Avian flu = geo-engineering
ECONOMIC WARFARE: ENABLING A CORPORATE FOOD SUPPLY - Exactly what happened with the Foot & Mouth outbreak in the UK -
Many small self reliant farms were closed... livelyhoods were lost...
as the major supermarket chains cashed in on deregulation - as local food supply & traditional highstreets disappear & Shopping Malls & Supermarkets continue to spring up everywhere...
Disease fearmongering enables governments and the WHO
to call for an end to backyard chicken and duck farming,
which is ubiquitous in the Third World and a way for the poor
[see those unwilling or unable to obey corporate slavery] to be self-sufficient.
Bird-flu is a weapon in the quest for neo-liberal globalisation -
The Corporate state [Factory farming] against the autonomous
self-reliant [safe & ethical] individual/group
but that is just the beginning
"The war on terrorism, in emphasizing the radical interdependence of global affairs, has made possible new forms of coordination and centralization that bridge the traditional national/international divide. In the search for human security a new planetary order is currently in the making."
The globalisation of security
'Chatham House' - along with the Royal Institute of International Affairs - is a key part of the network that includes the Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations
USA Globalisation agenda
Coming or already here?
Bush is preparing the world for the Reclaiming Third-world Farmland as plantations for GM based sources of Ethanol: Question? will he sanction hemp growing in Afghanistan? and continue the war on drugs? Or will that secret NATO operation just continue as it has for the last 50 years?!
A satellite based wireless transmission of solar power for a Global SMART WiFi based economy...this process is otherwise known as Globalisation...Medicare database: RFID / Genetic tagging and satellite tracking / management of health / disease as a behavioral control index... Total Manipulation of ALL Global Energy resources - ALL life supporting systems via Corporate / Military / industrial control grid
Excerpts from Bush's 2006 State of the Union adresss
"...liberty is the future of every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right and hope of all humanity."
"Tonight I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy. [...] to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. "
"We will make wider use of electronic records and other health information technology, to help control costs and reduce dangerous medical errors. "
New World Order and Ethanol
Sunday, April 9th, 2006
Is the promotion of ethanol an act of the New World Order?
The evidence: Ethanol survives on taxpayer subsidies alone. Government legislation is required to create fake demand. Ethanol leads to shorter engine life, possible clogged filters, potential sludge build-up in gas tanks, more ground level ozone during summer emmissions, less mileage in vehicles, and a rise in gas prices. Ethanol may not be suitable for late model cars, motorcycles, and boats while independent operators will face huge costs in converting their old fiberglass tanks in order to be able to handle this new mixture.
Ethanol is falsely promoted as a green fuel which will have little to no effect on greenhouse gas emmissions. The increased heating of the earth is due to the sun becoming brighter and hotter as it’s 11 year cycle is changing. As a result all the planets of the solar system are getting warmer as well. The Kyoto Accord is a fraud which allows large corporations to have access to billions of dollars of taxpayer monies.
In Canada, the governments in power completely ignored the concerns raised by the Consumer’s Council as to the implications of mandating ethanol as a gasoline additive.
Little to no planning has been done in advance in respect to liability and emergency response due to ethanol spills by trucks or train derailment. Ethanol is so corrosive it cannot be sent by pipeline and must be transported.
Because ethanol is explosive and creates caustic fire, any facilty in North America could be a prime target for terrorists, yet the governments appear willing to allow these facilities in to urban areas.
The plants themselves are heavy polluters with an average annual emmission rate of over 100 tons of volatile organic compounds from the stored corn mash including such cancer causing carcinagens as formaldehyde, acetic acid, anhydrous ammonia, carbon monoxide etc.
If the vehicle manufacturers of North America improved their gas mileage, there would be no need to go to ethanol.
The EPA in the United States has been asked to allow ethanol plants to increase their emmissions to even higher levels even though over 50 plants were listed as being in possible violation to clean air standards in 2002.
Scientists such as Pimental and Patzek contend that more energy is required to make ethanol than the net energy gained.
James Garvey’s discovery of ethanol and nitric oxide forming an alarming reaction in the air has also been ignored. This leads to increased acid rain.
One of the founders of ADM was a suspected member of the Skull and Bones society according to some web sites. ADM controls the corn/soybean market in North America and is the main beneficiary of the use of ethanol. Worldwatch has reported that too much grain in China is being used in their ethanol industry causing a shortage of food stocks.
It is immoral to use food for energy when so many people in this world are starving.
Canada is now becoming a target for the set up of these plants because of the scarcity of water in some parts of the USA. Some of the most pretty and commercial/tourist towns of Ontario are slated to become the new homes of these ethanol distilleries including Cornwall, Brantford, London, Barrie, Collingwood, Peterborough, Orillia, Windsor, Aylmer etc., and no longer will refineries thus be confined to certian areas of the province. The Ontario Government has allowed the Renewable Fuels lobby to be featured and linked to their web sites.
The state of Wisconsin was considering a bill to not allow any ethanol plant to be built within 5 miles of any school. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has admitted on the Environmental Registry that some schools such as the new high school in Cornwall will be affected by the proposed ethanol plant there, yet an air certificate was granted nonetheless.
There has been little to no public debate in Canada as to the new mandates of adding ethanol as a gas additive. Often the only notice of a potential ethanol plant in an area is the nailing of a public notice on a tree or pole, or a small announcement in the local newspaper. It is no surprise that the Federal Conservatives have climbed on the ethanol bandwagon with the Liberals. As Globalists with a hidden agenda, they are in fact both on the same team.
- via rinf.com
The New Biofuel Republics
Poor developing nations are to feed the voracious appetites of rich countries for biofuels instead of their own hungry masses, and suffer the devastation of their natural forests and biodiversity. Dr. Elizabeth Bravo and Dr. Mae-Wan Ho - source
The next European colonisation has begun
The end of cheap oil and the impending fuel crisis have convinced the European Union and the United States to seriously tackle their long-standing and worsening “addiction to oil”, not by kicking the habit, but by guzzling biofuels instead. These “carbon neutral” fuels – biodiesel or bioethanol - make even committed environmentalists feel good about getting into their SUVs, as they do not contribute to carbon emissions. Burning biofuels simply sends back into the atmosphere carbon dioxide that the plants took out when they were growing in the field. The snag is that there simply isn’t sufficient arable land on which to grow all the biofuel crops needed to satisfy the voracious appetites of the industrialised nations.
So, the next phase of colonisation has begun. The industrialised countries are looking to the Third World to feed their addiction: the land is there for the taking as is cheap labour, and the environmental damages of large plantations, biofuels extraction and refining can all be outsourced, exactly as they were in the extraction of crude oil. Brazil is already currently the main supplier of bioethanol to the United Kingdom.
Global warming is accelerating and energy prices are soaring. We have to find the right survival strategies, and we have to find them now. Time and energy resources are both running out; squander them on the wrong technologies and the consequences will be catastrophic, invest in the right options and we can mitigate climate change and thrive in a post fossil fuel world.
Companies dedicated to biodiesel have set their sights on countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, where they can also obtain raw material at competitive prices.
UK-based DI Oils predicted in 2004 that the world market for biodiesel would grow by 14.5 percent annually to 2.79 million tonnes by 2010. The Asia Pacific operations of the company, based in Manila, will provide the Philippine Coconut Authority with the opportunity to meet the surge in biodiesel demand from Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan and Australia.
DI Oils has fastened on jatropha, a fast-growing, high-yielding tree that can be planted in semi-tropical areas on “wasteland and irrigated with sewerage water”. According to its CEO, the company already has plantations totalling 267 000 Ha in Ghana, Madagascar, South Africa, India and the Philippines, and intends to expand to 9 million ha. The Indian government announced a national biodiesel purchase policy in October 2005 that would enable farmers and biodiesel producers to get a support price of Rs 25 per litre for jatropha oil, and intends to bring one million ha of land under jatropha cultivation to supply blended diesel within the next few years.
Biodiesel has also provided a much-needed outlet for the glut of genetically modified (GM) crops that consumers are rejecting worldwide.
President Lula of Brazil has declared that GM soya is to be used for biofuels and “good soya” for human consumption. Argentina also has plans to transform GM soya into biodiesel.
The biodiesel industry says that for processing biofuels, large refining plants have to be constructed close to agricultural areas or forests, where the raw material is grown. The biodiesel will then have to be transported to filling stations in the same way as oil.
The oil industry will want to maintain control over the distribution of fuels, and will enter into an agreement with these new companies, as in many cases the supply chain can be very complex.
Biodiesel is projected as a business in which everybody wins. The European emissions of CO2 decreases, and third world countries increase their exports and improve the quality of life of their rural populations.
The reality is something else. It is said that during the growth of the crop, the plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. This is true of what was growing before the plantation was established. As the industry has plans of expanding exponentially, it is likely that they will begin to occupy primary or secondary forested areas, as has already happened with the soya plantations. Soya plantations have displaced the forests of el Chaco in Argentina and the forests in Pantanal, Atlantic and Chaco areas in Paraguay. Even more dramatically the Amazon, Pantanal, and Atlantic forests in Brazil have all been cut down for soya. The net CO2 balance is therefore strongly negative.
Additionally, other greenhouse gases are generated as a product of the crop itself, the processing, refining, transport and distribution of the fuel. It looks increasingly likely that biofuels is a net contributor of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
As regards the benefits to the producers of the biofuel crops, these can be extremely negative.
First, the destruction of forest and other original vegetation has already happened; and if these crops were to expand as intended, they could threaten food security and food sovereignty of the local populations, because farmers would stop producing food crops for the population and instead concentrate on producing “clean fuels” for Europe.
The production of soya in Argentina could increase to 100 million tonnes, which involves a huge environmental and social cost to the Argentinean people, such as the displacement of rural populations, growing deforestation and desertification of soils and hence greater hunger and social inequity.
Large-scale agriculture, such as is needed to comply with the demand for biofuels is highly dependent on oil derivatives such as fertilisers and pesticides, which, apart from producing CO2 emissions, are highly polluting.
The predictions for Brazil are alarming, as this country could become the world leader in the substitution of fossil fuels with biofuels, with all the impacts this entails. In Brazil, biofuels have been obtained so far from sugarcane, but the expansion of soya will make the displacement of sugarcane inevitable.
Recently, the Spanish government of Zapatero announced that Repsol will install a biodiesel plant in León. It is predicted that the raw material will be obtained from oily crops and will come from regions where labour and land is cheap and where GM crops are permitted, i.e., in the Southern Hemisphere.
In other words, the poor developing nations will be forced to feed the voracious appetites of rich countries for biofuels at the expense of their own hungry masses and suffer the devastation of their natural forests and biodiversity.
synthetic fuels? Rockerfellers?
Towards the end of the war, IG Farben operated a large chemical factory near the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, using around 83,000 slave labourers. It was joint parent with Degussa of Degesch, supplier of Zyklon B hydrogen cyanide gas to the Nazi extermination camps.
flashback: Rockerfeller Aids the Nazi war Machine via Synthetic fuel - OIL & Gas from coal
The Standard Oil group of companies, in which the Rockefeller family owned a one-quarter (and controlling) interest, was of critical assistance in helping Nazi Germany prepare for World War II. This assistance in military preparation came about because Germany's relatively insignificant supplies of crude petroleum were quite insufficient for modern mechanized warfare; in 1934 for instance about 85 percent of German finished petroleum products were imported.
The solution adopted by Nazi Germany was to manufacture synthetic gasoline from its plentiful domestic coal supplies. It was the hydrogenation process of producing synthetic gasoline and iso-octane properties in gasoline that enabled Germany to go to war in 1940 and this hydrogenation process was developed and financed by the Standard Oil laboratories in the United States in partnership with I.G. Farben.
