Will we all be working out of call centers or supermarket kiosks next year? It’s stressful.” Sophie asked if they could talk with a few staff members—that was why she had come along. Meryem invited them to walk around. “I let them know you’d be here, and they do have some questions,” she said. Sena joined two tellers behind the counter. “Is it always so slow at this time of day?” she asked. There were no customers to be seen; it was eerily quiet. One of the tellers, a tall young man with a short haircut, turned red, seemingly shy and embarrassed. His counterpart, a middle-aged woman, wasn’t as hesitant. “This is a lull, for sure, but it’ll get busy at lunchtime.” Sophie asked if they had any questions. “Are we going to lose our jobs?” the young man blurted out, and then laughed nervously. “Well, I wouldn’t have asked it that way, but that is what we’re all thinking about,” his colleague said. She added, “My girlfriend said that at her company, whenever they make changes at the top, it isn’t long before frontline layoffs follow.” Sena assured them that no layoffs were planned. They both nodded, but they didn’t look as though they entirely trusted her. Sophie and Sena then met with a few staff analysts and loan officers. Although no one was as blunt as the teller had been, the anxiety was palpable. “Well, that was worrisome,” Sena said as they walked out the door. “Change is necessary to survival,” Sophie replied. “Yes, but maybe it doesn’t need to happen so fast.” The Risks of Not Acting The next day, back in Istanbul, Sena met with Ahmet Ozan, the company’s CFO. He’d been at the bank for decades—he was certainly old guard, like many of the leaders Sena had pushed out—but she valued his deep expertise, and he’d been surprisingly supportive of her transformation efforts, especially ones that cut the firm’s costs. He’d also invested a lot of time helping her create the model for the kiosk pilot. “The projections look mostly good, as we expected,” Ahmet said. “The market research from Capital is promising. But the IT systems we’ll need to put in place to handle the loan applications are complex. I don’t have to tell you that the execution on this is going to be a beast, which”—he paused for a moment—“is why Erkan is so up in arms.” “He’s been up in arms since I’ve gotten here,” Sena said. “True, but he might have a point on this one, Sena. His team will need to work 24 hours a day to make this happen on the timetable you’re suggesting. It’s going to require a huge marketing push and some big shifts in staffing, which could result in even more attrition—not just us old folks, but even some of the younger people who like the way we do business now.” Sena grimaced at the way he’d characterized the recent management changes, but she let him go on. “Also, we don’t know that the model will work. Will people want to use the kiosks? If they do, can we screen their loan applications quickly and effectively? I know the idea is to reinvent banking in this country, but are you sure our customers are ready to apply for loans without a specialist helping them with the process? Are you sure we’re ready for that? Why not slow down a bit—do some more-intensive market research to double-check that our assumptions are accurate?” Sena took a deep breath, trying to absorb everything he’d said. “I really value your opinion, Ahmet, and these are all good questions. But the point of the pilot is to answer them. We can experiment and learn in real time. That’s the agile way to do it.” “But it’s not the FDM way,” Ahmet said. “I know you might be worried that slowing down now will give the impression that you’re second-guessing your decision. It won’t; it will just give people a much-needed break. Trust me. I understand why you’re pushing this: The board is watching you like a hawk, and we all need to deliver the growth it’s demanding.” “Exactly. Part of my job is to change the FDM way—keep the good, of course, but move us into the future. We have to weigh all those risks you just cited—which are serious—against the potentially bigger risk of not moving first on this idea. I know we’d all hate it if a competitor beat us to this. If we focus just on mobile, like everyone else, we won’t differentiate ourselves—and differentiation is the only way to win in this market.” Hard to Keep Up That night Sena was sitting at the dining room table reviewing Ahmet’s analysis when Deniz came downstairs. “You going to be up late?” he asked. “Probably,” she said, not looking up. “You’re frowning. What’s going on?” Sena closed her laptop. She appreciated that he could read her so well. It kept her honest about her feelings. “Remember what Erkan said about slowing down? Well, Ahmet agrees with him. And I’m worried that they’re right.” “But the board brought you in to be a change agent. That’s your job.” “I know. And I really feel it’s my duty to keep pushing. Change is good. It’s necessary, as Sophie always says. And this bank has been sitting down for too long. We need to continue moving.” She’d gotten so animated that she found herself pounding on the table to make her last point. “We just can’t lose momentum. If we take the break they’re asking for, when and how will we start up again?” Deniz was still nodding seriously, but she could tell he was suppressing a smile. “What?” she asked. “It’s good to see the fire back. You’re doing the right thing, Sen. But I also get where Erkan and Ahmet are coming from. I know how hard it is to keep up with you.” Question: Should Sena slow the pace of change at FDM? If you’d like your comment to be considered for publication in a forthcoming issue of HBR, please remember to include your full name, company or university affiliation, and email address.

