Taiwan wants talks with Japan in disputed waters

(May 2nd, 2016) Taiwan has urged Japan to engage with it in talks over disputed waters around the island of Okinotori.

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The request follows Japan’s seizure of a Taiwanese fishing boat.

At issue is whether Japan is entitled to a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone surrounding Okinotori.

UNESCO official promotes global citizenship education

( May 2nd, 2016) Qian Tang, UNESCO’S Assistant Director General for Education, emphasized ‘’the immense need for social cohesion and intercultural dialogue in these turbulent times.’’ He spoke as a representative of UNESCO’s Director General at the 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.

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Mr. Tang  discussed UNESCO’s challenges in seeking to promote peace, eradicate  poverty and  expand sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, high and popular culture and mass media. He reiterated the central role of education as the world faces ‘’the real danger of losing young women and men to violent extremism and forced migrations (…) There is no stronger foundation [than Education] for recovery, and reconciliation.’’

He added that, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably SDG 4 on education, UNESCO works toward “inclusive and equitable quality education and {to} promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.’’

He  emphasized that Global Citizenship Education ‘’nurtures respect for all, a sense of belonging to a common humanity and helps learners become responsible global citizens in a diverse and increasingly complex world.’’

The Boston Global Forum has been heavily involved in promoting the concepts of global citizenship education, especially through the UNESCO-UCLA program in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education at the University of California at Los Angeles. BGF member Carlos Alberto Torres is Distinguished Professor of Education and UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education. Nguyen Anh Tuan, the BGF’s chief executive and editor-in-chief, is chairman of the International Advisory Committee of the UNESCO-UCLA Global Citizenship Education (GCE) program.

 

All eyes on Abe’s next fiscal moves

( May 2nd, 2016) The decision by the Bank of Japan to put off more economic stimulus for now means that market watchers are turning their attention to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to see if he will propose a supplementary spending package to accelerate economic growth.

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The Boston Global Forum has named Mr. Abe a “World Leader for Peace, Security and Development.’’

Bloomberg News has noted: “Abe has already said he’ll create a supplementary budget to address the economic damage caused by deadly earthquakes in Kumamoto earlier this month. The central bank said on Thursday it would supply 300 billion yen of funds to banks affected by the quakes.’’

 

Merkel, mulling troops in Lithuania, backs dialogue with Russia

( May 2nd, 2016) German Chancellor Angela Merkel supports maintaining steady dialogue with Vladimir Putin’s Russia even as Berlin considers deploying several hundred German troops to Lithuania as part of a NAT0 force of some 1,000 troops there meant to discourage aggression by Russia, which has been stepping up its shows of military force in the Baltic.

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The Boston Global Forum has named Mrs. Merkel a “World Leader for Peace, Security and Development.’’
“We must always be prepared to allow for dialogue. I think that is very important.

She said that Germany seeks to strengthen the security of all  of NATO’s eastern member states,” Mrs. Merkel said on April 29 in a joint press conference in Berlin with visiting Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis, highlighting a stronger German involvement within NATO in Eastern Europe.

The German government, she added, wants a resumption of dialogue within the NATO-Russia Council. In mid-April, the NATO-Russia Council met for the first time in two years to discuss the Ukraine crisis.

 

 

Abe to have pre-summit talks with some G7 leaders this week

(May 2nd, 2016) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Britain and Russia this week for talks with their leaders.

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Mr. Abe will exchange views on the world economy and other major issues to be discussed at a G7 Summit that Japan will host on May 26-27. Italy, France, Germany, Canada, the United States, Japan and Britain are the G7 members. For a while there was a G8, which included Russia, but that nation was excluded after its invasion and occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

In Russia, Abe will talk with President Vladimir Putin on bilateral relations, including a territorial dispute over four Russian-held islets off Hokkaido, and  other international issues.

The G-7 Ise-Shima Summit will take place  May 26 to 27 in Mie Prefecture, central Japan.

Japan’s stronger position in this G7 Summit

( May 2nd, 2016) Japan’s role in this year’s G7 Summit will be more important than in previous years’ summits, and not just because it will host the conference, to be held May 26-27.

