Daily Archives: 2015/01/05



The Content Delivery Summit is a one-day conference, developed and chaired by Dan Rayburn, that brings together carriers, telcos, ISPs, and premium content owners for a detailed look at the technology and platforms being used to deliver and accelerate web content.


Last Mile Video Delivery

Dynamic Site Acceleration

Transparent Caching

Front-End Optimization

Licensed/Managed CDN

Application Acceleration

Telco CDN Deployments

Mobile Content Acceration

Cloud & CDN Business Models

Managing OTT Video Quality

CDN Federation Models

QoS Measurement


Get real business done. Content Delivery Summit is THE place to meet face to face with those who are designing, building and deploying CDN platforms used for delivering nearly all of the content consumed on the Internet today.

Hear and learn from more than 50 speakers. The Summit includes case studies on real-world deployments, demos of new technology platforms, and discussions on business models for both on-net and off-net delivery.

Network with many of today’s top experts in the field of content delivery. Now in its seventh year, the Content Delivery Summit brings together hundreds of attendees each year including some of the best minds in the industry.


Content Owners/OTT Distributors

Carriers & Telcos

Mobile Carriers

Online Retail/Social

On-Net Platform Vendors

Off-Net Platform Vendors

Prevous speakers and attendees have included: Apple, Google, Netflix, Amazon, Comcast, Yahoo!, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, China Telecom, Telefonica, Orange, Korea Telecom, SK Telecom, Telecom Argentina, TeliaSonera, Deutsche Telekom, Telstra Global, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, ESPN, DIRECTV, AOL, YouTube, Viacom, eBay, LinkedIn and others.


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Join Allant at CES


Do you really know who your audience is? What are they watching? How are they consuming content? The current TV ad model is evolving rapidly. Historical reach and frequency, network and day part and program ad placement panel based measurement is giving ground to competing online, on demand video and the increasing availability of set top box data. Advertisers are responding, wanting TV to be more targetable, interactive and measurable.

Media companies are trying to protect and enhance TV ad inventory value while grappling with how to shift to the online model and make it even better. The time has come for media companies to build viewership relationships in order to protect and enhance ad inventory, broaden their audience and diversify revenue.

Allant helps media companies build the audience assets necessary to leverage traditional CRM, online and advanced advertising technologies and solutions. It’s time you made the shift to Allant.

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(Left) José León Cerrillo, POEM (theft and gift), 2014. Silkscreen printed tempered glass, 93.9 x 74.6 cm. (Right) José León Cerrillo, Subtraction screen 6, 2014. Spray-painted iron structure, black, 119 x 119 x 2.5 cm. Image courtesy of Kiria Koula, San Francisco. Photo by Johnna Arnold.

José León Cerrillo, Ilja Karilampi, and Paul Chan at Kiria Koula, San Francisco

November 6, 2014–January 10, 2015

Paul Chan is clearly energized by the Greek word polytropos. Homer used the word, translated as “cunning,” numerous times to describe Odysseus.(1) This information, conveyed by Chan to a rapt audience during a two-part lecture, was included in the opening-week program for the new gallery Kiria Koula in San Francisco’s Mission District. The talk, Odysseus as Artist, drew parallels between the position of the Greek hero—stranded far from home and tempted by the seductions of material wealth—and that of contemporary artists, who must use their “cunning” to succeed in an increasingly market-driven global art world. This improbable but convincing metaphor is apt for Kiria Koula, a commercial gallery and bookstore committed to supporting new work and research in the spirit of a non-profit.

Along with Chan (who selected texts related to his research on The Odyssey for visitors to browse and potentially purchase), Mexican artist José León Cerrillo and Swedish artist Ilja Karilampi inaugurate the converted laundromat with visually disparate works connected by a focus on language and iconography. Cerrillo presents four glass panels containing geometric graphic symbols (all 2014)—what he dubs as “poems”—which are attached at right angles to a wall bifurcating the main gallery space. Three thin spray-painted iron frames set off from the translucent rectangles, Subtraction screen 5, 6, and 7, along with a hanging black curtain, UNTITLED, divide the space into sections, blurring the line between contemporary art and modernist décor. Placed throughout the gallery, Karilampi’s four engraved brass panels—SweSh iPhone; The Chief Dean of Gangsta Shape; Hotel Opalen, Hendrix 1968; and W€LL $PENT V.I.P. Taxi (all 2014)—also appear as functional as well as aesthetic. Viewed together, the works deploy a broad iconography to flout the traditional boundaries of visual art, and offer new modes of expression that rely on connections with broader culture rather than art historical knowledge.

