Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Clara Spera
Friday, January 31, 2014, 10:49 AM

As Ritika relayed yesterday, Navy Vice Admiral Michael S. Rogers has been tapped to be President Obama’s nominee to head up the U.S. Cyber Command and to serve as the next Director of the NSA. Obama’s nomination likely causes some disappointment among members of his NSA review panel, who had recommended that the president split the two positions.

Edward Lucas is at it again. Following his piece yesterday in Politico, he’s penned an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal on his thoughts on the Snowden affair. Lucas is skeptical of those who defend Snowden and herald him as a national hero. Lucas therefore probably isn’t too pleased about the Nobel Peace Prize nomination Ben alerted you to on Wednesday.

Last thing on Snowden---for today. Video footage has been released showcasing the standoff between the Guardian and the British spy agency GCHQ. After long and tense negotiations with the government, the Guardian destroyed its computers that held information leaked to the paper by Snowden.

The first round of Syrian peace talks has ended in Geneva. According to Reuters, so far there has been little progress between the Syrian regime and its opposition. The delegations are expected to meet again in about two weeks.

From the AP: the United States has accused the Syrian government of intentionally delaying efforts to remove and destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons and agents. The most deadly weapons were supposed to have been removed from the country by the end of 2013, but that deadline was missed. So far, only two small batches of weapons have left the country.

The Washington Post reports on decrepit and deadly Afghan roads.  Despite the billions of U.S. dollars invested in Afghanistan's infrastructure, its highways are falling apart. From 2012 onward, the United States hasn’t helped to fund road maintenance projects---because, according to a U.S. government official, “[the U.S.] has no faith in the country’s ability to perform even simple tasks, such as dispatching a contractor to fill in a pothole or repaving a stretch of highway.” The lack of road security has been detrimental to business and safety across the country.

Secretary of State Kerry is expected to return to Israel this week. Kerry is determined to help bring Israel and Palestine together over a peace deal. But many are skeptical that Kerry will reach any success, despite his zealous commitment to the peace process. The Guardian has a lengthy profile on Kerry’s motivations and how he has approached his task.

The head of the Transportation Security Administration has stated that TSA officials will remain unarmed. There was much discussion over whether TSA officers should carry after guns, after a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport in November.

The State Department is set to release a final report on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline later todayPolitico predicts that the report will confirm earlier ones, by claiming that the pipeline would not pose any significant environmental risks.

A New York Times reporter was forced to leave China earlier this week over visa issues. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said yesterday that the U.S. worries about the ability of foreign journalists to successfully and safely carry out their work in China.

And finally, the Federal Aviation Administration has shut down the very local delivery service provided by Lakemaid Beer. The Wisconsin company had planned to deliver beer to its local customers by using drones.  This delivery system would have been particularly beneficial to to “anglers in thousands of ice shacks."

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