The Hill Talk’s Glance at the Globe

Russian state-owned firm boosts North Korean internet access:  A major Russian telecommunications firm has bolstered North Korea’s cyber capabilities with a second Internet connection.

Moscow-based TransTelekom, a subsidiary of Russian Railways, activated the new connection in late September, according to Western security analysts who monitor global internet connectivity.

Until TransTelekom activated the new line, North Korea relied only on a Chinese connection provided by China Unicom.

Cyber security experts fear the new line will provide an even greater challenge to severing North Korea’s internet connection.

U.S. alleges Pakistani intelligence ties to terror groups:  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff contended Pakistani military intelligence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has deep connections to terror groups and executing its own foreign policy.

Dunford was alleging the intelligence-gathering organ serving the Pakistani government aids the Taliban.

Marine General James Dunford told the Senate Committee on Armed Services bilateral efforts to change ISI behavior have failed and little could be done to modify (ISI’s) attitudes.  Buttressing Dunford’s comments, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Washington would “need to try one more time to make this strategy work with them.”

Pakistani officials flatly denied it supports the Taliban or terror groups

EU targets cheap Chinese imports with new trade rules:  After a period in which the European Union (EU) wrangled over how to classify China’s trade standing, the EU announced members of the World Trade Organization will be treated equally as trading partners of the European economic bloc.

It did, however, make an exception for China, which will be subject to an “anti-dumping” rule.  The new proviso affects Chinese goods sold overseas below domestic market prices.

Twenty-two of 32 current trade complaints probed by the European Commission involve China, which has not been determined to be a market economy by the Commission.

The new rules cover “excessive state intervention,” which would dictate import tariffs.

Assad forces advance against ISIS pocket in Deir Ezzor Governorate:  Troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have pierced the rim of a key Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold in the eastern Syrian town of al-Mayadeen.

Located in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate, al-Mayadeen has been in the hand of ISIS since 2014.  Al-Mayadeen is among one of the last strongholds under the militant group’s control in the area.

Map showing control of Syria and Iraq (18 September 2017)

Backed by Russian airstrikes, Syrian Arab Army (SAA) troops have reportedly captured the airport and were advancing on the Al-Omar oilfields.  It is believed ISIS has obtained $1.7–5.5 million per month in revenue from the sale of petroleum.

Mass protests in Moscow call for Putin’s resignation:  Thousands of protesters descended onto Moscow’s streets to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin as a thief and demand his resignation on the Kremlin leader’s 65th birthday Saturday.  Similar protests took place in Saint Petersburg and in more than 80 cities across Russia.

Alternatively demanding Mr. Putin step down and shouting “Down with the Tsar!” and “Russia without Putin!”, demonstrators also aimed to show support for Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny.  Navalny, an attorney and politician, has been barred from standing in next year’s presidential election.

Continuing into Sunday, nationwide rallies have resulted in Russian police detaining 290 demonstrators in 26 jurisdictions.


[38 North] [Hindustan Times] [Cetus News] [Sputnik] [USA Today] [CNN]