Evidence presented to the Truman, Bone, and Kilgore Committees after World War II confirmed that Standard Oil had at the same time "seriously imperiled the war preparations of the United States."
Documentary evidence was presented to all three Congressional committees that before World War II Standard Oil had agreed with I.G. Farben, in the so-called Jasco agreement, that synthetic rubber was within Farben's sphere of influence, while Standard Oil was to have an absolute monopoly in the U.S. only if and when Farben allowed development of synthetic rubber to take place in the U.S.
- Antony C Sutton
Rockerfeller, Eugenics, Population control, environmentalism
[beyond a matter choice]
John D. Rockefeller 3rd (1906-1978) was brother of David and Laurance and son of John Rockefeller Jr. He was a fundamentalistic proponent of birth control and abortion access, and in 1952 founded the Population Council, which bills itself as “the premier international organization conducting biomedical, public health, and social science research on population issues.”.
The Bureau of Social Hygiene was a social science research institute concerned primarily with studies on the causes and control of crime. The range of topics covered by the Bureau in its thirty-year history includes prostitution, penal institutions, juvenile delinquency, criminal law, police systems and police training, ballistics and identification research, narcotics control, sex education, maternal health, birth control, venereal disease and population control. Many of these topics are distinctly eugenical in conception or impact. Among the Bureau Papers of interest to the historian of eugenics are files on eugenical sterilization in the U.S., the feebleminded and insane, the Third International Congress of Eugenics (1932), as well as manuscripts of numerous studies on the nature and causes of crime, vice, and drug addiction.
- Architecture of Modern Political power
The Bureau of Social Hygiene grew out of the appointment of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to a special grand jury investigation of the white slave trade in New York in 1910. Rockefeller served as foreman for this investigation, which was scheduled to last for one mouth. He kept the investigation going for six months and in the end released a detailed report calling for a permanent commission to investigate "social evil… in the leading cities of this country and Europe…."
When the mayor refused to set up such a commission, JDR Jr. decided to do it himself. He interviewed over a hundred educators, intellectuals and businessmen about the project. On March 22, 1911, the Committee of Three (JDR Jr., Paul Warburg and Starr Murphy) met and organized the Bureau of Social Hygiene. The name was first used in October 1911, although the organization was not formally incorporated until 1913. Katherine B. Davis, former commissioner of Charities and Correction of New York and superintendent of the Bedford Hills Reformatory for Women, was chosen as the first general secretary. The purpose of the Bureau was "the study, amelioration, and prevention of those social conditions, crimes, and diseases which adversely affect the well being of society…." - Barry Mehler, [ Professor at Ferris State University in Michigan]
In the United States, Mr. Conservation is Laurance S. Rockefeller (1910-2004). In - Laurance S. Rockefeller: Catalyst for Conservation (Island Press, 1997), Robin W. Winks hagiographically describes his contributions to the conservation and environmentalist movements. Here are some excerpts from the second chapter:
In philanthropy, as in business, Laurance Rockefeller wanted to plant seed money where it would have the greatest effect. He knew that the catalytic influence of hundreds of thousands of dollars strategically placed at the right moment could have the impact of hundreds of millions that came too soon or too late. [...]
[...] The environmental debate would become, by the 1980s, intense, acutely difficult, and deeply confusing. It was apparent to all that environmentalism was different from conservation, that it required more education, more planning, and therefore more interference with traditional lifestyles than conservationists would tolerate.
Yet, environmentalists also tended toward the anthropocentric. An ecosystem might be seen as an innocent product of the interconnectedness of all organisms. But to speak of a “healthy ecosystem” or of the “stability” of an ecosystem meant one ascribed goals--of health, or balance, or even biodiversity--to nature. If nature is innocent it is also random. Science was, conservationists argued, value-free or at least value-neutral. The very notion of an ecosystem suggested a systematic evolution of interdependent organisms rather than the random application of natural selection. Critics argued by the 1990s that this assumption would lead to biocentrism: the idea that all organisms have equal value. But to whom and for what. How could this be so if one believed in traditional Christianity? How is it possible to argue that the Bill of Rights, created by human beings, did not appropriately accord special rights to people as opposed to insects? What would the basis for civil government be in the future if biocentrism were carried to its logical conclusions?
Laurance Rockefeller was a conservationist like his father for much of his life. By the late 1960s he moved closer to an environmentalist position.
- keeping Eden Green
"Towards the end
of the war, IG Farben operated a large chemical factory near the Nazi
death camp Auschwitz, using around 83,000 slave labourers. It was joint
parent with Degussa of Degesch, supplier of Zyklon B hydrogen cyanide gas
to the Nazi extermination camps."
Nazi gas firm IG Farben to file for
"When it was revealed at the conclusion of World War II that I.G.
Farben owned thirty percent of Standard Oil stock, a man by the name of
Allen Dulles was hired by Standard Oil to represent it before the US
Congress and the Federal Court. I.G. Farben was later split up [into BASF,
Hoechst, and Bayer] by the Allies at the end of the war into different
companies, one of which was a firm called Bayer which happens to have
interesting links with the Carlyle Group, where the Bush family happens to
be a major player and which also has just as interesting business ties
with a family called the Bin Ladens (and which counts as a member a
certain Philippine president by the name of Fidel V. Ramos)."
In 1948 twelve Farben executives were given sentences for mass murder, the longest was a mere seven years for Dr. Fritz ter Meer. On 1st August 1963 IG Farben was split into the three separate corporations which had once together formed its core: Bayer, Hoechst and BASF. This was Bayer's 100th anniversary and the opening speech was given by mass murderer Dr. Fritz ter Meer, who was elevated to the position of Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Bayer. |
UP THE INJUNCTION!
schnews on BAYER
"Pilot production was undertaken at the Dyherrnfurth plant, with mass
production slated for Falkenhagen. Anorgana and Monturon, both members of
the IG-Farben conglomerate, were contracted to produce GB. Total wartime
production was 61 tons, with 38 tons prduced in 1944 and 23 in 1945."
"During its war with Iran, Iraq initiated the use of chemical weapons,
beginning with sulfur mustard in 1983, progressing to tabun in 1984, and
then to sarin (and eventually VX) beginning in 1987. Sarin was also used
in attacks on Iraqi civilians, most notably in the March, 1988 destruction
of the Halabja, where civilian deaths caused by a cocktail of different
agents have been estimated at 5000."
Nerve Agent: GB (Sarin)
"German businessmen seem to be picking up where Hitler left off.
Unscrupulously, remorselessly, shamelessly, German capitalists have
provided Arab tyrants like Moamar Khaddafi of Libya and Saddam Hussein of
Iraq the means to produce poison gas to kill more Jews or Kurds--even
Americans. The motive? Mere profit. Never mind that German-built plants
had been built, ostensibly, to produce pesticides. The heavy anti-aircraft
guns surrounding the factories at Samarra in Iraq and Rabita in Libya left
little doubt as to the true purpose of the plants. Later revelations
linked German companies to Iraqi attempts to build an atomic bomb"
Notes on Poisons and Profits: Germany Almost Settles Up With
Polish Labor, 1939-91
"...an "anonymous Pentagon official," quoted in a September
2001 article issued by Associated Press, as referring to "Operation
Jefferson," in which "a new and highly lethal strain of anthrax" had been
developed. BMI owns laboratories in West Jefferson. At about this time,
BMI hired an anthrax expert, William C. Patrick III, to investigate the
implications of mailing powdered anthrax through the post. Horowitz also
focuses on another group of potential beneficiaries of the anthrax
attacks. These are also providers of bioweapon treatments. Bayer, who
produce Cipro, the antibiotic used in the fight against anthrax and
Acambis (formally OraVax and partnered with Aventis). Both companies were
formed after World War II out of the German firm IG Farben, producer of
cyanic toxin zyklon B, used in the Nazi gas chambers. The CIA, it is
claimed, played a crucial role in the decartelisation of Farben, mainly
because Allen Dulles, CIA's first director was on the payroll of the
Rockefellers' who owned 50% of the Farben cartel. And at the time of
Farben's dissolution, its "flight capital" was handled, with CIA
knowledge, by mainly American, Swiss and British banks."
Bayer crop-science GM links
The top-secret Manhattan Project was laid out by Robert Oppenheimer the night Ernest Lawrence took him to the Bohemian Club during WW II. It was a part of Californias brutal rise to economic and political power, described in IMPERIAL SAN FRANCISCO: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin. In 1939, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr had argued that building an atomic bomb "can never be done unless you turn the United States into one huge factory." Years later, he told his colleague Edward Teller, "I told you it couldnt be done without turning the whole country into a factory. You have done just that." That was after Edward Teller had stuck the knife in Oppenheimers back, and pulled his clearance. Teller (also known as Dr. Strangelove), went on to promote a grandiose US nuclear weapons program for decades at the nuclear weapons labs: Berkeley, Livermore and Los Alamos. The program remained under a no-bid University of California management contract for 61 years. In a stealth takeover by the Carlyle Group, facilitated by 5 Admirals, the management contract will be transferred next year to the University of Texas where the military and the Carlyle Group will have control. A new ramping up of the nuclear weapons program is underway, with program funding at the highest level ever - even higher than during the Cold War extending nuclear weapons into outer space, into the very atmosphere that makes life on earth possible, and with no "real" enemy in site.
Leuren Moret: Nuclear Weapons Stealth Takeover
Illuminati Cash 'Slush Fund'
Estimated At $65 Trillion
Recently, Ashley Mote of the European Union (EU) asked this volatile question in a public EU meeting, a question never answered, as Mr. Mote merely by asking it was immediately scratched from the White House Christmas card list and placed on its top ten hit list:
"Mr President, I wish to draw your attention to the Global Security Fund, set up in the early 1990s under the auspices of Jacob Rothschild. This is a Brussels-based fund and it is no ordinary fund: it does not trade, it is not listed and it has a totally different purpose. It is being used for geopolitical engineering purposes, apparently under the guidance of the intelligence services.
"I have previously asked about the alleged involvement of the European Union's own intelligence resources in the management of slush funds in offshore accounts, and I still await a reply. To that question I now add another: what are the European Union''s connections to the Global Security Fund and what relationship does it have with European Union institutions? - arctic beacon
Rockerfeller Bros fund program:
Globalization is transforming our understanding of what constitutes a threat to security and what is required to create a more peaceful world. The crowded agenda of global challenges resists easy answers about priorities; nations and societies will necessarily assess threats differently, depending on their circumstances. For some, the threat of global terrorism or military invasion will dominate the security agenda, while others will focus first on fighting extreme poverty or halting the spread of deadly diseases - or on another of the many issues that appear on the global agenda. But growing interdependence has made one thing clear: In the 21st century, the security and well-being of all of Earth's peoples is increasingly connected to that of others. Strife and unrest in faraway places can create ripples that spread around the globe. Freer, faster movement across borders makes it harder to curb flows of dangerous weapons and deadly materials; contain infectious disease, pollution, and financial disruption; distinguish terrorists from tourists and traders; and regulate the spread of technologies with the potential to change the course of human history or alter Earth's ecology
Progress in coping with such complex and interconnected challenges will require ingenuity, resolve, and cooperative action on many fronts. Many factors will influence the world's chances of success. The RBF's Peace and Security Program focuses on two factors that may be key to advancing or undermining global problem solving: (1) the content and style of U.S. global engagement in the face of new perils and opportunities; and (2) the strength and quality of relationships between Muslim and Western societies. In addition, peace and security is a theme that may be identified for attention in one or more of the Fund's pivotal places.
