War on Terrorism

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- September 3, 2008

FBI offers $20,000 reward for anthrax hoax [in Savannah, Georgia]
“It's been three years since someone mailed fake anthrax to two employees at the
Savannah River Site. The FBI is offering a big reward to find the culprit. A $20,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can help them catch the mailers of an anthrax hoax. In 2005, two letters were sent to two Savannah River Site employees. These computers are linked to the hoax but the FBI is still looking for more evidence. They say, although no one was hurt, they are still taking the threat seriously.” (NBC; 02Sep08) http://www.nbcaugusta.com/news/crime/27794584.html

Education bill includes funding program for veterinary schools, colleges
“The Higher Education Reauthorization Bill […] contained a provision establishing a grant program for veterinary schools and colleges to graduate more veterinarians engaged in public health practice and research. […] [Sen. Wayne] Allard [
Colorado] cited the importance of the legislation considering how veterinarians are needed to defend the public from the twin threats of zoonotic disease and bioterrorism. ‘The nation's veterinary medical colleges do not have the resources necessary to meet the needs for veterinarians that are vital to maintain public health preparedness,’ […] Veterinary schools and colleges awarded funds from the grant may, for instance, expand certain departments and academic programs, offer concurrent training, or make minor renovation and improvement in classrooms, libraries, and laboratories.” (JAVMA; 02Sep08) http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/sep08/080915s.asp

Development of human antibody fragments using antibody phage display for the detection and diagnosis of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV)
“Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) belongs to the Alphavirus group. Several species of this family are also pathogenic to humans and are recognized as potential agents of biological warfare and
terrorism. The objective of this work was the generation of recombinant antibodies for the detection of VEEV after a potential bioterrorism assault or an natural outbreak of VEE. […] For the first time, this study describes the selection of antibodies against a human pathogenic virus from a human nave scFv antibody gene library using complete, active virus particles as antigen. The broad and sensitive applicability of scFv-presenting phage for the immunological detection and diagnosis of Alphavirus species was demonstrated. The selected antibody fragments will improve the fast identification of VEEV in case of a biological warfare or terroristic attack or a natural outbreak.” (7th space; 02Sep08; Martina Inga Kirsch et. al., BMC Biotechnology) http://7thspace.com/headlines/291894/development_of_human_antibody_fragmentsusing_antibody_phage_display_for_the_detection_and_diagnosis_of_venezuelan_equine_encephalitis_virus_veev.html

News from September's Ophthalmology
“Doctors and medical centers across the United States are debating the use of electronic health records (EHR). This month's Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, provides a look at Eye M.D.s' actions and opinions on the issue. […] why is EHR use still limited among U.S. ophthalmologists? Survey respondents cited high initial investments of money and physician time to select and implement an EHR system as the main barriers. Physicians realize that to be highly beneficial, EHR must be in nearly universal use. New government initiatives could hasten this: the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee recently approved health information
Technology legislation that would provide incentives for physician adoption of EHR. In addition, the National Health Information Infrastructure initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services is working to build a distributed network of government EHR that would support retrospective research, prospective clinical trials, and early detection of epidemic or bioterrorism disease outbreaks.” (Medical News Today; 02Sep08; Mary Wade, American Academy of Ophthalmology) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/119991.php

Virginia allocates
Homeland Security funds
“Virginia is allocating more than $23 million in funds for
Homeland Security programs throughout the state. Governor Tim Kaine announced the allocations of the Department of Homeland Security funds on Tuesday. He says the funds will help first responders buy resources they need to prevent, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism and natural disasters. Among the allocations is more than $9 million to expand and complete a statewide system that provides law enforcement agencies with secure access to regional crime data and counterterrorism tools. Other grants will help prepare state shelters for a mass evacuation and transition to a new emergency medical services system.” (NBC 29; 02Sep08; Source: AP)

Jellyfish fight terrorists
“Anthrax, plague and small pox are some of the possible pathogens terrorists could use against us; but now, researchers say jellyfish are helping prevent these kinds of attacks. […] this innovative biosensor developed by scientists and engineers at Massachusetts Institute of
Technology's (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory can identify harmful bacteria or viruses in the air in less than two minutes. […] ‘I was in the lab with the electric creator,’ Rider, a biologist at MIT, told Ivanhoe. ‘I had mouse cells and the jellyfish DNA, and I frizzed my hair, said please give me life and pressed the buttons -- and the jellyfish DNA went inside the cells, and we had glowing mouse cells.’ The glowing cells reveal the presence of a targeted pathogen.” (Ivanhoe Newswire; 01Sep08; James Harper & Todd H. Rider) http://www.ivanhoe.com/science/story/2008/09/475a.html

The doctor will see you now: Cameras to board ambulances [Sycamore, Ohio]
“In the next few weeks, Sycamore Township and University Hospital plan to test equipment that will allow doctors - in a sense - to be in an ambulance and at the hospital simultaneously. A high-quality video camera mounted inside a township ambulance will allow physicians to see the patient, answer questions and make recommendations to the paramedics, said
Fire Chief B.J. Jetter. The community and the hospital will test the equipment free for 30 days. […] It could […] prove useful in a large-scale emergency, such as a disease outbreak or an act of bioterrorism.” (Enquirer; 01Sep08; Carrie Whitaker)

