• PreparednessU.S. health security preparedness improved, but some regions lagging

    A national snapshot used to gauge the health of the nation’s health security and emergency preparedness found that readiness has improved significantly over the past five years, but earlier identified gaps remain, with some parts of the country lagging.

  • The Russia connectionNew strategies for countering Russian social media influence in Eastern Europe

    Russia is waging a social media campaign in the Baltics, Ukraine, and nearby states to sow dissent against neighboring governments, as well as NATO and the European Union. “Nowhere is this threat more tangible than in Ukraine, which has been an active propaganda battleground since the 2014 Ukrainian revolution,” said the lead author of a new RAND report. “Other countries in the region look at Russia’s actions and annexation of Crimea and recognize the need to pay careful attention to Russia’s propaganda campaign.”

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  • Hate groupsBundestag rejects AfD recruit on suspicion of terrorism

    The staff of the German Bundestag have denied an entry card to a German soldier recruited by an opposition far-right parliamentarian. The soldier was suspected of being a member of a right-wing, nationalist network within the German military plotting to kill politicians supporting liberal immigration policies – and then blame Muslim immigrants for the killings.

  • Hate on the leftAt anti-Semitism debate, MP Mann says that “Zionist” is an “insult” in Corbyn’s party

    In a powerful speech during a debate about anti-Semitism in the British parliament on Tuesday, Labor MP John Mann said “Any Jewish person has the right to say…’I am a Zionist’ and I have no right to deny them that and those that do are racists.” Mann observed that the word “Zionist” has become “a pejorative insult by the Labor Party” under leader Jeremey Corbyn, effectively denying Jews the right to their own homeland.

  • Waco: 25 years onWaco: how the siege became a symbol of government oppression

    By Andrew Crome

    A 51-day confrontation between the FBI and the Branch Davidians – a small offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventists – came to a tragic end outside Waco, Texas on 19 April 1993. Controversy still rages over whether the Davidians started the fire in order to commit mass suicide, or if it was the FBI’s assault which was responsible for the inferno. Researchers have described the siege as a “critical incident” – an event that highlights and exacerbates existing fault lines in society. “Waco” has therefore become cultural shorthand for expressing tensions within American politics and culture.

  • Waco: 25 years onThe deaths of 76 Branch Davidians in April 1993 could have been avoided – so why didn’t anyone care?

    By Catherine Wessinger

    Throughout the 6-week ordeal near Waco, Texas, media coverage of the ATF raid and FBI siege depicted the Branch Davidians as a cult with David Koresh exercising total control over mesmerized followers. It was a narrative that federal law enforcement agencies were happy to encourage, and it resonated with the public’s understanding of so-called “cults.” The story that has emerged is much more complex – and makes one wonder if the tragedy could have been avoided altogether.

  • Search & rescuePortable device to sniff out trapped humans

    The first step after buildings collapse from an earthquake, bombing or other disaster is to rescue people who could be trapped in the rubble. But finding entrapped humans among the ruins can be challenging. A new, inexpensive sensor is light and portable enough for first responders to hold in their hands or for drones to carry on a search for survivors.

  • ExplosivesUnderstanding explosive sensitivity with molecule design

    Explosives have an inherent problem - they should be perfectly safe for handling and storage but detonate reliably on demand. Using computer modeling and a novel molecule design technique, scientists have replaced one “arm” of an explosive molecule to help unravel the first steps in the detonation process and better understand its sensitivity — how easily it begins a violent reaction.

  • Our picksMission far from accomplished in Syria; securing the smart city; facial recognition in the dark, and more

    · Mission far from accomplished in Syria: Strikes won’t deter future chemical attacks or end slaughter

    · Sandy Hook parents hit Alex Jones with defamation lawsuits

    · U.S. army figures out how to do

    · Calling 911 for “everything” soon to be a no-go in Santa Cruz as police look to prioritize

    · Would changing the rules for police change the outcomes?

    · Want to prevent cyberattacks? Don’t count on employee training to stop them.

     · The Corker-Kaine bill would codify, not end, the Forever War

    ··Securing the smart city

  • The Russia watchRussia: war and punishment; disinformation & the future of warfare; Russia’s new propaganda outlet, and more

    · Russian disinformation around the Syria strikes is a glimpse into the future of warfare

    · “USA Really. Wake Up Americans”: Russia launching another propaganda outlet in U.S.

    · Anatomy of a Russian chemical weapons lab lie

    · Russia: war and punishment

    · The disinformation dilemma

    · The U.S. should brace now for Russia’s next cyberattack

    · Concerned EU politicians push for legal action against fake news

    · How can social media companies stop the spread of fake news?

  • Terror tunnelsFollowing destruction of Hamas terror tunnel, Israel reveals secret of underground defense

    Following the discovery and destruction of the longest and deepest terror tunnel extending into Israeli territory, over the weekend, the IDF revealed a new “laboratory,” where it employs advanced technology to detect tunnels.

