though it may still be cheaper overall with lower monthly data fees over two years

Smuggling the 37-foot missiles into Lebanon along with their even larger dedicated mobile launcher and storing them safely and in secret would be a formidable undertaking. Al Qaeda has been seeking chemical and biological weapons since at least the late 1990s.

Furthermore, unlike Hezbollah’s arsenal of solid-fueled artillery rockets, which can be quickly set up and fired, Scuds are liquid-fueled which entails a complicated and lengthy launch preparation procedure leaving the batteries vulnerable to being spotted and attacked.

Western diplomatic sources contacted for this story say that increased activity has been detected at Syrian military bases where Scud missiles are stored, including the movement of rockets, the construction of new underground bunkers and the expansion of existing facilities. The diplomatic sources assess that the activity is a sign that the Assad regime is attempting to safeguard its ballistic missiles to prevent them falling into the hands of the armed opposition.

Documents seized by US troops in Afghanistan in 2001 indicated that Al Qaeda was working on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, possibly attempting to weaponize biological agents. In 2009, a British tabloid reported that an Al Qaeda group in Algeria was forced to abandon a training camp after experiments to weaponize bubonic plague led to the deaths of 40 militants.

Anwar al-Awlaki, a prominent Al Qaeda ideologue who was killed last September in a drone missile strike in Yemen, was posthumously quoted in a recent edition of Al Qaeda’s English-language Inspire magazine as condoning the use of chemical and biological weapons.

Analysts say that some chemical agents, such as mustard gas, or biological agents, such as the causative agent for anthrax, are relatively robust and therefore potentially easier to weaponize by nonspecialist militants.

There are few good options facing the West in preventing chemical weapons falling into the hands of Al Qaeda-linked groups. In February, CNN cited a Pentagon report as estimating that it could take 75,000 troops to secure Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, an undertaking that meets with little enthusiasm in the West. Assuming that all the storage facilities can be identified in the first place, an alternative option of preemptive air strikes also carries dangers given Syria’s extensive array of anti-aircraft missile systems.

Forget those numbers, says Will Smith, an editor at the technology website At one point, such specs were a crucial part of comparison shopping. But now, processor speeds, pixel counts, and many of the other benchmarks don’t mean that much anymore.

Time to start beating the drums for the next big Apple product, which will most likely be a new iPhone. In a much discussed meeting with shareholders this week, Terry Gou, the CEO of Foxconn, which manufacturers a range of devices for Apple and other hardware giants, reportedly said that the new iPhone “will put Samsung’s Galaxy S III to shame.”

As we reported yesterday, the Galaxy S III was widely touted as a potential rival to the iPhone – it was enormously successful in England and landed stateside with a good deal of momentum. “This is the phone you’ve been waiting for,” trumpeted a reviewer at TechCrunch. “It’s generally well-built, it has an incredible display, solid battery life, plenty of interesting features and it just works well.”

The Federal Reserve’s latest plan to help the economy failed to impress Wall Street on Wednesday. Stocks finished slightly lower for the day, and not much better than they were before the Fed announcement.

The Federal Reserve’s latest plan to help the economy failed to impress Wall Street on Wednesday. Stocks finished slightly lower for the day, and not much better than they were before the Fed announcement. The buzz and mystery surrounding the new iPad has come and gone. Ditto for the MacBook Pro with the retina display.

Unlike the iPhone, the Galaxy runs on faster 4G cellular networks (AT&T markets its iPhones as 4G, but the network is based on older technology). The Galaxy also comes with a new wireless technology called near-field communications, which can be used to share files and make purchases.

One version of the device, which won’t go on sale until sometime in the fall, is 9.3 millimeter thick and works on the Windows RT operating system. It comes with a kickstand to hold it upright and a touch keyboard cover that snaps on using magnets. The device weighs under 1.5 pounds and will cost about as much as other tablet computers. Its debut is set to coincide with the upcoming fall release of Microsoft’s much-anticipated Windows 8 operating system.

Android smart phones have one metric the iPhone can’t match: screen size. For five years, Apple has stuck to 3.5 diagonal inches. Android covers the gamut – the Samsung Galaxy Note is a colossal 5 inches. This extra real estate is great for viewing websites, but bigger isn’t necessarily better.

“With a 4.5-inch phone, you may not realize until you walk out of the AT&T or Verizon store that this thing won’t fit in your jeans when you go out on Friday night,” says Smith. “Not to mention it’s hard to hold with one hand.”

Over at Macworld UK, John Cox and Mark Hattersley have assembled a pretty comprehensive roundup of iPhone 5 rumors, including speculation about some sort of “liquidmetal” chassis. Another piece of gossip that was floated first on a range of tech sites and then “confirmed” by TechCrunch: A mini 19-pin port, which would replace the longstanding 30-pin port of yesteryear.

Economists have pointed out that long-term interest rates are already near record lows, and that consumers and businesses who aren’t borrowing today won’t necessarily borrow tomorrow just because it’s a little cheaper.

The basic model with 16 gigabytes of memory will cost $200 with a two-year contract through AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and U.S. Cellular. That’s comparable to the iPhone’s $199. A 32 GB model will cost $250, which is cheaper than a comparable iPhone at $299. T-Mobile will charge at least $30 more than others, though it may still be cheaper overall with lower monthly data fees over two years.

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