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In a Forbes piece, Akihiko Tanaka a professor of international politics at the University of Tokyo, specializing in East Asia, concludes:

“Economic uncertainty and security challenges weigh heavy on all G7 countries. During such difficult times, the foundations of Japanese diplomacy are stronger than ever and its economy, though facing structural challenges, is improving. Through the G7 Summit, Japan should contemplate global issues together, and provide leadership for meaningful collective action.’’

Japan Announces Outreach Meeting During G7 Summit

( May 2nd, 2016) Japan will hold an outreach meeting during the G7 Ise-Shima Summit, inviting the heads of state and government of non-G7 countries and chairpersons of international organizations, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced on April 8.

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The G7 Ise-Shima Summit will be the first summit held in Asia in eight years. In light of this, this outreach meeting will engage in discussions that explore what is needed to sustain the well-being of Asia, which is steering economic growth as the growth center of the world. From this perspective, the heads of state and government of mainly ASEAN member states, Asian island countries, countries with infrastructure demand and countries dependent on sea lanes will be invited.

From Asia, the heads of state and government of Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea will be invited. In addition, the head of state and government of Chad, the Chairperson of the African Union, will be invited to ensure that the summit’s outcomes connect to the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). Furthermore, from international organizations, the chairpersons of the UN, OECD, ADB, IMF and the World Bank will be invited.

In addition to the discussions focusing on Asia, this meeting will also feature issues that Japan, which holds the G7 Presidency, attaches particular importance to from a global perspective, including quality infrastructure investment, health and women.

MOFA urges Japan to engage in consultations with ROC on disputed Okinotori waters

(May 2nd, 2016) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on Japan to enter talks with the Republic of China on the contested waters surrounding Okinotori following the seizure of an ROC fishing boat April 25.

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Japanese coast guard personnel boarded the Dong Sheng Ji No. 16 and then detained the boat and its crew in waters about 150 nautical miles east-southeast of Okinotori (19°29’42” north latitude, 139°42’74” east longitude).

On the issue of whether Japan is entitled to a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone surrounding Okinotori, with a naturally formed land area of 9 square meters, MOFA has reiterated to Japan on numerous occasions that the ROC government has taken note of the controversy regarding the status of Okinotori and proposes that parties involved negotiate the matter according to international law or settle it peacefully with the assistance of international organizations.

Before the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf makes a final decision on the legal status of Okinotori, Japan should respect the navigation and fishing rights of the ROC and other countries in those waters and engage in consultations with the ROC as soon as possible so as to reach an outcome that both sides find acceptable.

In accord with the wishes of the families of crewmembers that the boat and crew be released as soon as possible, the captain of DSJ16 paid a security deposit of six million yen (US$54,000) April 26 with assistance from MOFA. The captain and his crew were released in Yokohoma that afternoon at 4:40 p.m. Officials from the ROC representative office in Japan promptly paid them a visit and informed their families of their release.

MOFA stresses again that the deposit paid to Japan by the ship’s owner does not indicate that the ROC government implicitly accepts Japan’s claim to a 200-nautical-mile EEZ surrounding Okinotori.

U.S. high court approves rule change to expand FBI hacking power

( May 2nd, 2016) The Supreme Court on Thursday approved a rule change that would let U.S. judges issue search warrants for access to computers located in any jurisdiction despite opposition from civil liberties groups who say it will greatly expand the FBI’s hacking authority.

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U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts transmitted the rules to Congress, which will have until Dec. 1 to reject or modify the changes to the federal rules of criminal procedure. If Congress does not act, the rules would take effect automatically.

Magistrate judges normally can order searches only within the jurisdiction of their court, which is typically limited to a few counties.

The U.S. Justice Department, which has pushed for the rule change since 2013, has described it as a minor modification needed to modernize the criminal code for the digital age, and has said it would not permit searches or seizures that are not already legal.

Google, owned by Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), and civil liberties groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Access Now contend the change would vastly expand the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ability to conduct mass hacks on computer networks.

They say it also could run afoul of the U.S. Constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

While Congress can reject amendments to the rules that govern federal courts, it rarely exercises that authority and is not expected to do so during a heated election year. And few lawmakers have shown interest in the subject.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, condemned the rule change as having “significant consequences for Americans’ privacy,” and vowed to introduce legislation to reverse it.

