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DHS intelligence report warns of domestic right-wing terror threat They're carrying out sporadic terror attacks on police, have threatened attacks on government buildings and reject government authority.
A new intelligence assessment, circulated by the Department of Homeland Security this month and reviewed by CNN, focuses on the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists and comes as the Obama administration holds a White House conference to focus efforts to fight violent extremism.
Some federal and local law enforcement groups view the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to -- and in some cases greater than -- the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS, that garner more public attention.
The Homeland Security report, produced in coordination with the FBI, counts 24 violent sovereign citizen-related attacks across the U.S. since 2010. (CNN)
Jesse Ventura with Piers Morgan : Government Shutdown to JFK Conspiracy [FULL Interview] Jesse Ventura joined Piers Morgan Tuesday night to react to the government shutting down, bashing both the Republicans and Democrats as "gangs" who have effectively legalized bribery in the American legislature. Ventura said the two-party system has to go and party unaffiliated candidates have to start getting elected.
Ventura asked if the government's shut down, "That should mean we shouldn't have to pay any taxes, right?" He called for another American revolution to push back against the "corrupt system" created by Democrats and Republicans in Washington.
He told Morgan the two-party system has legalized "bribery" for access, suggesting he's fed up enough to actually run for president in 2016. Ventura called both parties "gangs," and Morgan admitted he had to agree, adding that they're "overpaid, underworked children!"
As for Obamacare, Ventura didn't have much of an opinion on it, saying he believes in people's rights to health care, pointing out that the country would have more money for health care if it stopped going to war so much. (CNN)
Why I changed my mind on weed Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called "Weed." The title "Weed" may sound cavalier, but the content is not.
I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.
Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled "Why I would Vote No on Pot."
Well, I am here to apologize.
I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.
Instead, I lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have "no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse." (CNN)
Tamerlan Tsarnaev: FBI denies mother Zubeidat Tsarnaev's claims they tracked elder bombing suspect The FBI has flatly rejected an assertion by the mother of the two suspected Boston bombers that the bureau had been tracking her oldest son and had spoken with him last week after the deadly marathon bombing.
The chief spokesman for the FBI, Mike Kortan, said he continues to stand by an FBI statement issued Friday that said that the only communication the FBI ever had with Tamerlan Tsarnaev was an interview agents conducted with him in 2011 at the urging of a foreign government, since identified as Russia.
Zubeidat Tsarnaev, the mother of the suspected bombers, told reporters the FBI had tracked her oldest son for as long as five years.
The FBI on Sunday referred again to the previous statement that agents did not know the identities of alleged bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev until Friday. (CNN)
FBI: Help us ID Boston bomb suspects After three days of poring over photos and video, investigators appealed to the public to help them identify two men now considered suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.
The men were photographed walking down Boylston Street, one behind the other, near the finish line of Monday's race.
Suspect 1 was seen wearing a light-colored, collarless shirt underneath a dark-colored jacket and wearing a dark baseball cap.
The man identified as Suspect 2 was seen setting down a backpack at the site of the second explosion "within minutes" of the blasts that killed three people and wounded nearly 180, said Special Agent Rick DesLauriers, the head of the FBI's Boston office. He was wearing a light-colored hooded sweatshirt, a black jacket and a white baseball cap turned backward. - Other footage, still unreleased, shows that the two suspects stayed at the scene to watch the carnage unfold, a federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told CNN's Susan Candiotti.
"When the bombs blow up, when most people are running away and victims were lying on the ground, the two suspects walk away pretty casually," said the official, who has seen the unreleased video. "They acted differently than everyone else."
While video of at least one suspect planting the bomb exists, the FBI had chosen not to release it, according to the official. One reason, according to the official, is that were the media to repeatedly show the suspects leaving the bomb, it might cause some people to overreact if they came into contact with them. (CNN)
U.S. military to step up presence in Jordan in light of Syria civil war In a critical indication of growing U.S. military involvement in the civil war in Syria, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the deployment of more American troops to Jordan.
Hagel announced the deployment, which was first reported on CNN, in a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
He said the troops will work alongside Jordanian forces to "improve readiness and prepare for a number of scenarios."
