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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Zimbabwe's Path to Hell

William Church, Managing Director, CIWARS

It would be easy to blame Climate Change on the current unrest in Zimbabwe but the 2015 drought is  just the coup de grace not the cause of the  Zimbabwe Disaster Zone.  The current $200,000 million plus short-fall in emergency food funding for nearly five million Zimbabweans is merely a worthless band-aid on a gapping self-inflicted shotgun wound.

Zimbabwe is a completely broken nation.

Before the drought, agricultural production was in decline. Maize production had fallen from two million tonnes in 2000 to 600,000 tonnes in 2012. Wheat production had fallen from 300,000 tonnes in 2001 and to a dismal 10,000 tonnes in 2012. Soy products fell from 1.7 million tonnes to 350,000 tonnes; beef production from 90,000 tonnes to 35,000 tonnes.

Agriculture exports had no more started to recover from a 2007 low than the 2015 drought hit.  In terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Zimbabwe has fallen from a growth rate of 10.6 percent in 2012 to 3.9 percent in 2014 with the current rate hanging just above one percent. Agriculture in terms of GDP has fallen from 19.4 percent in 2008 to just over 10 percent of the GDP.  All of this belies problems deeper than Climate Change's drought.

Today, Zimbabwe has replaced its currency with US dollars and US dollars are in short supply to pay for the ever increasing amount of imports. With  falling dollar reserves from depleted exports and increased imports, the mining industry, another source of hard currency, collapsed in 2015-2016.

Gold was hit by falling gold prices and the diamond industry was devastated when the Zimbabwe government announced they would nationalize the remaining mining companies, and it became clear that the easily accessible diamonds had been mined and continued operations would require more investment and different methods.  With these changes the diamond industry collapsed in 2016.

In the civil arena,  Robert Mugabe has lost his grip on power.  His power is being defied daily.  Government  employees have suspended work over the lack of pay. The military is going without pay.   Riots have disrupted the country over the import ban that crippled daily traders from making a living.

Politically, last week brought a sledge hammer blow to Mugabe when his long-standing constituency of War Veterans pulled their support. To show that Mugabe had finally turned politically tone deaf he hinted that there could be another Gururanhundi, a mass execution.

Though there is two years left on Robert Mugabe's presidential term there appears to be consensus that his presidency is over. That is the good news and the bad news.

Zimbabwe has zero history of presidential transition. Robert Mugabe has been the only president since its birth and the only hope for a smooth transmission would be the continued rule of  Mugabe's ZANU-PF but Robert Mugabe's party is shattered.

Grace Mugabe, Robert Mugabe's wife and increasingly the power behind the throne, has been a disaster for ZANU-PF.   In a Shakespearean tragedy, she locked horns with Zimbabwe's then Vice President Joice Mujuru.  She is the widow of Mugabe's former heir apparent Solomon Mujuru (Rex Nhongo) who died five years ago. After being fired as Vice President, Mujuru pulled a large faction of the ZANU-PF away and formed a new party ZIM-PF. She was joined by Brigadier General Mutambara, a widely respected war veteran.

Back on the ZANU-PF side, the once ruling party is splintering again. Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Robert Mugabe's anointed successor, is being sidelined by Grace Mugabe and this was the force behind the War Veterans disavowing Robert Mugabe.

Nothing better demonstrates the death of the Mugabe regime, than the open defiance of former ZANU-PF youth leader Acie Lumumba. Lumumba, on trial for disrespecting Robert Mugabe by suggesting he would have carnal knowledge of Mugabe, repeatedly in court used the F word to show his complete contempt for Mugabe and his oppression.

All of this is happening against a back drop of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) breaking a decades long boycott of the Mugabe government by being on the verge of granting it a one billion dollar loan after an unknown country gives Zimbabwe nearly one billion dollars to pay off the World Bank and the African Export Import Bank gives Zimbabwe $600 million to pay off the African Development Bank.

This lifeline will arrive in the third quarter and will provide Zimbabwe with the much needed hard currency to possibly restart its economic engine, but that will only work if there is an unlikely smooth political transition, which is doubtful.

