3 Articles by Ambassador Lawrence Butler

Posted on Friday June 28 2024

NATO Ready for Battle, but Lacks Stamina, Report Finds,” by Laura Heckman, National Defence, June 11, 2024.

Since NATO’s adoption of a “back to the future” strategy at its Madrid Summit two years ago on the heels of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the alliance has made significant strides toward forward defense and deterrence, and a recent report said the alliance is prepared for war — as long as it’s short…

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Nato’s Washington summit will need to tackle Russian sabotage and myriad security threats,” by Alexander Gilder, The Conversation, June 26, 2024.

The leaders of Nato member states will meet in Washington DC in a few weeks and one of the topics of discussion will be how to tackle escalating incidents of Russian sabotage. Ahead of the summit on July 9-11, there has been increased Russian intelligence activity across Nato member states. The Dutch National Security Agency warned that it is possible Russia has orchestrated various arson and sabotage attacks in the UK, Poland, Sweden and Germany…

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The Global War on Terror and Diplomatic Practice,” by Larry Butler, The Foreign Service Journal, September, 2021.

Twenty years ago, jetliners crashing into New York City’s twin towers and the Pentagon shocked America out of its post–Cold War complacency, ushering in the global war on terror (GWOT) and a surge in international support for the United States. A senior State Department official, Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Francis X. Taylor, speaking to the American Bar Association in late 2002, answered a question on how long the war on terror would last: “As long as it takes. Years, maybe decades…”

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3 Articles by Jack Goldsmith

Posted on Tuesday June 4 2024

“The Middle East and the President’s Sweeping Power Over Self-Defense,” by Jack Goldsmith, Lawfare, October 23, 2023.

The Middle East may be on the verge of large-scale war, and the U.S. military is literally on the firing line. Late last week, the USS Carney intercepted and destroyed three missiles and several drones fired from Yemen even though it did not know where the missiles were headed. “We cannot say for certain what these missiles and drones were targeting, but they were launched heading north along the Red Sea potentially towards targets in Israel,” said Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder. “This action was a demonstration of the integrated air and missile defense architecture that we built in the Middle East and that we are prepared to utilize whenever necessary to protect our partners and our interests,” he added.

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“Can Biden Sidestep Congress on an Iran Nuclear Deal?” by Jack Goldsmith, Lawfare, June 21, 2023.

The Biden administration might soon reach an agreement of sorts with Iran that would seek, among other things, to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons program. A major complication is that the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) requires the president to “transmit” an “agreement” relating to the nuclear program of Iran to Congress, and then establishes a review period during which (a) the president may not exercise his sanctions-waiving authority, and (b) Congress can vote on the agreement. News reports suggest that the Biden team is laying the groundwork to argue that an informal deal with Iran does not constitute an “agreement” and thus does not trigger any reporting duty under the INARA.

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“Presidential Control Over International Law,” by Curtis A. Bradley & Jack L. Goldsmith, Harvard Law Review, Volume 131, March, 2018.

Two of President Barack Obama’s most important foreign policy accomplishments were the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and the Iran Nuclear Agreement, which lifted international and domestic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran’s dismantling of its nuclear weapons development program. President Obama made both agreements unilaterally without seeking congressional approval. His successor, President Donald Trump, came into office as a critic of the agreements. He, too, acted unilaterally — this time moving to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. He has also claimed the authority to unilaterally terminate the Iran deal, but to date he has not done so, in part because President Obama’s alteration of the status quo makes it difficult to terminate the deal without harming U.S. interests.

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Robert Einhorn on Nuclear Proliferation

Posted on Monday May 13 2024

“A way forward on a US-Saudi civil nuclear agreement,” by Robert Einhorn, Brookings Institution, April 12, 2024.

The Biden administration has responded positively to Saudi Arabia’s interest in civil nuclear cooperation with the United States—both because such cooperation is a Saudi condition for the normalization of Saudi-Israeli relations, which the administration strongly supports, and because it believes a bilateral civil nuclear partnership can bring important benefits to both countries. However, such cooperation needs to be pursued in a way that can realize those benefits without increasing the risks of nuclear proliferation.

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“Will Putin’s invasion spur nuclear proliferation?” by Robert Einhorn, Brookings Institution, May 24, 2023. (The following speech was delivered for the Sunrise Foundation Lecture at Yale’s Jackson School of Global Affairs on April 19, 2023.)

