Category Archive: NBC

WEEKLY THREAT ROUNDUP 1-07-18

From AlertsUSA

 

 

Kim Jung Un along with North Korea's new Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile - ALLOW IMAGES

 

N. Korea: Entire US Within Range of Nuclear Weapons CDC to Brief on Preparing for Nuclear Detonation

 

January 6, 2018

 

On Dec 31st, the following related Flash SMS message was sent to AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

12/31 – In New Year address, DPRK leader Kim Jung-Un declared all of the US mainland now in range of N. Korean nuclear missiles, calls for immediate mass production.

What You Need To Know

On nine occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding safety and security matters. Once again, leading off our reporting is N. Korea. On New Year’s Eve, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of new threats made by N. Korean leader Kim Jung Un. During his New Year’s address to the N. Korean people, Kim stated the following:

“It should properly know that the whole territory of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear strike weapons and a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office and this is just a reality, not a threat.”

Kim went on to point out that having accomplished the

“historic cause of perfecting the national nuclear forces, what remains at this point is to mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles … to give a spur to the efforts for deploying them for action.”

On the surface, Kim’s provocative stance towards the US and others in the international community have been tempered over the last few days by gestures towards South Korea, including indications they may send a delegation to the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, as well as reopening a cross-border communications channel. Established in 1971, the two Koreas agreed to use an uninhabited border village named Panmunjom along the demilitarized zone to make phone calls to each other. In stand alone buildings on each side of the border, two phones and a fax machine sit on desks. A green phone for receiving calls and a red phone for making calls. South Korea calls the North on odd dates, the North calls the South on even dates. In early 2016, the calls stopped due to a dispute over a jointly-operated factory complex. The two sides have not spoken again until this week.

Readers are reminded that on multiple occasions in the past, N. Korea has used outreach and talks with the South in order to delay pressures and buy time to achieve new goals in their nuclear and missile programs.

This week U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, played down talks between the two Koreas, saying the U.S. “won’t take any of the talks seriously if they don’t do something to ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea. We consider this to be a very reckless regime, we don’t think we need a Band-Aid; we don’t think we need to smile and take a picture.”

On Friday of this week, Secretary of State Tillerson said, “I think the rhetoric that North Korea understands is that while it is our objective, and the president’s been very clear, to achieve a denuclearization through diplomatic efforts, those diplomatic efforts are backed by strong military option if necessary.”

CDC Briefing: Public Health Response to a Nuclear Detonation

In related news, late this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the scheduling of a briefing for the public health community for later this month to outline how to prepare for a nuclear detonation.

According to the CDC, “While a nuclear detonation is unlikely, it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps. Despite the fear surrounding such an event, planning and preparation can lessen deaths and illness.”

YOUR TAKEAWAY:

The USGOV is beginning the process of preparing the public health community for the possibility of a nuclear detonation. This CDC meeting is just one step. Most others you will not be made aware of, including bulk procurement and prepositioning of relief supplies, specialized training for first responders and medical professionals, assessment of facilities for possible use as shelters, etc..

If the government is making such preparations, it behooves readers to consider steps that can be taken to prepare themselves and families on the home front. During the Cold War, such proactive preparedness efforts were a no-brainer and widely practiced.

 

FREE INFORMATION RESOURCES

CDC: A Guide to Operating Public Shelters in a Radiation Emergency

FEMA: Radiation Safety in Shelters

Nuclear War Survival Skills (The Green Book)

 

AlertsUSA continues to monitor events on the Koren Peninsula and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.

 


 

AlertsUSA.com

OTHER SMS ALERTS FROM THIS WEEK
NOT DETAILED IN THIS NEWSLETTER ISSUE

12/31 – Islamic State Al Hayat media group releases new nasheed video w/ English subtitles promising “we will break the cross” and a “war for eternity.” See email.

12/31 – Pro-Islamic State media outlets are circulating several new propaganda / threat posters warning of more attacks in the west. See email for more info.

12/31 – AlertsUSA monitoring ongoing active shooter situation near Denver. County Line Rd btwn Colorado Blvd and University Blvd. Multiple officers down. Avoid area.

1/1 – AlertsUSA monitoring response to active shooter report in area of 635 Wall St, Long Branch, NJ. Multiple causalities reported. Add’l alerts as warranted.

1/1 – AlertsUSA monitoring response to possible vehicular attack near Geary Blvd & 21st Ave, San Francisco, CA. Multiple injuries. Add’l alerts as warranted.

1/4 – AlertsUSA monitoring response to Amtrak train derailment, near Savannah (GA) Station, Seaboard Coastline Drive. 300+ on board. More to come.

1/4 – No injuries reported in Amtrak train derailment. Switch failure suggested as cause. Add’l alerts as warranted.

1/4 – AlertsUSA monitoring reports of shots fired, Colorado State Capital, Denver. Area around near Colfax and Sherman on lockdown. Add’l alerts as warranted.

AlertsUSA Service for Mobile Devices - ALLOW IMAGES

* Threat Info Direct to Your Mobile Device
* Get Away Early, Give Your Family Extra Safety.
* In Wide Use By Gov, 1st Responders, Travelers.
* 24/7/365 Monitoring. No Hype. Just the Bad Stuff.
* Issued Hours and Days before the MSM.
* On your Cell Phone, Tablet or Email.
* We Give The Clear Truth, Unlike the MSM.
* 15 Years in Operation!

We are NOT part of the government.
In fact, they are our customers!

 

 


 

Three F/A-18 Hornets rest on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the Arabian Gulf on Dec. 22, 2017. Theodore Roosevelt and its carrier strike group are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Spencer Roberts) - ALLOW IMAGES

World News Roundup

 

January 6, 2018

 

Other Developments We Are Following

AMERICAS

GOP senators request criminal investigation of Trump dossier author
Struggling Venezuela tried to buy medicine with diamonds, gold
Apple reveals ALL iPhones, iPads and Macs are at risk from chip ‘design flaws’
Canadian Mil still short thousands despite small increase in orce-members
How ready is the US for a North Korean missile attack?
Enhanced Patriot Missile Enters Full Rate Production
Air Force to upgrade Reaper drone fleet as the Predator begins retirement
Army Issues Tips for Operating Weapons in Extreme Cold
Former NSA contractor to plead guilty over claims he stole 50TB of data
Six Cyber Threats to Really Worry About in 2018
Trump’s National Security Strategy marks return to realism

EUROPE

Migrants in Europe linked to soaring violence and crime in Germany, duh
Anti-migrant attacks surge in Greece’s Piraeus
Latvia, a disappearing nation
Russia gained a ‘treasure trove’ of intel on the US’s best fighter jets in Syria
Germans believe Merkel’s best days are over
France’s Macron suggests EU partnership with Turkey
Catalan separatist leader Oriol Junqueras denied bail
What Would Really Happen If Russia Attacked Undersea Internet Cables
Russia Has Been Stalking US in Skies Over Syria, General Says
Where Russian Information Warfare Is Failing
Trump might get pushback from Gemany on NATO spending after all