Cryptic symbols on Cerrillo’s panels paired with his enigmatic titles imply a code to be cracked. POEM (theft and gift) includes a pink-to-black ombré rectangle, an irregular black heptagon, a spiked circle, and a white number eight, all linked via dotted lines. A jumble of seven letters and numbers sit in a pile in the bottom left quadrant. Abstract art, linguistic diagrams, and architectural renderings collide, begging interpretation yet remaining frustratingly impenetrable. Cerrillo appropriates visual elements from modern art, but he expands their potential meaning by opening up perception to include the viewer’s own base of knowledge and references. Combining graphic elements that evoke Russian Constructivism (and by extension its utopian underpinnings) with a quotidian decorative trope, Cerrillo slyly points to the increasing erosion of the barrier between the symbolic language of the erudite art world and the consumer marketplace for luxury goods.

Karilampi’s plaques are punctuations of pop culture that further remove art from a privileged context. Commissioned for the exhibition, each metallic sign operates as a title marker for four films—SweSh Xpress Geneve Trailer (2014), The Chief Architect of Gangsta Rap (2009), Hendrix Incident (2013), and W€LL $PENT: Mykki Blanco in Malmö (2012)—displayed on two monitors in the gallery, borrowing logos and textual styles from mass media and hip-hop. Graffiti scrawled across the exterior of the gallery windows (most likely by neighborhood kids staking out their turf) echoes the graphic style of the works that creates a subtle connection to the outside world. Etched on a nearby plaque, The Chief Dean of Gangsta Shape, are the words “The Chief of Gangsta” interrupted by two cartoonish graphics—a handshake between a black and a white hand and a playful smiling hand with fingers crossed, the logo for the British Commission for Racial Equality and the UK National Lottery respectively, a nod to the issues of race often entwined with rap music, and its favoring of symbols of material wealth.

The corresponding 11-minute video, The Chief Architect of Gangsta Rap, uses a BBC documentary style to interweave Karilampi’s autobiography with that of American rapper Dr. Dre and the architect Le Corbusier. Still photographs and the occasional video clip are accompanied by the artist’s lucid voiceover, which vacillates between English and Swedish, a further personalization of the narrative. While a video of his stepfather sorting records appears on screen, Karilampi admits to his own “insane attempts at creating associations,” a proclivity that resonates throughout the exhibition. Like Cerrillo’s works, Karilampi’s videos and plaques—with their music references and bling aesthetic—are boldly contemporary, but also engage with the recent past.

With Odysseus as Artist and its related texts, Chan revisits one of the oldest works of literature in the Western canon to dissect the state of contemporary art today, and Cerrillo and Karilampi share this impulse to incorporate outside disciplines and historical influences. By removing logos, symbols, and motifs from their original sources, the artists imply that visual iconography belongs to everyone, everywhere. Deciphering a perceived code becomes less important than acknowledging visual art’s entanglement with other forms of culture, manifested here in the artists’ own unexpected juxtapositions. By giving themselves license to interpret references for their own purposes, they give their viewers the freedom to do the same.

(1) Chan chose to read Stephen Mitchell’s translation of The Odyssey (New York, Atria Books, 2013) because of his translation of the word “cunning” for polytropos. No consensus on the English equivalent exists, and other translators have used adjectives such as “resourceful,” “clever,” “much-traveled,” “wily,” and “versatile.”

Jeanne Gerrity is a curator, writer, and editor based in San Francisco.



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Exclusive: U.S. Drone Fleet at ‘Breaking Point,’ Air Force Says




Too many missions and too few pilots are threatening the ‘readiness and combat capability’ of America’s unmanned Air Force, according to an internal memo.

The U.S. Air Force’s fleet of drones is being strained to the “breaking point,” according to senior military officials and an internal service memo acquired by The Daily Beast. And it’s happening right when the unmanned aircraft are most needed to fight ISIS.

The Air Force has enough MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones. It just doesn’t have the manpower to operate those machines. The Air Force’s situation is so dire that Air Combat Command (ACC), which trains and equips the service’s combat forces, is balking at filling the Pentagon’s ever increasing demands for more drone flights.

