Today's Headlines and Commentary

Clara Spera
Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:30 AM
Edward Snowden is back with more inflammatory revelations. Speaking via video to the Council of Europe yesterday, Snowden said the United States has spied on staff members of prominent human rights organizations, explains the Guardian.

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Edward Snowden is back with more inflammatory revelations. Speaking via video to the Council of Europe yesterday, Snowden said the United States has spied on staff members of prominent human rights organizations, explains the Guardian. He said: “The NSA has specifically targeted either leaders or staff members in a number of civil and non-governmental organizations … including domestically within the borders of the United States.” Meanwhile, internet users everywhere are under threat, reports the Los Angeles Times.  The discovery of major bug known as “Heartbleed” has compelled social media sites, like Tumblr, to urge users to change all passwords for all accounts immediately. In a post to its users, Tumblr explains that: “The little lock icon (HTTPS) we all trusted to keep our passwords, personal emails, and credit cards safe, was actually making all that private information accessible to anyone who know about the [Heartbleed] exploit.” The Wire also covers the story and tells you what you need to know about the bug that’s scaring the internet. Executives from Time Warner and Comcast are headed to the Hill today to convince lawmakers to go along with the companies' proposed merger. Today’s hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee marks the start of what will surely be a long road ahead for the two internet giants before any final word is given on the merger, which is ultimately left in the hands of the FCC and the Justice Department. All that is over at the Hill.  There has been another fatal shooting at a U.S. military base. The Washington Post reports that a Marine shot and killed another Marine at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The shooting, which was not deemed an act of terrorism by the U.S. government, comes one week after a deadly shooting at Fort Hood, Texas. The shooter at Camp Lejeune has yet to be identified and an investigation is ongoing. After a slew of embarrassing moments, the Secret Service is cleaning up its act. The Post explains that a number of disciplinary reforms are being introduced, included stricter regulations regarding alcoholic drinks. Some Senators are not too pleased with Secretary of State Kerry’s diplomatic style, arguing that some of his policies make them look weak. The National Journal reports that, at a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry was dealt a harsh hand from both sides of the aisle, fielding pointed questions over his approach to Syria, Russia and Iran. The Post has more on the hearing. While at the Committee, Kerry also focused on the current impasse between Israel and Palestine. The Secretary confirmed that talks between the two historic rivals almost broke down last week. And hthough both sides are partially to blame for the current tension, Kerry said it was Israel’s insistence on continuing to build settlements in East Jerusalem that broke the camel’s back. The New York Times has coverage. A bomb blast in Islamabad has killed at least 21 people, the AP reports. No group has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack in Pakistan’s capital, and the Pakistani Taliban has denied any involvement. The attack took place as the Pakistani government and Pakistani Taliban are negotiating to end fighting and bring peace to the country. The episode also calls into question the extent of the Taliban's control over splinter extremist groups. In the confusion that has followed the blast, Pakistani authorities are attempting to locate those responsible as quickly as possible. That might be easier said than done.  The Times highlights pitfalls in Pakistan’s justice system, which has previously failed to identify and prosecute notorious criminals and terrorists. According to the piece, one case in particular has subjected Pakistan’s legal process to ridicule: the recent arrest of a nine-month old baby, on charges of attempted murder. Four party talks have been announced to help find a solution to the crisis in Ukraine. The Telegraph reports that Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union will come together to discuss a potential diplomatic solution to the conflict. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government is trying to quell violence that has spread out of the Crimean peninsula into Eastern Ukraine.  Tensions continue to rise, and the government is barely able to keep control of key government buildings in cities in the east. The AP has the story. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is having difficulty seeing eye to eye with the Chinese Defense Minister on his trip to Beijing. Time reports that Hagel has tried to convince China to back down from its aggressive stance concerning disputed islands in the South China Sea, which, in the United States' view, are under Japan’s administrative control. Unsurprisingly, the Chinese are steadfast in their opposition.

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Clara Spera is a 3L at Harvard Law School. She previously worked as a national security research intern at the Brookings Institution. She graduated with an M.Phil from the University of Cambridge in 2014, and with a B.A. from the University of Chicago in 2012.

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