MIDDLE EAST

US freezes payment to UN agency for Palestinian refugees
ISIS declares war on Hamas for failing to stop Trump’s Jerusalem move
Bin Laden’s 12-year-old grandson is dead, says al-Qaeda leader’s ‘heir’
Saudi Arabia: No evidence shows it had a hand in 9/11 attack
The Iranian rebellion the world wants to ignore
Protests in Iran Put Rouhani on the Spot
Is the end near for Iran’s theocracy?
Hard-line cleric says social media fed Iran protests, unrest
Saudi Arabia military camp targeted with ballistic missile fired from Yemen.
Erdogan accuses US, Israel of ‘meddling’ in Iran, Pakistan
As chaos and despair grow in Libya, Qaddafi son plans comeback

ASIA

US suspends security assistance to Pakistan
China Hasn’t Won the Pacific (Unless You Think It Has)
America Has Military Options for North Korea (but They’re All Bad)
The Real North Korea Disaster Isn’t War (But Collapse)
Pakistan’s Dangerous Slide to Extremism
There are signs of another India-China border spat
Japan’s defense policy decisions in 2018
In pictures: The South China Sea reef that became an island
North Korea Test Fail Sent Missile Crashing Over One of Its Own Cities
US, S Korea, Japan to Maintain Pressure on Pyongyang Despite ‘Truce’
Chinese Attack Drones Achieve ‘Record’ Missile Accuracy
Robots help China fire missiles three times faster
China Begins Construction of Third Domestically Made Aircraft Carrier

 


 

Travel Security

The U.S. Dept. of State Travel Website is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation well prior to departure.

Major USGOV Travel Notices

Europe Travel Alert
11/16/2017

Worldwide Caution

12/06/2017

The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides several resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector abroad. Additional information can be found on OSAC.gov

Mariners and U.S. citizens considering maritime travel should also review information at the websites of the National Geospatial Agency, the Maritime Security Communications with Industry Portal, and the U.S. Coast Guard for information related to maritime and port security globally.

Additional Sources of Travel Guidance

Canada Dept. of Foreign Affairs

Australia Dept. of Foreign Affairs

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

 


 

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This nuclear-explosion simulator shows where radioactive fallout would go using today’s weather

image

(Missilemap)

  • Nukemap lets you simulate nuclear explosions on an interactive map.
  • A science historian created the tool years ago but recently updated it.
  • The new version uses real-time weather conditions to estimate a blast’s radioactive-fallout zones.
  • The new version can also export data to 3D mapping software like Google Earth.

Imagine a 150-kiloton nuclear bomb exploded in the city closest to you.

Do you know how the city, its surrounding region, and its inhabitants would be affected? If you can’t think of much more than “a lot of people would die,” you’re not alone.

“We live in a world where nuclear weapons issues are on the front pages of our newspapers on a regular basis, yet most people still have a very bad sense of what an exploding nuclear weapon can actually do,” Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science at Stevens Institute of Technology, wrote on his website, NuclearSecrecy.org.

To help the world understand what might happen if a nuclear weapon exploded, Wellerstein created an interactive browser app called Nukemap.

“Some people think they destroy everything in the world all that (sic) once, some people think they are not very different from conventional bombs,” he wrote. “The reality is somewhere in between.”

To illustrate that, Nukemap lets you build a hypothetical nuclear bomb and drop it anywhere on Earth. The software uses declassified equations and models about nuclear weapons and their effects — fireball size, air-blast radius, radiation zones, and more — to crunch the numbers, then renders the results as graphics inside Google Maps.

Preset options let you pick historic and recent blasts, including North Korea’s latest test explosion and Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated. The tool can even estimate fatalities and injuries for a given weapon yield, altitude, and location.

The first version of Wellerstein’s tool came out in February 2012, but he upgraded it to version 2.5 this month. Users thus far have set off more than 124 million explosions in Nukemap.

Nukemap 2.5’s new features let you see where a cloud of radioactive fallout might drift based on local weather conditions. Fallout refers to the dirt and debris that get sucked up by a nuclear blast, irradiated to dangerous levels, pushed into the atmosphere, and sprinkled over great distances. The updated tool also lets you export your scenarios, load them into mapping software like Google Earth, and explore them in 3D.

“I hope that people will come to understand what a nuclear weapon would do to places they are familiar with, and how the different sizes of nuclear weapons change the results,” Wellerstein wrote on his site.

Picking a bomb and a target

We decided to test Nukemap 2.5 using its preset for the North Korean government’s underground test blast on September 3.

Some experts think that device, perhaps a thermonuclear bomb, yielded an explosion of roughly 150 kilotons’ worth of TNT. This was the country’s most powerful nuclear explosion to date — about 10 times as strong as the Hiroshima bomb blast of 1945, which caused some 150,000 casualties.

We started with San Francisco, since according to Missilemap — Wellerstein’s companion tool to Nukemap — the city is within the estimated range of Hwasong-14, North Korea’s newest and farthest-reaching intercontinental ballistic missile.

image

Misslemap 1.0/Alex Wellerstein

Blast effects

By default, Nukemap assumed a 150-kiloton-yield warhead would explode 1.03 miles above the city.

An aerial detonation maximizes a nuclear bomb’s destructive power by allowing the blast’s energy to spread. If a bomb were to detonate on the ground, the soil would absorb more of that energy.

image

Nukemap 2.5/Alex Wellerstein; Google Maps; Business Insider

The main effects of the nuclear blast display as four colored zones:

  • Fireball (0.56 miles wide): In the area closest to the bomb’s detonation site, flames incinerate most buildings, objects, and people.
  • Radiation (1.24 miles wide): A nuclear bomb’s gamma and other radiation are so intense in this zone that 50% or more of people die within “several hours to several weeks,” according to Nukemap.
  • Air blast (4.64 miles wide): This shows a blast area of 5 pounds per square inch, which is powerful enough to collapse most residential buildings and rupture eardrums. “Injuries are universal, fatalities are widespread,” Nukemap says.
  • Thermal radiation (6.54 miles wide): This region is flooded with skin-scorching ultraviolet light, burning anyone within view of the blast. “Third-degree burns extend throughout the layers of skin and are often painless because they destroy the pain nerves,” Nukemap says. “They can cause severe scarring or disablement, and can require amputation.”

Clicking the “radioactive fallout” option didn’t produce any exposure zones for this hypothetical explosion. A note toward the bottom of our Nukemap results explained: “Your choice of burst height is too high to produce significant local fallout.”

