• House temporarily halts sale of Plum Island

    New York and Connecticut lawmakers who have been campaigning against the sale of Plum Island by the federal government, have won an impressive victory as the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously on Monday to halt efforts to sell the property, at least temporarily. Plum Island, located of the north-eastern tip of Long Island, has for decades housed a high-security biolab in which research into deadly animal diseases pathogens. The aging lab is closing, and its operations will be moved to a modern high-security lab being built in the campus of Kansas State University.

  • DHS S&T launches interactive Year in Review

    Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) has launched its annual Year in Review — an interactive, Web-based report providing a guided tour of S&T’s successes and developments in 2015.S&T’s Year in Review includes highlights from thirty-seven of S&T’s projects.The review includes an introduction on programs and initiatives and further discusses how S&T meets its mission and fits into the larger mission of the department.

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  • Telephone metadata can reveal surprisingly sensitive personal information

    Most people might not give telephone metadata – the numbers you dial, the length of your calls – a second thought. Some government officials probably view it as similarly trivial, which is why this information can be obtained without a warrant. Researchers show, however, that telephone metadata – information about calls and text messages, such as time and length – can alone reveal a surprising amount of personal detail. The work could help inform future policies for government surveillance and consumer data privacy.

  • Giving Turks visa-free access to EU would be “storing gasoline next to the fire”: Ex-MI6 chief

    Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, has said that for the EU to offer visa-free access to the EU zone to millions of Turks would be like “storing gasoline next to the fire.” He said that the impact of mass migration is “eating away at the willingness of EU states to act together.” He added that this is making the EU “impotent in the face of the most serious social and humanitarian problem” it has had to face. He also said that the failure by the “present configuration of twenty-eight vastly differing national interests” to meet the challenge of migration may well be an indication that the EU has outlived its historical role.

  • FARC to free last child soldiers

    The FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group, has said it will release all child soldiers under 15 years of age, thus ending an especially poignant chapter in the country’s 5-decade conflict. The FARC announcement comes as the negotiations between the rebel group and the Colombian government are continuing in Havana under the auspices of the UN. FARC made extensive use of children between 8 and 16 – what the organization called “pisa suaves” – to sneak into military camps, police stations, and other government facilities to set bombs and other types of booby traps.

  • Active shooter exercise evaluates tactics, technologies

    The New York Police Department (NYPD), the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) took part in an active shooter exercise early Sunday at a Brooklyn high school to evaluate tactics and technologies for responding to and containing rapidly escalating shooting incidents.

  • Newly declassified documents reveal “chilling” details about 9/11 Saudi connection

    Investigators describe the details revealed in a series of declassified memos relating to the 9/11 attacks as “chilling”: These details offer information about Saudi support for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A former 9/11 Commission staff member said the newly released material largely duplicates the classified 28-section of the 9/11 Commission report, a section which has not been made public. Former Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman, who was a member of the 9/11 Commission, said that as many as six Saudi officials could have supported the 9/11 hijackers

  • Man who forcibly pulled off woman's hijab during flight pleads guilty

    Gill Payne, 37, on Friday pled guilty to using force to obstruct the religious freedom of a Muslim woman, who was identified in court by the letters KA. In December 2015, Payne was on a SouthWest Airlines plane flying from Chicago to Albuquerque. He noticed a woman sitting a few rows ahead of him, wearing a hijab. Witnesses said that he got out of his seat, walked down the aisle toward her, grabbed the hijab to expose her head, and shouted, “Take this off. This is America.”

  • Boko Haram sending fighters to help ISIS in Libya: U.S.

    U.S. officials said on Friday that there is evidence that Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists are sending fighters to join ISIS in Libya. This is only the latest manifestation of the growing cooperation between the two groups. Nigeria has been asking the United States for military gear, including aircraft, to fight Boko Haram. Congress, however, has restricted the sale of U.S. military equipment to Nigeria because of rampant corruption in the Nigerian armed forces and government, and because the Nigerian military has been engaged in systematic violations of basic human rights of Nigerian civilians.

  • Mapping Louisiana’s water flow interactions to preserve state’s fresh water

    As part of an effort to preserve Louisiana’s fresh water resources, RTI International worked with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to develop two online tools, released today, that offer a first-of-their-kind look at how Louisiana’s waters interact with each other. These tools will help fishermen, oystermen, planners, decision makers, and all Louisianans understand the state’s unique water flow patterns.

  • Saudi government officials supported 9/11 hijackers: John Lehman

    John F Lehman, who sat on the 9/11 Commission from 2003 to 2004 which investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has said that Saudi government officials supported the hijackers. There was an “awful lot of circumstantial evidence” implicating several employees in the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Lehman claimed. “There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” he said. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”

  • Copenhagen’s bar owners ask government to prevent local Muslims from imposing “Sharia zone”

    Bar owners in the Nørrebro suburb of Copenhagen say they are being harassed by Muslim youth activists in the area, many of them immigrants, who are trying to impose a “Sharia zone” in the neighborhood. The bar owners have asked for government help. The bar owners say they have received demands for money, and that stones have been thrown through the bars’ windows.

  • Leaders of Colombia ELN rebel groups investigated for 16,000 war crimes

    The office of Colombia’s attorney general said it was investigating five top leaders of the country’s ELN guerrilla group for nearly 16,000 war crimes and crimes against humanity. The allegations come amid heightened tensions between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the government. The ELN is a sister organization of the much larger FARC, both Marxist guerrilla movements which bhave been operating in the mountainous jungles of southern Colombia since the early 1960s.

  • Post-conflict reconciliation led to societal healing, but worsened psychological health

    Civil wars divide nations along social, economic, and political lines, often pitting neighbors against each other. In the aftermath of civil wars, many countries undertake truth and reconciliation efforts to restore social cohesion, but little has been known about whether these programs reach their intended goals. A new study suggests reconciliation programs promote societal healing, but that these gains come at the cost of reduced psychological health, worsening depression, anxiety, and trauma.

  • Number of suspected terrorist entering Germany as refugees doubles

    The German federal police agency, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), said it is investigating the possible arrival of forty Islamist militants among more than 1.1 million refugees who have entered the country during since the beginning of 2015. The BKA said it had received 369 reports of possible extremists and found that forty of the cases required more investigation. This is an increase relative to numbers the BKA released in January, when eighteen investigations were found to be warranted after 213 warnings had been received.