War on Terrorism

Friday, July 17, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, July 17, 2009

Collaborating for profits in nanotechnology
"In the midst of [California's $26 billion budget deficit] there is a promise for the future in the collaboration by California's university research centers, small companies and venture finance firms in an emerging area called nanotechnology. […] Nano particles improve performance and open new possibilities in activities as varied as water purification, biomedicine, battery power, environmental repair and agriculture. The universities have been essential in this development process. In some cases, they make direct equity investments in start-up companies. Other times, universities grant licenses to their research and give small companies access to expensive laboratory equipment in return for user fees. And some universities have set up incubators where small companies develop technological products and processes. […] 'Partnerships with private industry are a way of making this new technology available for public benefit,' said Leonard H. Rome, interim director of the California NanoSystems Institute. […] Matrix Sensors Inc. is a new tenant at the NanoSystems Institute. The company is developing nano membranes that are so sensitive to resonance they can detect molecules of bacteria as well as proteins and DNA and thus diagnose early stages of illness." (New York Times; 16Jul09; James Flanigan) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/business/smallbusiness/16edge.html?_r=2&8dpc

Officials, researchers gather in Newark to consider N.J.'s disaster preparedness
"From Port Newark to the oil tanks along the New Jersey Turnpike, some terrorism experts think the Garden State has plenty of locations that could be targeted. State officials and medical professionals say they are continuously preparing for such events and other disasters. Today, more than 200 of them gathered in Newark to share information on how to prepare for catastrophic events at a symposium held at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Experts covered a variety of issues, including how to treat injuries from explosions, the elaborate coordination needed before, during and after disasters and the emotional aftermath victims suffer. […] The symposium included Israeli experts who have had to deal with continuous terrorist attacks. […] 'They have perfected their protection and preventive responses,' said [Leonard Cole, the symposium's planner and a professor at Rutgers University's Division of Global Affairs], a bioterrorism expert. 'We can learn from that.' […] New Jersey is in [the] middle of the pack among states in preparation for disease outbreaks, natural disasters and bioterrorism. […] Henry Cortacans, who oversees the Health Department's EMS Task Force, said that program coordinates public and private emergency workers. Cortacans showed how EMS workers use the virtual mapping program Google Earth to respond to emergencies. […] Clifton Lacy, a former state Health commissioner, presented a panel on the University Center for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response. […] The center, which Lacy oversees, has received information from Israeli officials on their experiences with terrorism."
(New Jersey Star-Ledger; 15Jul09; Sharon Adarlo) http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/07/officials_researchers_gather_i.html

Reportlinker adds bioterrorism [market research report]
"Reportlinker.com announces that a new market research report is available in its catalogue. This report analyzes the worldwide markets for Bioterrorism in Millions of US dollars. The report provides separate comprehensive analytics for the US, Europe, Asia, and Middle East. Annual forecasts are provided for each region for the period of 2001 through 2015. The report profiles 66 companies including many key and niche players worldwide. […] Market data and analytics are derived from primary and secondary research. Company profiles are mostly extracted from URL research and reported select online sources." (Business Wire; 16Jul09) http://www.pr-inside.com/reportlinker-adds-bioterrorism-r1393645.htm

2009 Illinois public health emergency preparedness summit helps prepare state officials for H1N1 flu and other public health emergencies
"The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA) have joined forces to co-sponsor the 2009 Illinois Public Health Emergency Preparedness Summit, 'Strengthening Illinois Through Community Engagement.' The summit is designed to give participants the opportunity to share ideas and learn how to best prepare for public health emergencies, natural disasters, environmental health accidents, terrorist attacks or disease outbreaks. […] The multidisciplinary program benefits public health, environmental health, nursing, communicable disease, laboratory, food protection, immunization, hospital, allied health and other emergency response professionals. A variety of workshops, exercises and roundtable discussions will take place during the summit and cover such topics as preparing for the upcoming fall flu season, […] food-borne illness response strategies, hazardous substances, emergency shelter assessment, school preparedness activities and improving mental health responses during disasters." (Chicago Press Release Service; 16Jul09) http://chicagopressrelease.com/press-releases/2009-illinois-public-health-emergency-preparedness-summit-helps-prepare-state-officials-for-h1n1-flu-and-other-public-health-emergencies

Health department to simulate anthrax scare [OH]
"The Cincinnati Health Department's Center for Public Health Preparedness will conduct an exercise Thursday to determine if the area is prepared for a public health emergency. The 'Points of Dispensing' (POD) exercise on July 16 from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. will simulate a mass medication plan that could be called for if there were a biological terrorist attack or severe pandemic flu situation. […] The exercise will test the amount of time it takes for patients to fill out paperwork and be prescribed medication for a hypothetical anthrax attack [sic], according to the Cincinnati Health Department. 'The exercise is great way to prepare to respond quickly if there ever were an anthrax attack,' [sic] said Senior Environmental/Safety Specialist, Ami McLandsborough. The principles learned during the exercise could also be applied for a mass vaccination for the flu this fall or a smallpox [virus] attack, she added. The simulation will take place at Shroder High School in Cincinnati." (KYPost; 15Jul09)

ASU [Arizona State University] spin-out markets product to find bacteria in water quickly

"A Phoenix company, [BioSense International Inc.], spun out of Arizona State University is beginning to market its system [BDS1000] to detect bacteria and other deadly pathogens in drinking water. […] While other systems on the market can detect bacteria in water within a few days, this one can achieve the same results in about 10 minutes, [Ali Shambayati, the company's chief technology officer] said. It also would take less than two hours to detect the presence of E. coli and other dangerous bacteria, which could help save lives and stop widespread illness. […] 'Additional tools that allow for early warning of contamination events are valuable for protecting public health confidence in the nation's water infrastructure,' she said. […] For now, the BDS1000 is being sold at a discounted rate of $17,500. After the product receives EPA approval, the price will jump to $28,000. […] 'Bioterrorism is an ongoing topic they talk about at Homeland Security,' Shambayati said. 'We're trying to approach Homeland Security and tell the department we have this product that could be used to detect contamination in the water supplies.'" (Phoenix Business Journal; 17Jul09; Angela Gonzales)

Depot gives county court update on weapons disposal [OR]
"The Umatilla Chemical Depot's disposal of the last of its chemical weapons is moving swiftly, despite a few setbacks involving leaks of mustard chemical agent vapor and mercury. Michael Strong, the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility site project manager, and Robert Dikeman, the project general manager, visited the Morrow County Court Wednesday to give an update on the progress at the site. The depot so far has processed 27 ton containers of mustard blister agent, out of 2,635. Site workers first place each ton into a specially-designed 'glove box' before punching a five-inch hole in the side to relieve pressure. Because the containers are at least 60 years old, Strong said, the amount of pressure, and the state of the chemical agent within each container, varies a great deal. As workers extract the chemical agent from the containers for disposal, they carefully monitor the process for leaks. […] 'Safety really dictates how the project goes,' Strong said. While disposing of the mustard agent, depot leaders also are in the process of closing the depot and eliminating the facility entirely." (East Oregonian; 17Jul09; Erin Mills)

Umatilla chemical depot under new command [OR]
"The Umatilla Chemical Weapons Depot is under new leadership. His name is Lt. Col. Kris Perkins, […] the 35th commander in the Depot's 68 year history. Perkins assumed command after an elaborate ceremony that paid tribute to the past commander, Lt. Col. Bob Stein. Perkins could be the last commander at the Depot. Nearly two-thirds of the chemical stockpile has been destroyed, and the Depot could close entirely by 2011. […] Assuming all the mustard agent has been taken care of. 'I look forward to our continued success at Umatilla as we move down the road to a safe completion of our Mustard Agent Campaign. As the Depot commander, I look forward to continuing the great partnership already established between the team at Umatilla and the local communities, again as we move forward to completing our campaign and future closure or re-use of this facility,'
[said the new commander]." (KNDO/KNDU; 16Jul09)

Retrial request for Aum Shinrikyo cult founder Asahara dismissed by high court
"A high court has upheld a lower court's refusal to open a retrial for AUM Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara, who has been on death row since he was convicted of masterminding several serious crimes, including the Tokyo subway nerve gas attacks. The Tokyo High Court dismissed an appeal filed by Asahara, 54, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, against the Tokyo District Court's dismissal of his request for retrial in March. Asahara has appealed the high court decision to the Supreme Court. Asahara was sentenced to death for masterminding a series of crimes carried out by cult members, including the March 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system." (Mainichi Daily News; 17Jul09) http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20090716p2a00m0na003000c.html