Casualties and radioactive-fallout zones

When we switched the height to “surface burst,” a very different picture emerged: The thermal and air-blast zones shrank, but the fireball nearly doubled in area, and the radiation zone nearly tripled.

We also enabled the new radioactive-fallout settings based on local weather. And to see the human effects, we ticked the “casualties” option, too.

image

Nukemap 2.5/Alex Wellerstein; Google Maps; Business Insider

Luckily, local winds in this hypothetical scenario were moving west-southwest, blowing most radioactive fallout into the Pacific Ocean. If a person were to stand outside in a 100-rad-per-hour zone for four hours, they would get 400 rads of radiation exposure, which is enough to kill 50% of people by acute radiation syndrome.

According to Nukemap’s casualty estimator, however, this blast would still kill about 130,000 people and injure 280,000 over the next 24 hours. The tool says this does not include radioactive-fallout effects, among other caveats.

“Modeling casualties from a nuclear attack is difficult,” it says. “These numbers should be seen as evocative, not definitive.”

Google Earth’s view

We were eager to try the export feature, but it appears to need some work.

For example, the fallout zone appeared in an area different from the in-browser calculation — almost due south of San Francisco, instead of west-southwest.

image

Nukemap 2.5/Alex Wellerstein; Google Earth

But it was still useful — in a gut-wrenching way — to see the size of a nuclear fireball (the yellow half-dome in the image below) in 3D as it related to a major city, engulfing entire neighborhoods.

image

Nukemap 2.5/Alex Wellerstein; Google Earth

You can create your own nuclear-blast scenario and explore Nukemap 2.5’s options here.

Wellerstein and others at Stevens Institute of Technology — based in Hoboken, New Jersey — are working on a related project, called Reinventing Civil Defense, which aims to “develop new communication strategies regarding nuclear risk that have high potential to resonate with a public audience.” The project was awarded a $500,000 grant and is expected to debut in 2019.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

 

via:   americanmilitarynews


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North Korea Begins Tests to Load Anthrax Onto ICBMs, Report Says

North Korea Begins Tests to Load Anthrax Onto ICBMs, Report Says

An unidentified rocket is displayed during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on April 15 saluted as ranks of goose-stepping soldiers followed by tanks and other military hardware paraded in Pyongyang for a show of strength with tensions mounting over his nuclear ambitions. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images) Photographer: ED JONES/AFP

North Korea has begun tests to load anthrax onto intercontinental ballistic missiles, Japan’s Asahi newspaper reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified person connected to South Korea’s intelligence services.

The report said the testing involves ensuring the anthrax survives the immense temperatures generated during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. North Korea has a stockpile of between 2,500 tons to 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, and is capable of producing biological agents such as anthrax and smallpox, South Korea has previously said.

The Asahi report comes a day after the White House published its National Security Strategy, a document that said Pyongyang is “pursuing chemical and biological weapons which could also be delivered by missile.”

“North Korea — a country that starves its own people — has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that could threaten our homeland,” the report said.

North Korea claimed it had completed its nuclear force after it fired a new Hwasong-15 ICBM in late November. South Korea assessed the missile — North Korea’s largest yet — could potentially fly 13,000 kilometers (about 8,000 miles) and reach Washington, though additional analysis was needed to determine whether it was capable of re-entry.

Read North Korea Begins Tests to Load Anthrax Onto ICBMs, Report Says on bloombergpolitics.com

 

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

via:  finance.yahoo.com


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WEEKLY THREAT ROUNDUP 10-22-17

From AlertsUSA

 

CIA: DPRK Perfecting Nuclear Arsenal Within Months

 

DPRK graphic  - ALLOW IMAGES

 

 

October 21, 2017

 

Between Oct. 18-21, the following related Flash SMS messages
were sent to
AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

10/21 – Voice of America / Nelson Report: Sr admin officials warn, on background, of poss pre-emptive strike on DPRK, advises removal of personal assets from S. Korea. More via email.

10/20 – DPRK declares nuclear tests will continue, there will be no negotiations on nuclear program, and Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal is exclusively targeting the U.S..

10/19 – CIA Dir. Pompeo warns US sees DPRK “perfecting” its nuke capability within months. “We ought to behave as if they are on the cusp of achieving that directive.”

10/18 – N. Korean gov warns mil could stage an “unimaginable” strike on the US at an unimaginable time amid mobilization of nuclear strategic assets near the peninsula.

What You Need To Know

On eight occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding safety and security matters.

On Wednesday AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of a new threat issued via N. Korea’s Central News Agency warning the U.S. is “running amok by introducing under our nose the targets we have set as primary ones. The U.S. should expect that it would face an unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time.”The comments were made as dozens of U.S. warships, including the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan, began large-scale joint maritime exercises with S. Korea is waters off the Peninsula.

On Thursday CIA Director Mike Pompeo warned that N. Korea is only months away from perfecting its nuclear weapons capabilities. “They are close enough now in their capabilities that from a U.S. policy perspective we ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving” the objective of being able to strike the United States. The CIA Director’s comments were made during a presentation before the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, DC. Watch a video of the full session with Director Pompeo HERE.

On Friday AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of a declaration delivered by North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho within which he stated that N. Korea fully intends to continue carrying out nuclear weapons tests. Another foreign affairs official, Choe Son Hui, also publicly reaffirmed that there will be no negotiations concerning the country’s nuclear program and that Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal is exclusively targeting the U.S.. Both of these statements were delivered at the 2017 Moscow Nonproliferation Conference at the Center for Energy and Security Studies.

Readers are reminded that just four weeks ago, N. Korea threatened to carry out a hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific. U.S. analysts believe this may be a necessary next step for N. Korea as the steadily increasing yields of their six previous tests may have maxed out that which can be safely contained beneath the mountain at their Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility. In the latest test detonation carried out on September 3rd, international monitoring bodies estimate the explosive yield at a minimum of 120 kilotons (or about eight times the yield of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, and about six times that of the next previous test.)

Once again AlertsUSA warns that while the rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington continues to heat up, it is important to keep in mind the following realities: 1.) N. Korea now possesses nuclear weapons, 2.) N. Korea now possesses ballistic missiles capable of intercontinental ranges, and 3.) without some form of definitive diplomatic or military intervention, it is almost assured that these nuclear and missile capabilities will be exported to other nations such as Iran, as well as sold to non-state actors with deep enough pockets.

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the overall domestic and international threat environment, and will immediately notify service subscribers via SMS messages of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.


AlertsUSA.com

OTHER SMS ALERTS FROM THIS WEEK
NOT DETAILED IN THIS NEWSLETTER ISSUE

10/18 – 3 dead, 2 wounded in earlier MD mass shooting. Suspect at large: RADEE LABEEB PRINCE, DOB 11/5/79, 2008 Black Chevy Acadia, DE Tag PC064273. Photo in email.

