Tag Archive: security

CDC issues Level 3 Notice (Avoid Nonessential Travel) and Presidential Proclamation —Suspension of Entry

 

CDC issues Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) Notice for 29 European nations due to widespread sustained transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

 

Supplemental Info:

COVID-19 in Europe
Warning – Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel—Widespread Sustained Transmission


Key Points

  • Europe is experiencing widespread sustained transmission of respiratory illness caused by the novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the specified countries in Europe. See: What countries are included in this notice (below).
  • Older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for severe disease.
  • Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Travelers returning from the specified countries in Europe must stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.
  • Travelers who are sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing should call ahead before seeking medical care.

What countries are included in this notice?

  • Austria

     

  • Belgium

     

  • Czech Republic

     

  • Denmark

     

  • Estonia

     

  • Finland

     

  • France

     

  • Germany

     

  • Greece

     

  • Hungary

     

  • Iceland

     

  • Italy

     

  • Latvia

     

  • Liechtenstein

     

  • Lithuania

     

  • Luxembourg

     

  • Malta

     

  • Netherlands

     

  • Norway

     

  • Poland

     

  • Portugal

     

  • Slovakia

     

  • Slovenia

     

  • Spain

     

  • Sweden

     

  • Switzerland

     

  • Monaco

     

  • San Marino

     

  • Vatican City
  •  

READ THE FULL TRAVEL NOTICE

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/coronavirus-europe

 

 

 

Proclamation—Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus

 

March 11, 2020

On January 31, 2020, I issued Proclamation 9984 (Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus and Other Appropriate Measures To Address This Risk). I found that the potential for widespread transmission of a novel (new) coronavirus (which has since been renamed “SARS-CoV-2” and causes the disease COVID-19) (“SARS-CoV-2” or “the virus”) by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States threatens the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security. Because the outbreak of the virus was at the time centered in the People’s Republic of China, I suspended and limited the entry of all aliens who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, subject to certain exceptions. On February 29, 2020, in recognition of the sustained person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the Islamic Republic of Iran, I issued Proclamation 9992 (Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus), suspending and limiting the entry of all aliens who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, subject to certain exceptions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a component of the Department of Health and Human Services, has determined that the virus presents a serious public health threat, and CDC continues to take steps to prevent its spread. But CDC, along with State and local health departments, has limited resources, and the public health system could be overwhelmed if sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus occurred in the United States on a large scale. Sustained human-to-human transmission has the potential to cause cascading public health, economic, national security, and societal consequences.

The World Health Organization has determined that multiple countries within the Schengen Area are experiencing sustained person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2. For purposes of this proclamation, the Schengen Area comprises 26 European states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The Schengen Area currently has the largest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of the People’s Republic of China. As of March 11, 2020, the number of cases in the 26 Schengen Area countries is 17,442, with 711 deaths, and shows high continuous growth in infection rates. In total, as of March 9, 2020, the Schengen Area has exported 201 COVID-19 cases to 53 countries. Moreover, the free flow of people between the Schengen Area countries makes the task of managing the spread of the virus difficult.

The United States Government is unable to effectively evaluate and monitor all of the travelers continuing to arrive from the Schengen Area. The potential for undetected transmission of the virus by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States from the Schengen Area threatens the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security. Given the importance of protecting persons within the United States from the threat of this harmful communicable disease, I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The free flow of commerce between the United States and the Schengen Area countries remains an economic priority for the United States, and I remain committed to facilitating trade between our nations.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, hereby find that the unrestricted entry into the United States of persons described in section 1 of this proclamation would, except as provided for in section 2 of this proclamation, be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and that their entry should be subject to certain restrictions, limitations, and exceptions. I therefore hereby proclaim the following:

Section 1. Suspension and Limitation on Entry. The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.

Sec. 2. Scope of Suspension and Limitation on Entry.
(a) Section 1 of this proclamation shall not apply to:
(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(ii) any alien who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
(iii) any alien who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;
(iv) any alien who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
(v) any alien who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
(vi) any alien traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
(vii) any alien traveling as a nonimmigrant pursuant to a C-1, D, or C-1/D nonimmigrant visa as a crewmember or any alien otherwise traveling to the United States as air or sea crew;
(viii) any alien
(A) seeking entry into or transiting the United States pursuant to one of the following visas: A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), E-1 (as an employee of TECRO or TECO or the employee’s immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a nonimmigrant in one of those NATO categories); or
(B) whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;
(ix) any alien whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the CDC Director or his designee;
(x) any alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;
(xi) any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees; or
(xii) members of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
(b) Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to affect any individual’s eligibility for asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the regulations issued pursuant to the legislation implementing the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, consistent with the laws and regulations of the United States.

Sec. 3. Implementation and Enforcement. (a) The Secretary of State shall implement this proclamation as it applies to visas pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may establish. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall implement this proclamation as it applies to the entry of aliens pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may establish.
(b) Consistent with applicable law, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Transportation, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall ensure that any alien subject to this proclamation does not board an aircraft traveling to the United States.
(c) The Secretary of Homeland Security may establish standards and procedures to ensure the application of this proclamation at and between all United States ports of entry.
(d) An alien who circumvents the application of this proclamation through fraud, willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or illegal entry shall be a priority for removal by the Department of Homeland Security.

Sec. 4. Termination. This proclamation shall remain in effect until terminated by the President. The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall recommend that the President continue, modify, or terminate this proclamation as described in section 5 of Proclamation 9984, as amended.

Sec. 5. Effective Date. This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020.

Sec. 6. Severability. It is the policy of the United States to enforce this proclamation to the maximum extent possible to advance the national security, public safety, and foreign policy interests of the United States. Accordingly:
(a) if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this proclamation and the application of its provisions to any other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby; and
(b) if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid because of the lack of certain procedural requirements, the relevant executive branch officials shall implement those procedural requirements to conform with existing law and with any applicable court orders.

Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This proclamation shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.

