[I just felt it in Ohio.
37.975°N, 77.969°W epicenter]
Aug 23 (Reuters) – A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the U.S. East Coast and Canada from Virginia to Toronto on Tuesday, shaking buildings and forcing evacuation of the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.
There were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries from the quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey said was centered in Mineral, Virginia, between Charlottesville and Richmond. It was initially recorded at 5.8 magnitude.
Washington office workers scurried into the streets after the quake, which lasted for about five seconds and sent items crashing to the floor from store and office shelves.
Tremors shook New York City office buildings, prompting evacuations of courthouses, City Hall and halting work at the World Trade Center construction site, officials and witnesses said.
It was not immediately clear if there was any damage or injuries in New York, but fire department and police officials in Dutchess County, north of New York City, reported structural damage to some buildings.
A spokesman for the city transit agency said the quake was felt but declined immediate comment on whether the subway system was affected.
Control towers at John F. Kennedy airport and Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey were also evacuated.
Buildings in Boston were evacuated, while a Reuters witness said the quake was felt as far away as Toronto.
(Reporting by John Whitesides, the World Desk Americas; editing by Philip Barbara)
Uzbekistan: Tashkent airport detained a graduate of the Academy of the OSCE and the “Deutsche Welle” Helen Cooper
Evening of August 22 in an international airport in Tashkent at passport and customs control, was detained a freelance journalist Elena Bondar, returning home from Bishkek. In the Kyrgyz capital, Helen was a 10-week training course in the “Central Asian school of modern journalism” of the OSCE Academy and the Academy, “Deutsche Welle”.The plane landed in Bishkek at the airport in the Uzbek capital of 19.20, said Helen over the phone. To her civil passport of the Republic of Uzbekistan border showed special attention. After a thorough review of the document transmitted to the rack Cooper customs control, where no less carefully inspected her luggage and carry-on luggage, finding in it, including electronic media.
Cooper then placed in a detention cell, where she had spent at least an hour. It is now in another room does not provide the staff of the airport whether border guards, or customs, or the National Security Service, in the presence of the journalist a copy on computer service, all data stored on its flash card with pictures and instructional materials OSCE.
23-year-old Elena Bondar this year graduated from the Faculty of Journalism, National University of Uzbekistan. During the years of training, she worked with “Fergana” and a number of other blocked in this country of foreign publications.
Education in the “Central Asian school of modern journalism” with the participation of young, no older than 30 years, journalists from around the region took place from June 13 to August 19, 2011.
The task of the training program of the course – to develop the journalists’ skills with the basic tools for creating high-quality journalistic material aimed at an audience of Central Asia, for print, radio and online media. The ultimate goal – to help journalists improve the quality of the broadcasts and articles in the Central Asian media. “
During training, students learn the basics of school work in print, television, radio and online journalism. The best graduates of the school this fall will be invited for a two-week internship in Germany.
U.S. State Department has included a list of countries in Tajikistan are vulnerable to terrorist threats. This is stated in the new annual report, management fight against terrorism the U.S. State Department. The full report is available in English here .
According to the compilers of the report, has been identified serious weakness in the Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Tajikistan and its ability to conduct effective counter-terrorism operations.
“The mass escape from prison in Dushanbe, the attack on a convoy of troops in the gorge Kamarob, fighting between the Tajik border guards and armed groups in Afghanistan demonstrate the vulnerability of Tajikistan to the well-trained international and domestic groups. Armed groups have effectively used the mountainous terrain of Tajikistan and the internal political conflict in the country, “- notes the report.
The report also emphasized that the Tajik authorities, under the guise of combating terrorism, persecuted its political opponents. In addition, the judiciary is subject to widespread corruption in Tajikistan.
The compilers of the report emphasized that most of the measures the Government of Tajikistan against extremism and terrorism have led to restrictions on the rights of citizens to freedom of religion. As a result, heavy-handed tactics of the government, in fact, contributed to the development of radicalism, rather than its retention.
U.S. State Department believes that the Government of Tajikistan could improve the protection of the Tajik-Afghan border with the help of international donors in 2010.
The deputy of the Tajik parliament of Tajikistan Olim said these findings Salimzoda U.S. Department unfounded and able to hit the relationship between the two countries.
“The government of Tajikistan adopted as the civilized world have never considered terrorists by their political opponents. Terrorists around the world, including in the United States were enemies of the government and society, not their opponents.And I think that this report has been prepared by persons who do not have enough information about Tajikistan, on the processes occurring inside the country “- said the MP.
Referring to the opposition, O. Salimzoda noted that the relationship between the government and political opponents are constructive and do not have any hostile tone. “But I’m sure no one can say killed in 2010-2011 in the Rasht terrorist opponents of the government of the country” – said the deputy.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, also believes that the U.S. State Department’s findings made in the report, far from reality.
“This is the position the State Department, but it is far from reality. In Tajikistan, know what to do and how to do it. All measures have been taken, based on current realities and give a positive result in terms of building civil society, and ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens, and ensure the free activity of religious associations.With regard to the fight against terrorism, there also is productive work. And everybody knows about it, “- said in an interview with” AP “Head of MFA RT Davlat Nazriev.
“We are working on the basis of their national interests for national security, and this path will continue. And we regret that our partners will make such hasty conclusions without examining thoroughly the situation in the country, “- Foreign Ministry spokesman said in Tajikistan.