  • The Russia connectionIt’s not just Facebook: Countering Russia’s social media offensive

    By Bradley Hanlon

    Russian influence operations exploit the vulnerabilities of social media platforms to disseminate false narratives and amplify divisive content in order to undermine democracies, divide societies, and weaken Western alliances. In conducting these operations, the Kremlin employs a variety of tools across the social media space, including fake accounts/personas, political advertisements, bot networks, and traditional propaganda outlets. Additionally, Russian influence operations utilize a range of social media platforms, each with a different role, to distract public discussion, foment social unrest, and muddle the truth.

  • Truth decayAlgorithm identifies fake users on many social networks

    Researchers have developed a new generic method to detect fake accounts on most types of social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. The new method is based on the assumption that fake accounts tend to establish improbable links to other users in the networks.

  • Border securityFor border security, CBP agents are more suitable than National Guard soldiers

    By Lee Maril

    Rather than send the National Guard to bolster security along the U.S.-Mexico border, it would have been better, and more cost-effective, to send more Customs and Border Patrol agents, whose training makes them more suitable for border security-related missions. But the problem is that the hiring process of CBP agents is broken and unnecessarily lengthy, requiring a thoroughgoing reform.

  • CybersecurityHackers can steal data via power lines

    Researchers have shown once again that air-gapped PCs are not safe from a determined and patient attacker. The researchers have already devised several techniques to extract data from isolated or air-gapped computers that store highly sensitive data.

  • HurricanesPlanning for hurricanes as weather patterns change

    We’re all aware of the impact of intense weather systems that make headlines, like 2017’s hurricanes Harvey and Irma. But even slight adjustments to weather patterns—like historic changes in precipitation levels and the increasing frequency of heat waves—can drastically change living conditions.

  • Food securityThe 100th meridian, where the Great Plains begin, shifting eastward

    In 1878, the American geologist and explorer John Wesley Powell drew an invisible line in the dirt—the 100th meridian west, the longitude he identified as the boundary between the humid eastern United States and the arid Western plains. Now, 140 years later, scientists that the line appears to be slowly moving eastward, due to climate change. They say it will almost certainly continue shifting in coming decades, expanding the arid climate of the western plains into what we think of as the Midwest. The implications for farming and other pursuits could be huge.

  • Our picksSuicide of the West; the toll of trauma; prison riot as “mass casualty” event, and more

    · Suicide of the West: tribalism threatens liberal-democratic ‘miracle’

    · Trump’s Syria strategy actually makes sense

    · A Trump Doctrine for the Middle East

    · The toll of trauma: What Bangor police are doing to fight a silent threat

    · South Carolina prison riot characterized as “mass casualty” event

    · Dispatchers — the calm among the chaos

    · With fewer police applicants, departments engage in bidding wars

    · Command and control: A fight for the future of government hacking

  • The Russia watchRussia hacks internet routers globally; Russia World Cup TV blackout; Putin’s hackers could target NHS, and more

    · U.S. and U.K. blame Russia for hacking internet routers globally

    · Russia World Cup TV blackout: Putin’s cyber war against U.K. will devastate ‘soft targets’

    · How Russian Facebook ads divided and targeted U.S. voters before the 2016 election

    · State Dept: No one better about lying over US role in world than Russia

    · Pentagon claims 2,000% increase in Russian trolls after Syria strikes. What does that mean?

    · Russia reacts to U.S.-led strikes in Syria with a blizzard of fake news and troll attacks

    · Russian general’s claim of 71 missiles downed countered by experts, evidence

    · Vladimir Putin’s hackers could target the NHS – and our homes

  • IDsProposed EU ID cards to include fingerprints

    The EU Commission on Tuesday will propose a law aims at increasing security within the bloc’s borders, including fingerprinting in ID cards. The Commission said that compulsory fingerprinting in ID cards are necessary to countering terrorism in Europe. Fingerprints are already required for EU passports, along with biometric pictures.

  • IranIDF: Iranian drone shot down over Israeli airspace in February was armed with explosives

    The Israeli military said that the Iranian drone that entered into Israeli airspace in February was armed with explosives and demonstrated “an Iranian intent to carry out an attack” inside Israel. According Air Force Chief of Staff Brigadier General Tomer Bar, the drone was an advanced model and had a signature that Israel had not previously encountered.

  • The Russia connectionRussian investigative reporter dies after fall from window; editor rejects suicide

    Russian investigative journalist Maksim Borodin has died of injuries sustained on 12 April when he fell from the window of his fifth-floor apartment. Borodin regularly wrote on crime and corruption, and recently wrote extensively about the deaths in February of Russian mercenaries fighting in Syria.