10/18 – AlertsUSA monitoring response to mass shooting, Emmorton Business Park, Harford County, MD. At least 5 victims, shooter remains at large. Caution if in area.

10/17 – AlertsUSA monitoring response to reports of active shooter, Howard University, Wash DC. Campus on lockdown. Add’l alerts as warranted.

10/16 – DHS warns Wi-Fi WPA2 connection protocol no longer secure. Home, work and public Wi-Fi access points now vulnerable to snooping. See email for more info.

AlertsUSA Service for Mobile Devices - ALLOW IMAGES

* Threat Info Direct to Your Mobile Device
* Get Away Early, Give Your Family Extra Safety.
* In Wide Use By Gov, 1st Responders, Travelers.
* 24/7/365 Monitoring. No Hype. Just the Bad Stuff.
* Issued Hours and Days before the MSM.
* On your Cell Phone, Tablet or Email.
* We Give The Clear Truth, Unlike the MSM.
* 15 Years in Operation!

We are NOT part of the government.
In fact, they are our customers!

 


Jihadist - ALLOW IMAGES

DHS Warns ISIS, Al Qaeda Planning ‘9/11-Style’ Attack

 

October 21, 2017

 

On Oct. 17, the following related Flash SMS message
was sent to
AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

10/17 – Overnight: Jihadist social media alight with calls for guerilla warfare style attacks in the West, others threaten 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

What You Need To Know

On Tuesday AlertsUSA subscribers were warned of new calls by the Islamic State for supporters to carry out guerilla warfare style attacks in the West, as well as threats made to attack the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia to played across 11 cities in Russia from June 14 through July 15.

While the Islamic State would appear to be on it’s heels following devastating battlefield losses, including that of the de facto capital, Raqqa, counter-terrorism professional in the West know the battle is far from over. Many of the more than ten thousand foreign fighters in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere could eventually make their way back to the home countries, including the U.S. and EU member states, bringing along well-honed battlefield skills. According to EU Security Commissioner Sir Julian King, thousands could make their way back to Europe to unleash mayhem.

Earlier this week at the U.S. Embassy in London, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elain Duke warned the Islamic State and other terrorist groups are planning to target more aircraft in a devastating plot to carry out another major attack on the scale of 9/11.

“The terrorist organizations, be it ISIS or al-Qaeda or others, want to have the big explosion like they did on 9/11. They want to take down aircraft, the intelligence is clear on that.”

Duke went on to say that in the interim they need to keep their finances flowing and they need to keep their visibility high and they need to keep their members engaged, so they are using small plots.

“Creating terror is their goal and so a van attack, a bladed weapon attack, causes terror and continues to disrupt the world – but does not mean they’ve given up on a major aviation plot.”

According to Aaron Y. Zelin of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “IS has a plan, and that is to wait out their enemies locally in order to gain time to rebuild their networks while at the same time provide inspiration to followers outside to keep fighting their enemies farther away.”


A service member jumps from a Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter during a mine warfare training event that U.S. and South Korean navy explosive ordnance disposal divers are conducting in Busan, South Korea, Oct. 19, 2017. Navy photo by Seaman William Carlisle. - ALLOW IMAGES

World News Roundup

 

October 21, 2017

 

Other Developments We Are Following

AMERICAS

G7, Facebook, Google, Twitter agree on plan to counter Islamist terror
U.S. says 24 people harmed from recent ‘attacks’ in Cuba
Puerto Rico continues to struggle a month after Hurricane Maria
Brazil prosecutors investigate plan to give reconstituted food to poor people
Canada granting asylum to U.S. border crossers at higher rates
Unacceptably high’ number of Afghans flee military training in U.S.
The Army’s Latest Spy Planes Are Flying Hundreds of Hours Overseas
US Army Preps for Underground & Urban Warfare on Korean Peninsula
Should US military be betting the farm on stealth?

EUROPE

Middle Europe turns its back on the EU
Spain plans new elections in Catalonia to end independence bid
EU ‘running out of money’ to stop migrants travelling from Africa.
Britain wants Brexit accord but prepared for a ‘no deal’
Italian regions go to the polls in Europe’s latest referendums on autonomy
Anger over Donald Trump’s UK crime (radical Islamic terror) tweet
France’s Macron says Raqqa fall not end of battle against Islamic State
Syrian refugee detained in Greece on terror charge

MIDDLE EAST

Iranian commander issued stark warning to Iraqi Kurds over Kirkuk
Iraqi forces complete Kirkuk province takeover after clashes with Kurds
UAE on the verge of splitting Yemen in two’
Turkey worried Kurdish influence will grow in Syria after Raqqa
CentCom Still Planning Joint Exercises in Mideast Despite Qatar Dispute
Hamas must disarm to join Palestinian unity government – US.
Niger raid highlights US forces’ growing Africa role
Inside the Raqqa jail where ISIS held their betrayers (Must Watch)
35 Egyptian police officers killed in shootout in Giza
Malawi cracks down on ‘vampire’ lynch mobs.

ASIA

When ‘The Donald’ meets ‘Duterte Harry’
China’s Xi Jinping consolidates power with new ideology
China’s : Xi Jinping Has Quietly Chosen His Own Successor
Top Chinese officials ‘plotted to overthrow Xi Jinping’
China’s communist party congress stirs echoes of South Africa
North Korea ‘rant’ letter shows sanctions are biting, says Australia’s PM
South Korea to push ahead with nuclear power plants.
NATO Is Building a ‘Silver Bullet’ to Destroy Russia’s New Tanks
Russian warships dock in Philippines as Manila cultivates new ties
North Korea is Building a Bigger, Better Missile Submarine


Travel Security Update

The U.S. Dept. of State is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning on international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation well prior to departure.

Latest USGOV Travel Alerts and Warnings

Sudan
10/19/2017

Syria
10/18/2017

DR Congo
10/16/2017

Mauritania
10/12/2017

Cameroon
10/02/2017

Cuba
09/13/2017

Kenya
09/13/2017

Haiti
09/12/2017

Europe
08/31/2017

Worldwide Caution

09/14/2017

Additional Sources of Travel Guidance

Canada Dept. of Foreign Affairs

Australia Dept. of Foreign Affairs

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office


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WEEKLY THREAT ROUNDUP 10-1-17

From AlertsUSA

 

N. Korea: Strike Against U.S. Mainland “Inevitable”

 

Kim Jong-un inspects supposed nuclear bomb - ALLOW IMAGES

 

September 30, 2017

 

Between Sept 23-30, the following related Flash SMS messages
were sent to
AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

8/30 – Despite media rpts of open communication, State Dept. announces “N. Korea has shown no indication it is interested in or ready for talks re denuclearization.”