25 октября, 19:24

What the Syrian Kurds Have Wrought

The radical, unlikely, democratic experiment in northern Syria

25 октября, 18:00

War To The Horizon (And Nary A Word About It)

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com War, what is it good for? In America, the answer is that, much of the time, you'll probably never know what it's good for -- or, in some cases, even notice that we're at war. Right now, the U.S. is ever more deeply involved in significant conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, and increasingly Yemen -- at least five ongoing wars in the Greater Middle East. Yet, in the midst of Election 2016, with the single exception of the long-proclaimed, long-awaited Iraqi-Kurdish offensive against Islamic State militants in the city of Mosul (with U.S. advisers on the frontlines and U.S. Apache helicopter crews in the air), the rest of our spreading military actions might as well be taking place on Mars. The Taliban has recently attacked two Afghan cities and is gaining ground nationwide; Afghan military casualties have been soaring; and American planes and advisers have been let loose there in a fashion unseen since 2014. Neither presidential candidate has offered a peep on the subject, nor has there been a question about that now-15-year-old war in any of the "debates." (They must be rigged!) In Syria, the U.S. air campaign continues, largely unnoticed, while Washington tries to broker a deal between the Turks and the Kurds (think Hatfields and McCoys) for an offensive to take ISIS's "capital" Raqqa. (Good luck on that twosome working together!) The New York Times recently described the expanding but under-the-radar American war against the al-Shabab terror movement in Somalia this way: "Hundreds of American troops now rotate through makeshift bases in Somalia, the largest military presence since the United States pulled out of the country after the 'Black Hawk Down' battle in 1993... It carries enormous risks -- including more American casualties, botched airstrikes that kill civilians and the potential for the United States to be drawn even more deeply into a troubled country that so far has stymied all efforts to fix it." As for Libya -- oh, yes, Washington is in action there, too, even if you never hear about it -- the U.S. Air Force (drones, jets, and helicopters) has doubled its air strikes against ISIS militants in the last month: 163 of them. And, of course, there's Yemen where the U.S. seems to be stumbling directly into a new war without the slightest notice to Congress or the American people. American destroyers have been responding to "missile attacks" that -- shades of the Tonkin Gulf incident of the Vietnam War era -- may or may not have happened by firing Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets in territory occupied by the Houthi rebels. This in a country already under siege from a brutal American-backed Saudi air campaign, significantly aimed at its impoverished civilian population, and wracked by an expanding al-Qaeda operation. Even what those destroyers are doing so close to the Yemeni coast is never discussed. Add it all up and one classic TomDispatch question comes to mind: What could possibly go wrong? Especially since, as arms expert William Hartung points out today in "The Urge to Splurge," it's all sunshine when it comes to one great war-fighting fact: the Pentagon's budget is already coming up roses and no matter who enters the Oval Office, it's only going to get bigger. So buckle up that seat belt, it's war, American-style, and taxpayer dollars to the horizon. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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25 октября, 16:32

Syria: Russia denies striking Aleppo over past week

Flights "completely halted" since Tuesday, says Russian general, but opposition claims frontline areas have been bombed.

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25 октября, 12:53

Russia to test 9th fifth-generation T-50 fighter jet prototype

'We are testing its weapons and the entire avionics suite'The ninth prototype of the fifth-generation T-50 PAK FA (Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation) fighter jet will start undergoing trials in the imminent future, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said. Borisov made this statement during a working trip to the Saturn Scientific and Production Association in Rybinsk in central Russia. "The ninth prototype will start undergoing trials today. We have switched to its comprehensive trials. We are testing its weapons and the entire avionics suite," Borisov said in reply to the relevant question. According to the deputy defense minister, the trials are on schedule and "serious imperfections have not been registered." "The plane has already confirmed its performance characteristics. Today we will switch to its comprehensive trials, including tests of its weapons suite," he added. As Borisov said, the T-50 fighter jet "has stepped over all the requirements set to planes of this type." Source: TASS

