The Evidence of Jihadist Activity in Syria

As the United Nations prepares to expand its observer mission in Syria and the world community debates what that mission should aim to achieve, there is a parallel conversation taking place in the global jihadist community. Reflecting their position in other Arab Spring revolutions, the jihadists are vociferous in their demands that Bashar al-Assad’s regime be overthrown. In contrast to the situation in other Arab Spring revolutions, in Syria jihadists linked to al-Qa`ida seem to have a militarily relevant capability on the ground. Proof of jihadist capability is elusive, but the combined weight of five indicators suggests that there is an active jihadist element operating on the ground in Syria. Its existence should be acknowledged for policy planning purposes.

World leaders set to tackle Afghanistan’s future

World leaders weary of war will tackle Afghanistan’s post-conflict future — from funding for security forces to upcoming elections — when the NATO summit opens Sunday.

President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai will huddle on the sidelines of the summit or an hour-long meeting. Their talks are expected to focus on planning for Afghanistan’s 2014 elections, as well as the prospect of a political settlement with the Taliban, a senior Obama administration official said.

Karzai has said repeatedly he will step down from power when his term ends in 2014, paving the way for new elections. NATO’s scheduled end of the war was built around those plans, with foreign forces staying until the 2014 election but exiting the country by 2015.

Every time, Facebook looked like it would break below the $38 a share initial price, millions of bids showed up. Coincidence?

How Facebook’s bankers saved an IPO, kept shares above $38

Facebook’s IPO was a roaring success — for Facebook. Investors aren’t quite sure what to make of it after Facebook’s underwriters repeatedly stepped in to make sure shares didn’t fall below the $38 mark. 

Pirate Attacks by Shoot-to-Kill Guards Fuel Debate

A video recorded by armed security personnel aboard the Avocet bulk carrier ship shows armed guards opening fire on an approaching skiff that they believe carries pirates. The video, presented at a shipping conference in December and leaked on the Internet last month, has fueled debate within the industry over the ethical use of force at sea. (Video via LiveLeak. Source: Bloomberg)

The KML Factbook is a great tool for creating mapped displays of all manner of demographic, economic, and political data.

Map CIA World Factbook Info with KML Factbook

The KML Factbook is a great tool for creating mapped displays of all manner of demographic, economic, and political data. The data used in the KML Factbook comes from the CIA World Factbook. The KML Factbook allows users to to select datasets from the CIA World Factbook and display that data in Google Maps or in Google Earth. You can also preview your maps using the Google Earth browser plug-in. After creating your map you can download the file to use offline in Google Earth.

Rising inflation threatens India’s economic growth potential

India inflation rate rises faster than expected

India’s inflation rate rose more than expected in April, figures show. The wholesale price index rose to 7.23% from 6.89% in March, driven by higher prices of food, fuel and manufactured items.

Here’s Why Google and Facebook Might Completely Disappear in the Next 5 Years

Mobile companies born since 2010 have a very different view of the world.  These companies – and Instagram is the most topical example at the moment – view the mobile smartphone as the primary (and oftentimes exclusive) platform for their application.  They don’t even think of launching via a web site.  They assume, over time, people will use their mobile applications almost entirely instead of websites.

“Lie to Me – Cal Lightman”: behavioral facial expression.

The Way The Pentagon Is Predicting Your Potential To Become A National Threat Is Frightening

Tom Cruise made “pre-crime’” a futuresque and controversial method of law enforcement in the 2002 movie Minority Report. Ten years later, the idea of preemptively identifying a criminal — particularly an inside threat — is taking shape within the U.S. Defense Department.

World water scarcity map.

OECD calls for policy reform and technology to prevent impending water crisis

Worldwide population growth and the related rapid increase in urbanization is already posing problems in many areas for the management of that most precious of resources, water. With these problems only set to intensify, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has released a report outlining the challenges humanity faces to maintain water resources in the face of demographic growth and climate change. Called Meeting the Water Reform Challenge, the report says that urgent reform of water policies is crucial in order to preserve human and environmental health as well as economic growth.

President Pratibha Patil said she is confident that trade between India and South Africa will reach USD 15 billion by 2015 as the two have become important trading partners. Patil and South African President Jacob Zuma appreciated businesses in both the countries for having reached the earlier target of USD 10 billion by 2012, a year ahead of the schedule.

For those interested by asteroids mining and science fiction, Peter F. Hamilton’s books “Greg Mandel – Mindstar” are partially taking place in an asteroid mined by “Event Horizon”.

Planetary Resources: Mining Asteroids?

It was only a month ago Hollywood Director James Cameron emerged from the bottom of the Mariana’s Trench, setting a world-record for the deepest solo dive by any human in history. Today, he’s already getting involved in another adventure… mining asteroids in outer space. I’m not even kidding.

Rare Earths from Madagascar

Rhodia and Tantalus Rare Earths AG announced the signing of a Letter of Intent (“LOI”) relating to technical co-operation for the development of an optimal process for generating rare earth concentrates from the large near surface Tantalus rare earth project in Madagascar and the exclusive supply of these rare earth products to Rhodia. The LOI will be followed by a definitive Technical Cooperation Agreement and Offtake Agreement for up to 15,000 t/a of rare earth products from Tantalus.

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