War on Terrorism

Friday, October 09, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, October 9, 2009

NBAF [National Bio and Agro-defense Facility] lab in Manhattan will be the only defense against emerging diseases [KS]
"The National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) proposed near Kansas State University in Manhattan will be the nation's front-line defense against new and emerging diseases, K-State animal health expert Jerry Jaax told the Clay Center Lion's Club Monday.Jaax, K-State's associate vice president for research compliance and university veterinarian, is best known for his work on identifying anthrax [bacteria] in the anthrax scare during the Bush administration. While NBAF will be working exclusively with animal and plant diseases, most dangerous, unknown and new diseases cross over to humans from animal diseases. The facility is also the nation's only defense to that kind of biological warfare, he said. [...] The federal government is building numerous sites to deal specifically with infectious diseases among humans, but the Manhattan site is the only [one] that will deal specifically with animal and plant diseases. The research facility with over half a billion dollar price tag will have a huge impact on the area and on veterinary and agricultural research, Jaax said. Already the facility has attracted USDA's anthropod-borne disease research lab to relocate to Manhattan, and more of such facilities will follow, [he] said. NBAF is waiting on authorization from Congress to start spending the $500 million to $700 million to build the facility, 'which will be difficult in these times,' Jaax said. Site work alone will cost $36 million." (Dispatch Online; 07Oct09; Ryan Wilson)
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20376551&BRD=1160&PAG=461&dept_id=190958&rfi=6

Behind the scenes, system sniffs for biological attacks
[Tom] Slezak's research team started, known as BioWatch, is quietly operating in more than 30 cities. [The system] depends on a network of vacuum pumps that draw surrounding air through filters, sniffing for signs of biological agents. The pumps' precise locations are secret, but they are in high-traffic destinations such as subway stations and where prevailing winds might carry a toxic plume. [...] Because the filters are collected as infrequently as once a day, a terrorist could release anthrax [spores], plague [bacteria] or smallpox [viruses] in a U.S. city and it might take 12 to 36 hours for anyone to find out. If the agent were anthrax [bacteria], public health officials would have as few as 12 hours to confirm the attack, try to map its scope and dispense antibiotics to thousands [...] of people. [...] Given the likelihood of delays, some critics question the need for BioWatch. They say the government's focus should be on a tighter public health surveillance network that could detect any epidemic, not just those that are man-made. [...] 'Waiting for cases to turn up in emergency rooms isn't an option,' says Richard Falkenrath, the New York Police Department's deputy commissioner for counterterrorism. 'If you wait, they'll be mostly untreatable.' [...A deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, Robert] Hooks says the best way to gain time would be to develop a 'lab in a box' that could detect an attack and sound an alarm, from the field, within six hours. But a two-year experiment of such a device in New York ended in March when officials became concerned about its accuracy, Hooks says." (USA Today; 07Oct09) http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-10-05-biowatch-biological_N.htm

Kanawha Valley officers train for a possible terrorist threat [Charleston, SC]
"In this scenerio, a terror[ist] suspect has anthrax [spores] that could be released at the Charleston Civic Center during an event. Charleston Police and the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department are working together to get rid of the threat. These types of exercises are a sobering reminder that thousands of lives hang in the balance during terrorist acts. 'Even our first day of training this week it was a wake-up call for a lot of us. We know without a doubt if something happens here, even our life ur lives are going to be on the line,' says Lieutenant Sean Crosier of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department. [...] Organizers hope the training keeps law enforcement on their toes at all times regarding potential terrorist threats, because they point out it could happen anywhere and at any time. [...] The week-long training exercise was developed by Louisiana State University." (West Virginia Media; 08Oct09; Gil McClanahan)
http://www.wboy.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=68106

