Negligence was involved in all 73 incidents last year in which radioactive substances reported went missing, concludes a new expert report on nuclear trafficking.
The report finding by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies could suggest there is much work yet to be done in international efforts to improve security around radiological substances that might be seized by terrorists and used to construct a so-called “dirty bomb.” This type of device could combine radiological materials and explosives to contaminate populated areas.
The study, published on Wednesday, examined incidents in which both atomic and non-nuclear radioactive materials went unaccounted for. Of the 153 documented incidents last year, 92 percent involved non-nuclear radioactive substances utilized in the medical and industrial fields, according to a summary of the report’s findings.
“Few incidents involved the most dangerous materials, and none were reported to have involved material that was nuclear weapons-usable in form or quantity,” the summary states.
To reduce the prospects of future incidents stemming from negligence, the report recommends “improved training in nuclear materials security and enhanced end-user accountability.”
Leaders from 53 nations are gathering in The Hague, Netherlands, on Monday and Tuesday to review the current status of global efforts to better lock down vulnerable radioactive and nuclear materials. Some experts have criticized the biennial Nuclear Security Summit process — which began with President Obama hosting the first such gathering in 2010 — for focusing too much on atomic substances at the expense radiological sources.
While a nuclear terrorism attack could result in a much greater loss of life than a radiological strike, most analysts agree it would be easier for extremists to acquire the ingredients they need to build a radiological dirty bomb than get a hold of a nuclear weapon.
The Center for Nonproliferation Studies analysis relied on a database it built that collected information drawn from foreign regulatory agencies, specialized Internet search engines and international news reports. It is separate from a database kept by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, which also tracks incidents of lost or stolen plutonium, uranium and other radiological sources.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog documented roughly 140 incidents last year of lost or unauthorized utilization of atomic and radioactive substances, Reuters reported on Friday. It is not clear if the IAEA database and the CNS database were using different methodology for collecting or assessing information.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”