War on Terrorism

Saturday, January 19, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- January 18, 2008

NTI [Nuclear Threat Initiative]’s Global Health and Security Program Receives Major Grant from Google Foundation
“The Google Foundation today announced a $2.5 million grant to NTI’s Global Health and Security Initiative (GHSI) to greatly enhance its work to rapidly detect, identify and respond to infectious disease outbreaks in Southeast Asia. This funding will strengthen GHSI’s global public health agenda, which includes efforts already underway in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The Global Health and Security Initiative, which develops and implements the biological programs of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), is working around the world to prevent, detect and respond to biological threats. […] NTI’s Global Health and
Security Initiative works through innovative partnerships worldwide to address the threat of natural pandemics, accidental outbreaks from laboratories and use of biological agents as a weapon.” (NTI, 17Jan08) http://www.nti.org/c_press/Google_grant_toGHSI_011708.pdf

Tracking Outbreaks [in
“Five major laboratories gather and provide electronic laboratory results from health-care providers across Texas, and each submits as many as 7,800 records a year to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The state then submits the data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS). The slow and costly process of manually entering data sent in by labs is now becoming a thing of the past in
Texas as the state pioneers a data conversion tool that will automatically convert lab results to the appropriate data format regardless of the format in which it was submitted. […] A key goal of the NEDSS, developed in part with the Texas DSHS, is to facilitate the development of integrated, registry-based public health surveillance systems through the exchange of data based on a single set of criteria. The data travels securely via the Internet to the CDC's Public Health Information Network Messaging System. The system can identify people in a region who are developing common symptoms, such as a flulike illness or even bioterrorism.” (Government Technology, 17Jan08, Chandler Harris)

Electronic health record network launched statewide [in
“Beginning today, Martin's Point Health Care and health-care providers statewide will participate in a pilot project to create an electronic health record network that will allow health-care providers to share patient information statewide. Organizers hope it also will lead to improved and more efficient patient care. Proponents say the new network will allow caregivers to more quickly and efficiently access key clinical information needed to provide the best care for patients, and may help reduce medical errors. Over time, the
Maine Centers for Disease Control and HealthInfoNet, a statewide nonprofit organization, expect to link these two systems to allow public health officials to more quickly identify and respond to disease outbreaks, potential epidemics and bioterrorism threats.” (The Times Record, 16Jan08, Beth Brogan) http://www.timesrecord.com/website/main.nsf/news.nsf/0/E9D25A51447B54D4052573D2006DC0ED?Opendocument

Delaware Court Denies Motion by SIGA Technologies Seeking to Dismiss PharmAthene's Legal Action in Breach of Contract Lawsuit Against SIGA
“PharmAthene, Inc., a biodefense company developing medical countermeasures against biological and chemical threats, announced that the Delaware Chancery Court today issued a ruling denying a motion by SIGA Technologies to dismiss PharmAthene's complaint, which alleges that it has a right to an exclusive license to develop and market SIGA's drug candidate, SIGA-246. SIGA's request to dismiss the claim by PharmAthene was denied in all respects by the Delaware Court. […] SIGA-246 is a small molecule orally-active antiviral drug candidate for the treatment of smallpox.” (PharmaLive.com, 16Jan08, PR Newsire)

76 percent of Newport [Chemical Depot]'s VX agent neutralized
“About 76 percent of the chemical agent VX stored at Newport Chemical Depot [
Indiana] has been chemically neutralized, and VX destruction could be completed as early as this summer, officials say. So far, 1,934,186 pounds of VX have been neutralized, or 229,176 gallons. Neutralization began May 5, 2005. ‘We anticipate completion of neutralization of the Newport stockpile during the summer of 2008,’ said Jeff Brubaker, site project manager for the Newport Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, located north of Terre Haute in Vermillion County.” (Terre Haute tribune-Star, 17Jan08, Sue Loughlin) http://www.tribstar.com/news/local_story_017235148.html?keyword=topstory

Chinese war time victims demand compensation
“Two Chinese victims injured by chemical weapons left over in China by Japanese aggressor troops during
World War II on Thursday filed a lawsuit to the Tokyo District Court, demanding compensation from the Japanese government. Four Japanese lawyers, representing two Chinese teenage victims, filed the charges to the court in the morning. The Japanese government has deployed and abandoned chemical weapons in China against international law, resulting in the injury to two Chinese children, the lawsuit said. The Japanese government acknowledged the fact that the two children were injured by left-over chemical weapons by Japan but failed to make proper compensation, the plaintiffs said, demanding compensation totaling 66 million yen (around 617,000 U.S. dollars).” (China Daily, 17Jan08, Xinhua) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-01/17/content_6402295.htm

