►El Salvador’s murder rate took a nosedive after a truce between the country’s gangs. “The relentless tit-for-tat murders between El Salvador's two largest street gangs - 'Calle 18' and 'Mara Salvatrucha' - made the country the most murderous in the world last year after neighboring Honduras, also ravaged by gang violence,” Reuters reports. In March the two gangs worked with mediators – a Catholic bishop and a former congressman – to issue a joint statement calling a truce and pledging to end recruitment of adolescents, “especially in poor neighborhoods and around schools.” The murder rate is down to five a day from a dozen and in April, the country saw its first day in three years without a murder.
►A massive solar storm has reached Earth, but has caused no damage, scientists say. The storm effects can last for days and cause disruptions in the magnetic field that can affect power grids, cell phone communication, satellites, and aviation equipment. “The storm began on Thursday when the sun unleashed a massive flare that hurled a cloud of highly charged particles racing toward Earth at 3 million mph. It was the sixth time this year that such a powerful solar outburst has occurred. None of the previous storms caused major problems,” Al Jazeera reports.
►The federal government has agreed to let Florida use a DHS database to challenge people’s voting eligibility if they are suspected of not being U.S. citizens. The agreement “grants the state access to a list of resident noncitizens maintained by the Homeland Security Department. The Obama administration had denied Florida's request for months but relented after a judge ruled in the state's favor in a related voter-purge matter,” The New York Times reports. Other states have asked for the database as well. The list contains unique identifiers known as “alien numbers” which generally are assigned to foreigners living in the country legally. The list is “unlikely to catch illegal immigrants in any state who might have managed to register to vote because such people typically would not have an alien number,” the Times reports.
►In other news, DHS fires back after BioWatch criticisms. ♦ Ahmad Khan Samangani, a senior anti-Taliban leader in Afghanistan, was killed by a suicide bomber while attending his daughter’s wedding, after asking staff to keep security checks at a minimum for the event. ♦ And a survey finds that 50 percent of people leaving a job steal confidential data on their way out.