The troops, which will number up to 200, are from the headquarters of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, two Defense Department officials told CNN. (CNN)
Boston Marathon bombs have hallmarks of 'lone wolf' devices, experts say The devices used in the Boston Marathon attack Monday are typical of the "lone wolf:" the solo terrorist who builds a bomb on his own by following a widely available formula.
In this case, the formula seems very similar to one that al Qaeda has recommended to its supporters around the world as both crudely effective and difficult to trace. But it is also a recipe that has been adopted by extreme right-wing individuals in the United States.
The threat of the "lone wolf" alarms the intelligence community.
"This is what you worry about the most," a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN's Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger. "No trail, no intelligence." (CNN)
Alex Jones may be the king of conspiracy Conspiracies abound, Alex Jones will tell you.
Bankers pull the strings on world governments to solidify their power. Companies are harming you and ducking responsibility. Antidepressants are "suicide mass murder pills." President Barack Obama is using drones against Americans.
And the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, was engineered by the government.
Now, he's attacking CNN host Piers Morgan, depicting the British native of being a "red coat" out to step on Americans' rights and calling for his deportation.
In recent segments on Morgan's show, Jones accused him of wanting to take Americans' guns, hurling insults at Morgan in between shouted arguments.
"You're a hatchet man of the new world order. You're a hatchet man," Jones told Morgan on Monday. "And I want to say this right here, you think you're a tough guy? Have me back with a boxing ring in here, and I'll wear red, white, and blue, and you can wear your Jolly Roger." (CNN)
Conn. Police: We have to be sensitive -- Statement from Connecticut State Police spokesman, Lt. J. Paul Vance. "One thing that is becoming somewhat of a concern, and that is misinformation is being posted on social media sites. There has been misinformation coming from people posing as the shooter in this case, using other IDs, mimicing this crime and crime scene and criminal activity that took place in this community. There's been some things in somewhat of a threatening manner. It is important to know that we have discussed with federal authorities that these issues are crimes, they will be investigated statewide and federally, and prosecution will take place when people perpetrating this information are identified. Again, all information relative to this case is coming from these microphones, and any information coming from other sources cannot be confirmed and in many cases it's been found, it's inaccurate." (CNN)
Treating PTSD with Ecstasy: One story When Rachel Hope picked up the phone in 2005 to call Dr. Michael Mithoefer, she didn't have high hopes.
"I had very low expectations," said Hope, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder for years before investigating whether the drug Ecstasy might be able to free her from her torment. Her PTSD was traced to a period of sexual abuse as a child and a life-threatening car accident.
In the initial 45-minute conversation, Mithoefer determined that Hope didn't have other serious psychological problems. He agreed to fly her to South Carolina to take part in his study of the experimental therapy. There, she underwent more psychological testing and a physical exam. There were standard therapy sessions, so Mithoefer could understand Hope's past and her symptoms. Finally, she was ready.
Light streamed through the skylight as Hope lay back on a futon in Mithoefer's office, in the rear of a small bungalow. (CNN)
Washington counties drop marijuana misdemeanor possession cases in light of vote The prosecutor's offices for two Washington counties -- including the one that contains Seattle -- announced today they will dismiss 175 misdemeanor marijuana possession charges, days after the state's voters legalized the drug.
The dropped cases all involve arrests of individuals age 21 and older for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana.
Washington state voters passed Initiative 502 on Tuesday, thus legalizing and regulating the production, possession, and distribution of cannabis for people ages 21 and older.
The initiative is set to take effect December 6, though King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg decided to act before then. (CNN)
FEMA wins praise, responds to anger about gas supply Seven years after a disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is winning praise for how it's dealing with Superstorm Sandy.
"This is the all-new FEMA, and the leadership is very, very good, very focused," said Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "They're doing an excellent job."
Score one for FEMA's attempts to come back from its infamous failure after Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005.
But the post-Sandy reviews for FEMA aren't all moonlight and roses.
Photos: New York recovers from Sandy Photos: New York recovers from Sandy
As Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano -- whose department oversees FEMA -- is expected to visit the region Friday, many survivors in hard-hit places are angry. (CNN)
Sandy leaves election officials scrambling When Sandy slammed into the East Coast on Monday, it set into motion a tight timeline for election officials: one week to ensure that voters in states from Virginia to New Hampshire would be able cast their ballots on Election Day.
