Newcastle United confirm signing of Marseille striker

first_img Florian Thauvin 1 Newcastle have signed Marseille winger Florian Thauvin on a five-year contract, the Barclays Premier League club have announced.The 22-year-old Frenchman came through a medical on Wednesday and committed to the club until 2020.As part of the deal to bring Thauvin to St James’ Park, Remy Cabella heads the other way on a season-long loan, which will become a permanent move next summer.“I am delighted to be a Newcastle United player,” said Thauvin on Newcastle’s website. “I have come from France to a really big club and am very happy to be here.“It is a big honour to know that Newcastle have been after me for such a long time and that they wanted me that much.“They have put their trust in me and I am looking forward to playing for the team.”Newcastle United head coach Steve McClaren added: “Florian is a player the Club have been watching for a long time and I am delighted that we have been able to sign him.“He is a perfect signing for this club – someone who is young, with great potential and is one of the best young players in Europe.“He is an exciting, creative talent who can score goals and make assists, and we believe he will have a very bright future at Newcastle.”last_img read more

Everton, Manchester City and Stoke set to see off Championship opponents in League Cup – Coral Daily Download

first_imgDave Stevens joins the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast to round up the latest sporting odds.The Coral spokesman looks ahead to Tuesday night’s League Cup quarter-final action, as Everton, Manchester City and Stoke bid to see off Championship opponents.Everton travel to Middlesbrough, Manchester City host Hull and Stoke welcome Sheffield Wednesday, and you can get 5/1 on the three Premier League sides winning.He also reveals Andy Murray is now the 6/5 favourite to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year after leading Great Britain to Davis Cup glory.Coral is the official betting partner of the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfastlast_img

Van Gaal: Man United MUST beat Wolfsburg to prove they belong in Champions League

first_imgLouis van Gaal has called on his Manchester United to prove they are worthy of a place in the Champions League by beating Wolfsburg in their final Group B fixture.The Red Devils’ last 16 hopes appear rather slim ahead of Tuesday night’s clash in Germany.Van Gaal’s men will qualify in they secure victory, but if they draw or lose, United will have to rely on PSV Eindhoven slipping up at home to CSKA Moscow – who have already been eliminated – to make it through to the knock out stages.Considering United’s recent goalscoring form, or lack of it, their prospects do not look good, with the Premier League giants having scored just seven times in their last ten matches.But their manager is confident his players will find their scoring boots again at the Volkswagen Arena, as he hopes to avoid the team crashing out of the groups for just the fourth time in history.“I have the experience as a manager that the goals shall come,” Van Gaal said. “When you are creating chances at the end you shall finish those kind of chances.“That’s why we have that belief. It’s a matter of time and I hope we can prove it.”United will be without Wayne Rooney, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Phil Jones and Morgan Schneiderlin for Tuesday’s game.As the only striker in a threadbare squad, the responsibility for scoring will fall on the shoulders of Anthony Martial, who has scored just once in his last 13 matches.“He is very talented but he is just 20 years old,” Van Gaal said of the forward, who scored four goals in his first four matches following a £36million transfer from Monaco in September.“We have to give him time and that’s always difficult when you are playing for a team like Manchester United because the expectations are very high.“But I am very convinced that he will continue with his performances, and that he shall score at the right moment again.“You cannot expect of a 20-year-old player coming to the Premier League that he scores every week.“I didn’t expect it either. When he came he was accelerating in the start of his campaign at Manchester United. I know that and I have to explain it to everybody because he doesn’t need that pressure to score every match.”Van Gaal concedes dropping into the Europa League would be a big blow for the three-time European Champions.“It’s very important for the club to continue in the Champions League, and also for the players,” Van Gaal said.“They want to show their qualities at the highest podium. That’s why it’s important [we qualify].” 1 Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal oversees training ahead of their Champions League clash last_img read more