PharmAthene executives featured in anthrax pathogen training video for U.S. Department of Homeland Security
"PharmAthene, Inc. [...] today announced that company President and Chief Executive Officer, David P. Wright and Dr. Valerie Riddle, Vice President and Medical Director, were featured in the Homeland Security Television Channel (HSTV) 30-minute documentary training video entitled, Deadly Pathogen: Exploring the Anthrax Threat, which was distributed to 65,000 members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The HSTV Deadly Pathogen documentary video provides an in-depth analysis of the biological agent, Bacillus Anthracis [...] and details what this deadly pathogen does to the human body and why it remains such an imminent threat to the security of millions of people worldwide. The training video was broadcast on the HSTV Threat Matrix Show that investigates current trends and issues in Homeland Security. The show takes an investigative approach to the policy and technology challenges and emerging threats facing the homeland security community." (Earth Times; 05Oct09) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/pharmathene-executives-featured-in-anthrax,985088.shtml

Hospital association hosts H1N1 disaster planning conference [CA]
"In the wake of an unfolding flu season, H1N1 was the focus of a three-day conference recently sponsored by the California Hospital Association. From Readiness to Recovery, held Sept. 14-16 in Sacramento, Calif., also featured other disaster planning sessions, including responding to a chemical or radiological incident, addressing the psychological consequences of terrorism or other large-scale emergencies, and the role of long-term care and community clinics during a public health emergency. The conference brought together public health officials, clinicians, and disaster experts. 'California's community hospitals are on the front lines of care, especially in times of a disaster,' said C. Duane Dauner, president and CEO of CHA. 'Yet, hospitals don't operate in isolation. Emergency preparedness is an ongoing effort that requires collaboration among healthcare providers and state and local public health officials.' The conference was co-sponsored by the California Department of Public Health, the California Emergency Management Agency, and the Emergency Medical Services Authority." (Nurse.com; 05Oct09)
http://news.nurse.com/article/20091005/CA02/110050038

AVI BioPharma obtains expanded DoD [Department of Defense] contract worth $11.5M for its Junin virus infection treatment
"AVI BioPharma received expanded contract funding of approximately $11.5 million from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's (DTRA) Transformational Medical Technologies Initiative (TMTI). The money will support development of an IND application for AVI-7012 in the treatment of Junin virus infection. To date the DoD has reportedly commissioned AVI for work potentially worth up to $45.4 million. The contracts cover development of the company's RNA-based drug candidates to treat Ebola, Marburg, and Junin virus infections (AVI-6002, AVI-6003, and AVI-7012, respectively). [...] AVI-6002, AVI-6003, and AVI-7012 are novel analogs based on AVI's PMO antisense chemistry in which antiviral potency is enhanced by the addition of positively charged components to the morpholino oligomer backbone. [...] AVI has received a 'safe to proceed' allowance from the FDA for Phase I trials with its Ebola and Marburg candidates. These INDs represent the first TMTI-supported compounds targeting bioterrorism agents to receive FDA IND allowance, according to the firm." (Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News; 05Oct09)
http://www.genengnews.com/news/bnitem.aspx?name=64625431

British intelligence halted Al-Qaeda bioweapons acquisition attempt, book [The Defense of the Realm] says
"A new book says the British domestic intelligence agency MI5 in 2000 inadvertently prevented an effort by the terrorist organization al-Qaeda to acquire material that could be used in acts of bioterrorism, the Associated Press reported yesterday. Agents discovered that Pakistani microbiologist Rauf Ahmad was carrying suspect materials and equipment in his luggage while in the United Kingdom for a conference, according to The Defense of the Realm, a history of MI5 by Cambridge University historian Christopher Andrew. Ahmad had made contact with al-Qaeda deputy chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to U.S. intelligence officials. [...] The 100-year-old British service was 'slow to see the coming menace of Islamist terrorism,' and appeared surprised by the U.S. focus on al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. [...] MI5 has headed off a number of significant terrorist plots that targeted the United Kingdom, such as the planned use of liquid explosives to destroy passenger aircraft heading to North America. British intelligence officials think that 'though a major Islamist terrorist attack would remain a serious danger for the foreseeable future, the observable threat had stopped increasing,' according to the book." (Global Security Newswire; 06Oct09; Jill Lawless, AP) http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20091006_5581.php