“ACC believes we are about to see a perfect storm of increased COCOM [Combatant Commander] demand, accession reductions, and outflow increases that will damage the readiness and combat capability of the MQ-1/9 enterprise for years to come,” reads an internal Air Force memo from ACC commander Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, addressed to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. “I am extremely concerned.”

“ACC will continue to non-concur to increased tasking beyond our FY15 [fiscal year 2015] force offering and respectfully requests your support in ensuring the combat viability of the MQ-1/9 platform,” Carlisle added.

In other words, the Air Force is saying that its drone force has been stretched to its limits. “It’s at the breaking point, and has been for a long time,” a senior service official told The Daily Beast. “What’s different now is that the band-aid fixes are no longer working.”

In the internal memo, Carlisle noted that the Air Force’s current manning problem is so acute that the service will have to beg the Pentagon to reconsider its demand for 65 drone combat air patrols, or CAPs, as early as April 2015. (Each CAP, also known as an “orbit,” consists on four aircraft.)

But senior military leaders in the Pentagon have been pushing back hard against any reduction in the number of drone orbits, particularly as demand has surged in recent months over Iraq and Syria because of the war against ISIS. In fact, the Pentagon is so fervent in its demand for more Predator and Reaper patrols that the top military brass made an end run to bypass regular channels to increase the number of drone orbits, the ACC alleges.

“The reduced offering of 62 CAPs (plus a 60-day Global Response Force) has been submitted to the Joint Staff; however, the Joint Staff has indicated their desire to circumvent normal processes while proposing their own offering of 65 MQ-1/9 CAPs,” Carlisle wrote. “This simply is not an option for ACC to source indeterminately.”

Carlisle writes that the Air Force would want a crew ratio of 10 to one for each drone orbit during normal everyday operations. During an emergency that ratio could be allowed to drop to 8.5 people per orbit. However, the Air Force is so strapped for people that the ratio has dropped below even that reduced level.

“ACC squadrons are currently executing steady-state, day-to-day operations (65 CAPs) at less than an 8:1 crew-to-CAP ratio. This directly violates our red line for RPA [remotely pilot aircraft] manning and combat operations,” Carlisle wrote. “The ever-present demand has resulted in increased launch and recovery taskings and increased overhead for LNO [liaison officer] support.”

The Air Force has been forced to raid its schools for drone operators to man the operational squadrons that are flying combat missions over places like Iraq and Syria. As a result, training squadrons—called Formal Training Units (FTU)—are being staffed with less than half the people they need. Even the Air Force’s elite Weapons School—the service’s much more extensive and in-depth version of the Navy’s famous Top Gun school—course for drone pilots was suspended in an effort to train new rookie operators.

Overworked drone crews have had their leaves canceled and suffered damage to their careers because they could not attend required professional military education courses.

The result is that drone operators are leaving the Air Force in droves. “Pilot production has been decimated to match the steady demand placed upon the RPA community by keeping ‘all hands’ in the fight,” Carlisle wrote. “Long-term effects of this continued OPSTEMPO are manifested in declining retention among MQ-1/9 pilots, FTU manning at less than 50%, and enterprise-wide pilot manning hovering at about 84%.”

The Air Force has about seven pilots for every eight drone pilot slots, in other words.

But it takes more than just pilots to operate the drone fleet. In addition to the pilots who “fly” the MQ-1s and MQ-9s, there are sensor operators who work the cameras and other intelligence-gathering hardware onboard the unmanned aircraft. Further, there are maintenance crews who have to fix those drones. Perhaps most crucially, drones require hundreds of intelligence analysts who have to comb through thousands of hours of video surveillance footage to understand what the flight crews are watching.

“Some have looked at this as a problem with just RPA pilots and the number of them required for these CAPs, but that ignores the tail required for supporting RPA operations,” a senior Air Force official said. “This tail requires hundreds of man-hours to support every hour of flight in forward operations, maintenance, and most starkly in the processing, exploitation, and dissemination of the intelligence that RPAs create.”

The problem for Carlisle and the Air Force is that even as the demand increases on the drone fleet, fewer new troops enter the ranks while more and more veteran operators vote with their feet.

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T-Mobile US boss Legere set to unveil more ‘uncarrier’ moves – but not at CES 2015



Outspoken T-Mobile US boss John Legere claimed the operator will bring its ‘uncarrier’ strategy “to entirely new groups of people” in 2015, but anyone hoping for another high-profile uncarrier move at next week’s CES event in Las Vegas will be disappointed.