But power outages, flooding and snow left in the storm's wake could make that impossible for voters in some of the hardest-hit states.
Some fire stations, schools, community centers and other venues that serve as polling places will have to be cleaned up if they were flooded or damaged.
Other polling spots may need to be relocated if they are too damaged to be used. Voting machines may have to be dropped off at some polling places with election officials gambling that power will be restored there by Tuesday. (CNN)
High IQ linked to drug use The "Just Say No" generation was often told by parents and teachers that intelligent people didn't use drugs. Turns out, the adults may have been wrong.
A new British study finds children with high IQs are more likely to use drugs as adults than people who score low on IQ tests as children. The data come from the 1970 British Cohort Study, which has been following thousands of people over decades. The kids' IQs were tested at the ages of 5, 10 and 16. The study also asked about drug use and looked at education and other socioeconomic factors. Then when participants turned 30, they were asked whether they had used drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the past year. (CNN)
How women defused population bomb This week the world will reach 7 billion people. Understandably that raises concern about a soaring world population. But there is a good news story from the demographic data that is not often told. We -- or rather the poor women of the world -- are defusing the population bomb.
Women today are having half as many children as their mothers and grandmothers. The global average is now down to 2.5 children per woman, and it continues to fall.
This is not just a rich-world phenomenon. Much of Asia now has fertility rates below two, from Japan and Korea to China, with its one-child policy, through Taiwan, Vietnam, Burma, Singapore and much of southern India and parts of the Middle East. Behind the veil, the women of Iran have cut their fertility from eight to less than two in a generation. - According to Stephen Pacala, the director of the Princeton Environmental Institute, the world's richest half billion people -- that's about 7 % of the global population -- are responsible for half the world's carbon dioxide emissions, the primary cause of man-made climate change. Meanwhile the poorest 50 % of the world are responsible for just 7 % of emissions. So there is no way halting population growth in the poor world today would have more than a very marginal effect on climate change.
It is the world's consumption patterns we need to fix, not its reproductive habits. Every time we talk about too many babies in Africa or India, we are denying this fact. (CNN)
TSA officer faces dismissal over 'get your freak on, girl' note in luggage An airplane baggage screener faces dismissal for leaving a note in a passenger's bag that said "Get Your Freak On, Girl" after discovering a vibrator.
The Transportation Security Administration "has initiated action to remove the individual from federal service," an agency spokesperson said. "Like all federal employees, this individual is entitled to due process and protected by the Privacy Act. During the removal action process, the employee will not perform any screening duties."
The agency randomly selects checked baggage for screening on flights originating in the United States. Lawyer and writer Jill Filipovic tweeted a picture of the note Monday and later blogged about it on Feministe.
"This is what TSA will do when they inspect a bag you checked and find a, um, 'personal item,' " she wrote. "Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not OK, but I also just died laughing in my hotel room." (CNN)
First responders decry exclusion from 9/11 ceremony When debris rained from the sky in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, the first responders to the terrorist attack did not turn away. They rushed to the World Trade Center buildings while the world around them crumbled.
Yet now, after all the wreckage has been cleared and the rebuilding has begun, their path is again blocked -- not by flying chunks of smoldering rubble, but by space constraints.
The first responders are not invited to this year's September 11 memorial ceremony at ground zero, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office confirmed Monday.
It's a painful insult for many of the approximately 3,000 men and women who risked their lives, limbs and lungs on that monumental day, puncturing another hole in a still searing wound. (CNN)
Squelching social media after riots a dangerous idea A pretty good article that explains why censoring social media is a bad idea, and not just for first world selfish privacy concerns. I am particularly impressed by how she ties it to the worldwide struggle for internet freedoms. - In an emergency session of Parliament on Thursday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the violence, looting and arson sweeping his country "were organized via social media." He said his government is now considering how and whether to "stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality."
On Friday, China's state-run Xinhua news agency published a commentary contrasting Cameron's latest statements with his Arab Spring-inspired speech earlier this year, in which he loftily proclaimed that freedom of expression should be respected in Tahrir Square as much as in London's Trafalgar Square.
"We may wonder why Western leaders, on the one hand, tend to indiscriminately accuse other nations of monitoring, but on the other take for granted their steps to monitor and control the Internet," Xinhua said. "For the benefit of the general public, proper Web-monitoring is legitimate and necessary." (CNN)
Phone-hacking whistle-blower found dead One of the first journalists to go on the record and allege phone hacking at News of the World was found dead Monday, the British Press Association said.
Sean Hoare, a former News of the World employee who said Andy Coulson "encouraged" phone-hacking, "was discovered at his home in Watford, Hertfordshire, after concerns were raised about his whereabouts," the press association said.
"The death is being treated as 'unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious,'" the report quoted Hertfordshire police as saying.
The Guardian reported that Hoare had recently injured his nose and his foot in an accident. It was unclear whether those injuries were linked to his death.
Hoare had publicly accused News of the World of phone-hacking and using "pinging" -- a method of tracking someone's cell phone using technology that only police and security officials could access -- according to the New York Times. (CNN)
Will gays be 'sacrificial lambs' in Arab Spring? The uprisings bringing political change and demonstrations across much of the Arab world have given millions of people hope of greater freedom. But some gay people in the Middle East fear exactly the opposite.
Homosexuality is illegal -- enforced to varying degrees -- in most Arab countries.
A 2011 report by the International Lesbian and Gay Association reported that homosexuality is illegal in 76 countries worldwide and punishable by death in five, including Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Despite the risks, there are those willing to speak out and campaign for gay rights across the Middle East. - A 35-year-old gay activist in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, who also spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity, said: "Being gay in U.A.E. is keeping yourself discreet and hiding your inner self. One has to be very careful when in public to not draw any attention towards himself in order not to be harassed.
"The political changes occurring in the Middle East are on a political level only and have not resulted in any society changes. All the gay websites are blocked in U.A.E." (CNN)
Report: iPhones secretly track their users' locations Apple devices appear to be tracking their owners' locations and storing data about people's whereabouts without their knowledge, according to a report posted Wednesday on a site called iPhone Tracker.
The unauthorized surveillance started in June 2010, when the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system was released, according to two researchers who say they discovered a hidden tracking file and posted it out of concern for users.
Apple has not responded to the allegations.
The researchers have posted a program online that will let any iPhone user see a map of his or her location over time, going back to June, when iOS 4.0 was released.
The program's developers, listed as Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, say this data is stored on a person's iPhone or 3G-enabled iPad and on computers that are synced with those devices. There's no evidence, they say, that the data is also transmitted to Apple as it's collected. (CNN)
New terrorism alert system will offer specific warnings A new terrorism warning system will provide the public with information on specific threats, replacing the color-coded alerts put in place after the September 11, 2001, attacks, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.
In announcing the new system at New York City's Grand Central Terminal, commonly known as Grand Central Station, Napolitano said a main goal was to provide better understanding of the nature of the specific threat, what people should do in reaction to it and how they could help security officials in responding.
"It will provide alerts based on specific, credible information about potential terrorist activity," Napolitano said, adding that the alerts would contain "as many details as we can provide." (CNN)
Cruel and unusual treatment of WikiLeaks suspect Army Pfc. Bradley Manning has been imprisoned in the Quantico Marine Corps Brig for nine months, suspected of giving highly classified State Department cables to the website WikiLeaks. He has not been tried, yet is kept in solitary confinement in a windowless room 23 hours a day and forced to sleep naked without pillows or blankets.
Human rights groups have condemned his treatment, and even State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley spoke out against it. Crowley has resigned, allegedly under pressure from the Obama administration. Defense officials say Manning is stripped of his clothes nightly to prevent him from committing suicide, yet his civilian lawyer says his client is at no risk.
The problem with the argument that Manning is being kept in long-term solitary confinement to prevent his suicide is that long-term solitary confinement causes suicide.
One of the most stunning statistics in criminology today is that, on average, 50% of U.S. prisoner suicides happen among the 2% to 8% of prisoners who are in solitary confinement, also known as segregation. When I tour prisons as I prepare for expert testimony in class-action lawsuits, many prisoners living in isolation tell me they despair of ever being released from solitary. - Manning is a pretrial detainee. The Constitution requires that innocence be assumed until guilt is proved, and that the defendant in criminal proceedings be provided with the wherewithal to participate in his legal defense.
