2 December 2016

Jihadi Terrorist Attack on Strategic Nagrota Base

By K.N. Pandita

The terrorist attack on an Artillery Unit of the Army stationed just three kilometers from the Headquarter, resulting in the martyrdom of seven army personnel including two officers, raises many disturbing questions which the army top brass and the Defence Minister will have to answer. This is notwithstanding the great sacrifices our valiant soldiers are making while fighting Pakistani jihadis. Defence Ministry will come out with its version of the story of this daring attack but anybody with serious interest in the security of the nation will do his exercise of dispassionately analyzing the entire event of much consequence.

There appears a huge network of Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri sympathizers of jihadis in Kashmir…

Geographically, Nagrota is not close to the border with Pakistan. There is not even a distant link between Pakistani border and Nagrota town. There is no motor-able road, no snow clad mountains, no dense forests and no dense border habitation in between. Yet the terrorists have been able to reach the place of their choosing. Obviously, they have come from the valley or from Doda range where the terrorists have operational base. Common sense is that they have sneaked into our part of Kashmir at some vulnerable point, moved unnoticed in the valley for some time, established contacts with people in Jammu range and obtained logistical information from them.


Pravin Sawhney
Gen Bajwa, the new Pakistan Army Chief, has China's support and, perhaps, now of Russia’s as well. It cannot be expected that he will defuse tensions across the Line of Control until India agrees to unconditional talks

With the new Pakistan Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa having taken charge, the question Indians are asking is whether he would be a hardliner like his predecessor or ease tensions with India across the Line of Control?

The answer, perhaps, lies in two recent observations made by Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India, Abdul Basit. Speaking with the Indian media, he said that democracy has matured in Pakistan, the balance (in civil-military relations) is set, and the era of coup was over. What he did not say is that the balance has tilted so much in favour of the military (Army) that coups have been rendered unnecessary. And, ironically, India, by its 1998 nuclear tests, has contributed towards it.

With nuclear weapons in the open, the Pakistan Army Chief has become the unquestioned strategic player responsible for Pakistan’s foreign and security policies. In choosing Bajwa, by deep selection from the list of contenders sent to him by Rawalpindi, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, like earlier times, was not picking up the candidate for the powerful post of Army Chief who may not overthrow him, but one who would give breather from alleged corruption charges levelled against him by Panama leaks.

Nagrota terror attack: When the bravery of two Army wives thwarted terrorists

Source Link

Bravery of the wives of two army officers who were staying in the family quarters helped in averting a major hostage crisis during the encounter that took place in Nagrota area of Jammu today.

Soon after the heavily armed terrorists disguised in police uniform entered an army unit located within three kms from the headquarters of the 16 Corps, they wanted to enter the family quarters where they could take the families of the soldiers and officers hostage.

However, due to the bravery of these two women, who were staying in the family quarters along with their newborns, the plans of the terrorists could not materialise.

"The wives of the two army officers, who were on night duty when the encounter broke out, displayed exemplary courage as they blocked the entry of their quarters with all the household items, making it difficult for the terrorists to break into the houses," an army officer privy to the encounter told PTI.

Had the women not shown this alertness, the terrorists would have been able to take them hostage and would have succeeded in causing huge damage to the army and the families, he said.

India: Troubles In Assam’s Tinsukia – Analysis

By Ajit Kumar Singh*

Three Army personnel were killed and another four were injured when militants ambushed an Army convoy at Pengaree near Digboi in Tinsukia District on November 19, 2016. According to Defence Public Relations Officer (PRO) Lieutenant Colonel Suneet Newton, “They (the militants) had planted an improvised explosive device (IED) on the road. When the IED exploded, the convoy stopped. Then the militants fired indiscriminately.” On November 20, the Independent faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA-I) claimed that this was a “joint operation” carried out by the outfit and four members of the Manipur-based Coordination Committee (CorCom) – Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF, the political wing of the People’s Liberation Army, PLA), United National Liberation Front (UNLF), People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), and progressive faction of PREPAK (PREPAK-Pro). The other two members of the CorCom, a conglomerate of six Manipur Valley-based militant outfits are the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) and the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL).

India: Shrinking ‘Heartland’ In Bastar – Analysis

By Deepak Kumar Nayak*

On November 25, 2016, a Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadre was killed during an encounter with the Security Forces (SFs) in a forested area under the Kondagaon Police Station in Kondagaon District. The body of the slain Maoist along with one rifle and one 12 bore gun was recovered from the encounter site.

On November 22, 2016, a Sub-Inspector (SI) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was killed and a head constable was injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in the forest areas of Sukma District. The incident took place when two personnel of a patrolling team of the CRPF’s 74th Battalion, which was out on an area domination operation between Burkapal Police camp and Chintalnar, inadvertently stepped on a pressure IED concealed beneath the ground by cadres of the CPI-Maoist.

In a similar incident, two CRPF personnel sustained injuries when they stepped on a pressure IED on November 21, 2016, half a kilometre away from the CRPF camp at Narsapuram in Sukma District.

On November 19, 2016, at least five Maoists were killed by the SFs in the jungles of Tuspal and Becha Kilam villages in the Abujhmaad area under the Chhote Dongar Police Station of Narayanpur District. Commenting on the operation, Superintendent of Police (SP) Abhishek Meena, disclosed, “The counter-insurgency operation led to the decimation of Military Company No. six of CPI-Maoist and killing of at least half a dozen Naxals [Left Wing Extremists (LWEs)]. However, we could recover bodies of five Maoists along with their weapons.” SFs recovered three 12 bore guns, one .315 rifle, and articles of daily use from the spot.

Modi’s China Policy: Between Rhetoric And Reality – Analysis

By Niharika Tagotra*

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy towards China can be best described as a balancing act displaying elements of both pragmatism and realism. India has sought closer ties with countries like the US and Japan, but has simultaneously also displayed its willingness to accommodate Chinese interests in the region. After the initial euphoria over the prospects of strengthening the bilateral ties, Modi’s China policy has been remarkably re-shaped by the changing ground realities.

The bilateral relations between the two countries under Modi have taken the slow yet steady route. Modi himself has agreed that while India can “speak to China eye-to eye,” the objectives of foreign policy lay not in “changing mindsets” but in “finding common grounds for converging interests.” This careful deliberation of interests with a hint of realpolitik is also reflected in India’s stance over issues of critical importance to China. For instance, while India has been more assertive in demanding a peaceful resolution to the South China Sea (SCS) dispute, in May 2016, it refused to hold joint patrols with the US in the region. It also explicitly ruled out its participation in any such future patrols. This, however, was in stark contrast to India’s participation with the US and Japan in the trilateral naval exercise held in June 2016 in the West Philippine Sea, treading dangerously close to the SCS region. This could be read as a sign of India’s assertion of its dominance over the Indian Ocean, while simultaneously respecting China’s interests in the SCS. Modi during his recent US visit also gave reassurances that China would not be not be “demonized” in view of the developments in the India-US bilateral ties.

An Opportunity To Bring Heart Back To Kashmir – Analysis

By Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain*

Something that escaped most observers even as queues at ATMs increased and worries about the next purchase of vegetables kept attention focused, is the sudden quieting of the situation in the Kashmir Valley. In ferment since 08 July 2016, when Burhan Wani was killed, stamina just collapsed after the Durbar moved to Jammu for the winter. Perhaps it was realised well in time that demonstrations and stone throwing are supposedly instruments to communicate collective negative emotions and angst. However, when there is no government to paralyse, no tourists to harass and no minorities to intimidate, there is not much point in protesting. That is the phenomenon that always takes place around the end of the year in the Valley. No doubt this year the de-monetisation exercise is contributing to ensure that professional stone throwers cannot earn their bread nor the smack, ganja or other drugs because there is not cash around with the organisers.