In July 1963, when four countries had nuclear weapons, President John F. Kennedy warned of the dangers of nuclear proliferation. He urged his audience “to stop and think for a moment what it would mean to have nuclear weapons in so many hands, in the hands of countries large and small, stable and unstable, responsible and irresponsible, scattered throughout the world. There would be no rest for anyone then, no stability, no real security, and no chance of effective disarmament.” Since then, U.S. administrations of both political parties have shared Kennedy’s concern about the spread of nuclear weapons.

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Sea Change: Nordic-Baltic Security in a New Era

Posted on Friday March 22 2024

By Edward Lucas, Catherine Sendak, Charlotta Collén, Jan Kallberg and Krista Viksnins, Center for European Policy Analysis, September 28, 2023.

For the countries around the Baltic Sea, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine both highlighted a problem and created a potential solution to it. The Kremlin’s unambiguous demonstration of aggressive intent and capability underlined the risks of dismantling territorial defense after 1991: an approach pursued by Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. It also vindicated the long-standing security worries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. These three countries have no natural frontier to the east, no strategic depth, and a combined population of less than seven million. Their land area, of 175,000 square kilometers (km2), or 67,600 square miles (mi2), is roughly less than the Ukrainian territory seized by Russia in the early months of the war. The torment experienced by Ukrainians there, echoing traumas that are still in living memory for the Baltic states, has further solidified Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian resolve: Not one inch, not one soul, can come under Russian control.

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The Inescapable Two-State Imperative

Posted on Saturday March 2 2024

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 19, 2021.

The arrival of a new U.S. administration offers a welcome opportunity for a reset of U.S. policy vis-á-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Donald Trump’s administration followed an approach that diverged sharply from those of its predecessors, but its so-called new thinking achieved little and unnecessarily alienated the United States from the Palestinians. Joe Biden’s administration will likely return to a more conventional framework but will move forward cautiously, recognizing that the current situation isn’t ripe for peacemaking. With both Israelis and Palestinians going to the polls this year, the U.S. administration will want to assess the elections’ outcomes before engaging seriously on Israeli-Palestinian affairs. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has encouraged the parties to focus on “steps that create a better environment in which actual negotiations can take place.”

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Two Essays by Ron Lehman

Posted on Saturday December 30 2023

Lehman, Ron. “Sputnik-like Events: Responding to Technological Surprise.” In Strategic Latency: Red, White, and Blue — Managing the National and International Security Consequences of Disruptive Technologies edited by Zachary S. Davis and Michael Nacht, pp 33-51. Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2016.

National security costs imposed by technological surprise can be immense. Take the case of Sputnik I,” the first man-made satellite. Launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957, Sputnik—primarily a technology demonstration—humiliated a superpower, catalyzed mankind’s greatest national-security technology competition, encouraged risky geostrategic behavior, and transformed the world in ways that still shape our future. Few technological surprises match the impact of Sputnik, and like Sputnik, few are totally unexpected. Their consequences, however, are often not those anticipated.

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Lehman, Ron. “Simplicity and Complexity in the Nth Nuclear Era.” In Cross-Domain Deterrence: Strategy in an Era of Complexity edited by Jon R. Lindsay and Erik Gartzke, pp 66-91. Oxford University Press, 2019.

Because separate expert organizations with distinct cultures inform nuclear, cyber, space and other special operations, perspectives often differ on strategy, capabilities, threats, and priorities. Thus, a comparative approach can provide interesting insights, analogies, and lessons learned, highlighting relative strengths and weaknesses. When confronted with the most challenging scenarios, however, an important defense policy goal is synergism between cross-domain and nuclear deterrence — a total deterrent greater than the sum of the parts.

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Symposium: Advancing Cyber Diplomacy

Posted on Wednesday December 6 2023

Council on Foreign Relations, March 2023.

This symposium convenes senior government officials and experts from academia and the private sector to address the U.S. Department of State’s newly created Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, the goals of American cyber diplomacy, and how major public and private international stakeholders can advance global cyber cooperation amidst threats from authoritarian states like Russia and China. The symposium includes a keynote session with Ambassador Nathaniel Fick and as well as a session on Digital Diplomacy Around the World.

To watch the symposium (or read the transcript), click here.

Is Net-Zero a Possible Solution to the Climate Problem?

Posted on Monday October 30 2023

, MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, October, 2023.

Historically, the objective of climate policy has been to maintain the global average temperature increase under a specified level. Increasingly, countries and organizations today express the objective as a specific target date for reaching Net-zero emissions. Over ninety countries, including China and India, responsible for 80% of global greenhouse emissions have set Net-zero emission targets; the United States and the European Union have pledged to reach a Net-zero economy by 2050. This commentary explains why achieving global Net-zero is highly unlikely by any certain date and, even if achieved, will not necessarily solve the climate problem.

