- - Sunday, September 4, 2011


Feds warn of threats to small airplanes

The FBI and Homeland Security have issued a nationwide warning about al Qaeda threats to small airplanes, just days before the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Authorities say there is no specific or credible terrorist threat for the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. But they have stepped up security nationwide as a precaution.

According to a five-page law enforcement bulletin issued Friday, al Qaeda was considering ways to attack airplanes as recently as early this year.

The alert, issued ahead of the summer’s last busy travel weekend, said terrorists have considered renting private planes and loading them with explosives.

“Al Qaeda and its affiliates have maintained an interest in obtaining aviation training, particularly on small aircraft, and in recruiting Western individuals for training in Europe or the United States, although we do not have current, credible information or intelligence of an imminent attack being planned,” according to the bulletin obtained by the Associated Press.

The bulletin also says al Qaeda would like to use sympathetic Westerners to get flight training, then get them to become flight instructors.

Matt Chandler, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, described the bulletin as routine.

“We shared this information with our partners to highlight the need for continued awareness and vigilance,” he said.


Perry tells supporters no to border fence

MANCHESTER — He may have been 2,000 miles from the border, but Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry’s immigration record in Texas quickly became the focus in New Hampshire on Saturday.

Speaking to hundreds of Granite State voters at a private reception, the Texas governor was asked whether he supported a fence along the Mexican border.

“No, I don’t support a fence on the border,” he said. “The fact is, it’s 1,200 miles from Brownsville to El Paso. Two things: How long you think it would take to build that? And then if you build a 30-foot wall from El Paso to Brownsville, the 35-foot ladder business gets real good.”

The answer produced an angry shout from at least one audience member. And it exposed an ongoing rift with some conservative voters over Mr. Perry’s immigration record.

Tea party activists in Texas have been particularly upset by his steady opposition to the fence. He also signed a law giving illegal immigrants in-state tuition for Texas universities. And Texas tea party groups sent Mr. Perry an open letter this year expressing disappointment over his failure to get a bill passed that would have outlawed “sanctuary cities,” municipalities that protect illegal immigrants.

Mr. Perry has surged to the lead in national polls since joining the presidential race just three weeks ago. But New Hampshire Republicans are just getting to know him.

Saturday’s visit marks the third time he visited the first-in-the-nation primary state since joining the race.


New district puts white Democrat in tough spot

SAVANNAH — Nearly 50 years ago, every congressman from the Deep South was a white Democrat.

Now the U.S. House has just one white Democrat from the five states that comprise the region: Georgia’s John Barrow.

Mr. Barrow last year survived the Republican tide that wiped out 20 white Democratic members of Congress from across the South, yet his toughest battle may lie ahead.

New political maps approved by the Republican-controlled Georgia legislature place him outside the 12th District that he now represents and strip away the base of his Democratic support along the coast.


U.S. sending aid to North Korea

The U.S. has sent a cargo plane of emergency supplies to North Korea as part of a modest but symbolically significant contribution to the impoverished country’s flood relief effort.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the plane is carrying blankets, soap and hygiene kits. It arrived in Pyongyang last weekend.

The U.S. has said it will provide $900,000 in emergency aid to North Korea, through U.S. charities.

It’s the latest sign of a thaw in relations. Negotiations have recently restarted on North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program.

Heavy rainfall pounded the Korean peninsula in July. North Korean media said last month that flooding killed about 30 people and left thousands homeless.


Huntsman: Ex-governor will be next president

Republican Jon Huntsman Jr. says he believes a former governor will be the next president.

The 2012 candidate just happens to be one - he used to govern in Utah.

In Mr. Huntsman’s view, he’s narrowing the GOP field while trying to raise his own prospects in a race where he now languishes.

Who else fits the governors’ bill?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are the current GOP front-runners. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has not said whether she will run.

Mr. Huntsman also is dismissing polls that show him in single digits.

He tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “the early polls are absolute nonsense at this point in the game.”

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