Pakistan, FMCT And Strategic Compulsions – OpEd


Pakistan has been facing a serious asymmetry vis a vis India when it comes to the fissile material stocks and growth in conventional arms and capabilities. This is further augmented by India’s provocative “Cold Start” doctrinal gestures. There is no ambiguity about this doctrine which aims at ultimately capturing Pakistani territory. The added arms sophistication achieved by India in terms of nuclear triad, the ABMs, and other destructive weapons, has given it a natural edge over Pakistan.

Although the major powers have stressed upon having peaceful relations between India and Pakistan, their own biases and inclination towards India, serve as source of threat for Pakistan. It is a known fact that the US, Israel and Russia are the biggest arm suppliers and security providers to India.

In this very complex situation where the proponents of peace have their clear biases in favor of India, Pakistan constantly feels the need to make its case and resort to taking security measures aimed at safeguarding and ensuring its own security and regional strategic equilibrium with India.

Pakistan’s New Army Chief And The Indo-Pak Dialogue Process – Analysis

By Sarral Sharma*

On 26 November 2016, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif confirmed the appointment of Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as the new Chief of the Army Ataff (COAS). Lt Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat takes the charge as the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC). Gen Bajwa assumes office on 29 November 2016 as the current COAS, Gen Raheel Sharif, completes his three-year tenure.

The successful transition of power will boost the confidence of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government which has seen many ups and downs in its relations with the military in the last three years. The new army chief will take at least two to three months to settle in, to make new appointments and to build his new team. During that period, Sharif will have the window of opportunity to assert a bit more on crucial issues such as improving relations with India. However, it is expected that this time around, Sharif will be cautiously treading the path of restarting any dialogue process with India. This is because even one wrong decision would eventually give leeway to the new army chief to dominate both domestic and international policies.

'Like Indians, Pakistanis are not interested in war'

'Both India and Pakistan don't want to escalate tensions.'

'So no matter what is claimed before the public, the reality is slightly different.'

To understand the dynamics at play in the aftermath of India's surgical strike across the Line of Control on September 29, Rediff.com's Vipin Vijayan reached out to Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, the Islamabad-based expert on the Pakistan army.

Dr Siddiqa, who has written extensively on Pakistan's national security policy and military strategy, says that "not just international players, but domestic stakeholders too have consistently demanded rolling back the jihad machine."

"However, these non-State actors -- or at least some of them -- are well entrenched in the military's strategic thinking," she adds.

According to you, the operation conducted by India shouldn't be termed a 'surgical strike,' but instead be seen as a 'targetted operation'.

China Takes a Chain Saw to a Center of Tibetan Buddhism


LARUNG GAR, China — Atop a hill, a growling chain saw drowned out loudspeakers broadcasting a lama’s chants from a nearby temple.

The chain saw, wielded by workers demolishing a row of homes, signaled the imminent end of thousands of hand-built monastic dwellings here at Larung Gar, the world’s largest Buddhist institute.

Since its founding in 1980, Larung Gar has grown into an extraordinary and surreal sprawl — countless red-painted dwellings surrounding temples, stupas and large prayer wheels. The homes are spread over the walls of this remote Tibetan valley like strawberry jam slathered on a scone.

Larung Gar has become one of the most influential institutions in the Tibetan world, the teachings of its senior monks praised, debated and proselytized from here to the Himalayas. In recent years, disciples have popularized a “10 new virtues” movement based on Buddhist beliefs, spreading its message across the region.

Chinese Space Program Gives NASA Run For Its Money


The launch of the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft in western China last month marked another great leap forward for the nation’s space program and its ambition to send manned missions to the moon and, eventually, Mars. Yet more than national prestige is at stake: China is counting on its space program to pay huge economic dividends.

China is NASA’s biggest rival in space exploration with plans to land “taikonauts” on the moon by 2036 and Mars thereafter. Along the way, President Xi Jinping hopes the space missions will spawn a wave of Chinese innovation in robotics, aviation and artificial intelligence, among other leading 21st-century technologies.