Lab upgrade coming

“Barbados' Public Health Laboratory is being upgraded to handle dangerous organisms including anthrax and those responsible for transmitting SARS. Minister of Health David Estwick says this capability is necessary, given the pace and volume of international travel and the movement of goods and services which have the potential to expose the country to dangers previously unknown to the region.” (Nation Newspaper; 01Sep08) http://www.nationnews.com/story/292529420772523.php

Energy-saving bacteria resist antibiotics
“Bacteria save energy by producing proteins that moonlight, having different roles at different times, which may also protect the microbes from being killed. The moonlighting activity of one enzyme from the tuberculosis bacterium makes it partially resistant to a family of broad-spectrum antibiotics, according to a paper published in the September issue of the journal Microbiology. […] ‘An alarming increase in the emergence of multi-drug resistant strains of M. tuberculosis has led to an active search for novel drug targets,’ said Professor Nagaraja. ‘Our results may help us to discover molecules to target MurI, to prevent bacteria from making cell walls and develop a successful treatment for a wide range of bacterial infections.’” (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News; 02Sep08; Lucy Goodchild)

Gaddafi promises Italy privileges after deal
“Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi signed the landmark deal on Saturday in Benghazi to pay €3.4 billion in compensation for misdeeds during its 1911-1943 colonial rule. […] Comparing Tripoli's newly strengthened ties with Italy with thawing relations with the US, Gaddafi said: ‘We are not ambitious to be friends with the US. We just want them to leave us alone and we leave them alone.’ On August 14 Libya signed a deal with the US to settle claims for compensation against each other for bombings.” (Times of Malta; 02Sep08; Source: Reuters) http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20080902/business/gaddafi-promises-italy-privileges-after-deal

Colorado suing for quicker destruction of mustard gas
Colorado is filing suit against the Department of Defense, hoping to force the Army to destroy obsolete chemical weapons stored in the state by 2017. The military has said it could take until 2023 […] Last June, the state issued an administrative order for the Defense Department to destroy the weapons by 2017. Officials said Tuesday they decided to sue in federal court because the military plans to appeal the order.” (KKTV; 02Sep08; Source AP) http://www.kktv.com/home/headlines/27792764.html

[Deseret Chemical Depot] DCD plans to build incinerator
“With a 2012 deadline looming for destruction of all chemical weapons stored at Deseret Chemical Depot, depot officials are proposing building a new small-scale liquid incinerator to speed up destruction of GA nerve agent and Lewisite blister agent. However, approval of that plan will depend upon the findings of an environmental assessment, which is currently underway and scheduled to be concluded by December. […] DCD already has two small liquid incinerators, but Reyba said neither was designed to handle the arsenic that is associated with Lewisite.” (Tooele Transcript Bulletin; 02Sep08; Jamie Belnap) http://www.tooeletranscript.com/pages/full_story?page_label=home_top_stories_news&id=212709-DCD-plans-to-build-incinerator&widget=push&article-DCD-plans-to-build-incinerator%20=&instance=home_news_left&open=&

Drill to simulate 'dirty-bomb' attack
“The Defense Ministry will hold a first of its kind exercise this week aimed at preparing commanders for scenarios involving a radioactive attack in Tel Aviv with thousands of casualties. The drill is being run by the ministry's National Emergency Authority, which was established following the Second Lebanon War. The drill will be held on Tuesday at the ministry's headquarters in Tel Aviv. […] A defense official said that while there was a fear that after obtaining a nuclear capability, Iran would fire a ballistic missile at Israel, there was an even greater concern that the Islamic Republic would supply a dirty bomb to one of its proxies - Hizbullah, Hamas or Islamic Jihad - for use in an attack against Israel.” (Jerusalem Post; 31Aug08; Yaakov Katz) http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1220186492559&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Prosecutors: Woman had notes on NY sites, attack
“In an attempted-murder indictment unsealed in federal court in Manhattan, prosecutors for the first time publicly named some of the landmarks. The others: the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, the Brooklyn Bridge and Plum Island, a disease research complex in Long Island Sound. Aafia Siddiqui had notes ‘that referred to a 'mass casualty attack' and to ‘the construction of dirty bombs, chemical and biological weapons and other explosives,’ the indictment said. ‘These notes also discussed the mortality rates associated with certain of these weapons and explosives.’”
(Associated Press; 02Sep08; Tom Hays)

Plastic transistors get wet [developing water resistant transistors]
“Cook up organic transistors from the right plastic and you have chemical and biological sensors that can survive watery environments. Prototypes of the organic thin-film transistor sensors can detect minute amounts of toxins and biological substances in fluid samples.” (
Technology Research News; 29Aug08; Source: National Academy of Sciences) http://www.trnmag.com/News/2008/090108/Plastic_transistors_get_wet_--_TRN_090108.html

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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