French Police Identify One of Assailants in Paris Attacks – By NOEMIE BISSERBE Nov. 15, 2015 4:11 a.m. ET


Omar Ismail Mostefai identified from severed finger at Bataclan concert hall

Flowers and tributes on the sidewalk on Sunday near the scene of Friday's attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

Flowers and tributes on the sidewalk on Sunday near the scene of Friday’s attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. Photo: Getty Images

 

PARIS—French police named a 29-year-old Frenchman as one of the seven attackers who killed at least 129 people in Paris on Friday and left hundreds wounded.

Police said that Omar Ismail Mostefai was identified from a severed finger found at the Bataclan concert hall, where gunmen killed 89 people before blowing themselves up using explosive belts when police moved in.

French police haven’t yet named any of the other attackers.

At Paris Stadium, Attacker May Have Been Thwarted

A man apparently set to detonate his suicide vest tried to enter the France-versus-Germany soccer match at Stade de France, but was turned away by security guards and subsequently set-off his explosives. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday has the details. Photo: Associated Press

Around thirty-six hours after gunmen wreaked havoc at the sports arena, as well as at a concert hall and through Paris’s streets, French officials have begun piecing together the scenario of coordinated attacks.

Another of Friday’s attackers recently entered Europe as a Syrian migrant, people familiar with the matter said, suggesting gaps in the continent’s security as it copes with the biggest refugee crisis in decades.

Article continues:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/french-police-identify-one-of-assailants-in-paris-attacks-1447578692

 

Paris attacks: Omar Ismaïl Mostefai identified as gunman as getaway vehicle found – live updates


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Paris attacks: how events unfolded

1m ago10:13

9m ago10:05

UN slams ‘inexcusable’ US airstrike that killed 19 at Afghan hospital – October 3, 2015 9:07AM ET


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A U.S. airstrike in the Afghan city of Kunduz hit a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Saturday, killing at least 19 people at the medical center, the medical charity said.

In a statement, MSF said the “sustained bombing” took place at 2:10 a.m. local time and continued for 30 minutes after staff raised the alarm to U.S. and Afghan military officials. Three children are believed to be among the dead.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the United States still was trying to determine how the airstrike hit the hospital.  “A full investigation into the tragic incident is under way in coordination with the Afghan government,” Carter said in a statement.

He said the area around the hospital had been the scene of intense fighting in recent days with U.S. forces supporting Afghan Security Forces against Taliban fighters. The incident could renew concerns over the use of its air power in the conflict.

The head of U.S.-led forces in the country later phoned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to apologize, according to a statement from Ghani’s office.

UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that the incident was “inexcusable” and possibly criminal. Zeid called for a full and transparent investigation, noting that, “if established as deliberate in a court of law, an air strike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”

Afghan forces backed by U.S. airstrikes have been fighting to dislodge Taliban insurgents who overran Kunduz earlier this week. Tribus said Saturday’s deadly raid was the 12th U.S. airstrike “in the Kunduz vicinity” since Tuesday.

Doctors Without Borders said its trauma center “was hit several times” during the attack and that the hospital was “very badly damaged.”

 

Article continues:

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/10/3/nine-dead-thirty-missing-in-us-airstrike-on-afghan-hospital.html

Deaths from gun violence vs. deaths from terrorism, in one chart Updated by Zack Beauchamp on October 1, 2015, 7:27 p.m. ET


Obama challenged the media to compare gun and terrorism deaths. So we did.Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at Oct 2, 2015 12.42

In his impassioned address in the wake of Thursday’s horrible shooting at an Oregon community college, President Obama issued a challenge to the media. “Have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks in the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports,” he asked.

Okay.

Here’s what that looks like (at least, for 2001-2011, the period for which we could find the most reliable data quickly courtesy of the State Department, the Justice Department, and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Micah Zenko):

Over ten thousand Americans are killed every year by gun violence. By contrast, so few Americans have been killed by terrorist attacks since 9/11 that, when you chart the two together, the terrorism death count approximates zero for every year except 2001. This comparison, if anything, understates the gap: Far more Americans die every year from (easily preventable) gun suicides than gun homicides.

The point Obama is making is clear: We spend huge amounts of money every year fighting terrorism, yet are unwilling, at the national level, to take even minor steps (like requiring background checks on all gun sales nationally) to stop gun violence.

