A new set of monitoring guidelines for people arriving to the United States from West Africa has been put in place by the federal government. The New York Times reports on new measures that are supposed to prevent Ebola from entering into the United States. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal further explains the new Center for Disease Control guidelines, highlighting that they do not require mandatory quarantines for travelers exposed to the disease.
That last part has been controversial. Shortly after the guidelines were announced, the governors of both New York and New Jersey lambasted the move, saying it didn’t do enough to help people of those states. The Times tells us that Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie are particularly unnerved by the rejection of mandatory quarantines. Elsewhere, and regarding the Ebloa situation in Liberia, the Times’ Sherri Fink asks: “What level of care is possible for a disease with no cure being treated in wooden huts in the middle of a forest?”
On to Syria matters. Al-Qaeda affiliates have attacked the government-controlled Syrian city of Idlib. The BBC reports that militants of the Nusra Front killed dozens of government soldiers before finally retreating. As of this writing, the city, located in the North-West of the country, near the Turkish border, is still under the government’s control.
CNN reports that ISIS has released a video, in which one of the organization’s hostages, John Cantile, a British citizen, declares that ISIS has control over the Syrian city of Kobani. The Times has more on Cantile, and on the movement of Iraqi Peshmerga fighters‘ towards Kobani so as to assist fellow Kurds in battling ISIS.
The Daily Beast profiles Abu Omar al-Shishani, one of the leaders of ISIS. There’s a wrinkle; the article suggests that one of the world’s most wanted terrorists might in fact be a “figurehead for his older brother, the mastermind behind the Chechen operatives running ISIS offensives in Syria and Iraq.”
The Times explains that there are worries in Lebanon that the continued violence in bordering Syria is spilling over the boarder. And apropos, it seems Hezbollah is under increasing strain, and these days faces attacks by both Al Nusra and ISIS.
Also in the Times: a report on violence in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city: “Four Taliban insurgents dressed in police uniforms stormed government offices in the northern provincial capital of Kunduz on Monday, killing eight people and wounding 10 others amid a sustained offensive that has put residents and the security forces under siege.”
In response to yesterday’s news that American-led coalition troops have handed over responsibility for protecting Helmund province in Afghanistan, Al Jazeera hosted a panel discussion with internationally security scholars, tackling the question, “Can the War on Terror ever be won?”
On that very question, Americans are skeptical. The BBC reports that fewer than half of American respondents to a recent poll indicated that the intervention in Afghanistan, specifically, was worthwhile.
According to the Times, there’s been an international uproar over the execution of an Iranian woman, who was convicted of murder after killing a man she said tried to rape her. The Iranian government executed 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari on Saturday. Leading up to Saturday and since, international human rights organizations, as well as the United Nations, have strongly criticized the Iranian government.
One critic of the execution is Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations special investigator on Iran. Shaheed spoke with the AP yesterday, on his reaction to Jabbari’s execution, as well as his recent banning from the country.
Boko Haram has captured “dozens” more Nigerian schoolgirls, according to the AP. The move casts doubt on the effectiveness of the cease-fire that had been brokered between the Nigerian government and the radical Islamist group.
The BBC reveals a controversial U.S. Intelligence practice from the Cold War era: U.S. intelligence agencies used 1,000 Nazis as Cold War spies, and then proceeded to cover it up. The Washington Post also covers the chilling story:
It involved deal-making and moral absolution in which almost anything — even war crimes — could be ignored to check the rising threat of the Soviet Union. Along with other programs, such as Operation Paperclip, which enlisted the help of Nazi scientists, the use of ex-Nazis as spies illustrates a postwar government’s willingness to neglect the demands of justice to satisfy the needs of security.
New revelations about a really old bulk metadata program: from the Times, we learn that the U.S. Postal Service “approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies and its own internal inspection unit to secretly monitor the mail of Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations.”
Edward Snowden sat down with the Nation for a lengthy interview in which he summed up most of his views on American intelligence practices, and defended his actions that were meant to expose wrongdoing on the part of the US government. In his interview, while he explained that he though the revelation of intelligence practices was “important,” more important was the revelation that “the director of national intelligence [James Clapper] gave a false statement to Congress under oath, which is a felony.”
Two South Korean intelligence officers were convicted of “fabricating Chinese government documents to build a spy case against a refugee from North Korea.” The Times has more on the embarrassment to South Korea’s intelligence service.
Lastly, a former Chinese general has confessed to taking “enormous bribes in return for giving promotions and favors,” per the Times.
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