Nanotechnology sensor [a carbon nanotube based potentiometric biosensor] detects living bacteria at ultralow concentrations
"Researchers in Spain have now demonstrated a carbon nanotube based potentiometric biosensor for selectively detecting one single colony-forming unit of the bacterium Salmonella Typhi in close to real time. According to F. Xavier Rius, a professor at the Rovira i Virgili University in Tarragona, Spain, who heads the Chemometrics, Qualimetrics and Nanosensors Group, 'the most important strength of this biosensor is that simple positive/negative tests can be carried out in real zero-tolerance conditions and without cross reaction with other types of bacteria. [...] To build their sensor, the Spanish team linked carboxylated single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) to an aptamer. [...] The hybrid material aptamer-SWCNT acts as both the sensing and the transducing layer of the biosensor. The presence of target bacteria promotes a conformational change in the aptamer that separates the phosphate groups, largely ionized at pH 7.4, from the SWCNT sidewalls, inducing a charge change to the SWCNT and the subsequent change of the recorded potential. Ruiz' team also found that their biosensors show a high degree of electivity, i.e. no response was shown for bacteria other than the target bacterium Salmonella Typhi. It appears that this new biosensor makes the detection of pathogens as easy as measuring the pH value." (Nanowerk; 05Oct09; Michael Berger) http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=12906.php

Biological Weapons Convention must be fixed, experts say
"While the [Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)] treaty embodies the 'necessary' norm against the use of disease as a weapon of warfare 'it's not sufficient' and suffers from shortcomings that need to be tackled by member nations, according to Jonathan Tucker, a senior fellow with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Among the inadequacies that hinder implementation are the 'relatively limited' number of states that adhere to the compact and the nonbinding results that stem from the annual meetings of member nations, Tucker said. The treaty also has no provisions for verification of its rules, which led to the document being 'blatantly disregarded' in the past by countries such as Iraq and South Africa, said Gigi Kwik Gronvall, a senior associate at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Biosecurity. [...] The pact [BWC] has not been as widely accepted as other nonproliferation agreements, Tucker said. He compared it to the Chemical Weapons Convention [with 188 member nations compared to BWC's 163] [...]. A key reason for the divergence in the number of member states the existence of an implementing body, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. [...] Another problem dates back to the 2001 collapse of negotiations that would have stood up a BWC verification regime, leaving the compact 'without a clear direction for future efforts,' Tucker said. The convention [BWC] is also in danger of being overtaken by technology, Kenneth Luongo, president of the Partnership for Global Security, said [...] 'we're dealing with a primarily private sector owned industry that's producing biological agents for profit and not for warfare.' [...] Luongo said that in the future BWC member states should work on confidence-building measures instead of standing up a verification regime, which would be a 'difficult concept' for some states and focused on a 'small percentage of the research that we're worried about.' [...] Another option to strengthen the treaty would be for the United States to prepare a U.N. Security Council resolution similar to one passed last month [nr. 1887], according to Luongo." (Global Security Newswire; 08Oct09) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20091008_3610.php

China detects deadly nerve gas at border with N[orth] Korea
"China has detected deadly nerve gas at its border with North Korea and suspects an accidental release inside the secretive state, a Japanese news report said Friday. The Chinese military is strengthening its surveillance activities after detecting the highly virulent sarin gas [sic] in November last year and in February in Liaoning province, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources from the Chinese military. [...] The Chinese special operations forces found 0.015-0.03 microgrammes of the gas per cubic metre when they were conducting regular surveys while there were winds from the direction of North Korea, the report said." (Agence France Presse; 08Oct09) http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gF1BMbOzAoT_AcuJYhC-T-pOOE0A

North Korea possesses 13 types of biological weapons [and up to 5,000 tons of chemical weapons]
"North Korea is thought to have 13 types of viruses and germs which can be used in biological weapons, as well as up to 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, South Korea's defence ministry said Monday. In a report to parliament, the ministry said the communist North has one of the world's largest stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. The list of diseases that could be caused by the biological weapons includes cholera, yellow fever, smallpox, eruptive typhus, typhoid fever and dysentery, it said. The ministry estimated its neighbour's stockpile of chemical weapons at between 2,500 to 5,000 tons. [...] The International Crisis Group said in a report in June that Pyongyang's nuclear capabilities are the greatest threat, but it also has a large chemical weapons stockpile and a suspected biological weapons programme. The chemical weapons could be deliverable by artillery or missile to cause massive civilian casualties in South Korea, the Brussels-based think-tank said. The stockpile includes between 2,500-5,000 tons of mustard gas, phosgene, blood agents, sarin, tabun and persistent nerve agents and can be delivered by long-range artillery, missiles, aircraft and naval vessels, it said." (Pakistan Daily Times; 06Oct09)
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\10\06\story_6-10-2009_pg4_3

