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ISN Weekly Theme: ICT and IR

Communicating in the desert

Communicating in the desert / photo: John & Mel Kots, flickr

This week we’re highlighting the dovetailing of information communication (ICT) and technology with international relations (IR).

Check out some of featured items on the site:

Puffing Away in China

Young Chinese man smoking

Young Chinese man smoking / photo: ernop, flickr

As I read a news piece on smoking in China on the website of a Finnish newspaper I thought, for a brief second, that it was April Fool’s. This was a joke, right?

The article said the provincial government in Hubei in China had set a quota for civil servants to smoke at least 230 000 packs of local cigarettes a year. And if they did not reach this quota or decided to smoke another brand instead, they would be fined.
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Reding Says EU Not Ready for Cyberattack

Screenshot of Reding's site

Screenshot of Reding\’s site

Offering up the 2007 Estonia attacks as an example, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding says in her video blog that the EU must do more to protect member states against cyberattacks.

According to Reding, a month-long internet interruption in the US or Europe would lead to “losses of at least 150 billion euro.”

The Luxemberger took no prisoners in scolding her own organization:

“So far, the EU’s 27 Member States have been quite negligent. Although the EU has created an agency for network and information security, called ENISA, this instrument remains mainly limited to being a platform to exchange information and is not, in the short term, going to become the European headquarters of defense against cyber attacks. I am not happy with that.”

Reding believes that Europe needs a “Mister Cyber Security” (hmmm…or a “Miss” maybe?), a go-to person for when an attack is underway. The person would also be in charge of enacting plans preclude attacks.

This call is somewhat a day late and a dollar short (the EU should have gotten the message with Estonia), but Reding is on the mark in stating that the EU’s efforts have fallen far, far short.

The full video blog can be found here along with a PDF transcript.

Screenshot: Site of Viviane Reding.

Kim Jong Il: Jack of all trades…

Just a tad bit late for Groundhog Day, North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, or one of his doubles, may have appeared during his ‘re-election’ to another five-year term as ‘eternal president.’

I don’t think they’re doubles. I think he’s re-spawning, hence the multiple re-elections as ‘eternal president.’

Kim’s been out of sight since having a stroke last August.

Or maybe he’s been taking a well-deserved break.

Being ‘The Great Athlete’ is a hard job:

‘Master of Creation’ is harder:

Oh, and we mustn’t forget, ‘The Fashion Designer’

He’s runway ready.

ISN Weekly Theme: Tibet

Nepali graffiti artist

Nepali graffiti artist spraying Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu

With the 50th anniversary of the uprising in Tibet on 10 March, the ISN is focusing on the controversial region with a variety of offerings:

  • For our latest edition of ISN Podcasts we talk to Denis Burke, an Amsterdam-based journalist who has written extensively on Tibet, about the “Free Tibet” movement and why it may be time to change tack.
  • ISN Security Watch’s Sudesnha Sarkar reports from Kathmandu on the Nepal governments moves to quell anti-China protests among the country’s Tibetan minority.
  • We’re also highlighting Debating China’s Future from the World Security Institute in the ISN Digital Library.
  • We’ve added listings for Tibetsites.com, an archive of links associated with Tibet, and China Tibet Online, a news platform on Tibet provided by China People’s Daily, in ISN Links.

Admittedly, the Tibet issue is a complicated matter, but by providing these sources (and more on our site), we hope to contribute to the dialogue.

Image: Phayul/ISN

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