[Hillary] Clinton declares Yucca Mountain [Nevada] 'will be off the table forever'
“Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton put a national spotlight on Nevada's signature issue Wednesday, holding a discussion on Yucca Mountain before a full contingent of national media. ‘When I am president, Yucca Mountain will be off the table forever,’ Clinton said. […]
Las Vegas-based transportation consultant Fred Dilger called Nevada just ‘the point of the spear.’ The waste would arrive in 10,000 shipments, many of them going through major cities like Chicago and Atlanta, Dilger said. […] Railway accidents could have tragic consequences, or terrorists could target the shipments, Dilger said. ‘We will have solved the terrorists' problem for them if we implement this.’ Clinton agreed, saying terrorists who want to detonate a ‘dirty bomb’ in America no longer would have to find radioactive material and smuggle it into the country, as it would already be here and difficult to protect.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 17Jan08, Molly Ball) http://www.lvrj.com/news/13860977.html

Napping Guards Reported at Weapons Plant
“Seven guards have been caught sleeping at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge [Tennessee] since 2000, a federal spokesman said Wednesday. Three were fired and the rest were disciplined, said Steven Wyatt, spokesman for the National Nuclear
Security Administration, a Department of Energy unit that oversees the Y-12 complex. The administration reported Monday only two guards had fallen asleep at their posts in four years at the high-security plant, about 20 miles west of Knoxville. […] Y-12, a potential terrorist target containing the key ingredients for a ‘dirty bomb,’ makes uranium parts for every warhead in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It also dismantles old weapons and is the nation's primary storehouse for bomb-grade uranium.” (Houston Chronicle; 16Jan08; Duncan Mansfield, AP) http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/5461127.html

Kyrgyzstan: IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] investigates radioactive seizure
“The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has lodged a formal request with the Kyrgyz government to provide more detailed data on the troubling incident that unfolded in the last days of 2007. But an IAEA official has told RFE/RL [Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] that the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog is still awaiting an official reply from Kyrgyz officials -- a week after they announced that dangerous levels of the radioactive substance cesium-137 had been discovered aboard a freight train bound for Iran. The IAEA official added that Bishkek so far had not asked the agency for any assistance or support on the matter.” (Spero News, 17Jan08, Jeffrey Donovan)

'Pac Man' compound could gobble-up nuclear waste
“An atomic scale version of the Pac-Man could help gobble up nuclear waste. The new work could lay the groundwork for ways to remove trace radioactivity from water, reuse dissolved uranium waste during reprocessing, perhaps even help clean up the mess left by a ‘
dirty bomb’. A charged oxide is one of uranium's most prevalent forms, and is a tricky radioactive contaminant to deal with because it is readily soluble in water and inert, so it does not react with many other chemicals, and so is difficult to lock up. Now scientists at the University of Edinburgh report in Nature how they have taken this common form of uranium and enclosed it in a specially designed molecular scaffold to make it much more reactive and easier to handle. The newly discovered uranium compound has a shape which resembles a Pac Man, with a uranium atom in its jaws, which consist of organic molecules.” (Telegraph.co.uk, 16Jan08, Roger Highfield) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/earth/2008/01/16/scipacman116.xml

Porton Down guinea-pigs get apology
“An apology and thousands of pounds in compensation are to be offered to hundreds of former Service personnel who acted as guinea-pigs in chemical and biological research tests at Porton Down [U.K.] in the 1950s and 1960s. Lawyers for the Ministry of Defence are in the final stages of negotiations for an out-of-court settlement, which is expected to award £8,300 to each of the 360 Porton Down volunteers who have put in claims – a total bill for the MoD of nearly £3 million. Although the details of the deal were still being worked on yesterday, some Porton Down servicemen said that they were dissatisfied with the compensation being offered.”
(Times Online, 18Jan08, Michael Evans)

Terrorism News is prepared by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to bring timely and focused information to researchers and policymakers interested in the fields of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons nonproliferation and WMD terrorism.

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