British citizens are facing a level of threat from terrorists not seen since the IRA bombings of the ’70s, the country’s new terrorism watchdog told UK’s Telegraph newspaper. Max Hill said the terrorist group ISIS was planning “indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians” on a scale similar to those perpetrated by the IRA 40 years ago. Our take: In the U.S. and allied nations, a similar escalation of threats is developing as jihadists return from the battlefields of Iraq, Syria and Yemen. In the short term we are likely to experience a series of small-scale attacks using knives, small arms and vehicles. Longer term we are likely to see different types of attacks. The concern of increasing radicalization of younger people and even children is warranted. One area of radicalization not being discussed is that which is occurring on college campuses. Although small in comparison to numbers in other domains, these radicals will be highly educated and have access to things that could be used to cause death and destruction. Once having graduated and left academia, jihadist sympathizers could conceivably enter the workforce and thereby gain access to the critical infrastructures of this nation and others. READ Telegraph article
Terrorism not a motive in vehicle incidents: Two incidents in one day of cars crashing into pedestrians caused concerns about possible terror attacks, because the terrorist group ISIS has advised followers to use vehicles in attacks. In both of these cases, however, police were quick to dismiss terrorism as a motive. In the first incident, a knife-wielding man plowed into three pedestrians outside a bakery in Heidelberg, Germany, killing one man. Newspapers speculated the man suffered from mental illness, but Twitter users were quick to tweet speculation about the attacker’s ethnic background. Heidelberg police were quick to tweet back, affirming the man was German with “no immigration background.” In the second case, a driver smashed into a crowd of Mardi Gras revelers in New Orleans, injuring at least 28 people. In that case, New Orleans police said the 25-year-old driver, Neilson Rizzuto, registered almost three times the legal limit on a blood alcohol test. Read more HERE and HERE.
Cornell develops processor to kill food pathogens: Cornell food scientists have developed a new high pressure food processor to destroy food pathogens. This is the nation’s first commercial scale validation facility for a technology that kills bacteria and extends the shelf life of fresh, ready to eat foods. It can be used on juice, baby foods, meats, and salads. READ MORE
Tijuana sewer spill flows north over the border: Officials in Southern California are crying foul after more than 140 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Tijuana River in Mexico and flowed north of the border for more than two weeks, according to a report. The Associated Press reports that the spill was caused Feb. 2 during rehabilitation of a sewage collector pipe and wasn’t contained until Thursday, the International Boundary and Water Commission said in its report released Friday. The river drains into the Pacific Ocean on the U.S. side. READ MORE
A new niche market for wheat growers – Play-Doh! Play-Doh will soon be squeezed out of a factory in the U.S. again, as Hasbro Inc. brings manufacturing of the popular moldable clay back to America for the first time in years. Hasbro said it is working with a manufacturing partner to make Play-Doh at a facility in Massachusetts starting in the second half of 2018. Hasbro uses factories in China and Turkey to make Play-Doh sold around the globe, and it will continue to import some Play-Doh to sell in the U.S. The addition of a U.S. plant is a response to rapidly increasing sales, a company spokesperson said. Although not considered an edible product, Play-Doh uses flour as one of its main ingredients. Should manufacturing of the popular toy be brought back to the U.S., wheat farmers and flour manufactures would benefit from another niche market. READ MORE
Maybe it wasn’t VX? Science News says Kim Jong-nam probably wasn’t killed by the potent VX nerve gas, despite news reports that Malaysian officials had identified the poison on his face and eyes. For one thing, Kim took some time to show any symptoms, and the poison was handled by unprotected assailants and didn’t contaminate other people, which is impossible considering VX is the most toxic substance known. Use of the chemical would narrow the list of suspects, however, as North Korea is believed to possess chemical weapons including VX. Science News quoted experts saying it is possible North Korea’s VX has lost its punch, because it is thought to have been synthesized several years ago and has a limited shelf life. The murder of Kim, the half-brother of the North Korean leader, has become something of an international murder mystery. READ MORE
Bird flu puts pressure on Chinese egg producers: With many poultry markets closed in the wake of China’s worst-ever bird flu outbreak, Reuters reports that local egg producers are being forced to feed and water chickens long after they would normally have been killed and sold for meat. That is putting pressure on producers already grappling with reduced demand from a public scared by fears over bird flu, deepening what some farmers say is one of the biggest crises to ever to hit the egg industry in China, the world’s top supplier. But regional authorities have shut poultry markets and restricted the transportation of birds as they fight the spread of the H7N9 virus that has killed around 100 people since October. READ MORE