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Terrorist Use of Social Media, Nonproliferation Courses, M50 Respiratory Protection,

Topics in this issue include the terrorist attack in Brussels, the importance of flexibility in disaster response operations, nuclear ALCM acquisition priorities for the White House, and a fertilizer explosion in Minnesota.

Counter-Terrorism

A Brussels Hospital is Tending to Terrorism Victims Days After Tending to Terrorist Suspect

A major hospital in the tourist area of central Brussels has been thrust into the center of that city’s response to terrorism — both treating the victims of Tuesday’s bombings and, just a few days ago, the suspect arrested for the Paris bombings. And on top of all that, hospital officials have been scrambling to respond to offers for blood donations and to deal with a bomb scare. STAT News >>

Brussels Explosions: Security Stepped Up at Belgian Nuclear Plants

Security has been stepped at nuclear power plants around Belgium amid fears they could be the next target after the Brussels atrocity. The alert came after secret footage of a senior Belgian nuclear official was discovered in the Belgian flat of one of the suspects linked to the Paris terror attacks. The Telegraph >>

Istanbul Hit by Suicide Attack

At least five people, including a suicide bomber, have been killed and another 36 wounded in a bomb attack on Istanbul’s main shopping street. Two Israelis with dual US nationality and an Iranian were killed in the blast on Saturday morning. The explosion happened close to the local district governor’s office on Istiklal Street, a pedestrian boulevard lined with international stores and restaurants. The Guardian >>

S. 2517, Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act of 2016

2517 would require the President, within 90 days of the bill’s enactment, to submit to the Congress a report on terrorists’ use of social media and an overview of current efforts to counter those activities. Within 180 days of the bill’s enactment, the President would be required to submit to the Congress a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorists’ use of social media and an evaluation of current efforts to combat such use of social media. Congressional Budget Office >>

Paris Attacks Suspect Salah Abdeslam Will Fight Extradition

Salah Abdeslam, the prime suspect in the Paris attacks, will fight his extradition to France, a legal challenge that could delay his trial over the massacre. Abdeslam’s lawyer, Sven Mary, said his client had been formally charged in connection with the Paris attacks and was “collaborating” with Belgian investigators but would challenge his extradition to France. The Guardian >>

Spotlight on Syria

Syria: The First Five Years

Despite the best efforts of many brave Syrians on all sides of the war, the conflict by mid-2011 was already taking on a religious character. Perhaps it could not have been otherwise. The upper echelons of the regime had long been dominated by Alawites, the Shia-linked minority from which the ruling family hails, while resistance to this regime and the Baathist political order had been particularly strong within conservative segments of the Sunni-Muslim-majority population. With no organized opposition leadership to steer the protest movement and little in the way of secular civil society, Sunni identity politics emerged as a guiding framework of the rebellion. Carnegie Endowment >>

Syria and the Future of the Chemical Weapon Taboo

For many commentators, international responses to the use of chemical weapons in Syria has reinforced a long standing prohibition norm. This is despite the fact that much discussed punitive military strikes by the US, France and the UK in response to the Ghouta massacre did not materialize. The norm is also understood to have withstood the failure of the UN Security Council to agree a process to ascribe responsibility for the Ghouta attacks, as well as the fact that prosecution of many of those involved in past and ongoing chemical weapon atrocities in Syria seems unlikely in the near term. BioChem Security 2030 >>

Unimaginable Horrors from Five Years of War in Syria

It was Barack Obama’s infamous “red line.” If chemical weapons were used by the Syrian regime, Washington would, in an unspecified way, intervene. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, by all accounts, did use chemical weapons, on a massive scale, in the Ghouta suburbs near Damascus. Even the U.N. tests that confirmed sarin use did not spark a U.S. military intervention. Critics of Barack Obama today still call the decision not to attack a weakening of American influence in the region. CNN >>

Nuclear Security

CNS Senior Experts Teach Nonproliferation to Future Chilean Diplomats

This week, CNS experts taught a short course at the Diplomatic Academy of Chile in Santiago. The course is part of a strong and growing relationship between the Foreign Ministry of Chile and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies that is implemented under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Foreign Ministry and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Center for Nonproliferation Studies >>

Banning the Production of Highly Enriched Uranium

The nuclear weapon used by the United States on August 6, 1945, to destroy the Japanese city of Hiroshima contained about 60 kilograms of enriched uranium. It was simple: One piece of uranium metal was fired at another to make a supercritical mass and generate the nuclear explosion. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

How to Explain Nuclear Deterrence to Your Neighbor

Though the average American retains barely if any memory of the robust public dialogue on nuclear weapons during the Cold War, the three-decade “pause from history” that made this amnesia possible has come to an end. War on the Rocks >>