China’s space program is generally shrouded in secrecy, yet Xi’s government is now reviewing a proposal by top researchers to triple investments into scientific missions, according to Wu Ji, director-general of the National Space Science Center. The hope is that advancements made while building new telescopes, monitoring Earth’s water cycles and improving satellite navigation will revive state-owned enterprises and inspire the startup of private ones.

The Secret Document That Transformed China


In 1978, the farmers in a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. They thought it might get them executed. Instead, it wound up transforming China's economy in ways that are still reverberating today.

The contract was so risky — and such a big deal — because it was created at the height of communism in China. Everyone worked on the village's collective farm; there was no personal property.

"Back then, even one straw belonged to the group," says Yen Jingchang, who was a farmer in Xiaogang in 1978. "No one owned anything."

At one meeting with communist party officials, a farmer asked: "What about the teeth in my head? Do I own those?" Answer: No. Your teeth belong to the collective.

In theory, the government would take what the collective grew, and would also distribute food to each family. There was no incentive to work hard — to go out to the fields early, to put in extra effort, Yen Jingchang says.

"Work hard, don't work hard — everyone gets the same," he says. "So people don't want to work."

China’s spies gain valuable US defense technology: report


According to the annual report of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Chinese cyber espionage is a "major problem" for America

China has gained military benefits in recent years from stealing defense secrets through industrial and cyber espionage carried out by its intelligence services, according to a US congressional report.

“In recent years, Chinese agents have extracted data on some of the most advanced weapons and weapons systems in the US arsenal, such as jet fighters and unmanned submersible vehicles,” states the annual report of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, released on November 16.

“The loss of these and other sensitive defense technologies undermines US military superiority by accelerating China’s military modernization and giving China insight into the capabilities and operation of US weapons and weapons systems,” the report adds.

'CIA created ISIS', says Julian Assange as Wikileaks releases 500k US cables

By Jon Austin
WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange today said the CIA was responsible for paving the way for ISIS as the whistle blowing organisation released more than half a million formerly confidential US diplomatic cables dating back to 1979. 

On the sixth anniversary of the first infamous "Cablegate" by WikiLeaks, when it releases its first batch of sensitive US files, on November 28 2010, it has expanded its Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD) with 531,525 new diplomatic cables from 1979.

In a statement to coincide with the release of the cables, known as "Carter Cables III", Mr Assange explained how events which unfolded in 1979, had begun a series of events that led to the rise of ISIS.

He said: "If any year could be said to be the "year zero" of our modern era, 1979 is it."

Mr Assange said a decision by the CIA, together with Saudi Arabia, to plough billions of dollars into arming the Mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan to tackle the Soviet Union, had led to the creation of terror group al-Qaeda.

War on Black Money: Freedom at Midnight

PR Ramesh

SOME OF THOSE gathered at the Union Cabinet meeting on the evening of November 8th were cracking their knuckles in anxiety; a few others were fidgety; others were hiding their apprehensions behind calm faces. Sports Minister Vijay Goel took a shot at levity by narrating funny incidents to the minister seated by his side, who was stealing glances at the clock on the wall. It was three minutes to 7 pm.

Members of the Cabinet had received a prior advisory not to get mobile phones to this extraordinary meeting, heightening the tension. None wanted to be the first to hazard a guess at the agenda, although some surmised that it had to do with terror attacks, border conflicts and ceasefire violations. At 7 pm sharp, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an entry and gestured the gathering to silence. “I have an important announcement to make,” he declared. The Prime Minister told them that the lengthening shadow of black money and corruption had started to eclipse India’s growth story and damage the country’s image abroad. There was urgent need for decisive action. He spelt out some figures and then dropped the bombshell: all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would cease to be legal tender within a few hours, at midnight. The public would be allowed to change old notes to newly issued Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes up till December 30th at banks. A national address would be made on television. He told his colleagues that unlike in 1978, when the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai took the decision by himself, he had decided to take the Cabinet into confidence on the issue. The Prime Minister said that the gathered ministers could ask Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for any clarifications they needed. Minister of Mines Narendra Singh Tomar let out a laugh, high pitched and nervous. Some could be heard sucking their breaths in. Only one minister had questions. Apart from Jaitley, all of them were taken completely aback. From his chair, the Prime Minister studied the reaction on each face intently.

