From: Homeland Security News Wire
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Week in Review
Date: Sat Jun 14 14:05:01 MDT 2014
Body:
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WEEK IN REVIEW
Saturday 14 June 2014 vol. 8 no. 137

Week in Review

Terrorism
Administration’s $5 billion counterterrorism (CT) fund met with questions, uncertainty

The White House's proposed $5 billion counterterrorism (CT) fund designed to help U.S. officials train and equip allied countries to eliminate elements of al-Qaeda or organized terrorism. Some lawmakers and officials familiar with the issue are unsure whether the funds would be directed toward Syrian rebels, or distributed among African countries. Others are worried that the program may interfere with other initiatives meant to accomplish similar objectives.

Bergdahl exchange
States have consistently negotiated with terrorists to get back their citizens

The prisoner exchange with the Taliban has been met with criticism from some quarters, but, in fact, there is nothing unique about it, as the record shows that states around the world do negotiate with terrorists in order to get back their citizens or advance other goals. For example, since the early 1980s, Israel has freed nearly 8,000 Palestinian terrorists, and Palestinian and Arab prisoners, for fewer than twenty Israelis -- soldiers and citizens who were held captive by Hezbolla and Hamas, and the bodies of several dead Israelis soldiers Hezbollah held as bargaining chips. Experts say that arguments can be made for or against theBergdahl exchange on its merits, but what cannot be argued is that the exchange should not have been made because it involved negotiations with terrorists.

Biometrics
Digital birth card to help Kenya fight terrorist infiltration

The influx of immigrants from neighboring African states includes Islamic militants, some belonging to terrorist group al-Shabaab. Maintaining proper records of every Kenyan and immigrant will offer authorities leads on who is in the country and potentially a threat to national security. Some suggests the adoption of a Digital Birth Card (DBC) as a way to curb Kenya's terrorism fears.

A first: Armed robber convicted based on Chicago’s facial recognition technology

Pierre Martin became the first person in Chicago to receive a prison sentence after being convicted based on evidence from the city's facial recognition technology, NeoFace. Martin was sentenced Monday to twenty-two years for two armed robberies carried out on the Chicago Transit Authority(CTA) train system in January and February 2013. A few weeks after the incidents, Chicago Police Department officials announced that Marin was identified using facial recognition software.

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Border security
1.6%: CBP data show dysfunctional Internal Affairs
By Robert Lee Maril

The good news is that James F. Tomscheck, the head of internal affairs for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol since 2006, was reassigned last week to another job within his agency. The bad news is that CBP internal affairs supports a decades-old culture mired in cronyism and secrecy. Last month, for example, CBP finally disclose data about internal affairs investigations into allegations of abuse by its own agents. Even so, the numbers are so out of whack that this federal report easily might be confused with the Chinese government’s recent version of the violence at Tiananmen Square in 1989: out of 809 complaints of abuse by CBP agents from January of 2009 to January of 2012, only an astounding thirteen required disciplinary action against CBP agents. The public is supposed to believe, in other words, that under Tomscheck’s leadership, a mere 1.6 percent of the charges against his agents over a three-year period had merit.

Immigration
Sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied children crossing into U.S.

DHS' Office of Immigration Statisticsreports that U.S. Border Patrolagents apprehended 30,000 children traveling alone illegally across the Mexican border in 2013. The Border Patrol expects to arrest as many as 90,000 children this year, and about 142,000 children in 2015. The Office of Management and Budgethas notified the Senate Appropriations Committeethat the increase in the number of children crossing the border alone would cost the government at least $2.28 billion, about $1.4 billion more than the Obama administration had budgeted for in its Unaccompanied Alien Childrenprogram.

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Skilled immigrants to be granted “express entry” to Canada to meet labor market needs

Canada's immigration minister Chris Alexander has announced a new immigration system, set to launch in 2015, allowing qualified skilled immigrants to enter the country as permanent residents as a way to fill open jobs where there are no available Canadian workers. The immigration ministry has promised to process applications within six months or less.

