Special Events

When special events are scheduled they will be displayed below

Our Own Topics

Topic Descriptions for next meeting.

​Please Note:

This Topic is the First in the Series of the 8 of Our Own Developed Topics

Date Dec. 17 2019

Majority of Cyberattacks against the US

 

What if a foreign nation cyber attacked and took over a government’s IT network, bringing an entire nation to its feet? Does this seem like a far-flung scenario? It isn’t. In April 2018, the small independent Caribbean nation of Saint Maarten faced a total public shutdown for an entire day. The previous month, the city of Atlanta was crippled by a ransomware attack that lasted two weeks and cost nearly $3 million.

In the US alone, Baltimore, Charlotte, Dallas and San Francisco have been victims of cyber attacks during the past year, following (ironically) a transition to smart city technology.

 

Presenter: Herb Goldstein

 

1--------------1

Cyberwarfare in the United States

 

As a major developed economy, the United States is highly dependent on the Internet and therefore greatly exposed to cyber attacks. At the same time, the United States has substantial capabilities in both defense and power projection thanks to comparatively advanced technology and a large military budget. Cyber warfare presents a growing threat … >>MORE

 

2--------------2

How the Chinese cyberthreat has evolved

 

With more than half of its 1.4 billion people online, the world’s most populous country is home to a slew of cyberspies and hackers. Indeed, China has likely stolen more secrets from businesses and governments than any other country.

Covert espionage is the main Chinese cyberthreat to the U.S. While disruptive cyberattacks occasionally come from China, those that cause overt damage, like destroying data or causing power outages, are more common from the other top state threats, namely Russia, Iran and North Korea.

But Chinese cyberaggression toward the U.S. has been evolving. Before their espionage became a serious threat, Chinese hackers were conducting disruptive cyberattacks against the U.S. and other countries.… >>MORE

3--------------3

List of cyberattacks

1 Indiscriminate attacks

2 Destructive attacks

3 Cyberwarfare

4 Government espionage

5 Corporate espionage

6 Stolen e-mail addresses and login credentials

7 Stolen credit card and financial data

8 Stolen medical-related data

9 Hacktivism

… >>MORE

​4--------------4

Inside the Cyberattack That Shocked the US Government

 

The routine nature of OPM’s business made the revelations of April 15, 2015, as perplexing as they were disturbing. On that morning, a security engineer named Brendan Saulsbury set out to decrypt a portion..... Soon after his shift started, Saulsbury noticed that his decryption efforts had exposed an odd bit of outbound traffic: a beacon-like signal pinging to a site called ­opm­security.org. But the agency owned no such domain. The OPM-related name suggested it had been created to deceive. … >>MORE

 

​5--------------5

October 2019 Cyber Attacks Statistics

The Daily Trend of Events chart shows three peaks at the beginning and end of the month, and during the second week. As usual, in most cases the activities show a break during the weekend, but this is probably a consequence of the fact that news of the attacks (when they are not directly “advertised” by the authors) are not published during the weekend.… >>MORE

 

6--------------6

Cyberattacks Against the US Government Up 1,300% Since 2006

 

Just last year, Russian hackers attacked the State Department email system in what was called the “worst ever” cyberattack against a federal agency, and the Office of Personnel Management reported that 5.6 million Americans’ fingerprints were stolen as part of another malicious attack. The Department of Veterans affairs thwarted 1 billion cyber threats. And last week, hackers invited by the government found 138 security flaws on five Pentagon websites.… >>MORE

 

​7--------------7

Climate Change Still Seen as the Top Global Threat, but Cyberattacks a Rising Concern

 

Global warming is just one of many concerns. Terrorism, specifically from the Islamic extremist group known as ISIS, and cyberattacks are also seen by many as major security threats. In eight of the countries surveyed, including Russia, France, Indonesia and Nigeria, ISIS is seen as the top threat. In four nations, including Japan and the United States, people see cyberattacks from other countries as their top international concern. One country, Poland, names Russia’s power and influence as its top threat, but few elsewhere say Russia is a major concern. >>MORE

​​8--------------8

Cyber Threats from the U.S. and Russia Are Now Focusing on Civilian Infrastructure


​Cyber confrontation between the United States and Russia is increasingly turning to critical civilian infrastructure, particularly power grids, judging from recent press reports. The typically furtive conflict went public last month, when the New York Times reported U.S. Cyber Command's shift to a more offensive and aggressive approach in targeting Russia's electric power grid. … >>MORE

9--------------9

Half of all countries aware but lacking national plan on cybersecurity, UN agency reports


​Releasing its second Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said about 38 per cent of countries have a published cybersecurity strategy and an additional 12 per cent of governments are in the process of developing one.