Some Trades Begin Before Embargos End

The lasting mark that Fidel Castro will leave on Cuba could continue to undercut Havana's outreach to the United States long after his death. Shaped by Castro's ideological vision, the autocratic government that exists in Havana today directly conflicts with U.S. laws governing Washington's relationship with it - a reality that is unlikely to change any time soon. But Cuba did not become an autocracy on its own. Many forces, including the United States, helped set its political path, one that must be traced back more than a century to truly understand Castro and the nation he created.

A Relationship Rooted in Strategy

Cuba's on-again, off-again relationship with the United States wasn't founded on the island nation's political or economic influence, but on its prime location astride the Straits of Florida. For hundreds of years, the sizable stretch of land served as a crucial Caribbean base for the Spanish, who used it as a foothold to project power and control regional shipping. For the United States - a nation built on exports - the ability of a hostile power to restrict adjacent sea lanes, and particularly to the critical port of New Orleans, was unacceptable. It came as little surprise when, in the 1898 Spanish-American War, Washington wrenched Cuba from Spain's grasp and set it on a path to independence. As U.S. global clout grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Cuba became a reliable partner for Washington on its southern periphery.

Can 50 Smallest Nationalities Of Russian Federation Be Saved From Extinction? – OpEd


The Russian Human Rights Council is appealing to Vladimir Putin to take immediate action to save “the approximately 50 peoples of the Russian Federation” that “today are under threat of disappearing,” an appeal that highlights a problem the Kremlin leader has given lip service to in the past but in general has done nothing to address.

One of the authors of the report, Andrey Babushkin, told Ekaterina Trifonova of “Nezavisimaya gazeta” that the possible loss of these peoples “is not only a cultural but a political problem” because it threatens the multi-national nature of the country, something enshrined in the 1993 Constitution (ng.ru/politics/2016-11-29/1_6871_etnos.html).

Drawing on official statistics, the report notes that of the 156 languages spoken by indigenous peoples of Russia in the 19th century, “seven have already died out, and the same fate now threatens several others.” Yug, a non-literary paleo-Asiatic language in the Yenisei valley, for example, had 131 speakers in 2002, but “today already no one speaks it.”

Trump Is More Dangerous Than ‘The Blob’ – OpEd


With the ascent to power of the neoconservatives in the Bush administration and following 9/11 the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, foreign-policy realists succeeded in promoting the virtues of the national interest — to the detriment of internationalism.

For some years, progressives, antiwar activists, and traditional conservatives have found common cause in opposition to interventionism.

In some ways, Donald Trump’s election is part of that trend.

For that reason, an academic such as John Mearsheimer who sees himself as being outside the foreign policy establishment, sees potential promise in a Trump presidency but he fears the power that remains entrenched in Washington, that has been referred to derisively as “the Blob” by President Obama’s close adviser, Ben Rhodes.

The Rise Of Trumpism – Analysis

By Luis Durani*

With the elections over and a new president elected, half of the electorate is still reeling from the surprise upset created by Donald Trump. Due to the mechanisms behind the American democratic system, Donald Trump has managed to assume the highest office in the US and perhaps the world.

Trump managed to break all electoral rules and surprised the media and pollsters by the different electoral demographics he won. Trump’s victory is not so much a testament to his campaigning ability but more of the people’s ennui and wearisome of politicians, both parties, and the system. Trump represents the repudiation of the system. Trump managed to tap into the distress among people of all ages, color, creeds, and education level. Despite what he may have said about certain groups, the majority of the country had reached a boiling point with the status quo and decided to elect him to change things up.

The Future Of A.I.

by Felix Richter

When many people think of the future of artificial intelligence, they imagine some form of robot, diligently serving them and completing the mundane tasks of everyday life, perhaps stopping once in a while to have a chat with their human overlord.