The need for responsible U.S. global engagement: The United States plays a decisive role in setting the pace for global efforts to create a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world. With unparalleled global influence and impact, the United States can take steps that unlock dramatic progress on every major issue on the global agenda. Conversely, U.S. missteps or inaction can hinder, halt, or reverse international progress on numerous threats to security and well-being. The RBF aims to help advance responsible U.S. policies and behaviors that are rooted in principles like building strength through teamwork; seeing the big picture and pursuing comprehensive strategies that account for connections among issues; developing and using a full range of tools; thinking ahead and planning ahead; promoting fair play; and putting America's strength to great purpose.
. - rbf.org
$1.9 billion committed to global bird flu fight
Delegates to the fund-raising conference in Beijing focused on the need to help poor countries improve monitoring of bird flu outbreaks, prevent the spread of the illness and mitigate human suffering.
"To be truly prepared, we will need to mount a massive effort," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the delegates via teleconferencing, "from upgrading veterinary systems and launching vaccination drives, to encouraging change in the ways people coexist with animals. The loss so far of more than 140 million chickens, Annan said, "has caused massive hardship to farmers, and brought fear to their communities."
Monitoring a VIRUS or monitoring you?
World body looks to boost bird flu vaccines
By Martin Nesirky - SEOUL, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The International Vaccine Institute has set up a consortium to help monitor deadly bird flu, boost regional vaccine production and develop a new vaccine in South Korea, the director-general of the world body said on Thursday.
John Clemens, a U.S. doctor who is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, also told Reuters the institute had proposed working with impoverished North Korea to try to prevent diseases such as bacterial meningitis among children there.
The Seoul-based International Vaccine Institute is the only international research organisation focused on developing new vaccines for the world's poorest people, notably children.
In response to the march of bird flu across Asia and into Europe and the risk of a pandemic, Clemens said his organisation had put together a consortium of public health experts as well as experts in vaccine production from the public and private sectors in South Korea. It was seeking funds for its plans.
"I think there is very good reason to believe that something will happen in the coming years. We don't know whether it will be this year, next year, 3 years from now," he said by telephone. "But the H5N1 epidemic in birds shows no sign of subsiding. In fact quite the reverse." He said if the mortality rate in such a pandemic matched that of the 1918 influenza outbreak it could mean up to 100 million deaths in a space of 1 to 3 years. "Hard to imagine a health threat in that space of time that would be greater," he said.
NIPPING OUTBREAK IN THE BUD
Clemens said the consortium was just organising itself.
"But the work we have proposed with this consortium falls into several categories," he said.
Avian influenza -- commonly know as bird flu -- is a highly contagious virus which has killed millions of birds and more than 60 people in Asia since 2003.
Clemens said the consortium wanted to help neighbouring countries monitor for the virus in animals and humans.
"We are very concerned about the fate of developing countries in the setting of a pandemic. There is the feeling that certainly they will be extraordinarily vulnerable to a pandemic," he said. "But also it would be of value to Korea and other industrialised countries by nipping the outbreak in the bud," he said of the surveillance.
Another idea would be to exploit strong links with regional producers to get one or more of them to help increase vaccine output, Clemens said. He noted capacity was woefully inadequate at 300 million doses for the world's 6 billion people.
The institute could also help with clinical trials if South Korean firms develop new avian flu vaccines and help look at better ways to produce more and potent vaccines. The only international organisation based in South Korea, the vaccine institute has 100 members of staff from 16 countries. The World Health Organisation and 36 countries are members of the institute, which was set up in 1997.
Clemens said he hoped any bird flu vaccine developed in the South would be made available to North Korea. He said he had written to the North's health minister about joint efforts on other illness -- including Japanese encephalitis and diarrhoeal diseases as well as bacterial meningitis -- but had not heard anything definitive from Pyongyang.
"Follow-on discussions presumably will occur in the future," he said. "But we are a little bit in limbo at the moment." - alertnet
Could Chips in Chickens Track Avian Flu?
Maker of RFID tags proposes monitoring poultry health through embedded microchips.
Ephraim Schwartz, InfoWorld Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Digital Angel, the world's largest manufacturer of implantable microchips for animals, is proposing that biothermal RFID chips be used on a sampling of the world's 25 billion chickens as an early warning system for avian flu.
Avian flu is currently only identifiable via visual means, such as discoloration of the beak, sneezing, diarrhea, or sudden death. However, using a biothermal chip and an RFID reader poultry farmers would be alerted to elevated temperatures in the flock, company executives say.
According to Kevin McGrath, president of Digital Angel, while a temperature spike in a single chicken may not be caused by avian flu, if a representative sampling of tagged birds had a temperature spike, it might be an indication of trouble.
"If you end up finding 20 to 30 sentinel birds with higher-than-normal temperature, that is an indicator that you may have an infection. If you wait till the bird population is dying, it is too late," McGrath said.
McGrath proposes tagging every 250th bird in a flock.
Talking With Health Authorities
Digital Angel is in talks with health ministries in Asia that have expressed an interest in biothermal chips.
The biothermal chips are approximately 10 millimeters in length and are inserted in a bird's breast with a single inoculation. About 3 million dogs and cats each year are currently tagged with a Digital Angel RFID chip.
The company also designs tags for humans, under the name VeraChips, which are used primarily in medical applications and some for security. McGrath also said the U.S. military has received a proposal for biothermal chips to replace dog tags on soldiers. Along with the chip, if each soldier also had a GPS scanner on his or her belt, a commander would know the location and relative health of every soldier in the field.
Several countries are considering embedding biometric chips into passports, but they can track movement only at a short distance and are intended more for identification.
- live science
Alliance To Create Patient Smart Card Deployment, New York City
Article Date: 13 Dec 2005
A huge segment of the population in the New York City metropolitan area could soon benefit from a patient smart card technology program that will help make important health care information more accurate, more secure and more readily available. The new program is part of a strategic alliance announced today by Siemens Communications Inc., The Mount Sinai Medical Center and Elmhurst Hospital Center.
The Patient Health Smart Card initiative builds off the successful smart card pilot launched at Elmhurst Hospital in 2003, the first of its kind in New York City. Siemens brings a long history of successful patient smart card deployments to bear, including large-scale projects such as the Lombardy, Italy, regional patient card project. Together, Mount Sinai, Elmhurst and Siemens hope to expand smart card technology throughout the metropolitan area and create a regional health network for the benefit of their patients.
Rollout of the Patient Health Smart Card will occur in phases, with initial deployments of 100,000 smart cards to include Mount Sinai Medical Center and eight affiliated hospitals. The affiliated hospitals are: The Mount Sinai Hospital of Queens, Cabrini Medical Center, Elmhurst Hospital, Englewood Hospital, North General Hospital, Queens Hospital, St. John's Riverside Hospital, and Settlement Health. Overall, there are 45 affiliated and related health care facilities in the New York Metro area to be linked by the smart card initiative.
These institutions will issue their patients photo identification cards with embedded chips (smart cards) that can store patient information and will be routinely updated by health care professionals who are part of the regional smart card network. The Patient Health Smart Cards can be loaded with vital patient information such as demographics, allergies, current medications, laboratory results and more. The smart card is owned by the patient.
"This program has the potential to become one of the largest deployments of patient smart card technology in the United States," said Joe Licata, president of the Enterprise Division of Siemens Communications Inc. "With this innovative application of smart card technology, New York City patients can benefit from having direct control of key medical data on a highly portable, secure platform. This is essential in a metropolitan environment where people are always on the go and where a high density of health care facility options exist."
Siemens will provide technical and organizational services for the introduction of the Healthcare Patient Data Card. Siemens will deploy card management systems and software to help enable health care providers can maintain and update patient data throughout the card's lifecycle. Smart card technologies are part of the Siemens® HiPath® SIcurity® family of solutions that help enterprises protect information and communication via strong authentication, secure networks and identity management solutions.
The multi-year agreement between Siemens, Mount Sinai and Elmhurst also includes ongoing development of smart card technologies and integration with clinical and other information systems related to patient care.
"With Siemens, we are working with one of the world's best technology leaders to help improve patient care and provide hospitals with more readily accessible information in a secure and portable format," said Kenneth L. Davis, MD., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mount Sinai Medical Center, and Dean of Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Whether it's an emergency or routine visit, patient data is vital to ensuring the appropriate treatment in a timely fashion."
The chip-embedded smart cards - about the size of a credit card - provide access to medical information and help to reduce medical errors caused by misinformation or lack of patient data. When admitted, a patient would insert the card into a reader and enter their private Personal Identification Number (PIN) to unlock the card, giving the health care facility access to the information on the card such as patient demographics, chronic diseases, allergies, current medications, lab results, medical histories and other important patient information. Other smart card technology benefits include helping to decrease patient wait times and sharing of vital patient information between providers.
"With rising health care costs, these hospitals and Siemens are working together to deploy a Patient Health Smart Card that can fundamentally change health care delivery with more secure and cost-effective transfers of patient records", noted Alan D. Aviles, President, New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation (the parent corporation of two participating affiliates - Elmhurst and Queens Hospital Centers). "This first step is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of removing waste, duplication and errors in the health care equation." - medical new stoday
smart cards are just the beginning
January 12, 2006
FLIR Systems announced today that it has received orders for thermal imaging cameras for use in detecting fever, which is a possible indicator of infectious diseases, including avian flu. The French Ministry of Health has ordered systems that will be deployed in six airports throughout France. The systems will be used to quickly detect the presence of fever in passengers arriving from certain destinations. A major US technology manufacturing company has also ordered systems for use at its overseas manufacturing facilities. The systems will be used to identify fever in arriving employees. Delivery of the systems will begin immediately.
Both customers chose the FLIR ThermaCam® A20™ system, which offers software specifically designed for this application. The A20 can be mounted at an optimal location and provide real time thermal data and analytics to inspectors.
"As we did during the SARS outbreak, we are providing a tool to governments and businesses around the world who are preparing to protect their citizens and employees from a potential epidemic. Our cameras offer a discreet and effective way of identifying individuals with elevated body temperatures, helping to detect possible fever and thereby limiting the spread of infectious disease," commented Earl R. Lewis, President and CEO of FLIR Systems, Inc.
View the full FLIR press release.
US Naval Intellignece Officer Marty Kaiser describes sickness from resonant frequency
"...Dr. Klensch and others, including me, were developing several schemes involving VVLF technology... below 10HZ... we used to call them "cycles" back then. I spent an enormous amount of time in the library scouring over Russian and German scientific papers and although I do not read or speak either language... show me a schematic and I'll tell you what the words most likely said. One interesting item I uncovered was the Germans use of strobe lights to down our aircraft. They would point the strobe spotlight at our aircraft and adjust the speed of the flash so it appeared to the pilot the bombers engines had stopped. The pilot would then jam the throttle forward not realizing he was already near full power and put the plane into a flat spin causing it to crash. On the ground, the German equipment operators were either losing consciousness or barfing all over the place. They soon realized that the frequency they had chosen, close to 6.8HZ, was the resonant frequency of the human body and it was the infrared component of the light causing the problem. They solved the problem by wearing filter glasses that blocked the infrared component.
At the lab, we stumbled across that problem too and although we were generating tens of kilowatts of audio at the 6.8HZ frequency lab personnel were walking into walls, tripping over chairs and barfing. We decided to stay well away from the critical frequency and conduct our research elsewhere. "
USDA Using Satellites to Monitor Farmers
Jan 13, 2006 By ROXANA HEGEMAN
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Satellites have monitored crop conditions around the world for decades, helping traders predict futures prices in commodities markets and governments anticipate crop shortages.
