• Europol: Islamist terrorism in Europe has sharply declined

    Terrorist attacks in Europe fell by a third between 2008 and 2009 - from 441 to 294; the number of people arrested in 2009 connection with Islamist terrorism declined sharply, falling to 110 compared to 187 in 2008 and 201 in 2007

  • DOE removes from its Web site a guide on nuclear plant air attacks

    Since 2008 the Department of Energy’s Web site offered the public a virtual how-to manual for attacking a nuclear plant with an airplane; The document showed the areas that a plane could hit at a reactor with maximum effect, and it cited buildings or targets that a plane could strike and cause radioactive release; the document has now been removed

  • Taliban suspected in poisonous gas attacks on female Afghan students

    The Taliban is suspected in three separate poisonous gas attacks on girls schools in northern Afghanistan; eighty-eight girls were admitted to hospitals with what doctors describe as symptoms associated with “unknown gasses”; the Taliban banned education for women during its rule from 1996 to 2001, and girls education is still a controversial issue in Afghanistan today

  • Specialty bomb for fighting terrorists in dense urban areas

    The war against terrorists require weapons that can destroy targets in densely populated urban areas — without causing unnecessary damage to the surrounding neighborhood; the U.S. military has developed the new FLM (Focused Lethality Munition) bomb which will use a composite (carbon fiber) casing and replace some of the normal 127.2 kg (280 pounds) of explosives with 93 kg of explosives surrounded by high density filler (fine tungsten powder)

  • Debate over chemical plant security heats up -- again, II

    Some lawmakers want to toughen up the chemical plant safety legislation, due for renewal before it expires this fall; the chemical industry prefers the continuation of the current measure, which was passed in 2007; the key debate is over whether or not DHS should be in a position to impose the use of safer and less volatile chemical on those plants closest to large urban centers; the industry points out that many plants have already made the switch voluntarily

  • Laser decontamination for post-chemical attacks, accident clean-up

    Many building materials — like cement and brick — are extremely porous; getting contaminants off surfaces like these is difficult, since they can inhabit cracks and pores; cleaning up chemical-contaminated structures can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming; what if terrorists attacked an urban center with chemicals? Researchers say the answer is to use laser to decontaminate an area after a terrorist attack or an industrial accident

  • Debate over chemical plant security heats up -- again, I

    The current chemical plant security law was passed in 2006 and expires in October; some lawmakers want to strengthen it, while the chemical industry want the law renewed without changes, saying chemical plants have taken steps to prevent accidental or terrorist-induced releases of dangerous compounds

  • South Africa holds a large aviation security drill in advance of the World Cup

    In advance of the June-July 2010 World Cup tournament, South Africa this weekend is conducting a comprehensive aviation security drill; the exercise will resemble security precautions which will be put in place during the soccer event, which begins 11 June; an expansive security envelope will be established around the stadiums where the games are played, and other air travel restriction will go into place; the drill this weekend will examine how the SA security forces respond to various violations of these security rules

  • Al Qaeda rockets aimed at Israel hit Jordanian port city

    Al Qaeda terrorists fire two Grad rockets from the Egyptian-controlled Sinai peninsula at the Israeli resort town of Eilat, at the northern tip of the Red Sea; the rocket miss Eilat — one hit the neighboring Jordanian port city of Aqaba, the second fell into the sea; in 2005 al Qaeda terrorists used the same area of the Sinai to fire Katyusha rockets at a U.S. warship docked in the port of Aqaba

  • How safe are the world's nuclear fuel stockpiles?

    There is a lot of weapon-grade nuclear material in the world — 1,600 tons of HEU and 500 tons of separated plutonium; keeping these stockpiles safe will take more than barbed wire; one method is a seal for HEU fuel rods with a pattern of flaws visible on ultrasound scans that cannot be removed without leaving telltale signs; the seals were installed last year in Romania and Pakistan; scientists work on other detection and safety methods

  • Admiral says smaller-scale terror plots a big concern for U.S. military

    The future commander of U.S. Northern Command says that the U.S. military is increasingly concerned with small, hard-to-detect terror plots; the nation’s most serious challenge, he added, is protecting the country from extremists using weapons of mass destruction

  • They screen pets, don't they?

    The Israeli security authorities are now alerting pet owners that their pets, if they look like “suspicious animals,” may be subjected to X-ray screening before boarding; if the owners refused, the pet would not be allowed on the flight; more than four million pets are flown across the world each year

  • Documentary offers new insights into McVeigh's path to terrorism

    MSNBC is airing ‘The McVeigh Tapes: Confessions of an American Terrorist,’ tonight at 9:99pm EST; the film draws on forty-five hours of never-before-released interview audiotapes recorded during McVeigh’s prison stay; the film reveals the bomber’s descriptions of the planning and execution of the horrific attack and offers insight into how a decorated American soldier became a dangerous, anti-government terrorist

  • They screen pets, don't they?

    The Israeli security authorities are now alerting pet owners that their pets, if they look like “suspicious animals,” may be subjected to X-ray screening before boarding; if the owners refused, the pet would not be allowed on the flight; more than four million pets are flown across the world each year

  • Weapon-grade fissile material in the world could yield 126,500 nuclear bombs

    The nations of the world together have in their possession about 1.6 million kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and about 500,000 kilograms of plutonium; it takes only about 25 kilograms of HEU or eight kilograms of plutonium to make a crude nuclear bomb; thus the weapon-grade material now available in the world could yield 64,000 HEU-based bombs and 62,500 plutonium-based bombs