While something along these lines may well come to fruition at some point, the most lucrative use cases of A.I. until 2025 are forecast by market intelligence firm Tractica to be a little less fantastical.

With expected cumulative revenue of just over 8 billion U.S. dollars, 'static image recognition, classification and tagging' is forecast to lead the way, ahead of 'algorithmic trading strategy performance improvement' ($7.5 billion) and 'efficient, scalable processing of patient data' ($7.4 billion). Although our childhood dreams may have to wait for a while longer, A.I. seems set for some fruitful years ahead.

This chart shows forecasted cumulative global artificial intelligence revenue 2016-2025, by use case.

Infographic Of The Day: Chart: The End Of World Poverty Is In Sight

The number of people in extreme poverty has been cut in half since 1990.

The world is not a perfect place, and there are many injustices that still must be combatted. Just some of these include racism, sexism, income inequality, climate change, terrorism, soaring debt, corruption, and food and water security.

Many groups of people have it rough, and they deservedly have an axe to grind. There’s plenty of work to still be done.

However, sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day battles and the negative news stories that we forget to look at the big picture – and the big picture actually provides a lot of optimism.

Despite the majority of Americans being pessimistic about the future, the world is actually getting better as a whole: people are living longer and healthier lives, crime and violence are down, and living standards are generally improving. 

2017 Index Of Economic Freedom: Trade And Prosperity At Risk – Analysis

By Bryan Riley and Ambassador Terry Miller*

The latest rankings of trade freedom around the world, developed by The Heritage Foundation in the forthcoming 2017 Index of Economic Freedom,[1] once again demonstrate that citizens of countries that embrace trade freedom are better off than those in countries that do not. The data continue to show a strong correlation between trade freedom and a variety of positive indicators, including economic prosperity, low poverty rates, and clean environments.

Worldwide, the average trade freedom score improved just barely over the past year, from 75.6 to 75.9 out of a maximum score of 100. The improvement was due to a small decline in average tariff rates among the countries measured.
Why Trade Freedom Matters

A comparison of economic performance and trade scores in the 2017 Index of Economic Freedomdemonstrates the importance of trade freedom to prosperity and well-being. Countries with the most trade freedom have higher per capita incomes, lower incidences of hunger in their populations, and cleaner environments.



I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.

Airpower advocates are often accused of treating all warfighting problems in the same way — wielding a hammer against challenges, even (and especially) when a hammer is not the right tool. Accordingly, a large part of the history of airpower has encompassed the quest for precision bombing, so that the hammer might be more appropriately applied with less risk to the wielder. Now that we have finally reached an enviable level of precision, we have found our arrival at airpower Nirvana postponed indefinitely. Unrealistic expectations surrounding the application of force are making the strategic utility of precision far less than it ought to be — ultimately hindering both strategy and operational utility of the U.S. military. The ubiquitous nature of precision has resulted in the growth of a generation of policymakers who misunderstand the nature of warfare. These individuals cannot separate the political risk entailed with employing military force with the physical risk aviators are exposed to while trying to fulfill unrealistic demands for a sanitary and clean conflict. The allure of precision weapons has proven too much for policymakers. They have been seduced into believing that somehow, aerial warfare is not the dirty, dangerous, and destructive child of modern warfare that it actually is.

Inside Alphabet’s Jigsaw, the powerful tech incubator that could reshape geopolitics

Lucy Wark

Google has never wanted to be an ordinary company. From its original motto, “Don’t be evil,” to last year’s updated mantra “Do the right thing,” it’s always styled itself as an organization with goals that are both more ambitious and more altruistic than the usual profit-focused corporate motivations. Among the strongest indicators of this mindset is its tech incubator, Jigsaw—launched earlier this year, in conjunction with the company’s reorganization into Alphabet, with the goal of tackling “geopolitical challenges.”