DONALD J. TRUMP

 

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-certain-additional-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-2019-novel-coronavirus/

 

Official Coronavirus Information Pages

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Food and Drug Administration

Public Health Agency of Canada

Infection Prevention and Control Canada

World Health Organization

 

Official Pandemic Preparedness Guidance:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Department of Homeland Security / Ready.Gov

World Health Organization

 

Assorted Additional Resources

(While some of the resources below were prepared for pandemic influenza, the broader guidance contain therein is directly applicable to the current coronavirus crisis).

Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza
Fundamentals of Emergency Planning for Schools
Healthcare Systems Preparedness for COVID-19
Pub Health Guidance for Community-Level Preparedness & Response
Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist
Faith-based & Community Org. Pandemic Influenza Checklist
WHO Checklist for Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Planning
Get Your Workplace Ready for Pandemic Flu
Dept of Defense Coronavirus Response Page
DHS Supplemental Instructions For Inbound Flights

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

 

 

 

Via: threatjournal


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WHO declares COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic

 

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WHO declares COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic based on alarming levels of spread and severity.

 

Supplemental Info:

WHO defines a “pandemic” as an epidemic of infectious disease occurring on a scale crossing international boundaries and affecting a large number of people.

 

In today’s press briefing, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the situation will worsen.


“We expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.”


“Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.”

—————

WA Gov Inslee bans ALL gatherings of more than 250 ppl in Snohomish, King and Pierce Cos through March due to COVID-19. Could be expanded in time & scope as req..

———————

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

 

Via: threatjournal, arcgis.com


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Weekly National Situation Update 3-8-2020

From AlertsUSA

 

WEEKLY THREAT AND ALERT ROUNDUP

 

Coronavirus Spreads Across the U.S. and Europe

Johns Hopkins CSSE COVID-19 Case Count (Interactive map updated multiple times daily) - ALLOW IMAGES

March 7, 2020

  

Between Feb 29 – March 6, the following related Flash SMS
messages were sent to
AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

 

2/29 – President Trump to address the nation at 1:30 PM EASTERN on developments concerning the COVID-19 coronavirus. Check national media.

 

2/29 – Level 4 Travel Advisory (Do Not Travel) forthcoming for areas of Italy and S. Korea with coronavirus activity. Bulletins will be sent by email when published.

 

3/2 – San Antonio Mayor bans 120+ current and former COVID-19 evacuees quarantined at Joint Base San Antonio from travel into or through the city.

 

3/3 – CDC: “What is happening now in the US may be the beginning of what’s happening abroad.” More COVID-19 cases expected from travel, contact & community spread.

 

3/4 – Government of Italy orders closure of all schools and universities across the country from tomorrow until mid-March due to COVID-19 coronavirus.

 

3/4 – Los Angeles County Public Health declares state of emergency due to COVID-19 outbreak. 6 new cases confirmed. AlertsUSA monitoring.

 

3/4 – California Gov. Newsom declares state of emergency due to growing number of COVID-19 cases as well as first related death. More via email.

 

3/5 – CA Gov bars Grand Princess cruise ship from docking. Ship ordered to remain offshore until all passengers and crew can be tested for COVID-19. Monitoring.

 

3/5 – CDC Director: State of WA “is the tip of the spear” for coronavirus in the US. “You’re now at the stage where we are beginning to see community transmission.”

 

3/6 – DoD deploys Crisis Response Force of ~160 soldiers to San Ysidro, CA and El Paso, TX to erect temp barriers at ports of entry + force protection for CBP.

 

3/6 – VPOTUS: 21 individuals (19 crew, 2 passengers) on Grand Princess cruise ship near San Francisco test positive for COVID-19. More via email.

 

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. All of these alerts dealt with the increasingly dangerous situation with the COVID-19 coronavirus.

 

Starting last Saturday (shortly after our last weekly update was issued), the U.S. State Department announced Level 4 Do Not Travel advisories for areas of Italy and S. Korea with coronavirus activity. With respect to Italy, the advisory urges avoiding all travel to the Lombardy region (Milan), as well as the Veneto region (Venice), due to the level of community transmission of the virus and imposition of local quarantine procedures.

 

With respect to South Korea, the advisory urges avoiding the city of Daegu, again, due to the level of community transmission of the virus and imposition of local quarantine procedures.

 

The remainder of Italy and S. Korea are under Level 3 advisories, which urges American citizens to reconsider travel to the countries entirely.

 

Additionally, new boarding restrictions are in place for airline passengers in Italy and S. Korea headed to the U.S.:

As of 12:00 AM March 3, all passengers on U.S.-bound flights from Italy and S. Korea whose temperature is higher than 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit are not being permitted to board. Travelers should be prepared for additional travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.

 

SAN ANTONIO MAYOR BANS QUARANTINED EVACUEES FROM CITY

On Monday, the Mayor of San Antonio, Texas declared a public health emergency and banned current and former coronavirus evacuees quarantined at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland after an individual, who twice tested negative for the virus, was released into the city and was later found to have a positive test result. This individual, a woman, spent more than 12 hours in public where she checked into a hotel before visiting North Star Mall where she sat for a meal in the food court. The mall was subsequently closed for 24 hours while it was cleaned and disinfected.

 

Under Texas state law, the mayor of a municipality may control who comes in or out of a disaster area.

 

CA GOVERNOR BARS CRUISE SHIP FROM DOCKING

On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom barred the Grand Princess cruise ship from docking in San Francisco until passengers and crew could be tested for the coronavirus. The move came after a 71-YO man who had been on the ship’s previous cruise died of the coronavirus. Health authorities later disclosed that at least nine other people who were on the same excursion were also found to be infected. And some passengers from that trip stayed aboard for the current voyage.

 

Friday evening, AlertsUSA subscribers were informed of an announcement by Vice President Mike Pence that a portion of the 3500 passengers aboard the cruise ship were tested and 21, including 19 crew members and 2 passengers, were also found to be infected. Vice President Pence further indicated that the cruise ship would proceed to an unspecified non-commercial dock where the passengers would disembark and at least a portion transferred top quarantine facilities.