25 октября, 12:05

Why Women Aren’t Making It to the Top of Financial Services Firms

Financial institutions have been employers of women for decades: historically as tellers, secretaries, and junior administrative staff. In the 1980s, however, pioneering women began moving into management roles and into frontline business areas, such as investment banking. Today 47% of management and professional roles in American financial firms are occupied by women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But this seemingly impressive statistic disguises an underlying lack of progress of gender equality in financial services. Women still aren’t making it to the top. An analysis that we conducted of disclosures made by 50 American financial services companies revealed that women occupy only 20% of executive committee roles and 22% of board positions. Only 12% of the chief executive officers of large U.S. financial firms are women. Career progression analysis also shows that at each level, men are promoted at materially higher rates than women. Women are far more likely than men to leave the industry or to reduce their level of ambition just at the point in their careers when they need to make the effort to push on to the top. As a result, women’s prospects are significantly worse in financial services than in other sectors, A recent study conducted by our sister company Mercer discovered. One young female banker we interviewed for our 2016 report “Women in Financial Services” even told us, “I came into my career in financial services with aspirations to make it to the top. But now, five years into it, I am planning my escape.” What explains the poor career prospects of women in financial services? To find out, Oliver Wyman surveyed 850 financial services professionals from around the world (both men and women), interviewed over 100 senior female executives globally (C-suite and board members), and held focus groups with Millennial women working across a number of financial institutions in the U.S. Responses revealed a culture that has changed surprisingly little over the last 30 years. The overt sexism of earlier times may have been stamped out, but unconscious biases and gender-role expectations that disadvantage women have not. This comes as a surprise to the many younger women entering the profession. Their female predecessors, entering the financial industry in the 1980s and 1990s, expected to deal with a certain amount of sexism. Given the general progress of gender equality, especially in education, most twentysomethings do not. Shifting from university to the financial industry, they experience a culture shock. As one Millennial banker we interviewed put it: “All of our senior leaders are older white males. They are the ones who set the culture that we experience every day, despite any programmatic efforts by the bank.” The problem is not simply the tone or atmosphere of the workplace; it is the unstated ideas about what is required for success in the financial industry. An effective senior banker is (wrongly) imagined to be aggressive, dominating, transactional — characteristics that are stereotypically masculine and that are, as a matter of statistical fact, more commonly associated with men, as a recent study called “The Athena Doctrine” showed. Even our definition of leadership often follows stereotypical male characteristics. As a result, “we end up having to ‘masculinize’ our female traits,” one younger banker said. The result is that women are implicitly held to a higher standard than their male colleagues. Proving yourself is harder for women. This helps to explain the very high quality of senior women in financial services; as one of our interviewees observed, “Some of the men at the top are extraordinary, but all of the women are.” As one senior woman we interviewed explained, “Firms are more willing to take risks on men. With a woman, she has to prove it first.” Consequently, many women lose confidence that they can succeed, and lower their ambitions or quit. In short, women in financial services face a tougher career trade-off of higher costs and lower expected benefits. When the “deal” involved in committing themselves to getting to the top is worse for women, it is no wonder that fewer women take it. Many women must face a harsh reality: The cost of growing their career in financial services outweighs the potential benefits, taking into account the greater uncertainty and obstacles they face. As one senior female banker we interviewed put it: “If [a woman] looks up and does not see any women at the top, she wonders if she will make it — if all of the sacrifices she will have to make will pay off.” (The ambition of male employees also falls off as they age, but it is later in their careers, in response to observed failure to progress rather than in expectation of it.) Most financial firms are genuinely committed to improving gender balance among their senior executives. To that end, they have introduced a number of “women-friendly” programs, such as flexible hours, parental leave, and mentorship schemes. Helpful as they are, such measures do not fully address the problem, which also lies in the unconscious biases, expectations, and practices of organizational cultures, which have been created by predominantly male executives over decades. Getting middle and senior management to recognize their biases is the most important first step toward reforming the corporate culture that disadvantages women. Efforts should also focus on supporting women at the inflection point by assisting firms with developing an understanding of the challenges and obstacles women face four to five years into their careers. At the same time, firms should adopt tools and practices to help the institution and the individual women manage this transition point, such as helping high-performing women better drive their careers by directing them toward roles and functions that have a direct path to senior leadership roles. Instituting a talent brokerage model in which hiring and promotion decisions are made not by individual executives but by diverse committees with representation from both the business and human resources is also important. Senior executives cannot afford to sit back and take a passive approach, hoping for broader cultural change to permeate the financial industry. Consider that financial services firms are not just losing female talent to this problem; they are also missing out on female customers. Consider: According to a  2013 survey by CTI, over half of upper-income women — those earning $100,000 a year or more or possessing investable assets of at least half a million dollars — don’t have a financial advisor. One reasons for this is that they are not satisfied with the service they receive from the investment industry. This represents significant lost revenue for the industry — as much as $5 trillion in potential revenue in the U.S. alone, according to CTI. For the sake of profits, innovation, and fairness, financial services firms must actively seek to change their corporate cultures. Otherwise, they will only continue to lose the talents of the financial industry’s many women, and the trust of their female clients.