[Not only has the Uzbek President proven himself to be the fly in Putin's and Medvedev's ointment, over this issue of a Rapid Reaction Strike Force (SEE: Brotherhood in Resistance–Collective Rapid Reaction Force (RRF)), he has also foiled the snakes from NATO, as they snuck legislation on their pet issues through the UN (SEE: Implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia ), trying to force regional compliance with Pentagon plans. US/NATO schemes for world domination cannot proceed in the CIS states until Uzbekistan falls in line, no matter how much additional incentive Russia can help supply, to help push through the Imperial mission.]
President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov will not participate in the upcoming Dushanbe summit of the CIS. As reported by “AP” in the diplomatic mission of Uzbekistan in Tajikistan in Dushanbe, the Prime Minister will arrive Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyayev.
Earlier it was reported that the participation in the CIS summit also refused to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Instead, it will be Prime Minister Artur Rasizade.
Also in the Uzbek embassy in Tajikistan reported that the Dushanbe meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of CIS countries will take part, Vice-Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Elyor Ganiev.
As indicated in the message the CIS Executive Committee in the upcoming September 2 in Dushanbe meeting of CIS foreign ministers will consider 16 issues.
The most important on the agenda is a draft assessment report “Results of the CIS for 20 years and challenges for the future.” It gives a general assessment of the Commonwealth, analyzed the results of cooperation of CIS member states in economic, humanitarian spheres and in the field of security and other priorities. In the final part of the defined objectives of the Commonwealth in the future. The draft document is planned to introduce the next meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State.
At the meeting of Foreign Ministers scheduled to consider a draft statement CFM “on ensuring the complementary and mutually beneficial nature of the development of integration processes.”
At a meeting of Foreign Ministers will also consider a number of issues related to further development of cooperation in the field of security. Including the draft program of cooperation in fighting illegal migration for 2012-2014, agreement about the transfer of samples of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors, the agreement on cooperation in the field of industrial safety at hazardous industrial facilities, the provisions of the Office for the Coordination of anti- organized crime and other dangerous types of crimes on the territory of CIS.
Got an idea for the latest social network?
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants to hear it — and may offer $42 million to make it a reality. DARPA put out a call for proposals on July 14, and officially presented the project on Tuesday at a briefing held at System Planning Corporation, a military contractor.
Specifically, DARPA is seeking approaches that go beyond evolutionary improvements to existing systems and practices in social networking. Instead, the agency seeks a revolutionary idea that would, among other things, measure and track the formation and spread of ideas and memes, recognize patterns of persuasion across communities, identify the effects of these persuasion campaigns and counter them with defense’s own influence operations.
“Entirely new phenomena are emerging that require thinking about social interactions in a new way. The tools that we have today for awareness and defense in the social media space are heavily dependent on chance,” the announcement said. “We must eliminate our current reliance on a combination of luck and unsophisticated manual methods.”
This is not the Defense Department’s first push towards social networking. In June 2009, U.S. forces in Afghanistan set up accounts on established social networks Twitter and Facebook, in order to reach out to Afghan youth.
A year later, the Kabul Embassy explored the idea of building a new social network to connect various groups in the country.
The proposals for the current project are due August 30.
The Pentagon’s surveillance net is massive. But it was holes and seams. Spy drone videos and communications intercepts may be aimed at the same target. Analysts have a hard time flipping easily from one kind of intel to the other, however — allowing those targets to get away. So the military is working on an out-there idea to fix the problem: a single mega-system that pulls together and analyzes all every kind of intel you can imagine. If it works as planned, it’ll be a whole lot harder to slip through that Pentagon net.
No surprise that Darpa, the military’s blue-sky research arm, is the agency behind the lofty five-year program, called Insight. The agency’s goal is to replace “largely manual exploitation and…chat-based operator interactions” with a system that mines different inputs, including drone footage and on-the-ground intel, and quickly stitches together the data to identify potential threats.
What Darpa’s calling “a next generation ISR [intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance] exploitation and resource management system” would be faster than human analysts, but it’d still rely on their input. Darpa wants an interface that’s adaptable, letting users provide context and pick the best surveillance combo for a given situation.
The Pentagon’s been investing in super-powered surveillance for years now, and Darpa wants Insight to capitalize on the rapid growth in the recon field. The program will incorporate brand new spy cams, likeARGUS-IS, a 1.8 Gigapixel camera that tracks over 100 square miles in real time. And ongoing Darpa projects might be rolled into the Insight system too. The agency’s solicitation cites a handful, including the recently-launched PerSEAS, a program to design complex algorithms that can somehow spot threats based on little more than “weak evidence.”
And Darpa’s betting big on Insight. The agency’s creating an entire “Insight Test Bed,” to be located at Fort Irwin’s National Training Center, that’ll mimic “real world operational settings,” complete with scripted scenarios. In hopes of fast-tracking ongoing programs, Darpa’s also prepping a “Development Incubator” of unclassified data and evaluation results for contractors. The goal is to boost collaboration and lower the cost of systems testing for developers — not to mention make it easier to integrate their work into Insight’s eventual surveillance depository.
A one-stop-shop for surveillance data and analysis would no doubt enhance threat detection. But despite the perks, Insight would only be as strong as the footage and algorithms it’d rely on. Some of the programs Darpa hopes to include are still in their infancy, and have decidedly out-there aims of their own. Consider GUARD-DOG. Launched just six months ago, the program’s goal is to replace human interrogators with algorithms that can somehow understand and interpret the complexities of “real-world social networks.”
Amassing a ton of surveillance programs, some of them already long shots, and then linking them together — in five years — seems like wishful thinking. Which means that even if it’s deployed, Insight will remain a work in progress. As Darpa’s solicitation notes, the system will be designed to “rapidly integrate new algorithms” and “facilitate continuous development and insertion of nascent technologies.”
Photo: U.S. Air Force