8/25 – Moments ago, DPRK FM Ri Yong Ho states US has declared war, claims right of self defense threatens to shoot down US aircraft even if outside DPRK airspace.

8/23 – DPRK FM Ri threatens US before UN, stating that comments by POTUS are an “irreversible mistake making it inevitable DPRK rockets will hit the US mainland.”

What You Need To Know

On 11 occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding safety and security matters. Most important for this report, last Saturday afternoon during a presentation before the UN General Assembly, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri stated that the U.S. would pay dearly for President Trump’s speech before the same body just days earlier, and that it was “inevitable” they would launch missiles at the US mainland. His comments (and new propaganda video released around the same time) came just hours after the U.S. flew strategic bombers in international waters along the North Korean coast. According to Pentagon spokesman Dana White, the flyover marked the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone any US fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century.

On Monday, North Korea’s Foreign Minister issued yet another threat before international media stationed outside of his hotel in New York. In this instance, Ri stated that N. Korea may shoot down American warplanes even if they are not within N. Korean airspace. These and other threats come on the heels of warning issued last week that N. Korea may detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.

While this rhetoric continues to heat up and has almost become comical, behind the scenes state and federal officials are taking no chances. In additional to the continued deployment of military forces to the Western Pacific, emergency management agencies in both Hawaii and California have been issuing guidance and directives to each of the relevant departments and agencies to shore up their nuclear attack response plans.

Surprisingly, Washington state specifically prohibits “preparation for emergency evacuation or relocation of residents in anticipation of nuclear attack.”

Foreign government and private sector interests are also making emergency plans for the outbreak of war.

On Thursday of this week, Lassina Zerbo, the head of the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (183 member states operating 289 sensor stations), published a “rough simulation” of a “radio-isotope cloud” from a “hypothetical atmospheric burst” over the Pacific.

[Keep in mind that many such tests have been conducted since the advent of nuclear weapons.]

CTBTO simulation of “radio-isotope cloud” from a “hypothetical atmospheric burst” over the Pacific.

Additionally, new analysis of satellite imagery issued late this week by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University indicates that North Korea continues to work on its second submersible ballistic missile test stand barge at the Nampo Navy Shipyard on the country’s west coast. These test stand barges are a critical component in any sub-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) development program.

Once again AlertsUSA warns that when the cloudy historical and political narrative is removed, the world is now faced with the following realities:

Given these realities, restraint and the quest for diplomatic solutions virtually assures continued development and ultimately, proliferation into the hands of rogue nations and those private individuals and groups with deep enough pockets.


PREPAREDNESS CONSIDERATIONS

As recently as this week, FEMA’s new director, Brock Long, has said that Americans do not have a “culture of preparedness,” something that is much-needed with the increasing tempo of natural disasters. Considering the troubles brewing with N. Korea, now would be the time to start increasing your knowledge about how to prepare for and respond to nuclear / radiation emergencies. This problem is not going away any time soon.

The following two free PDF reports will help significantly with this effort. One first is a short read, the second much longer. Download these reports and save them.

 

WHAT TO DO IF A NUCLEAR DISASTER IS IMMINENT
by Shane Connor

 

NUCLEAR WAR SURVIVAL SKILLS
by Cresson Kearney

 

Additionally, AlertsUSA offers a package containing two of the essential baseline elements needed to maintain personal safety during a nuclear or radiological emergency. The contents are selected to help carry out three critical tasks: DETECTION of radiation, MEASUREMENT of accumulated dose and if necessary, PROTECTION of the thyroid from the uptake of radioactive iodine (I-131).

====> CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO <====

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the overall domestic and international threat environment, and will immediately notify service subscribers via SMS messages of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.

 


 

AlertsUSA.com

OTHER SMS ALERTS FROM THIS WEEK
NOT DETAILED IN THIS NEWSLETTER ISSUE

8/29 – AlertsUSA monitoring possible vehicular attack, Penn Station, NYC. Multiple injuries after van jumps curb, runs through crowd, flees scene.

8/29 – USGOV issuing travel warning for Cuba today advising against travel to the country. ~60% of US embassy staff ordered to depart, visa services halted. See email.

8/28 – AlertsUSA monitoring police response to bomb threat, 600 block of Maryland Ave near Nat’l Mall and L’Enfant Plaza Metro station. Add’l alerts as warranted.

8/28 – ISIS rel new audio recording from ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Calls for attacks on “disbeliever media ctrs & HQ’s of their ideological wars.” More via email.

8/28 – USGOV issues new travel warning for Turkey due cont threat of terrorism. Urges careful review of need to visit the country at this time. http://bit.ly/2xE8KlV

8/27 – AlertsUSA monitoring response to shooting, Fairfax Co. (VA) Public Schools bldg. 8100 block Gatehouse Rd. At least one dead. Add’l alerts as warranted.

8/27 – Overnight: ~30 rockets fired into Kabul Int’l Airport as SecDef Mattis and NATO SecGen arrived for unannounced visit. ISIS & al Qaeda both claim responsibility.

8/24 – AlertsUSA monitoring mass shooting incident, Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, Antioch, TN near Nashville. At least 6 casualties. Shooter rptd in custody.

AlertsUSA Service for Mobile Devices - ALLOW IMAGES

* Threat Info Direct to Your Mobile Device
* Get Away Early, Give Your Family Extra Safety.
* In Wide Use By Gov, 1st Responders, Travelers.
* 24/7/365 Monitoring. No Hype. Just the Bad Stuff.
* Issued Hours and Days before the MSM.
* On your Cell Phone, Tablet or Email.
* We Give The Clear Truth, Unlike the MSM.
* 15 Years in Operation!

We are NOT part of the government.
In fact, they are our customers!

