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Yahoo! News   Thu, Mar 27, 2003
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France sets up new terror alert system based on color codes
Thu Mar 27, 1:20 PM ET

PARIS - France introduced a new terrorism alert system on Thursday, with four color-coded levels from yellow to scarlet to make the national warning plan more flexible and understandable.


Until now, France had only two grades of alert for its terror warning system, called Vigipirate: "simple" and "reinforced."

Vigipirate has been on "reinforced" alert since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and French authorities have been even more watchful since war broke out in Iraq (news - web sites).

France qualified the terror risk on Thursday as orange the second-lowest of four levels. The government said an attack was "plausible," there was no imminent or specific risk. The level of threat was the same as in previous days.

The orange alert grade calls for reinforced patrols in train stations and subways, a ban on flights over sensitive sites including nuclear plants, and increased surveillance of water distribution systems.

The lowest level of alert is yellow, which calls for measures including more train station patrols.

Red, the second-highest, calls for vast stretches of France's airspace to be closed and the setting aside of drinking water supplies, among other precautions.

In a scarlet alert, the civil aviation system is shut down, faucet water distribution is limited or stopped and all passengers are searched as they board trains.

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