From: Homeland Security News Wire
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Week in Review
Date: Sat Apr 19 14:01:19 MDT 2014
Body:
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WEEK IN REVIEW
Friday 18 April 2014 vol. 8 no. 90

Week in Review

Surveillance
NYPD shuts down controversial Muslim surveillance program

The New York Police Department has shut down its “Demographics Unit,” known for secretly infiltrating Muslim communities in New York and New Jersey with informers. The Muslim surveillance program, initiated under former NYPD commissioner, Raymond Kelly, is the subject of two federal lawsuits and has faced growing criticism from civil rights groups. NYPD acknowledged that in its 10-year existence, the surveillance program has not generated even a single lead.

Domestic terrorism
Three killed in attacks on two Jewish centers in Kansas City

A man shouting “Heil Hitler” and uttering other neo-Nazi slogans killed at least three people at two separate Jewish centers in Kansas City. Police arrested the man Sunday afternoon at an empty elementary school, located near the scene of the second shooting. One of the dead is a 14-year-old boy. Witnesses say the attacker appeared to be a man in his early 70s. As he was walking through the JCC and the theater, he asked people whether they were Jewish before shooting them.

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Biolabs
Amid controversy, Boston City council debates banning Level 4 Biolab

Boston has long been seen as “America’s Medical Capital,” but that may soon change if the city passes a measure to ban Level 4 Biolab disease research at Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory – research which includes deadly and untreatable strains that could decimate an exposed urban population in the event of an accident or terrorist activity.

Boston Marathon
Report details first-response lessons from Boston Marathon bombing

Last Thursday, DHS released a 19-page report titled “Boston One Year Later: DHS’s Lessons Learned,” detailing three topics which were a focus of attention in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. The report discussed the “importance of partnerships,” the “need for effective and reliable communications,” and the need to further boost anti-radicalization efforts.

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Schools
Allegations about Muslim plot to take over U.K. schools rock Britain

Stories have emerged in Britain about what has been described as a “Trojan Horse” plot by Jihadists to take control of schools in the Birmingham area. The plot was outlined in a purported letter from one Muslim extremist in the city of Birmingham to another. The letter outlines tactics such as spreading false allegations about senior managers that they were promoting sex education or Christian prayers to Muslim children. Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials now admit the document is very likely a hoax, but the city of Birmingham has launched an investigation. The other day, Secretary of Education Michael Gove announced his office was launching its own investigation, to be headed by Peter Clarke, former head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command. Leaders of the West Midland Police and the Birmingham city council harshly criticized Gove for his decision – which the Chief Constable of the West Midland Police described as “desperately unfortunate” – saying it would add nothing to the ongoing investigations, but would unnecessarily inflame the already tense inter-communal relations in the city. Leaders of the city council said Gove’s move would “inevitably” lead people to “draw unwarranted conclusions” about the allegations.

Grid
More states tell utilities to protect the grid from EMP

Recent storms and floods have highlighted the vulnerability of the U.S. electrical grid. There has been an increase in storm-related power outages in the United States affecting 50,000 customers or more. Between 2000 and 2004, there were 149 storm-related power outages affecting 50,000 customers or more, but between 2005 and 2009, the number increased to 349. Should an electromagnetic burst blow out transformers, shutting down the electrical grid, radio communications, and global positioning systems (GPS) used in cell phones, then airplanes and automobiles would not be able to operate. Law enforcement and emergency responders would lack communication, electric traffic signals would malfunction. The banking system and many sectors of the economy would grind to a halt.

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Nukes
Red Team’s concepts, approach gain support

Headed by Thom Mason, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Red Team aims to modernize the uranium processing procedure on a budget of $4.2 billion to $6.5 billion. Even before Red Teamdelivered its report on alternatives to the expensive Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant by the 15 April 2014 deadline, the group of experts, who come from different disciplines, had already gained support among energy officials and some members of Congress.

Detection
New detection technology to help combat nuclear trafficking

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the greatest danger to nuclear security comes from terrorists acquiring sufficient quantities of plutonium or highly enriched uranium (HEU) to construct a crude nuclear explosive device. The IAEA also notes that most cases of illicit nuclear trafficking have involved gram-level quantities, which can be challenging to detect with most inspection methods. Special algorithm coupled with commercial X-ray scanners allows detection of small amounts of fissile materials in luggage.

Anthrax detector
Pocket-sized anthrax detector aids global agriculture

Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax, is commonly found in soils all over the world and can cause serious, and often fatal, illness in both humans and animals. The bacteria can survive in harsh conditions for decades. In humans, exposure to B. anthracis may occur through skin contact, inhalation of spores or eating contaminated meat. A credit-card-sized anthrax detection cartridge developed at Sandia National Laboratories and recently licensed to a small business makes testing safer, easier, faster, and cheaper.

Terrorism insurance
Congress urged to renew the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) is set to expire at the end of 2014 and members of Congress are urging its reinstatement before it is too late. The bill was enacted in 2002 in response to 9/11, and requires private insurers to offer terrorism coverage to individuals, with government assistance should the total payout from an event exceeds $100 million.

Extending terrorism insurance would save U.S. government money after future attacks

In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, terrorism risk insurance quickly became either unavailable or very expensive. Congress reacted by passing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which provides an assurance of government support after a catastrophic attack. This has helped keep terrorism risk insurance affordable for businesses. The program will expire at the end of this year and Congress is considering the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets.

Infrastructure protection
Long-term predictions for Miami sea level rise could be available soon

Researchers say that Miami could know as early as 2020 how high sea levels will rise into the next century. Scientists conclude that sea level rise is one of the most certain consequences of climate change. The speed and long-term height of that rise, however, are unknown. Some researchers believe that sea level rise is accelerating, some suggest the rate is holding steady, while others say it is decelerating. Scientists say that numbers should continue to be crunched every decade, creating more certainty in long-term planning -- and helping develop solutions for a changing planet.

Ray guns
U.S. Navy's laser weapon ready for summer deployment

Navy engineers are making final adjustments to a laser weapon prototype which will be the first of its kind to deploy aboard a ship late this summer. The prototype, an improved version of the Laser Weapon System (LaWS), will be installed on USS Ponce for at-sea testing in the Persian Gulf. Navy leaders have made directed-energy weapons a top priority to counter what they call asymmetric threats, including unmanned and light aircraft and small attack boats that could be used to deny U.S. forces access to certain areas. High-energy lasers offer an affordable and safe way to target these threats at the speed of light with extreme precision and an unlimited magazine.

Energy
High-altitude wind energy shows promise

Wind turbines hovering high in the air and tethered to the ground, like kites, have the potential to generate huge amounts of electricity, based on a recent wind availability study. Researchers pinpointed tracts of the atmosphere ideal for locating airborne wind energy (AWE) devices, which convert kinetic energy from wind into electricity. Recently published research shows that there are enough areas usable by airborne turbines to produce several terawatts of electric power annually -- more than enough needed to meet worldwide demands. More than twenty companies are developing various versions of the technology, with over 100 related patents filed in the United States alone.

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Legion of the Rearguard - Dissident Irish Republicanism from ISBS
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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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