Wikinews Shorts: February 10, 2012

A compilation of brief news reports for Friday, February 10, 2012.

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Russian scientists contact Lake Vostok

Lake Vostok cross-section.
Image: U.S. National Science Foundation.

Russian scientists say they have made first contact with Lake Vostok, one of several hundred subglacial lakes beneath the solid ice surface of Antarctica. It is estimated the lake has been separate from outside conditions for about 20 million years. Its size is comparable to Lake Ontario. The lake is located in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet with one of the lowest recorded temperatures on Earth.

Scientists believe the study of such subglacial lakes can provide them with an in-depth look into the White Continent’s history, as well as the possibility of finding live microorganisms that can live under extremely cold conditions.


New U.S. airport program provides speedy security check

The Transportation Security Administration is to allow 35 U.S. airports to operate a faster way to get through airport security screeing.

The new Pre-Check program allows air passengers to keep on their shoes, carry-on their computers, and wear a light jacket. Passengers participating in the Pre-Check program are screened before reaching the security point on their way to the plane. To participate in the program, travelers are required to be citizens of the U.S. and pass a background check.

The program is already in place at seven national airports, such as Atlanta, but is to expand to 28 more large city airports like New York's three airports, Chicago, and Boston this year.


Somalia's rebels align with Al-Qaeda

Somalia's Al-Shabaab formally allied itself with Al-Qaeda in separate audio and video announcements.

Rebel leader Mukhtar Abu al-Zubair praised Al-Qaeda's leader and congratulated the organization on its victories in its wars with the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of Al-Qaeda, acknowledged the development and said, "The Arab region is slipping from America's grip".

UK defense think tank Royal United Services Institute, and US House committee on homeland security chairman Peter King, warn that Somali terrorists may try to strike inside both countries.