 

DOD DEPLYS SOLDIERS TO US/MX PORTS OF ENTRY

Also on Friday, AlertsUSA subscribers were informed that the Dept. of Defense was deploying a 160-soldier Crisis Response Force to San Ysidro, CA and El Paso, TX to erect temporary barriers at ports of entry as well as to provide force protection to Customs and Border protection agents. According to CBP, the deployment is necessary in case a federal appeals court nixes a Trump Administration policy known as “Remain in Mexico,” which could result in large groups attempting to forcibly enter the United States, as well as due to coronavirus containment concerns.

 

NOW IS THE TIME TO PREPARE

Once again, AlertsUSA strongly encourages reader to use the totality of U.S. and foreign government actions in response to this global public health crisis as your cue prepare yourself, your family, and any business interests, for the possibility that the virus has a greater impact here in North America. The Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health all warn that we are only witnessing the tip of the iceberg and that more cases of the coronavirus will be appearing across the United States, especially now that we have accurate testing capabilities being deployed to state and local labs nationwide.

 

To further drive home the seriousness of the need to prepare, consider the following quote made Friday by Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, during an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News:

“I’ve been working on epidemic preparedness for about 20 years, and completely dispassionately, without elevating the temperature or speaking hyperbolically, this is the most frightening disease I’ve ever encountered in my career, and that includes ebola, it includes MERS, it includes SARS. And it is frightening because of the combination of infectiousness and a lethality that appears to be many-fold higher than flu”

 

OFFICIAL CASE NUMBERS

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control (U.S.)
Johns Hopkins CSSE (Interactive map updated multiple times daily)

Johns Hopkins CSSE COVID-19 Case Count (Interactive map updated multiple times daily) - ALLOW IMAGES

 

WHO RISK OF SPREAD & IMPACT ASSESSMENT

China Very High
Regional Level Very High
Global Level Very High

 

PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS RESOURCES

 

Official Coronavirus Information Pages:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Food and Drug Administration
Public Health Agency of Canada
Infection Prevention and Control Canada
World Health Organization

 

Official Pandemic Preparedness Guidance:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of Homeland Security / Ready.Gov
World Health Organization

 

Assorted Resources

(While some of the resources below were prepared for pandemic influenza, the broader guidance contain therein is directly applicable to the current coronavirus crisis).

Home Care for Patients w/ Suspected Coronavirus Infection
Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza
Fundamentals of Emergency Planning for Schools
Healthcare Systems Preparedness for COVID-19
Pub Health Guidance for Community-Level Preparedness & Response (SARS)
Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist
Faith-based & Community Org. Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Checklist
WHO Checklist for Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Planning
Get Your Workplace Ready for Pandemic Flu
Dept of Defense Coronavirus Response Page
DHS Supplemental Instructions For Inbound Flights


View Last Week’s Issue


 

Additional Coronavirus News Items

Why do so many epidemics originate in Africa and Asia?
A second LAX screener tests positive for the coronavirus
Pentagon is ‘fully confident’ military can withstand threat of coronavirus
Officials Prep to Keep Pentagon Running in Event of Major Outbreak
British army on standby over coronavirus spread
Greece shuts schools as WHO warns about local transmission
Chaos at hospitals due to shortage of coronavirus tests
Satellite images reveal the effects the coronavirus has had
Italy calls in retired doctors to help fight coronavirus
15-minute virus test used in China, Italy and Japan – but NOT in the UK or US
Coronavirus: UN asks 9 countries to delay peacekeeper rotations
UK officials are secretly arranging for 200 mobile morgues
Coronavirus cases pass 100K globally as Iran threatens force to restrict travel
Another senior Iranian official dies from coronavirus
Report: US Congressional Staffer Tests Positive for Coronavirus
IRGC claims coronavirus outbreak ‘may be an American biological invasion
KSA: Extraordinary measures to protect Mecca and Medina from COVID-19
Virus ripples through travel, energy, financial markets
Bodies ‘pile up’ in morgue as Iran feels strain of coronavirus
Virus fears grip markets again; stocks and bond yields slide
Wall Street drops over 3% on virus fears, travel shares slammed
IMF provides $50bn to fight coronavirus outbreak
Virus ripples through travel, energy, financial markets
Trade group: Airline industry will lose at least $63B due to COVID-19

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment around the clock and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages to their mobile devices, 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

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* Threat Info Direct to Your Mobile Device
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* In Wide Use By Gov, 1st Responders, Travelers.
* 24/7/365 Monitoring. No Hype. Just the Bad Stuff.
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In fact, they are our customers!

 

 


Greek security forces intervene in asylum seekers, who attempt to cross the barbed fence at the closed-off Greek-Turkish border, in Kastanies, Greece on March 04, 2020. - ALLOW IMAGES

Commentary / Analysis / Research

 

March 7, 2020

 

Asylum-Seekers, Coronavirus Collide with Complicated Results

This week, thousands of asylum-seekers sit at the intersection of a pair of fast-moving news stories — a spike in migration in Europe and uncertainty about the global spread of the new and sometimes deadly virus. They have found themselves trapped between two worlds, at the mercy of political machinations and governments that are telling them in no uncertain terms: We don’t want you here.

~ READ MORE HERE ~

 

Europe Must Not Fall Victim to Erdogan’s Blackmail

Turkey would apparently like to see more progress in the talks to grant it admission as a full member of the European Union…. Erdogan would most certainly like the West overlook his massive democratic deficit, and to help Turkey secure even more dominance over the Greek islands off its coast, as well as its claims on the gas fields beneath the eastern Mediterranean.

~ READ MORE HERE ~

 

Far-Right Terrorism: Analyzing Roots and Motivations

Online publication of pre-attack manifestos is becoming common among individuals seeking to commit violence. Each manifesto contains a variation of the author’s justification for the planned attack, as well as a personal interpretation of the world’s problems. As such, the report provides a qualitative analysis of theoretical motivations behind this violence.

~ READ MORE HERE ~

 


Fleet and Marine Tracker Map as of March 2, 2020  - ALLOW IMAGE8

USNI Fleet and Marine Tracker

 

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of March 2, 2020 based on Navy and public data provided by the U.S. Naval Institute. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship.