[Senators Michael] Bennett [D-CO], [Mark] Udall [D-CO] back bill that includes [chemical] weapons destruction funding
"Yesterday, U.S. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, both Colorado Democrats, announced that they have joined the Senate in approving a bill that includes $154.4 million for weapons destruction at Pueblo Chemical Depot [CO]. The funding, which was included in the bipartisan Department of Defense Appropriations bill, will help the federal government stay on track to destroy the chemical weapons stored at the Pueblo Chemical Depot by the congressionally mandated date of 2017. The bill passed Tuesday evening by a vote of 93-7. [...] The Defense funding is in addition to $92.5 million for construction at Pueblo Chemical Depot, which was approved by the Appropriations Committee in July as part of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill." (Denver Daily News; 08Oct09)
http://www.thedenverdailynews.com/article.php?aID=5964

Contaminated [chemical weapons] waste to be hauled from depot [Pueblo Chemical Depot, CO]
"Lt. Col. Robert Wittig told the Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens Advisory Commission this week that 28 barrels of contaminated material will be disposed of soon. The commission met in Boone this month, an annual tradition so that residents of that town southeast of the Pueblo Chemical Depot can hear reports on the demilitarization project. Wittig [...] said that the barrels contain protective equipment, pieces of pallets and other items that have been contaminated over the years by leaking weapons. The leaking weapons themselves are in steel cylinders and will remain at the depot until equipment is brought in to destroy them. [...] All contain mustard agent. Wittig said that specialists from the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds will package the material for shipment to a hazardous waste site in Texas in early November." (Pueblo Chieftain; 02Oct09; John Norton) http://www.chieftain.com/articles/2009/10/02/news/local/doc4ac5a858bc7fc702913249.txt

U.S. reaches chemical disarmament milestone
"The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency announced today that it has eliminated 2 million chemical agent-filled munitions since the international Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997. 'The professional, dedicated government and contract workers at all of our locations are making great strides to safely eliminate our chemical weapons stockpile, making our nation and the world safer,' said CMA Director Conrad Whyne said in a press release. [...] Chemical warfare material stockpiles at Aberdeen, Md., Newport, Ind., and the Johnston Atoll have all been safely destroyed. The Army is continuing disarmament operations at depots in Alabama, Arkansas, Oregon and Utah, while another Pentagon agency is set to manage disposal of weapons stored in Colorado and Kentucky. [...] The service expects to meet the April 2012 disposal deadline established by the convention. Work by the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program could continue through 2021, according to current estimates." (Global Security Newswire; 06Oct09) http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20091006_1787.php

Smiths Detection, AeroVironment and US Army collaborate on chemical agent-detecting UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle]
"Smiths Detection today announces the successful creation and demonstration of an unmanned aircraft chemical detection and identification system capable of warning troops against chemical warfare agents. The detection and identification system, able to fit in the interchangeable nose cone of a Raven UAV, is a result of the collaborative efforts between Smiths Detection, AeroVironment, Inc., the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and other U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) laboratories. To provide safe and effective standoff detection and identification capability of chemical hazardous events, the sophisticated chemical sensor nose cone was developed specifically to fit into AV's RQ-11B Raven as part of a DoD program funded by the Joint Program Manager Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Contamination Avoidance, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and the U.S. Army Product Manager, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. [...] In a successful demonstration at the U.S. Army's Dugway Proving Grounds, a chemical sensor-equipped Raven was flown into a chemical cloud and successfully detected and identified the chemical, tracking the chemical vapor plume autonomously. Thousands of Raven air vehicles have been deployed and are in use by U.S. and several allied military forces. [...] Advanced control algorithms developed by DoD labs allow the Raven to operate in a semi-autonomous mode analyzing the data collected by the CSM and determining chemical cloud size, direction and density in real-time." (Business Wire; 05Oct09) http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20091005006337&newsLang=en