‘Stop protecting Sturridge and tell Liverpool fans the TRUTH’, demands Istanbul hero

first_imgJurgen Klopp has been urged to ‘stop protecting’ Daniel Sturridge and tell Liverpool fans the truth about the striker’s continued absence.Sturridge has been a virtual ever-present in the treatment room in recent years and has made just six appearances this season, the latest at the start of December.Klopp was reluctant to discuss the 26-year-old’s fitness issues ahead of last weekend’s clash with Manchester United, with the Reds boss giving no indication of when he will return to action.But Anfield legend Dietmar Hamann believes his fellow German is deliberately – and wrongly – keeping supporters in the dark over Sturridge’s ongoing issues, which he is convinced are more psychological than physical.The Champions League winner, a former teammate of Sturridge’s at Manchester City, told talkSPORT: “The club has got a responsibility to tell the paying public what is wrong with him.“If he has got a hamstring injury, an ankle injury, or whatever he may have, the people who pay for a season ticket have got a right to know what is wrong with him.“Judging by the way Jurgen Klopp answered his questions [ahead of the Manchester United game] I don’t think there is too much wrong with the player. “If there is nothing wrong with him, it is more important to be honest and truthful with the paying public than to protect a player who has hardly played in the last 18 months, who seems to choose when he wants to play.“He has got three years left on his contract and I don’t see any reason, if there is nothing wrong with the player, why the club should protect him.”In November, Klopp alluded to the idea that Sturridge’s problems could be more mental than physical, telling reporters the England international must learn the difference between “serious pain and what is only pain”.Hamann was in the Manchester City side when Sturridge made his senior debut as a 17-year-old, and he claims it was evident in the early part of his career that the talented hitman was not willing to push himself through the pain barrier.“There was always something wrong with him on the Thursday or the Friday. His back, his hamstring, there was always something,” added Hamann.“If you look at his record since he has played professional football he probably doesn’t average half the games a season – and it has got worse at Liverpool.“I am not saying he is pretending to be injured, I’m not sure. But if he is injured, say it. Nobody knows what is going on with him.“People have spent £800 or £1000 to watch Liverpool at home and sometimes even away and the star player is not playing and nobody knows where he is.“If there isn’t a problem with him, then it is time to stop protecting the player.”last_img read more

Anderson might be an eyesore, but he’s getting better

first_imgBy Doug Padilla STAFF WRITER BOSTON – Garret Anderson’s slow recovery from conjunctivitis concerned the Angels enough to have the outfielder undergo a CT Scan of his head in Boston on Friday. Team doctor Lewis Yocum confirmed that the CT Scan took place, saying its purpose was to find out if a sinus infection or any other kind of similar illness was delaying Anderson’s recovery from his current right eye infection. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityNothing out of the ordinary was found and Anderson was back in the starting lineup and batting in the cleanup spot just as he was in the opener of the American League Division Series on Wednesday. There was no change in Anderson’s outward appearance as his eye continued to look swollen and aggravated. “Well, it looks puffier and puffier, but his vision is getting better and better,” Manager Mike Scioscia said before Friday’s game. “He had an eye exam today and his vision is fine. He’ll be in the lineup.” Scioscia said nothing more than Anderson saw an eye specialist on Friday and took an eye exam. But he did admit to having a discussion with Anderson regarding his ability to play. Anderson was quoted after Game 1 saying his eye “is not where it should be.” “Well I just talked to him about making sure he was OK, that I had heard that maybe it wasn’t (OK), and he assured me he was fine to see,” Scioscia said. “I think his vision is fine or he wouldn’t be playing. We’re very comfortable. I think his point was that it was maybe a bit uncomfortable but it’s not affecting anything he needs to do to go out there and play baseball. That’s the bottom line.” Mudders The Angels were greeted by a soggy track Friday when they arrived at Fenway Park. After Thursday’s workout, the Fenway Park grounds crew saturated the infield dirt. The Angels’ Gary Matthews Jr., who is not on the roster for this series but was working out with the team before the game, said it wasn’t the first time the Angels have experienced a wet infield. Matthews said the same thing was done at both New York and Texas this season. The idea is that a damp, heavy infield will neutralize the Angels’ running game. “You’re allowed to tailor some part of your field to your club,” Scioscia said. “Sinker ball pitchers like the high grass, or if you have a speed game, keep the foul lines sloped to keep bunts fair. But I didn’t see anything here to make me think (anything).” In quest of a deeper lineup Kendry Morales, a switch hitter, got the call over right-handed hitting Juan Rivera as the Angels’ designated hitter. The Angels were facing Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka in Game 2 on Friday. The DH spot opened up when Vladimir Guerrero pronounced himself fit enough to return to right field, where he hadn’t played since Sept. 4 because of a sore right triceps. “I think that from the left side, Kendry Morales is really swinging the bat well,” Scioscia said. “It’s a lineup we wanted to take a look at but weren’t able to because Vlad was occupying the DH spot. It gives us a chance to get a little deeper lineup.” Early getaway Red Sox pitchers Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett got an early start on their travel to Southern California. Both took a flight to Orange County during Game2. Schilling will start in Game 3 Sunday in Anaheim, and since Beckett would not be used no matter what happened in Friday’s game, he was allowed to leave early as well. Scioscia said there was a thought of sending Angels Game 3 starter Jered Weaver home early. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Peninsula charges into title contention