Senate takes up the defense authorization bill
"As the Senate takes up the Defense Authorization bill, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) is working to make sure the Department of Defense [DOD] spending priorities are in line with our security needs. Feingold is cosponsoring a bipartisan amendment […] to strip the authorization for the purchase of seven additional F-22 Raptor aircraft that would cost taxpayers over a billion dollars. […] 'Purchasing more F-22s would take resources away from efforts to address the real world threats where we face critical gaps in our capabilities,' [said Feingold]. […] Feingold is offering an amendment to ensure the D[OD] adequately funds forces needed to deal with the consequences of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive event. These forces would help rescue and treat individuals in the wake of a catastrophe. […] Feingold's amendment would increase transparency over defense spending to help Congress ensure these vital units receive the resources they need. 'The D[OD] must no longer drag its feet in committing resources to these forces that would be absolutely critical in the event of a catastrophic incident,' Feingold said. 'This amendment would create the transparency in the defense budget necessary to ensure these forces are funded and able to respond to emergencies.' […] Feingold is the author of a law requiring each state and U.S. territory be equipped with at least one WMD-Civil Support Team, National Guard units that would provide the initial response to a chemical, biological or nuclear disaster." (Examiner; 15Jul2009) http://www.examiner.com/x-16503-LA-County-Foreign-Policy-Examiner~y2009m7d15-Senate-takes-up-the-Defense-Authorization-bill

DOE [Department of Energy] releases statement on UK government's 'road to 2010' report on nuclear security
"Thomas P. D'Agostino, the Department of Energy's Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration [NNSA], today applauded the British government's new report on advancing the global nuclear security agenda. Issued yesterday, 'The Road to 2010 - Addressing the Nuclear Question in the Twenty First Century' outlines a strategy for addressing the threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons ahead of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. Among other steps, it includes the creation of a UK Center for Nuclear Excellence that will work to secure existing stocks of nuclear material. […] 'The Road to 2010 report is an important contribution to the nuclear security agenda outlined by President Obama and President Medvedev in Moscow and endorsed by the G-8 summit […],' said D'Agostino. 'With nuclear energy playing an increasing role in meeting growing energy demands, it is more important than ever for the international community to act together to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism." (Your Nuclear News; 17Jul09) http://www.yournuclearnews.com/doe+releases+statement+on+uk+government%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9Croad+to+2010%E2%80%9D+report+on+nuclear+security_36002.html

US installing radiation detectors at Pakistan ports
"The United States is installing radiation detectors at Pakistani ports to check proliferation of nuclear material and weapons of mass destruction to and from the country. […] 'We do work with Pakistan with the Department of Homeland Security, on Secure Freight Initiative, in putting radiation detectors in their ports. One port is done. Karachi is the second port.
We're negotiating that type of work,' said Thomas D'Agostino, the Under-Secretary for Nuclear Security. Also administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration [NNSA], D'Agostino refrained from giving much of the details at a Congressional hearing on Wednesday about what the US is doing in Pakistan in this regard, saying that these are of sensitive nature and could be deliberated only in a close door session. 'We have our export controls experts who are in the process of working with Pakistan, on training on what to look for with respect to what comes into the country and goes out of the country,' D'Agostino said. 'Pakistan has legislation in place as a nation to establish this type of capability and maintain it.' […] D'Agostino agreed with a recent report by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation, which concluded that Pakistan was a focal point of WMD and terrorism." (International News Agency, Pakistan; 17Jul09)

Cremation ashes set off anthrax scare [Rome]
"A mailed powder that set off an anthrax scare [sic] at the U.S. embassy in Rome turned out to be the ashes of the Texas sender's wife. The envelope of ashes, which arrived at the embassy July 8 […] prompted an evacuation of the building while authorities sealed off the mail room and removed the powder for analysis, the Daily Mail reported Thursday. Lab analysis determined the powder was ashes from a cremation. A letter found in the envelope explained the ashes belonged to the sender's late wife and asked embassy employees to scatter the ashes in the city, as the Texas couple had spent a 'very nice holiday there once many years ago.' The man's letter said similar packages were mailed to the U.S. embassies in London, Paris and Istanbul. FBI investigators visited the home of the man, whose name was not released, and determined his story was true." (United Press International; 16Jul09)

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