War on Terrorism

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- February 11, 2009

Lab tests show possible salmonella at Texas plant
“Health officials in Texas say lab tests show there may have been salmonella at a shuttered Texas plant operated by the peanut company linked to a national outbreak. Texas health officials say the Peanut Corp. of America temporarily closed its plant in Plainview, Texas, after private test results found ‘the possible presence of salmonella’ in some of its products. Texas health officials said it does not appear that any of the possibly contamintated products reached consumers. The Texas plant produces peanut meal, granulated peanuts and dry roasted peanuts.” (Associated Press; 10Feb09; Kate Brumback) http://news.lp.findlaw.com/ap_stories/f/1310/02-10-2009/20090210102006_05.html

Senate passes stimulus bill with $19 billion for health IT [information technology]
“The Senate passed an $838 billion economic stimulus bill by a 61-37 vote Tuesday that would provide $19 billion to implement electronic health records and other information technology. […] [P]revention efforts are key to healthcare reform and they will be included in another bill this year, said Kent Conrad (D-ND), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. […] The Senate bill also stripped funding from the Health and Human Services agency tasked with creating medical countermeasures for pandemic flu and bioterrorism agents. Despite the concessions made by the Democrats, most Republicans still oppose the bill. On Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the bill ‘an orgy of spending.’” (MedPage Today; 22Feb09; Emily P.

Charles River Labs [MA] to lose 240 jobs

“Charles River Laboratories International Inc., a lab animal support services firm based in Wilmington [MA], has announced its fourth-quarter results, which include a plan to cut three percent of its national workforce in the first quarter of 2009. And contradicting its planned cost-cutting measures, Charles River Labs opened in October a 60,000-square-foot facility in Shanghai […]. And, in early 2008, it also opened a 52,000-square-foot facility in Frederick, Md., where it works with the National Cancer Institute to provide genetically defined, pathogen-free mice to target the causes and treatments of infectious diseases, metabolic diseases, cancer, bioterrorism threats and other health issues.” (Mass High Tech; 10Feb09) http://www.masshightech.com/stories/2009/02/09/daily24-Charles-River-Labs-to-lose-240-jobs.html

In case of disaster, inflate [pop-up hospital] and add doctors

“The first time Mark Ross inflated the giant new hospital tent, it took 22 minutes. Yesterday, he did it in 14. In the event of a large-scale emergency […] Ross and other volunteers could have a mobile hospital running anywhere in Southeastern Pennsylvania within two to four hours of the first alert. […] [T]he new rapid-response team is intended to fill the 72-hour gap before federal emergency help arrives after a disaster. […] ‘Hospitals now are often at 90 percent capacity, and during flu season even more,’ said Edward Jasper, the director of Thomas Jefferson University's Center for Bioterrorism and Disaster Preparedness, who serves as medical director for the new team.” (Philadelphia Inquirer; 10Feb09 ; Don Sapatkin) http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20090210_A_pop-up_hospital_pops_up.html

Biodefense lab starts inventory of deadly samples [MD]
“The biodefense lab at Fort Detrick in Frederick began a thorough search of its freezers yesterday to ensure that it has an accurate inventory of the deadly bacteria, viruses and toxins accumulated there over a period of 40 years, Defense Department officials said. Col. John P. Skvorak, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Institute of Infectious Diseases, ordered a ‘stand-down,’ or pause in ordinary operations, and a complete inventory last week after 20 vials of ‘biological select agents and toxin’ (BSAT) were discovered in a freezer box that was listed as containing only 16 vials. Army officials insisted there are no missing vials of lethal substances and no danger to the public. They said the problem lies with unused, older samples of research materials that were in storage before the institute's records were computerized in 2005.” (Baltimore Sun; 10Feb09; David Wood) http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-te.md.detrick10feb10,0,4635918.story

Veolia [Environmental Services] [TX] completes nerve agent destruction contract
“Veolia Environmental Services is anticipating its next project to destroy a neutralized chemical nerve agent for the U.S. Army after marking its successful completion of incinerating 1.5 million gallons of VX hydrolysate during an 18-month contract. The Army's Chemical Weapons Depot in Newport, Ind., sent the already-neutralized nerve agent wastewater to Veolia's Port Arthur [TX] incinerator in 428 shipments via trucks carrying containers.” (Beaumont Enterprise; 09Feb09) http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/local/veolia_completes_nerve_agent_destruction_contract__expects_another_02-09-2009.html