This scenario would need the following unlikely events to smoothly occur.

  1.  $300 million of emergency famine funding to appear after months of begging.
  2. Southern Africa's ports and infrastructure capably handling the millions of tonnes food relief.
  3. Zimbabwe's agriculture sector to cure the underlying problems that are separate from the drought.
  4. The mining industry to recover with higher gold prices and the new diamond mining structure to produce a new revitalized industry.
  5. Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF patch its split and then find common ground with ZIM-PF  and agree to not pull the nation into violence.
  6. Finally, Zimbabwe's largest trading partner, South Africa, not continue down its stormy path to destruction. 
It is vital  for the International Community to see this situation as more complex than providing funding through the IMF and to work with Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) for a solution. It is time for the complete re-engagement with Zimbabwe to assist during this transitional period.  It is time to recognize that the Mugabe era is over, and it is possible to help Zimbabwe shape a new future. However, this re-engagement must be conducted from an equanimous position to assist Zimbabwe achieve its next stage of the revolution.

Europe and other nations have a lot at stake. A destabilized Zimbabwe could hurl millions of migrants/refugees into South Africa, which is already divided on the issue of the influx from neighboring countries. In addition, it could add 100,000 Africans to the rush of migrants to Europe.  A destabilized Zimbabwe, and Southern Africa,  could disrupt the entire economic engine of Africa with rippling affect towards Europe.

William Church
Managing Director

Million gallons sewage in SF Bay

July 24, Associated Press – (California) 952K gallons of sewage spilled into Bay. An employee at San Jose’s Alviso wastewater treatment plant inadvertently released 952,000 gallons of partially treated sewage into the San Francisco Bay July 20 after turning the manual valve prior to the water’s last treatment.
Source: http://www.mantecabulletin.com/section/140/article/136350/ 

1.6 million gallons Wastewater dumped in Taylor Creek GA

uly 22, Hinesville Coastal Courier – (Georgia) 1.6 million gallons of wastewater spills into Taylors Creek. An electrical failure that disabled the alarms at Hinesville’s wastewater treatment plant in Georgia caused approximately 1.62 million gallons of partially treated wastewater to spill into Taylors Creek July 20 – July 21.
Source: http://coastalcourier.com/section/10/article/82241/ 

Presidential Policy Directive -- United States Cyber Incident Coordination | whitehouse.gov

