• Planetary securityNuking asteroids to protect Earth

    Scientists are developing measures to protect the Earth from potentially dangerous celestial bodies. With the help of supercomputer SKIF Cyberia, the scientists simulated the nuclear explosion of an asteroid 200 meters in diameter in such a way that its irradiated fragments do not fall to the Earth.

  • Coastal resilienceSea-level rise threatens many coastal U.S. military bases

    The U.S. Armed Forces depend on safe and functional bases to protect the U.S. national security. Sea levels are rising as global warming heats up the planet, and many military bases along the U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico are at risk of permanently losing land to the ocean in the decades ahead. As the seas rise, high tides will reach farther inland. Tidal flooding will become more frequent and extensive. When hurricanes strike, deeper and more extensive storm surge flooding will occur. The United States must thus prepare for the growing exposure of its military bases to sea level rise.

  • Emerging threatsWarmings greater than 1.5 °C inevitable owing to current atmospheric greenhouse concentrations

    Current levels of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations already commit the planet to air temperatures over many land regions being eventually warmed by greater than 1.5°C, according to new research. The results of the new study have implications for international discussions of what constitutes safe global temperature thresholds, such as 1.5°C or 2°C of warming since pre-industrial times. The expected extra warming over land will influence how we need to design some cities. It could also impact on the responses of trees and plants, including crops.

  • Infectious diseaseGMOs lead the fight against Zika, Ebola and the next unknown pandemic

    By Jeff Bessen

    The shadow of the Zika virus hangs over the Rio Olympic Games, with visitors and even high-profile athletes citing worries about Zika as a reason to stay away (even if the risk is probably quite low). The public’s concerns are a striking example of the need to rapidly combat emerging infectious diseases. In the fight against Zika, public health experts have turned to what may sound like an unlikely ally: genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. To protect the public, scientists have embraced GMO technology to quickly study new health threats, manufacture enough protective vaccines, and monitor and even predict new outbreaks. With the help of GMOs, infectious disease experts have the tools to get ahead of the next outbreak, moving beyond reaction to quick detection, containment and even prevention.

  • SyriaIsrael opens border with Syria to humanitarian aid deliveries

    The Israeli government has authorized the delivery of humanitarian aid into war-torn Syria through the nations’ shared border. While Israel activists have sought to help Syrians in the past, delivering aid across the border has been complicated by the fact that many towns and cities on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights are controlled by the Islamic State or the al-Nusra Front, an affiliate of al-Qaeda.

  • Global EntryCBP expands Global Entry to Colombian citizens

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the other day the expansion of Global Entry to citizens of Colombia. Global Entry, a CBP Trusted Traveler Program, allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Colombia becomes the first country in South America and the eighth country overall whose citizens will be eligible to enroll in Global Entry.

  • CrimeCrime victims should call the police

    As law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and public health officials work to develop effective crime-prevention strategies, new research finds that individuals who report being victims of crime to police are less likely to become future victims of crime than those who do not report their initial experiences.

  • DNC hacksTrump urges Russia to hack, release Clinton’s e-mails

    Donald Trump on Wednesday said he hoped Russia would hack Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, and release them to the press. In a press conference at his Doral golf course, Trump said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing,” he said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” Analysts note that Trump’s breathtaking call for a foreign power to hack the e-mails of a major U.S. political party or the server of a former secretary of state was as extraordinary as it was unprecedented.

  • TerrorismKiller of French priest was in jail for trying to join ISIS, but was paroled in March

    Adel Kermiche, the mentally disturbed 19-year old ISIS follower who slit the throat of a Catholic priest during mass in the small town of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, was sent to prison in May 2015 for trying to go to Syria to join ISIS, but was released on parole on March 2016 over the objections of the prosecution. Parts of his legal file, published in Le Monde, show that he had exhibited signs of “psychological troubles” since the age of six, and that he was regularly hospitalized for these problems.

  • Aging terroristsDutch police on lookout for three aging Baader-Meinhof gang members suspected in recent heists

    Dutch police detectives are on the lookout for three aging German far-left militants who have disappeared decades ago but who have emerged as the main suspects in a series of recent robberies. Ernst-Volker Staub, 61, Burkhard Garweg, 47, and 57-year-old Daniela Klette are former members of the violent Red Army Faction (RAF) — also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang — a German militant group which terrorized Germany (then: West Germany) the 1970s and 1980s with a campaign of bombings, arson, kidnappings, and killings. The three militants are among a larger group of fugitives who have been on the run for three decades for membership of the Marxist RAF.

  • CybersecurityDNC hack: “All roads lead to Russia” says new cybersecurity report

    New report by a cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect focuses on Guccifer 2.0, a hacker claiming to be behind the hack of the DNC computer system. The claim was made in order to deflect attention from Russian government hackers whose digital fingerprints were all over the DNC hack. A ThreatConnet report shows that Guccifer 2.0 is part of the Russian plot to steal and release politically embarrassing DNC e-mails.