The Eighth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution bars cruel and unusual punishment, and repeatedly, U.S. courts have found that overly harsh conditions of isolation and the denial of mental health treatment to a needy prisoner are Eighth Amendment violations. In international circles, for example, according to the U.N. Convention Against Torture (the United States is a signatory), the same violations of human rights are termed torture.
Clearly, Manning's treatment violates these constitutional guarantees and international prohibitions against torture. Why? Have we permitted our government, under the cloak of security precautions, to set up a secret gulag where conditions known to cause severe psychiatric damage prevail? As a concerned psychiatrist, I strenuously object to this callousness about conditions of confinement that predictably cause such severe harm. (CNN)
U.S. military blocks websites to help Japan recovery efforts The U.S. military has blocked access to a range of popular commercial websites in order to free up bandwidth for use in Japan recovery efforts, according to an e-mail obtained by CNN and confirmed by a spokesman for U.S. Strategic Command.
The sites -- including YouTube, ESPN, Amazon, eBay and MTV -- were chosen not because of the content but because their popularity among users of military computers account for significant bandwidth, according to Strategic Command spokesman Rodney Ellison. (CNN)
Why nuclear power is a necessity We are all deeply saddened by the news of the terrible devastation, destruction and death that occurred in Japan on March 12 from the incredible destruction brought on by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami. As if this were not enough, on the heels of these two events, several large nuclear power plants are in severe peril.
The dire events unfolding stem from a station blackout at the 40-year-old Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima initiated because of a tsunami-related failure of a number of redundant backup safety generators to power auxiliary cooling systems.
While the nuclear fission reactions liberating heat for power generation were stopped immediately from a reactor "SCRAM," many of the products of fissioning uranium-235 atoms are nuclides that are radioactive (radioisotopes) and they undergo nuclear decay typically in a chain of progeny that emit radiation that ends up as heat. (CNN)
Will Japan face a mental health crisis? The frightening disasters in Japan are mounting. Despite workers' Herculean efforts to prevent a complete meltdown at the country's earthquake-ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the situation appears to be growing more serious.
In fact, each of the catastrophes that have struck Japan since last Friday--the earthquake, the tsunami and now the potential of nuclear calamity--would have been singularly perilous to the Japanese public's psychological well-being. Their collective impact on mental health is unimaginable.
And mental health is just as important as physical health. We know from years of research that poor mental health leads to physical health problems, diminished quality of life, work-related problems, social and family dysfunction, and even early death.
When the partial core meltdown happened at the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in March 1979, people in the surrounding communities were frightened and bewildered by the confusing and contradictory information being disseminated about what exactly was occurring at the reactor and whether their health was at risk. Moreover, the population nearby was advised to evacuate and evacuation discussions were also held as far away as Philadelphia. (CNN)
Appeals planned as Amazon residents win ruling against Chevron A judge in Ecuador this week awarded $8.64 billion to Ecuadorian residents of the Amazon who had sued Chevron for years of crude oil pollution, but both sides said Tuesday they will appeal the verdict.
Chevron charges the verdict against them is the "product of fraud," and the plaintiffs say the size of the award is too small in comparison to what would be needed to do a real cleanup.
Luis Yanza, speaking for the residents' group the Assembly of those Affected by Chevron, said at a news conference that the ruling was "historic" and a "collective victory." However, he said, "Eight billion dollars doesn't represent a significant amount to repair the environmental damages."
The judgment against Chevron is the latest in 18 years of litigation between the Amazon residents and Texaco, which was later purchased by Chevron. It was decided in a courtroom in the Amazon by Judge Nicolas Zambrano. (CNN)
My credit card had a 79.9% APR Toni Riss had a credit card with a 79.9% interest rate.
The 58-year-old woman from Texas thought she struck gold when she found the First Premier card, which is aimed specifically at consumers with poor credit.
"I had an accident on a motorcycle, went through bankruptcy to pay for medical expenses and my credit went to hell in a hand basket, so I was looking for credit cards for people with bad credit" Riss said.
They granted her a card with a $300 limit -- typical for new customers -- and a starting rate of 29.9%, which Riss said she considered decent given her credit score.
But about six months after opening the card -- at the end of 2009 -- she received an unwelcome surprise in the mail.