Presidential Policy Directive -- United States Cyber Incident Coordination

July 26, 2016
SUBJECT: United States Cyber Incident Coordination
The advent of networked technology has spurred innovation, cultivated knowledge, encouraged free expression, and increased the Nation's economic prosperity. However, the same infrastructure that enables these benefits is vulnerable to malicious activity, malfunction, human error, and acts of nature, placing the Nation and its people at risk. Cyber incidents are a fact of contemporary life, and significant cyber incidents are occurring with increasing frequency, impacting public and private infrastructure located in the United States and abroad.
United States preparedness efforts have positioned the Nation to manage a broad range of threats and hazards effectively. Every day, Federal law enforcement and those agencies responsible for network defense in the United States manage, respond to, and investigate cyber incidents in order to ensure the security of our information and communications infrastructure. The private sector and government agencies have a shared vital interest in protecting the Nation from malicious cyber activity and managing cyber incidents and their consequences. The nature of cyberspace requires individuals, organizations, and the government to all play roles in incident response. Furthermore, effective incident response efforts will help support an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable information and communications infrastructure that promotes trade and commerce, strengthens international security, fosters free expression, and reinforces the privacy and security of our citizens.
While the vast majority of cyber incidents can be handled through existing policies, certain cyber incidents that have significant impacts on an entity, our national security, or the broader economy require a unique approach to response efforts. These significant cyber incidents demand unity of effort within the Federal Government and especially close coordination between the public and private sectors.
I. Scope
This Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) sets forth principles governing the Federal Government's response to any cyber incident, whether involving government or private sector entities. For significant cyber incidents, this PPD also establishes lead Federal agencies and an architecture for coordinating the broader Federal Government response. This PPD also requires the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to maintain updated contact information for public use to assist entities affected by cyber incidents in reporting those incidents to the proper authorities.
II. Definitions
  1. Cyber incident. An event occurring on or conducted through a computer network that actually or imminently jeopardizes the integrity, confidentiality, or availability of computers, information or communications systems or networks, physical or virtual infrastructure controlled by computers or information systems, or information resident thereon. For purposes of this directive, a cyber incident may include a vulnerability in an information system, system security procedures, internal controls, or implementation that could be exploited by a threat source.
  2. Significant cyber incident. A cyber incident that is (or group of related cyber incidents that together are) likely to result in demonstrable harm to the national security interests, foreign relations, or economy of the United States or to the public confidence, civil liberties, or public health and safety of the American people.
III. Principles Guiding Incident Response
In carrying out incident response activities for any cyber incident, the Federal Government will be guided by the following principles:
  1. Shared Responsibility. Individuals, the private sector, and government agencies have a shared vital interest and complementary roles and responsibilities in protecting the Nation from malicious cyber activity and managing cyber incidents and their consequences.
  2. Risk-Based Response. The Federal Government will determine its response actions and the resources it brings to bear based on an assessment of the risks posed to an entity, our national security, foreign relations, the broader economy, public confidence, civil liberties, or the public health and safety of the American people.
  3. Respecting affected entities. To the extent permitted under law, Federal Government responders will safeguard details of the incident, as well as privacy and civil liberties, and sensitive private sector information, and generally will defer to affected entities in notifying other affected private sector entities and the public. In the event a significant Federal Government interest is served by issuing a public statement concerning an incident, Federal responders will coordinate their approach with the affected entities to the extent possible.
  4. Unity of Governmental Effort. Various government entities possess different roles, responsibilities, authorities, and capabilities that can all be brought to bear on cyber incidents. These efforts must be coordinated to achieve optimal results. Whichever Federal agency first becomes aware of a cyber incident will rapidly notify other relevant Federal agencies in order to facilitate a unified Federal response and ensure that the right combination of agencies responds to a particular incident. State, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments also have responsibilities, authorities, capabilities, and resources that can be used to respond to a cyber incident; therefore, the Federal Government must be prepared to partner with SLTT governments in its cyber incident response efforts. The transnational nature of the Internet and communications infrastructure requires the United States to coordinate with international partners, as appropriate, in managing cyber incidents.
  5. Enabling Restoration and Recovery. Federal response activities will be conducted in a manner to facilitate restoration and recovery of an entity that has experienced a cyber incident, balancing investigative and national security requirements, public health and safety, and the need to return to normal operations as quickly as possible.
IV. Concurrent Lines of Effort
In responding to any cyber incident, Federal agencies shall undertake three concurrent lines of effort: threat response; asset response; and intelligence support and related activities. In addition, when a Federal agency is an affected entity, it shall undertake a fourth concurrent line of effort to manage the effects of the cyber incident on its operations, customers, and workforce.
  1. Threat response activities include conducting appropriate law enforcement and national security investigative activity at the affected entity's site; collecting evidence and gathering intelligence; providing attribution; linking related incidents; identifying additional affected entities; identifying threat pursuit and disruption opportunities; developing and executing courses of action to mitigate the immediate threat; and facilitating information sharing and operational coordination with asset response.
  2. Asset response activities include furnishing technical assistance to affected entities to protect their assets, mitigate vulnerabilities, and reduce impacts of cyber incidents; identifying other entities that may be at risk and assessing their risk to the same or similar vulnerabilities; assessing potential risks to the sector or region, including potential cascading effects, and developing courses of action to mitigate these risks; facilitating information sharing and operational coordination with threat response; and providing guidance on how best to utilize Federal resources and capabilities in a timely, effective manner to speed recovery.  
    Threat and asset responders will share some responsibilities and activities, which may include communicating with affected entities to understand the nature of the cyber incident; providing guidance to affected entities on available Federal resources and capabilities; promptly disseminating through appropriate channels intelligence and information learned in the course of the response; and facilitating information sharing and operational coordination with other Federal Government entities.
  3. Intelligence support and related activities facilitate the building of situational threat awareness and sharing of related intelligence; the integrated analysis of threat trends and events; the identification of knowledge gaps; and the ability to degrade or mitigate adversary threat capabilities.
  4. An affected Federal agency shall engage in a variety of efforts to manage the impact of a cyber incident, which may include maintaining business or operational continuity; addressing adverse financial impacts; protection of privacy; managing liability risks; complying with legal and regulatory requirements (including disclosure and notification); engaging in communications with employees or other affected individuals; and dealing with external affairs (e.g., media and congressional inquiries). The affected Federal agency will have primary responsibility for this line of effort.
    When a cyber incident affects a private entity, the Federal Government typically will not play a role in this line of effort, but it will remain cognizant of the affected entity's response activities, consistent with the principles above and in coordination with the affected entity. The relevant sector-specific agency (SSA) will generally coordinate the Federal Government's efforts to understand the potential business or operational impact of a cyber incident on private sector critical infrastructure.
V. Architecture of Federal Government Response Coordination for Significant Cyber Incidents1
In order to respond effectively to significant cyber incidents, the Federal Government will coordinate its activities in three ways:
  1. National Policy Coordination2

