War on Terrorism

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- March 2, 2009

Big job awaits Kan. Gov. [Kathleen] Sebelius as health chief
“As President Barack Obama's health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius immediately will face a host of difficult policy issues […]. If confirmed by the Senate, Sebelius will play a leading role in Obama's ambitious effort to overhaul the health care system. But critical problems await her at the [Health and Human Services] department, a vast bureaucracy that handles everything from Medicare to cancer research and to food safety. […] HHS [Health and Human Services] […] oversees Medicare benefits as well as Medicaid, [and is] also responsible for the nation's front-line scientific defenses against disease and bioterrorism […].” (Associated Press; 02Mar09; Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar)

Campaigners call for rehabilitation of lab monkeys in Nepal [instead of export to U.S.]
“Welfare Network Nepal and Stop Monkey Business Coalition have called for rehabilitation of over 300 caged monkeys kept at a Lele breeding center in Lalitpur in the capital [Kathmandu]. […] Early this week a parliamentary committee ordered the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation to stop the process of export of rhesus monkeys for biomedical research. […] The Lele-based breeding center has sought permission for the immediate export of 25 monkeys to the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in Texas, US. The US center has a controversial high security lab where primates are used to test bioterrorism weapons such as anthrax [sic], smallpox, yellow fever, among others.” (Republica; 28Feb09) http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=2300

UGA [University of Georgia] receives $1.1 million to develop vaccine against biological agents
“The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded researchers at the University of Georgia a three-year $1.1 million grant to develop a vaccine to protect against the pathogens glanders and melioidosis. Both infectious diseases are considered to be potential biological warfare agents and have been identified by the Department of Health and Human Services as ‘top priorities for development of medical countermeasures.’ The researchers will work at UGA’s Animal Health Research Center and test whether vaccination can protect mice in an aerosol model of infection.” (Veterinary Practice News; 26Feb09)

Overhauling homeland security
“President Barack Obama has been quick to distinguish his wartime policy from that of his predecessor. […] But on the issue of domestic security, Obama's vision has emerged more slowly. […] That may be changing. […] [T]he president's budget request seeks to increase DHS funding for transportation, cyber security, biological security, and improved coordination with state agencies […]. [A]uthorities are tracking emerging dangers overseas, from the proliferation of biological weapons (PDF) to fallout from the economic crisis. How far the expanding menu of threats will go to encourage agency reforms is unclear. […] [A]s many as 108 different congressional committees provide some level of oversight to DHS. Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says the overlaps can impede agency initiatives, especially when politicians engage in turf wars over funding.” (Council on Foreign Relations; 02Mar09; Greg Bruno) http://www.cfr.org/publication/18658/overhauling_homeland_security.html?breadcrumb=%2Fpublication%2Fpublication_list%3Ftype%3Ddaily_analysis

Mitchell [County, GA] plans anthrax [sic] exercise
“After an anthrax [sic] scare occurs on a baseball field in Camilla, officials expect to be overwhelmed at the Mitchell County Hospital and the county health department. Actually, that is just […] part of a full-scale exercise dubbed ‘Operation Anthrax [sic] 2009: Mitchell County Full Scale Exercise.’ […] The event is being sponsored by the Southwest Georgia Public Health District and uses guidelines established by Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. […] ‘We are testing our ability to reach 100 percent of the population within 48 hours of exposure. To meet that goal, we’ll need to have 273 people per hour go through each of our medication centers,’
said Sue Clifton, emergency preparedness training coordinator for the District Office of all Hazards Preparedness.” (Albany Herald; 02Mar09; Jennifer Maddox Parks) http://www.albanyherald.com/stories/20090302n1.htm

Hi-tech needs unveiled for [British armed] forces of the future
“Gadgets and gizmos that could equip our troops of the future have helped to launch the MOD's [Ministry of Defence] new Defence Technology Plan.The Defence Technology Plan is the first time the MOD has unveiled its long-term research needs. It underlines the importance of science and technology in providing cutting-edge kit for the battlefield. […] Also on show at the launch was the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory's
(DSTL) Portable Integrated Battlespace Bio Detection Unit, which is capable of detecting the full biological warfare threat spectrum from a unit the size of a suitcase. […] The Defence Technology Plan has been published on http://www.science.mod.uk and is accessible to all.” (Egov Monitor; 27Feb09; Source: Ministry of Defence)

Operation Swift Solution reaches critical milestone
“Operation Swift Solution, the Army initiative to eliminate three deteriorating steel containers storing a mixture of GB nerve agent and its decontamination breakdown products, reached another critical milestone Thursday when two trucks holding the caustic wastewater, known as hydrolysate and generated during the neutralization process, were received at Veolia Environmental Services near Port Arthur, Texas. The United States received credit under the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty for chemical destruction when the hydrolysate was off-loaded at the Veolia site.” (Richmond Register; 28Feb09) http://www.richmondregister.com/localnews/local_story_059215746.html

[Israel’s] Comptroller [Micha Lindenstraus] finds ‘severe flaws’ in development of anti-missile systems [and chemical attack preparedness]
“State Comptroller Micha Lindenstraus also noted defense establishment failures in addressing additional threats, mainly the possibility of a chemical attack on the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] and Israel's civilian population. […] As for the threat of chemical warfare, the comptroller's report called the Home Front Command's preparations for such a scenario ‘an ongoing fiasco,’ which has manifested itself in a steady drop in the number of usable gas masks since 2003. The report determines that the current state will not allow for maximum protection for Israel's citizens in case of a chemical attack.” (Israeli News; 02Mar09; Aviad Glickman) http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3679998,00.html

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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