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Yes, the government keeps way too many secrets

Posted on Thursday September 28 2023

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The Evolution of Authoritarian Digital Influence: Grappling with the New Normal

Posted on Tuesday August 29 2023

By Shanthi Kalathil, PRISM, October 21, 2020

As the world contends with the wide-ranging ramifications of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it has been simultaneously beset by the global information crisis, which mimics the shape of the pandemic itself in its viral effects across huge segments of the global population. Misinformation—unwittingly spread false information—is rampant. Overarching narratives, targeted propaganda, and particularly disinformation—the deliberate generation of false or misleading information designed to engender public cynicism or uncertainty—are being piped into the global information bloodstream in large quantities. While some of this comes from domestic political actors, determined authoritarian regimes and their proxies have been quick to seize this window of opportunity for asymmetric transnational impact. Many of those targeted, including governments, institutions, and segments of societies, have been too overwhelmed to respond effectively.

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Ambassador Charles Ray: Three articles on Why Africa Matters

Posted on Monday July 10 2023

Our August 2023 speaker, Ambassador Charles Ray, thought the following articles would provide a helpful background for his presentation on Why Africa Matters.

“Does Africa Matter to the United States?” by Charles A. Ray, Foreign Policy Research Institute, January 11, 2021.

Most Americans generally have one of two images of Africa: a primitive home of famine, disease, and civil war, or an idyllic motherland. Neither image is entirely correct. While Africa does have more than its fair share of problems and is the homeland of many Americans, it is a diverse continent of more than 50 nations and hundreds of ethnicities and languages; Africa is also the youngest continent in the world with a host of possibilities for the future. Other than those Americans of African ancestry, does this matter to the people of the United States? Should it matter? Why do we even need to ask this question? We rarely ever see articles about whether or not Europe or Asia matters to the United States. For a whole host of reasons, the answer to these questions is yes… To continue reading, click here.

“Cameroon: Africa’s Unseen Crisis” by Hermann A. Ndofor and Charles A. Ray, Foreign Policy Research Institute, May 9, 2022.

In terms of international attention, not all conflicts are equal. Some, like Russia’s war against Ukraine, receive the lion’s share of global media coverage and diplomatic engagement. Others, sadly, are ignored by the vast majority of foreign policy experts. The crisis in Cameroon, the site of one of the world’s unseen wars for nearly six years, falls into that latter category. This Central African country of 26 million people has been locked in a series of conflicts, ranging from fighting between the Francophone central government and Anglophone separatists in southern Cameroon to interethnic clashes in the country’s north. Killings, kidnappings, and internal displacement of people fleeing the violence, if left unchecked, could lead to another Rwanda-type catastrophe. Over 6,000 people have been killed and nearly one million people have already been displaced by the ongoing violence in the country. The presence of Boko Haram in the north, growing ties between Cameroon and Russia, and the recent introduction of the Kremlin-linked private military company, the Wagner Group, only adds fuel to an already volatile situation. To continue reading, click here.

US-Africa Leaders Summit: New Beginning or Old Wine in a New Bottle? by Charles A. Ray, Foreign Policy Research Institute, December 22, 2022.

Delegates from forty-nine African countries and the African Union traveled to the United States to attend the US-Africa Leaders Summit earlier this month. Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, and Sudan were not invited because the African Union has suspended them over unconstitutional changes in government, and Eritrea was excluded because the United States does not currently have diplomatic relations with that nation. According to a senior Biden administration official, the summit was to focus on “deepening and expanding the long-term US-Africa partnership and advancing shared priorities, amplifying African voices to collaboratively meet this era’s defining challenges.” The United States announced major initiatives in the lead-up to the summit, which included US support for making the African Union a member of the G-20, and the promise of $55 billion to Africa over the next three years. This was the first US-Africa Leaders Summit since August 2014. While there was hope that the 2022 summit would reverse the decades of benign neglect of Africa in US policymaking, it was not without its skeptics. To continue reading, click here.

‘It’s good to think strategically’: Thomas E Ricks on civil rights and January 6

Posted on Saturday July 1 2023

 By Martin Pengelly, The Guardian, October 8, 2022.

“There is a direct connection from Freedom Summer to the January 6 committee,” says Thomas E Ricks as he discusses his new book, Waging a Good War: A Military History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968. Freedom Summer was a 1964 campaign to draw attention to violence faced by Black people in Mississippi when they tried to vote. The House January 6 committee will soon conclude its hearings on the Capitol riot of 2021, when supporters of Donald Trump attacked American democracy itself.