    The Cyber Response Group (CRG), in support of the National Security Council (NSC) Deputies and Principals Committees, and accountable through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHSCT) to the NSC chaired by the President, shall coordinate the development and implementation of United States Government policy and strategy with respect to significant cyber incidents affecting the United States or its interests abroad.
  2. National Operational Coordination
    1. Agency Enhanced Coordination Procedures. Each Federal agency that regularly participates in the CRG, including SSAs, shall establish and follow enhanced coordination procedures as defined in the annex to this PPD in situations in which the demands of responding to a significant cyber incident exceed its standing capacity.
    2. Cyber Unified Coordination Group. A Cyber Unified Coordination Group (UCG) shall serve as the primary method for coordinating between and among Federal agencies in response to a significant cyber incident as well as for integrating private sector partners into incident response efforts, as appropriate. A Cyber UCG shall be formed at the direction of the NSC Principals Committee, Deputies Committee, or the CRG, or when two or more Federal agencies that generally participate in the CRG, including relevant SSAs, request its formation. A Cyber UCG shall also be formed when a significant cyber incident affects critical infrastructure owners and operators identified by the Secretary of Homeland Security as owning or operating critical infrastructure for which a cyber incident could reasonably result in catastrophic regional or national effects on public health or safety, economic security, or national security.
      A Cyber UCG will normally consist of Federal lead agencies for threat response, asset response, and intelligence support, but will also include SSAs, if a cyber incident affects or is likely to affect sectors they represent. In addition, as required by the scope, nature, and facts of a particular significant cyber incident, a Cyber UCG may include participation from other Federal agencies, SLTT governments, nongovernmental organizations, international counterparts, or the private sector.
      Following the formation of a Cyber UCG, Federal agencies responding to the incident shall assign appropriate senior executives, staff, and resources to execute the agency's responsibilities as part of a Cyber UCG. The Cyber UCG is intended to result in unity of effort and not to alter agency authorities or leadership, oversight, or command responsibilities. Unless mutually agreed upon between agency heads or their designees, and consistent with applicable legal authorities such as the Economy Act of 1932 (31 U.S.C. 1535), Federal departments and agencies will maintain operational control over their respective agency assets.
    3. Federal lead agencies. In order to ensure that the Cyber UCG achieves maximum effectiveness in coordinating responses to significant cyber incidents, the following agencies shall serve as Federal lead agencies for the specified line of effort:
      1. In view of the fact that significant cyber incidents will often involve at least the possibility of a nation-state actor or have some other national security nexus, the Department of Justice, acting through the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, shall be the Federal lead agency for threat response activities.
      2. The Department of Homeland Security, acting through the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, shall be the Federal lead agency for asset response activities.
      3. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, through the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, shall be the Federal lead agency for intelligence support and related activities.
      Drawing upon the resources and capabilities across the Federal Government, the Federal lead agencies are responsible for:
      1. Coordinating any multi-agency threat or asset response activities to provide unity of effort, to include coordinating with any agency providing support to the incident, to include SSAs in recognition of their unique expertise;
      2. Ensuring that their respective lines of effort are coordinated with other Cyber UCG participants and affected entities, as appropriate;
      3. Identifying and recommending to the CRG, if elevation is required, any additional Federal Government resources or actions necessary to appropriately respond to and recover from the incident; and
      4. Coordinating with affected entities on various aspects of threat, asset, and affected entity response activities through a Cyber UCG, as appropriate.
  3.  Field-Level Coordination

