War on Terrorism

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, December 23, 2009

Tests confirm third anthrax case

"Health officials have confirmed that anthrax has been found in a third heroin user in Glasgow. The male patient is in a critical condition in the city's Royal Infirmary. Another patient there is also being tested for the infection. [...] Dr Syed Ahmed, consultant in public health medicine, said: 'I urge all drug injecting heroin users to be extremely alert and to seek urgent medical advice if they experienced an infection. Drug injecting is extremely risky and dangerous. The possible presence of a batch of heroin contaminated with anthrax [bacteria] makes drug injecting even riskier and even more dangerous.'" (British Broadcasting Corporation; 22Dec09) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8425313.stm

Woman infected with anthrax still in hospital

"A woman who doctors believe may have injected heroin contaminated with anthrax [bacteria] is being treated in hospital. She is in Glasgow's Victoria Infirmary after being admitted with an infection. A man with similar symptoms died in the hospital on Wednesday. [...] Staff are awaiting results of tests on a third drug user, who is in intensive care at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. The three cases, all of which involve infections in specific areas of the body injected with heroin, are not being linked. [...] NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the procurator fiscal and Strathclyde Police are trying to identify the source of the anthrax [bacteria]. One possibility is that contaminated heroin, or a contaminated agent used to cut the drug, is to blame. Heroin often comes from countries where anthrax is more prevalent in animals and bone meal, an animal product, is sometimes used as a cutting agent." (Press and Journal; 21Dec09; Lucy Christie)

DoD bill will fund biological attack sensors

"Under the recently $636 billion Department of Defense appropriations bill passed by the Senate, Michigan companies will soon see grants to aid in the prevention of bioterrorism. [...] The bill will send $1.6 million to Dexter Research Center in Dexter, Mich., to continue its development of a security sensor meant to protect military installations from chemical and biological attacks. Dexter Research Center has been working in conjunction with the Army on developing the concept for the sensors." (Bio Prep Watch; 22Dec09; Nick Rees) http://www.bioprepwatch.com/news/211349-dod-bill-will-fund-biological-attack-sensors

Pennsylvania hospitals given grant to fight bioterror and pandemics [Jameson and Ellwood]

"Jameson and Ellwood City hospitals in Pennsylvania will receive a $1.6 million grant award to aid them in their fight against bioterrorism and pandemics. The U.S. Defense Department grant, announced last week by U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, will allow health-surveillance technology to be manufactured and equipped by the ProcessProxy Corporation of Ellwood City for Lawrence County medical providers. [...] ProcessProxy's Terry Rasjasenan told Vindy.com that the funding will create 12 hardware and software engineering jobs in Lawrence County. ProcessProxy is currently located at the offices of Dr. Vaudevan Rajasenan, an Ellwood City cardiologist. The grant will also aid in the implementation of electronic health-record systems at Jameson and Ellwood City hospitals and medical offices county-wide, allowing data to be shared while treating patients who normally receive care at another facility." (Bio Prep Watch; 22Dec09; Tina Redlup)

Oklahoma Representative [Phil Richardson] reacts to cancellation of anthrax study [Stillwater, OK]

"Phil Richardson, an Oklahoma State Representative, veterinarian and farmer, has taken aim at Oklahoma State University for its recent cancellation of an anthrax study that would have required testing and euthanasia on primates. 'I bleed Orange as much as anyone, but I am deeply concerned by the actions of Oklahoma State University officials, which appear designed to cater to animal-rights fanatics instead of providing sound education in agricultural sciences,' Richardson said in a statement on his website. [...] In his statement, Richardson says that OSU's plan to establish itself as a leader in infectious disease research is undermine[d] by the cancellation of the anthrax study. [...] The federally funded study, which would have studied the effects [of] anthrax on live baboons at OSU's Center for Verterinary Health Sciences, was cancelled by Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis. Hargis called the testing of lethal pathogens on primates controversial, noting it would fall outside of the current research programs of the school." (Bio Prep Watch; 22Dec09; Nick Rees)

