WASHINGTON — In recent months, federal and state homeland security officials have become increasingly concerned that terrorists and other groups might attempt to imitate the insurgents in Iraq and employ chlorine-bombs and other chemical weapons within the United States. Even before insurgents in Iraq began detonating trucks carrying bombs combining conventional explosive with industrial chlorine, U.S. government and non-government experts had identified the United States as potentially vulnerable to terrorist attacks against chemical plants or rail tankers transporting toxic chemicals such as chlorine. In their “National Planning Scenarios” (pdf file), analysts at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identified a […]

DENPASAR, Indonesia — As the 45 million Filipinos eligible to vote get ready to make a choice in their country’s May 14 mid-term election, the Philippines political landscape has been disturbed by the sound of guns, and filled with a mix of celebrities, rebels and political dynasties. Several actors, a current boxing world champion and a certain “Bin Laden” are among the nearly 87,000 candidates vying for 17,000 national and local positions, which include all of the 250 seats in the House of Representatives and half of the 24 Senate seats. In the meantime, reports indicate that up to 80 […]

WASHINGTON — The United States is moving forward on plans to establish an Africa Command that will anchor military operations across a continent seen to be of increasing strategic importance and threatened by transnational terrorists. But critics argue the initiative could backfire and fuel radicalism in areas where it is not yet a problem. The new force, known informally as AFRICOM, will preside over all countries on the continent except Egypt and is expected to be operational by the fall, according to Pentagon officials, who say it is needed to secure vast, lawless areas where terrorists have sought safe haven […]