    Field-level representatives of the Federal asset or threat response lead agencies shall ensure that they effectively coordinate their activities within their respective lines of effort with each other and the affected entity. Such representatives may be co-located with the affected entity.
VI. Unified Public Communications
The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice shall maintain and update as necessary a fact sheet outlining how private individuals and organizations can contact relevant Federal agencies about a cyber incident.
VII. Relationship to Existing Policy
Nothing in this directive alters, supersedes, or limits the authorities of Federal agencies to carry out their functions and duties consistent with applicable legal authorities and other Presidential guidance and directives. This directive generally relies on and furthers the implementation of existing policies and explains how United States cyber incident response structures interact with those existing policies. In particular, this policy complements and builds upon PPD-8 on National Preparedness of March 30, 2011. By integrating cyber and traditional preparedness efforts, the Nation will be ready to manage incidents that include both cyber and physical effects.

1 Additional details regarding the Federal Government's coordination architecture for significant cyber incidents are contained in an annex to this PPD.
2 This sub-section supersedes NSPD-54/HSPD-23, paragraph 13, concerning the National Cyber Response Coordination Group.

E coli outbreak in New Hampshire

uly 22, WBZ 4 Boston – (New Hampshire) E.coli outbreak in New Hampshire sickens 12. Officials from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced July 22 that 12 people have been infected with E.coli O157:H7 since June after consuming ground beef at different locations across the State. Health officials are working to identify the specific source of the contaminated ground beef. Source: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2016/07/22/e-coli-new-hampshire-ground-beef-
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African power in "alarming" state, says Lynne Brown

On Tuesday, South Africa minister of public enterprises, Lynne Brown, said that Africa's energy shortage is a major cause of concern, adding that it is one of the biggest contributors to hampered growth and development of the continent. She stated that the continent's power deficit was "alarming".

ISIS goes on the defensive in cyber

The report, titled "Tech for Jihad: Dissecting Jihadists' Digital Toolbox" and released by Flashpoint, an intelligence firm, notes that while "most communication platforms lack the sophistication necessary to ensure sufficient security … today's jihadists constantly seek alternative ways to advance their agendas and communicate securely."  The report explains 36 of the most noteworthy tools and technologies leveraged by groups such as ISIS conducted by examining primary sources from the Deep and Dark Web. Most of the technologies, the report notes, have been used long before ISIS developed a public presence.

China's coal peak hailed as turning point in climate change battle | Environment | The Guardian

The global battle against climate change has passed a historic turning point with China's huge coal burning finally having peaked, according to senior economists.
They say the moment may well be a significant milestone in the course of the Anthropocene, the current era in which human activity dominates the world's environment.
China is the world's biggest polluter and more than tripled its coal burning from 2000 to 2013, emitting billions of tonnes of climate-warming carbon dioxide. But its coal consumption peaked in 2014, much earlier than expected, and then began falling.

Amber Rudd to launch anti-hate crime campaign as offences surge — FT.com

Amber Rudd, home secretary, will launch an awareness campaign against hate crime and scrutinise how police deals with such incidents following a surge in complaints after the Brexit referendum.
The weekend following the referendum saw a 57 per cent increase in reported hate crimes, the most notable an attack on a Polish cultural centre in west London. They came after Brexit campaigners promis

Le Monde.fr - Un migrant tué lors d’une rixe dans la « jungle » de Calais

Le Monde.fr

Un migrant tué lors d'une rixe dans la « jungle » de Calais

Il s'agit du premier tué au cours d'une bagarre depuis la formation de la « jungle » au printemps 2015.
| 26.07.2016 à 10:44

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