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A year after a man walked into Los Angeles International Airport with an assault rifle and vendetta against security screeners, efforts are still underway to prepare for such attacks.

In reviewing the Nov. 1, 2013, shooting, which left a Transportation Security Administration officer dead and three other people injured, the nation's third-busiest airport found it was ill-prepared to communicate with passengers and the public; lacked security cameras in key locations; and had not provided ample training on emergency procedures to workers.

In addition, airport police had upgraded to a $5.4 million high-tech radio system but often couldn't communicate with the 20 or more agencies on scene.

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A report by the UN Security Council has warned that foreign jihadists are swarming into Iraq and Syria on “an unprecedented scale” and from countries that had not previously contributed combatants to global terrorism. The report finds that 15,000 people have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the Islamic State (ISIS) and other extremist groups. These volunteers come from more than eighty countries, the report states, “including a tail of countries that have not previously faced challenges relating to al-Qaeda.” ISIS is estimated to have more than $1 million in daily revenues from oil smuggling operations alone. It controls territory the size of Texas in Iraq and Syria, a territory which is home to between five and six million people, a population the size of Finland’s. The UN reports says that ISIS’s treasury also benefits from up to $45 million in money from kidnapping for ransom.

A report by the UN Security Council has warned that foreign jihadists are swarming into in Iraq and Syria on “an unprecedented scale” and from countries that had not previously contributed combatants to global terrorism.

The report by, robtained by the Guardian, finds that 15,000 people have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the Islamic State (ISIS) and other extremist groups. These volunteers come from more than eighty countries, the report states, “including a tail of countries that have not previously faced challenges relating to al-Qaeda.”

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In a case comparable to the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-running investigation, ATF agents and federal prosecutors in Arizona endangered public safety by allowing a suspect to smuggle grenade parts into Mexico for possible use by drug cartels, the U.S. Department of Justice’s inspector general reported Thursday.

The report said the Office of the Inspector General first learned of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) grenade parts sting during its investigation of Operation “Fast and Furious,” in which agents purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them.

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French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Thursday that Russia must improve relations with Ukraine, among other conditions, before the ships are delivered.

PARIS, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- France will not deliver two Mistral-class warships to Russia as planned until certain conditions are met, the French government announced Thursday.

 

"The conditions," French Finance Minister Michel Sapin told RTL radio, include Russia improving relations with neighboring Ukraine.

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NEW YORK –  A hatchet-wielding man's attack on a group of New York City police officers last week has raised questions about what qualifies as terrorism in an era more than 13 years removed from the Sept. 11 attacks. 

 

Police say there is evidence suggesting Zale Thompson was influenced by extremist rhetoric on the Internet. Police Commissioner William Bratton called it an act of terrorism.

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Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said Saturday that investigators will find out what caused the Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo to break apart during a test flight over the Mojave Desert Friday, killing one pilot and injuring another.

"We are determined to find out what went wrong," he said at a press conference.

Branson said everybody knows commercial space travel is "an incredibly hard project."

"This is the biggest test program ever carried out in commercial aviation history to ensure that this never happens to the public," he said. "The bravery of test pilots cannot be overstated. Nobody underestimates the risks involved in space travel."

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After 214 days in a Mexican prison, Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi crossed the US – Mexican border Friday night, boarding a private jet for Florida shortly after 9 p.m., after a strong diplomatic push appeared to help convince a judge to release the former Marine on humanitarian grounds.

After reviewing the ruling, Tahmooressi family spokesman Jonathan Franks said the judge acted on a recommendation from the PGR, the Mexican Attorney General's Office. In that motion, the prosecutor "essentially withdrew the charges," Franks said. Moments later, the trial judge issued an acquittal in Andrew's case, calling for an "immediate and absolute release."

His release comes after a lengthy, closed trial and a Congressional hearing in September highly critical of Obama Administration efforts to secure his release and Mexico’s refusal to let him go.  Tahmooressi said he made an innocent mistake the evening he crossed into Tijuana with three weapons in his truck on March 31.

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SEATTLE -- A security researcher claims the TSA is ignoring his claims that anyone can easily make weapons and explosive devices from items bought at gift shops after a passenger passes through the security checkpoint at airports.

Evan Booth claims a "MacGyver-esque" attacker can use trinkets, toiletry items, toys and other items bought at duty free shops, restaurants and magazine stands to "wage war on an airplane".

To prove it, he's produced a series of videos demonstrating the weapons and explosives he's made. He's also speaking about his research to anyone who will listen, even the TSA. But for more than a year, Booth says he has not heard back from TSA about his findings.

"I've sent them all the documentation and have heard no response back," said Booth, who runs his own software development and consultancy firm in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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Joint Base Lewis-McChord airmen who’ve been flying short Ebola-response missions are not subject to mandatory quarantines, but South Sound soldiers preparing for longer assignments in West Africa will be isolated before returning home, officials said Thursday.

Airmen from JBLM’s two airlift wings have been flying to Liberia and Senegal since late September delivering supplies and troops to support the military’s Ebola efforts. They tend to spend fewer than four hours on the ground and do not interact with patients. That means they have a very low risk of contracting the virus, which is transmitted through direct contact with body fluids. 