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.That’s when Peninsula said, “Don’t forget about us.” The Panthers jumped on Palos Verdes early and held on late for a key 7-6 victory at Palos Verdes High. It marked the first time this group of Peninsula players has beaten Palos Verdes. “It’s long overdue,” Peninsula coach Albert Garcia said. “We’re trying to build something at Peninsula.” The win puts Peninsula (11-5, 3-1) in the league title hunt. The Panthers host Mira Costa on Thursday. “It puts us right back up there,” Garcia said. “Mira Costa is the team to beat, they are the defending league and CIF champions. But if we can come out with a big effort, we’ll see.” BOYS WATER POLO: Panthers able to vault into race for the Bay League crown. By Dave Thorpe STAFF WRITER It looked like the Bay League title race would come down to Mira Costa and Palos Verdes, until Tuesday, that is. Peninsula came out big early against Palos Verdes (11-5, 2-2), taking a 3-0 lead in the first quarter and a 6-2 lead at halftime. Peninsula’s David Skophammer, a dangerous left-handed shooter, scored a game-high four goals, all in the first half. Skophammer concluded the scoring in the second quarter with a goal off a pass from Scott Breitenstein. He then scored again with two seconds left in the half. “He’s our horse,” Garcia said. “He’s in there the whole game. When we need a goal, we look for him. He’s our big guy. It’s no secret. He’s left-handed, fast and strong. When you put that all together, along with his smarts, he’s tough to stop.” After Ryan Cole scored with 4:37 left in the third quarter to give Peninsula a 7-2 lead, Palos Verdes went on a 4-0 run to close the game. Mike Katzer, Tim Baumann, Riley Burke and Halac all scored during the burst. Halac’s goal came with 4:20 left in the game, but Peninsula held off Palos Verdes the rest of the way. “Peninsula wanted it more, you could tell by the way they warmed up,” Palos Verdes coach Chris Murin said. “And the way they played in the first quarter dictated the game.” Palos Verdes is ranked fifth in CIF Southern Section Division IV, with Peninsula at No. 10, but the Panthers came out with more fire, which proved to be the difference. “We haven’t beaten them in like four years. We were just ready to play,” Skophammer said. “We were pumped up and beat them in their own pool.” Kyle Corcoran made 13 saves for Peninsula, including one on a penalty shot by Burke with 2:32 left in the third quarter. “That was the turning point, when Kyle made that penalty block,” Garcia said. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Woman frantically searching for lost dog

first_imgThis produced no leads, but Miyashita-Martinez refused to give up hope. She posted fliers in the neighborhood where Willie was lost, but was forced to remove them when a neighbor complained. Despite contracting poison ivy during a hike through a wooded area and a busy schedule, she continued handing out fliers, made a large sign to display at street corners and visited three shelters a week to look for her pet. Miyashita-Martinez said she has two other dogs and has adopted one more since Willie’s disappearance, but the hunt for her terrier consumes her energy. According to her, the loss of the dog has been intensified because she has no children and both of her parents have passed away in the last few years. “She is my family,” Miyashita-Martinez said. “I’ve been a wreck.” She said that some good has come from the situation in the form of support from old friends, and new ones she has met in the search. “I find stray animals all the time, so I feel kind of compelled to help her with this one, because she is so invested in getting her dog back,” said Rebecca Cooper of Whittier. Cooper has helped put up fliers and ask around the neighborhood about the dog. Miyashita-Martinez said she has received tips from callers who say they have seen the dog, and she isn’t giving up hope. Phillip Bird of Culver City, a longtime friend of Miyashita-Martinez, said he continues to support her and help with the search. “I’ve come to realize that it’s not so uncommon to have pets come back in a month,” Bird said. “Of course, every week that passes the odds go down.” Willie is all white, with a brown left ear and spotted right ear. She was last seen wearing a blue collar and tags. Those with information about Willie can call (562) 536-8622. [email protected] (562) 598-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Carole Miyashita-Martinez has been working like a dog to find her lost Jack Russell terrier Willie, who escaped the yard at a house in Whittier. The female canine had accompanied her master to Whittier when Miyashita-Martinez, a Glendora resident, went to do some upkeep at her late parents’ home. “I thought she would come back,” Miyashita-Martinez said. “It just makes you crazy because of all the possible scenarios there could be.” Since losing Willie near La Serna High School on Sept. 9, Miyashita-Martinez said she has searched for her daily, hiring bloodhounds to follow the dog’s scent, posting fliers, making and displaying signs and establishing a hot line in English and Spanish to broaden the search. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.She has even sustained a hospital stay after contracting rashes from poison ivy when she went hiking to look for Willie. Now she is offering a $2,000 reward for the dog’s safe return. “There’s something about this dog, I don’t know how to describe it,” Miyashita-Martinez said. “She was my first dog as an adult.” When she realized 9-year-old Willie had escaped, Miyashita-Martinez, 48, searched the neighborhood for her lost pet. About three days after Willie’s disappearance, she hired a crew with four bloodhounds to search for Willie’s scent. “The dogs did not indicate a coyote kill or any blood,” Lost Pet Detection representative Landa Coldiron said. “The search dogs indicated that Willie went up into the golf course area. The scent just kind of ended in the parking lot area down there.” Miyashita-Martinez and friends helping with the search spoke with personnel at the golf course, as well as participants in a primarily Spanish-speaking soccer league nearby. last_img read more

Democrats bundle military, domestic bills

first_img“The president wants to cherry-pick,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., said Wednesday. Republicans denounced the plan. “It’s a political trick,” House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a fiery floor speech. “You’re daring the president to veto this bill” knowing that he will, Boehner told Democrats. “It makes me sick to watch this process continue.” The three-bill package does not include emergency spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because liberal Democrats would object. Congress will act on that matter later.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON: Veto will only intensify political bickering. Congressional Democrats neared a spending showdown with President Bush on Wednesday, tying a must-pass military bill to a labor-education measure that Bush has vowed to veto. With many Republicans backing the White House, the plan appeared unlikely to resolve Congress’ appropriations struggles, which continue as the 2008 fiscal year enters its second month. Republicans accused Democrats of cynically using the military’s needs to promote a domestic package the president considers bloated. Democrats said the package underscores the administration’s eagerness to pour billions of dollars into the Iraq war while cutting education and job-training programs and trying to limit the growth of a children’s health insurance program. The Democratic plan, which House-Senate negotiators will tackle today, would combine three spending bills into one package totaling about $675billion, or 70percent of the government’s discretionary budget. Assuming it passes both houses, Bush says he would veto it and demand that Congress return the bills individually. Bush and his GOP allies support the bill to fund the Defense Department, and another to pay for veterans matters. But they oppose the third bill, which would fund the Labor Department and Health and Human Services. Bush says the labor-health bill contains several billion dollars of unneeded spending. “I will veto such a three-bill pileup,” he said Tuesday. Democrats say the proposed spending on health, education and other areas is needed. They say Bush made draconian, unrealistic cuts in his fiscal 2008 budget request, making Congress’ increases inevitable. Democrats noted that it’s not unusual to have two or more appropriations bills bundled into a package. Combining the labor-health bill with the Pentagon spending measure is the only way to pressure Bush into signing the labor bill, they said. last_img read more