 

 


 

An Army paratrooper descends to the ground at Rivolto Air Base in Udine, Italy, Sept. 26, 2017, during Exercise September Heat 2017. The soldier is assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Army photo by Paolo Bovo. - ALLOW IMAGES

World News Roundup

 

September 30, 2017

 

Other Developments We Are Following

 

AMERICAS

US orders 60 percent of staff out of embassy in Cuba
Accused NSA leaker called America ‘the worst thing to happen on the planet
U.S. Army Takes Over Massive Mission to Save Puerto Rico
After a Dismal Start on Venezuela, Trump Attempts a Sharp Course Correction
Americans blame Facebook for fake news, new poll finds
Venezuelan President says his country should be prepping to fight the US
FBI investigating as many cases of domestic extremism as foreign terrorism

EUROPE

If North Korea Fires an ICBM, the US Might Have to Shoot It Down Over Russia
What would it take to trigger war between Russia and NATO? Just a spark
Moscow won’t tolerate crusade to blame Russia for everything in US
The Catalan Cliff: Tensions are running high before the independence vote
Stalemate over Catalan vote keeps Spain in suspense
EU moves ahead faster on new future than on Brexit talks
Surge in migration to Greece fuels misery in refugee camps
Macron’s counter-terror bill risks France’s human rights record

MIDDLE EAST

In Libya Strike, Military Shows New Lethal Powers Under Trump
A Field Trip to the Front Lines of the Qatar-Saudi Cold War
Wheels and deals: trouble brewing in the House of Saud
US does not recognize Kurdistan independence referendum: Tillerson
Iraqi forces to take control of Kurdish regional borders
Vladmir Putin meets Erdogan to secure Syria de-escalation zone
Yemen experiences worst cholera outbreak ever
Muslims in China being told to hand over Qurans or face punishments

ASIA

Trump to travel to 5 countries in Asia in November
North Korea: The Inevitability of War
Moscow holds ‘consultations’ with NKorea diplomat
War of the Dragons: Why North Korea Does’t Trust China
Why China Will Never Crackdown on North Korea
How America Is Losing the Battle for the South China Sea
Japan’s defence chief warns of possible N.Korea provocation on Oct. 10
Bali: Fear of volcanic eruption forces 130,000 to flee.

 


 

Travel Security Update

The U.S. Dept. of State is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning on international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation prior to departure.

Latest USGOV Travel Alerts and Warnings

Cuba
09/29/2017

Turkey
09/28/2017

Kenya
09/27/2017

Eritrea
09/25/2017

Haiti
09/12/2017

Ethiopia
08/25/2017

Bangladesh
08/24/2017

Mexico
08/22/2017

Iran
08/15/2017

N. Korea
08/10/2017

Somalia
08/03/2017

Hurricane Season
06/05/2017

Europe
08/31/2017

Worldwide Caution

09/14/2017

Additional Sources of Travel Guidance

Canada Dept. of Foreign Affairs

Australia Dept. of Foreign Affairs

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

 


 

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Via: threatjournal


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Flaws in web-connected, radiation-monitoring kit? What could go wrong?

Ripe target for ne’er-do-wells.

Black Hat Vulnerabilities in widely deployed Radiation Monitoring Devices (RDMs) present a potential mechanism for triggering false alarms and worse, according to research unveiled at Black Hat on Wednesday.

RDMs are used to monitor radiation in critical infrastructure such as nuclear power plants, seaports, borders, and hospitals. However, like many Internet of Things devices, security shortcomings provide a means to subvert their operation.

An inspection of the technology by Ruben Santamarta, principal security consultant for IOActive, uncovered flaws in RDMs from multiple vendors, including Ludlum and Mirion. Santamarta’s research focused on testing software and hardware, firmware reverse engineering and radio frequency analysis.

The vulnerabilities create a means to meddle with “critical systems used for monitoring radiation levels, for example by falsifying measurement readings to simulate a radiation leak, tricking authorities to give incorrect evacuation directions, or increasing the time an attack against a nuclear facility or an attack involving a radioactive material remains undetected by sending normal readings to deceive operators”.

Inspection of software that ships with the Model 53 Gamma Personnel Portal from Ludlum revealed a backdoor password. “As a result, malicious personnel can bypass the RPM’s authentication and take control of the device, which could be used to disable it, thus preventing the RPM from triggering proper alarms,” Santamarta warned.

Ludlum 53 and software [source: IOActive whitepaper]

Ludlum’s gate monitors – Model 4525 – for vehicle inspection lack any security measure for data communication. Any attacker in the adjacent network can change the device’s network settings, which opens the door to multiple attacks. Worse yet, the device communicates via cleartext, so attackers would be able to falsify readings, disable alarms, or perform any other originally supported operation.

Ludlum’s gate monitors – Model 4525 – for vehicle inspection [source: IOActive]

After studying the hardware and firmware, IOActive also uncovered potential attacks against Mirion WRM2-capable Radiation Monitoring Devices at nuclear power plants. A skilled and sufficiently motivated attacker might be able to forge or sniff “WRM2 transmissions, either by repurposing a Digi S3/S3B XBee Module or by implementing the XSC and WRM2 protocol layers in a SDR device”. Such devices are located at secure facilities, reducing the likelihood of any attack in most scenarios. IOActive is convinced nonetheless that it has identified issues that merit remediation.

“Failed evacuations, concealed persistent attacks and stealth man-in-the-middle attacks are just a few of the risks I flagged in my research,” said Santamarta. “Being able to properly and accurately detect radiation levels is imperative in preventing harm to those at or near nuclear plants and other critical facilities, as well as for ensuring radioactive materials are not smuggled across borders.”

Exposed Digi S3B Module [source: IOActive]

IOActive informed the affected vendors of the findings weeks before Santamarta delivered his talk, Go Nuclear: Breaking Radiation Monitoring Devices, at Black Hat. Despite initial responses indicating the issues would not be addressed, more recent communications from some vendors have indicated work is being done to patch the critical vulnerabilities uncovered.

El Reg contacted Ludlum and Mirion for comment but we’re yet to hear back from either.

A white paper on IOActive’s research includes technical details for the testing conducted and the vulnerabilities identified.

 

via:  theregister


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Nuke Fears: US Government Orders 14 Million Doses of Potassium Iodide

The Department of Health and Human Services has ordered 14 million doses of potassium iodide, the compound that protects the body from radioactive poisoning in the aftermath of severe nuclear accidents, to be delivered before the beginning of February.

According to a solicitation posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the DHHS asks contractors to supply, “potassium iodide tablet, 65mg, unit dose package of 20s; 700,000 packages (of 20s),” a total of 14 million tablets. The packages must be delivered on or before February 1, 2014.

Potassium iodide helps block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland and is used by victims of severe nuclear accidents or emergencies. Under current regulations, states with populations living within 10 miles of a nuclear plant are encouraged, but not required, to maintain a supply of potassium iodide.

A search of the FedBizOpps website returns no other results regarding the purchase of potassium iodide from any government agency, suggesting that the DHHS bulk buy of the tablets is unprecedented in recent times.

The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant has prompted concerns that the purchase is connected to the threat posed by radioactive debris washing up on the shores of the west coast or the potential for another natural disaster occurring in Japan which could impact the U.S.

“Governments usually respond to disasters very similarly; first move is to avoid panic,” writes The West Wire. “The Japanese didn’t want to panic the world, or tarnish their honor and now, as a consequence of their reluctance, Japanese citizens and international aid personal find themselves in a horrible state of being.”

“Panic is usually avoided by keeping their citizens as blind to the truth as possible, until confrontation with the truth becomes inevitable. The crucial question at this juncture; “would our government be reluctant about warning us of potential disaster, in an attempt to avoid panic?” 14 million doses of Potassium Iodide say that might just be the case.”