But those satellite images are now increasingly turning up in courtrooms across the nation as the Agriculture Department's Risk Management Agency cracks down on farmers involved in crop insurance fraud. The Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency, which helps farmers get loans and payments from a number of its programs, also uses satellite imaging to monitor compliance.
Across government and private industry alike, satellite imaging technology is being used in water rights litigation and in prosecution of environmental cases ranging from a hog confinement facility's violations of waste discharge regulations to injury damage lawsuits stemming from herbicide applications. The technology is also used to monitor the forestry and mining industries.
In this photo released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a satellite view shows a higher seed rate in the perimeter of a field and a lower one in the middle. The bright red edges and turn rows in the center show a higher plant density than the center of the field. Satellite images are now increasingly turning up in courtrooms across the nation as the Agriculture Department's Risk Management Agency cracks down on farmers involved in crop insurance fraud. (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Agriculture)
"A lot of farmers would be shocked at the detail you can tell. What it does is keep honest folks honest," said G.A. "Art" Barnaby Jr., an agricultural economist at Kansas State University.
Satellite technology, which takes images at roughly eight-day intervals, can be used to monitor when farmers plant their acreage, how they irrigate them and what crops they grow. If anomalies are found in a farm's insurance claim, investigators can search satellite photos dating back years to determine cropping practices on individual fields.
What's catching the attention of Barnaby and others is a spate of recent cases involving the use of satellite imaging to prosecute farmers. The largest so far has been a North Carolina case in which a couple faked weather damage to their crops by having workers throw ice cubes onto a tomato field and then beat the plants.
In September, Robert Warren was sentenced to six years and four months in prison, while his wife, Viki, was sentenced to five years and five months. They were also ordered to forfeit $7.3 million and pay $9.15 million in restitution. The Warrens and at least three other defendants pleaded guilty. But in one related trial that went to a jury, prosecutors used satellite images and testimony from a satellite image analyst to present their case.
"It was impressive to the jury to have this presentation about this eye in the sky and satellite imagery and a trained expert," said Richard Edwards, the assistant U.S. Attorney in North Carolina who prosecuted the case. "In our case it did not make the case, but it sure helped and strengthened and improved the case."
The Risk Management Agency is involved in three other multimillion-dollar crop insurance fraud cases that have yet to be filed that will rival the Warren case in scope, said Michael Hand, RMA's deputy administrator for compliance. While fewer than 100 cases have been prosecuted using satellite imaging since the RMA started its crackdown in 2001, data mining - coupled with satellite imaging - pinpoints about 1,500 farms annually that are put on a watch list for possible crop fraud, Hand said. Ground inspections are done on the suspect farms throughout the growing season. The agency says its spot checklist generated by the satellite data has saved taxpayers between $71 million and $110 million a year in fraudulent crop insurance claims since 2001.
The agency stepped up its enforcement after the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 mandated it use data mining to ferret out false claims, Hand said. Every year, it ships claims data to the Center for Agriculture Excellence at Tarleton State University in Stephensville, Texas, where analysts look for anomalies in claims. They generate a list of claims for further investigation, with satellite imaging pulled on the most egregious cases.
Just as U.S. satellites kept track of things like the wheat harvest in the former Soviet Union, other countries have also launched satellites to monitor American crops. Germany, France and others have satellites monitoring crop conditions, and many other private firms sell those images in the U.S.
"Everybody spies on everybody. I was stunned to hear that myself," Edwards said. "Someday, I may have to rely on a French satellite to convict an American citizen." - apnews
Fish with chips stay close to the farm
Fisheries scientists are investigating the use of neural implants to control the behaviour of farmed fish. They hope the tags will eliminate the need to pen and feed fish, a practice that pollutes the surrounding waters and promotes disease. Instead, the plan is to let the fish loose to forage for themselves and then retrieve them when they are large enough to harvest.
One way to contain the fish would be an acoustic fence, a barrier of sound signals that would trigger the implants to deliver a warning signal to the fish's brain, possibly by mimicking a bad smell. Barry Costa-Pierce, a marine researcher at the University of Rhode Island in Narragansett, says his team has already developed implants that can make the fish surface on command. The project is focusing on bluefin and bigeye tuna, cobia and salmon.
Costa-Pierce is hoping to reduce the cost of each implant to a matter of pennies, although he admits the barriers to implementing the scheme are primarily legal, not economic. Setting tuna loose would raise the question of who owns a fish that swims in the commons of the ocean. Until governments can establish fishing regulations that take account of such implants, commercial fisheries are unlikely to take up the idea.
- From issue 2541 of New Scientist magazine, 01 March 2006, page 30
Is it really bird flu?
Monday, February 20, 2006 - Vaishali Balajiwale/Agencies
NASHIK/NEW DELHI: The government's announcement of bird flu deaths in Maharashtra has created an unnecessary panic and how the virus arrived in a remote place like Nandurbar needs "detailed investigations", including the possibility of deliberate introduction, said a leading virologist.
Meanwhile, health ministry officials investigating the episode said that Newcastle virus ---- that causes similar symptoms like bird flu ---- has also been isolated from the dead birds lending credence to the poultry industry claims that the deaths were not entirely due to bird flu.
"I am worried and surprised about the whole thing," says Kalyan Banerjee, former director of the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.
Transmission of flu from birds to humans is very difficult and the fears have been over blown, Banerjee said. The 90-odd persons in some 30 countries who have so far died of this virus were bird handlers and no single human-to-human transmission has taken place.
The commercial angle to the whole bird flu business "should be looked at very carefully," says Banerjee.
India, which was saying for three years that there was no bird flu in the country, had two months ago purchased two million doses of a bird flu vaccine (based on Hong Kong strain) manufactured by a Dutch company. India has also placed orders for the drug Tamiflu from the multinational company Roche, while three Indian companies have announced that they will be soon ready with generic version of Tamiflu. "And suddenly more than 30,000 poultry birds die of bird flu in a remote place," says Banerjee.
Banerjee says he is mystified by the fact that the virus showed up in a remote place that is not an international border or on the path of migratory birds that could possibly bring the virus. "This needs detailed investigations," he said. Asked if the virus could have been introduced deliberately he said "all aspects" must be investigated.
"We maintain that the disease among the birds in Navapur is not bird flu," reiterated Anuradha Desai, chairman, Venketeshwara Hatcheries, Pune. She said that 1000 samples were collected and screened at the Poultry Diagnostic Research Centre, Pune. The Disease Investigation Centre of Maharashtra confirmed that this is not bird flu, but Ranikhet Disease (RD), seen commonly among poultry birds. - dna india.com
Satellites Can Track Epidemics
Tue, 14 Mar 2006 - All those eyes in the sky are coming in handy for purposes scientists never imagined. Now researchers from ESA are using Envisat data to track places on Earth where disease epidemics could get started. The team was able to link the outbreak of diseases in Africa with dryness and drought. So far they've been able to track regions which are dry, which contribute to the spread of meningitis. Aid workers can then target these regions to give vaccinations and provide early warnings.
The amount of data acquired by satellites is increasing at an exponential rate, and researchers are learning about the value of this data in fighting epidemic outbreaks as a result of the ESA's Epidemio project.
"I was negative about the role satellites could play in addressing epidemics, but now I am positive," Penelope Vernatsou of the Swiss Tropical Institute in Switzerland said.
The ESA-funded Epidemio project was developed in January 2004 to illustrate the benefits of remote-sensing data for studying, monitoring and predicting epidemic outbreaks. By using data which focuses on a region's landscape - rainfall, vegetation, water bodies, elevation, dust mapping and temperature - researchers are able to pinpoint climatic conditions which are favourable for harbouring various epidemic hosts, indicating where people are at greatest risk.
As the project draws to completion, epidemiologists and data users gathered in Frascati, Italy, at the 'Earth Observation in Epidemiology Workshop', on 8-10 March 2006, to report on how Earth observation (EO) has benefited the field of epidemiology.
Ghislain Moussavou of the Gabon-based International Centre for Medical Research (CIRMF) began studying Ebola haemorrhagic fever, which can cause runaway internal and external bleeding in humans and apes, in Congo and Gabon in the hope of spotting particular environmental characteristics associated with infected sites.
Combining ESA Envisat satellite data, under the Epidemio project, on water bodies, forest cover and digital elevation models (DEMs) with field results, Moussavou and his team were able to link the epidemic with dryness and drought.
Moussavou said determining these factors will allow officials to tell the villagers in the area that current conditions for transmission are high, and that they need to take extra precautions. "Because there are no medicines to prevent or cure Ebola, predictions and prevention are necessary."
Dry conditions are also favourable for the spread of meningitis, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord lining. Epidemics nearly always start in the early part of the dry season when it is hot and dusty. For this reason, ESA has been providing dust maps for high-risk areas to aid in implementing early warning systems.
Christelle Barbey of Silogic, in France, is currently involved in an Epidemio project to provide wind blown dust maps for Africa. Although her final results are still coming in, she was able to detect 100 percent of known dust events, using MeteoSat data, and determine that dust maps do correspond to a user need to contribute to meningitis prevention.
The Epidemio project - funded by the Data User Element of the ESA Earth Observation Envelope Programme - concludes its two-year mission in April 2006, but the groundwork it has laid will aid users in the continuance of their research and allow new projects to be undertaken.
Giuseppe Ottavianelli and Aude de Clercq of the HISTAR Solutions in the Netherlands are currently working on a project, backed by ESA business incubator financing, to confirm the onset of malaria epidemics in Africa, as predicted by remote sensing data.
They have designed a prototype of a sensor located in a box that detects mosquitoes as they fly overhead. The data collected by the sensor is then processed by a program inside the box, which will be placed in hat hutches in high-risk African villages, and indicates the species and numbers of the mosquitoes detected.
Malaria is transferred by the female mosquito of the species Anopheles, so if the sensor detects her presence in high numbers, public officials will be alerted so that preventive measures can be put into place.
remember migrating birds use the magnetic earth to navigate
NASA Launches Microsatellites Into Space
Wed Mar 22, 2006 -VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -
NASA fired three microsatellites into space Wednesday to study the Earth's magnetic fields, a week after an earlier launch was scrubbed.
The 55-pound ST5 satellites, which will test new technologies for future science missions, were carried aloft from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a Lockheed L-1011 jet.
Shortly after 6 a.m., when the plane reached 39,000 feet, a compact Pegasus rocket dropped from the aircraft's belly fired its engine and ferried the satellites on a 10-minute climb into space. The launch was broadcast live on NASA's TV station.
The mission's goal is to demonstrate the benefits of a group of small, low-cost satellites simultaneously measuring the magnetic fields from different locations.
The ST5 project is part of NASA's New Millennium Program, which was created to identify, build and test innovative technologies.
The agency never determined the exact nature of the problem that delayed last week's launch but surmised it was caused by a locking pin in the rocket's flight control, which failed to retract before launch because ice had formed on it.
you are next
Digital Angel Completes Landmark RFID Antenna Project at Bonneville Dam
[03/24/06] - morerfid.com
Digital Angel Corporation, an advanced technology company in the field of rapid and accurate identification, location tracking, and condition monitoring of high-value assets, announced that its 16-foot by 16-foot RFID (Radiofrequency Identification) antenna designed to electronically track the salmon population in the Columbia River in Oregon will be installed near the Bonneville Lock and Dam. The antenna, thought to be the world's largest RFID tower, was developed by Digital Angel in conjunction with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).
