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Posts by Clara Spera

Clara Spera is a first-year student at Harvard Law School, where she is a Senior Articles Editor of the National Security Journal. She previously worked as a national security research intern at the Brookings Institution. Prior to law school, she interned at the Legal Resources Centre in Durban, South Africa, at the American Civil Liberties Union, and worked as a research assistant at Columbia Law School. She graduated with an M.Phil from the University of Cambridge in 2014, and with a B.A. from the University of Chicago in 2012.

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, April 27, 2015 at 10:46 AM

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on Saturday morning, leaving thousands dead, from Kathmandu all the way to the slopes of Mount Everest. AP reports that the death toll has soared past 3,300 and is only expected to rise in the coming days. The United States is sending aid to Nepal. The AP tells us “70 . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, April 20, 2015 at 10:41 AM

The Islamic State released a video on Sunday in which militants from the extremist group are seen killing a group of Ethiopian Christians. The video originated in Libya, and the group of Ethiopian Christians were likely trying to reach Europe. Reuters has the details. The video was released just one day after IS claimed responsibility . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, April 13, 2015 at 9:58 AM

The Associated Press reports two U.S. drones killed two leaders of al-Qaeda’s South Asia branch earlier this year in Pakistan. The attack reportedly took place on January 5th, and has been confirmed by an al-Qaeda spokesperson in an audio message. Al-Qaeda’s presence in South Asia is relatively limited, so the attack represents a “major blow” . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, April 6, 2015 at 9:15 AM

A story that broke on Thursday became all the more horrific as details poured in over the weekend: Somali militants associated with the Shabab slaughtered 147 students at Garissa Univeristy College in Eastern Kenya on Thursday, the worst terrorist attack the country has seen since 1998. The Times reports that the militant Islamic group claimed responsibility for . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Friday, April 3, 2015 at 10:13 AM

Yesterday, President Obama announced a preliminary agreement with Iran that would significantly scale back Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The details of the interim agreement, nicely summarized over at the Washington Post, still need to be finalized and translated into writing and signed by all the relevant parties by June 30, 2015. Nevertheless, the Obama administration sees this step . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, March 23, 2015 at 9:40 AM

American troops are evacuating Yemen. The AP reports that the evacuation came as Al Qaeda militants seized the southern city of al-Houta, near the American al-Annad air base, where around 100 American soldiers were stationed. The New York Times describes the evacuation as the “latest blow in the Obama administration’s counterterrorism campaign.” The Wall Street . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Friday, March 20, 2015 at 10:44 AM

The negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have stalled. The Times tells us that the parties—Iran and the United States, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom and Germany —haven’t made much headway when it comes to the number of operational centrifuges Iran would be able to retain.  One unnamed European diplomat is quoted as saying that the . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, March 9, 2015 at 9:10 AM

Friday, the Pentagon announced that Iraqi troops pushed back Islamic State militants from the town of Al Baghdadi, an important IS stronghold, located a few miles away from a U.S. Marine air base. The Hill explains that the U.S.-led coalition helped the Iraqi forces by launching several airstrikes in the region, as well as providing surveillance and . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 8:33 AM

Tensions between the United Kingdom and Germany may be on the rise as a result of Germany’s ongoing parliamentary inquiry into foreign spying. The Telegraph explains that the parliamentary official charged with heading the investigation, Mr. Patrick Sensburg, believes that his phone has been hacked by British intelligence services. In other spying news, new Snowden . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, February 23, 2015 at 10:50 AM

Nuclear talks between the United States and Iran continued today in Geneva. The New York Times points out that these talks are the first time that the “top nuclear officials” from both nations have joined their diplomatic counterparts at the negotiating table. But there may be a bump in the road. Bloomberg informs us that, . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, February 2, 2015 at 9:40 AM

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) executed Kenji Goto, a Japanese hostage, over the weekend. The Los Angeles Times reports on the atrocity. The Atlantic tells us more about Goto’s life and work. The BBC covers Japan’s reaction to the country’s recent tragedy. Here’s Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s short but pointed statement. . . .
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Declassified FISA Court Orders Fill in History of NSA Warrantless Surveillance

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Friday, January 30, 2015 at 8:30 AM

Some key news from earlier in the week: The New York Times obtained two previously classified rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) from May and August 2007. Authored by Judge Roger Vinson (a district court judge who has since left the FISC), the pair were handed to the Times in response to a FOIA lawsuit.  The Times’ Charlie . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, January 26, 2015 at 9:47 AM

President Obama arrived in India over the weekend. Al Jazeera explains that the president’s visit is a landmark and unprecedented one, as it is the first time a sitting president has visiting India twice. Reuters tells us that it didn’t take long for President Obama to make headway in in India: on Sunday, the president . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, January 12, 2015 at 9:42 AM

More developments on the situation in France: 1.5 million people gathered in Paris on Sunday, and were joined by another 3 million people around the globe, in response to the Charlie Hebdo killings. The Washington Post described the scene in Paris: French President François Hollande led the crowd, joined by German German Chancellor Angela Merkel, . . .
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To Die Standing Up

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Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 9:47 AM

“I would rather die standing up than live on my knees,” so presciently declared Stéphane Charbonnier in response to “friendly” suggestions that he tone down his provocative commentary satirizing religious fanaticism. Yesterday in Paris, at the marches following the attack that left twelve employees of the publication Charlie Hebdo dead in their office, protestors stood up, carrying signs with . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, January 5, 2015 at 11:01 AM

A U.S. drone strike killed between six and nine suspected militants in northwest Pakistan yesterday. Reuters has the story. The Daily Beast reveals, after obtaining an internal U.S. Air Force service memo, that the military does not have enough manpower to operate its drone fleet and fulfill the demands of the Pentagon. Calls for the number . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, December 29, 2014 at 9:34 AM

On the night before Christmas eve, the National Security Agency quietly released hundreds of surveillance-related documents, some of which describe the inadvertent targeting of U.S. citizens. We’ve begun and will continue to cover the document dump. In the meantime, here’s coverage from the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and Bloomberg, the first to report on the story. . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, December 22, 2014 at 11:04 AM

The news of President Obama’s plans to normalize relations with Cuba took firmer shape over the weekend. The Wall Street Journal tells us that the president’s plan faces strong opposition in Congress, led by Senator Marco Rubio. Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic, however, argues that in the long run, President Obama’s plan will be justified . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, December 1, 2014 at 10:59 AM

The U.S.-led coalition to fight back the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq struck Raqqa, an IS stronghold in Syria, hard last night.  CNN reports at least thirty airstrikes were launched against the city, as confirmed both by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organization, and by rebels on the ground. The United . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, November 24, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will step down from his post, according to the New York Times. Hagel will do so “under pressure” from the administration, but the exact reasons are still unclear. Per the Times: The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require . . .
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