The USS Toledo arrives at Ice Camp Seadragon in the Arctic Ocean, March 4, 2020, to kick off Ice Exercise, a biennial exercise that offers the Navy the opportunity to assess its operational readiness in the Arctic and train with other services. - ALLOW IMAGES

 

World News Roundup

 

Other Developments We Are Following

 

AMERICAS

Pentagon Failed to Vet Saudi Military Recruit Who Killed 3 Americans
Pentagon to Spend Billions Mass-Producing Hypersonic Weapons
Brazil and United States Sign Unprecedented Military Agreement
Nazi name lists in Argentina may reveal loot in Swiss bank
SecDef: Soleimani’s killing dealt big setback to Iranian terrorism
Former soldier sentenced for attempting to provide support to ISIS
U.S. prosecutors accuse Honduran president of taking drug bribes
Canada urges Iran to give access to downed airliner’s black boxes

 

EUROPE

Met officer suspected of belonging to group linked to terrorism
Clashes between Greek police, migrants reported on Turkish border
Five years on, ill-prepared EU sees migrants on its borders
Refugees told ‘Europe is closed’ as tensions rise on border
‘Open the gates,’ migrants chant at Turkey-Greece border
EU ‘won’t be pressured’ over Greece-Turkey border crisis
Ukraine president: Putin has one year to strike deal to end war
Germany: Alleged Isalamic State terrorist goes on trial
Germany: Thousands of protesters demand EU open borders
Turkey deploys 1,000 police at Greek border as tensions rise
Greece places Aegean on alert as concerns mount of Turkish provocations

 

MIDDLE EAST / AFRICA

US blocks UN statement backing Syria ceasefire: diplomats
Syria war: Idlib ceasefire between Russia and Turkey begins
Trump extends sanctions against Zimbabwe
Turkey’s Operation “Spring Shield” delivers blow to Hezbollah
Tense calm, sporadic clashes in Idlib as Russia-Turkey ceasefire broadly holds
Turkey kills 21 Syrian troops as cease-fire with Russia signed
Iraq forces continue fight against ISIL without US air support
Six killed in attack on Nigeria military base
Zambia’s leader blames church officials for mob violence
Sudan’s June crackdown may have killed 241 people: Rights group
Guinea protests: One dead in anti-government demonstration
Congo protests against unpaid pensions as gov’t debt balloons
Farmers fear impact of Nile River dam
Iran says IAEA case for inspecting sites based on fake Israeli intel

 

ASIA

USGOV has intel that the Taliban do not intend to honor the peace deal
Trump: Taliban could ‘possibly’ seize power after US troops leave
At least 27 people are killed in attack on political rally in Afghanistan
North Korea’s Ballistic Bluster May Mask Major Epidemic
North Korea stays quiet on Kim Jong Un letter
India protest violence leaves thousands displaced
Myanmar violence: Thousands displaced by fresh fighting
Uzbek jihadist group congratulates Taliban for ‘victory’ in Afghanistan
Japan postpones highly anticipated Xi, Abe summit
India restores internet in Kashmir after 7 months of blackout


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Travel Security

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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 at your destination well prior to departure.

 

Active USGOV Travel Notices

Worldwide Caution


 

Active USGOV Travel Advisories

Alphabetical Country List

Dynamic Map


 

Other USGOV Travel Resources

Traveler’s Checklist

Smart Traveler Enrollment Prog (STEP)

Travelers with Special Considerations

Travel to High-Risk Areas

Faith-Based Travel Information

Information for Women Travelers

Cruise Ship Passengers

Students Abroad

Your Health Abroad

Driving and Road Safety Abroad


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The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides a variety of resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector businesses and organizations operating abroad.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website is the authoritative federal source for information on current health issues related to specific destinations worldwide. These issues may arise from disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, natural disasters, or other conditions that may affect travelers’ health.

Foreign Sources of Travel Guidance

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Global Affairs Canada


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Australia Dept. of Foreign Affairs


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UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office


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Will Cars Still Run After an EMP? The Surprising Truth

Imagine every electronic device going dark in the blink of an eye. Forget about luxuries such as your smartphone or wi-fi, and imagine basic necessities like power, heat, supply chains, and infrastructure rendered completely inoperable. Imagine communications completely disabled.

This is the potential effect of an EMP, or an Electromagnetic Pulse. An EMP could alter the landscape of the entire power-grid in an instant, rendering whole cities blacked out for prolonged periods or even permanently. Food, fuel and water may very well become inaccessible when the power has failed completely.

An EMP event is quite scary, but would all cars on the roads just come rolling to a stop when an EMP strikes? We rely on vehicles for everything from getting groceries from the store to maintaining resupply chains that make our modern life possible. If they were to stop, getting out of town would no longer be an option for most people.

For this article, we’ll look at whether a strong EMP would disable all vehicles, which vehicles are most likely to be safe from an EMP, and how you can safeguard your vehicle from an EMP attack.

What is an EMP?

An Electromagnetic Pulse, or EMP, is a burst of electromagnetic energy. While energy is always in motion around us, an EMP is specifically notable for causing electronic disruptions by inducing current into electronics, sometimes severely damaging or destroying them. In extreme cases, an EMP can even knock out the power grid, or worse.

There are two main types of EMPs: natural and man-made. A bolt of lightning or a solar flare can cause an EMP, for example. The massive increase and change in electromagnetic energy as a result of a lightning bolt is a naturally occurring EMP. Solar flares causing highly charged atoms to shoot at high speeds from the sun towards the Earth is another form of a natural EMP.

Perhaps the best-known example of a man-made EMP source is from a nuclear blast. A nuclear blast shoots off multiple pulses of energy in its wake; these varied waves of energy cause significant disruptions to nearby electronics. Here is a more detailed (and scientific) explanation of EMP’s and how they damage electronic devices.

A major city after an EMP is a dangerous place to be—especially if you’re without a working car.