“Under the proposed rules, the government would now be able to obtain a single warrant to access and search thousands or millions of computers at once; and the vast majority of the affected computers would belong to the victims, not the perpetrators, of a cybercrime,” Wyden said in a statement.

The Justice Department’s quest to broaden warrant jurisdiction has not drawn as much attention as other recent confrontations over government access to digital information. These included the FBI’s standoff with Apple over encryption arising from the agency’s effort to unlock an iPhone used by one of the shooters in December’s San Bernardino massacre.

A Justice Department spokesman said the change was necessary because criminals increasingly use “anonymizing” technologies to conceal their identity online, and remote searches are often the only way to apprehend such suspects.

The change does not authorize any new authorities not already permitted by law, the spokesman said.

Global funds-transfer system beckons cyberthieves

( May 2nd, 2016) “Swift, the global financial network that banks use to transfer billions of dollars every day, has warned its customers it is aware of ‘a number of recent cyber incidents,’ in which attackers sent fraudulent messages over its system.’’

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The Boston Global Forum will hold a conference in May 9 in Cambridge, Mass., to discuss “Building Ethics Norms for Cyberbehavior.’’ It will include international financial cybercrime.

The Guardian added: “The disclosure came as law-enforcement authorities in Bangladesh and elsewhere investigated the theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Swift said the scheme involved altering Swift software on  the Bangladesh Bank’s computers to hide evidence of fraudulent transfers.’’

The network’s news about the attack on the Bengladesh Bank “marked the first acknowledgement that the Bangladesh Bank attack was not an isolated incident but one of several recent criminal schemes that aimed to take advantage of the global messaging platform used by some 11,000 financial institutions.’’

Distinguished Panel to Speak on BGF-G7 Summit Initiative May 9

( May 2nd, 2016) On  May 9, The Boston Global Forum (BostonGlobalForum.org) will host a major conference on the theme of “Building Ethics Norms for Cybersecurity’’. It is part of its BGF-G7 Summit Initiative, in which internationally known experts have been participating since the start of this year. Please see  below the list of moderators and other speakers  for May 9,  along with other information about the meeting.

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A key part of the BGF’s work this year has been the Initiative, which has been convening leading scholars and business, government, technology and other leaders from around the world to seek solutions to pressing global issues involving peace, security and development. The BGF has worked with Japanese officials to craft proposals to be considered by the leaders of the G7 nations at  their summit, on May 26-27 in Japan.

The BGF’s biggest push this year has been developing “Strategies for Combating Cyberterrorism’’.  In pursuing this, most of the Initiative’s online dialogues so far this year, a major feature of the Initiative, have dealt primarily with cybersecurity. The most promising ideas from these dialogues and other BGF work have been summarized and will be reported to the national leaders meeting in Japan.

Online speakers have included David Sanger, chief  Washington Correspondent of The New York Times; Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer  of Resilient Systems; John Savage, the An Wang professor of computer science at Brown University and a BGF member; Allan Cytryn, international business cybersecurity expert,  a principal of Risk Masters International and a BGF member; Carlos Alberto Torres, the UNESCO Chair on Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education at the University of California at Los Angeles and a BGF member; Yasuhisa Kawamura, the chief spokesman for the Japanese government; Prof. J.D. Bindenagel, the Henry Kissinger Professor for Governance and International Security, at the University of Bonn; Prof. Matthew Smith, professor of computer science at  the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn, and Ezra Vogel, the Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard, a world-renown expert on East Asia and a BGF member.

The cybersecurity project began last year, as BGF experts started to develop the BGF’s “Ethics Code for Cyber Peace and Security.’’

Ryan Maness,  Visiting Fellow for Security and Resilience Studies in the Department of political science at Northeastern University, will present a report on the BGF-G7 Summit Initiative’s cybersecurity proposals at the May 9 meeting.

Practical details of the event:

Time: 7 p.m. (EDT) May 9

Venue: Room 2, Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy St., Cambridge, MA 02138

To be live-streamed at www.bostonglobalforum.org

The conference will be directly linked with participants in Tokyo and Bonn.

It will be moderated by:

  • Gov. Michael Dukakis, Co-Founder, Chairman, Boston Global Forum.