"I about had a heart attack when I got a disclosure notice saying that my starting rate of 29.9% was going up to 79.9%," said Riss. "It was ludicrous. Talk about a highway robbery."
At that same time, First Premier Bank launched a new credit card with the sky-high 79.9% rate.
The card proved popular with consumers, said First Premier Bankcard CEO Miles Beacom, but the performance was bad: "A lot of the people ran up the card, defaulted and went directly to charge off." (CNN)
Commission spreads the blame for Gulf oil disaster in report "The blowout was not the product of a series of aberrational decisions made by rogue industry or government officials that could not have been anticipated or expected to occur again. Rather, the root causes are systemic and, absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur." - "Systemic" problems caused the Deepwater Horizon blowout and subsequent oil spill and only "significant reform" will prevent another, President Barack Obama's commission studying the disaster says in its soon-to-be-released report. (CNN)
'Space-time cloak' could conceal events Scientists compare bending light around an event to enabling a pedestrian to cross a road without interrupting the traffic flow. - New materials with the ability to manipulate the speed of light could enable the creation of a "space-time cloak" capable of masking events or even creating an illusion of "Star Trek"-style transportation, according to scientists in London.
The cloak, while currently only existing in mathematical theory, takes advantage of the potential properties of "metamaterials" -- artificial materials designed and manipulated at a molecular level to interact with and control electromagnetic waves.
Scientists have previously demonstrated that one possible use of metamaterials could be to render objects invisible by bending light around them. But Professor Martin McCall of Imperial College London says he has now extended the concept of invisibility to a cloak also capable of hiding events both in time and space.
"In some senses our work is mathematically quite closely related to the idea of invisibility cloaking," McCall told CNN. "It's just that we're doing it in space and time instead of just in space. It's added a new dimension to cloaking, quite literally." (CNN)
TSA: Despite objections, all passengers must be screened In response to a video of a California man's dispute with airport security officials, the Transportation Security Administration said Monday it tries to be sensitive to individuals, but everyone getting on a flight must be screened.
The video, in which software engineer John Tyner refuses an X-ray scan at the San Diego, California, airport, has sparked a debate over screening procedures.
Tyner told CNN on Sunday that he was surprised to see so many people take an interest in his refusal and the dispute with airport screeners that followed it. But he said he hoped the video will focus attention on what he calls a government invasion of privacy.
"Obviously, everybody has their own perspective about their personal screening," TSA administrator John Pistole told CNN. "The question is, how do we best address those issues ... while providing the best possible security?" (CNN)
Airport body-scan radiation under scrutiny They're arriving at airports across the country. Some complain they are invasive and an assault on our privacy. But are body scanners at security checkpoints dangerous?
Some scientists and two major airline pilots unions contend not enough is known about the effects of the small doses of X-ray radiation emitted by one of the two types of airport scanning machines.
The Transportation Security Administration's advanced imaging technology machines use two separate means of creating images of passengers -- backscatter X-ray technology and millimeter-wave technology.
At the end of October, 189 backscatter units and 152 millimeter-wave machines were in use in more than 65 airports. The total number of imaging machines is expected to near 1,000 by the end of 2011, according to the TSA.
While the TSA says the machines are safe, backscatter technology raises concerns among some because it uses small doses of ionizing radiation. The use of millimeter-wave technology hasn't received the same attention, and radiation experts say it poses no known health risks. (CNN)
On the frontline of cyber warfare In the future, warfare may shift from a battlefield to a keyboard.
Superpowers might deem a nuclear exchange too destructive, but already they are developing Weapons of Mass Disruption; software viruses that are designed to cripple the operating systems of power stations, dams, traffic lights and public transport.
This is the stark warning from Datuk Mohammed Noor Amin Chairman of the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT).
"It's not just superpowers, even medium-powers are increasingly equipping themselves with the skills to do harm. The only issue is whether it is going to be used or not," said Amin.
If you think of computer viruses in equivalent terms to pathological viruses in the real world, then IMPACT is akin to the Center for Disease Control.
It's not just superpowers, even medium-powers are increasingly equipping themselves with the skills to do harm. (CNN)
High alert in U.S. after suspicious package found in UK Two packages found abroad that were bound for Jewish organizations in the United States contained a massive amount of explosive material that would have triggered a powerful blast, a source close to the investigation has told CNN.
