TSA says it detects 3D printed guns
WASHINGTON—During the controversy surrounding the release of blueprints for 3D-printed plastic guns, the Transportation Security Administration said airport security screeners have been able to spot the so-called untraceable and undetectable weapons in carry-on bags.
The 3D-printed gun controversy began in June when Defense Distributed of Austin, Texas, reached a settlement with the federal government to make the plans for the guns available for download. A federal judge in Seattle then issued a temporary restraining order to stop the release of blueprints, and a coalition of 20 state attorneys general filed a motion Aug. 2 to continue to block the release of the plans.
But TSA officials said 3D-printed guns and firearm components have been in circulation for years and have been found on passengers trying to board commercial flights. Those individuals gave up their guns willingly.
Taliban travel to Uzbekistan for talks
ISLAMABAD—In a rare diplomatic foray and the strongest sign yet of the Taliban’s increasing political presence in the region, the head of the militant group’s political office led a delegation to Uzbekistan to meet senior Foreign Ministry officials, Uzbek and Taliban officials said Saturday.
Taliban political chief Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai represented the insurgents in the four-day talks that ended Friday and included meetings with Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov as well as its special representative to Afghanistan Ismatilla Irgashev.
The meetings follow an offer made by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in March to broker peace in Afghanistan.
Ebola spreads into Congo war zone
BENI, Congo—In a new reminder of the dangers in containing an Ebola outbreak in a war zone, suspected rebels killed seven people overnight in northeastern Congo and sent residents fleeing, an official said Saturday.
Global health officials have warned that combating this virus outbreak is complicated by multiple armed groups in the mineral-rich region and a restless population that includes 1 million displaced people and scores of refugees leaving for nearby Uganda every week.
The insecurity means health workers might have to change a vaccination strategy that proved successful in Congo’s previous Ebola outbreak, the World Health Organization’s emergency preparedness chief Dr. Peter Salama said Saturday.
The so-called “ring vaccination” approach of first vaccinating health workers, contacts of Ebola victims and their contacts might have to give way to the approach of vaccinating everyone in a certain geographic area such as a village or neighborhood. That would require a larger number of vaccine doses.
Bombing attempt foiled in Egypt
CAIRO—A man wearing an explosives belt attempted to attack a Coptic Christian church north of Cairo but failed to enter before blowing himself up, Egyptian security officials said Saturday.
Police said the man tried to enter a church located about 7 miles north of Cairo, but heightened security around the church prevented him from approaching, and he detonated his explosives. No other fatalities were reported.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attempted attack.
Mali terror threat could deter voters
BAMAKO, Mali—Mali’s first round of voting last month saw electoral agents killed and voting materials destroyed by extremists linked to al-Qaida. Today, the country will go for round two.
Incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita faces off against Soumaila Cisse, who also challenged him in a runoff in 2013.
Nearly 43 percent of voters made it to the polls on July 29 amid rising insecurity in the West African nation.
Many Malians worry that the unrest will increase and keep people from voting again.
Mohammed Cisse, an official in Boni in the central Mopti region, said he has rented a house in the capital, Bamako, where he will stay for his safety until the elections are over. Three of his brothers were kidnapped during the first round, accused by neighbors of helping to transport voting materials.
In central Mali, attacks have become more frequent amid communal clashes as neighbors suspect one another of being recruited by extremist groups. Meanwhile, Malian soldiers in recent months have been accused of abuses, including extrajudicial killings, during counterterror operations.
Three electoral agents were seized and killed by extremists the day before the July 29 elections in Boudou village, about 40 kilometers (24 miles) from the central town of Sevare. The town hosts the new five-nation G5 Sahel counterterror force’s headquarters, which also has been attacked.
Thousands attend Arab-led rally against Israeli bill
TEL AVIV, Israel—Members of Israel’s Arab minority led a mass protest in central Tel Aviv on Saturday night against a contentious new law that critics say marginalizes the state’s non-Jewish citizens.
The rally marked further fallout from the explosive Nation-State law and came a week after thousands of Druze, also members of the Arab minority, packed the same city square last week.
Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence defined the country as a Jewish and democratic state and the government says the recently passed bill merely enshrines the country’s existing character. But critics say it undercuts Israel’s democratic values and sidelines the country’s non-Jewish population, namely the Arab community that makes up 20 percent of the country.
One clause downgrades the Arabic language from official to “special” standing.
Israeli media reported tens of thousands of Jews and Arabs attended the protest. Some Arab protesters waved Palestinian flags and others held signs reading “equality.” Some knelt and preformed Muslim prayers.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted footage on Twitter of protesters waving the Palestinian flags. “No better testament to the necessity of the Nation State law,” he wrote.
Ayman Odeh, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament, told The Associated Press: “This is the first time that tens of thousands of Arabs have come to Tel Aviv with Jewish democratic groups. They came to say this is not the end of the demonstrations, but the first serious demonstration against the Nation State law.”
Many Jewish Israelis, including top retired security officials and politicians, have also harshly criticized the law.
Omar Sultan, from the Arab city of Tira in central Israel, said he was protesting to send a message to Netanyahu.
“This law is against us, against the Arabic language, against peace, against our future in this land, we are the real people of this land, we can’t agree on this law,” he said.
Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy full citizenship rights but face discrimination in some areas of society like jobs and housing. They share the ethnicity and culture of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and often identify with Palestinian nationalism, rather than Israeli.