The Atomic Scientists' Doomsday Clock | Seditious Conspiracy | International Students& STEM OPT

At a news conference on Saturday night after all four hostages were free, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s Dallas field office, Matthew DeSarno, said Mr. Akram was motivated by an issue “not specifically related to the Jewish community.” During the attack at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, which was partly livestreamed, Mr. Akram was heard referring to Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who is serving an 86-year prison sentence in nearby Fort Worth. Ms. Siddiqui was convicted in a federal court in 2010 for “terroristic events” in Afghanistan, including trying to kill American soldiers and plotting to blow up the Statue of Liberty.

Democrats Urge Biden to Change Strategy on Terrorism  (Boston Globe)
Congressional Democrats on Thursday urged President Biden to overhaul his counterterrorism strategy and targeting criteria for drone strikes, citing grave concerns about “repeated civilian casualties arising from secretive and unaccountable lethal operations.” The letter came a day after The New York Times published newly declassified surveillance footage providing additional details about the final minutes and aftermath of a botched drone strike in Kabul in August that killed 10 innocent civilians, including seven children. Eleven senators and 39 members of the House, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Christopher Murphy of Connecticut, cited that strike as “emblematic of this systemic failure that has persisted across decades and administrations.” “When there is little policy change or accountability for repeated mistakes this grave and this costly,” the senators wrote, “it sends a message throughout the US armed forces and the entire US government that civilian deaths — including deaths where there was no military target — are the inevitable consequence of modern conflict, rather than avoidable and damaging failures of policy.

UK Terror Police Arrest Two More People in Texas Synagogue Hostage Probe  (Fox News)
U.K. terrorism police announced Thursday that two more individuals have been arrested in connection to investigations into the Texas synagogue hostage incident over the weekend. Two teenagers were already detained in South Manchester the day after 44-year-old British citizen Malik Faisal Akram took Jewish worshippers hostage at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, and released Wednesday without charges after three nights in custody. Greater Manchester Police, in sharing an update from Counter Terrorism Policing North West, said two men were arrested for questioning Thursday morning in Birmingham and Manchester. The U.K. terrorism police said they are continuing to “support U.S. authorities with their investigation into the events in Texas,” and will further “liaise with and support colleagues from other forces.”  Several reports said the two teens detained had been Akram’s sons, but police have not confirmed. Terrorism police also searched an address in North Manchester as part of their investigation.

Far-Right Terror: Group Used 3D Printer to Make Pistol Parts, Court Told  (BBC)
Four people accused of being members of a far-right cell “celebrated racist violence” and made pistol parts using a 3D printer, a court has heard. Daniel Wright, 29, Liam Hall, 31, and Stacey Salmon, 29, all from Keighley, West Yorkshire, deny multiple terrorism-related offences. Samuel Whibley, 29, of Derwen Deg, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, also denies terrorism offences. The trial at Sheffield Crown Court is expected to last five weeks. The prosecution said the four defendants used a Telegram channel called Oaken Hearth to exchange terror manuals, share racist ideology and post videos of atrocities. Prosecutor Annabel Darlow QC, said the four defendants had been members of an “extreme fascist and terroristic cell” during the first four months of 2021. “They embraced extreme right-wing propaganda and celebrated racist violence and killing,” she said. “The defendants demonstrated an active interest in the manufacture of explosives and weaponry.” Ms Darlow said the defendants had sought information on how to manufacture firearms at home and had used 3D printers to print plastic parts, which could be assembled with metal components. She said it was their intention to create “functional and lethal” firearms. “The prosecution allege that the ideology embraced by these defendants, and the violent, terroristic views they expressed, clearly demonstrate that their actions in respect of these homemade firearms was terrorist in nature and intent,” she said.

The Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock Is Now 75—and Threats to Civilization Still Abound  (Bill Newcott, National Geographic)
A Cold War icon, the clock conveys scientists’ views on humankind’s risk of destroying itself. Its current setting: just 100 seconds to midnight.

What the Doomsday Clock Is Really Counting Down To  (Bryan Walsh, Vox)

The number of human-made existential risks has ballooned, but the most pressing one is the original: nuclear war.

DHS Makes More International Students Eligible for STEM OPT (Stuart Anderson, Forbes)
After Donald Trump became president, employers and universities worried international students would no longer be allowed to work on Optional Practical Training (OPT). Many students would not come to America in the first place without OPT and the ability to gain practical experience and potentially later a work visa. Despite placing OPT restrictions on the regulatory agenda and enacting inhospitable policies toward students and employers more generally, the Trump administration did not eliminate Optional Practical Training. After Joe Biden became president, companies and universities have found a new reality—the U.S. government expanding students eligible for OPT in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.