But the committee is chaired by Bennie Thompson. In his opening statement, in June, the Democrat said: “I was born, raised, and still live in Bolton, Mississippi … I’m from a part of the country where people justify the actions of slavery, Ku Klux Klan and lynching. I’m reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try and justify the actions of the insurrectionists of 6 January 2021.” Ricks is reminded of the insurrectionists as he retells that grim history. Watching the January 6 hearings, he says, he “was looking at Bennie Thompson. And I realised, his career follows right on. To continue reading, click here.

Amna Nawaz Interviews & Reports

Posted on Thursday June 1 2023

Our June 2023 speaker, Amna Nawaz, thought the following videos would provide a helpful background for her presentation On the Frontlines: Reporting Overseas and Here at Home.

Christopher Costa: Two articles on future terrorism threats

Posted on Tuesday April 25 2023

Our May 2023 speaker, Christopher Costa, thought the following articles would provide a helpful background for his presentation on Counterterrorism and the Future Terrorism Threat.

The world has entered the fifth wave of anti-government terrorism,” by Christopher Costa, The Hill, January 12, 2023.

In light of a failed far-right coup in December in Germany, fueled by ideologically and historically incoherent fantasies, a global trend is coming into sharper focus. This new trajectory reveals a dangerous hybridization of extremist ideologies and is distinguished by anti-government terrorism… To continue reading, click here.

A radicalized ISIS-inspired terrorist was convicted on a raft of charges by a federal jury and could now face the death penalty. The ISIS wannabe, Sayfullo Saipov, killed eight people in the deadliest terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11. He was a self-radicalized, lone wolf terrorist waging “leaderless jihad.” The facts that emerged in the aftermath of the attack are hauntingly familiar to me… To continue reading, click here.

Cyberwar in Ukraine: What You See Is Not What’s Really There

Posted on Sunday April 2 2023

By Susan Landau Friday, September 30, 2022, 8:01 AM

It has been seven months since Russia invaded Ukraine. Despite much speculation, many aspects of the war have ultimately not turned out as expected. The war wasn’t, as Russia had anticipated, a six-day rout—or even a six-month one. And notably, cyber didn’t, as some had predicted, play a major role in Russian efforts to take over Ukraine. Russia was expected to wage cyberattacks targeting critical infrastructure; its attacks, while sophisticated, have had less impact than envisioned. Meanwhile, even in the middle of what is turning out to be a more demanding war than Russian leadership had anticipated, Russia is focusing on a strategy of undermining the West through information warfare. This war has demonstrated strategic cyber issues below the surface, including the failure of effective cyberattacks occurring alongside kinetic offensives, Russia’s long-term use of information warfare, and effective collaboration between U.S. industry and the U.S. government in preventing the worst of the cyberattacks. These have important long-term implications for the international defense strategies of the United States and other Western democracies.   [To continue click here.

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Articles

3 Articles by Ambassador Lawrence Butler

Posted on Friday June 28

“NATO Ready for Battle, but Lacks Stamina, Report Finds,” by Laura Heckman, National Defence, June 11, 2024. Since NATO’s adoption of a “back to the future” strategy at its Madrid Summit two years ago on the heels of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the alliance has made significant strides toward forward defense and deterrence, and […]

Read full announcement »

3 Articles by Jack Goldsmith

Posted on Tuesday June 4

“The Middle East and the President’s Sweeping Power Over Self-Defense,” by Jack Goldsmith, Lawfare, October 23, 2023. The Middle East may be on the verge of large-scale war, and the U.S. military is literally on the firing line. Late last week, the USS Carney intercepted and destroyed three missiles and several drones fired from Yemen even though […]

Read full announcement »

Robert Einhorn on Nuclear Proliferation

Posted on Monday May 13

“A way forward on a US-Saudi civil nuclear agreement,” by Robert Einhorn, Brookings Institution, April 12, 2024. The Biden administration has responded positively to Saudi Arabia’s interest in civil nuclear cooperation with the United States—both because such cooperation is a Saudi condition for the normalization of Saudi-Israeli relations, which the administration strongly supports, and because […]

Read full announcement »

Sea Change: Nordic-Baltic Security in a New Era

Posted on Friday March 22

By Edward Lucas, Catherine Sendak, Charlotta Collén, Jan Kallberg and Krista Viksnins, Center for European Policy Analysis, September 28, 2023. For the countries around the Baltic Sea, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine both highlighted a problem and created a potential solution to it. The Kremlin’s unambiguous demonstration of aggressive intent and capability underlined the risks of dismantling […]