25 октября, 01:50

125 Arrested As Dakota Pipeline Protests Grow Hostile; Media Drones Shot Down By Police

Protests over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota grew increasingly hostile over the weekend as police arrested 127 activists who setup multiple highway blockades claiming “unceded territory” in the direct path of the pipeline's construction.  According to a report by RT, police were forced to make arrests as the blockades directly threatened the ability of local officials to provide emergency services. The Morton County Sheriff's Department posted the following update to their Facebook page claiming that the 127 arrests from the weekend brought the total since August 10th to 269.  "Today’s situation clearly illustrates what we have been saying for weeks, that this protest is not peaceful or lawful," said Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. "It was obvious to our officers who responded that the protesters engaged in escalated unlawful tactics and behavior during this event. This protest was intentionally coordinated and planned by agitators with the specific intent to engage in illegal activities."   Law enforcement officials also fired on media drones after reports surfaced of drones flying too close to surveillance helicopters "in a threatening manner."  The Sheriff's office reported that a deputy aboard the helicopter as well as the pilot and other passengers were "in fear of their lives." "The drones being operated near the local protests and the camps south of Mandan generally are not being operated within the regulations," Sheriff Kirchmeier said. "Reports of drones not being operated within the FAA guidelines or in a reckless and unsafe manner are being investigated and forwarded to the Morton County States Attorney’s office."   According to social media posts, the blockades were established by protesters specifically to inhibit police movement.  Our Water Protectors have set up a road blockade on Hwy 1806 just north of where the Dakota Access pipeline is proposed to cross the road.   There is also a camp-initiated blockade south of Main Oceti Sakowin camp on hwy 1806. And a blockade on county road 134 to stop police access coming from the west.   This is to protect a new established frontline camp thats on the pipeline easement, just east of hwy 1806.   Meanwhile, DAPL is still trying to dig, heading towards this new frontline camp. This is real.   We are done with being reactionary. We are asserting our rights as Indigenous peoples! This remains a non-violent direct action committed to peaceful civil disobedience.   Meanwhile, protest organizers asserted that Native Americans in the region never "ceded this land" which gave them the authority "as sovereign nations to then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland." "We have never ceded this land," said Joye Braun, organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network. "If DAPL can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland. We are here to protect the burial sites here. Highway 1806 has become the no surrender line."   Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier called encampment "intentional, planned, coordinated and outright unlawful."   "Individuals trespassing on private property can't claim eminent domain to justify their criminal actions," he said in a statement.   "Today’s situation clearly illustrates what we have been saying for weeks, that this protest is not peaceful or lawful," said Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. "It was obvious to our officers who responded that the protesters engaged in escalated unlawful tactics and behavior during this event. This protest was intentionally coordinated and planned by agitators with the specific intent to engage in illegal activities." The blockades were ultimately broken up but only after several arrests were made and police threatened that protesters would be held liable if emergency crews were blocked from performing their duties. Law Enforcement to protesters who illegally blocked 1806. "If something happens, you will be liable. I’m worried about the people in Standing Rock needing emergency services and that includes everybody right here. You need to clear this up because if anything would happen medically, fire, emergency services, we have to be able to get through." Watch the video here:   Yet another of Obama's efforts to circumvent legal channels with unilateral executive action seems to be working out just beautifully. 