“We spent over a trillion dollars, and passed countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so” Obama said. “And yet we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?”

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Article continues:

http://www.vox.com/2015/10/1/9437187/obama-guns-terrorism-deaths

How Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC Covered the Oregon Shooting Before They Knew a Thing About It – By Justin Peters OCT. 1 2015 7:12 PM


First responders transport an injured person following a shooting incident at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon Oct. 1, 2015. Photo by Michael Sullivan/The News-Review via Reuters

First responders transport an injured person following a shooting incident at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon Oct. 1, 2015.
Photo by Michael Sullivan/The News-Review via Reuters

By now, we all know that there’s been another school shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in southern Oregon. But for what seemed like a very long time this afternoon, that was all we knew. Further details were hard to come by, which posed a challenge to the many journalists who were tasked with reporting on what had—and hadn’t—happened. If you, like me, were toggling between the three main cable news networks this afternoon as they struggled to report the story in a virtual information void, you saw three different and distinct journalistic strategies at work: circumspection, observation, and pontification. Here’s what I glimpsed, and here’s where I saw it.

Shepard Smith anchors Fox News’ coverage of the story this afternoon, and he and Fox correspondent Trace Gallagher are doing their best to refrain from spreading rumors and falsehoods in the absence of any verified information. “We have confirmed the shooter is no longer an active threat. We don’t know if he’s the only shooter,” says Gallagher, who proceeds to note that, in the absence of reliable casualty data from the police, it would be irresponsible to speculate on the number of victims. This is good work from Fox here.

At this point Fox evidently knows very little. The network has no cameras on the scene and no access to other stations’ live feeds, so it’s forced to go low-tech. A breaking-news article from a newspaper called The Union is called up on a big screen, and Smith is literally reading the article out loud, following along with his finger as the camera zooms in on the text. Once this grows tiresome, Smith walks to the other side of the studio, where a map of the Umpqua Community College campus has been magnified to fill an entire wall.  “So the best info that we have at this moment, just about an hour after the first reports came in, is that it started here at Snyder Hall and move on to the Science building,” says Smith as he points at the map, which looks like it was hastily downloaded from the UCC website. “This is about the extent of the information we have at this point.” He lingers on Snyder Hall, as if grabbing for something solid to anchor himself in a torrent. Soon, there’s some new information: “Our information specialist says that [the Umpqua Community College] website is down at the moment.”

Article continues:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/10/01/how_the_oregon_shooting_was_covered_fox_news_cnn_and_msnbc_before_the_networks.html

Iranians Protest Following Hajj Stampede: VICE News Quick Hit – Vice News Published on Sep 25, 2015


At least 131 Iranians are among the more than 700 killed on Thursday during the annual Islamic pilgrimage. Tehran has criticized Saudi Arabia for its mismanagement of the tragedy, the worst during the pilgrimage in 25 years.

Read: Iran Slams Saudi ‘Incompetence’ After Death of More Than 700 Pilgrims – http://bit.ly/1PCBo8R

A massive earthquake shook Chile, causing 15-foot waves and flooding – Natasha Bertrand, Christina Sterbenz and Dan Turkel


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A powerful earthquake hit Chile’s Northern coast Wednesday night, killing at least three people in a quake that could be felt as far away as Buenos Aires, Argentina, according to Reuters.

The earthquake’s initial magnitude was updated to 8.3 from 7.9, one of the largest earthquakes to hit the area in recent years.t

“Once again we’re having to deal with another harsh blow from nature. Unfortunately we’ve received information that as of now we are certain three people are confirmed dead,” Chile President Michelle Bachelet said in a televised statement.

Authorities issued a tsunami alert for the Chile’s entire coast. The quake injured a number of people and caused damage to buildings and houses. Waves of up to 15 feet pounded Chile’s coastal town of Coquimbo, according to Reuters.

“We’re going through a really grave situation with the tsunami. We have residential neighborhoods that have flooded …. the ocean has reached the (Coquimbo) downtown area,” Coquimbo Mayor Cristian Galleguillos said, according to Reuters.

One person killed was a 25-year-old woman killed by a falling wall in Illapel, a coastal town about 30 miles from where the quake hit, according to The Guardian. At least 20 others had been injured.

Hawaii and coastal area of California were also under tsunami watch on Wednesday night, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and the National Weather Service, respectively.