Congress uses tortured logic on Mukasey

first_img Time bomb scenario We can all agree that under normal circumstances, harsh techniques are neither desirable nor necessary. But what about the ticking time bomb scenario? If we were to capture a key al-Qaida operative who we had strong reason to believe had knowledge of a dirty bomb buried under an American city, and we had only hours to get information out of him, would it be morally correct to waterboard and possibly save hundreds or thousands of lives, or to refrain? Anyone who claims that the answer is obvious hasn’t really thought it through. And for those who object that a person under duress will say anything, the question is, won’t that “anything” include the truth? Nor is the argument that permitting waterboarding will “free up” our enemies to do the same to our people convincing. They tend to string up or behead the Americans they capture. Waterboarding would be an unqualified improvement. Congress could have debated these matters but declined. Now senatorial moral preening may derail an excellent nominee. The country will be ill served if that happens. Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C. (e-mail: [email protected]) 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Under the U.S. Constitution, treaties are the supreme law of the land. But that hardly settles the matter. Defining torture requires teasing it out of court decisions and legal memoranda (like the so-called “torture memo” issued by the Justice Department in 2002 and later withdrawn), as well as statutory language. As Andrew McCarthy explained in National Review, torture has been variously described as “specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering” or “intense, lasting and heinous agony.” Waterboarding apparently involves placing a person on his back on a seesaw board, tilting him backward, covering his face with a cloth, and then pouring water into his mouth and nose so that he feels as if he is going to drown. It sounds pretty bad – but is it torture? The military has required our pilots to undergo it to prepare them for interrogation upon capture. That says something. On the other hand, a pilot knows what an enemy combatant presumably does not: that he will live to tell the tale. What does the law say about waterboarding? As McCarthy points out, Congress had the opportunity in the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and again in the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to specifically forbid the practice but chose not to do so. McCarthy writes: “It is ironic ? that the same elected officials now demanding a definitive answer from Judge Mukasey have failed to give us one themselves ?” By showboating their opposition to this technique, the senators are placing Mukasey in an impossible position. If he declares that the practice is torture, then he may be putting the interrogators who used it (on advice from the Justice Department) in legal jeopardy. And in light of the confused and vague nature of the law, Mukasey would need access to classified information about exactly what was done in order to reach a judgment on its legality. It would be irresponsible of him to opine on the matter based only on rumors in the newspapers of what may have been done to specific detainees. This is a deadly serious issue that demands thoughtful consideration from every American and particularly from elected officials. In a war not against massed armies or nations but against small cells of terrorists, interrogation is a key weapon. It’s so easy to, in John McCain’s words, “take the moral high ground” and denounce any sort of torture under all circumstances. But is it really the moral high ground? Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., started something when he asked Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey whether he considers waterboarding to be torture. When the nominee declined to give a definitive answer, the matter cascaded into a confirmation-threatening imbroglio. Within a day, all of the Judiciary Committee Democrats as well as Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., had signed a letter demanding clarification. Sens. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., and John McCain, R-Ariz., then further complicated Mukasey’s position by denouncing waterboarding and calling upon the would-be attorney general to do the same. The question of just what does and does not qualify as torture is a vexed one in American law. The United States is a signatory to the Geneva Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment – all of which forbid torture. Defining torture last_img read more