The agency said more effort is needed in this critical area, particularly since it conveys that governments consider digital risks high priority.

“Cybersecurity is an ecosystem where laws, organizations, skills, cooperation and technical implementation need to be in harmony to be most effective,”… >>MORE


10--------------10

Kennan Cable No. 41: A Cyber Treaty With Russia

Prospects for meaningful cyber negotiations with the Russian Federation, let alone a bilateral agreement or cyber treaty, seem almost impossible to imagine today. Our anguish over Russia’s meddling in American elections, preoccupation with alleged ties between the Trump administration and the Russian government during the recently concluded Mueller investigation, and major disagreements on geopolitical issues including Ukraine, Syria, and Venezuela, have left us at an impasse. Instead of genuine dialogue between the United States and Russia, we see the two nations talking past each other and posturing to both domestic and international audiences.

More alarmingly, … >>MORE

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

<><><><><><><><><><><><><>

China Moscow Axis

 

December 10, 2019

 

 

The Beijing / Moscow Axis. Much debated. Is there really one? Is China the new leader of Asia Pacific with Russia the junior partner? For now, it appears that this alliance is a mere marriage of convenience; at best an uneasy tactical relationship. The glue most certainly is their mutual hatred of The Western world led, of course, by the United States. Should our foreign policy be on a country by country basis or should we consider the strength of this alliance as a threat to the United States. The Presenter will examine these issues and leave it to our participants to assess how this supposed alliance might shape US foreign policy.

 

 

Presenter: Karen Berson

 

1 <> <> <> <> <> <> 1

The New Beijing – Moscow Axis

A shared rivalry with the U.S. has reunited the two powers, as in the early days of the Cold War. But this time, China is the senior partner.

When President Sukarno of Indonesia inquired about China’s economy in 1956, Mao Zedong replied candidly that the country remained poor and agrarian and didn’t have much to export “apart from some apples, peanuts, pig bristles and soybeans.”

What Mao’s modesty concealed was his desperation to industrialize, especially for military purposes, and his hope that the Soviet Union would help him to achieve that goal. Beijing frequently acknowledged Moscow as a mighty “Big Brother,” and the pecking order between the two countries was clear. Just months after ascending to power in 1949, Mao had spent several humiliating ….. MORE >>


 

2 <> <> <> <> <> <> 2

‘Serious’ rivalry still drives China-Russia relations despite improving ties

 

Tensions remain between China and Russia despite recent signs of cooperation, according to experts.

 

The strategic partnership between China and Russia, long marred by mutual suspicion, has risen to new heights with recent news of joint projects of more than $100 billion and large-scale army drills.

 

“The Chinese-Russian military alliance is only what you see above the surface,” Robert Kaplan, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank focused on U.S. national security issues, told CNBC on the sidelines of the Singapore Summit on Friday.

“What’s below the surface is serious geopolitical competition between China and Russia,” he said.

Beijing’s economic and commercial activities in Moscow’s backyard — Central Asia, the Russian Far East and the Arctic — have long been a threat to Putin. But his government has been unable to compete due to its own economic problems at home and in 2014, Moscow accelerated its pivot towards Beijing after coming under western sanctions over its annexation of Crimea.….. MORE >>

 

3 <> <> <> <> <> <> 3

US Obsession With Containment Driving China And Russia Closer

 

The China-Russian military cooperation with its underlying strategic calculus is clearly aimed at countering US moves and capabilities in the region.

