Tensions remain high between Ukraine and Russia in the Azov Sea, Kerch Strait, and Black Sea as Ukraine prepares to hold elections on March 31. The OSCE monitors have reported seeing several aircraft in violation of the Minsk agreements, and in his 25 February address to the UN General Assembly, President Poroshenko called for a fact-finding mission and a peacekeeping contingent in Donbas.
The front-runner presidential candidates are comedian Volodyyr Zelensky, incumbent Petro Poroshenko, and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Source: International Crisis Group Report
Basel, Switzerland is one of some 6,000 cities that belong to Mayors for Peace. Its current mayor, Elizabeth Ackermann, will co-host a conference on April 12 and 13 with Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND) and the Swiss branch of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. The meeting will develop strategies for divestment and other actions by cities, universities, parliaments, and religious institutions to reverse the nuclear arms race and protect the climate. They note:
“One of the most effective tools for non-nuclear governments, cities, universities and civil society is nuclear weapons divestment. Such action puts economic and political pressure on corporations to abandon their involvement in the nuclear weapons industry or to convert such production to civilian purposes. Such action also gives support to legislators in nuclear-armed States who are working to cut the nuclear weapons budgets and reverse the nuclear arms race. Similar divestment from the fossil fuel industry can assist in cutting carbon use and supporting renewable energy.”
If you are near Basel on those dates, there are several free public sessions and a reception. Contact Alyn Ware at the Basel Peace Office, email@example.com
The Trump administration proposed a budget in early March that would increase spending on nuclear weapons to $12.4 billion, an 11.8 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. But Bruce Blair, a former US Air Force nuclear launch officer, told Congress on March 6 that drastically reducing America’s nuclear arsenal would instead strengthen US national security. The Trump plan is to expand US nuclear capabilities—which will make the world more dangerous.
Source: Global Zero
The market does not reward a firm for providing cybersecurity in their products. The new product that succeeds is usually not the one that is most secure, but the first one to market or the one with the most functionality. And, worse yet, countries are racing to develop their offensive cyber capabilities, fearing that they will be left behind.
But on November 12, 2018 French President Emmanuel Macron invited together likeminded countries, private sector entities, and international and civil society organizations, who issued a consensus statement about cyber threats. Signatories agreed on the importance of peaceful cyberspace.
The “Paris Call” is non-binding, but its signatories agree on the importance of preventing malicious cyber activities and strengthening international capacity. They intend to work together and promote international norms and confidence-building measures in cyberspace.
By March more than 400 supporters had joined the movement, including 64 countries, though neither Russia nor the United States is yet among them.
In the US, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) is promoting the cause, as part of a wider network now being called the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group (EASLG).
Source: Nuclear Threat Initiative website.
Even if the Paris goals are met, Arctic temperatures will rise ay 3-5C by 2050 compared to 1986-2005 levels and 5-9C by 2080. This is the gist of a March 13 report to UN?Environment, Global Linkages. Thawing permafrost may release more greenhouse gases, creaing a runaway warming effect. And ocean acidification and pollution are also posing major problems for the Arctic.See:unenvironment.org/news