War on Terrorism

Thursday, July 31, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- July 28, 2008

Powder scare unnerves East Liberty [Pennsylvania]
“The city's [Pittsburgh] hazardous materials team closed a section of Penn Circle South after getting the call from the PNC Bank branch about 11:30 a.m. White powder spilled from a deposit envelope onto a bank employee, but she washed it from her hands and shirt, leaving responders with too small a sample to identify. [...] The hazmat team closed Penn Circle from South Beatty Street to South Euclid Avenue and evacuated seven employees from the bank. They sent the woman who discovered the powder to UPMC Presbyterian for precautionary blood tests” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; 26Julo08; Jill King Greenwood and Tim Puko) http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_579546.html

Scientists a step closer to making vaccine against biological weapons
“Experts at the Society for General Microbiology have made a significant advance towards making a vaccine against an organism that may be used to produce biological weapons. Writing about their achievement in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, the researchers have revealed that they have made a rapid progress in understanding how the pathogen Francisella tularensis causes disease.” (Fresh News; 28July08; ANI)

Now, improved version of Anthrax [vaccine]
“An improved and a more effective version of Anthrax vaccine has been developed by the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) with the help of funds provided by the State Government. Announcing this at a press conference here on Friday, Dr P Thangaraju, Vice Chancellor, TANUVAS, said that the improved version called `Montanied’ did not contain glycerine, one of the main causatives of side effects, when injected into animals.” (Express News Service; 26July08)

Al-Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert 'killed'
“An al-Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert may have been among six people killed in a suspected US missile strike on a Pakistani madrassa near the Afghan border today, according to security officials. Abu Khabab al-Masri, also known as Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, was an Egyptian chemist regarded as one of al-Qaeda’s top bomb makers and had a $5 million bounty on his head.” (Times Online; 28July08; Jeremy Page) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article4418867.ece

Anthrax confirmed in 21 patients in south Kyrgyzstan
“Anthrax has been confirmed in 21 patients in hospitals in southern Kyrgyzstan, a senior health official in the Central Asian state said Monday. More than 50 people have been hospitalized with symptoms of the potentially lethal disease in Kyrgyzstan's Osh and Jalal-Abad regions. […] Earlier reports said the people were taken to hospital after eating contaminated beef.” (Russian News and Information Agency; 28July08) http://en.rian.ru/world/20080728/115063295.html

Thousands to be immunised in North Caucasus
“More than 290,000 people, many of them Internally Displaced Persons, families and children, will receive vaccinations in the North Caucasus through a new medical project implemented by World Vision in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. Vaccines, still not readily available in Ingushetia and Chechnya will protect recipients against Gangrene, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Anthrax and other potentially life-threatening illnesses and tuberculosis diagnostics medication will also be made available through the World Vision Canada Gift Catalogue.” (Reuters and Alertnet; 28July08) http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/wvmeero/259a20ded10f1c1635042bb912fe1f9b.htm

Seven anthrax patients remain in hospital in Siberian republic
“Seven people diagnosed with anthrax after eating pies containing the meat of an infected bull remain in hospital in East Siberia's Buryatia Republic, local emergency services said on Monday. The disease spread after the bull was culled in the republic's Barguzinsky Region in early July. The animal's meat was sold to the residents of four nearby villages without any checks being carried out. A total of 11 people who came into contact with the meat were later hospitalized, of whom seven people were diagnosed with skin or intestinal anthrax.” (Russian News and Information Agency; 28July08) http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080728/115042903.html

Sanofi to buy UK vaccine maker Acambis
“Sanofi-Aventis SA said its planned 276 million pound ($551 million) acquisition of Acambis PLC will bolster its leading position in the vaccine market and strengthen its development pipeline.The deal, expected to close by the end of September, would add Acambis' key smallpox vaccine ACAM2000 to the existing portfolio of Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines business of Sanofi-Aventis.” (Business Week; 28July08) http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D926R6280.htm

U.S. Bioterror - A Matter of Time?
“The overriding question is whether the U.S. is ‘ready’ for a bioterror attack. The answer could well rely on the ‘other’ question of what bio-agent and what’s the source? In 1991, 40,000 Russian scientists dispersed throughout the World, with knowledge of what the U.S.S.R. was doing in chemical and biological weapons. The question is to whom did they sell their knowledge? Some believe former Soviet scientists sold technology to countries like Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Lurking is the spectre of al-Qaeda, a group that the Pentagon says continues to pursue biological weapons.” (Threats Watch; 26July28; Jay Fraser) http://threatswatch.org/rapidrecon/2008/07/us-bioterror-a-matter-of-time/

3 members of Congress urge more chemical weapons safety
“Repeated leaks of the nerve agent sarin from a storage container at the Blue Grass
Army Depot near Richmond have prompted a call for enhanced safety from three members of Kentucky's congressional delegation. U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning, both Republicans, and U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-6th District, co-signed a letter sent Thursday to Conrad Whyne, director of the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency.”
(Courier Journal; 26July08; Tom Loftus)

China Dismisses Separatist Group's Claim to Bombings
police have dismissed a separatist group's claim that it was responsible for a series of deadly bombings this year. But terrorism experts say the group, the Turkistan Islamic Party, is capable of such attacks and its threats against the Olympic Games should be taken seriously. […] In the video, the group's leader says they are planning more attacks on Chinese central cities to target the Beijing Olympics. He says they will use tactics that have never been employed and that the group is willing to use biological weapons.” (VOA News; 27July08; Daniel

*U.S. Headed for 'Heightened Alert' Stage
“Government officials have been quietly stepping up counterterror efforts out of a growing concern that al Qaeda or similar organizations might try to capitalize on the spate of extremely high-profile events in the coming months, sources tell ABC News. Security experts point to next month's Olympics as evidence that high-profile events attract threats of
terrorism, like the one issued this past weekend by a Chinese Muslim minority group that warned of its intent to attack the Games.” (ABC News; 28July08; Pierre Thomas)

National Guard Teams Prepare for
Terrorist WMD Attacks [Nationwide]
“To prepare for potential attacks in the United States involving weapons of mass destruction, the US Congress approved the development of National Guard's
civil Support Teams which are responsible with identifying chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive weapons; assessing consequences; advising civil authorities on response measures; and assisting with requests for additional support. So far, 36 of the 55 approved teams have been fully certified to conduct their mission. The National Guard Bureau is in the process of establishing, certifying, and planning for the long-term sustainment of the CSTs, according to an unclassified report submitted to the National Association of Chiefs of Police by the GAO.” (Lincoln Tribune; 27July 08; Jim Kouri)

EDITORIAL: The Mediterranean Union
“The newly established Union for the Mediterranean is not yet fully formed, but members have already announced rather lofty ambitions for the organization, such as ridding the Mideast of weapons of mass destruction. The union was praised by leaders from the start, including Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who hailed its grounding focus on ‘practical projects’ - as compared to the previous union established in Barcelona in 1995. However, its nuclear proliferation goals are unrealistic.” (The Washington Times; 27July08) http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jul/27/the-mediterranean-union/

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.

No comments: