Study finds program has improved health agencies' preparedness for bioterror and disease outbreaks
"A federal program designed to help metropolitan public health agencies prepare to deliver essential medicines to the public after a large-scale bioterror attack or natural disease outbreak has succeeded in improving the level of readiness, according to a new RAND Corporation study. Researchers found that the federal Cities Readiness Initiative, a program active in 72 metropolitan areas, appears to have improved agencies'
ability to rapidly and widely dispense life-saving medications and other medical supplies in the event of a large-scale bioterror attack or a naturally occurring infectious disease outbreak." (Science Centric; 25Mar09; Source: RAND Corporation) http://www.sciencecentric.com/news/article.php?q=09032505-study-finds-program-has-improved-health-agencies-preparedness-bioterror-disease-outbreaks
Texas A&M [University] system will benefit from $50M infusion
"Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that the state will invest $50 million from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund toward the development of a national center to fight bioterrorism. […] Perry says the center will be the first of its kind in the United States. The center will be located in College Station. The governor envisions a center whereby Texas will be able to conduct world-class research and development to combat diseases such as cancer, diabetes and influenza, as well as bioterroristic threats." (Austin Business Journal; 24Mar09)
[AZ] county seeks special needs registration for emergencies
"The Navajo County Public Health Services District and Bioterrorism Emergency Public Health Preparedness and Response Program are hosting an event to register the special needs population with Navajo County Emergency Management to enable them to better plan, prepare, equip and train for public health emergencies. The location of each Navajo County special needs resident […] will be documented using Global Positioning Satellite technology." (White Mountain Central; 24Mar09)
Global insights: bioterrorism, Al-Qaida, and the scientific revolution
"In addition to the risk of horizontal proliferation of biological weapons to potential new actors like al-Qaida, concerns about vertical proliferation -- the development of new or modified versions of biological weapons that might overcome existing countermeasures -- also exist. Advances in the biological sciences and biotechnology facilitate efforts to genetically engineer dangerous agents and toxins so that they can spread more easily, circumvent traditional defenses like antidotes and vaccines, and cause more harm as weapons." (World Politics Review; 24Mar09; Richard Weitz)
Notice designating Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, as data sciences lead institution for the DHS [Department of Homeland Security] Center of Excellence for Command, Control and Interoperability
"Section 308 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 […] directs the Department of Homeland Security to sponsor […] a coordinated system of university-based centers for homeland security. [There are] fourteen areas of substantive expertise that, if demonstrated, might qualify universities for designation as university- based centers. The listed areas of expertise include: (1) The training of first responders; (2) responding to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction and biological warfare; (3) emergency and diagnostic medical services; (4) chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear countermeasures or detection […]" (Trading Markets; 24Mar09; Source: Department of Homeland Security; Joseph Kielman) http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/2238221/
OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] renews biosafety, shipbuilding alliances
"OSHA said it is renewing two alliances. One is with the American Biological Safety Association, which has produced four new fact sheets on biological safety issues for the alliance, including 'Select Agent Diseases' and 'Zoonotic Diseases.'[…] It lists symptoms, transmission methods, and treatments for common bacteria and viruses, such as anthrax [sic] and bubonic plague [sic], that could pose a major threat to public health and safety." (Occupational Health and Safety; 24Mar09) http://ohsonline.com/articles/2009/03/24/osha-renews-alliances.aspx
Japanese businessmen sentenced for chemical weapons disposal fraud
"Four former business executives in Japan received suspended prison sentences today for cheating the government out of $3 million after their company was contracted to support chemical weapons disposal operations in China, Kyodo News reported. Sentenced in Tokyo District Court were former Pacific Consultants International president Masayoshi Taga. [and others] […] The executives in fiscal 2004 overcharged the government in the amount of $1.4 million, according to a three-judge District Court panel. Taga repeated the fraud over the next two fiscal years, collecting $1.6 million." (Global Security Newswire; 24Mar09; Source: Kyodo News).
Lawyer [Robert E. Goldman]: chemical-weapon law misapplied in Pa. [chemical weapons] case
"The federal government overreached when it used an anti-terrorism law to prosecute a jealous lab technician who tried to harm her husband's mistress by leaving deadly chemicals on a door handle at her home and in the tailpipe of her car, a defense attorney argued on appeal Monday. Carol Anne Bond, 37, of Lansdale, is serving a six-year prison term after admitting to trying to harm her romantic rival with toxic chemicals that she stole from her workplace. She also admitted to twice stealing the woman's mail. The victim was not injured. In arguments before the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyer Robert E. Goldman challenged both the 1999 chemical-weapon law and its application in the Bond case." (Associated Press; 23Mar09 Maryclaire Dale) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/23/AR2009032301963.html
Chemical warfare work increased death risk, Oxford [University] research finds
"Porton Down [UK] veterans exposed to chemical warfare agents died slightly earlier than others who did not take part in the tests, an Oxford University study revealed today. Two papers published in the British Medical Journal reported results from an independent scientific study of death and cancer rates in veterans who took part in the Ministry of Defence's Human Volunteer Programme at Porton Down, near Salisbury, between 1941 and 1989. […] The programme tested the effects of exposure to chemical warfare agents on people, and the protective potential of respirators or clothing against them. "
Communities seek accountability for military pollution
"More than 80 affected communities and organizations from across the U.S. have joined together to support federal legislation that will require the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to comply with laws designed to protect human health and the environment. […] The Department of Defense is responsible for more than 31,000 cleanup sites on more than 4,600 active and former defense properties. About one in 10 Americans […] live within 10 miles of a military site that is listed as a national priority for hazardous waste cleanup under the federal Superfund program. The proposed law would also apply to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) which today has responsibility for nuclear cleanup activities at 21 sites covering more than two million acres in 13 states and which will require billions of dollars a year for several more decades." (Common Dreams; 23Mar09)
Emergency preparedness team needs volunteers
"Maybe a terrorist attack has spread anthrax throughout the area, causing people to have chills, night sweats and enlarged lymph nodes. Or a chemical truck overturns, leaking a toxic substance that fills the air and causes serious problems for thousands of people nearby. While many residents would look for a way to get out of Brazoria County [TX] in a catastrophic event, the Public Health Emergency Preparedness team is looking for several hundred people to stay behind as volunteers at point of distribution sites for medical treatment." (The Facts; 24Mar09; John Tomkins)
[British] government warns of growing terrorism threat
"The government warned of a growing terrorist risk from chemical, biological and radiological weapons Tuesday and pinpointed al Qaeda in Pakistan as a key threat as it revamped its national security strategy. The government also said its updated counter-terrorism policy would focus efforts on trying to prevent young Muslims from being radicalised by violent Islamists, and involve ordinary Britons in tackling the threat. 'We need to tackle the causes of terrorism. We need to get in early to prevent people actually supporting violent extremism or supporting terrorism,' Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told BBC radio." (Reuters UK; 25Mar09; Michael Holden)
Fire [and] hazardous [materials] team clears [U.S. Representative Ray] Luján [D-NM]'s office for suspicious package.
Several City Hall offices were evacuated Monday afternoon after a suspicious package was found outside an office for U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján [D-NM] located in the building, authorities said. The Farmington Fire hazardous materials team after two hours of field testing determined the unidentified letter posed no threat. The envelope found at the office around 4 p.m. leaked a brown powdery substance, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Todd Hulsey said. Because the threat involved a U.S. congressman, the suspicious letter is being investigated by the FBI." (Daily Times; 24Mar09 James Monteleone) http://www.daily-times.com/ci_11982026
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.