►USA Today reports on how the Department of Defense has successfully used aircraft to detect IEDs in Afghanistan. “Detectors on aircraft, first used in Iraq, have successfully assisted troops in locating wires attached to bombs, which allows them to be defused. Radar is trained on the Afghan-Pakistani border, giving commanders a view of bombmakers’ escape and supply routes,” Tom Vanden Brook reports. Assisted by aircraft, troops in vehicles found 64 percent of IEDs before they were detonated. Troops on foot found 81 percent.
►A U.S. Senate investigation says lax controls at HSBC, Europe’s largest bank allowed it to be used for money laundering by criminals around the world. The investigation report says money from Mexican cartels passed through the bank, along with suspicious money from Syria, Iran, and the Cayman Islands. “Many of HSBC's breaches of U.S. anti-money laundering relate to its use of bearer share accounts. Under the rules for these accounts, ownership of shares and the income they incur can be passed from person to person in secrecy,” the BBC reports.
►The U.S. is seeing its worst drought in decades. More than half the U.S. is experiencing drought conditions. At the end of June, 55 percent of the country was in state of extreme drought, according to the National Climatic Data Center. “Climatologists have labeled this year's dry spell a ‘flash drought’ because it developed in a matter of months, not over multiple seasons or years,” the Associated Press reports. The USDA is working to streamline the process for farmers to get emergency aid.
►In other news, scientists at Sandia National Laboratories are close to completing a system that can detect biological or radiological particles in blood in 10 minutes. ♦ Crime in New York has spiked to double digits in one-third of New York’s precincts. The new stats come after an increase in larcenies and “a particularly bad week in which 77 people were shot, and 16 people murdered.” ♦ And a new infographic from the National Post shows the reach of influence of Mexican cartels in North America.