Many people are understandably concerned over EMP devices that are specifically designed to knock-out power, which are also known as High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulses, or HEMPs. A HEMP could either be a nuclear bomb detonated high in the atmosphere as a weapon or a device designed to knock out infrastructure and electronics without the heavy casualties of nuclear warfare. HEMPs can affect a much larger area in concentric circles from the blast. The area of effect would depend on how high in the atmosphere the device detonates. The US Congress received a detailed report on HEMP effects in 2008.

EMP attacks are not relegated to the realm of Science Fiction. A 1987 solar flare knocked out a large portion of the Canadian power grid. Lightning routinely damages electronic devices, although on a much more localized scale. British scientists, unaware of the electrical damage nuclear blasts would cause, suffered a massive instrument failure (they called it ‘radioflash‘) after their initial nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s. These events happened and they can certainly happen again. It’s a good idea to understand them and understand what EMPs are capable of.

Would an EMP Attack Disable all Vehicles?

No, an EMP attack would not disable all vehicles. According to a study conducted by the United States EMP Commission, only about 1 out of 50 vehicles are likely to be rendered inoperable. The effects of an EMP on hybrid and electric vehicles, however, have yet to be studied and is currently unknown.

Questions about the potential damage to vehicles in the aftermath of an EMP are quite common. An exhaustive study by the EMP Commission to determine the effects of an EMP on the United States (available here) were conclusive: most vehicles would survive an EMP.

U.S. EMP Commission Test Results – Key Points

  • 50 vehicles built between 1987 and 2002 were exposed to a spectrum of EMP blasts (up to 50kV/m in strength).
  • 3 out of 50 vehicles shut down while driving.
  • All 3 of these vehicles continued rolling until they safely coasted to a stop.
  • 1 of those vehicles was disabled completely and would not restart.
  • 2 of those vehicle restarted without an issue.
  • Many nuisance issues arose from the 50 exposed vehicles including radio interference, strange and erratic behavior from headlights, turn-signals or brake-lights, and one vehicle needed to have its dashboard replaced

The EMP Commission believed there was a potential for unnecessary deaths from vehicles if the vehicles were exposed to an EMP burst which exceeded 25kV/m. The potential for death and serious injury would not come as the result of an electronic failure, however, but rather due to potential accidents that vehicles slowing down suddenly could cause, especially if those vehicles had issues with their brake lights.

The EMP test indicates that roughly 15% of running vehicles may shut down if exposed to an EMP blast at or over 25kV/m over a wide range of area. In other words, short of a massive solar flare, only a nuclear explosion or purpose-built EMP would create the kind of pulse needed to cause the shutdown effect to occur.

When considering the EMP Survey by the EMP Commission, there are a few points to think about. First, this study finished in 2004. Second, the cars used in the study were older models, built in a range from 1987 until 2002. Third, we do not know which specific vehicles the Commission conducted these tests on, as the Commission never released information on car makes or models. Fourth, cars have developed far more complex and integrated electrical systems since 2002, the latest model year tested. Finally, the test does not appear to have been recreated and the results are not scientifically verified as a result.

Testing a Modern Vehicle in a Lightning Strike

This video from the British car show Top Gear actually explains this concept quite well. Volkswagen has a purpose-built facility to test their cars against potential lightning strikes with charges of up to 800,000 volts. After the bolt hits, the car starts right up. Modern cars can survive a multitude of electrical issues without failing.

Resilience of Modern Vehicles

By design, modern automobiles can survive extreme temperatures and other harsh conditions. Modern cars have many fail-safe systems in case of electrical or mechanical failure. As a result, most cars will continue to run without major issue even in the face of extreme electrical disruption.

Many commentators on this subject believe the EMP study is out of date. Specifically, there’s a theory that older vehicles lacked the integrated computing systems and complex electrical engineering that modern cars have. While this is true, cars have had computers since Volkswagen introduced one to operate their electronic fuel injection (EFI) system in 1968. Engine Control Units (ECUs) have been widespread since the 1970s. It is safe to assume every vehicle in the EMP Commission Study had an ECU in one form or another.

In one sense, it’s understandable that people worry about modern vehicles being more electronically sensitive to EMP damage. However, modern vehicles have more protective shielding, grounds and plastics to replace metals now than they’ve ever have in the past. In almost all cases, modern cars should be more capable of withstanding electrical interference than they have been in the past. Except of course, if you are talking about vehicles manufactured before ECU’s and were largely mechanical based in their functions.

So, in summary, EMP’s will not disable most vehicles. Many modern vehicles which would seem unlikely to survive the EMP probably will survive the EMP, but we don’t currently have sufficient testing to verify that.

The Strongest Possible EMP Attack

Let us consider the ‘doomsday’ scenario for a moment. An EMP hits and the power goes out. For the sake of argument, let us assume that the EMP completely knocks out the entire power-grid of the United States and that no other country is willing or able to divert power to the country. Manufacturing crumbles, international trade evaporates and the America is transported back to the 1800s.

Realistically, only a nuclear explosion at a specific altitude or a strong solar flare could cause that sort of disruption. Anything with long wires leading to it will be especially vulnerable to this (such as the power grid—or anything connected to it). That’s because the long power lines will act like a giant antenna and gather massive amounts of energy flowing through the atmosphere, channeling it into whatever they’re connected to.

Modern motor vehicles do have a lot of wiring in them, but this wiring doesn’t travel out from the vehicle and are, generally speaking, coiled tightly inside the metal box that is your car’s shell. A HEMP designed to knock out power will probably fail to generate more than 25kV/m outside of the immediate blast area, meaning most cars will survive without any issues at all, as the testing done by the U.S. EMP Commission showed.

Generally speaking, your vehicle will be the least of your concerns in this type of situation.The electrical system of modern cars feature much better shielding. The electrical shielding your car has will not prevent the inevitable part failures all cars experience. The lack of spare parts or able mechanics will likely ultimately sink your vehicle, not the EMP itself.

What Type of Car is Most Likely to Survive?

In a doomsday EMP scenario, the vehicle most likely to be viable is an older model diesel vehicle that lacks electronics. Since the roads will not have maintenance you will probably want a 4×4 vehicle that can go off-road when necessary.

