Bombs hidden in luggage could be used in a plot to attack buses and railways in major US cities this summer, security authorities said on Friday. \n"We assess that buses and railways could be targeted," the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security said in a bulletin issued to law enforcement agencies, local governments and the transportation industry. \n"The plot calls for the use of improvised explosive devices possibly constructed of ammonium nitrate [fertilizer] and diesel fuel concealed in luggage and carry-on bags to include duffel bags and backpacks," according to the bulletin. \nIt said, "al-Qaeda and other groups have demonstrated the intent and capability to attack public transportation with conventional explosives, vehicle-borne bombs and suicide bombers." \nHomeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the bulletin was issued in light of recent acts of terrorism, such as the March 11 train bombings in Madrid, which killed 191 and injured 1,500. \nHe said officials believe the plot could target mass transit by using bombs concealed in bags, as they were in Madrid. \n"In the past, bus bombings have been carried out in Greece, Israel and Turkey," according to the bulletin. \n"Terrorist manuals provide instruction on producing a number of ammonium nitrate explosive mixtures" and such a bomb could be concealed in standard luggage, it stated. \nThe bulletin said anyone with any information about the possible bombing plot should contact the nearest FBI joint terrorism task force. \nHomeland Security undersecretary Asa Hutchinson said the department was in regular contact with the sector to share intelligence and make recommendations to boost security. \n"So there is an increased law enforcement presence, there is increased public announcements [and] other security measures are being put in place," Hutchinson said. \n"Action has intensified in a common-sense way in response to what we have seen from intelligence and actions overseas," he said. \nSenator Hillary Rodham Clinton urged spending more than US$700 million to overcome security weaknesses in the US rail system. \n"What happened in Madrid was a big wake-up call for a lot of people who may not have been focused on the need to improve rail security," Clinton, a New York Democrat, told reporters at New York's Pennsylvania Station. \nEarlier on Friday in Spain, a bomb was found on a high-speed track. Spanish authorities said it may have contained the same type of explosives used in last month's Madrid train bombings. \nThe Department of Homeland Security said terminal parking lots should be checked for suspicious loitering, stolen or abandoned vehicles or vehicles left for long periods. Law enforcement vehicles should be parked near entrances and exits. \nThe agency said trash receptacles should be removed from passenger terminals, and recommended random passenger inspectors and security sweeps of stations. \nThe department also urged increased public safety announcements encouraging passengers to immediately report all suspicious activity or items to law enforcement authorities.
South Korea yesterday said that it would lift COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings next week as the country prepares to switch to a “living with COVID-19” strategy amid rising vaccination levels. A new panel established this week is drawing up a plan for a gradual lifting of curbs, aiming to lift restrictions and reopen the economy next month on the expectation that 80 percent of the adult population will be fully vaccinated. From Monday, the South Korean government is to allow gatherings of up to four unvaccinated people and ease operating-hour restrictions imposed on venues such as restaurants, cafes and cinemas, South
Japan’s Mount Aso erupted yesterday, spewing a giant column of ash thousands of meters into the sky as hikers rushed away from the popular tourist spot. No injuries were immediately reported after the late-morning eruption in southwest Japan, which sent rocks flying in a dramatic blast captured by nearby CCTV cameras. People were warned not to approach the volcano as it ejected hot gas and ash as high as 3,500m, and sent stones tumbling down its grassy slopes. Authorities were checking if any hikers had been trapped or injured, officials told local media, as TV footage showed dozens of vehicles and tour buses
‘AVOIDABLE SITUATION’: After being tortured in his home country, a Sri Lankan and his family are at risk of deportation from the UK, despite his academic fellowship A scientist conducting groundbreaking research into renewable energy is facing deportation with his family to Sri Lanka, where he was tortured, after receiving contradictory information about his case from the British Home Office. Nadarajah Muhunthan, 47, his wife, Sharmila, 42, and their three children, aged 13, nine and five, went to the UK in 2018 after Muhunthan, who is working on thin-film photovoltaic devices used to generate solar power, was given a prestigious Commonwealth Rutherford fellowship. The award allowed him to reside to the UK for two years to research and develop the technology. His wife obtained a job caring for
A top global law firm is no longer representing the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in seeking the removal of a Tiananmen memorial from its campus after it came under heavy criticism in the US for helping China purge dissent, the Washington Post reported. Mayer Brown is the latest international company to face pressure over how its actions in China contradict its more progressive statements in the West. The 8m high Pillar of Shame sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiot has stood on HKU’s campus since 1997, the year the city was handed back to China. It features 50 anguished faces and tortured