Legere first unveiled his uncarrier ideology at CES 2013, back when he had only been CEO for four months and T-Mobile was in desperate need of a shakeup. Since then the operator has launched eight uncarrier offerings, including the scrapping of annual service contracts, as well as the provision of data roaming at no extra charge.

At last year’s CES event Legere claimed the operator’s move to incentivise consumers to switch to the operator from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon by paying off their early termination fees (ETFs) would “frighten the crap” out of rival carriers.

It was expected that the T-Mobile management team would be back in force at CES 2015, but a spokesperson for the operator told Mobile World Live in an email that, “though T-Mobile will be meeting with a few partners there, there are no plans to announce news at CES this year. We caused enough of a stir last year!”.

T-Mobile’s decision not to push a new uncarrier move in early January is likely affected by the fact its most recent initiative – giving consumers the ability to roll over their unused monthly data into the next billing cycle– was only announced on 16 December.

While the company won’t be making headlines again at CES next week, Legere published a blog this week that talked up – among other things – his plans to bring uncarrier to whole new sectors of the US market this year.

“Did you know like a quarter of the people in this country don’t yet have a smartphone, and a quarter of households don’t have internet access? They need some uncarrier attention!” he wrote. “And there are countless small and mid-sized businesses out there we can help.”

Naturally, Legere also used the opportunity to take swipes at T-Mobile’s competitors: “I’m recommitting myself to making life hell for the old carriers who make life hell for their customers. Because it gives me joy.”

Mobile World Live will cover all major developments in the US mobile market throughout 2015. And we are reporting live from CES next week – follow our coverage via this dedicated page.

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Netzkino launches on Amazon Fire TV

5 January 2015timthumb.php

German free-of-charge VoD service Netzkino is now available on Amazon Fire TV, which can be connected to an HDTV to allow the user to stream internet content. Fire TV users can choose between more than 1,500 movies at Netzkino, with some in HD quality. Users can gain access without needing to register or signing up for a subscription.

Fire TV from Amazon has been available in Germany since early September last year. Films can be streamed from the internet to the TV using the connected Fire TV box. Netzkino has developed an app for this purpose, which is designed to fully make use of Fire TV’s capabilities.

Netzkino claims to be Germany’s largest free-of-charge online movie offering, and with the move to Fire TV, the service aims to extend its reach and expand its position in the advertising-financed VoD market. The Netzkino app is available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone mobile platforms, as well as on Google Chromecast and on some connected TV sets.

Fire TV features an advanced voice search and the ASAP function (Advanced Streaming and Prediction). “We provide a unique technical reach making us particularly interesting for the advertising industry,” said Peter von Ondarza, founder of Netzkino. The service boasts over 3 million movie accesses per month, and through its technological infrastructure Netzkino is able to integrate any advertising partner. Like classic free-to-air TV channels, Netzkino shows the commercials before and during the movie.


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jan5_artforum_imgJanuary 2015 in Artforum

Download the January issue of Artforum, available now on the iTunes newsstand. And get the iPhone app for artguide—the art world’s most comprehensive directory of exhibitions, events, and art fairs in more than 500 cities—here.  

This month in Artforum:

As a major survey of the work of On Kawara opens at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York next month, art historian Joan Kee takes stock of the artist’s elusive yet monumentally obdurate accountings of time, place, and things:

“No matter how inconspicuous its location or elaborate its surroundings, Kawara’s painting demands that we see it first.”
–Joan Kee

Portfolio: New works by Jacolby Satterwhite, “En Plein Air”:

“A few centuries ago, plein air painting sucked the artist out of the studio and into the vast wide open. This was a new kind of space, and Satterwhite seems to show us what it has become: not one but many boundless, depthless worlds and screens, all mobile and connected, and everywhere strange.”