U.S. officials believe that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, commonly referred to as AQAP, is behind the plot.
President Barack Obama confirmed that the packages -- intercepted in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates -- originated in Yemen, the stronghold of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. (CNN)
Former surgeon general calls for marijuana legalization Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders told CNN Sunday she supports legalizing marijuana.
The trend-setting state of California is voting next month on a ballot initiative to legalize pot, also known as Proposition 19. The measure would legalize recreational use in the state, though federal officials have said they would continue to enforce drug laws in California if the initiative is approved.
"What I think is horrible about all of this, is that we criminalize young people. And we use so many of our excellent resources ... for things that aren't really causing any problems," said Elders. "It's not a toxic substance." (CNN)
Apple patents 'anti-sexting' technology Apple has patented technology that could be used by parents to prevent their kids from sending sexually explicit text messages -- or "sexting."
The technology, which has not been commercialized, would let a phone's administrator block an iPhone from sending or receiving texts with certain words.
Messages containing blocked material either would not be received or would have the objectionable content redacted. Unlike other text blockers, Apple's version would also be able to filter content based on a child's grade level and claims to filter abbreviated words that maybe missed by other programs. (CNN)
Travel alert issued for U.S. citizens in Europe The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for U.S. citizens in Europe, based on information that suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks.
Americans are warned to be aware of their surroundings and protect themselves when traveling, especially when they are in public places like tourist sites, airports or when they are using public transportation.
The alert does not warn U.S. citizens against travel to Europe.
Britain's Home Office has not raised its threat level. A statement released Sunday confirms that British authorities are keeping their threat level at "'severe," which means than an attack is highly likely.
But, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has changed its travel advisory for British citizens in France and Germany from a "substantial" threat of terrorism to a "high" threat. The FCO said it does not comment on intelligence matters and thus can't specify whether the change is related to the U.S. travel alert. (CNN)
Assistant attorney general blogs against gay student body president For nearly six months, Andrew Shirvell, an assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan, has waged an internet campaign against college student Chris Armstrong, the openly gay student assembly president at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Using the online moniker "Concerned Michigan Alumnus," Shirvell launched his blog in late April.
"Welcome to 'Chris Armstrong Watch,'" Shirvell wrote in his inaugural blog post. "This is a site for concerned University of Michigan alumni, students, and others who oppose the recent election of Chris Armstrong -- a RADICAL HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVIST, RACIST, ELITIST, & LIAR -- as the new head of student government." (CNN)
Democrats, don't insult the voters I have seen many campaigns in my four decades in politics, but this one is the strangest. With a little more than a month to go and many races still very close, the Democratic message to their faithful is mind-boggling.
Voters want to know what's going on, and Democrats in particular are unhappy and unenthusiastic. So what does the national leadership of the party say about the voters?
They have been called whiners by the vice president. President Obama, who led them to victory two short years ago with record turnouts, is calling them "irresponsible." They have even been called stupid by the party's former presidential nominee John Kerry.
Just last week, Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, implied the voters were too stupid to know what they are doing. "We have an electorate that doesn't always pay that much attention to what's going on, so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what's happening." (CNN)
Sooner or later, marijuana will be legal It's as predictable as the sun rising and setting. Even though police made more than 850,000 marijuana arrests last year, a recent government report shows youth marijuana use increased by about 9 percent.
Supporters of the failed war on drugs will no doubt argue this increase means policymakers should spend more taxpayer money next year arresting and incarcerating a greater number of Americans. In other words, their solution to failure is to do more of the same. Fortunately, the "reform nothing" club is getting mighty lonely these days -- 76 percent of Americans recognize the drug war has failed; millions are demanding change. (CNN)
Colbert storms Capitol Hill for migrant workers There's nothing funny about the issue of migrant farm labor -- unless Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert is discussing it.
Colbert, accompanied by a media swarm, sarcastically testified on Capitol Hill Friday about the conditions facing America's undocumented farm workers. The popular host of "The Colbert Report" told members of a House Judiciary subcommittee that he hoped to bring attention to the workers' hardships.