  • Counter-extremismU.K. government should consider extremism strategy: Parliamentary panel

    The Joint Select Committee on Human Rights of the British Parliament said the government should reconsider its counter extremism strategy, use the existing extensive legal framework for dealing with people who promote violence, and introduce new legislation only if it can demonstrate a significant gap. The committee’s report concludes that while there is agreement that tackling terrorism is a priority, there is no agreement about how to combat extremism, particularly since the government is also under a duty to uphold the democratic and human rights which terrorists so often aim to extinguish.

  • Tracking extremistsNew tool keeps track of violent groups without having to geolocate the tweets

    Researchers have developed new sentiment analysis algorithms which can monitor the social network Twitter in search of violent groups. The system analyzes both the messages these individuals share and how their relationships develop. The police and other law enforcement agencies could use the tool to detect critical points, threats, and areas with concentrations of potentially dangerous people.

  • Law enforcementU.S. police killed or injured more than 55,000 people during “legal interventions” in 2012

    U.S. police killed or injured an estimated 55, 400 people during legal stop and search incidents and arrests in 2012, new research finds. Blacks, Native Americans, and Hispanics had higher stop/arrest rates per 10,000 of the population than Whites and Asians. And Blacks were by far the most likely to be stopped, and then arrested, the data show. “As the U.S. struggles to reduce citizen injuries during police contacts, it would seem prudent to train at-risk groups about appropriate behavior during police stops,” the researchers conclude.

  • Earthquake resilienceEarthquake-resilient pipeline could allow Los Angeles’s water utility system withstand tremors

    Los Angeles’s water utility system – the nation’s largest — crosses over thirty fault lines en route to supplying water to more than four million residents. A top engineer from the city of Los Angeles visited Cornell University this month as researchers tested a new earthquake-resilient pipeline designed better to protect southern California’s water utility network from natural disasters. The steel pipe uses a unique structural wave design to control buckling, allowing the pipe to bend and compress without rupturing or losing water pressure.

  • FloodsFlood-related losses in Germany to increase under climate change

    Flood-related losses can be expected to increase considerably in Germany as a result of climate change, a new study shows. Extreme events like the severe floods along the river Elbe have already illustrated the potentially devastating consequences of certain weather conditions such as severe rainfall events, when continuing intense rain can no longer be absorbed by the soil and water levels in the rivers rise. Without appropriate adaptation, flood-related damage of currently about €500 million a year could multiply in the future, according to the comprehensive expert analysis.

  • CybersecurityDemocrats brace for more e-mail leaks

    The FBI on Monday said the agency is investigating the hacks of the DNC computer networks. Democrats are worried that the Russian government hackers behind the DNC hacks may have gotten their hands on other politically embarrassing e-mails and documents, and the hackers would release these e-mails and documents between now and November in an effort to increase Trump’s chances of winning in November. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks and its current top editor, who said that the release [of the DNC e-mails] on Friday was the first in a series.

  • CybersecurityU.S. to issue new policy directive for coordinated government response to cyberattacks

    The administration is set to release a new directive on how the government should respond to significant cyberattacks. The release of the directives aims to clarify the responsibilities of agencies involved in security breaches. The presidential directive comes against the backdrop of an increasing number of cyberattacks by criminals and foreign governments.

  • HezbollahEx-Treasury official: Hezbollah has turned Lebanese villages into missile silos

    Hezbollah has embedded its rocket arsenal in villages across Lebanon, ensuring that any Israeli strike on the Iran-backed terrorist group’s military assets will lead to mass civilian casualties, a former Treasury official said on Monday. Hezbollah has turned the Shiite villages “into essentially missile silos,” Jonathan Schanzer said. “What you have is rockets placed under homes, schools, apartment buildings, etc., so when the Israelis need to try to strike these weapons before they’re launched, it will potentially lead to mass casualties.”

  • GunsMost guns recovered by Pittsburgh police not in possession of legal owners

    Nearly 80 percent of perpetrators carrying a gun recovered by Pittsburgh Police were not the lawful owners, a strong indication that theft and trafficking are significant sources of firearms involved in crimes in southwest Pennsylvania, a new study finds. The finding suggests a timely opportunity for collaboration between public health and law enforcement officials better to understand and reduce violent crimes involving firearms.

  • Nuclear wasteStudying the basic science of nuclear waste

    Approximately 300 million liters of highly radioactive wastes are stored in hundreds of underground tanks at the Hanford Site in Washington and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. These wastes are extremely complicated mixtures of salts and sludges that have been exposed to ionizing radiation for decades. Their chemistry is dominated by interactions at solid-liquid interfaces that are poorly understood. A more thorough understanding of the chemistry of radioactive waste is key to treating this unwanted byproduct of winning the Second World War and the cold war.

  • First responseHazmat Challenge tests skills of hazardous materials response teams

    Ten hazardous materials response teams from New Mexico, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Nebraska test their skills in a series of graded, timed exercises. The event requires participants to respond to simulated hazardous materials emergencies involving aircraft, rail and highway transportation, industrial piping, a simulated radiological release, and a confined space event.