Visas
Economic relationships, not terrorism fears, drive visa decisions: study

Despite heightened focus on preventing global terrorism since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, researchers have found that the economic relationship between two countries is the most significant factor in determining the acceptance or rejection rate of visas. "Surprisingly what I find is the global reputation a state garners as a prominent origin of terrorism has a very minute impact when you take into account trade interdependence," the study’s author says.

Surveillance
Defense in terror case challenges exclusion from court session on surveillance records

The defense for Adel Daoud, a young Muslim man who was arrested outside a Chicago bar in an undercover FBI operation and charged with attempting to blow up the bar, has submitted a motion objecting to a private court session held to discuss the defense's access to classified   records. “Not only do I not get to be there, but I didn’t even get to object,” defense attorney Thomas Durkin said. “I had to object over the fact that I couldn’t even make an objection.”

Hazmat
Feds, rail operators, Washington State embroiled in crude oil shipment disclosure dispute

Last month the U.S. Department of Transportation(DOT) ordered rail carriers with trains carrying crude oil to notify state officials in the states through which the trains pass about the volume, schedule, and routes of these trains. The amount of crude oil transported by trains has grown dramatically – from 6,000 carloads in 2005 to more than 400,000 carloads in 2013. The increase in the volume of crude oil shipping has been accompanied by a sharp rise in the number of accidents and derailments. DOT’s order was meant to allow states’ first responders to be prepared, but the railways treat shipping information as "security sensitive" and refuse to share it with states’ officials unless the information is distributed to emergency response groups for planning purposes only. Washington State says that state laws require that such information be made public.

Microbial forensics
Advancing microbial forensics to respond to global biological outbreaks

Much as human DNA can be used as evidence in criminal trials, genetic information about microorganisms can be analyzed to identify pathogens or other biological agents in the event of a suspicious disease outbreak. Biological outbreaks can include natural occurrences, accidental, or negligent releases from laboratories, biocrimes aimed at individuals or small groups, or acts of bioterrorism and biowarfare intended to affect large populations. The tools and methods used to investigate such outbreaks belong to an emerging discipline known as microbial forensics, but the field faces substantial scientific and technical challenges, says a new report.

Port security
IT security at U.S. ports weak: GAO

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that maritime security policies and plans at three high-risk U.S. ports do not effectively address how to assess, manage, and respond to cybersecurity threats. While all three ports have strategies to deal with physical security, there were few policies that specifically addressed cybersecurity.

Infrastructure
Debate continues over controversial lawsuit-killing Louisiana oil bill

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana) is facing a difficult decision over whether or not to veto a measure which would kill a contentious lawsuit filed by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SLFPA-E) against ninety-seven different oil and gas companies regarding long-term environmental damage claims, including those of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Infrastructure protection
Connecticut preparing for sea level rise, adapting to climate change

Earlier this year the University of Connecticut announced the creation of the Institute for Community Resiliency and Climate Adaptation. the Institute is designed to increase the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities and individuals along Connecticut’s coast and inland waterways as they are affected by the growing impact of climate change on the environment.

STEM education
New, more effective teaching approach for engineering education

Purdue University researchers who developed a new approach more effectively to teach large numbers of engineering students are recommending that the approach be considered for adoption by universities globally. The system, called the Purdue Mechanics Freeform Classroom, allows students to interact with each other and faculty online while accessing hundreds of instructional videos and animations. The approach also might be used for any large STEM-related courses.

Disasters
New app helps kids in tornado-prone areas understand disasters

Kids growing up in tornado alley are used to bright, splotchy radar patterns moving across a television screen, and most know the difference between a tornado watch and warning. Do they understand, however, how to read and predict the weather based on radar images and forecasts? Researchers hope to remove the mystery around weather forecasting by speaking to kids in a language they could better understand -- gaming.

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Legion of the Rearguard - Dissident Irish Republicanism from ISBS
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Homeland Security, Criminal Justice, Law & Public Policy - Master of Science Legal Studies 100% online - CALU Global Online
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Progress and Modernity in Arab Societies
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State, Political Community and Foreign Relations in Modern and Contemporary Syria
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