So the world’s second-most valuable corporation is openly trying to influence international affairs. That’s interesting. As a follower of Jigsaw (and one of the approximately five people who finished Julian Assange’s 224-page manifesto on the incubator), I’ve read plenty of conspiracy theories about empire-building—not to mention endless Google press releases regurgitated into puff pieces. But Jigsaw is still not very well understood, and neither are its politics.

And so I went to visit the company’s New York office in Chelsea this summer, featuring, among other things, the largest collection of sparkling waters in human history. I was there to learn more about what Jigsaw is really about. Even more than its specific products, I wanted to get a handle on how the Alphabet incubator sees its own role at a time of great technological and social change—and understand the political philosophy behind its choices.

Becoming a Knowledge-Sharing Organization : A Handbook for Scaling Up Solutions through Knowledge Capturing and Sharing

This volume offers a simple, systematic guide to creating a knowledge sharing practice in your organization. It shows how to build the enabling environment and develop the skills needed to capture and share knowledge gained from operational experiences to improve performance and scale-up successes. Its recommendations are grounded on the insights gained from the past seven years of collaboration between the World Bank and its clients around the world—ministries and national agencies operating in various sectors—who are working to strengthen their operations through robust knowledge sharing. While informed by the academic literature on knowledge management and organizational learning, this handbook’s operational background and many real-world examples and tips provide a missing, practical foundation for public sector officials in developing countries and for development practitioners. However, though written with a public sector audience in mind, the overall concepts and approaches will also hold true for most organizations in the private sector and the developed world.

English PDF2.916MB 

What happens when bots start writing code instead of humans


“‘It may be a hundred years before a computer beats humans at Go  —  maybe even longer.”  New York Times, 1997

“Master of Go Board Game Is Walloped by Google Computer Program”  New York Times, 2016

Software development has gone through massive paradigm shifts over the past decade. Once limited to developers with years of study or access to expensive servers, web development has now become a trade for which bootcamps crank out developers in a matter of weeks. And we are rapidly approaching our next paradigm shift, with AI-based code generation. When we reach that inflection point, web development will have officially died, and the labor force is woefully unprepared for what’s next.

Here are some of the paradigm shifts that have brought us to this point.

War Game Confirms Major Gaps in U.S. Army’s Cyber Capabilities

Anthony Capaccio

Exercise documented vulnerabilities for new office to correct 

‘We need this’ to pursue solutions, operations director says 

U.S. forces participating in a multinational war game were tested with a barrage of cyber attacks, electronic-warfare jamming and drones that confirmed major gaps in capabilities that must be remedied, according to a leader of an office dedicated to deploying new technologies quickly.

“We need this type of assessment,” Major General Walter Piatt, operations director of the Army’s new Rapid Capabilities Office, said of the exercise last month. It was critical “to set this up in the dirt of West Texas and the hands of real soldiers,” he added.

Army soldiers, Marines and special operations forces were joined by Australian and Canadian counterparts for the 11 days of mock warfare in Texas and New Mexico. The war game simulated a conflict in the Pacific that was heavy on electronic warfare against an adversary force intent on disrupting communications and navigation. Italian troops overseas linked in via satellite.

Huge cyber-attack takes nearly one million Germans offline

Nearly a million customers with German cable network Deutsche Telekom were hit by network outages on Sunday following a large scale cyber-attack.

The disruptions were blamed on a failed hacking attempt to hijack consumer router devices for a wider internet attack.

Deutsche Telekom said that as many as 900,000, or about 4.5 per cent of its 20 million fixed-line customers, suffered internet outages starting on Sunday and continuing into Monday, when the number of affected users began to decline sharply.

The outages appeared to be related to a botched attempt to turn a sizeable number of customers’ routers into a part of the Mirai botnet, according to Thomas Tschersich, head of IT security at Deutsche Telekom.

“In the framework of the attack, it was attempted to turn the routers into a part of a botnet,” he said.

Mirai is malicious software designed to turn network devices into remotely controlled ‘bots’ that can be used to mount large-scale network attacks. Last month, hackers used it to unleash an attack using common devices like webcams and digital recorders to cut access to some of the world’s best-known websites.