The antenna will be placed in the Bonneville Corner Collector, a high-flow, multi-million dollar surface bypass route developed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the BPA to move fish safely past the Bonneville Lock and Dam. The antenna is capable of electronically detecting previously tagged fish in only 1/30th of a second. Digital Angel is a leader in developing microchips for tagging fish and large RFID antenna systems that, despite their size, can detect and read the standard fisheries encapsulated tags only 12 millimeters long.
When salmon tagged with the passive integrated transponder (PIT) microchips pass through the antenna, the antenna turns on the PIT tag and the PIT tag in turn sends a unique identifying number to operators of the database where important information such as the species, journey origin and age of each fish is logged. Such information is critical for maintaining healthy ecosystems for the indigenous fish population.
"This project demonstrates that our RFID technology has a wide variety of uses," said Kevin McGrath, President and CEO of Digital Angel. "In this case, our technology provides the most efficient and least invasive monitoring capabilities for sensitive objects such as salmon. This tower will help the local community protect a precious natural resource for generations to come."
Since the early 1990s, Digital Angel has been developing, manufacturing and installing implantable passive integrated transponders and reader systems for the federal Columbia and Snake River hydroelectric projects. For the past two years, the Company has been working on the development of large antenna systems, specifically for the Bonneville Corner Collector.
About Digital Angel Corporation
Digital Angel Corporation develops and deploys sensor and communications technologies that enable rapid and accurate identification, location tracking, and condition monitoring of high-value assets. Applications for the Company's products include identification and monitoring of humans, pets, fish and livestock through its patented implantable microchips; location tracking and message monitoring of vehicles and aircraft in remote locations through systems that integrate GPS and geosynchronous satellite communications; and monitoring of asset conditions such as temperature and movement, through advanced miniature sensors.
Digital Angel Corporation is majority-owned by Applied Digital Inc.. For more information about Digital Angel, please visit www.DigitalAngelCorp.com.
Federal plan aims to track all livestock by 2009
New system intends to stop disease
By Kristin Collins The (Raleigh) News & Observer
Once in a while, Leslie Averill grabs a goat from the back yard and puts it in her Chevy Silverado for a spin. They visit her chiropractor’s office, maybe stop by the outlets – just to socialize a little and see the looks on people’s faces. Pretty soon, Averill might have to report every goat jaunt to the federal government.
A new national system, designed to prevent the spread of diseases such as avian flu and mad cow disease, aims to track every livestock animal in the nation – be it a cow on a feed lot, a farm-raised trout or a baby goat in Averill’s back yard.
Farms will be registered, animals will be tagged with numbers, and their movements will be reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The information will be stored in a national database.
It will affect an estimated 50,000 animal owners in North Carolina. Even children who raise animals for 4-H programs might have to comply.
"Even if it’s Aunt Bessie’s pet cow, that cow is susceptible to foot and mouth disease," said Mary Ann McBride, a state Department of Agriculture veterinarian implementing the system in North Carolina.
The program is voluntary for now. Agriculture officials are asking animal owners only to register their property. But the government plans to make the full program mandatory by early 2009.
The idea has many animal owners feeling besieged.
Internet chat groups for animal owners are ablaze. Grass-roots opposition groups are forming, and rumors are flying.
Horse enthusiasts worry that they will have to put ear tags on show horses, or tell the government each time they take a trail ride. One Person County farmer said a neighbor feared that he would have to tag the worms he uses for composting.
Much of the fear arises from uncertainty. Federal agriculture officials are still working out details of the program: how the animals will be tagged, what it will cost, how animal movements will be reported. They are throwing around all sorts of high-tech tracking ideas: ear tags that emit radio frequencies, microchips – even retinal scanning.
"People have jumped on the national security bandwagon without really thinking it through," said Averill, who breeds and sells goats on her 36-acre farm in Johnston County. "The small breeder is going to be forced into something that’s so cost-prohibitive that they won’t be able to own their animals anymore."
Federal agriculture officials created the National Animal Identification System in 2004, after the United States confirmed its first case of mad cow disease in a Holstein in Washington state. Mad cow, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is a brain-wasting disease whose human-variant is fatal and has forced the slaughter of millions of cows in Britain.
Officials couldn’t track all the places where the Washington cow had lived, or all the other cows that came in contact with it.
The new system would let the government trace an animal’s history within 48 hours. If it works, agriculture officials will be able to look up an animal’s ID number and know every place it has ever lived.
Some in the meat industry say there are plenty of reasons to track animals more closely.
Bundy Plyler, director of the N.C. Cattlemen’s Association, said many countries that buy U.S. beef want more detailed information about it. Being able to lay out the life history of a steak could be a major selling point. "There are consumers that say they want to know more about where their food comes from," Plyler said.
The logistics of tagging and documenting animal movements are one thing for large farms with bookkeepers and accountants. They’re another for small farmers trying to make a living selling eggs or goat’s milk soap.
Steve Moize keeps about 3,000 chickens and turkeys on his Person County farm. It’s a tiny operation compared with most chicken farms in the state, where farmers raise hundreds of thousands of birds in long metal houses.
The standards for tagging chickens and turkeys aren’t set, but under current proposals, Moize would have to tag more chickens than larger farms. The USDA has said it probably will let large flocks be tagged with one number because the birds stay together and never go outside.
Moize’s free-range birds are raised outside, so he probably will have to identify each one.
Moize said spending a few dollars to tag each bird could put his operation in the red. "And if I had to track every animal movement every time I sold one chicken or a predator killed a chicken, that would be a lot of paperwork I don’t have time to do," he said.
McBride, the state agriculture official, said it’s too soon to panic.
The standards for tagging most animals have yet to be set. The federal government is studying each species independently, so animal owners won’t end up with unworkable rules – such as ear tags for show horses.
For now, McBride said, she is just asking animal owners to fill out a short registration form. Nearly 2,700 animal owners have signed up. She said the state won’t do anything more until the federal government insists.
"I think people are just looking for another indication that the government, that Big Brother is trying to take over," McBride said. "This is a consumer confidence issue. Right now, who knows where that hamburger at McDonald’s comes from?" - wilmingtonstar.com
Injectable chip opens door to 'human bar code'
Charles J. Murray PlanetAnalog (01/04/2002)
Radio-frequency identification chips, which have found a home in applications ranging from toll road passes to smart retail shelves, may be close to taking up residence in the human body.
A Florida-based company has introduced a passive RFID chip that is compatible with human tissue, and the developer is proposing the chip for use on implantable pacemakers, defibrillators and artificial joints. The company, Applied Digital Solutions (Palm Beach, Fla.), also said that the chip could be injected through a syringe and used as a sort of "human bar code" in security applications.
Called the VeriChip, the device could open up a broad new segment for the $900 million-a-year RFID business, especially if society embraces the idea of using microchips for human identification. Applied Digital executives ultimately believe that the worldwide market for such implantable chips could reach $70 billion per year.
"The human market for this technology could be huge," said Keith Bolton, senior vice president of technology development at the company.
Futurists agree that the idea of using microchips inside the body could ultimately represent a large market opportunity, but they doubt whether this initial effort will have a significant effect on the RFID market.
"Are we going to see chips embedded in the human body? You bet we are," said Paul Saffo, a director of The Institute for the Future (Menlo Park, Calif.). "But it isn't going to happen overnight."
Still, Applied Digital Solutions' executives are preparing to sell between $2.5 million and $5 million worth of VeriChips in 2002. The company initially plans to sell the chips in South America and Europe for use with pacemakers and defibrillators. In that application, it could be attached to the outside of the heart device or implanted nearby in the body. Doing so would enable medical personnel to identify and monitor a patient's implanted devices merely by running a handheld scanner over the patient's chest.
"If you're a pacemaker user and you're in an accident and in shock, an ambulance attendant could scan the body and retrieve information about the device," Bolton said. "The chip could provide information about the pacemaker's settings, who its manufacturer is and whether you have any medical allergies."
The company said it is working with makers of implantable pacemakers and defibrillators to incorporate the chip during the equipment-manufacturing process.
Applied Digital Solutions is awaiting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and does not expect to sell the chips in the United States until that approval is granted. The company's engineers said they expect approval later this year.
The announcement of the chip's availability created a media stir, however - not because of its potential use with pacemakers but because of its science-fiction-like potential application in human identification systems. Because the microchip and its antenna measure just 11.1 x 2.1 mm, Applied Digital Solutions said the assembly can be injected through a syringe and implanted in various locations within the body.
The tube-shaped VeriChip includes a memory that holds 128 characters of information, an electromagnetic coil for transmitting data and a tuning capacitor, all encapsulated within a silicone-and-glass enclosure. The passive RF unit, which operates at 125 kHz, is activated by moving a company-designed scanner within about a foot of the chip. Doing so excites the coil and "wakes up" the chip, enabling it to transmit data.
The chips are said to be similar to those that are already implanted in about a million dogs and cats nationwide to enable pet owners to identify and reclaim animals that have been temporarily lost. Applied Digital Solutions, which has made the pet-tracking chips for several years, says that the human chips differ mainly in the biocompatible coating that's used to keep the body from rejecting the implanted chip. The VeriChip is believed to be the first such chip designed for human identification.
Inspired by Sept. 11
In September, Applied Digital Solutions implanted its first human chip when a New Jersey surgeon, Richard Seelig, injected two of the chips into himself. He placed one chip in his left forearm and the other near the artificial hip in his right leg.
"He was motivated after he saw firefighters at the World Trade Center in September writing their Social Security numbers on their forearms with Magic Markers," Bolton said. "He thought that there had to be a more sophisticated way of doing an identification."
Applied Digital said Seelig, who serves as a medical consultant to the company, has now had the chips implanted in him for three months with no signs of rejection or infection. Ordinarily, the company said, the chips would be implanted in a doctor's office under local anesthesia.
Applied Digital's executives said the ability to inject the chips opens up a variety of RFID applications in high-security situations, as well other types of human identification systems. The chips, they said, could be implanted in young children or in adults with Alzheimer's disease, to help officials identify people who can't identify themselves. But the company is backing away from involuntary identification applications, such the tracking of prisoners or parolees. "We are advocating that this technology be totally voluntary," Bolton said.
Whether the technology will boost the market for RFID chips remains uncertain. Industry analysts had assumed that by now RFID would constitute a far larger market than its current, $900 million annual tally. A consortium of major manufacturers has sought to push the technology as a replacement for bar codes in everyday products ranging from cereal boxes to shaving cream cans, but the cost hasn't dropped low enough to make that feasible. More recently, a group led by the European Central Bank began work on embedding RFID chips in the euro bank note, but the chip category has yet to find its killer app.
Applied Digital nonetheless has high hopes for its RFID technology. The publicly held company's stock did not fare well last year, plummeting from a high of $3 a share on Feb. 7 to 11 cents per share on Sept. 17. But its per-share stock price jumped to 50 cents from 38 cents after the company announced the VeriChip.
Analysts expressed confidence that the concept would eventually be adopted but were skeptical about its immediate future. "For this to work, you are going to need a standard that everyone agrees to," said Saffo of The Institute for the Future. "Then you have to convince people to buy reading devices that may be fairly costly."
Applied Digital's engineers would not say how much the chips or handheld readers might cost. The company's reader is a proprietary unit that is required for use with the VeriChip. Some further suggested that the chip might be too large for easy adoption.
Veterinarians who have implanted the chips in dogs and cats say that the techniques used in animals are unlikely to be embraced by humans. "The needle is huge," said Dean Christopoulos, a veterinarian in Des Plaines, Ill. "It's almost as thick as your pinky."
