DON’T CUT THE CABLE Russian ships are hanging out too close for comfort to the undersea fiber-optic cables that carry the world’s Internet communications, the New York Times reports. The lurking is raising U.S. fears that Russia could cut the cables in a time of conflict – a move that would effectively cut off the United States from real-time communications with many of its overseas allies. Sound far-fetched and too laden with Cold War conspiracy? Russia has made no moves to slice the lines. But experts say the machinations are quite aggressive – especially since Russia appears to be targeting the lines at points where repairs would be hard to make. Earlier this month, the Telegraph reported that Russia has conducted large-scale tests to simulate how the country would function if cut off from the World Wide Web.

MORE SUFFERING IN AFGHANISTAN AND SYRIA An enormous earthquake hit Afghanistan on Monday, causing building collapses and massive damage as countries from Pakistan to Central Asia reported feeling the tremors, The Washington Post reports. The 7.5 magnitude earthquake’s epicenter was in the Hindu Kush mountains. The death toll of dozens is climbing, though the earthquake occurred deep enough that some experts suggest the casualty count will not be as high as other earthquakes of recent memory. Meanwhile over in Syria, you can now add cholera to the list of threats the local population is facing, the Independent reports. The outbreak is new, but with the country’s medical system in tatters and fleeing refugees penned in together  for many parts of the journey, health officials fear it could spread quickly. 

AND A LITTLE COLD WAR HISTORY Turns out the Soviets thought we really were going to launch a nuclear attack in 1983. The Washington Post reports that a newly declassified intelligence review shows the Soviet Union went into hyperdrive in response to a NATO nuclear weapons command exercise, just weeks after the Soviet Union had shot down a South Korean airliner. The article details how the “war scare” of late 1983 was quite real – and luckily did not spiral into an all-out confrontation.