Speakers:

  • Prof.  Jose Barroso, former President of the European Union.
  • President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former President of Latvia, President of Club de Madrid.
  • Prof. Thomas E. Patterson, Co-Founder, Member of Board of Directors, Member of Editorial Board, Boston Global Forum; Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press, Harvard Kennedy School, and acting director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Kennedy School.
  • Prof.  Joseph Nye, Member of the BGF Board of Thinkers; University Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard Kennedy School.
  • Prof.  Koichi Hamada, Special Adviser to  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the G7 Summit’s host.
  • Nguyen Anh Tuan, Co-Founder and CEO, Boston Global Forum; Chair, International Advisory Committee, the UNESCO-UCLA  program on Global Citizenship Education.
  • Prof. John Savage, An Wang Professor of Computer Science, Brown University and BGF member.
  • Ryan Maness, Visiting Fellow of Security and Resilience Studies, Department of Political Science, Northeastern University.
  • Tomomi Inada, Chairman of Policy Research Council of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party and a Member of the Japanese House of Representatives.
  • Prof.  Nazli Choucri, Professor of Political Science, MIT; Director of the Global System for Sustainable Development (GSSD).
  • Prof. Derek Reveron, Professor of National Security Affairs and the EMC Informationist Chair at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I
  • Prof. Chris Demchak, RADM Grace M. Hopper Chair of Cybersecurity and Co-Director of the Center for Cyber Conflict Studies, at the U.S. Naval War College

For more information on the meeting, including about attending it, please send queries to: [email protected]

Two men sentenced for using malware in massive thefts

( May 2nd, 2016) The Guardian reports that the Russian creator of a computer program that let cybercriminals infect millions of computers and drain bank accounts in several countries has been sentenced to serve nine and half years in a U.S. prison.

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Aleksandr Andreevich Panin, 27, the inventor of  the malicious SpyEye, pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud in January 2014 after reaching a deal with prosecutors.

SpyEye infected more than 50 million computers, causing nearly $1 billion in damage to individuals and financial institutions.

A second man, Hamza Bendelladj, a 27-year-old Algerian was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Prosecutors said he sold versions of SpyEye online and used the malware to steal financial information.

The Guardian reported that “SpyEye was a type of Trojan virus that secretly implanted itself on victims’ computers to steal sensitive information, including bank account credentials, credit card information, passwords and PINs. Once it took over a computer, it allowed hackers to trick victims into surrendering personal information — including data-grabbing and fake bank account pages. The information was relayed to a command and control server to be used to access victim accounts.’’

NATO eyes stepping up Black Sea forces

( May 2nd, 2016) As concerns grow about Russian revanchism, three NATO members — Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania — may help expand NATO’s presence in and around the Black Sea. Russia has major forces there, including in Ukraine’s Crimea, which Russian President President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to occupy as part of his ongoing but undeclared war with Ukraine.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow speaks during a news conference in Tbilisi, January 30, 2015. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

NATO has been working on a broader strategy to deter Russia for aggression against its neighbors.

The Black Sea is strategically very important for East and West given its energy reserves and closeness to the Middle East.

“There are some very valuable discussions under way among the allies who live on the Black Sea … of more closely integrating their naval forces and operations,” NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said in a visit to Sofia, mentioning the three NATO allies.

NATO worries about a Russian strategy to try to block NATO from moving its military forces by positioning Russian surface-to-air missile batteries and anti-ship missiles in Kaliningrad (its enclave on the Baltic), the Black Sea and in Syria.

Pentagon starts ‘cyberbombing’ ISIS

( May 2nd, 2016) The Pentagon’s Cyber Command has started a new online campaign against ISIS to disrupt its operations by sowing mistrust and confusion among the leaders of the Islamic terrorist group and in so doing disrupt their military operations.

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Technewsworld reports that among other things, the plan is to disrupt the ability of ISIS leaders “to pay their soldiers, execute operational orders, recruit new fighters and communicate with each other.’’

The plan amounts to dropping cyberbombs on the enemy, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work told The New York Times, which the U.S. has never done before in such a large-scale battlefield environment.