Some engineers suggested the technology might ultimately be scaled down, making the chip's acceptance more likely. At Alien Technology Corp. (Morgan Hill, Calif.), engineers have already discussed using that company's ultrasmall RFID chips in human applications. Alien, which uses a process known as fluidic self-assembly to create chips measuring 350 x 350 microns, has demonstrated its 900-MHz technology on everyday products such as soap and shampoo bottles. The coded information can be detected and read across distances measuring almost 3 feet.
"There are companies making RFID tags that are much smaller than a couple of millimeters," said Andy Holman, director of business development for Alien Technology.
Analysts also suggested that human identification technology would be more likely to be popularized when engineers are able to integrate more memory and other features, such as global-positioning satellite units and induction-based power-recharging techniques. GPS might help find lost children and adults, they said, while larger memories would enable doctors to store vital patient information.
The concept "goes all the way back to the 1960s," said Jerry Krasner, vice president of market intelligence for American Technology International Inc.'s Embedded Forecasters Group. "What's new is the ability to store a lot of data.
"As soon as you can do that, you'll see more applications for this type of technology," he said.
Global Economic warfare:
Dioxin crisis widens in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany
02/02/2006- Europe's dioxin crisis has widened, with food regulators in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany placing quarantines on hundreds more pig and poultry producers that received contaminated feed. The dioxin contamination, not only means a sourcing problem for processors, but also marks another European food scare that might put people off their meat. The threat of avian influenza has already hit poultry consumption is some countries, while the beef industry is starting to recover from fears over BSE and food-and-mouth disease.
So far only South Korea has banned the import of pork from Belgium and the Netherlands as a result of the discovery. The country is the most important non-EU destination for pork produced in the two countries. They exported a total of 25,000 tonnes of pork worth about €62 million to South Korea in 2005. A total of about 650 pig and poultry farms are now under quarantine in the three countries.
Food safety regulators in the Netherlands and Belgium also announced that some of the meat from contaminated farms was sold in shops over the last two months. Both regulators said the level of contamination did not pose any serious risk to public health. Yesterday Belgium extended a quarantine to a total of 386 pig and poultry producers suspected of receiving feed contaminated with the carcinogen, doubling the number the country's food safety agency (FAVV) had originally banned from the market. Of these 361 were pig farms, 24 were poultry farms, and one rabbit producer.
FAVV said test results from the suspect farms will be available Saturday.
The Netherlands food regulator (VWA) said on 31 January that 250 producers remain under quarantine and that tests are currently underway. The regulator also released a report from the Dutch Office for Risk Assessment. "Consumption of pork meat and meat products could lead to a slight increase of the dioxin intake of consumers," the report stated. "In the most extreme intake scenario the tolerable weekly intake of dioxins might be slightly exceeded. However, the calculated incidentally increased intake does not pose a health risk for the consumer."
Meanwhile Germany's regulator has quarantined five pig farms and is currently testing for the carcinogen.
Tessenderlo, a feed ingredients company fingered as the source of the contamination, today said that an inadequate test had resulted in the error. "For Tessenderlo Group, discussions about compensation and amicable settlements are premature as long as the various investigations are under way," the Belgium-based company stated. "The problem shows that the PCB test was inadequate for testing dioxins and that we were wrong, as were most specialists, to rely on it."
The discovery of the dioxin contamination was first reported by the Netherlands, which on 25 January sent out an EU-wide alert on pig fat originating from Belgium. The Netherlands said its tests indicated dioxin levels 25 time the maximum permitted concentrations in pork fat. The dioxin was discovered in pork fat produced by Profat. FAVV said that between 6 and 28 October, two filters at Tessenderlo Chemicals were defective, resulting in untreated hydrochloric acid being delivered to its subsidiary, PB Gelatins. PB Gelatins in turn, supplied animal feed producers with dioxin contaminated ingredients.
FAVV found that that a normal consumption of such the gelatine produced by PB Gelatins is less than 25 per cent of the amount of acceptable dioxin consumption. " That thus means that there is currently no immediate danger to the public health," the agency stated.
The Belgian food agency has also put under monitoring the stockbreeding customers of Leroy and Algoet, two other feed producers. The Tessenderlo Group has admitted that a hydrochloric acid filtration problem at their plant is the likely source of the dioxin contamination. In a press release the company said the contaminated feed poses no threat to public health.
Belgium and the Netherlands, along with France and Germany, are among the top pig meat producers in the EU. The Netherlands accounted for about eight per cent of the EU's production in 2000, according to the bloc's figures. Dioxin has been the cause of numerous food scares. It was found in Dutch potato animal feed in 2004. Pig farmers in the Netherlands were found to be using it as an illegal hormone for pigs in 2002. Belgium's meat industry suffered a similar blow in 1999, when dioxin was discovered in pigs and chickens. Then, the industry lost millions of euros either through a quarantine of some 200 Belgian farms, or through the loss of their export markets after some countries imposed bans. The country ended up slaughtering seven million chickens and 60,000 pigs. The scare, which occurred just before the 1999 general election, played a key part in the landslide defeat of the former government of Jean-Luc Dehaene.
- food production daily
protein shortage...politically useful? socially engineered?
Culling causing protein shortage in Gaza
haviv rettig, THE JERUSALEM POST - Apr. 5, 2006
Poultry supplies, the primary source of protein in the Gaza Strip, were being severely affected by measures implemented to contain the spread of the H5N1 avian flu virus. According to Ambrogio Manenti, regional head of office for the United Nations World Health Organization, the recent closures of the Karni border crossing with Israel have limited the import of alternative protein sources, further increasing concern over a nutrition gap in the Palestinian food supply.
At a press conference in Jerusalem on Thursday, UN officials commended Israeli-Palestinian cooperation on the avian flu threat and called for increased aid in fighting the spread of bird flu in the Palestinian territories. Some 250,000 birds have been culled by UN officials and PA agencies so far. The figure represents 10 percent of the total estimated number of fowl in the Gaza Strip. More than 30,000 farmers lost their chickens to the culling and were left unable to provide for their estimated 200,000 family members.
An additional 250,000 birds were slated for culling, according to UN officials, who said they believed the process would be carried out within a few days. The culling is conducted by UN and Palestinian health officials through the poisoning of the chickens' water supply. This is only done once the farmers give their permission, after which the corpses are gathered and buried between layers of plastic sheeting in deep ditches outside the farms.
The farmers were promised compensation by the UN and the PA. However, according to Luigi Damiani, project manager for the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization, compensation involves more than just paying for the chickens. It must compensate for the downtime in which the farmers have nothing to sell and for restocking once the bird flu threat has passed. The process of culling, vaccinating and restocking, Damiani cautioned, would take many months. The lack of animal protein in the Palestinians' food supplies during this time was particularly problematic for children.
Although Israel was being "proactive" in dealing with the bird flu threat both inside Israel and with regards to the PA, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East PeaceProcess Alvero de Soto said that the "irregular opening of the Karni crossing" represented a significant problem. While this problem was long-standing, the UN envoy said, the bird flu situation has made it more pronounced.
When asked if any measures were being taken to replace protein supplies in the Palestinian territories, Damiani said that there were discussions in the World Food Programme regarding the addition of fish to food supplies already being sent to the Palestinian territories. In addition, Damiani suggested, if Israel would allow fishing off the Gaza coast, it could add sardines to the Palestinian market. "Sardines are a cheap fish," he noted, "so the average person will be able to afford it."
Israel provided several dozen doses of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu on loan to the PA, Manenti told reporters, adding that countries needed to purchase enough doses of Tamiflu to treat 25-30% of their population. But, he said, "even Israel can't afford that." The PA needed doses for at least 3% of its population just to deal with the direct threat of infection, at a cost of some $2 million. Meanwhile, Manenti said, the UN needed several hundred doses immediately for those officials and farmers who were exposed to the infected birds.
A WHO mission to the Gaza Strip will release its findings later on Thursday regarding the spread of bird flu in Israel and the Palestinian Authority and will issue specific recommendations for responding to the threat.
In mid-March, bird flu was confirmed in Israel in two agricultural communities outside the Gaza Strip. By March 23, the PA had confirmed bird flu cases in two commercial chicken farms in Gaza. No human cases have been reported in either Israel or the Palestinian territories.
What Is The Best Source Of Protein?
The richest sources of protein are animal foods such as chicken, meat, fish, cheese and eggs. However, plant proteins are believed to be healthier because of their lower fat content. Plant protein is found (eg) in beans (esp. soy beans), lentils, nuts, quorn and seeds. -
Protein: Moving Closer to Center Stage [excerpt from this source]
Until recently, protein got little attention. Like a quiet child in a classroom of rowdies, it was often overshadowed by fat, carbohydrates, and vitamins. That's changing. Lately there's been an explosion of interest in protein, largely triggered by high-protein diets for weight loss.
Surprisingly little is known about protein and health. We know that adults need a minimum of 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day to keep from slowly breaking down their own tissues. That's about 9 grams of protein for every 20 pounds. Beyond that, there's relatively little solid information on the ideal amount of protein in the diet, a healthy target for calories contributed by protein, or the best kinds of protein.
Around the world, millions of people don't get enough protein. Protein malnutrition leads to the condition known as kwashiorkor. Lack of protein can cause growth failure, loss of muscle mass, decreased immunity, weakening of the heart and respiratory system, and death.
major food producers part of the problem
Food companies condemned over quality
Tuesday, 4th April 2006, - Category: Healthy Living LIFE STYLE EXTRA (UK) -
A scathing report on some the world's biggest food firms revealed many don't give 'a jot' about the obesity crisis sweeping the country.
Of the 25 firms who must comply with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, the majority have failed in their fight against obesity, cancer and heart disease by continuing to sell fatty, salty, sugary foods.
WHO guidelines demand that food firms promote healthy diets and advertise responsibly, but the report by London's City University found that retailers claiming to be on the side of the consumer let customers down.
Only 11 of the 25 had policy statements on obesity, children's food, or made a commitment to a selling a healthy range of food. Ten took action on reducing salt in their products, but only five acted on sugar intake and four on fat.
Embattled fast food chain MacDonalds has only pledged to review portion sizes.
Dismissing the cost of change as an excuse Professor Tim Lang, who led the research, admitted he was surprised by the findings. He said: "Food firms spend a lot of time saying they are the consumer's friends. "Poll after poll say people wanted to do the right thing for their health and their children.
"These are sophisticated, very powerful companies. I thought they would see the benefits of a positive health profile." He added: "I was really concerned that so many companies felt they didn't even had to pretend."
A spokesman said the UK food industry took its responsibilities seriously. The spokesman said: "If the report's authors want the food and drink manufacturing industry to take more action on food and health, they are pushing at an open door. "FDF's Food and Health Manifesto is a clear demonstration of industry's commitment to helping tackle the problems surrounding food and health."
Wildlife kill off...Geo-engineering?
Bird flu poses fresh threat to endangered species
By Ed Stoddard Wed Mar 22, JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -
The deadly bird flu virus may pose a fresh threat to endangered mammal species including big cats such as tigers and leopards, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said on Wednesday. UNEP said it was especially concerned about countries like Vietnam, which is home to both a rich variety of wild species and a large poultry industry that has been hit by avian flu outbreaks.
"A far wider range of species, including rare and endangered ones, may be affected by highly virulent avian flu than has previously been supposed," UNEP said in a statement. It said experts at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference in Brazil said "there is growing evidence that the H5N1 virus can infect and harm big cats like leopards and tigers, small cats such as civets and other mammals like martens, weasels, badgers and otters."
Since late 2003, the H5N1 strain of avian flu has killed more than 100 people and in recent weeks has spread with alarming speed into Africa, Europe and Asia.
