Interfor’s Weekly Security & Covid Digest – January 17, 2023
Global Security Matters
- China renewed its threat to attack Taiwan. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office announced that China is recommitted to “safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “smashing plots for Taiwan independence,” warning foreign officials they are “playing with fire” if they try to interact with Taiwan. China’s military released a music video which showcases Chinese bombers and an aircraft carrier launching warplanes. The video also warns Taiwan of potential military action.
- An IED attack on a church in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo left at least 10 people dead and 39 injured. The attack occurred in a Pentecostal church in Kasindi in the North Kivu province. Authorities in DCR believe that the attack was carried out by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamic State (IS) affiliate in Central Africa. IS claimed the attack later on Sunday, announcing that they killed “nearly 20” people. The ADF is responsible for killing at least 370 people since April 2022.
- The US and Bahrain began a 10-day naval exercise on January 15 off the coast of Bahrain. Exercise Neon Defender is an annual bilateral training event that enhances cooperation among US Naval Forces Central Command(NAVCENT) and Bahraini forces. NAVCENT includes maritime forces stationed in Bahrain and operating in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean, and critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal, and Bab al-Mandeb.
- A police officer in Peru was burned to death by protestors. Anti-government demonstrations continue with a death toll of 47. Police officer José Luis Soncco Quispe was on patrol when he was attacked by approximately 350 protestors who later set his vehicle on fire. Prime Minister Alberto Otárola set a three-day curfew in Puno from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.
- At least 50 women were abducted in Burkina Faso by suspected Jihadists. The kidnappings occurred on Thursday and Friday in the north and west of Arbinda, in the Sahel region. The women were searching for wild fruits. The women were likely taken to the kidnappers’ bases; searches are underway. The Sahel region is blockaded by Jihadists, making it difficult to supply food to the region.
Total Deaths: 6,704,827 (1,095,149 in United States)
US Hospitalization Rate: 14 % decrease in the past week
- China as reported that there have been nearly 60,000 Covid-19 deaths since its “Zero Covid” restrictions were lifted a month ago. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that China monitor excess mortality from Covid-19 to gain a fuller picture of the potential impact its surge may have globally.
- The WHO recommends wearing masks in crowded spaces “irrespective of the local epidemiological situation, given the current spread of the COVID-19 globally.”
- The US Administration renewed the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency, a provision that allows federal health officials to respond to the pandemic as cases are again on the rise.
- So far this winter, the rise in Covid-19 in the US appears to be relatively mild. However, hospitalizations among seniors are nearing the peak from the Delta surge and rising fast, creating a “Senior Wave.”
- U.S. Department of State travel advisory page
- CISA: nation-state cybersecurity threats and other resources for cybersecurity matters.
- CDC Covid-19 Travel Guidelines
- CDC Covid-19 facts page
- Our most recent blog posts look at the cybersecurity implications of ChatGPT and the latest uses of facial recognition technology.
Check out this Op-ed in The Hill about the George Santos due diligence failures, penned by our own Don Aviv and Jeremy Hurewitz.