Ian Davison and son, Nicky, 18 deny [chemical] terrorism charges [Newcastle, England]
"A father and son arrested following the alleged discovery of the deadly poison ricin in a house have denied terrorism changes. Former lorry driver and pub DJ Ian Davison, who was arrested at his home in Myrtle Grove, Burnopfield, County Durham, in June by anti-terrorist police, appeared alongside his son, Nicky, 18. The hearing, before Judge John Milford at Newcastle Crown Court, was their first in the North-East, following previous appearances at Westminster Magistrates' Court and at the Old Bailey, in London. Yesterday, 41-year-old Mr Davison pleaded not guilty to preparing for acts of terrorism between January 1, 2006, and June this year. The court was given no further details relating to the charge. He also denied producing a chemical weapon, namely ricin, during the same period. He denied three counts of possessing information likely to be used by a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. [...] Mr Davison Sr also denied a charge of possessing a prohibited weapon, namely a spray canister capable of discharging an obnoxious liquid or gas. His son [...] denied two counts of possessing information likely to be used by a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. [...] Another hearing was called for December 4 for administrative purposes. The parties agreed to a provisional trial date of April 12, in anticipation of a hearing lasting four weeks. Mr Davison Sr was remanded in custody, while his son's conditional bail was extended." (Northern Echo; 03Oct09; Gavin Engelbrecht) http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/4663069.Dad_and_son_at_court_in_terror_case/

New technology [using Raman spectroscopy] detects chemical weapons in seconds [Northern Ireland]
"Scientists at Queen's University Belfast are developing new sensors to detect chemical agents and illegal drugs which will help in the fight against the threat of terrorist attacks. The devices will use special gel pads to 'swipe' an individual or crime scene to gather a sample which is then analysed by a scanning instrument that can detect the presence of chemicals within seconds. This will allow better, faster decisions to be made in response to terrorist threats. The scanning instrument will use Raman spectroscopy which involves shining a laser beam onto the suspected sample and measuring the energy of light that scatters from it to determine what chemical compound is present. It is so sophisticated it can measure particles of a miniscule scale making detection faster and more accurate. Normally this type of spectroscopy is not sensitive enough to detect low concentrations of chemicals, so here the sample is mixed with nanoscale silver particles which amplify the signals of compounds allowing even the smallest trace to be detected. [...] It is hoped the new sensors will also be the basis for developing 'breathalyzer' instruments that could be of particular use for roadside drugs testing in much the same way as the police take breathalyzer samples to detect alcohol." (EPSRC; 05Oct09) http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/PressReleases/chemicalweapons.htm

Feds give back half of original funding for dirty bomb sensors

"Congress restored partial funding to New York City's antiterrorism efforts yesterday, after drawing criticism for slashing money to the Securing the Cities program. Members of the New York delegation had requested full restoration of the $40 million originally approved. Instead, Congress agreed to put $20 million toward the program, which attempts to ring the city in sensors that can detect a makeshift nuclear device or a radioactive dirty bomb. Officials pointed to the recent indictment of Najibullah Zazi, accused of plotting to detonate a bomb in New York City, as evidence of the city's need for security money. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said the program deserved $40 million, but 'it looked like it could have ended up at zero,' an aide noted." (Metro International; 08Oct09) http://www.metro.us/us/article/2009/10/08/07/0314-82/index.xml

Area exercise tests response to Oyster Creek emergency [NJ]
"More than 300 participants from 17 municipalities located within a 10-mile radius around Oyster Creek Generating Station in Lacey took part Tuesday in an annual exercise that tested their response to a simulated emergency at the 40-year-old nuclear power plant. Also participating were about a dozen county and volunteer agencies, plant owner Exelon Nuclear, the State Police Office of Emergency Management, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the state Department of Health and Senior Services, said Officer A. Stephen Healey, a radiological officer for the Ocean County Sheriff's Department's Office of Emergency Management. The exercise will be evaluated and graded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the results will be discussed at a public meeting at 1 p.m. Friday at the county Office of Emergency Management at Robert J. Miller Airpark on Route 530 in Berkeley." (Ashbury Park Press; 06Oct09; Bonnie Delaney)
http://www.app.com/article/20091006/NEWS/910060336/1070/NEWS02