Aeolus [Pharmaceuticals Inc.] testing mustard gas countermeasure
“California-based Aeolus Pharmaceuticals Inc. has begun testing a compound to measure its efficacy in countering the effects of mustard gas exposure. Aeolus announced it has begun a series of tests on its AEOL 10150 compound after initial test results showed protective effects against radiation and mustard gas in animals. The tests, which will be conducted using whole sulfur mustard gas, are being funded as part of the National Institutes of Health's CounterACT program. Company officials say if the new tests prove successful, the AEOL 10150 compound could be an effective countermeasure in the event of a terrorist attack or offer soldiers greater protection when facing a biological warfare scenario.” (United Press International;

Solace Systems to improve cross-agency communication for Homeland Security
“Solace Systems […] announced support for the Emergency Data Exchange Language Distribution Element (EDXL-DE) specification. […] Solace […] enables faster identification and more effective management of potential and actual threats and disasters. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is driving the development of this infrastructure to support secure communications between intelligence services, other government agencies, first responders and front-line emergency services personnel. […] EDXL-DE ensures that all kinds of real-time updates, whether they are aerial photos, chemical weapons detection sensor data or ground coordination plans are delivered within milliseconds to organizations which need, and are authorized to receive, that kind of information.” (Centre Daily Times;

[Indian] cabinet approves amendments to Chemical Weapons Convention Act
“The government on Wednesday approved signing a pact with Sweden for bilateral cooperation in the field of healthcare and public health. […] The Cabinet also approved four amendments to the Chemical Weapons Convention Act and a Bill to carry out the changes will be introduced in Parliament session beginning on Thursday. ‘The amendments are required to bring the Act in line with the Chemical Weapons Convention,’ [Home Minister P.] Chidambaram said.” (The Hindu News; 11Feb09) http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200902111676.htm

Report: ‘Dirty bomb’ parts found in slain man [James G. Cummings]’s home [ME]
“James G. Cummings, who police say was shot to death by his wife two months ago, allegedly had a cache of radioactive materials in his home suitable for building a ‘dirty bomb.’ […] The report posted on the WikiLeaks Web site states that ‘On 9 December 2008, radiological dispersal device components and literature, and radioactive materials, were discovered at the Maine residence of an identified deceased [person] James Cummings.’ […] It says that four 1-gallon containers of 35 percent hydrogen peroxide, uranium, thorium, lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium, boron, black iron oxide and magnesium ribbon were found in the home. Also found was literature on how to build ‘dirty bombs’ and information about cesium-137, strontium-90 and cobalt-60, radioactive materials. The FBI report also stated there was evidence linking James Cummings to white supremacist groups.” (Bangor Daily News; 10Feb09; Walter Griffin)

White powder mailed to local govt. office [OH]
“Clermont County [OH] employees have been warned to be careful opening mail after an envelope addressed to a local government office was found to contain a suspicious white powder. Based on ‘the report we got yesterday, it was just a harmless white powder substance of some kind,’ Sheriff A.J. ‘Tim’ Rodenberg said this morning. […] The envelope was intercepted at a Post Office in Cincinnati, and the local office of the FBI is investigating the matter, the sheriff said today.” (Enquirer Community Press; 11Feb09; Barrett J. Brunsman)

Powder in envelope forces evacuation of Wawarsing Town Hall [NY]
“The Wawarsing Town Hall was evacuated and seven people who work in the building were sent to the hospital as a precaution on Tuesday after a court clerk opened an envelope that contained a powdery substance, according to police, emergency responders and a town employee. […] State police at the Wawarsing barracks said the building was analyzed by the haz-mat team for the ‘presence of any noxious material, including chemical and biological agents, with negative results.’” (Daily Freeman; 10Feb09; Paul Kirby) http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2009/02/10/news/doc49922c50eda10429548463.tx

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.

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