Experts predict next epidemic will start in animals
“A report by the non-profit Trust for America's Health, to be released next week, asserts that infectious diseases from the developing world are anything but ‘a back-burner concern.’ The report, ‘Germs Go Global: Why Emerging Infectious Diseases Are a Threat to America,’ cites National Intelligence Estimates that conclude outbreaks of new and resurgent infectious diseases, many of which ‘originate overseas,’ [and] ‘kill more than 170,000 people in the USA each year.’ The death toll would climb much higher in the event of a new global pandemic or bioterror attack. […] The leaders of Google.org, Google's philanthropic arm, regard the threat as so pressing that the organization today gave out $15 million in grants to epidemic investigators. Google's goal is to exploit technology — high-resolution satellite imagery, powerful computers and ultra-fast genetic analysis — to identify ‘hot spots’ where new infectious diseases might emerge, detect and identify new microbes and establish early-warning networks in developing countries so that local authorities can stamp out outbreaks before they go global.” (USA Today; 21Oct08; Steve Sternberg) http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-10-21-next-epidemic_N.htm
MoD [Ministry of Defense] scientists 'deployed in UK'
“Scientists from Porton Down have been deployed in the UK a ‘number of times this year,’ the government's head of counter-terrorism has told MPs [Members of Parliament]. The lab mainly specialises in nuclear and biological warfare but the reason for the deployments is not known. Brigadier Chip Chapman told a committee of MPs he could not go into details for national security reasons. The Commons defence committee is probing the UK's level of readiness for a terrorist or other emergency. […] Brigadier Chapman told MPs ‘immediate response’ teams from the Defence Science and technology Laboratory (DSTL) had been deployed on a number of occasions in the past year.” (BBC News; 12Oct08) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7681743.stm
Threatening letters with white powder sent to banks
“More than 30 threatening letters, most containing suspicious powder, have been sent to financial institutions in eight states and Washington, D.C., during the past two days and the FBI, police and the United States Postal Inspection Service are investigating, FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said Tuesday. The letters were received in New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Ohio, Illinois, Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas, as well as the nation's capital, Kolko said. ‘At this point, field tests on the powder have been negative,’ he said. But ‘even sending a hoax letter is a serious crime.’ Officials would not release any more details on the investigation but asked anyone with information to contact the FBI, postal service or their local police. Tom Kelly, a spokesman for Chase banks, said branches in at least five states received the letters. He said all the banks are open for business now.” (USA Today; 22Oct08; Mimi Hall) http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-10-21-powder-banks_N.htm
Man [Tholen] to be sentenced for knowing of cousin’s [Bergendorff] ricin [UT]
“A Utah man who says he knew his cousin produced and possessed the deadly poison ricin is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday. Fifty-four-year-old Thomas Tholen pleaded guilty in August to failing to report a crime. […] Tholen’s cousin, Roger Bergendorff, pleaded guilty to possessing a biological toxin and faces three years in prison. He said he never intentionally or accidentally released any of the lethal powder. police and prosecutors have cast Bergendorff as a troubled man who made the ricin on his own years ago. They say the case was not linked to terrorism.”
(Boston Herald; 22Oct08; Source: Associated Press) http://news.bostonherald.com/news/national/west/view.bg?articleid=1127108&format=text
Eritrea kills 26 civilians by chemical weapons - ex-intelligence agent
“A former member of the Eritrean intelligence unit for the first time accused the Eritrean authorities of killing 26 Kunama-ethnic civilians last year as part of what he described as Kunama targeted ethnic cleanse. ‘26 Eritrean Kunama prisoners were poisoned together in a single day in April 2007 as government agents packed them into 2 containers, each containing 20 liters of fatal chemical, zed poison,’ the ex-Eritrean agent Mengsteab Girmay revealed. […] Mengsteab admits filing the reports of the mass-execution to Eritrean Authorities.” (Sudan Tribune; 22Oct08; Tesfa-alem Tekle)
CNS ChemBio-WMD 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.