Assessment of epidemiology capacity in state health departments

"Since 2001, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) periodically has conducted a standardized national assessment of state health departments' core epidemiology capacity. During April--June 2009, CSTE sent a web-based questionnaire to the state epidemiologist in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The assessment inquired into workforce capacity and technological advancements to support surveillance. This report summarizes the results of the assessment, which determined that in 2009, 10% fewer epidemiologists were working in state health departments than in 2006. Compared with 2006, the percentage of state health departments with substantial-to-full (>50%) epidemiology capacity decreased in three ESPH, including 1) capacities to monitor and detect health problems, 2) investigate them, and 3) evaluate the effectiveness of population-based services. The percentage of departments with substantial-to-full epidemiology capacity for bioterrorism/emergency response decreased slightly, from 76% in 2006 to 73% in 2009. [...] Working together, federal, state, and local agencies should develop a strategy to address downward trends and major gaps in epidemiology capacity." (Center For Disease Control and Prevention; 18Dec09; Matthew L Boulton, et. al.) http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5849a1.htm

Positive results announced for Restanza in treatment of inhaled tularemia

"Positive top-line results have been announced by Advanced Life Sciences Holdings, Inc., for its once-a-day, oral antibiotic Restanza to treat inhaled lethal doses of tularemia. 14 day course of Restanza during a pivotal, non-human primate study achieved a 100 percent survival rate at the doses tested. In the study, all 10 animals receiving 16 mg/kg of Restanza once-a-day, the equivalent of a human dose of 300 mg, within 24 hours of exposure to a lethal dose of inhaled tularemia survived. Only of of the 10 [sic] animals that received a placebo survived. [...] 'We believe that the impressive survival data in tularemia, combined with previously reported survival data in anthrax and plague, confirm the profile of Restanza as a potent, broad spectrum medical countermeasure for biodefense and underscore Restanza's impressive efficacy and safety against lethal pathogens which could represent significant threats to public health and safety,' Michael T. Flavin, Ph.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Advanced Life Sciences said." (Bio Prep Watch; 17Dec09; Ted Purlain)

Russia further fulfils commitment for chemical weapons decommissioning

"Russia remains on schedule in fulfilling its commitments under the chemical weapons convention, and has met the end-of-year deadline for reducing its stockpiles by 45% from the 1990s level, a government official said according to RIA Novosti. 'In line with Russia's federal program for destroying chemical weapons, in spite of all the difficulties in implementing this program, Russia will have fulfilled its obligations under the third stage of the Chemical Weapons Convention as of December 31, 2009,' Deputy Russian economics minister Oleg Savelyev said. In November the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that Russia had reached this year's target of 45% ahead of schedule." (Defense Professionals; 18Dec09) http://www.defpro.com/news/details/12060/

Army can't speed up chem[ical weapon] demil[ilitarization] project

"A spokesperson for the Assembled Chemical Weapons Program, whose plants at the Pueblo Chemical Depot and Blue Grass Army Depot will be the last to close, said this week, '2012 is not achievable for Pueblo and Blue Grass under any circumstances or funding profile. That is, there is no amount of funding that would enable all of the activities to be conducted (i.e., plants built, tested and operated) to destroy the stockpiles by 2012.' The Chemical Weapons Convention [...] set a deadline of 2007 but the commission overseeing the pact extended that to 2012. [...] in 2007, Congress mandated a 2017 deadline with a pledge to provide the funding needed to achieve it. Pueblo probably will meet that now with its stockpile of mustard-agent weapons, although the nerve agent weapons at Blue Grass pose some greater challenges. [...] U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said Tuesday, 'It's my understanding that it is not technically or legally possible to destroy these weapons by 2012. I know how important it is to the people of Pueblo to have these weapons cleaned up safely and efficiently.'" (Pueblo Chieftain; 18Dec09; John Norton) http://www.chieftain.com/articles/2009/12/18/news/local/doc4b2b3152203e0139148408.txt

American children in South Korea get new protective masks

"[T]he continuing threat of attack from North Korea makes for some unique provisions U.S. servicemembers and their families must keep on hand when living in South Korea. 'It's just a [matter of] preparation,' said Army Capt. Allan Garcia, the 2nd Infantry Division's chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear operations officer. 'You just never know what the capability ... is of [North Korea].' In hopes of making things a little easier in the event of a chemical attack, 2nd ID officials this month are requiring soldiers with children living in South Korea to pick up new child-friendly protective masks. [...] The new model, he said, is good for children 8 and younger and 'looks more like a space suit.' The XM52 Joint Service Chemical Environment Survivability Mask will continue to serve adults and children as young as 9. Garcia said the new mask allows young children more room inside, a greater field of vision and even a built-in straw for drinking." (Stars and Stripes; 21Dec09; Jon Rabiroff)