The suitcase nuke may get more attention than it deserves

first_img“The strength of such a weapon would be in the range of the bombs used during World War II. The nature of the effects would be the same as a weapon delivered by an intercontinental missile, but the area and severity of the effects would be significantly more limited,” the paper says. During the 1960s, intelligence agencies received reports from defectors that Soviet military intelligence officers were carrying portable nuclear devices in suitcases. The threat was too scary to stay secret, government officials said, and word leaked out. The genie was never put back in the bottle. But current and former government officials who have not spoken out publicly on the subject acknowledge that no U.S. officials have seen a Soviet-made suitcase nuke. The idea of portable nuclear devices was not a new one. In the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. made the first ones, known as the Special Atomic Demolition Munition. It was a “backpack nuke” that could be used to blow up dams, tunnels or bridges. While one person could lug it on his back, it had to be placed by a two-man team. These devices never were used and now exist – minus their explosive components – only in a museum. Following the U.S. lead, the Soviets are believed to have made similar nuclear devices. Suitcase nukes have been a separate problem. They attracted considerable public attention in 1997, thanks to a “60 Minutes” interview and other public statements from retired Gen. Alexander Lebed, once Russia’s national security chief. Lebed said the separatist government in Chechnya had portable nuclear devices, which led him to create a commission to get to the bottom of the Chechen arsenal, according to a Center for Nonproliferation Studies report. He said that when he ran the security service, the commission could find only 48 of 132 devices. The numbers varied as he changed his story several times – sometimes he stated that 100 or more were missing. The Russians denied he was ever accurate. Even more details emerged in the summer of 1998, when former Russian military intelligence officer Stanislav Lunev – a defector in the U.S. witness protection program – wrote in his book that Russian agents were hiding suitcase nukes around the U.S. for use in a possible future conflict. “I had very clear instructions: These dead-drop positions would need to be for all types of weapons, including nuclear weapons,” Lunev reportedly testified during a congressional hearing in California in 2000. Naysayers noted that he was never able to pinpoint any specific location. In a 2004 interview with the Kremlin’s Federal News Service, Colonel-General Viktor Yesin, former head of the Russian strategic rocket troops, said he believes that Lebed’s commission may have been misled by mock-ups of special mines used during training. Yesin believed that a true suitcase nuke would be too expensive for most countries to produce and would not last more than several months because the nuclear core would decompose so quickly. “Nobody at the present stage seeks to develop such devices,” he asserted. Some members of Congress remained convinced that the suitcase nuke problem persists. Perhaps chief among these lawmakers was Curt Weldon, a GOP representative from Pennsylvania who lost his seat in 2006. Weldon was known for carrying around a mock-up of a suitcase nuke made with a briefcase, foil and a pipe. But it was nowhere near the weight of an actual atomic device. Weapons of mass destruction expert Majidi joined the FBI after leading Los Alamos National Laboratory’s prestigious chemistry division. He uses science to make the case that suitcase nukes are not a top concern. First, he defines what a Hollywood-esque suitcase nuke would look like: a case about 24 inches by 10 inches by 12 inches, weighing less than 50 pounds, that one person could carry. It would contain a device that could cause a devastating blast. Nuclear devices are either plutonium, which comes from reprocessing the nuclear material from reactors, or uranium, which comes from gradually enriching that naturally found element. Majidi says it would take about 22 pounds of plutonium or 130 pounds of uranium to create a nuclear detonation. Both would require explosives to set off the blast, but significantly more for the uranium. Although uranium is considered easier for terrorists to obtain, it would be too heavy for one person to lug around in a suitcase. Plutonium, he notes, would require the cooperation of a state with a plutonium reprocessing program. It seems highly unlikely that a country would knowingly cooperate with terrorists because the device would bear the chemical fingerprints of that government. “I don’t think any nation is willing to participate in this type of activity,” Majidi said. That means the fissile material probably would have to be stolen. “It is very difficult for that much material to walk away,” he added. There is one more wrinkle: Nuclear devices require a lot of maintenance because the material that makes them so deadly also can wreak havoc on their electrical systems. “The more compact the devices are – guess what? – the more frequently they need to be maintained. Everything is compactly designed around that radiation source, which damages everything over a period of time,” Majidi said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Majidi and other government officials say the real threat is from a terrorist who does not care about the size of his nuclear detonation and is willing to improvise, using a less deadly and sophisticated device assembled from stolen or black-market nuclear material. Yet Hollywood has seized on the threat. For example, the Fox thriller “24” devoted its entire last season to Jack Bauer’s hunt for suitcase nukes in Los Angeles. Government officials have played up the threat, too. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., once said at a hearing that he thought the least likely threat was from an intercontinental ballistic missile. “Perhaps the most likely threat is from a suitcase nuclear weapon in a rusty car on a dock in New York City,” he said. In a FEMA guide on terrorist disasters that is posted in part on the White House’s Web site, the agency warns that terrorists’ use of a nuclear weapon would “probably be limited to a single smaller `suitcase’ weapon.” WASHINGTON – Members of Congress have warned about the dangers of suitcase nuclear weapons. Hollywood has made television shows and movies about them. Even the Federal Emergency Management Agency has alerted Americans to a threat – information the White House includes on its Web site. But government experts and intelligence officials say such a threat gets vastly more attention than it deserves. These officials said a true suitcase nuke would be highly complex to produce, require significant upkeep and cost a small fortune. Counterproliferation authorities do not completely rule out the possibility that these portable devices once existed. But they do not think the threat remains. “The suitcase nuke is an exciting topic that really lends itself to movies,” said Vahid Majidi, the assistant director of the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate. “No one has been able to truly identify the existence of these devices.” last_img