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U.S. Issues Warning on Toothpaste Bombs Ahead of Olympics

Published: February 7, 2014 (Issue # 1796)



  • Russian transportation officials have banned liquids in airline carry-on luggage ahead of the Games.
    Photo: Wikicommons

The U.S. Department of Security has warned airlines flying into Russia during the Sochi Winter Olympics that terrorists may smuggle explosives concealed in toothpaste tubes on to planes, a congressional security committee chief has said.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a bulletin to airlines, warning them that the explosives may be used during flights or carried on to Sochi, the head of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Republican Michael McCaul, said Wednesday, CNN reported.

The toothpaste threat is "real" and "based on a credible source," said an unidentified official, adding that the U.S. was "taking it seriously. So are other countries."

Related: U.S. Issues Travel Warning Amid New Sochi Terror Threats

The concern over concealed explosives in toothpaste tubes is mostly focused on flights from Europe and Asia, with the majority of direct flights into Russia coming from these two areas. Delta Airlines and Russia's Aeroflot and Transaero carriers operate some nonstop flights from the U.S., but those flights are much fewer in number.

The U.S. "isn't aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time," the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement, The Associated Press reported. The department said that it "regularly shares information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics."

Russian transportation officials have banned liquids in airline carry-on luggage ahead of the Games, and the latest threat may prompt transportation officials in Europe and the U.S. to start removing toothpaste from carry-on bags, a former security chief at United and Continental airlines, Glen Winn, said.

Related: VIDEO: Medvedev Takes to CNN to Reassure Sochi Security Fears

Representative Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee's subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, said on CNN's "The Situation Room" that the airlines and visitors to the Olympics should take the threat "very seriously."

"We are getting some information about what's happening outside of Russia, some external threats, that type thing, or potential threats. I don't want to overstate that," he said.

Security concerns have dominated the headlines in the run up to the Sochi Olympics, given the venues close proximity to the restive North Caucusus region. Last July, Chechen Islamist militant Doku Umarov called on his followers to disrupt the Games using "maximum force."





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Dec. 18


Improve your English and knowledge of British culture during today’s FORM lesson at the British Book Center. These free English lessons with a native speaker elaborate not only on grammar particulars but cultural topics as well. Today’s event will discuss the BBC Two documentary “Victorian Farm Christmas.”



Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The city’s Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during today’s Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


TheZenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



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