It has killed or led to the culling of some 200 million birds globally. It also has been detected in a marten, a weasel-like mammal, in Germany, and there have been reported infections in cats in Germany and a dog in Azerbaijan. In December 2003, two tigers and two leopards, fed on fresh chicken carcasses, died unexpectedly at a zoo in Thailand. Subsequent investigation identified H5N1 in tissue samples.
FEEDING ON WILDLIFE?
UNEP said avian flu could also pose an indirect threat to rare animals if concerns about chicken meat or poultry culls forced poor people in rural areas to turn to wildlife for their protein. "Culling of poultry, especially in developing countries where chicken is a key source of protein, may lead to local people turning to 'bushmeat' as an alternative," it said. "This may put new and unacceptable pressure on a wide range of wild living creatures from wild pigs up to endangered species like chimpanzees, gorillas and other great apes."
But UNEP said drastic measures, such as culling wild birds or draining wetlands, had to be avoided. UNEP said wild bird species that appeared at special risk from the virus include members of the crow and vulture families.
Bird flu could have devastating consequences on island habitats, which tend to be especially fragile because of their limited size and separation from other ecosystems. Their isolation also means they often harbor species found nowhere else, making them "biologically valuable."
UNEP said some islands, from Hawaii and the Galapagos across to the Seychelles and Mauritius group, may need to consider bans on imports of poultry and wild birds in order to safeguard their special biodiversity. Some critics say bird flu may well be a product of a shrinking gene pool in domestic livestock caused by modern farming methods.
"... reduced genetic diversity in domestic animals like poultry in favor of a 'monoculture' in the last 50 years has resulted in a reduction of resistance to many diseases," Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the CBD, was quoted as saying. - reuters via Yahoo
Humans Fuel Worst Extinction Since End of Dinosaurs
Robert Roy Britt - LiveScience Managing Editor - LiveScience.com Mon Mar 20, 3:00 PM ET
Changes to Earth's biodiversity have occurred more rapidly in the past 50 years than at any time in human history, creating a species loss greater than anything since a major asteroid impact wiped out the dinosaurs. That's the conclusion of Global Biodiversity Outlook 2, a report released today by the United Nation's Convention on Biological Diversity.
"In effect, we are currently responsible for the sixth major extinction event in the history of the Earth, and the greatest since the dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago," the report states.
The wide-ranging report also states that demand for resources globally exceeds the biological capacity of the Earth by some 20 percent.
Among the findings:
The average abundance of species declined 40 percent between 1970 and 2000 while species in rivers, lakes and marshlands have declined by 50 percent.
Between 12 and 52 percent of species within well-studied higher taxa including birds, mammals and amphibians are threatened with extinction.
In the North Atlantic, populations of large fish have declined 66 percent in the last 50 years.
Since 2000, 6 million hectares of primary forest have been lost annually.
In the Caribbean, average hard coral cover declined from 10 to 50 percent in the last three decades.
35 percent of the world's mangroves have been lost in the last two decades.
"Two thirds of the services provided by nature to humankind are in decline, worldwide," said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the U.N.'s Convention on Biological Diversity, in an open letter to all of the planet's citizens. "Humans have made unprecedented changes to ecosystems in recent decades to meet growing demands for food and other ecosystems services."
What humans need
The report offers simple economic logic for maintaining biodiversity: "Biodiversity loss disrupts ecosystem functions, making ecosystems more vulnerable to shocks and disturbances, less resilient, and less able to supply humans with needed services." Biodiversity loss has "weakened nature's ability to deliver its vital services," Djoghlaf writes. "Human activity is putting such strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted."
The report also makes this appeal: "Apart from nature's immediate usefulness to humankind, many would argue that every life form has an intrinsic right to exist, and deserves protection." It calls for reversing the trends of biodiversity loss by 2010. The convention initially set this goal up in 2002 but cautioned in the new report that little progress has been made.
"What is needed is a Global Alliance that brings governments, business, industry, non-governmental organizations, and the men, women, and youth of this world together in a common endeavor," Djoghlaf said.
Top 20 Extinction Hotspots
Closest Human Relatives Face Extinction
Global Warming Likely Cause of Worst Mass Extinction Ever
Illegal Animal Trade at $6 Billion Annually
Five Deep-Sea Fish on Brink of Extinction
16,000 Species Said to Face Extinction
By SAM CAGE, Associated Press Writer Mon May 1, GENEVA -
Polar bears and hippos are among more than 16,000 species of animals and plants threatened with global extinction, the World Conservation Union said Tuesday.
According to the Swiss-based conservation group, known by its acronym IUCN, the number of species classified as being in serious danger of extinction rose from about 15,500 in its previous "Red List" report, published in 2004.
The list includes one in three amphibians, a quarter of the world's mammals and coniferous trees, and one in eight birds, according to a preview of the 2006 Red List. The full report is published later this week.
"Biodiversity loss is increasing, not slowing down," said Achim Steiner, the conservation group's director general. "The implications of this trend for the productivity and resilience of ecosystems and the lives and livelihoods of billions of people who depend on them are far-reaching."
The Red List classifies about 40,000 species according to their risk of extinction and provides a searchable online database of the results. The total number of species on the planet is unknown, with 15 million being the most widely accepted estimate. Up to 1.8 million are known today. People are the main reason for most species' decline, mainly through habitat destruction, according to IUCN.
Polar bears are threatened by global warming and melting ice caps, because they are conditioned for the icy environment and depend on Arctic ice floes for hunting seas. They are predicted to suffer a 30 percent population decline in the next 45 years.
The hippopotamus population in war-ravaged Congo, meanwhile, has plummeted by 95 percent, mainly because of unregulated hunting for meat and ivory in their teeth.
"Regional conflicts and political instability in some African countries have created hardship for many of the region's inhabitants, and the impact on wildlife has been equally devastating," said Jeffrey McNeely, chief scientist at IUCN.
Freshwater fish have suffered some of the most dramatic population declines because of human activities that damage their habitat, like forest clearance, pollution and water extraction. In the Mediterranean, more than half of the 252 endemic species are threatened with extinction. Seven species, including two relatives of carp, are already extinct, IUCN said.
The conservation union warned that the decline in wetlands and freshwater ecosystems will also damage supplies for humans of food, clean drinking water and sanitation.
Other species threatened with extinction include desert gazelles, ocean sharks and Mediterranean flowers, IUCN said.
Some 784 are listed as extinct - only a small increase from 2004 - while 65 are found only in captivity. But the situation looks a little brighter for some others, such as the white-tailed eagle and Indian vultures.
"Reversing this trend is possible, as numerous conservation success stories have proven," Steiner said. "Biodiversity cannot be saved by environmentalists alone - it must become the responsibility of everyone with the power and resources to act."
Geomagnetic flip may not be random after all
21 March 2006
One of the most fascinating natural phenomena on Earth is the flipping of its magnetic field, which has occurred hundreds of times in the last 160 million years. When the magnetic field flips, the North Pole becomes the South Pole and vice versa. The last time this happened was some 780,000 years ago, so we could be heading for another reversal soon. Now, physicists in Italy have found that the frequency of these polarity reversals is not random as previously thought but occurs in clusters, revealing some kind of "memory" of previous events (physics/0603086).
Although a full geomagnetic polarity reversal can take thousands of years to complete, the implications could be enormous. As well as affecting the migration trajectories of birds and other animals, the disruption to the Earth's magnetic field could expose the Earth to hazardous cosmic rays -- a scenario that some researchers have linked to mass extinction events like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs around 65 million years ago. Geoscientists believe that our planet's internal magnetic dynamo is responsible for pole reversals, but the actual mechanism is not well understood.
Previous analyses assumed that the number of times the poles have reversed over last 160 million years follows a Poisson distribution, implying that the events are random. The Poisson distribution tells you the probability of a number of events occurring in a fixed time if the events are independent and the average rate is known. A good example of the Poisson distribution in physics is the likelihood of unstable radioactive nuclei decaying in a certain period.
Now, a team of physicists led by Vincenzo Carbone of the University of Calabria have discovered that the sequence of polarity reversals can be well described by a Lévy distribution instead. In contrast to Poisson statistics, the Lévy distribution describes stochastic processes that are characterised by the presence of "memory" effects -- or long-range correlations between the events in time. Lévy distributions are widely used to study many critical phenomena, such as earthquakes, and also when analysing financial data. The researchers obtained their results by careful statistical analysis of different sets of paleomagnetic data containing estimates of when the Earth's poles reversed.
"The result means that polarity reversals are not random events that are independent of each other," explains team member Fabio Lepreti. "Instead, there is some degree of memory in the magnetic dynamo processes giving rise to the reversals," he says. "We hope that our work will serve as a useful reference point for models that aim to describe the phenomenon of pole reversal." The Italy team now plans to build new dynamic models to describe the field reversal sequences in a simple way, so that the physical mechanisms that trigger pole reversals can be more easily explained. - physicsweb.org
Geoengineering: A Climate Change Manhattan Project - A Climate Change Manhattan Project
(Jay Michaelson, published in the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, January, 1998)
"The projected insufficiency of Kyoto's emission reduction regime, and the problems of absence, cost, and incentives discussed in part II, cry out for an alternative to our present state of climate change policy myopia."
"Geoengineering--intentional, human-directed manipulation of the Earth's climatic systems--may be such an alternative. This part proposes that, unlike a regulatory "Marshall Plan" of costly emissions reductions, technology subsidies, and other mitigation measures, a non-regulatory "Manhattan Project" geared toward developing feasible geoengineering remedies for climate change can meaningfully close the gaps in global warming and avert many of its most dire consequences."
"In some ways, this phase has already begun, as geoengineering has moved from the pages of science fiction to respectable scientific and policy journals. [FN127] One of the most encouraging proposals today focuses on the creation of vast carbon sinks by artificially stimulating phytoplankton growth with iron "fertilizer" in parts of the Earth's oceans. [FN128] Another proposal suggests creating miniature, *106 artificial "Mount Pinatubos" by allowing airplanes to release dust particles into the upper atmosphere, simulating the greenhouse- arresting eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. [FN129]" pp. 105-106, Geoengineering: A Climate Change Manhattan Project."
so what if the elites Geo-engineer
this planet into one which serves their power fetish? Terraforming a global plantation...an artificial planetary market garden - managed by pure blooded elites
synthetic biology: Genetic engineering on steroids
"Scientists creating new life forms cannot be allowed to act as judge and jury," explains Dr. Sue Mayer, Director of GeneWatch UK. "The possible social, environmental and bio-weapons implications are all too serious to be left to well-meaning but self-interested scientists. Proper public debate, regulation and policing is needed."
In the last few years, synthetic biologists, by re-writing the genetic code of DNA, have demonstrated the ability to build new viruses and are now developing artificial life forms. In October last year, synthetic biologists at the US Center for Disease Control re-created the 1918 Spanish flu virus that killed between 50-100 million people (2) and last month scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created a new version of E. coli bacteria (3). Meanwhile, genomics mogul Craig Venter, whose former company, Celera, led the commercial race to sequence the human genome, now heads a new company, Synthetic Genomics (4), that aims to commercialize artificial microbes for use in energy, agriculture and climate change remediation. It is one of around 40 synthetic biology companies undertaking gene synthesis and/or building artificial DNA.
"Biotech has already ignited worldwide protests, but synthetic biology is like genetic engineering on steroids," says Dr. Doreen Stabinsky of Greenpeace International. "Tinkering with living organisms that could be released in the environment poses a grave biosafety threat to people and the planet," adds Stabinsky.
