Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Jane Chong
Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 12:26 PM

The BBC reports that at least 11 people were killed and 24 injured this morning when a bomb exploded in a packed Pakistani soccer stadium. The apparent target was a provincial government minister; young children are among the victims.

The Directors General for Military Operations (DGMOs) of both India and Pakistan today established a special hotline to talk ceasefire in Kashmir---after gun battles broke out along the Line of Control earlier this week. The Express Tribune has the details.

Over at the Guardian, Brian Whitaker takes the U.S. to task for eliding Yemen's demands for democracy in favor of promulgating an al-Qaeda narrative. Today that "narrative" continues:  Reuters reports that a drone strike, the second in two days, killed six suspected al-Qaeda militants in the Shabwa province. Tensions are high in Sanaa, where the embassy has been shuttered and hundreds of armored vehicles have been deployed. The BBC covers Yemen's claims that it has foiled an "audacious" al-Qaeda plot to blow up oil pipelines and seize several major city ports. Nasser Arrabyee and Alan Cowell of the New York Times describe the plot in somewhat narrower terms, as aimed to seize a port and kidnap or kill foreigners employed there.

Yesterday the New York Times Editorial Board called on President Obama to call off his planned summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This morning, the President went ahead and did just that, writes Phillip Rucker of the Washington Post. Press Secretary Jay Carney cited "lack of progress" with Russia and noted the country's "disappointing decision" to grant Edward Snowden one-year asylum.

The President will, however, be attending the September G-20 summit in Saint Petersburg---as he confirmed last evening during an interview with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. Check out the full episode here. Other topics of casual conversation included Russia's LGBT crackdown, the nonexistence of an NSA domestic spying program and the wisdom of U.S. embassy closures in the Middle East---a move some terror experts have called "crazy pants." To mark his sixth appearance on the show, President Obama gifted Leno with an undriveable limo, complete with unreadable signature. Politico observes.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia wants to keep Russia happy.  Reuters writes that Saudi Arabia has offered Russia a major arms deal and other treats, like a promise not to challenge Russia's gas sales, if Russia tamps down on support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and pledges not to block any future Security Council Resolution on Syria.

Yesterday the State Department welcomed a new member to the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) list: Bahawal Khan is the new leader of the Commander Nazir Group (CNG), a terrorist organization responsible for providing safe-haven for al-Qaeda fighters and conducting attacks on civilians and soldiers in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Seoul has accepted North Korea's proposal to resume talks to discuss reopening Kaesong, the countries' joint industrial park, notes the Wall Street Journal.

Bye bye, SMS. Wired has nothing but praise for the debut of Twitter’s  "killer" application-based two-factor authentication system, a robust version of the system it first rolled out in May after a rash of high-profile hacks. The measures should make it hard for third-parties to break into your account---good news for all but perhaps Anthony Weiner.

Today in national integrity news: Over at the New Yorker, Sarah Stillman has a mind-boggling story on the sad state of civil forfeiture actions, initially authorized by Congress against pirates and smugglers and now abused by states intent on seizing cash and valuables from ordinary folk during, for example, traffic stops.

For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter, visit the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law’s Security Law Brief, Syracuse’s Institute for National Security & Counterterrorism’s newsroll and blog, and Fordham Law’s Center on National Security’s Morning Brief and Cyber Brief. Email Raffaela Wakeman and Ritika Singh noteworthy articles to include, visit the Lawfare Events Calendar for upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings at the Lawfare Job Board.