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Vol 106 / Issue 8

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PRIME NUMBERS 6 Test sites approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for US commercial drones. (See photo, opposite page.) Weeks before sochi 17 Percentage of Americans polled who say they support the 12-year-long Afghanistan war, down from 52 percent in December 2008. Russia's new old threat Attacks point to a revived Caucasus insurgency 23,036 Fine (in dollars) given to Harvard Medical School for 11 violations involving treatment of monkeys in research. The fne, unusual for an academic institution, was imposed by federal regulators. 72 Percentage of Americans who replied that big government was the greatest threat to the future of the United States, compared with big business or labor unions. 33 bombing. Some analysts believe the city was seen as a softer target than Moscow or Sochi. Percentage of Americans who reject the idea of evolution. 500,000 Fireworks set of in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on New Year's Eve, from 400 locations, besting the record set by Kuwait (77,282) in 2012. 22 Images extracted by scientists from photo negatives they found in Antarctica last year, dating to Ernest Shackleton's 1914-17 expedition. 5,758 US post ofces visited since 2008 by Evan Kalish, a graduate student from New York who aims to visit every one of them, photographing them and interviewing the postmasters. Sources: Federal Aviation Administration; CNN/ORC International; The Boston Globe; Gallup; Pew Research Center; The Verge/Guinness World Records; Antarctic Heritage Trust; Evan Kalish/Going Postal 10 Denis Tyrin/AP high alert: Police guarded the Volgograd, Russia, railway station Dec. 30 after a suicide Moscow – Experts have little doubt that the terrorist attacks that hit Volgograd, Russia, late last month stem from Russia's troubled North Caucasus, where a low-level Islamist insurgency has been spreading around the region's impoverished, mainly Muslim population for years. The main suspect is a Chechen warlord-turned-self-declared "emir" of the North Caucasus "caliphate," Doku Umarov, who warned several months ago that he would be lifting his "moratorium" on terrorist attacks in Russia's heartland in advance of the Sochi Olympic Games. Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, is an important city about 600 miles southeast of Moscow. But there is no obvious reason why terrorist planners chose it for three separate, deadly attacks in as many months. A widespread opinion is that Volgograd is being hit because the most likely primary targets of terrorists – Sochi and Moscow – have been locked down by massive security preparations. Security in Volgograd was greatly stepped up as well last October, after a suicide bomber from Dagestan destroyed a trolley The ChrisTian sCienCe MoniTor Weekly | January 13, 2014 bus, killing herself and six people. Those measures clearly failed to prevent the latest deadly acts. On Dec. 30, President Vladimir Putin dispatched the head of the FSB security service, Alexander Bortnikov, to Volgograd. Some experts warn that the strikes there could be diversions, aiming to sow uncertainty and compel the Kremlin to divert security resources. "Security services are in a complicated position. If they now increase their presence in Volgograd, it will be at the expense of Sochi and other regions," says Nikolai Petrov, 'this war … has been going on for the past 13 years.' – A former KGB ofcer and terrorism expert a professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. "The problem is that in a country the size and complexity of Russia, you can't protect every place," he says. Russia's heartland has seen several cycles of deadly terrorist attacks, which began around the same time that Mr. Putin arrived in power as prime minister in the autumn of 1999. That year saw a series of deadly apartment blasts that killed hundreds of people in Moscow and other cities. Though those bombings have never been satisfactorily explained, they were cited at the time as the main reason for launching a second Russian invasion of the breakaway republic of Chechnya. That war, which went on for years, spawned repeated terrorist strikes, including the 2002 seizure of a crowded Moscow theater, which left 130 people dead after security forces stormed the building. In 2004, Chechen terrorists took hundreds of children hostage at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia. That attack cost 330 lives, half of them children. About five years ago, the Kremlin declared Chechnya pacified and withdrew most of its forces from the republic, leaving it under the control of a pro-Moscow local strongman named Ramzan Kadyrov. But while Chechnya has been relatively peaceful, an Islamist insurgency has spread around the region, especially to nearby republics Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria. Though the earlier Chechen rebellions had sought independence from Russia, the new insurgents have adopted Islamist ideology and have no interest in the old nationalist agenda. In 2010 Mr. Umarov launched a new series of attacks that, among other tragedies, caused 40 deaths in a twin suicide bombing that hit Moscow's crowded metro and a year later killed 35 people in a bombing attack at an arrival lounge at Moscow's Domodedovo airport. The war that began in the mid1990s around Chechnya's bid for independence has mutated and become part of the international terror war over the past decade-and-a-half, says Oleg Nechiporenko, a former KGB officer and chief expert with the National Anticriminal and Antiterrorist Foundation, an independent Moscow think tank. "Nobody canceled this war, and it's been going on for the past 13 years. We sometimes forget about it, and then events such as those in Volgograd hit us," he says. VNEXT PAGE

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