Arthur’s coming. Hurricane Arthur is expected to hit the Carolinas late today or early Friday as a Category 2 storm. Many cities along the Atlantic coast have canceled or delayed their Independence Day fireworks displays as tourists flee the beach and residents of low-lying areas evacuate. Gov. Pat McCrory urged people to take cover as the storm moves in. “This is no time to put your stupid hat on,” he said on CNN.
Heightened security. The White House has called for tighter security at foreign airports over concerns al-Qaeda could blow up planes using undetectable bombs. The pandemonium in Syria has given al-Qaeda operatives from the Arabian Peninsula the place and opportunity to plot a terror attack, counterterrorism sources say. Officials worry Westerners who have gone to Syria to fight in the civil war could return to the United States carrying a bomb made of plastic or other undetectable material. The United States has thwarted similar plots in the past, including one that secreted explosives inside printer cartridges shipped on cargo planes.
Taken back. The scientific journal Nature officially retracted a March research paper on a breakthrough in stem cell research that was too good to be true. Harvard researchers working with a Japanese science institute claimed to have found a fast, cheap way to make pluripotent stem cells—cells that can grow into any cell in the body—by bathing normal cells in acid. The research drew questions and criticisms when other scientists could not duplicate its findings in the lab. An investigation revealed one of the Japanese scientists faked the results.
A new Jihad Jane? A 19-year-old Arvada, Colo., woman has been charged with trying to help ISIS commit acts of terror. Shannon Conley was arrested in April trying to board a plane to Turkey. She was headed to meet her boyfriend, a Tunisian man she met on the internet, who claimed to be fighting for ISIS in Syria. Conley had previously spoken with her parents and FBI agents about her desire to travel overseas and participate in a jihad.
Border war. Israel is building up its military might along the Gaza Strip as tension continues to heighten over the deaths of three Israeli teenagers and an Arab youth who Palestinians allege was killed in a revenge attack. Buses carrying Israeli forces headed toward Gaza today, where Palestinians have been shooting rockets across the border with increasing frequency.
Safety first. Maybe this year it’s a better idea to watch the bombs burst in air rather than in your driveway. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports the number fireworks injuries jumped by 31 percent last year compared to the year before. Most of the injuries were minor, although the commission received eight reports of fireworks-related deaths. Sparklers were the No. 1 cause of injury, probably because they are handheld and burn at close to 2,000 degrees. The commission has a website of common-sense tips for safely lighting your own fireworks at home, such as, “Never point or throw fireworks at another person.”