Still, the Air Force has asked them to monitor their health for the onset of flu-like symptoms. So far, none has reported an illness, said Master Sgt. Jake Chappelle of the 446th Reserve Airlift Wing.

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A second health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who tended to Thomas Eric Duncan as he died of Ebola has tested positive for the lethal virus, and a local official said this morning that additional cases among the hospital's health care workers is a "very real possibility."

“The fight against Ebola in Dallas is a two-front fight now,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said, speaking at a morning press conference.

 

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Iraq's Shiite militias have abducted and killed "scores" of Sunni civilians in retaliation for the onslaught by the Sunni militant Islamic State group, Amnesty International said Tuesday, claiming that the attacks are supported by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

 

The Shiite militiamen number in the tens of thousands and wear military uniforms but operate outside any legal framework and without any official oversight, Amnesty said.

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Lieutenant General Mahdi Gharawi knew an attack was coming.

 

In late May, Iraqi security forces arrested seven members of militant group Islamic State in Mosul and learned the group planned an offensive on the city in early June. Gharawi, the operational commander of Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, asked Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's most trusted commanders for reinforcements.

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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reached its most dangerous impasse in many years with all three (yes, unfortunately there are three) of the main actors uncertain of what they can, or even want to do next.

 

Israel, the Palestinian nationalist movement, and Hamas are all badly divided internally and all appear to lack serious options for moving forward. All three are stuck where they are now, leaving the conflict set to drag on indefinitely toward some kind of implosion or explosion which is the inevitable consequence of stasis.

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Shia Houthi rebels on Tuesday captured a key port city in western Yemen, extending their gains in the country where they already control the capital city of Sanaa, according to media reports. The Houthi rebels reportedly met with little or no resistance from security forces in the city.

 

The rebels have set up checkpoints after taking over several military bases in Hodeida, a city with a population of more than two million located about 125 miles west of Sanaa, according to media reports. The Shia rebels, who are believed to be supported by Iran, also took control of Damar province and its provincial capital, also called Damar, south of Sanaa.

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Protests over the Aug. 9 killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, continue to grow as thousands of people from all over the United States descended on greater St. Louis to take part in a weekend-long series of events and marches demanding “justice” for the killing.

 

Events in what one student called “the epicenter of the movement against police brutality” have transformed since the violence of the immediate aftermath of the shooting into a more sophisticated, but often edgy and raw, strategy where protesters are fanning out to civic events like the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and sporting events, including this weekend’s baseball playoffs featuring the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Anonymous, the nebulous online activist group that uses hacking to further causes it supports, has threatened a major blackout of Chinese and Hong Kong government websites and to leak tens of thousands of government email address details.

 

The group, under the banner of "Operation Hong Kong" or "#OpHongKong" and "#OpHK" on Twitter, said on Friday it would launch a mass effort against Chinese government servers to bring down their websites via Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on Saturday.

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A Chinese drugmaker with close military ties is seeking fast-track approval for a drug that it says can cure Ebola, as China joins the race to help treat a deadly outbreak of a disease that has spread from Africa to the United States and Europe.

 

Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group Ltd has signed a tie-up with Chinese research Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS) last week to help push the drug called JK-05 through the approval process in China and bring it to market. The drug, developed by the academy, is currently approved for emergency military use only.

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Last month, I wrote about how President Obama’s announced end state to “degrade, and ultimately destroy ISIL” would not be achieved, just as previous promises by Bush and Obama administration officials to “destroy” and “eliminate” Al Qaeda and the Taliban were not. I also noted how U.S. officials have offered contradictory end states since then, a practice that continues.

 

For example, on September 22, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Gen. Martin Dempsey declared: “We want them to wake up every day realizing that they are being squeezed from multiple directions. If we can get [ISIS] looking in about five different directions, that’s the desired end state.” That is a plausible strategic objective given the relatively limited military and non-military resources that have been committed by the United States and coalition members. However, it is nowhere near as difficult as “destroy.”

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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish warplanes have struck suspected Kurdish rebel positions in southeastern Turkey, media reports said Tuesday, the first major airstrikes against the rebel group since peace talks began two years ago to end a 30-year insurgency.

 

Turkish media had varying accounts, but the private Dogan news agency said Turkish F-16 jets hit Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, targets in Hakkari province, near the border with Iraq on Monday. A military statement said the armed forces had responded "in the strongest way" to shelling of a military outpost by the rebels, without specifying that airstrikes were launched.

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Beppe Grillo, the leader of Italy's populist Five Star Movement, has launched a petition to allow Italy to "leave the euro as soon as possible."

 

Grillo rose to prominence as a comedian and actor but since 2009 he has transformed himself into the charismatic leader of a protest movement that has seen its support growing across Italy. His sharp criticism of German-led policies that have pushed harsh austerity onto struggling Southern European economies and push for Italy to abandon the euro have seen him dubbed 'the most dangerous man in Europe' in the German press.

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