 

July 2019 marks an important milestone in the Russia-China strategic relationship. For the first time, Russian and Chinese bombers have carried out joint air patrols over the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan. The Diplomat quoted a Russian government decree as saying that "the two countries are currently negotiating a new military cooperation agreement." The news stories have resulted in speculation that in the emerging new global bipolar order between the US and China, Moscow was casting its lot with Beijing. The reality is much more nuanced, but it is clear that the China-Russian entente has now reached the quality of strategic cooperation partnership in the Western Pacific aimed at countering and deterring the US..... MORE >>

 

 

4 <> <> <> <> <> <> 4

China's unexpected move during huge war games with Russia shows their relationship is still uneasy

 

Moscow and Beijing heralded the recent Vostok 2018 war games in eastern Russia as a tremendous success, celebrating closer military-to-military relations between China and Russia.

 

But the deployment of a Chinese spy ship to shadow Russian ships suggests that the bilateral relationship between China and Russia continues to be plagued by distrust.

 

China reportedly sent an uninvited surveillance ship to spy on the recent joint military exercises with Russia, a move highlighting how lingering distrust and competitiveness weaken the so-called "strategic partnership" emerging between Moscow and Beijing. ... MORE >>

 

5 <> <> <> <> <> <> 5

Moscow, Beijing and Washington: A Complicated Triangle

 

The historical importance of relations between the United States, China and Russia has long been analyzed from the beginning of the Cold War. Often the tone of interactions has determined the global situation. Important information can undoubtedly be gleaned concerning current and future strategies by observing the direction in which the dynamic relations between Moscow, Beijing and Washington are headed.

 

For a good part of the Cold War the United States enjoyed a privileged situation that relied on a tempestuous relationship between Moscow and Beijing, especially from the end of the 1960’s until the collapse of the Soviet Union. …. MORE >>

 

6 <> <> <> <> <> <> 6

The Geopolitics of the Beijing-Moscow Consensus

 

The integration of China’s Belt and Road and Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union will have major implications.

 

In the late 1950s the deterioration of Sino-Russian relations paved the way for the historic meeting between U.S. President Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong in 1972. The offspring of that meeting was the Shanghai Communiqué, and the onset of the Sino-American détente on one side and that Soviet containment in the Asia-Pacific on the other, a divide that would define the relations between the two communist countries for decades to come.

It was only at the end of the Cold War that.... MORE >>

 

7 <> <> <> <> <> <> 7

Chinese Immigration to Siberia: A Source of Tensions between Moscow and Beijing?

 

The growing ties between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation are an important topic in the current diplomatic world. These two economic giants have mutual interests in two distinct fields. First, both countries are economically incredibly complimentary, one being the largest country on Earth, rich in natural resources and lacking in labour, while the other is the most populated one, hungry for natural resources and full of labour. Second, China and Russia share similar views regarding foreign relations: they are both fierce defendants of the principle of non-intervention in other countries’ domestic affairs, oppose the USA’s world hegemony and aim for a multipolar world. Nevertheless, there are certain sources of tension between the two countries, such as the competition for the Central Asian countries, weapons and technology trade, and Chinese immigration to Siberia.….. MORE
 

8 <> <> <> <> <> <> 8

A Nixon Strategy to Break the Russia-China Axis

 

In 2017, Beijing and Moscow are aligned against the threat from Washington. It doesn’t have to be that way.

 

Perhaps the greatest evidence of the hubris surrounding uber-hawks, both neoconservatives and liberal interventionists, is their willingness—even determination—to make multiple enemies simultaneously around the globe. Hence their constant refrain that the world is dangerous and military spending must go up, ever up.

 

The United States, apparently alone, since it cannot rely upon allies which are constantly whining for reassurance, must confront China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, the Islamic State, assorted terrorist movements and any anyone else who resists U.S. “leadership.” Neutral observers might find this disparate collection, several of whose members are at odds, somewhat less than a formidable threat compared to the United States, virtually every European nation, the majority of Asian industrial states, the most important and wealthiest powers in the Middle East, and the majority of the rest of the countries that are friendly to the West. Nevertheless, Americans are constantly told MORE >>

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

<><><><><><><><><><><><><>

The Worldwide Opioid Crisis

In order to cope with the opioid crises we have to understand it's history.

How did it start?

The history of opium in China began with the use of opium for medicinal purposes during the 7th century. In the 17th century the practice of mixing opium with tobacco for smoking spread from Southeast Asia, creating a far greater demand.

Heroin, morphine, and other opiates trace their origins to a single plant—the opium poppy. Cultivation of the plant dates back to the earliest years of human civilization, and opium use was well known in ancient Mesopotamia.

The narcotic drug has been used both recreationally and as a medicine for centuries. Opium derivatives, including morphine, became widely used pain relievers, particularly in the 1800s. Heroin, too, was first synthesized for medical use before physicians realized its potent addictive properties.

We will explore the many issues described by following the listed links below,


12/03/2019 Presenter: Mel Lintz

1 <> <> <> <> <> <> <> 1

UN Report Finds Opioids Are Responsible for Nearly 400,000 Deaths Worldwide

 

The global opioid crisis is worse than we thought.

 

Thanks to new and more precise data from India and Nigeria – two countries that are among the 10 most populous in the world – the World Drug Report 2019, published last week by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), now estimates there are 53 million opioid users globally, up 56 percent from earlier estimates. Additionally, opioids – including oxycodone, fentanyl, tramadol, heroin, morphine and related drugs – are to blame for two-thirds for the 585,000 people who died in 2017 from drug use around the world.

 

However, the report notes that gaps in prevention and MORE>>

 

2 <> <> <> <> <> <> <> 2

 

Overdosing on Regulation: How Government Caused the Opioid Epidemic

 

Opioid overdose deaths have risen dramatically in the United States over the past two decades (Figure 1). The standard explanation blames expanded prescribing and advertising of opioids beginning in the 1990s.

 

We find little support for this view. We instead suggest that the opioid epidemic has resulted from too many restrictions on prescribing, not too few. Rather than decreasing opioid overdose deaths, restrictions push users from prescription opioids toward diverted or illicit opioids, which increases the risk of overdose because consumers cannot easily assess drug potency or quality in underground markets. The implication of this “more restrictions, more deaths” explanation is that the United States should scale back restrictions on opioid prescribing, perhaps to the point of legalization. MORE>>

3 <> <> <> <> <> <> <> 3

Opioids of the Masses

Stopping an American Epidemic From Going Global

In 2016, nearly 50,000 people died of opioid overdoses in the United States, and, per capita, almost as many died in Canada. From 2000 to 2016, more Americans died of overdoses than died in World War I and World War II combined. Yet even these grim numbers understate the impact of opioid abuse, because for every person who dies, many more live with addiction. The White House Council of Economic Advisers has estimated that the epidemic cost the U.S. economy $504 billion in 2015, or 2.8 percent of GDP. MORE >>

4 <> <> <> <> <> <> <> 4

Opioids responsible for most drug-related deaths in Europe, says UN Drugs Report

About 271 million people — 5.5% of the world's population aged 15–64 — used drugs in 2016, according to the latest UN Drugs

Report;

Opioids consumption in 2017 surged by 56%, accounting for two-thirds of deaths attributed to drug use disorders; Cocaine production reached an all-time high in 2017, while opium poppy cultivation declined slightly due to a drought in Afghanistan.  MORE>>

 

5 <> <> <> <> <> <> <> 5

 

How Europe’s heroin capital solved its overdose crisis

What Canada can learn from Portugal about opioid addiction, rehab and recovery.

 

In a Lisbon gymnasium, people whose bodies have been ravaged by drugs are trying to put their lives back together.

 

They've formed two lines and laugh as they take turns throwing a ball to their partners.

Drug addicts who've forgotten how to have fun are being given a lesson in how to play again.

"They're surprised at the feeling of feeling good, at being capable of this," says physiotherapist Leonor Madereira, who supervises this work at the Taipas rehabilitation clinic.

 

Taipas is one of 40 such publicly funded facilities across Portugal treating more than 4,000 addicts free of charge. Elsewhere in the building, several patients taking an art therapy class are making ceramics, sculptures and paintings. The clinic's walls are lined with their creations. Some depict damaged, angry souls struggling to escape their bodies. MORE>>

6 <> <> <> <> <> <> <> 6

 

Europe's silent opioid epidemic

 

As opiate addiction continues to grip the United States – killing more than 100 people per day in 2016 – researchers are trying to get a handle on the scale of the problem in Europe. The US is grappling with a major crisis driven by dependency on opioid painkillers such as fentanyl. These highly addictive

prescription drugs are chemical cousins of heroin, morphine and methadone.