Read full announcement »

The Inescapable Two-State Imperative

Posted on Saturday March 2

By Jake Walles, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 19, 2021. The arrival of a new U.S. administration offers a welcome opportunity for a reset of U.S. policy vis-á-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Donald Trump’s administration followed an approach that diverged sharply from those of its predecessors, but its so-called new thinking achieved little and unnecessarily alienated […]

Read full announcement »

Two Essays by Ron Lehman

Posted on Saturday December 30

Lehman, Ron. “Sputnik-like Events: Responding to Technological Surprise.” In Strategic Latency: Red, White, and Blue — Managing the National and International Security Consequences of Disruptive Technologies edited by Zachary S. Davis and Michael Nacht, pp 33-51. Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2016. National security costs imposed by technological surprise can be […]

Read full announcement »

Symposium: Advancing Cyber Diplomacy

Posted on Wednesday December 6

Council on Foreign Relations, March 2023. This symposium convenes senior government officials and experts from academia and the private sector to address the U.S. Department of State’s newly created Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, the goals of American cyber diplomacy, and how major public and private international stakeholders can advance global cyber cooperation amidst […]

Read full announcement »

Is Net-Zero a Possible Solution to the Climate Problem?

Posted on Monday October 30

By John M. Deutch, MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, October, 2023. Historically, the objective of climate policy has been to maintain the global average temperature increase under a specified level. Increasingly, countries and organizations today express the objective as a specific target date for reaching Net-zero emissions. Over ninety countries, including China […]

Read full announcement »

Yes, the government keeps way too many secrets

Posted on Thursday September 28

By Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, September 3, 2022. We don’t yet know what classified documents and information former President Donald Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago. But all of this talk about the secrets the government keeps from its citizens gets to a gripe of mine as a journalist: The US government often misapplies classification […]

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The Evolution of Authoritarian Digital Influence: Grappling with the New Normal

Posted on Tuesday August 29

By Shanthi Kalathil, PRISM, October 21, 2020 As the world contends with the wide-ranging ramifications of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it has been simultaneously beset by the global information crisis, which mimics the shape of the pandemic itself in its viral effects across huge segments of the global population. Misinformation—unwittingly spread false information—is rampant. Overarching […]

Read full announcement »

Ambassador Charles Ray: Three articles on Why Africa Matters

Posted on Monday July 10

Our August 2023 speaker, Ambassador Charles Ray, thought the following articles would provide a helpful background for his presentation on Why Africa Matters. “Does Africa Matter to the United States?” by Charles A. Ray, Foreign Policy Research Institute, January 11, 2021. Most Americans generally have one of two images of Africa: a primitive home of famine, […]

Read full announcement »

‘It’s good to think strategically’: Thomas E Ricks on civil rights and January 6

Posted on Saturday July 1

 By Martin Pengelly, The Guardian, October 8, 2022. “There is a direct connection from Freedom Summer to the January 6 committee,” says Thomas E Ricks as he discusses his new book, Waging a Good War: A Military History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968. Freedom Summer was a 1964 campaign to draw attention to violence […]

Read full announcement »

Amna Nawaz Interviews & Reports

Posted on Thursday June 1

Our June 2023 speaker, Amna Nawaz, thought the following videos would provide a helpful background for her presentation On the Frontlines: Reporting Overseas and Here at Home. “Secretary of State Blinken discusses U.S. immigration policy as Title 42 ends,” PBS NewsHour, May 11, 2023 With COVID restrictions at the border expiring, the U.S. is preparing […]

Read full announcement »

Christopher Costa: Two articles on future terrorism threats

Posted on Tuesday April 25

Our May 2023 speaker, Christopher Costa, thought the following articles would provide a helpful background for his presentation on Counterterrorism and the Future Terrorism Threat. The world has entered the fifth wave of anti-government terrorism,” by Christopher Costa, The Hill, January 12, 2023. In light of a failed far-right coup in December in Germany, fueled by ideologically and historically incoherent […]

Read full announcement »

Cyberwar in Ukraine: What You See Is Not What’s Really There

Posted on Sunday April 2

By Susan Landau Friday, September 30, 2022, 8:01 AM It has been seven months since Russia invaded Ukraine. Despite much speculation, many aspects of the war have ultimately not turned out as expected. The war wasn’t, as Russia had anticipated, a six-day rout—or even a six-month one. And notably, cyber didn’t, as some had predicted, […]

Read full announcement »

Read all announcements »