From: Homeland Security News Wire
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Week in Review
Date: Sat Aug 30 14:03:38 MDT 2014
Body:
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WEEK IN REVIEW
Friday 29 August 2014 vol. 8 no. 200

Week in Review

Libya
Egypt, UAE strike Islamists’ targets in Libya

Last week and again on Saturday, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) joined forces to conduct a series of airstrikes against Islamist militias in Libya. In recent months UAE special forces, operating out of Egyptian bases, destroyed an Islamist camp in eastern Libya without detection. The United States was not informed of the airstrikes, and U.S. permission was not sought. The move by Egypt and the UAE is but one more indication that after two years of introspection and confusion, the moderate forces in the Arab world have begun to assert themselves in an effort to gain a measure of control over post-Arab Spring developments in the region. The airstrikes by Egypt and UAE against Libya’s Islamist militias are thus an intensification of the regional campaign, led by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, to confront and defeat the Qatar- and Turkey-supported Islamist forces in the region.

Terrorism
Most of 2013 terrorist attacks took place in only a few countries

The majority of terrorist attacks occurring in 2013 remained isolated in just a few countries, according to the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), which is generated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). In 2013, 11,952 terrorist attacks resulted in 22,178 fatalities (including perpetrator deaths) and 37,529 injuries across 91 countries. More than half of all attacks (54 percent), fatalities (61 percent), and injuries (69 percent) occurred in just three countries: Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

ISIS cleverly exploits social media for recruiting, communicating, and instilling fear

Islamist militants have adopted social media as their primary medium for communicating with the public. Terrorism experts and social media analysts agree that in recent weeks IS has demonstrated a mastery of social media that far exceeds that of al-Qaeda. That use of social media is partly due to the participation of young Western-educated recruits who join IS.

U.S., European policies on paying ransom for kidnapped citizens not in sync

The beheading of American journalist James Foley by a militant from the Islamic State has focused renewed attention on the U.S. policy of not negotiating with or paying ransom to terrorists – and on the differences between U.S. policy and the policies followed by many European countries.

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Ebola
West Africa Ebola cases to rise to 20,000; in Liberia virus uncontainable: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday warned the number of Ebola cases could rise to 20,000, while doctors in Liberia say the virus is now spreading so rapidly that the Ebola epidemic, at least in Liberia, can no longer be contained by the resources available in the country. WHO says the outbreak is accelerating throughout west Africa, where the number of deaths yesterday crossed the 1,500 mark, with 1,552 confirmed deaths. The number of those infected reached 3,069 – but health specialists say the numbers of those infected could be two to four times higher. The health care infrastructure in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leon is so poor, and large parts of each country have no meaningful health care system at all, that reports of those infected with the Ebola virus and those who died from it must be considered as underestimates.

Poll finds many in U.S. lack knowledge about Ebola and its transmission

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports no known cases of Ebola transmission in the United States, a Harvard School of Public Health poll released last week shows that four in ten (39 percent) adults in the United States are concerned that there will be a large outbreak in the United States, and a quarter (26 percent) are concerned that they or someone in their immediate family may get sick with Ebola over the next year.

Real ID
Residents of six Real ID-noncompliant states to face restrictions

Massachusetts is one of the six states whose residents are unable to enter restricted parts of federal buildings without another identification card, such as a passport. The REAL ID measure requires states to verify citizenship and update security standards when issuing licenses. Officials in Massachusetts, Maine, Oklahoma, Alaska, Arizona, and Louisiana say that the REAL ID program will cost millions and that it raises privacy concerns and infringes on state' rights.

Law enforcement technology
Obama orders review of transferring military gear to local police

President Barack Obama has announced a review of federal programs that transfer surplus military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. The review will decide whether the programs are needed, if agencies are properly trained to work with the military grade equipment they receive, and whether the federal government is effectively keeping track of the equipment and their use.

Nuclear risks
Seismic faults make Diablo Canyon a nuclear catastrophe in waiting: Experts

Sunday's magnitude-6 earthquake in Northern California has renewed focus on the dangers of Diablo Canyon, considered by many as a nuclear catastrophe in waiting. In 2008 authorities discovered the Shoreline fault, which lies about 650 yards from the plant's reactors. Surveys have mapped a network of other faults around the reactors. Diablo Canyon’s owner released research in 2011 which determined that any of the three nearby faults -- the Shoreline, Los Osos, and San Luis Bay -- is capable of producing significantly more shaking during an earthquake than was accounted for in the design of the plant's most vulnerable equipment.

Earthquakes
Napa earthquake may persuade lawmakers to fund earthquake warning system

Last Sunday's Napa earthquake may push Congress to increase funding for an earthquake warning system. Building out the West Coast earthquake warning system, called ShakeAlert, would cost $120 million over five years, and an additional $16 million a year to operate. Today, ShakeAlert operates in a testing phase, and sensors notify researchers and volunteer participants when an earthquake has been detected.

Seismic retrofitting of older buildings helps, but it has its limits

Even before last Sunday's magnitude-6 earthquake struck Napa, officials anticipated that such an event would damage many of Napa's historic brick buildings. So years ago, brick structures were required to get seismic retrofitting -- bolting brick walls to ceilings and floors to make them stronger. "We can't keep every single brick in place in many of these older buildings without extraordinarily costly retrofits," says a structural engineer. "We can reduce the damage in losses, but not eliminate them entirely in older buildings."

Preparedness
Florida better prepared to deal with disasters than it was in 2004 -- the Year of Four Hurricanes

Much has improved for residents and emergency managers in South Florida since the state's 2004 Hurricane season, known as the Year of Four Hurricanes. That season, Hurricane Charley released 150-mph winds, followed by Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. Officials in South Florida are implementing new technology and improved protocols to battle the next round of extreme weather events.

Infrastructure protection
Rising sea levels force the Solomon Islands provincial capital to relocate

Taro, the Solomon Islands provincial capital, will be relocated to the mainland due to coastal hazards and the risks of rising sea levels resulting from climate change. Taro is less than two meters above sea level, presenting a significant risk to the community, which will be compounded in the future with climate change and the resulting rise in sea levels. The relocation project is hailed by the Solomon Islands National Government as a best-practice model for natural hazard resilience planning for other provinces across the Solomon Islands and more broadly across the Pacific region.

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