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Palestine joins Chemical Weapons Convention OPCW

Al Jazeera

Palestine has officially joined the Chemical Weapons Convention, according to a statement by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW published the announcement on its website on Wednesday and said the move will take effect on June 16 of this year. "The State of Palestine deposited on 17 May 2018 its instrument of accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the depositary of the Convention," the OPCW wrote. The organisation is the official UN body charged with the implementation of the 1993 convention aimed at preventing the manufacture, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons. Nearly every state in the world has signed and ratified the convention and only four have not, including Egypt, North Korea, and South Sudan.


Ban or No Ban, Hard Questions Remain on Autonomous Weapons

AITopics Original Links

This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the authors and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE. Last month, over 1,000 robotics and artificial intelligence researchers signed an open letter calling for a ban on offensive autonomous weapons, putting new energy into an already spirited debate about the role of autonomy in weapons of the future. These researchers join an ongoing conversation among lawyers, ethicists, academics, activists, and defense professionals on potential future weapons that would select, engage, and destroy targets without a human in the loop. As AI experts, the authors of the letter can help militaries better understand the risks associated with increasingly intelligent and autonomous systems, and we welcome their contribution to the discussion.


Pentagon's new next-gen weapons systems are laughably easy to hack

ZDNet

New computerized weapons systems currently under development by the US Department of Defense (DOD) can be easily hacked, according to a new report published today. The report was put together by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), an agency that provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for Congress. Congress ordered the GAO report in preparation to approve DOD funding of over $1.66 trillion, so the Pentagon could expand its weapons portfolio with new toys in the coming years. But according to the new report, GAO testers "playing the role of adversary" found a slew of vulnerabilities of all sort of types affecting these new weapons systems. "Using relatively simple tools and techniques, testers were able to take control of systems and largely operate undetected, due in part to basic issues such as poor password management and unencrypted communications," GAO officials said.


Putin: New Russian weapons decades ahead of foreign rivals

Al Jazeera

Russian President Vladimir Putin has boasted about his country's prospective nuclear weapons, saying they are years and even decades ahead of foreign designs. The new weapons represent a quantum leap in the nation's military capability, Putin told graduates of Russian military academies in the Kremlin on Thursday. He said that Russia has made a "real breakthrough" in designing new weapons. The Russian leader also spoke glowingly about the new Avangard hypersonic vehicle and the new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, which are set to enter service in the next few years. Putin also mentioned the Kinzhal hypersonic missile that has already been put on duty with the units of the country's southern military district.


OPCW chemical weapons team gathers more samples from Syrian regime-hit Douma

The Japan Times

BEIRUT – Inspectors from the global chemical weapons watchdog made a second visit Wednesday to a Syrian town hit by an alleged chemical attack, collecting samples from a new location that will be sent to designated labs for analysis. The suspected poison gas attack in Douma on April 7 has sparked an ongoing clash of narratives between the West and the governments of Syria and its key ally, Russia. Damascus and Moscow insist there was no chemical weapons attack. A Syrian filmmaker accused Russian state media of using images from the set of his 2016 movie to claim that the attack was staged by the West. "I think it's a desperate and cheap attempt by Russian TV to deny the obvious attack of Douma," said Humam Husari, speaking of the images that appeared Sunday on two Russian state-run channels.