From USA Today, on advanced imaging technology:
Air travelers strongly approve of the government's use of body scanners at the nation's airports even if the machines compromise privacy, a USA TODAY/Gallup poll finds.
Poll respondents appeared to endorse a Transportation Security Administration plan to install 300 scanners at the nation's largest airports this year to replace metal detectors. The machines, used in 19 airports, create vivid images of travelers under their clothes to reveal plastics and powders to screeners observing monitors in a closed room.
"It would seem much more thorough than the process that we're doing now," poll respondent Joel Skousen, 38, of Willcox, Ariz., said. "It would put me more at ease getting on a plane."
In the poll, 78% of respondents said they approved of using the scanners, and 67% said they are comfortable being examined by one. Eighty-four percent said the machines would help stop terrorists from carrying explosives onto airplanes. The survey was taken Jan. 5-6 of 542 adults who have flown at least twice in the past year.
Only 29% of respondents say they are more concerned about air safety since the alleged Dec. 25 attempt by a Nigerian passenger to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight. Bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab got through an airport metal detector in Amsterdam with powder explosives in his underwear.
From CNN, on ICE's Secure Communities program:
Evans Mesadieu has racked up a lengthy rap sheet during the three years he has lived illegally in the United States.
He has been convicted of at least six charges, including battery on a law enforcement officer and cruelty to children.
Each time he was arrested, Mesadieu lied about his status, using 15 aliases in Georgia and Florida that allowed him to continue living illegally in the country.
Now, he faces deportation back to his home country, the Bahamas, because of a new fingerprinting program launched by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
"What we are introducing to the process is the digital exchange of the fingerprints so that we can run them through the databases, not only at the FBI but at the Department of Homeland Security for immigration purposes in a matter of minutes and get them back to the law enforcement officials," said John Morton, assistant secretary of homeland security.
The Secure Communities program was launched in one county in October 2008 and has been growing ever since. It is now available in 108 counties in 11 states, and DHS hopes to have the program available nationwide by 2013.
"Secure Communities is all about public safety, and it is all about trying to identify for removal from this country serious criminal offenders in local communities," Morton said.
From the Associated Press, on this weekend's earthquake in California:
Residents of a Northern California county gingerly cleaned up Sunday after the area dodged a catastrophe, escaping a 6.5 magnitude earthquake with little more than bumps, cuts and broken glass.
Entrances to Eureka's Bayshore Mall were blocked as engineers surveyed for damage. Area bridges suffered some bent rails, and local stores reported messy aisles where bottles and jars flew from shelves and shattered, authorities said.
"We're very, very fortunate that it's not worse, but there is a lot of damage," Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said in a Eureka press conference. "This is a big deal."
Still, the Saturday afternoon temblor - centered in the Pacific about 22 miles west of Ferndale - caused only limited structural damage and a few hours of power outage. There were no major injuries, other than an elderly resident's fracture hip.
A preliminary estimate of damage in Eureka came to $12.5 million, said the city's fire chief, Eric Smith. No countywide assessment was available.
There are no public events scheduled for today.