Most modern diesel vehicles are just as technologically advanced and electronically complex as their gasoline counterparts. The big difference between diesel and gasoline is in finding fuels in case the power goes out. A gasoline engine requires highly refined and specifically processed fuel. Diesel engines can run on almost any type of fuel, including bio-diesels like algae and vegetable oil. Yes, vegetable oil.

While both carburator based and fuel injection vehicles are likely to survive the EMP, vehicles utilizing carburetors are far less reliant on modern electronics as fuel injected vehicles are. If you worry about the lights going off and never coming back on, you should avoid fuel injection vehicles.

“If you’re serious about having a vehicle that will survive massive EMP damage, then you’re looking for a naturally aspirated diesel engine from before about 1990. A 4×4 is probably a safer bet than a front or rear wheel drive.”

How does the Military Protect Against EMPs?

The military is an interesting case study in EMP defense. The military not only faces the potential for natural phenomenon, like a lightning strike or solar flare, they also face the possibility of fighting against a foreign power that uses weapons to disrupt communications, navigation, aviation, and other critical aspects of warfare.

The military primarily uses a simple Faraday Cage to protect their equipment against the potential damages of an EMP attack. A Faraday Cage is a simple construction of grounded metal surrounding sensitive electronic wiring and equipment. During a surge of electromagnetic energy, such as the most severe EMPs, military equipment is protected from damage by this simple Faraday Cage.

Advanced equipment, such as jet-fighter planes, are mostly protected by the same concept. In both the case of a car and a fighter plane, military equipment is further designed and developed to operate independently of its electrical systems. Even if the electronics fail, there are a number of active fail-safes in place to operate both vehicles and airplanes by hydraulics and manual control, if necessary, to prevent a critical error and eventual crisis.

It should be pointed out that similar fail-safe systems are in place in civilian aircraft, civilian electronics,and yes, civilian automobiles.

Preparing Your Car for an EMP

Most vehicles will survive the doomsday scenario without missing a beat, and there really isn’t much you need to do. The real threat to a vehicle after some kind of apocalyptic event is a lack of fuel and spare parts, not an electrical failure.

To prepare for the potential EMP disaster, you could stock up on parts that could commonly fail or might be required for routine maintenance. These include:

  • Spare fuel—treated with Stabil fuel stabilizer to extend its shelf life
  • Various required filters (air filter, oil filter, and fuel filter)
  • Oil change supplies
  • Battery
  • Alternator
  • ECU
  • Sensors
  • Any other on-board computers

Keeping regular maintenance items on hand, such as those required to complete an oil change, is a great idea. The other spare parts on this list might be a bit more expensive. You can find the spare parts you need by plugging your VIN into one of the many car-parts websites and looking up replacement parts that fit your vehicle.

However, my favorite source for spare parts to have on hand in case of an EMP is a wrecking yard. Find a vehicle as close as possible to yours at your local wrecking yard and remove all the sensors you can find along alternator and ECU. It’ll be far cheaper than buying all brand new parts.

For a more in-depth discussion on how an EMP may affect batteries, see How Would an EMP Effect Batteries.

You may consider putting spare electronic engine components into a Faraday bag for further protection—that’s what I do. If you’ve gone to all this trouble to be prepared by buying a second set of vulnerable parts, you might as well go a little further by putting them in an EMP-proof Faraday bag such as these.

 

Another great video to check out:

Protect Generators and Cars from EMP

 

Describes using conductive cloth to protect cars and generators from a high-altitude nuclear EMP attack. Cloth can be found at https://disasterpreparer.com/?product=emp-cloth.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

via:  superprepper
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Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne deploys to the Middle East

FORT BRAGG, N.C.  For many of the soldiers, it would be their first mission. They packed up ammunition and rifles, placed last-minute calls to loved ones, then turned in their cell phones. Some gave blood.

The 600 mostly young soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were headed for the Middle East, part of a group of some 3,500 U.S. paratroopers ordered to the region. Kuwait is the first stop for many. Their final destinations are classified.

“We’re going to war, bro,” one cheered, holding two thumbs up and sporting a grin under close-shorn red hair. He stood among dozens of soldiers loading trucks outside a cinder block building housing several auditoriums with long benches and tables.

Days after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the drone killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, raising fears of fresh conflict in the Middle East, the men and women of the U.S. Army’s storied 82nd Airborne Division are moving out in the largest “fast deployment” since the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

U.S. Army Major General James Mingus waded through the sea of camouflage-uniformed men and women as they prepared to leave the base near Fayetteville on Sunday. He shook hands with the troops, wishing them luck.

  • FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, walk toward an awaiting aircraft prior to departing for the Middle East from Fort Bragga man in a military uniform: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division board an aircraft bound for the U.S. Central Command area of operations from Fort Bragga group of people on a beach: FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, walk toward an awaiting aircraft prior to departing for the Middle East from Fort Bragga group of people in military uniforms: FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, prepare for departure for the Middle East from Fort Bragg


One soldier from Ashboro, Virginia, said he wasn’t surprised when the order came.“I was just watching the news, seeing how things were going over there,” said the 27-year-old, one of several soldiers Reuters was allowed to interview on condition they not be named. “Then I got a text message from my sergeant saying ‘don’t go anywhere.’ And that was it.”

Risks seemed to be pushed to the back of the minds of the younger soldiers, though many packed the base chapel after a breakfast of eggs, waffles, oatmeal, sausages and 1,000 doughnuts.

One private took a strap tethered to a transport truck and tried to hitch it to the belt of an unwitting friend, a last prank before shipping out.

‘THIS IS THE MISSION’

The older soldiers, in their 30s and 40s, were visibly more somber, having the experience of seeing comrades come home from past deployments learning to walk on one leg or in flag-draped coffins.

“This is the mission, man,” said Brian Knight, retired Army veteran who has been on five combat deployments to the Middle East. He is the current director of a chapter of the United Service Organizations military support charity.

“They’re answering America’s 911 call,” Knight said. “They’re stoked to go. The president called for the 82nd.”

There was lots of wrestling holds as the troops tossed their 75-pound (34 kg) backpacks onto transport trucks. The packs hold everything from armor-plated vests, extra socks and underwear, to 210 rounds of ammunition for their M-4 carbine rifles.

