FILE PHOTO – A TSA worker loads suitcases at the checked luggage security screening station at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S. on September 7, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn/File Photo
The United States might ban laptops from aircraft cabins on all flights into and out of the country as part of a ramped-up effort to protect against potential security threats, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on Sunday.
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Kelly said the United States planned to “raise the bar” on airline security, including tightening screening of carry-on items.
“That’s the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it’s full of U.S. people.”
In March, the government imposed restrictions on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins on flights from 10 airports, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey.
Kelly said the move would be part of a broader airline security effort to combat what he called “a real sophisticated threat.” He said no decision had been made as to the timing of any ban.
“We are still following the intelligence,” he said, “and are in the process of defining this, but we’re going to raise the bar generally speaking for aviation much higher than it is now.”
Airlines are concerned that a broad ban on laptops may erode customer demand. But none wants an incident aboard one of its airplanes.
“Whatever comes out, we’ll have to comply with,” Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines (UAL.N), told the company’s annual meeting last week.
Airlines were blindsided in January when President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning entry for 90 days to citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, sending airlines scrambling to determine who could board and who could not. The order was later blocked in the courts.
In the case of laptops, the administration is keeping the industry in the loop. Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) said in a statement it “continues to be in close contact with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” while Munoz applauded the administration for giving the company a “heads up.”
“We’ve had constant updates on the subject,” he said. “We know more than most. And again, if there’s a credible threat out there, we need to make sure we take the appropriate measures.”
MORE SCRUTINY OF CARRY-ONS
Among the enhanced security measures will likely be tighter screening of carry-on items to allow Transport Security Administration agents to discern problematic items in tightly stuffed bags.
Kelly said that in order to avoid paying fees for checking bags, people were stuffing them to the point where it was difficult to see through the clutter.
“The more stuff is in there, the less the TSA professionals that are looking at what’s in those bags through the monitors can tell what’s in them.”
The TSA has begun testing certain new procedures at a limited number of airports, requiring people to remove additional items from carry-on bags for separate screenings.
Asked whether the government would expand such measures nationwide, Kelly said: “We might, and likely will.” — By Toni Clarke | WASHINGTON
(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington, David French in New York and Alana Wise in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio and Peter Cooney)
SoKor says NoKor expresses commitment to ‘complete denuclearization’
FILE PHOTOS: (Left-Right) North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (REUTERS)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will sit down at the border “truce village” of Panmunjom to discuss a range of issues, including Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.
Days before the upcoming summit, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said the North has expressed its commitment to “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula and is not seeking conditions.
Moon also explained that the North has not attached any conditions that the US cannot accept, like the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea.
“Now, North Korea is expressing a will to seek a complete denuclearisation to the international society. Also, they are showing us a will to have dialogues,” said the South Korean president.
North Korea has defended its nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, as a necessary deterrent against perceived US hostility.
The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war.
North Korea has said over the years that it could consider giving up its nuclear arsenal if the United States will its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.
However, in the latest development, Moon revealed that Pyongyang has expressed willingness to drop its demand that the United States withdraw troops stationed in the South in exchange for denuclearization.
This comes after President Donald Trump announced he is willing to leave the meeting with Kim if it falls short of his expectations. -Reuters
US says chemical arms inspectors still have not entered site of Syrian attack
A boy walks along a damaged street at the city of Douma in Damascus, Syria, April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
The United States believes inspectors from a global chemical weapons watchdog have not yet been able to enter the site of the April 7 alleged chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday she was aware of reports from Syria that inspectors from the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons had been able to see the site but the team has not entered Douma.
She said the United States had information that both chlorine and sarin nerve gas were used in the attack and was concerned that evidence was deteriorating the longer inspectors were kept from reaching the site.
“The longer that it takes to get OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) inspectors in to take a look at soil samples and other information that they can get on the ground, that delay further degrades any evidence that’s on the ground. So that is our chief concern,” Nauert said. — Reuters
PH to withdraw participation in all US-led expeditions
In his remark during the 39th commencement exercises for Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), President Rodrigo Duterte said that the country will no longer participate in all US-led wars.
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a halt on the country’s participation in all expeditions led by the United States (US).
According to the President, the country has nothing to benefit from those missions.
The Chief Executive cited as an example the Philippines’ participation in the United States’ efforts to free Kuwait from the control of Iraq during the Gulf war in 1991.
The Philippines sent Filipino troops to help in the war that freed Kuwait, but the President lamented, the now independent Arab nation allows the abuse of Filipino workers there.
“I am addressing America right now, whatever expeditions that you will conduct, any wars that you will fight in any countries, count us out. We benefit nothing all these years of sacrifice except brutality,” said Duterte.
The President also noted that the Philippines can stand on its own; further arguing that what is important is for the country to maintain its dignity.
He added that invasions such as during the Spanish and American colonial era should not happen again.
“Tama na po yun (That’s enough). You have had your fill. Do not ask for more,” said the President.
At the end of his speech during the 39th commencement exercises for Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), the President said the Philippines will no longer participate in any war by the US under his term.
“Unless we are threatened directly, there will be no more joint expeditions at least sa panahon ko (during my term),” he said. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue