26 Jan 07. Plans for tougher border controls. Immigration officers are poised to get new powers. Tougher powers for immigration officers and compulsory identity cards for non-EU nationals are due to be part of government plans unveiled later. The Borders Bill will propose several measures intended to strengthen the UK’s borders. The bill, the fifth on immigration control in eight years, is expected to make deportation of foreign prisoners automatic once their sentence ends. Critics say ministers will extend the ID card system to UK citizens. Immigration minister Liam Byrne said the ID cards scheme, which would require biometric data such as fingerprints and digital photographs, would make it easier to distinguish between illegal and legal immigrants. “This bill is about introducing compulsory ID cards for foreign nationals because what business needs is something that is very, very simple,” he said. “I think it will encourage businesses to employ people who are here legally because it will have made the burden of understanding – whether someone is here legally – that bit easier.” (Source: BBC)
21 Jan 07. Home Office could be split in two. John Reid launched a review of the Home Office in May. The Home Office could be split into two departments under recommendations put forward by Home Secretary John Reid. One department would deal with security issues and the other with justice under the plans, which are set be to put to the Cabinet for discussion. Mr Reid said part of the Home Office was not fit for purpose when he took over last year, and is presiding over a shake-up to improve performance. The Home Office has been hit by a series of blunders in recent months. (Source: BBC)
19 Jan 07. Lockheed Martin was selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to continue providing support to the Agency’s Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response (COTPER). This is a single award, five-year contract, with an estimated program value of $135m The contract was awarded as a Blanket Purchase Agreement under the General Services Administration schedules program. It calls for Lockheed Martin to provide logistical and operational support through COTPER for several of the organization’s functions, including the Strategic National Stockpile, Office of the Director, Division of Business Services, Division of Emergency Operations, Division of State and Local Readiness, and Division of Select Agents and Toxins. COTPER provides strategic direction to the Agency for all terrorism preparedness and emergency response activities. COTPER manages the CDC Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement which provides guidance and funding to state and local jurisdictions to enhance their preparedness and response capacity, oversees the CDC Emergency Operations Center, regulates entities that use or transfer biological agents or toxins, and manages the Strategic National Stockpile. (Source: ASD Network)
22 Jan 07. Top Somali Islamist ‘surrenders’. The US says Somalia’s government should talk to Mr Ahmed. One of Somalia’s Islamist leaders has given himself up to the Kenyan authorities, a Kenyan police source has told the BBC. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, seen as a moderate, surrendered in the north-eastern Kenyan town of Wajir, the policeman said.
The US and the UN have urged the Somali government to seek reconciliation with moderate Islamists, such as Mr Ahmed. The Islamists were driven out of the capital, Mogadishu, last month. Ethiopian forces helped the government oust the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), who had taken control of much of southern Somalia. But the government says some 3,500 Islamist fighters remain in Mogadishu. (Source: BBC)
25 Jan 07. Initial construction has begun on vehicle barriers that will be part of a mix of border fencing along the Barry M. Goldwater Range in southwestern Arizona. The first-phase construction, on about nine miles at the western edge of a 37-mil