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Five Hidden Risks of U.S. Action Against the Islamic State – Syria in Crisis – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

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Five Hidden Risks of U.S. Action Against the Islamic State – Syria in Crisis – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s four-pronged strategy of air strikes, support to local proxies, defense against the Islamic State’s attacks through intelligence and counterterrorism, and humanitarian assistance leaves many unanswered questions. It’s hardly a clear articulation of the sort of long-term, holistic strategy needed to deny the Islamic State the fertile ground it needs to thrive. The approach is fraught with trade-offs, risks, and hidden costs that need to be addressed.

  1. The focus on targeting the Islamic State’s leadership…

N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images – NYTimes.com

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N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images – NYTimes.com.

The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents.

The spy agency’s reliance on facial recognition technology has grown significantly over the last four years as the agency has turned to new software to exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications, the N.S.A. documents reveal. Agency officials believe that technological advances could revolutionize the way that the N.S.A. finds intelligence targets around the world, the documents show. The agency’s ambitions for this highly sensitive ability and the scale of its effort have not previously been disclosed.

The agency intercepts “millions of images per day” — including about 55,000 “facial recognition quality images” — which translate into “tremendous untapped potential,” according to 2011 documents obtained from the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden…

 

Kerry urges steps to ensure democracy in Africa – The Washington Post

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Kerry urges steps to ensure democracy in Africa – The Washington Post.

 

“ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — America’s top diplomat said Saturday the U.S. is ready to help increase its ties with Africa, but nations across the continent need to take stronger steps to ensure security and democracy for its people.

 

He called for an expansion of American investment in Africa and noted that U.S. companies IBM, Microsoft and Google already have spent more than $100 million on projects across the continent.  “So this is clearly a moment of opportunity for all Africans,” Kerry told about 100 Ethiopians at an environmentally-friendly auditorium on a mountaintop…”

 

U.S. Debt Poses a Barrier to Economic Opportunity

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U.S. Debt Poses a Barrier to Economic Opportunity.

“…The most relevant result has been the massive rise in U.S. debt. From 2003 to 2013, the U.S. racked up more than $10 trillion in debt, bringing total debt from just under $7 trillion in 2003 to $17.4 trillion in 2013. U.S. debt amounts to $55,000 for every man, woman, and child living in the U.S., or $142,000 per household. Massive and growing deficits are projected to add to this burden, making it hard to imagine how the U.S. will ever be able to balance its books, much less pay down its debt…”

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