$41M ASU [Arizona State University] project targets nuclear disasters

"Arizona State University will lead a $41 million research project to develop systems to help first responders assess radiation exposure in the event of a large-scale nuclear disaster. The five-year contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority will focus on the development of prototypes to enable more rapid triage of patients. [...] ASU will oversee the research program, which also includes Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, Columbia University, High Throughput Genomics Inc., Tecan Group Ltd., University of Arizona, Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute and the University of Illinois in Chicago." (Phoenix Business Journal; 21Dec09) http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2009/12/21/daily10.html

Nuclear issues a critical challenge: [Prime Minister Kevin] Rudd

"[Austrailian] Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament as a 'critical challenge' for the century ahead. Mr Rudd, who is on a whistle-stop visit to Tokyo, helped launch the final report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) on Tuesday. [...] he report comes ahead of a review of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in May next year, as well as a summit to be hosted by US President Barack Obama in April on ways to prevent nuclear terrorism and misuse of materials. Mr Rudd said nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament represented a 'critical challenge for us all in the century which lies before us'." (World News Australia; 21Dec09; Source: Australian Associated Press)

U.S. to make stopping nuclear terror[ism] key aim

"The Obama administration's classified review of nuclear weapons policy will for the first time make thwarting nuclear-armed terrorists a central aim of American strategic nuclear planning, according to senior Pentagon officials. [...] the Nuclear Posture Review will order the entire government to focus on countering nuclear terrorists -- whether armed with rudimentary bombs, stolen warheads or devices surreptitiously supplied by a hostile state -- as a task equal to the traditional mission of deterring a strike by major powers or emerging nuclear adversaries. [...] To underscore the point that concrete consequences will follow its guiding philosophy, the Nuclear Posture Review is scheduled to be released along with the Obama administration's next budget in February." (New York Times; 18Dec09; Thom Shanker)

India to set up special training centres for cops

"The Government of India has planned to set up a set of special training centres to train state police forces to deal with Naxals, terrorist[s] and face chemical and biological warfare challenges. Under the plan a Central Academy for Police Training (CAPT), two Central Detective Training Schools (CDTS) and 20 temporary Counter Insurgency & Anti-Terrorism (CIAT) Schools in different states will be set up to improve capability of the state police forces in various aspects of policing. These are to be set up in the 11th Plan Period (2007-12)." (iGovernment; 17Dec09)

Maine to receive more than $3 million to aid bioterror[ism] research

"More than $3 million will be set aside for bioterrorism research in Maine by the Department of Defense's new appropriation bill, which has been sent to President Barack Obama for his signature. [...] The bill will grant $1.9 million to Orono Spectral Solutions to continue its development of an infrared detection system for chemical and biological agents. Another $1.3 million will be set aside for Sensor Research & Development in Orono, Maine, for real time test monitoring of chemical agents, chemical agent stimulants and toxic industrial chemicals. The appropriations bill also earmarks $1.6 million to go to the Maine Institute for Human Genetics & Health in Brewer, Maine, for technologies meant to support the health care challenges in the military and to address the reduction of disease risks in unique population segments that are exposed to environmental or stress hazards." (Bio Prep Watch; 22Dec09; Paul Tinder) http://www.bioprepwatch.com/news/211350

S.D. projects get nearly $40 million in defense bill [Rapid City, SD]

"South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid city will receive $11.7 million, and private-sector projects in western South Dakota will receive more than $14 million in the new defense appropriations bill passed by the Senate late last week and signed by President Obama. South Dakota-related projects will receive a total of nearly $40 million, according to a news release from Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D. [...] The School of Mines will receive [...] $480,000 to EMCC [Engineering, Measurement & Certification Center] of Rapid City for its Optimization, and Transfer of a Reliable Testing Technology for Materials Designed to Protect War-fighters Against Toxic Chemical Warfare Agents. EMCC will support the collaborative development of an advanced, analytical testing system for accurate evaluation of various military protective materials and their abilities to minimize human threats from battlefield exposure to hazardous chemical warfare compounds." (Rapid City Journal; 22Dec09) http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/news/article_5f074b0a-ef24-11de-8d0c-001cc4c002e0.html

Bahrain's stand on nuclear treaty

"Bahrain has expressed reservations over Article 17 of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material including new provisions to combat and prevent nuclear terrorism. [...] Under Article 17, each state party may at the time of signature, ratification, acceptance or approval of this convention or accession thereto declare that it does not consider itself bound by either or both of the dispute settlement procedures pertaining to disputes between two or more State Parties concerning the interpretation or application of this convention that can not be settled by negotiation, or by any other peaceful means of settling disputes acceptable to all parties of the dispute." (Gulf Daily News; 21Dec09)

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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