In October 2004, an editorial in the journal Nature warned, "If biologists are indeed on the threshold of synthesizing new life forms, the scope for abuse or inadvertent disaster could be huge." The editorial suggested that there may be a need for an "Asilomar-type" conference on synthetic biology - a reference to an historic meeting in 1975 where scientists met to discuss biosafety risks associated with genetic engineering and opted for self-governance which ultimately pre-empted and avoided government regulation. Following the Asilomar model the "Synthetic Biology Community" intends to use their second conference (Synthetic Biology 2.0, 20-22 May 2006) to adopt a code of self-governance for handling the biosafety risks.
via Indymedia UK
Live Bird Flu Virus Found
In Victim's Blood
By Helen Branswell Canadian Press 5-5-6 TORONTO --
Live H5N1 avian flu virus can be isolated in the blood of its human victims, a finding that will be reported by Thai researchers in an upcoming issue of a scientific journal.
Evidence that H5N1 can spread via the bloodstream to parts of the body not normally attacked by influenza viruses confirms this particular flu strain poses special challenges for both patient treatment and infection control, experts say. It also raises theoretical questions about the safety of the donated blood system should H5N1 trigger a pandemic.
"This is the first report of a high amount of (H5N1) virus in blood in humans," University of Ottawa virologist Earl Brown said of the findings, outlined in a letter slated for publication in the June issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
"That's a bit surprising because blood is poisonous to flu virus. If you take any blood ... and add it to flu, you kill it (the virus). This showed that the virus was living in the blood," said Dr. Brown, who was not an author of the letter.
While some types of viruses spread well in blood, cases of viremia - viral infection in the bloodstream - have only rarely been reported with influenza.
The researchers - from Chulalongkorn University, Srinakharinwirot University and the National Institute of Animal Health, all in Bangkok - reported on the case of a five-year-old Thai boy who died of H5N1 infection Dec. 7.
A blood sample drawn on the day he died contained high levels of live virus.
The finding helps to explain reports that some humans with H5N1 experience what is called systemic infection, with the flu virus spreading beyond its normal home in the respiratory track to organs that would typically go untouched by human flu viruses.
Other research groups have reported finding traces of H5N1's RNA in blood. Those findings were highly suggestive that the virus was using the bloodstream to disseminate throughout the body, but were not strong enough evidence to rule out that spread was actually occurring via other routes such as the lymphatic system.
Researchers at Oxford University's clinical research unit at the Hospital for Tropical Medicine in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, for instance, reported last year on a boy whose H5N1 infection spread to his brain, causing encephalitis.
The lead author of that report, virologist Menno de Jong, said his group has found viral RNA in the blood of about half of the H5N1 patients in which they've looked for it.
"It was really surprising for influenza, because the case reports of human influenza and viremia are so rare," he said from Ho Chi Minh City.
"It's probably quite common in H5N1 infected patients."
That poses challenges for treating patients infected with H5N1 because if the virus is spreading through the blood, so too must drugs that aim to combat the infection.
Currently there are only four flu antivirals on the market and one, zanamivir (sold as Relenza) is administered to the respiratory tract by inhalation. The drug would need to be formulated in an injectable form to be useful for systemic infection, Dr. de Jong said.
It also raises concerns about infection control for health-care workers and laboratory scientists coming in contact with the blood of H5N1 patients - although precautions against contact with blood are widespread as a consequence of years of experience with blood-borne infections like HIV and hepatitis C.
"I think for this kind of flu, infection control measures should include all bodily secretions, basically," Dr. de Jong said.
The findings also raise questions about whether blood transfusions could be a source of infection if H5N1 were to become a pandemic strain.
Canadian Blood Services and the American Red Cross have been studying the issue, but currently it is believed that the risk is more theoretical than real, because influenza's incubation period is so short. Once people develop symptoms they would be unlikely to want to give blood and would probably be turned away if they showed up to a blood-donor clinic.
"From the blood-donor and blood-supply point of view, the issue would be whether there's virus in the blood before the patient becomes ill," said Dr. Jeffrey McCullough, who holds an American Red Cross professorship in transfusion medicine at the University of Minnesota.
"Once you've got somebody that's sick, of course, they wouldn't be acceptable as a blood donor," he said.
Clean the Blood, Cure Bird Flu?
By Mark Baard Mar, 31, 2006
California researchers say a blood-cleaning machine could save lives if bird flu becomes a pandemic. Fighting viruses by cleansing the blood might sound too good to be true, and many infectious disease experts say it is.
The device, called the Hemopurifier, performs a type of dialysis. According to James Joyce, founder and CEO of Aethlon Medical in San Diego, it can also remove smallpox and the Ebola and Marburg viruses.
The Hemopurifier works against so many different viruses, according to Joyce, that the device could one day serve as a "portable immune system."
Joyce's lofty claims make some infectious-disease specialists bristle. For one thing, dialysis carries a serious risk of infection, something Joyce himself admits.
"But if there is no alternative but death," said Joyce, "I'm betting that patients and their doctors will want this as an option."
Altheon scientists are seeking grants from the federal government's BioShield program to fund studies to prove their technology works. They're hoping for promising results from animal studies and a small trial on five human volunteers in India. So far, they have seen promising results only in studies performed with cells in a dish.
Even if it does work, applying the dialysis to millions of patients is logistically impractical, said Dr. Annie De Groot, director of the TB/HIV Research Laboratory at Brown University.
It is "easier to mass-produce vaccines than mass-dialyze people," De Groot said. "I wouldn't spend a lot of time on this approach."
But Joyce believes the Hemopurifier could be a better approach than vaccines, which can take months to develop because the virus continues to mutate. Plus, vaccines will only help those who have not yet contracted the disease.
Antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu are expected to be in high demand in a pandemic. Meanwhile, Tamiflu-resistant strains of avian influenza A (H5N1) are already emerging.
The Hemopurifier could reduce the amount of medication a flu patient needs, which would make the United States' antiviral drug stockpile last longer, Joyce said.
The technology consists of a traditional dialysis machine rigged with a cartridge invented by Aethlon scientists. As blood flows through the device, Joyce said, the Hemopurifier filters out viruses, allowing the patient's embattled immune system to become strong enough to fight off the disease.
The cartridge contains fibers with pores large enough for viruses and toxins to pass through. The viruses bind to proteins arranged outside the fibers. The cleansed blood then returns to the bloodstream.
Traditionally, cleansing the bloodstream of toxins is a process known as hemofiltration. The process has been used to treat sepsis, and even Anthrax and Marburg infections, which is why Joyce believes the Hemopurifier will work.
There is evidence to suggest that H5N1 is more invasive than other flu strains, and that it spends more time in the blood, a stage of infection called viremia, said Dr. Walter A. Orenstein, former director of the National Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and now a professor at Emory University.
In that viremic stage, something like the Hemopurifier could help reduce the patient's viral load, Orenstein said. But the treatment still may not save the patient, he said, because "the importance (of viremia in H5N1 infections) is unclear."
Indeed, Orenstein has serious doubts about a device that targets the flu in the bloodstream.
"You get the flu by inhaling it into your lungs," said Orenstein. "And most of the human deaths from H5N1 have been from pneumonia."
"applying dialysis to millions of patients is logistically impractical,"
that's why they'll only give it to the chosen few...
IBM joins health big guns vs. disease
By Stacey Singer - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer - Monday, May 15, 2006
Whether it's SARS, ebola, mad cow or bird flu, the appearance of new infectious diseases requires public health leaders to make hard decisions based on limited information.
Should they slaughter livestock? Close airports? Quarantine a building or a city? Launch a mass vaccination campaign?
The World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and IBM announced plans today to collaborate on a project they have dubbed the Global Pandemic Initiative. It's intended to turn information technology into a smart bomb against global disease outbreaks, whether natural or man-made.
The partnership ties into IBM's recently announced plan to collaborate with The Scripps Research Institute in Florida. Their Checkmate project aims to use a powerful supercomputer to predict the evolution of threatening flu viruses before they arise, so that optimal vaccines and drugs can be in place when needed.
The IBM pandemic initiative grew out of a meeting among IBM, CDC and world health officials in November, said Joe Jasinski, IBM's program director for health care and life science research, based in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
"We said, 'Here's our view on pandemic disease from the perspective of a company that employs 320,000 people in 173 countries around the world. We're not public health experts, we're information technology experts. So what could the world's largest IT company do to help you with your problems?' "
Several key issues emerged, Jasinski said, including the need for diverse computing systems to share health records and other data, and the need for better modeling tools.
Recent success in controlling SARS and new strains of flu are demonstrating that culling a flock of chickens at the site of an avian flu outbreak, imposing limited quarantines or sending antivirals to the right place at the right time can make the difference between an outbreak and a pandemic.
In 2003, a strain of bird flu called H7N7 infected the eyes of 80 poultry workers in the Netherlands and killed one. It had been thought that the H7 strain couldn't infect humans.
European health officials responded by destroying the chickens on the farm and isolating nearby farms until they were satisfied that the danger had passed. Anyone in contact with the birds or the sick people was vaccinated and given antiviral drugs.
The strategy appeared to work: The outbreak was stopped and the public health response caused minimal economic damage to the Netherlands and its poultry industry.
But other approaches can wreak economic damage that rivals the impact of the disease itself, Jasinski said.
The decision to cull thousands of cattle in Great Britain because of mad cow disease was estimated to cost that beef industry about $10 billion. Asian nations sustained similar losses because of the travel restrictions associated with SARS.
Jasinski said he hopes such damages can be minimized if better predictive models are developed.
A program called Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler could integrate data such as mapping software, medical records, bird migratory patterns, livestock market locations and air travel patterns to help estimate the path a pathogen could take.
"This modeling allows you to do 'what-if?' scenarios," Jasinski said. "Where are the best places to stockpile the antivirals? Does closing the airports help?"
The system will be made freely available to scientists participating in the pandemic initiative. Besides the World Health Organization and the CDC, participants include the U.S. Agency for International Development, Scripps and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Center for Biosecurity.
A different type of modeling will be employed for the Checkmate project, Scripps President Richard Lerner said. The goal there is to project how seemingly insignificant changes in the protein building blocks of a virus can turn it from an animal threat into a human threat.
With that information, chemists and biologists can develop the right vaccines and drugs well in advance. A team of scientists and mathematicians is working on a significant grant proposal, Lerner said.
Jasinski said IBM has put a great deal of research into developing better supercomputers and software, but it's time for the next step.
"It's likely that major breakthroughs in the future will be in finding ways to use the new technologies — not just in making the new technologies," Jasinski said.
Keywords: "surveillance, risk analysis and disease management".
Scientists to gather in Rome for UN bird flu conference
25/05/2006 - Ireland Online
Some 300 scientists and animal experts from around 100 countries will gather in Rome next week for a conference aimed at examining the role of wild birds in spreading the deadly strain of bird flu.
The May 30-31 conference is organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), based in Rome, and by the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health.
The key issue will be the role of wild birds, as opposed to domestic poultry, in spreading the virus.
According to Joseph Domenech, FAO's chief veterinary officer, the main problem is that it is not known for sure whether wild birds can act as long-term carriers of highly pathogenic forms of bird flu, such as the H5N1.
"Where they are not reservoirs but only victims of contamination from poultry, then prevention has to remain at the domestic bird level," he said.
"But where they are, we have to find out which birds are involved and where they migrate to in order to prevent other wild birds and poultry being infected."
Also on the agenda of conference is surveillance, risk analysis and disease management, FAO said.
What kind of planet are the Elite Geo-engineering?
A managable one...