Last month it was revealed that 71 U.S. sailors who helped during the initial Fukushima relief efforts are suing the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) after they returned with thyroid cancer, Leukemia, and brain tumors as a result of being exposed to radiation at 300 times the safe level.

TEPCO has repeatedly been caught lying in their efforts to downplay the scale of the disaster. In September it was confirmed that radiation readings around the power plant were 18 times higher than previously reported by TEPCO. After a tank leaked 300 tonnes of toxic water in August, groundwater radiation readings at the plant soared to 400,000 becquerels per litre, the highest reading since the nuclear accident occurred in March 2011.

Top scientists have warned that if another major earthquake hits Fukushima, which is almost inevitable, it would mean “bye bye Japan” and the complete evacuation of the west coast of North America.

Now that radioactive debris is hitting the West Coast of North America, numerous different animals and sea life are suffering from mysterious diseases, including 20 bald eagles that have died in Utah over the last few weeks alone.

 

Watch the video below in which Alex Jones highlights how the Fukushima nuclear crisis will impact Americans.

 


 

UPDATE: Plumes of mysterious steam rise from crippled nuclear reactor at Fukushima

 

 Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: shtfplan


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Brits Lose Control of Nuke Reactors: “Unbelievable… Seriousness of a Major Radioactive Release”

After the world witnessed a widespread radioactive disaster following the Tsunami that took down power systems at the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan you would think that nuclear regulators and operators would have taken the threat of unforeseen accidents seriously.

Apparently, this is not the case, according to a new report from the United Kingdom.

Nearly the exact same scenario played out in the Devonport Dockyard last summer, when the primary and secondary power sources for nuclear cooling fuel became inexplicably inoperable.

It was a situation kept secret because the implications were so serious that the entire country of Britain could have been turned to a radioactive wasteland overnight.

A major nuclear incident was narrowly averted at the heart of Britain’s Royal Navy submarine fleet, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. The failure of both the primary and secondary power sources of coolant for nuclear reactors at the Devonport dockyard in Plymouth on 29 July last year followed warnings in previous years of just such a situation.

Experts yesterday compared the crisis at the naval base, operated by the Ministry of Defence and government engineering contractors Babcock Marine, with the Fukushima Daiichi power-station meltdown in Japan in 2011.


But last July a series of what were described as “unidentified defects” triggered the failures which meant that for more than 90 minutes, submarines were left without their main sources of coolant.


John Large, an independent nuclear adviser who led the team that conducted radiation analysis on the Russian Kursk submarine which sank in the Barents Sea in 2000, said:

“It is unbelievable that this happened. It could have been very serious. Things like this shouldn’t happen. It is a fundamental that these fail-safe requirements work. It had all the seriousness of a major meltdown – a major radioactive release.”


Among a number of “areas of concern” uncovered by the Babcock investigation was what was described as an “inability to learn from previous incidents and to implement the recommendations from previous event reports”.

A subsequent review from the Base Nuclear Safety Organisation revealed the “unsuccessful connection of diesel generators” and questioned the “effectiveness of the maintenance methodology and its management”, while advising Babcock to “address the shortfalls in their current maintenance regime”.


Its own “stress test” on Devonport safety, launched after the Fukushima disaster, said that in the event of the failure of both power supplies, heat levels in reactors could be controlled by emergency portable water pumps, and added that such a failure had occurred a “number of times” previously.

If you think nuclear facilities in the United States and other Western nations are any safer than Fukushima or Devonport, you’d be mistaken.

Because these facilities often operate under the cloak of secrecy, it is impossible for us to know how many times such incidents have occurred in the United States. What we do know is that on March 28, 1979 the 3-Mile Island nuclear facility in Pennsylvania experienced the worst nuclear power plant accident in American history when a meltdown occurred in one of the facility’s two reactors. Thus, accidents at these facilities are not unprecedented.

There are currently 65 commercially operating nuclear power plants with 104 nuclear reactors in 31 states around the country.


What Chernobyl, Fukushima, 3-Mile Island and Devonport show is that we are not immune from the real possibility of a massive nuclear disaster.

Given the sheer concentration of these facilities around major population centers, especially in the eastern United States, one can’t ignore the potential for an emergency on U.S. soil that irradiates a huge portion of our population and forces region-wide evacuations.

Consider a situation where the United States comes under attack by a Super-EMP (electro magnetic pulse) weapon or a powerful solar flare that takes down the power grid. In such a scenario, a collapse of our banks, stock markets, economy, and systems of commerce would be the least of our worries.

We already know that the processes and procedures in place to test and maintain back-up power generators is lacking, as evidenced by the failure of similar generators at medical facilities following Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Couple those system failures with an EMP or solar flare that renders the system completely inoperable, and people living within a 100-mile radius of a nuclear reactor would have about 90 minutes to evacuate before radiation spews all over them.

While a nuclear disaster of this magnitude is an outlier, it is not out of the question. We’ve experienced one in the last few years, and it’s still not under control and continues to contaminate ocean water, as well as the residents of Japan (and perhaps even the United States).

The threat of a nuclear meltdown if you live within several hundred miles of a nuclear facility is one worthy of consideration, planning and preparation. You’ll need to have a bug out plan in place and be ready to put it into action in seconds – not minutes.

You’ll have to move fast – very fast – at the first sign that a nuclear event is imminent. Tens of thousands of scared and panicked people will be trying to figure out what to do, how to get out of town, and where they will go. If you have a plan in place ahead of time you’ll at least be able to move a few minutes sooner than the rest of the golden horde. And when we’re talking 90 minutes until meltdown, even 5 minutes could be a life saver.

Nuclear disasters can happen. We’ve seen it with our own eyes. It will happen again. That is just about guaranteed.

Be prepared to act when it does.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: shtfplan


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Environmental Sensor That Plugs Into Your Phone & Tracks Radiation Exposure

There’s a thriving cottage industry of smartphone extension hardware that plugs into the headphone jack on your phone and extends its capabilities in one way or another — feeding whatever special data it grabs back to an app where you get to parse, poke and prod it. It’s hard to keep track of the cool stuff people are coming up with to augment phones — whether its wind meters or light meters or even borescopes. Well, here’s an even more off-the-wall extension: meet DO-RA — a personal dosimeter-radiometer for measuring background radiation.

Granted, this is not something the average person might feel they need. And yet factor in the quantified self/health tracking trend and there is likely a potential market in piquing the interest of quantified selfers curious about how much background radiation they are exposed to every day. Plus there are of course obvious use-cases in specific regions that have suffered major nuclear incidents, like Fukushima or Chernobyl, or for people who work in the nuclear industry. DO-RA’s creators say Japan is going to be a key target market when they go into production. Other targets are the U.S. and Europe. It reckons it will initially be able to ship 1 million DO-RA devices per year into these three markets. The device is due to go into commercial production this autumn.

