Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 16, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

What’s next on non­pro­lif­er­a­tion and in­ter­na­tion­al se­cur­ity, in Wash­ing­ton and around the globe.

— Au­gust 17: The Pro­lif­er­a­tion Se­cur­ity Ini­ti­at­ive’s PANAMAX 2013 ex­er­cise wraps up. The mul­tina­tion­al drill fo­cuses on de­fend­ing the Panama Canal and im­ple­ment­ing the PSI man­date to in­ter­dict and pre­vent the il­leg­al traf­fick­ing in weapons of mass de­struc­tion. As the an­nu­al ex­er­cise marks its first dec­ade, Panama re­cently stopped a ship­ment of So­viet-vin­tage jets, mis­sile-con­trol vehicles and oth­er Cuban mil­it­ary equip­ment be­ing trans­por­ted through the canal — amid 100,000 tons of sug­ar — en route to North Korea. Havana au­thor­it­ies say the gear was be­ing shipped to Py­ongy­ang for re­pair and even­tu­al re­turn to the Carib­bean is­land, des­pite the im­pos­i­tion of sanc­tions against North Korea that would bar such trans­fers.

— Au­gust 19: U.S. Sen­at­or Mitch Mc­Con­nell (R-Ky.), his cham­ber’s minor­ity lead­er, will tour the Chem­ic­al Agent-De­struc­tion Pi­lot Plant at the Blue Grass Army De­pot in his home state. Once con­struc­tion is com­plete, the fa­cil­ity is ex­pec­ted to of­fer a state-of-the-art cap­ab­il­ity to safely “neut­ral­ize” the 523 tons of leth­al nerve and blister agents stored at Blue Grass, along with a vari­ety of as­so­ci­ated mu­ni­tions. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment last month began fur­lough­ing fire­fight­ers at the base, due to budget se­quest­ra­tion, which triggered warn­ings of po­ten­tially dire safety risks. Good thing, then, that “safety is of para­mount im­port­ance” at the Army de­pot’s con­struc­tion area, ac­cord­ing to guid­ance is­sued to re­port­ers who will ac­com­pany Mc­Con­nell, and that “flame-pro­du­cing devices (such as matches or ci­gar­ette-light­ers) may not be brought onto the site.”

— Au­gust 19-Au­gust 30: The United Na­tions-sponsored “open-ended work­ing group” on nuc­le­ar dis­arm­a­ment meets at the Pal­ais des Na­tions in Geneva, Switzer­land, for its third and fi­nal ses­sion of this year. Chaired by Manuel Dengo, Costa Rica’s en­voy to U.N. of­fice in Geneva, the group is to de­vel­op pro­pos­als for in­ter­na­tion­al ne­go­ti­ations on the glob­al ab­ol­i­tion of atom­ic weapons and the main­ten­ance of a nuc­le­ar-free world.

— Au­gust 20: The Found­a­tion for De­fense of Demo­cra­cies is hold­ing a Wash­ing­ton dis­cus­sion on “Al-Qaida and its Af­fil­i­ates: On Life Sup­port or an Im­min­ent Threat?” Speak­ers in­clude three journ­al­ists and is­sue ex­perts, who will ex­plore wheth­er the killing of Osama bin Laden more than two years ago has weakened al-Qaida — or if, in­stead, in­stabil­ity from Ir­aq to Syr­ia to Ye­men and bey­ond has bolstered the ter­ror­ist or­gan­iz­a­tion.

— Au­gust 22: As part of its “Cross-Straits Series,” the At­lantic Coun­cil is host­ing a dis­cus­sion called “The Com­ing Asi­an Arms Race?” The Wash­ing­ton event will fea­ture Ely Rat­ner, the Cen­ter for a New Amer­ic­an Se­cur­ity’s Asia-Pa­cific Se­cur­ity Pro­gram deputy dir­ect­or, and Ran­dall Schriver, pres­id­ent and chief ex­ec­ut­ive of­ficer of the Pro­ject 2049 In­sti­tute, ex­plor­ing mount­ing de­fense spend­ing in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, in­creased mil­it­ary activ­ity by Ja­pan and the pos­sib­il­ity of as­so­ci­ated ten­sions between China and Taiwan, North and South Korea, and oth­er neigh­bor­ing com­pet­it­ors.

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