• HHS bolsters U.S. health preparedness for radiological threats

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) says that as a part of its mission to help protect Americans’ health following even the most unthinkable of disasters, it is purchasing two medical products to treat injuries to bone marrow in victims of radiological or nuclear incidents. Bone marrow is essential to producing blood.

  • Syrian opposition easily captures Dabiq – town central to ISIS apocalyptic theology

    Syrian opposition fighters backed by the Turkish military took over the town of Dabiq, facing only “minimal” resistance from ISIS fighters, who had control of the town since 2014. Analysts say that ISIS token resistance was surprising, considering the fact that ISIS propaganda had depicted the battle for Dabiq as an apocalyptic final battle between Muslims and Christians, heralding the end of days. Still, ISIS theologians – perhaps sensing that the combined forces of the Syrian opposition and Turkey would easily defeat the ISIS forces in Dabiq — two weeks ago offered an interpretation in ISIS al-Naba online publication, saying that the battle at Dabiq would not, after all, herald the apocalypse.

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  • 3 Kansas men arrested for plotting massive attack on a complex housing Somali refugees

    The Garden City, Kansas police on Friday arrested three members of a far-right militia group for plotting to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City, in which about 120 Somali refugees live. The complex also houses a mosque. Supporters of far-right nationalist ideology – sometime referred to as “alt-right” – have been using an apocalyptic language, which has been adopted by Donald Trump, describing the refugee program as an “invasion” of the country which amounts to “national suicide” for the United States.

  • Defining – and monitoring -- domestic terrorism in the U.S.

    Domestic terrorism in the United States “is not just a function of a couple of militia related guys taking over something out West. It’s not just a bunch of white supremacist in white hoods,” says Thomas Brzozowski was appointed to lead the Justice Department’s new domestic terrorism office a year ago. In the past, a host of groups such as anarchists and the Ku Klux Klan have been under surveillance by the federal government. When the FBI was formed in the early twentieth century, communists and later anti-war activists, women’s rights organizations, and civil rights groups came to be viewed as domestic threats. Brzozowski says that today’s Justice Department is more sensitive to the free exercise of civil liberties.

  • Hezbollah cell charged with laundering Colombian drug money in Miami

    Three men linked to the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah were accused of laundering drug money on behalf of the Colombian cartel after authorities said they illegally moved $500,000 into Miami banks. The arrest underscores increased law-enforcement scrutiny on the role of Middle Eastern terror groups who use financial networks in Latin America to earn untold millions off drug profits.

  • New candidate vaccines against the plague show promise

    The plague of Black Death infamy has had the power to strike fear in people since the Middle Ages — and for good reason. Once someone begins to show symptoms, the disease progresses very quickly and is almost 100 percent fatal without prompt treatment. Antibiotic-resistant Y. pestis strains have been isolated from plague patients and can be engineered for use as a bioweapon. Researchers have developed new potential vaccines that protect animals against the bacteria that causes the deadly plague.

  • Ambitious Baltimore water pollution clean-up project

    Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and the urban rivers that flow into it are important sources of water to Chesapeake Bay, popular recreation sites for residents and tourists, and the targets of an ambitious clean-up plan to make the harbor swimmable and fishable by the year 2020. In a first for Baltimore and the nation, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency will soon be installing a suite of sensors that will provide the public and scientists with the first comprehensive, real time look at water quality in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

  • Close Putin ally: If Americans fail to vote for Trump, they risk nuclear attack

    Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a nationalist Russian politicians who is one of Vladimir Putin’s staunchest allies, said Americans should vote for Donald Trump or risk a nuclear war. Zhirinovsky said that electing Trump would be a “gift to humanity,” while electing Hillary Clinton would likely start a third world war. Zhirinovsky is a flamboyant and colorful individual typically offering brazen, even outrageous, comments, which appeal to the nationalist segment of the Russian electorate. As a close ally of Putin, Zhirinovsky has regularly been used to float policy ideas.

  • European jihadists and the new crime-terror nexus

    A new study of European jihadists and the increasing convergence between criminal and jihadist milieus, challenges long-held assumptions about radicalization, recruitment, and how to counter terrorism. The presence of former criminals in terrorist groups is neither new nor unprecedented. But with ISIS and the ongoing mobilization of European jihadists, the phenomenon has become more pronounced, more visible, and more relevant to the ways in which jihadist groups operate. In many European countries, the majority of jihadist foreign fighters are former criminals.

  • Report finds strong link between strength of states’ gun laws and rates of gun violence

    A new report has found a strong correlation between the strength of state gun laws and levels of gun violence. The report, which analyzes ten specific indicators of gun violence in all fifty states, found that the ten states with the weakest gun laws collectively have levels of gun violence that are more than three times higher than the ten states with the strongest gun laws. The ten states with the weakest gun laws collectively have three times more gun violence than the ten states with the strongest gun laws.

  • As ISIS loses ground in Syria and Iraq, its propaganda output sharply declines

    Relentless air and ground attacks by the U.S.-led coalition have been inflicting increasing pain on ISIS – from killing more than 50,000 ISIS fighters, decimating the organization’s leadership, and forcing it to abandon vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. A new study found that another victim of ISIS’s accumulating defeats has been the organization’s vaunted propaganda machine. The Islamist group’s propaganda specialist shave been producing only a small number of videos and images compared to their prodigious output two years ago.

  • Securing a future for Middle East minorities after ISIS

    A recent report from the U.N. Human Rights Council sheds some light on both the scale and the nature of the genocide, which was ignored by the international community for far too long. The campaign against the Yazidis was launched by ISIS over two years ago, in Aug. 2014, when its forces began an assault upon the Yazidi villages in Sinjar, a district in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh.

  • Texas moves to end legal battle over Syrian refugees

    A week after the state officially withdrew from the nation’s refugee resettlement program, Texas has moved to end its legal battle over Syrian refugees. In a short, three-page motion, Texas on Friday asked the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the state’s appeal of a federal judge’s June decision that threw out the state’s case after finding Texas did not have grounds to sue the federal government over the resettlement of refugees within its borders.

  • ISIS caliphate continues shrink, flow of foreign fighters dries up

    Territory controlled by the Islamic State shrunk by 16 percent in the first nine months of 2016. In 2015, the Islamic State’s caliphate shrunk from 90,800 km2 to 78,000 km2, a net loss of 14 percent. In the first nine months of 2016, that territory shrunk again by a further 16 percent. As of 3 October 2016, the Islamic State controls roughly 65,500 km2 in Iraq and Syria, which is roughly the size of Sri Lanka. The flow of foreign fighters to ISIS has dried up as the Islamist organization continues to lose ground.

  • ISIS caliphate continues shrink, flow of foreign fighters drying up

    Territory controlled by the Islamic State shrunk by 16 percent in the first nine months of 2016. In 2015, the Islamic State’s caliphate shrunk from 90,800 km2 to 78,000 km2, a net loss of 14 percent. In the first nine months of 2016, that territory shrunk again by a further 16 percent. As of 3 October 2016, the Islamic State controls roughly 65,500 km2 in Iraq and Syria, which is roughly the size of Sri Lanka. The flow of foreign fighters to ISIS has dried up as the Islamist organization continues to lose ground.