Strong opiates are tightly controlled in Europe but several EU countries allow over-the-counter sales of a milder pain medication: codeine. While less dangerous than heroin or fentanyl, codeine is turned into morphine in the liver and can still be toxic in high doses.

‘It’s a hidden addiction,’ said Dr Michael Bergin of Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland. ‘Codeine abuse affects people with diverse profiles, from children to older people across all social classes. MORE >>

 

7 <> <> <> <> <> <> <> 7

 

Russia’s Addiction Problem

 

Suppressing the opioid crisis and poor treatment regimes combine for a failed strategy.

 

About 2.3% of the 15-64 year-old population used opioids as of 2010, based on the last estimates the government provided to the UN.

 

The real figure of Russian opioid users may be higher. Russia’s government is not very transparent about addiction in the country.

 

Russia’s drug problem has been compounded by the implosion of its public health system after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

 

In addition, the treatment of drug users in sub-standard facilities has contributed to a serious outbreak of drug-resistant tuberculosis that threatens Russia’s overall population.

 

While neighboring countries such as Ukraine use the peer-reviewed pharmacological substitution treatments favored by the global public health community, Russia bans such treatments and methadone clinics. MORE >>MORE >>

 

8 <> <> <> <> <> <> <> 8

 

Iran's drug problem: Addicts 'more than double' in six years

 

The number of people suffering from drug addiction in Iran has more than doubled in the last six years, local media report.

A survey carried out by a drug control group has found that about 2.8 million people are regularly consuming drugs in the country.

 

Opium, the main ingredient in heroin, is the country's most popular narcotic, making up 67% of consumption. Production of the drug in neighbouring Afghanistan has risen in recent years.  MORE >>

 

9 <> <> <> <> <> <> <> 9

 

Opioid use booming as tramadol crisis emerges in Africa - U.N. drug report

 

VIENNA (Reuters) - Synthetic opioid use is booming, the United Nations said on Wednesday in a worldwide drug report that

showed deaths in the United States from overdoses still rising and a “crisis” of tramadol use emerging in parts of Africa.

The estimated number of people using opioids - an umbrella term for drugs ranging from opium and derivatives such as heroin to

synthetics like fentanyl and tramadol - in 2017 was 56% higher than in 2016, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said. MORE>>

10 <> <> <> <> <> <> <> 10

 

Europe's silent opioid epidemic

 

As opiate addiction continues to grip the United States – killing more than 100 people per day in 2016 – researchers are trying to get a handle on the scale of the problem in Europe. The US is grappling with a major crisis driven by dependency on opioid painkillers such as fentanyl. These highly addictive

prescription drugs are chemical cousins of heroin, morphine and methadone.

Strong opiates are tightly controlled in Europe but several EU countries allow over-the-counter sales of a milder pain medication: codeine. While less dangerous than heroin or fentanyl, codeine is turned into morphine in the liver and can still be toxic in high doses.

‘It’s a hidden addiction,’ said Dr Michael Bergin of Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland. ‘Codeine abuse affects people with diverse profiles, from children to older people across all social classes.’ MORE >>

 

11 <> <> <> <> <> <> <> 11

 

Russia may hold the key to solving America’s opioid crisis

 

Research is being conducted in Volgograd on a powerful pain-killer that does not cause addiction

A new medical breakthrough in southern Russia could hold the key in solving America’s opioid epidemic.

 

Scientists at Volgograd Sate Medical University are launching clinical trials into a pain-killing drug which outperforms morphine, and does not cause addiction. This would be a big step in the right direction, as the crisis in the United States spirals out-of-control.

 

In late October, President Trump addressed the nation outlining that the opioid crisis is now a ‘public health emergency’. Here are some mind-numbing facts indicating America has a major problem and if not fixed soon, it could produce major strains on the economy and healthcare system.

A drug which still has no specific name but is only referred to as RU-1205. Based on its effect, it outperforms such well-known painkillers as morphine and promedol and does not cause addictive side effects. MORE >>>

 

<><><><><><><>

================================

============================================================