A sergeant pushed through the crowd shouting for anyone with type-O blood, which can be transfused into any patient.

“The medics need you now. Move,” he said, before a handful of troops walked off to give a little less than a pint each.

UNCERTAINTY PREVAILS

While members of the unit – considered the most mobile in the U.S. Army – are used to quick deployments, this was different, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Burns, an Army spokesman.

“The guys are excited to go but none of us know how long they’ll be gone,” Burns said. “That’s the toughest part.”

Soldiers were ordered not to bring cell phones, portable video games or any other devices that could be used to communicate with friends and family back home, out of concern that details of their movements could leak out.

“We’re an infantry brigade,” Burns said. “Our primary mission is ground fighting. This is as real as it gets.”

A sergeant started rattling off last names, checking them off from a list after “heres” and “yups” and “yos.”

For every fighter, there were seven support crew members shipping out – cooks, aviators, mechanics, medics, chaplains, and transportation and supply managers. All but the chaplains would carry guns to fight.

A senior master sergeant, 34, said: “The Army is an all-volunteer force. We want to do this. You pay your taxes and we get to do this.”

The reality of the deployment wouldn’t sink in until the troops “walk out that door,” he said, pointing to the exit to the tarmac where C-4 and C-7 transport planes and two contract commercial jets waited.

His call came when he was on leave in his hometown of Daytona Beach, Florida, taking his two young daughters to visit relatives and maybe go to Walt Disney World.

“We just got there and I got the call to turn right around and head back to base,” he said. “My wife knows the drill. I had to go. We drove right back.”

On a single order, hundreds of soldiers jumped to their feet. They lined up single file and marched out carrying their guns and kits and helmets, past a volunteer honor guard holding aloft flags that flapped east in the January wind.


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via:  msn


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Acting Secretary Wolf Issues Homeland Security National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin

Acting Secretary Wolf Issues Homeland Security NTAS Bulletin

WASHINGTON – Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf issued a new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin pertaining to the changing threat landscape following the successful U.S.-led airstrike in Iraq that eliminated Qaseem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

“At this time there is no specific, credible threat against the homeland. The Department issued this bulletin to inform, share protective measures, and reassure the American public, state and local governments, and private sector partners that the Department of Homeland Security is actively monitoring and preparing for any specific, credible threat, should one arise” said Acting Secretary Wolf. “The Department is operating with an enhanced posture and various operational components are taking protective measures where prudent and necessary. We have been in constant communication with Congress and interagency partners. The American people should feel assured the entire Department is working for them to keep them safe.”

You can read the new NTAS Bulletin here.


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Statement on the successful U.S.-led airstrike in Iraq that eliminated Qasem Soleimani

Private Sector Update


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Office of Public Affairs


Statement from Acting Secretary Wolf

WASHINGTON- Today, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf issued the following statement on the successful U.S.-led airstrike in Iraq that eliminated Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

“I commend the President’s decisive action to protect American lives both abroad and at home. The Department of Homeland Security stands ready to confront and combat any and all threats facing our homeland. While there are currently no specific, credible threats against our homeland, DHS continues to monitor the situation and work with our Federal, State and local partners to ensure the safety of every American.

“As a result of yesterday’s military action, I convened senior DHS leadership last night and earlier this morning to assess potential new threats and component actions to respond to the constantly evolving threat landscape. The entire Department remains vigilant and stands ready, as always, to defend the Homeland.”

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Multiple stabbing victims at Murray Hill shopping center and nearby Wells Fargo Bank. – 12/18/19

Multiple people were stabbed at the Murray Hill shopping center and nearby Wells Fargo Bank in Beaverton, police tweeted.

The stabbing suspect has been detained and is no longer a threat to the public, according to Beaverton police. The stabbing victims have been sent to the hospital, but the status of their injuries is unclear at this time.

Officers are on the scene at Southwest Murray Boulevard and Teal Avenue. The Washington County Major Crimes Team is also responding.

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How Robert De Niro ended up with three passports—should think about another also?

Most people might be surprised to learn that Robert De Niro has more passports than he has Academy Awards.

Come to think of it… most people probably have more passports (one), than they have Academy Awards (zero).

But De Niro has two Oscars: the first for playing Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, and the second for his starring role in Raging Bull.

Yet he has three passports (that we know about).

De Niro was born in New York City, making him automatically a US citizen at birth because of the nationality laws in the United States.

Almost anyone born on US soil becomes a US citizen at birth; the only exception is children born to foreign diplomats who are in the United States on official business.

This law isn’t unique to the United States; nearly every country in the Americas, from Canada to Argentina, plus a few ‘random’ countries like Tanzania, grants citizenship to anyone born there.

So right from day one, De Niro was a US citizen.

But it turns out that De Niro has Italian ancestry as well. And Italy is one of a multitude of countries that grants citizenship to people who can prove their ancestry. (Others include Ireland, Poland, Germany, and a number of other countries in Europe.)

So De Niro was able to obtain an Italian passport back in 2006.

This is really valuable; a European second citizenship gives you the right to live, work, and do business in all 28 European Union countries– like France, Spain, Germany and Sweden. It’s a great Plan B.

Even if you don’t have European ancestors, Spain takes it a step further and allows citizens of former Spanish colonies (most of Latin America) to obtain Spanish citizenship after living in Spain for just two years as a legal resident.

De Niro’s third passport is from the Caribbean island nation of Antigua. Even more specifically, De Niro holds a Diplomatic Passport from Antigua with the title of ‘Special Envoy’.

And because of his diplomatic credentials, De Niro is entitled to a great deal of special privileges and amenities that even movie stars don’t normally receive.

Based on the 1969 United Nations Convention of Special Missions, special envoys like Robert De Niro are eligible to receive tons of travel benefits.

Diplomats always skip the line at airports. And under Article 26 of the convention agreement, it’s illegal for foreign customs officials to search a special envoy’s bags.