Officials: missing SC [South Carolina] nuclear pellets [uranium] not risky
"Federal investigators say the public faces little danger from 25 pounds of radioactive material reported missing from a South Carolina nuclear fuel plant. [...] In May, the Monroeville, Pa.-based company told regulators it could not account for about 25 pounds of low-enriched uranium used to make nuclear fuel. [...] NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] spokesman Roger Hannah says the material likely never left the plant and was recycled with discarded materials that don't meet quality standards. And even if it had been released, he says, the stable composition of the uranium is such that it couldn't be used as a weapon, like a dirty bomb. But a scientist who tracks nuclear issues says a terrorist could use material like that to create a radiological weapon by essentially building a small nuclear reactor with that material." (Associated Press; 02Oct09) http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/SC_NUCLEAR_FALSE_RECORDS_PAOL-?SITE=KQVAM&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Patagonia crime scene plays role in nuclear security bid
"It took two armed men no more than three minutes to break into an underground bunker in Argentina, swipe a canister of radioactive material and make a quick getaway after tying up the lone security guard on duty at the facility. The heist of cesium-137 from a Baker Atlas Co. oil-drilling operations base earlier this year, the first theft of radioactive material in Argentina, put to the test a new emergency-response process that Argentina's Nuclear Regulatory Authority launched as part of a U.S. global nuclear security program. The program, officials in both countries say, enabled Argentine authorities to recover the radioactive material in less than two days. The safe resolution of the theft, which police suspect was part of an extortion plot, has touched off a surge of interest in a program at the little-known U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration that helps foreign governments establish nuclear emergency-response centers and provides detection equipment and training. [...] The material [...] can be used to make a so-called dirty bomb, in which radioactive material would be added to a conventional bomb. The amount of cesium-137 stolen, a wafer about the size of a quarter, wasn't enough to make a bomb, said Raul Racana, chairman of the board of directors of Argentina's Nuclear Regulatory Authority." (Wall Street Journal; 09Oct09; Siobhan Gorman) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125504219290974603.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_RIGHTTopCarousel

Upcoming graduate program [Master of Science in Security Technologies, University of Minnesota] will train students to protect national infrastructure
"More than eight years after 9/11, the amount and severity of cyber attacks - incidents that can leave their victims defenseless against further modes of attack - have risen dramatically, prompting the approval of a new Master of Science in Security Technologies (MSST) program slated to begin this summer. Amin, director of MSST, designed the 14-month program, aimed at preparing future business leaders, policy makers and public health, science and technology professionals to carry out the grave responsibility of protecting national infrastructure. 'We've been pushing in this area for close to 12 years now,' Amin said, 'and we still have a long way to go.' [...] The idea behind the MSST program is to bring together experts from a number of different disciplines that wouldn't normally communicate, Jeff Bender , director of University's Center for Animal Health and Food Safety and future MSST professor, said. Despite being long overdue, the program provides an important collaborative approach to finding solutions. [...] The program, a division of the TLI, will include professors from the University's Institute of Technology, Carlson School, the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, the Law School and the School of Public Health, among others. With the program, approved by the Board of Regents earlier this year, Amin intends to build upon his concept of self-healing infrastructure, grids of sensors that would monitor the precursors to attacks and include multiple layers of defense, rather than leaving critical infrastructure exposed." (Minnestota Daily; 08Oct09) http://www.mndaily.com/2009/10/06/threat-multi-agent-attacks-united-states-increasing-experts-warn

[U.S. Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher:] Preventing nuclear terrorism must be shared
"Efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and prevent nuclear terrorism must be shared, including 'collective efforts' by countries to prevent others from crossing 'the nuclear threshold,' the State Department's top diplomat on arms control [Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher] told the United Nations General Assembly October 6. [...] Tauscher said the Obama administration has begun taking 'concrete steps' to rid the world of nuclear weapons, but the endeavor must be 'a shared responsibility because no single nation, no matter how powerful, can do this alone.' [...] Tauscher said the United States also remains fully committed to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, and 'no government has done more than ours to eliminate excess conventional arms and ammunition, and to stem the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons.' All of these steps, in the short term, 'will promote a more secure and stable international environment, enhance the nuclear nonproliferation regime and make it more difficult for terrorist groups to acquire nuclear weapons or materials,' she said." (NewsBlaze News; 08Oct09; Stephen Kaufman) http://newsblaze.com/story/20091008072746tsop.nb/topstory.html

South End Hazmat unit proposal sparks tension [Boston, MA]
"City concerns over funding stipends and the continuation of general fire services at Engine 22, 700 Tremont Street, have brought the Local 718 union's plans for a dedicated Hazmat (hazardous materials) unit in the South End to a halt. Now, as the mayoral race escalates, the union is fighting back with a media campaign while city officials claim they have yet to hear the specifics of the proposal. [...] The fire union and the new Park Rangers Union have not yet come to agreements with the city. [...] Local 718 Fire Union President Edward Kelly said arbitration continues mainly because the city is standing in the way of a proposal to train Engine 22 firefighters to a higher level and increase the city's preparedness for terrorist attacks or incidents involving dangerous hazardous materials shipped around the city daily. [...] 'It's completely inadequate in this day and age given the reality of terrorism and the placement of a dangerous, Level 4 biolab right in the center of the city,' said Kelly. 'I think the mayor has failed in his obligation to protect the citizens of Boston.' The fire union recently launched a media campaign and a website-www.firefightthesmears.com-drawing attention to Boston's 5,000 labs, which include Boston University's Level 4-capable National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory on Albany Street, and what it sees as a dire need to enhance the city's protection against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive threats. [...] The union initially supported the creation of a dedicated Hazmat unit as an additional company. 'The city rejected that proposal and refused to implement a dedicated Hazmat unit, which I feel is poor management on their part,' he said. The union modified its arbitration proposal to take an existing company (Engine 22) and train it to a more advanced level." (My South End; 07Oct09; Ashley Rigazio)
http://www.mysouthend.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=&sc3=&id=97346

Midtown Manhattan anti-terror[ism] plan to cost $24 million [NY]
"Midtown Manhattan is getting a security makeover with $24 million being spent on cameras and license plate readers at various locations between 30th and 60th streets. Private sector personnel will also be contracted to work with the New York Police Department (NYPD) to analyze the surveillance data. The Midtown plan is an expansion of the ongoing Lower Manhattan Security Initiative that aims to infuse the Financial District with an extensive network of security cameras, license plate readers, and chemical, biological, and radiological sensors for detection of potential terrorist threats. [...] Surveillance system blogger Jeff Roush said on a June post that it remains to be seen how cameras, license plate readers, and radiation detectors will deter terrorism. 'The radiation detectors are an interesting proposition, but how can these detectors be effective?' Roush said. [...] 'With a combination of high-tech intelligence and old-fashioned policing, we are doing everything in our power to keep our city safe from terrorist threats,' said Mayor [Michael Bloomberg]." (Epoch Times; 05Oct09; Julia Kantor) http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/23401/

Spectre of nuclear terrorism formbidable challenge: [says Indian] PM [Prime Minister Manmohan Singh]
"Maintaining that the spectre of nuclear terrorism is a formidable challenge, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today supported strengthening of global efforts in improving nuclear security and welcomed US President Barack Obama's initiative to hold a summit on the issue next year. India, he said, has an updated, effective and comprehensive export controls system and is 'committed to not transferring sensitive technologies and equipment to other countries that do not possess them.' Holding that India has been sponsoring a resolution at the UN General Assembly calling for measures to address the nuclear terrorism threat, he said, 'We support strengthening the international efforts in improving nuclear security and in this context, welcome President Obama's timely initiative to hold a global Summit on Nuclear Security in 2010.'" (Press Trust of India; 09Oct09) http://www.ptinews.com/news/304811_Spectre-of-nuclear-terrorism-a-formidable-challenge--PM

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