Morning Security Brief: Hospital Security, Terrorism Laws, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Checks on Foreign Investors, and More

By Teresa Anderson

► Hundreds of hospital staff at the Wenling City No 1 People’s Hospital in the Chinese province of Zhejiang assembled today to protest the facility’s lax security procedures. According to The Guardian, the protests were in response to an attack in the hospital’s emergency room where a patient stabbed three doctors, killing one. “We are still protesting and demanding that the government and the hospital management ensure the safety of doctors,” said one protestor. Attacks on hospital staff are increasing in China, according to the article. Some experts link the violence to the privatization of the nation’s healthcare system.

► The Russian parliament has approved legislation that will increase punishment for terrorism and require that the relatives of terrorists pay damages for attacks. Under the bill, training for terrorist activities is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Those who formerly participated in terrorist activities in other countries could be imprisoned for up to six years. President Vladimir Putin has announced that he will sign the bill. According to ABC News, the legislation is designed to halt terrorist activity in the country ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.

► Nine car bombs tore through outdoor markets and police checkpoints in Baghdad yesterday. According to The Washington Post, affiliates of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks, which are the latest in a campaign that has killed more than 5,300 Iraqis this year. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is scheduled to arrive in Washington this week to request U.S. aid in quelling the conflict.

► A whistleblower from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims that the agency is rushing background checks on wealthy foreign investors at the expense of national security. A Washington Times article cites the whistleblower’s claims that checks requiring weeks or months are being approved in approximately four days. The article notes that the whistleblower originally raised concerns in 2012. It says that the issue is in the spotlight "this summer after reports that the head of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency personally intervened to expedite applications from a company affiliated with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe."

► In other news, PC World warns global organizations about a Russian botnet. ⇒Syria has filed details of its gas and nerve agents, keeping with the timeline to destroy the country’s chemical weapons. ⇒The European Court of Human Rights is reviewing a United Kingdom law that allows terrorism suspects to be detained at airports for up to nine hours without reasonable suspicion.


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