The Honolulu Department of Emergency Management said tsunami waves could reach the island between 2:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. local time Thursday.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported Wednesday night that tsunami waves could affect countries totaling in the 30s, mostly in near Central and South America and Asia.

 

Article continues:

http://www.businessinsider.com/ap-strong-quake-shakes-chile-capital-causing-buildings-to-sway-2015-9

The New Tech of Disaster Response, From Apps to Aqua-Drones – TIM MOYNIHAN: 08.29.15. : 6:00 AM.


Hurricane Katrina was a tale of three disasters. The first was natural, a violent storm that devastated the Gulf Coast. The second was man-made, the catastrophic failure of levees protecting New Orleans. Together, these disasters killed more than 1,800 people and displaced half a million families. Damages ran into the billions, and the recovery continues even now.

The third was also man-made, and the most maddening: the failure of preparation, logistics, and action at every level. The Federal Emergency Management Agency drew widespread criticism for a slow, disorganized response that bordered on incompetence, and its poor communication and coordination with local and state authorities.

If such a disaster occurred today, FEMA insists it would respond swiftly and efficiently. It points to the leadership of Craig Fugate, whom President Obama tapped to head the agency in 2009. Fugate, unlike his much-maligned predecessor Michael Brown, is a former director of the Florida Emergency Management Division and has extensive experience managing disasters responses, particularly hurricanes.

No less importantly, FEMA has embraced key reforms, not the least of which is the authority to act immediately. Until 10 years ago, the agency had to await a governor’s request for federal aid before jumping in.

“One of the most important improvements we’ve made came as a result of congressional action to authorize FEMA to deploy resources to states before a presidential declaration request has even been made,” says Ted Okada, the agency’s chief technology officer. “If FEMA believes that a situation will require a presidential disaster declaration, we’re now authorized to expend funds out of the Stafford Act to prepare. By pre-staging resources such as water, generators, and staff, we’re able to faster mobilize response efforts.”

FEMA hasn’t faced a test quite like Katrina, but its ability to move quickly has changed how it responds. Even before Hurricane Sandy pummeled New York in October, 2012, FEMA deployed truckloads of food, water, generators and other supplies. Some 900 employees were standing by, primed to provide any assistance once the storm made landfall.

post-Sandy audit by the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA, gave the agency top marks. “FEMA prepared well for this disaster, overcame operational and staffing challenges, quickly resolved resource shortfalls, made efficient disaster sourcing decisions, and coordinated its activities effectively with State and local officials,” concluded the report. State and local officials, including New Jersey governor Chris Christie and New York senator Chuck Schumer offered similarly positive reviews.

The change in attitude and policy proved instrumental in setting FEMA on a new course. But technology played an equally important, if somewhat less obvious, role in how the agency and its counterparts at the state and local level, prepare for and respond to a crisis. These changes run the gamut from a comprehensive smartphone app to broader adoption of drones and robots.

The agency’s embrace of new tech prompted it to formalize the role of CTO, consolidating roles held by various people before Okada came aboard. It was a wise move, given how quickly things have changed in the past decade. When Katrina hit, social media was in its infancy, people still got a lot of their news from television and radio, and Blackberry and Razr phones were state of the art. These days, 40 percent of Americans use their phones to access government services, and 68 percent of them use phones to keep track of breaking news events, according to the Pew Research Center.

“FEMA must be able to reach at-risk populations that get their information from Twitter and Facebook,” Okada says. “We use social media as a platform to get information out, but also engage in widely distributed conversations. Better situational awareness allows us to improve decision making, leading to better survivor outcomes.”

According to FEMA, the app has been downloaded more than 200,000 times since it launched in 2011, and the organization has hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook. Social media played a larger role than ever helping FEMA and local organizations communicate to residents during Hurricane Sandy. To combat false information on Twitter during the storm and its aftermath, FEMA created a “Rumor Control” page and has done the same during more recent emergencies.

At the state level, disaster-response teams also are embracing social media. Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, says the agency has streamlined statewide communications during events and created a two-way street of communication.

Article continues:

http://www.wired.com/2015/08/fema-disaster-tech/

 

MR. ROBOT FINALE POSTPONED IN WAKE OF VIRGINIA TV STATION SHOOTING – ANGELA WATERCUTTER 8/26/15