Hal Foster on Robert Gober at the Museum of Modern Art:

“Redemption is too final a state for Gober, who is ever committed to the shape-shifting of natural things, human bodies, selves, communities, life.”
–Hal Foster 

Brian O’Doherty on Orson Welles‘s infamous Mr. Arkadin:

“At least four or five episodes in Arkadin survive intact, islands of near perfection where intent and effect converge smoothly into an individual style—the elusive but instantly recognizable fingerprint of identity.”
–Brian O’Doherty

Catherine Wood on the art of Simone Forti:

“If the critical legacy of postwar dance has jelled into a narrative of quotidian gestures and deskilled movement, Forti both pushed these to the extreme—into the realm of the nonhuman—and undermined them.”
–Catherine Wood

OpeningsThomas J. Lax on Kevin Beasley:

“While they may be disembodied, abstracted, even nameless, the rappers in Beasley’s I Want My Spot Back are here, for as long as their voices issue from Beasley’s speakers.”
–Thomas J. Lax

And: Winter Preview: 45 shows from around the world, including Negar Azimi on Sharjah Biennial 12; Johanna Fateman on Björk; Charlotte Cotton on Barbara Kasten; Jeffrey Deitch on Jean-Michel Basquiat; Rhea Anastas on Andrea Fraser; Catherine Wood onTino Sehgal; and Ina Blom on Torbjørn Rødland.

Plus: J. Hoberman on Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent ViceMelissa Gronlund onMaeve Connolly‘s TV Museum; Greil Marcus on Viv Albertine‘s autobiography; Rob Young on Aphex Twin‘s new album; Solveig Nelson on the Halprin workshopsPhilip Tinari on the Gwangju Biennale and the Taipei BiennialNick Stillman on Prospect.3;Dennis Lim on David Lynch‘s new exhibition; Jennifer West talks to Jon Raymond about her reengagement with celluloid; and choreographer and dancer Justin Peck shares his Top Ten.

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GPM Outlook 2015: US-Iran Relations

January 5, 2015

Geopolitical Monitor

In this series, Geopoliticalmonitor.com examines some of the major international trends that will shape 2015.

Of all the possible forecasts for the upcoming year, here is perhaps the easiest for pundits to make: 2015 is ‘do or die’ time for the cautious rapprochement currently unfolding between Iran and the United States. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the driving force for greater cooperation has always been both personal and at the highest levels of the respective countries governments’ – President Obama and President Rouhani – and both face firm, if not fanatical opposition from within. Obama is riding out his lame duck years with a heavy onus on foreign policy, yet even so it’s still possible for the Republican-controlled Congress to find a way to derail the negotiation process. Looking ahead to US presidential elections in 2016, a Republican victory would all but close the window on the US side. As for Iran, the religious establishment abhors the idea of a closer relationship with the United States (still ‘Great Satan’ to many) such that there’s still an open question as to whether the current negotiations are being pursued in good faith.

In short, the US-Iran ‘reset’ is very much a personal project of Rouhani and Obama. 2015 will be their last chance to make it happen.

The second key factor is deteriorating stability in the Middle East. Islamic State’s virulent ideology promotes a near-genocidal antagonism between the region’s Sunni and Shiite populations. As the symbolic protector of the world’s Shiites, Iran must take the threat of ISIS very seriously. Here we can see the age-old adage: ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ In the fight against ISIS, state collapse, and anarchy in this key region, the United States and Iran have become natural allies. This is the first time since the Revolution that there’s a reason for bilateral cooperation that’s so pronounced that it could feasibly drown out the more dogmatic voices in both countries.

The deadline for a nuclear deal has lapsed and been extended twice now, most recently in November 2014. The current deadline is June 30, 2015, and there have been some signs of progress ahead of January 15, when negotiators from the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, and Britain will resume talks. Major issues that have yet to be resolved include: Iran’s long-term enrichment capacity (six-party negotiators are seeking a reduction of 50%, Iran counters with 20%); the future status of the underground enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo, which are beyond the reach of air strikes; and the future status of the nearly completed heavy water reactor at Arak.

Washington maintains that increased cooperation and a more complete ‘rehabilitation’ of Iran cannot proceed without a comprehensive deal on the country’s nuclear program.


While the prospects for US-Iranian rapprochement are better than they have been in decades, it must be said that they are still bad on the whole. Powerful blocs opposing the move exist in both countries, and certain outside players are committed to Washington and Tehran remaining sworn enemies. Saudi Arabia for one would have a lot to lose from any rapprochement, and the Saudi government will do what it can to avoid one, whether by putting itself forward as a viable solution in the struggle against Islamic State or silently acquiescing to a measure of US influence in the most powerful oil cartel in the world.