Then there’s diplomatic immunity; a special envoy “immunity from the criminal jurisdiction” of the foreign country where he is carrying out his duties. And his residence/office are protected as if they were the soil of a sovereign nation.

And if all that weren’t enough, the 1969 United Nations Convention on Special Missions even includes a host of tax benefits; special envoys are eligible for exemption of income tax, social security tax, and customs duties.

It’s a pretty great deal if you can get it. And apparently if you’re Robert De Niro, you can.

But Antigua is one of a handful of countries with an “economic citizenship” program, which awards citizenship to foreigners who invest a certain sum of money in the country.

For anywhere between $100,000 up to $1 million or more in some countries, you can obtain citizenship. But in most cases you’ll never see that money again, so it’s more of a ‘donation’ than a true ‘investment’.

For people who aren’t eligible for citizenship by ancestry, though, these economic citizenship programs are a fast and easy way to obtain another passport.

There are nearly 200 different countries in the world, so that’s a lot of options for a second passports and citizenship.

And obviously some are much more valuable than others.

My team created a global passport ranking, to systematically assess which passports are best.

We took into account criteria like how many countries a passport gives you visa free access to, and how much of the global GDP, population, and surface area it gives you access to.

15 of the top 20 ranked passports, for example, are from European nations. These all give you visa free entrance into at least 157 countries, which account for 77% of global GDP.

It makes sense why so many people want to obtain a second passport from a European country. Any second citizenship will give you another option for where to live and work– a major component of any solid Plan B.

And the nice thing about European countries is that it’s fairly straightforward to obtain citizenship through another means: legal residency.

Portugal, for example, has one of the lowest barriers to become a legal resident in the country. You have to demonstrate just €14,600 in savings or liquid investments. And after five years of residency you are eligible to apply for naturalization and obtain a passport from Portugal.

Belgium will grant residency if you start or move your business there. And like in Portugal you’ll become eligible to apply for a passport after five years.

Everyone’s situation is different. But there are many excellent options to obtain a European citizenship and a passport if you are lucky enough to have ancestors from Europe or are willing to invest time or money.

You can start with this free in-depth article my team just put together– The Three Ways To Obtain a European Citizenship & Excellent Second Passport.

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via:  SovereignMan.com
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How to Skin and Prepare a Rattlesnake for the Table

It’s best to leave them alone, but if you do get a fresh rattlesnake, you might as well eat it.

I’m a realist. I know that venomous snakes and small kids, or pets, or livestock just don’t mix.  While I might not kill a rattlesnake unless I have no other option, I’ll dang sure eat one if I get the opportunity.

Rattlesnake meat is white, tender, and tastes like a cross between frog legs and turtle. While there are a lot of rib bones, a big rattlesnake will have a backstrap like muscle that runs the entire length of the backbone. Once cooked, that muscle will peel out easily, giving the diner a boneless bite of goodness.

Think you might want to try one in the future? Here’s how to process a rattlesnake for the table, T2T style. Save the skin for a hat band, a nifty wall display, or do like Joe and use it as a decorative backing for a self-bow.

1. Always remove the head before handling a rattlesnake

Always remove the head before handling a rattlesnake

Step 1. Remove the head. Dead rattlesnakes can still bite. It’s a nervous system deal, similar to a turkey gobbler that flops around for a few minutes after a fatal shot. I can’t stress this enough, don’t mess with the head. Don’t take any chances. If the head wasn’t removed by a shotgun blast, use a long-handled hoe or a machete to remove it from a distance. Use a long-handled shovel to pick it up and dispose of it safely, away from curious pets or kids. If you can’t remove the head from a safe distance, just don’t mess with it at all. While rattlesnake meat is great to eat, it isn’t worth receiving a bite. Just like wild mushrooms, you might only get one chance to mess this up. If you aren’t confident in your ability to do it safely, find someone that is. We are not responsible for any injuries incurred in this step. Besides safety concerns, it’s important to always check your state and local regulations when it comes to killing or possessing a rattlesnake. They are a protected species in many areas. If you plan on gifting a rattlesnake to a friend in another state or area, check the regs in both places. Transporting a rattlesnake across state lines where they might be protected can result in federal wildlife violations.

 

2. Where gloves to protect from salmonella.

Gloves will protect against salmonella when processing a rattlesnake.

Step 2. Don a pair of latex gloves. Snakes, like raw chicken or turtle, can carry salmonella. Since you probably aren’t next to a sink and soap while you are cleaning them, gloves offer protection. Just like chicken or turtle, rattlesnake meat should be cooked to at least 165 degrees internal temperature for safety.

 

3. Use a pair of scissors to open the snake’s belly.

Use a pair of scissors to open the snake

Step 3. Use a pair of scissors to open the snake’s belly starting where the head USED TO BE (before you SAFELY removed it), down to the tip of the tail.

 

4. Use a sharp blade to start removing the skin at both the head and tail ends.

Use a sharp blade to start removing the skin at both the head and tail ends.

Step 4. Use a sharp knife to loosen the skin around the neck area of the snake to start separating it from the meat. Move down to the tail and loosen the skin in front of the rattles the same way so that it doesn’t tear when you get down to that part in the skinning process.

 

5. Peel the skin away from the meat over the full length of the rattlesnake.

Peel the skin away from the meat

Step 5. Grasp the rattlesnake in your left hand and get a grip on the skin at the neck with either your right hand or a pair of pliers. Peel the skin downward, just like peeling a banana. Roll the skin and place in the freezer, or stretch it, scales down, on a long board and apply salt or Borax liberally, covering every square inch of skin.

 

6. Remove the entrails from the body cavity.

Remove the entrails from the body cavity.

Step 6. Remove the entrails from the body cavity. They should pull out in one long piece, leaving the cavity clean.

 

7. Cut the snake into cross sections for cooking and serving.

Cut the rattlesnake into cross sections for easy cooking and serving

Step 7. Cut the rattlesnake in cross sections, about 2 to 3 inches in length. I leave the narrow sections of the neck and tail longer, since there isn’t as much meat on those. The thicker sections from the center of the body get cut into shorter lengths so that everything cooks in the same amount of time.

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via:  realtree

 
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