Filling a key vacancy among top US anti-terrorism posts, President George W. Bush said Tuesday he had chosen appeals court judge Michael Chertoff as his new secretary of homeland security. \nThe former prosecutor's nomination came one month after Bush's first choice for the job, former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik, withdrew his name on grounds that he may have employed an undocumented immigrant as a nanny. \nIn hastily announced remarks at the White House, Bush noted that Chertoff, 51, led the US Justice Department's criminal division at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and helped craft the early US response. \n"In the days after September the 11th, Mike helped trace the terrorist attacks to the al-Qaeda network. He understood immediately that the strategy in the war on terror is to prevent attacks before they occur," the president said. \n"His energy and intellect put him at the center of many vital homeland security improvements, especially increased information sharing within the FBI and with state and local officials," Bush said. \nIf confirmed by the US Senate, Chertoff would replace Tom Ridge at the helm of the mammoth agency created after the Sept. 11 attacks. \n"He leaves some very big shoes to fill," Chertoff said, adding, "If confirmed as secretary, I will be proud to stand again with the men and women who form our front line against terror." \nThe department groups together 22 agencies comprising some 180,000 employees charged with domestic security, including immigration, customs, transportation security and the Coast Guard. \nIt has also seen a wave of resignations from senior officials amid persistent reports that the agency is hard to manage, and its color-coded terrorist threat level has been the butt of jokes from prominent comics. \nBush noted that Chertoff "has been confirmed by the Senate three times" in the course of his career -- an apparent signal that he expects little trouble with confirmation proceedings for this nominee. \nBut the American Civil Liberties Union -- while stating that it took no position on the nomination -- queried it, noting Chertoff was an architect of the USA Patriot Act "which has come under increasing fire from conservatives and progressives alike since its passage in 2001." \n"We urge the Senate to exercise fully its advice and consent powers and explore the Chertoff record, and how it will impact civil liberties," the group said. \nSince winning a second four-year term in the Nov. 2 elections, Bush has overhauled his cabinet, nominating national security ad-viser Condoleezza Rice to replace Secretary of State Colin Powell, who resigned.
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
Indonesian officials are forcing people who break social distancing rules to recite Koran verses, stay in “haunted” houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging novel coronavirus infections. The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying about 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing masks in public. However, provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the coronavirus. Police in western Bengkulu Province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear