Terrorism

Two years ago in Istanbul, I dragged Selcuk Altun, a Turkish author and lover of all things Byzantine, to the Hagia Sophia, a sixth century church that's now a museum. But we couldn't even get close. Altun took one look at the mass of sweating humanity blocking the entrance and decided to do the interview outside. But this year, the change is astonishing.

French President Francois Hollande is abandoning a proposed constitutional amendment that would have allowed the government to strip convicted terrorists of their French citizenship.

"A compromise appears out of reach on the stripping of terrorists' nationality," Hollande told reporters, according to AFP. "I also note that a section of the opposition is hostile to any constitutional revision. I deeply regret this attitude."

Employers want to hire the best and the brightest to get the job done.

So do terrorist groups.

In Africa, terrorist groups are actively recruiting well-educated boys and girls. The groups want recruits who can be leaders, who know how to give orders, who can boost the brand on social media.

One Kenyan teacher is fighting back — and his efforts have made him a candidate for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize, which comes with a $1 million award.

When a federal judge ordered Apple earlier this week to unlock a phone used by one of the assailants in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., she cited a law from 1789. It could make you wonder if the nation's legal system is having a hard time keeping up with the fast pace of technological change. So, I asked a few legal experts if our old laws can apply to this particular situation.

An explosion near a group of military buildings in Turkey's capital has killed at least 28 people and wounded 61 others, according to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş.

Reporting from Istanbul, NPR's Peter Kenyon says officials suspect it may have been a car bomb that detonated in Ankara. Here's more from Peter:

"The explosion hit near a military base in the capital, which also hosts residences for military officers. The blast occurred as a vehicle carrying military personnel was passing.

Remember the cryptex, the little handheld safe from The Da Vinci Code where entering the correct combination will reveal the secret message and entering the wrong one will destroy it?

Now replace the little safe with an iPhone, and instead of a secret message, it's holding evidence in a terrorism case. The critical combination? It's a passcode — one the FBI doesn't know, and one that Apple is reluctant to help the agency figure out.

On a chilly afternoon in south Georgia, more than 100 Transportation Security Administration trainees are huddled together on metal bleachers overlooking a field. They're watching an explosives instructor demonstrate what can happen if they don't do their job well.

"All right, confined smokeless powder in three, two, one."

BOOM!

The trainees (and an observing reporter) jump, startled by the explosion 100 yards or so before them.

More blasts follow, with different explosives. The lesson for these new hires? That the consequences of a mistake are deadly.

When 30-year-old Edward Archer opened fire on a Philadelphia policeman earlier this month, he quickly offered authorities a motive: He told them he had done it for the Islamic State.

"He pledges his allegiance to the Islamic State," Capt. James Clark of the Philadelphia Police Department told reporters hours after the Jan. 7 shooting. "He follows Allah and that is the reason he was called upon to do this."

The FBI, for its part, has said it is investigating the attack as a possible act of terrorism — inspired by ISIS.

Today, the three Americans who helped subdue a gunman on a Paris-bound train last month were honored by President Obama in the Oval Office.

"Because of their courage, because of their quick thinking ... a real calamity was averted," Obama said, saying the trio "represent the very best of America."

The three men — Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, and Air Force Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone — are high-school friends who were traveling in Europe when the incident occurred.

The FBI believes authorities disrupted "a localized terror attack" in its planning stages when they arrested a man after converging on a western Minnesota mobile home that contained Molotov cocktails, suspected pipe bombs and firearms, the agency said Monday.

Buford Rogers, 24, of Montevideo, was arrested Friday and charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He remained in federal custody Monday and it was not clear if he had an attorney.

A Portland, Ore., resident was arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. The FBI alleges that Reaz Qadir Khan, 48, gave money and advice to a man involved in a deadly 2009 suicide bomb attack on the headquarters of Pakistan's intelligence service in Lahore.

The attack resulted in an estimated 30 deaths and 300 injuries. Khan, a naturalized U.S. citizen, could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if he is found guilty. FBI agents arrested him at his home Tuesday morning.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Reflections of a north Idaho couple who had scheduled their wedding for September 15, 2001:

Dave: "My name's David Boyer."

Heather: "I am Dave's wife, Heather Boyer. Oh, you always hope on your wedding day that people are going to be happy and joyous."

Department of Homeland Security

Former U.S. Senator from Washington state, Slade Gorton,  says the killing of bin Laden is proof that intelligence agencies in the United States have improved.  Gorton sat on the 9/11 Commission, which investigated the terrorist attacks.

Helicopters descended out of darkness on the most important counterterrorism mission in U.S. history. It was an operation so secret, only a select few U.S. officials knew what was about to happen.

The location was a fortified compound in an affluent area north of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. The target was Osama bin Laden.

Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed thousands of Americans, was killed in an operation led by the United States, President Obama said Sunday. Bin Laden was 54.

A small team of Americans killed bin Laden in a firefight at a compound in Pakistan, the president said in a dramatic late-night statement at the White House.

Details about bin Laden's death are still emerging. But his life ran a fascinating trajectory: from the pampered son of a Saudi millionaire to the world's most-wanted terrorist.

Dec. 24, 1998 file photo / Associated Press

A small team of Americans killed Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks, in a firefight Sunday at a compound in Pakistan, President Obama said in a dramatic late-night statement at the White House.

A jubilant crowd gathered outside the White House as word spread. of bin Laden's death after a global manhunt that lasted nearly a decade.

"Justice has been done," Obama said.

PublicIntelligence.org

The backpack bomb found along the route of Spokane’s Martin Luther King Day Parade was supposed to be triggered remotely using a car alarm receiver. That’s according to a newly uncovered FBI document.