There are two key issues to watch in the year ahead. First off, expect Iran to make an early push for a deal – something we may already be seeing in recent rumors that Tehran has accepted the export of fissile material to Russia. Iranian negotiators are doubtlessly aware that President Obama is hurling closer to total irrelevance with every passing day. If there’s any hope of agreeing on a deal and having it stick, then time is of the essence. In this the next deadline for June is most likely the true deadline.

Secondly, events on the ground in the war against ISIS will have a direct impact on US-Iranian relations, or lack thereof. Washington may have dug in its heels and stonewalled long-time Iran ally al-Assad in the fight against ISIS (apparently the ‘enemy of my enemy’ maxim does not always hold), but if Syrian government forces gain the upper hand in the civil war next year, the US administration may find it has no option but begrudgingly accept the existence of the Assad regime much like before the Arab Awakening broke out. The result would be a net benefit for the US-Iran relationship, as it would eliminate one of the major disputes between the two countries: the question of whether Assad should stay or go. Similarly, if the anarchy continues to thicken along the Syria-Iraq border and the combination of Iraqi government forces and US coalition air strikes proves ineffective, Iran will become an appealing partner; not an ideal one by any means, but one that might be able to stabilize a dangerous situation without another long, quixotic, and costly US military deployment.

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Let us show you the future of TV at CES 2015


Digital TV consumption is exploding, driven by increased use of mobile devices, gaming consoles, and over-the-top (OTT) content. In our latest Digital Video Benchmark report, the data shows a 388% YoY growth in online TV consumption (another record high!), and game consoles and OTT devices started to replace desktops for online TV content—having the biggest market share increase (194% YoY) of all device types.

Come talk to us at CES 2015 to hear more research results and get a personal consultation on how Adobe Primetime can help you deliver, protect, analyze, and monetize digital TV on every IP-connected screen.

Send your request now to schedule a meeting.

The Adobe Primetime Team

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First U.S. Drone Strike of 2015 Kills 6; Ghani Suggests U.S. Reconsider Afghan Timeline; India Alleges Pakistani Boat Carried Terrorists

Reaper Aircraft Flies Without Pilot From Creech AFB
Event Notice: “Undercover Jihadi,” a discussion with Mubin Shaikh and Dr. Anne Speckhard, WEDNESDAY, 12:15 – 1:45 PM (New America).


First U.S. drone strike of 2015 kills at least six militants

A suspected U.S. drone strike on Sunday, the first of 2015, killed at least six militants in the Datta Khel section of North Waziristan, multiple media outlets reported. According to Pakistani security officials, two missiles were fired from the drone and hit a compound belonging to an Uzbek militant leader known as Usman, a supporter of Pakistani Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur; it is unclear if either man was among the casualties (BBCNYTRFE/RLVOA). The drone strike came amidst fresh air strikes by the Pakistani military, which said it had killed 31 militants on Sunday (AP).

Polio vaccination campaign begins in Quetta

Pakistani health workers launched a new seven-day polio vaccination campaign amid tight security in Quetta on Monday, the first time since the efforts were suspended more than five weeks ago after attacks on vaccinators (Dawn). According to Dr. Sher Ahmed Satakzai, the local health officer, vaccine drops will be administered to more than 700,000 children under the age of five.

The move comes just days after Pakistan’s first polio case of 2015 was recorded in Balochistan’s Chagai district, and the provincial government declared a health emergency in Quetta, the capital city (Dawn). In 2014, a total of 23 cases of polio were recorded in the province, with most of them coming from the Killa Abdullah, Pishin, and Quetta districts. Pakistan is one of three countries were the poliovirus remains endemic; Afghanistan and Nigeria are the other two. 


Ghani says U.S. might want to reconsider deadline

In an interview with the CBS news program “60 Minutes,” which aired on Sunday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the United States might want to “re-examine” its timeline for withdrawing the remaining U.S. troops from the country (BBCReuters). Ghani noted that: “If both parties, or, in this case, multiple parties, have done their best to achieve the objectives and progress is very real, then there should be a willingness to reexamine a deadline” (RFE/RL). Of the 140,000 troops that were once in Afghanistan, about 13,000 remain under a two-year mission named Operation Resolute Support.Bonus Read: “The True Cost of the Afghanistan War May Surprise You,” Mark Thompson (TIME).

The U.S. and NATO combat missions in Afghanistan officially ended in December 2014, and Afghan forces have taken full responsibility for the country’s security. However, many observers both inside and outside Afghanistan have expressed concerns over the Afghan government’s ability to maintain control, especially after the increased violence of 2014. Bonus Read: “Frustrated Afghans wonder who is in charge amid cabinet delays and Taliban attacks,” Pamela Constable (Post).