"I certainly hope that my star power can bump this hearing all the way up to C-SPAN 1," he joked. (CNN)
We ignore rise in drug abuse among kids By William J. Bennett, Alexandra Datig and Seth Leibsohn - Last week, the government released its National Survey on Drug Use and Health. It didn't make much of a news splash, but it should have -- and in years past, it would have.
When a serious war is taking place, officials throughout the administration hold press conferences and issue statements while print and televised media across the country report on it. Almost none of this happened, although the reasons for talking and reporting are greater than they have been in a very long time.
Here's the takeaway: Illicit drug abuse is seriously affecting our children, our schools, our workplaces and our society. And it is on the rise. In 2009, nearly 22 million Americans were regularly abusing illicit drugs: a rise of 1.5 million abusers of marijuana from 2008 and a rise of 2.3 million users from 2007, a rise of 205,000 abusers of Ecstasy from 2008, a rise of 188,000 abusers of methamphetamine from 2008 and a rise of 800,000 abusers of prescription drugs from 2008. (CNN)
Genetically modified salmon can feed the world The debate over genetically engineered salmon should be put in the proper context: As the world's population grows at an accelerating pace, so does the consumption of seafood.
This is true not only because there are more mouths to feed, but also because as people become more aware of the health benefits associated with eating seafood, more are switching from meat to fish. To satisfy this demand, we have become very sophisticated fishers, with ever-growing fleets, factory fishing ships and very effective gear.
We efficiently hunt our own seafood in the wild; it seems natural to all of us, while we do not hunt for wild chicken, beef or pork. But fish is harvested at a rate that exceeds the fisheries' ability to replenish themselves. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, more than 50 percent of the world's main fisheries stocks are fully exploited, while another 28 percent are over-exploited or depleted. - The public should not be scared by the term "genetic engineering." This powerful platform requires making only relatively minor and very targeted modifications to the animal genome, compared, for example, with selective breeding and domestication, where we manipulate many genes over generations without knowing exactly what is altered. We have all been eating selectively bred fish, chicken, beef and other animals for many years without thinking twice about it. - The AquAdvantage salmon is no different from conventional farmed salmon in its composition and health benefits, and the Food and Drug Administration has concluded that it is safe for people to eat. - Indeed, AquAdvantage salmon are sterile fish, and therefore unable to reproduce even if they escape. (CNN)
How marijuana became legal: Medical marijuana is giving activists a chance to show how a legitimized pot business can work. Is the end of prohibition upon us? When Irvin Rosenfeld, 56, picks me up at the Fort Lauderdale airport, his SUV reeks of marijuana. The vice president for sales at a local brokerage firm, Rosenfeld has been smoking 10 to 12 marijuana cigarettes a day for 38 years, he says.
That's probably unusual in itself, but what makes Rosenfeld exceptional is that for the past 27 years, he has been copping his weed directly from the United States government.
Every 25 days Rosenfeld goes to a pharmacy and picks up a tin of 300 federally grown and rolled cigarettes that have been sent there for him by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), acting with approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Rosenfeld smokes the marijuana to relieve chronic pain and muscle spasms caused by a rare bone disease. When he was 10, doctors discovered that his skeleton was riddled with more than 200 tumors, due to a condition known as multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis. Despite seven operations, he still lives with scores of tumors in his bones. (CNN)
Japan reveals long-secretive execution process Japan, one of the few industrialized countries with the death penalty, showed one of its execution chambers to the media for the first time Friday.
Reporters were shown the death chamber at the Tokyo Detention Facility, one of seven used across the country, according to a report in the Mainichi Daily News. (CNN)
Obama signs bill reducing cocaine sentencing gap President Obama signed a bill Tuesday reducing the disparity in penalties for the use of crack and powder cocaine, according to the White House.
The enactment of the law seals a hard-fought victory for civil rights activists who have argued for years that the differing punishments unfairly target African-Americans.
The Fair Sentencing Act repeals a five-year mandatory sentence for first time offenders, and for repeat offenders with less than 28 grams of crack cocaine. The old law set the mandatory sentence for conviction at five grams.
African-Americans have been far more likely than whites and Hispanics to be convicted for -- and receive the harsher penalties associated with -- possession of crack cocaine, according to government statistics. White and Hispanic defendants are more frequently charged with possession of powder cocaine. (CNN)
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