24 октября, 21:52

Why the Opioid Crisis is an issue of Homeland Security

While the final presidential debate brought up discussions around protecting our borders and deporting drug traffickers, Chris Wallace (and every other debate moderator this election cycle) never asked about how our presidential candidates will address the very real public health crisis stemming from opioid and heroin abuse. Every day, the epidemic is killing 78 Americans and it is creating enormous risk for our next commander in chief who will be in charge of handling this crisis. So, why is a security expert like me concerned about drug abuse? Our homeland defenses are focused on risk planning - terrorism is a threat, but so are hurricanes and tornados, oil spills and border controls, and public health risks like Zika and, clearly, synthetic drugs. Our nation's security is about calculating risks to all-hazards and supporting those who are trained to protect our citizens. Simply put, the drug epidemic is challenging our overall response capacity and we haven't closed the gaps in our postal system that brings the drugs here. The numbers are staggering. Opioid and heroin related deaths are contributing to a crisis taking more lives than the HIV/AIDS epidemic at its peak ever did. In Cincinnati, Ohio, 174 people overdosed in six days. A recent CNN series, Heroin The Poisoning of America, shows that communities across the country, of all economic and social classes, are struggling to combat the epidemic and its terrifying consequences. The sheer scope of the problem is impacting our emergency personnel on the frontlines. Police and first responders are inundated and put at risk, stretching a homeland security network already dealing with so many other threats. As with any vulnerability harming Americans, we need to address the means by which bad people or materials enter this country. And in many cases, it is through the global postal service where the system of monitoring the packages coming into this country is antiquated at best. We need to know if shipments are coming from the same address to addresses in the US that law enforcement believes are drug havens or if the same individual is sending packages from multiple addresses in Russia. Right now our agencies inspecting foreign mail shipped through the global post cannot answer these questions. We need the equivalent of a passenger-screening list for the mail; the technology is there, but the will hasn't been. The opioid epidemic could change that calculation. Last week, a 19-year-old man in White Lake, Michigan died after buying a synthetic opioid, U-47700 or "Pink," on the dark web. The drug is known for being "seven to eight times stronger than morphine." Similarly, two 13-year-old boys in Park City, Utah died within two days of each other after trying to get high on the substance. All got a hold of the substances through the mail, coming from other countries. It is now clear, whether the threat is terror or drugs, that we need to put in place better methods of tracking, including providing electronic data in advance of the package arriving at our borders, to allow agencies to more precisely track foreign packages that are entering the United States. Drug users simply order substances on the dark net with direct shipments to the US; they are gaming the vulnerability in the system. Even Gil Kerlikowske, the Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, testified that this advanced electronic data is a "critical support tool" to keep out high-risk packages from wreaking havoc on our communities. This is a systemic homeland security issue as it is about our vulnerable borders and minimizing the potential that they are taken advantage of by terrorists or drug traders. According to the Department of Homeland Security, more than 340 million packages entered our country last year from foreign posts without the electronic data and screening needed by agencies to assess and monitor toxic, illegal drugs entering the country. By addressing one of the pathways that allows these drugs to enter our country through the global postal system, we can raise the bar for our own national security standards. Action will also allow us to have more tools to stop drug traffickers from attacking our towns already struggling with so much and will help to relieve our first responders from the burdens that the epidemic is bringing. Juliette Kayyem is the author of the best-selling "Security Mom: An Unclassified Guide to Protecting Our Homeland and Your Home." She is a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School, a national security analysts for CNN, a former assistant secretary of homeland security in the Obama administration and founder of Kayyem Solutions, a security consulting firm. Kayyem is a senior adviser to the Americans for Securing All Packages coalition, a bipartisan coalition committed to improving postal security. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

24 октября, 08:00

Global Goals can 'propel us towards a better future for all on a healthy planet,' Ban says on UN Day

In his last United Nations Day message as Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon recognized the efforts of courageous UN staff members who are on the frontlines of disaster and violence and continue to respond to the plight of the vulnerable people across the world.

