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Originally published Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 12:00 AM


Security to snarl travel to Britain

Travelers face new delays and disruption on trips to Britain under government plans unveiled Wednesday to tighten defenses against terrorism...

The Associated Press

LONDON — Travelers face new delays and disruption on trips to Britain under government plans unveiled Wednesday to tighten defenses against terrorism at airports, rail stations and major public spaces.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said airports and 250 of the busiest train terminals will get new blast barriers. The recommendations include new baggage checks at major rail terminals, strict limits on cars dropping travelers off near departure gates, and — at times of heightened threat — frisking customers before they enter shopping malls.

Thousands of movie theaters, shopping malls, hospitals and schools will be advised on how to protect against bombs.

Brown said Internet and technology companies will be asked to help stop online terrorist propaganda, and he announced that a meeting would be convened with leading British Internet service providers to find ways of doing that.

Along with possibly removing customers' sites, service providers also might be pressured to block ones hosted abroad.

Brown also told Parliament major work was needed to isolate extremist preachers and neutralize their message, particularly after worries that schoolchildren have access to violent propaganda.

Jonathan Evans, head of the domestic spy agency MI5, claimed last week that young teenagers were being radicalized to carry out terrorist plots.

Public libraries and universities will also check that extremist literature is not being handed out on their premises.

The plan is the result of a sweeping security review of nearly 900 public spaces by Terrorism Minister Alan West, former head of navy and defense intelligence, in the wake of the failed attacks in June on a London entertainment district and Glasgow airport.

West warned that the battle against extremists would likely last a generation. "It will take 30 years to excise that cancer of terrorism, I believe," he said.

The review came more than two years after the July 2005 suicide bombings on London's transportation system that killed 52 people and the four British attackers.

Brown made no announcement on contentious proposals to extend the 28-day period police can hold terrorism suspects before they are charged or released.

Civil-rights campaigners and many Muslims oppose raising the limit.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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