Ghani’s comments were aired shortly after the Taliban declared that international troops had been defeated in Afghanistan, and reports emerged that a Taliban delegation had visited Beijing in late November 2014 (BBCRFE/RL).

While a majority of Americans continue to believe that the 13-year Afghan war was not worth fighting, aWashington Post-ABC News poll conducted in December found that over half (54 percent) of the respondents favored keeping U.S. troops in the country to help train Afghan security forces (Post).Bonus Read: “Why the U.S. needs to stay in Afghanistan,” Peter Bergen (CNN).

Two killed in attack on European police

Two civilians were killed and more than 10 were wounded in Kabul on Monday when a suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden vehicle into a car belonging to the European Union Police (EUPOL) force (Pajhwok). No EUPOL personnel were hurt in the attack, the first against a foreign target in Kabul in 2015 (AP). Pia Stjernvall, the acting head of EUPOL’s training mission, told reporters that an investigation into the incident would be conducted in cooperation with the Afghan National Police. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack (TOLO News).

Parliamentarians call for investigation into wedding strikes

Afghan parliamentarians in the Meshrano Jirga (upper house) on Sunday called for a thorough investigation into a New Year’s Day shelling of a wedding party in Helmand province, and harsher punishments for the perpetrators (Pajhwok). According to a number of media outlets, several mortar rounds allegedly fired by the Afghan military hit the group in the province’s Sangin district, killing 28 people, including the bride (APNYTRFE/RL). More than 50 others, mostly women and children, were wounded. Six Afghan National Army soldiers who were manning the posts from which the shells were fired have been arrested; two of them are being court marshaled.

— Bailey Cahall


India alleges Pakistani boat carried terrorists

Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Monday that the men on a Pakistani boat, which blew up after being intercepted off the coast of the western state of Gujarat last week, were “suspected terrorists” (Economic TimesBBC). Parrikar dismissed claims that the boat housed smugglers, saying: “I think they were suspected terrorists as they committed suicide, a normal boat even carrying drugs can surrender” (NDTV). The Indian Coast Guard intercepted the boat on New Year’s Eve and after an hour-long chase, the crew set the boat on fire to escape arrest.

The incident off the coast of Gujarat came as a ceasefire violation on the international border in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir resulted in the deaths of four Pakistani troops and one Indian soldier (IBNLive). Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Indian high commissioner in Islamabad on Dec. 31 to lodge a protest. Tensions between India and Pakistan over the Line of Control increased throughout 2014. Both countries have fought three wars since the two countries were partitioned in 1947, and two of which were over Kashmir.

Airports on high alert after hijack warning

Indian airports were on high alert on Monday after local intelligence agencies warned of a possible hijack attempt on Air India flights to Kabul (Indian Express, BBC, NDTV). Official sources stated that security was strengthened around airports and anti-hijacking measures were put in place. An airport official said: “We received an alert from intelligence agencies that Air India flights between Delhi and Kabul could be hijacked, following which we launched anti-hijacking measures and carried out anti-sabotage checks of the flights. While quick reaction teams have been kept on a standby, the Air India security staff has also been asked to keep a close watch on any suspicious activity” (The Hindu). The alert comes ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India, where he will be the chief guest at India’s annual Republic Day celebrations on Jan. 26.

Japanese tourist gang-raped in India

Indian police arrested five men who operated as a gang and targeted single Japanese tourists for allegedly raping a Japanese tourist for nearly a month close to Bodh Gaya, a Buddhist shrine located in the central state of Bihar, according to officials on Sunday (WSJ, BBC, Livemint, CNN). The woman was reportedly kidnapped by two tourist guides on Nov. 23, and taken to a seaside resort where she was forced to withdraw $1,200 from an ATM cash machine. The woman was then taken to a location near Bodh Gaya, where she was held captive for several weeks and allegedly assaulted.

In December, the woman managed to escape, and filed a police complaint in Kolkata, located in the eastern state of West Bengal, with the assistance of the Japanese consulate. Kolkata Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) P.K. Ghosh said: “This gang used to operate from Kolkata and used to dupe and sometimes physically abuse Japanese tourists” (NDTV). Three other men have been arrested in connection to this case.

— Neeli Shah

Edited by Peter Bergen.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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