22 октября, 16:13

Why Russia and China Fear America's Seawolf-Class Submarines

Kyle Mizokami Security, Americas Too bad they were so expensive. The Seawolf-class submarines were envisioned as the best submarines ever built. Designed to succeed the Los Angeles–class attack submarines and maintain America’s edge in the underwater domain, the class suffered from cost overruns and the collapse of the Soviet Union. While still some of the best submarines ever built, they were built at reduced numbers. In the late 1980s, the U.S. Navy was faced with a crisis. In 1980, the Soviet Union had received information from the Walker family spy ring that the Navy could track its submarines through excessive propeller noise. As a result, the Soviet Union went looking for advanced Western machinery to make better propellers. In 1981, the Japanese company Toshiba sold propeller milling machinery—now relatively common nine-axis CNC milling machines—to the Soviet Union via the Norwegian Kongsberg corporation. By the mid 1980s, the Soviet Union’s new machinery began to make itself felt. The new Akula-class submarines had a “steep drop in broadband acoustic noise profiles”. One government source told the Los Angeles Times, “the submarines started to get silent only after the Toshiba stuff went in.” On top of running silent, the Akula class could dive to depths of up to two thousand feet—while the U.S. Navy’s frontline submarines, the Los Angeles class, could dive to only 650 feet. To combat the threat of the Akula class, the U.S. Navy responded with the Seawolf class of nuclear attack submarines. The Seawolf submarines were designed with HY-100 steel alloy hulls two inches thick, the better to withstand the pressures of deep diving. HY-100 steel is roughly 20 percent stronger than the HY-80 used in the Los Angeles class. As a result, the submarines are capable of diving to depths of up to two thousand feet, and crush depth estimates run from 2,400 to 3,000 feet. Read full article

21 октября, 12:13

DCCC chairman: Trump is a great surrogate

Ben Ray Luján discussed the evolving House map and Hillary Clinton's down-ballot role.

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20 октября, 21:45

Iraq: Two-pronged offensive launched in battle for Mosul

The Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces have begun a new two-pronged offensive against ISIL in Mosul, from the northeastern Bashiqa region and through eastern Bartella villages. The goal of this northeastern push is to retake and secure surrounding areas in Bashiqa before awaiting support from Iraqi troops to prepare to enter Mosul city. Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid reports from the northeastern frontline. - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/

20 октября, 11:14

Ирак: "Золотая дивизия" идет на Мосул

Иракская армия, подкрепленная силами полиции, курдских военных формирований и суннитского ополчения - всего около 60 тысяч человек - продвигается к Мосулу при поддержке коалиции во главе с США. #Nawaran, peshmerga frontline on #Mosul pic.twitter.com/6ruQuv0drX— Lucia Goracci (@lugora) 20 octobre 2016 По данным разведки, в городе сосредоточены около 6 тысяч джихадистов. More #ISIS dressed in women clothes, fleeing #Mosul among civilians. #MosulOps @IntlPV @IPCTU pic.twitter.… ЧИТАТЬ ДАЛЕЕ: http://ru.euronews.com/2016/10/20/iraqi-and-peshmerga-forces-launch-new-operation-to-eject-isil-from-mosul euronews: самый популярный новостной канал в Европе. Подписывайтесь! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=euronewsru euronews доступен на 13 языках: https://www.youtube.com/user/euronewsnetwork/channels На русском: Сайт: http://ru.euronews.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/euronews Twitter: http://twitter.com/euronewsru Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/101036888397116664208/100240575545901894719/posts?pageId=101036888397116664208 VKontakte: http://vk.com/ru.euronews

18 января 2013, 17:16

euronews on the frontline - Европа борется с киберпреступностью

http://ru.euronews.com/ Представьте себе мир, где преступники действуют совершенно безнаказанно. Мир, в котором данные Вашей кредитки можно приобрести за 1 доллар, а заработать на таком бизнесе один триллион долларов в год, или 770 000 000 евро. Программа "На линии огня" провела собственное расследование, чтобы понять, как бороться с организованной преступностью в кибер пространстве, а главное - как победить. Эксперты в области кибербезопасности предупреждают, что в 2013 году кибератаки на финансовый сектор станут еще более изощренными и вредоносными и могут привести к миллионам долларов убытков. Наша зависимость от интернета растет, а вместе с этим резко увеличиваются возможности мошенников и преступников. О противостоянии растущей угрозе мы поговорили с Троэлсом Оертиномг, главой Европейского центра по борьбе с кибер-преступлениям и Риком Фергюсоном, директором Trend Micro, компании, разрабатывающей программное обеспечение для защиты информации. Ñ�оциальные Ñ�ети : YouTube: http://bit.ly/zqVL10 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/euronewsru Twitter: http://twitter.com/euronewsru