U.S. military challenges nations seeking to restrict navigation rights

( May 2nd, 2016) A U.S. Defense Department report says that the U.S. military conducted “freedom of navigation” operations against 13 countries last year, including several to challenge China’s claims in the South and East China seas. Chinese expansion in those seas poses the most threatening challenge to international freedom of navigation. Some 30 percent of world trade runs through the South China Sea, over which China seeks hegemony.

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters

The operations involve sending U.S. Navy ships and military aircraft where other nations have tried to limit access. The aim is to show that the international community does not accept such restrictions.

 

 

Is Belgium’s Interior Minister Copying Trump?

( May 2nd, 2016) Interior Minister Jan Jambon arrived for a meeting between the prime minister, a delegation of the victims of the Brussels attacks and the organizers of a march against terrorism and hate in the Brussels city center Sunday.

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“A significant part of the Muslim community danced in response to the attacks.”

That statement, made by Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon in an interview with Flemish daily De Standaard published Saturday, may sound familiar to American readers. It closely echoes a claim made repeatedly by Republican frontrunner Donald Trump that “thousands of people were cheering” in Jersey City, N.J., when the World Trade Center towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001.

And just like Mr. Trump’s claim – which has been denied vehemently by U.S. authorities — Mr. Jambon’s comments, which refer to the deadly bombings at Brussels Airport and a subway station on March 22, have prompted political pushback, as well as an examination of whether they are true.

So what did Mr. Jambon, a member of the right-wing Flemish nationalist N-VA party, actually say?

In the interview, Mr. Jambon was asked whether Belgium, as a society, had to take responsibility for the attacks. After explaining that there were some oversights in the years leading up to the attacks, the minister launched into the following:

“A significant part of the Muslim community danced in response to the attacks. They threw stones and bottles at police and the press during the arrest of Salah Abdeslam (a suspected participant in the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris). That’s the real problem. We can apprehend terrorists, extract them from society. But they are merely a pimple. Underneath, there is a cancer that is much harder to treat. We can do it. But not overnight. And those involved in politics will have to transcend themselves.”

A few bottles and some other objects were indeed thrown at police in the hours after Mr. Abdeslam’s arrest on March 18 in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, as witnessed by this reporter. But those incidents appeared to be mostly spontaneous and random — following an hourslong siege of several residential blocks by riot police a neighborhood that has long had difficult relations with law enforcement — rather than part of a unified reaction to the arrest.

Was the reaction to the March 22 bombings, which killed at least 32 people, including a Muslim mother of three from Molenbeek, any broader?

Charles Michel, Belgium’s prime minister, said Sunday that “there were expressions of support for the authors of the attacks.” Mr. Michel told state-run news agency Belga that those incidents had been reported to the national security council, which includes key ministers including Mr. Jambon as well as OCAM, Belgium’s coordination agency for threat analysis.

However, the prime minister also played down their significance. “These were acts coming from people who were in the minority and it isn’t appropriate to make generalizations,” he said.

The Brussels’ prosecutor’s office, under whose jurisdiction any post-attack dance parties would fall, said it is aware of just one incident, in which no one was charged. Six people were arrested on Avenue de Versailles, a street that has been linked to one of the alleged Paris attackers, following reports of a support demonstration.

However, the six people were later released, since “we don’t have enough elements to prove that they were involved in such an incident,” said spokeswoman Ine Van Wymersch.

In comments to Belgian media Monday, Mr. Jambon stood by his statement. Belgium’s opposition Green party has now asked the minister to explain himself to lawmakers on Wednesday afternoon, group leader Jean-Marc Nollet said on Twitter.

 

Five G7 leaders to meet in Germany

( April 25th, 2016) In what seems at least in part preparation for the G7 Summit coming up May 26-27 in Japan,  German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a G7 nation, hosted a meeting April 25 of leaders from G7 members Italy, France,  the United States  and Britain. The other G7 members are Japan and Canada.
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Ms. Merkel’s agenda included the war in Syria, the relationship between Russia and Ukraine;  the possible challenge of a mass migration from Libya to Europe in the coming months, which, of course, would worsen Europe’s woes in trying to deal with the flood of refugees from Syria, and the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Ms. Merkel’s guests at the meeting April 25, besides Mr. Obama: French President François Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renz