Nov 23, 2018

Police turn to "explosive odor-pursuit dogs” to stop suicide bomber

A police dog in training. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP via Getty Images

A new type of police dog — "explosive odor-pursuit dogs” — are trained to pick up the scent of a bomb hundreds of feet away and then lead their handlers to the source, the N.Y. Times' Ashley Southall reports:

How it works: The dogs "are asked to intercept suicide bombers and other terrorists before they reach targets like concerts, parades and sporting events."

The odor-pursuit dogs, which cost about $50,000 each, "are drawn from pointy-eared breeds like German shepherds and Belgian Malinois, whose traits dovetail with the job. They can pick up scents at longer ranges than other police dogs, and will start a search without waiting for their handlers’ directions."

  • "The handlers give them commands in Dutch, Czech and Slovak, in a nod to their origins: The dogs are bred in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Slovakia."
  • "The new dogs have a longer range of smell than ... Vapor Wake dogs, which detect the smell of explosives on people near them. Those dogs are primarily Labradors, whose friendly nature allows them to work in crowds."

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South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures as coronavirus cases jump

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures, with several towns in the north effectively placed in lockdown, as it confirmed two deaths and infections rose to 79.

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Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

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Heat wave melts 20% of snow cover from Antarctic island in days

The effects of February's record heat wave on Eagle Island in Antarctica. Photo: NASA

Antarctica's Eagle Island now has a side that's almost ice-free following this month's searing heat wave in the region, images released by NASA show.

Why it maters: "The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers," NASA said in its report. It's the third major melt event of the 2019-2020 Southern Hemisphere summer, following warm spells in January and last November, according to the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).