China-U.S. Nuclear Security Center Starts Operation

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz makes a speech at the center of excellence on nuclear security in the state nuclear security technology center in Beijing, China, March 18, 2016. The largest nuclear security center in the Asia-Pacific region, which was financed by China and the United States, opened Friday in Beijing, according to authorities. The center, constructed by the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) and the U.S. Department of Energy, has the capacity to train about 2,000 nuclear security staff from China and other Asia-Pacific nations each year, said CAEA director Xu Dazhe. CRI English >>

America’s Working on Its Next Nuclear Deal

Fresh off last year’s deal to limit Iran’s nuclear development, the Obama administration is mulling another nuclear deal — this one with Russia. Washington wants to change course on a plan laid with Moscow 16 years ago to dispose of its share of 68 metric tons of plutonium. Defense One >>

Why the U.S. Should Not Buy a New Nuclear Air-Launched Cruise Missile

The Obama administration’s fantastical plan to modernize the Cold War-era nuclear triad of land-based missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and long-range bombers is prompting an increasingly loud and much-needed debate in Washington and beyond about whether the effort is necessary and sustainable. One of the most controversial pieces of this “all of the above” sustainment approach, which is projected to exceed $350 billion over the next decade, is the Air Force’s proposal to build a new fleet of roughly 1,000 nuclear-capable air-launched cruise missiles. War on the Rocks >>

Emergency Response

Why Flexibility is an Important Component to Any Disaster Response

There is no ‘one size fits all’ for disasters. Each has its own peculiar twists and requires a unique set of solutions. In a mass casualty event, decisions about which patients would be sent to which hospitals would be managed from the ICEMA operations center. Emergency Management >>

HR 4765 – HHFT Response Grants

This week Rep. Herrera (R,WA) introduced HR 4765, the Fire Department Proper Response and Equipment Prioritization Act. The bill would require FEMA to give high priority to grants for incident response training for crude oil and ethanol train accidents. CFSN >>

Chemical & Biological Threats

Dangerous Chemical Dump Threatening Russia’s Second-Largest City

Russian environmental activists believe that an extensive dumping ground for chemical waste is on the brink of collapse and could jeopardize the water supply of St. Petersburg. The facility, opened in 1970, treats toxic waste from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and stores it in open pools across 180 acres — the largest such site in northwestern Russia. Chem.info >>

Anhydrous Ammonia and Land Use Planning

One of the issues that was raised in the CSB’s report on the West Fertilizer explosion was land use planning and hazardous chemical facility siting. The question was asked in that report: “Why would a community be located so close to a facility storing a potentially dangerous chemical?” That same question was recently asked in an Iowa farm community with a different chemical, anhydrous ammonia, but in a more proactive manner. CFSN Blog >>

Avon Protection Secures US $42M Order for CBRN Masks

Avon Protection has received an order for 166,623 M50 respiratory protection mask systems from the US Department of Defense (DoD). With over 1,500,000 Avon M50 mask systems delivered to date to US military personnel, Avon is the dominant supplier of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) respiratory protection masks to the US military. Australian Defence Magazine >>

Explosives

Massive Fire Forces Biodiesel Plant, Homes to Evacuate

A massive fire at a biodiesel plant in Orange Mound, Tennessee forced the evacuation of workers and people who live nearby. Methanol leaked from a tank at the biodiesel plant, called BioEnergy Development Group. Fire crews said it was the methanol that caught fire first. WTVM >>

Minnesota Man Hurt in Fertilizer Explosion

Minnesota man was severely burned after a chicken manure fertilizer system inside a semi-trailer exploded Wednesday in the town of Rush River, Wis. St. Croix County Chief Deputy Scott Knudson explained that the fertilizer system included vegetable oil, which heats up 200-pound batches of chicken manure that are fed through an auger-type device that mixes in a small amount of sulfuric acid. Brainerd Dispatch >>

Gas Pipeline Explosions Bring New US Safety Proposal

U.S. officials moved Thursday to strengthen safety rules for the nation’s 300,000-mile network of natural gas transmission pipelines in a belated response to numerous fiery accidents, including a 2010 California explosion that killed eight people and injured more than 50. The Department of Transportation proposal would expand inspection and repair rules to include lines in some rural areas and recently-installed lines in burgeoning gas drilling fields. Chem.info >>

Education & Events

San Diego Hosts American Chemical Society National Meeting

More than 16,000 people in the chemical sciences gathered last week to share some of the most exciting developments in their fields during the 251st ACS National Meeting & Exposition. The plenary session focused on the ways that computational work is aiding catalysis and energy conversion, drug design and discovery, and the design of proteins and functional materials. C&EN >>

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