The Russian startup behind DO-RA, Intersoft Eurasia, claims to have garnered 1,300 pre-orders for the device over the last few months, without doing any dedicated advertising — the majority of pre-orderers are apparently (and incidentally) male iPhone and iPad owners. So it sounds like it’s ticking a fair few folks’ ‘cool gadget’ box already.

The DO-RA device will retail for around $150 — which Intersoft says is its primary disruption, being considerably lower than rival portable dosimeters, typically costing $250-$400. It names its main competitors as devices made by U.S. company Scosche, and Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo. Last year Japan’s Softbank also announced a smartphone with an integrated radiation dosimeter, with the phone made by Sharp. This year, a San Francisco-based startup has also entered the space, with a personal environmental monitoring device, called Lapka (also costing circa $250), so interest in environmental-monitoring devices certainly appears to be on the rise.

DO-RA — which is short for dosimeter-radiometer — was conceived by its Russian creator, Vladimir Elin, after reading articles on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, and stumbling across the idea of a portable dosimeter. A bit more research followed, patents were filed and an international patent was granted on the DO-RA concept in Ukraine, in November last year. Intersoft has made several prototypes since 2011 — and produced multiple apps, for pretty much every mobile and desktop platform going —  but is only now gearing up to get the hardware product into market. (Its existing apps are currently running in a dummy simulation mode.)

So what exactly does DO-RA do? The universal design version of the gadget will plug into the audio jack on a smartphone, tablet or laptop and, when used in conjunction with the DO-RA app, will be able to record radiation measurements — using a silicon-based ionizing radiation sensor — to build up a picture of radiation exposure for the mobile owner or at a particular location (if you’re using it with a less portable desktop device).

The system can continuously monitor background radiation levels, when the app is used in radiometer mode (which is presumably going to be the more battery-draining option — albeit the device contains its own battery), taking measurements every four seconds. There’s also a dosimeter mode, where the app measures “an equivalent exposure over the monitoring period” and then forecasts annual exposure based on that snapshot.

The company lists the main functions of the DO-RA mobile device plus app as:

– Measuring the hourly/daily/weekly/monthly/annual equivalent radiation dose received by an owner of a mobile/smart phone;

– Warning on allowable, maximum and unallowable equivalent radiation dose by audible alarms/messages of a mobile/smart phone:”Normal Dose”, “Maximum Dose”, “Unallowable Dose”.

– Development of trends of condition of organs and systems of an owner of a mobile phone subject to received radiation dose;

– Advising an owner of a mobile/smart phone on prevention measures subject to received radiation dose;

– Receiving data (maps of land, water and other objects) on radiation pollution from radiation monitoring centres collected from DO-RA devices;

– Transferring collected data through wireless connection (Bluetooth 4.0) to any electronic devices within 10 meters.

Why does it need to transfer collected data? Because the startup has big data plans: it’s hoping to be able to generate real-time maps showing global background radiation levels based on the data its network of DO-RA users will ultimately be generating. To get the kind of volumes of data required to create serious value they’re also looking to shrink their hardware right down — and stick it inside the phone. On a chip, no less.

The DO-RA.micro design, which aims to integrate the detector into the smartphone’s battery, is apparently “under development” at present. The final step in the startup’s incredible shrinking roadmap is DO-RA.pro in which the radiation-sensing hardware is integrated directly into the SoC. “This advanced design is under negotiations now”, it says.

It will doubtless be an expensive trick to pull off, but if DO-RA’s makers are able to drive their technology inside millions of phones as an embedded sensor that ends up being included as standard they could be sitting atop a gigantic environmental radiation-monitoring data mountain. Still, they are a long way off that ultimate goal. In the meantime they are banking on building out their network via a universal plug-in version of DO-RA, which smartphone owners can use to give their current phone the ability to sniff out radiation.

In addition to the basic universal plug-in, they have created an apple-shaped version, called Yablo-Chups (pictured left), presumably aimed at appealing to the Japanese market (judging by the kawaii design). They are also eyeing the smartwatch space (but then who isn’t?), producing a concept design for an electromagnetic field monitoring watch that warns its owner of “unhealthy frequencies.” It remains to be seen whether that device will ever be more than vaporware.

All these plans are certainly ambitious, so what about funding? Elin founded Intersoft Eurasia in 2011 and has managed to raise around $500,000 to-date, including a $35,000 grant from Russia’s Skolkovo Foundation, which backs technology R&D projects to support the homegrown Tech City/startup hub. In September 2013 Intersoft says it’s expecting to get a more substantial grant from the Foundation — of up to $ 1 million — to supplement its funding as it kicks off commercial production of DO-RA. It also apparently has private investors (whose identity it’s not disclosing at this time) willing to invest a further $250,000.

Even so, DO-RA’s creators say they are still on the look out for additional investment — either “in the nuclear sphere” or a “big net partner to promote DO-RA” in their main target markets. Additional investment is likely required to achieve what Intersoft describes as its “main goal”: producing a microchip with an embedded radiation sensor. That goal suggests that the current craze for hardware plug-ins to extend phone functionality may be somewhat transitionary — if at least some of these additional sensors can (ultimately) be shrunk down and squeezed into the main device, making mobiles smarter than ever right out of the box.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: techcrunch


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Radiation Detection App for iPhone / iPad

While I am not normally a great fan of stuffing my phone full of apps that are entertaining but useless at best, here is one that I came across that can actually prove very useful for those that have the older Civil Defense survey meters that have and audio output that lets you hear the clicks as the Geiger tube is detecting hits. This will work with any meter that gives audible clicks for activity that is being detected by the Geiger tube, the app needs the external input through the microphone on the iPad / iPhone or a patch cable made to utilize direct input.

What’s more important about this app is the accuracy that can be attained with it. The CDV-700 that was used to test this was calibrated by a lab in the late 90’s so I have a fairly high confidence that its meter is reading correctly, all the readings that were taken with the application using the audio from the survey meter matched what it was showing on the analog meter.

             iPhone version

The application is called Geiger Bot, and it is available on iTunes for free. Yes, you heard me right, free. Now if this app on an iPhone were to be coupled up with the compact Geiger Counter that is offered by GQ Electronics LLC for $95.00 you have a good handheld radiation detector that will even alert you if the background radiation rises above safe levels.

I will not detail out all of the functionality of the application, the author of it has already done a great job on his web site (http://sites.google.com/site/geigerbot/).

So for those that have an old CDV-700 meter and an iPhone or iPad, here is a way to bring it forward into the digital age for a minimum cost.


              iPad Version

Via: tpass


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