The Science for a "Gay-Free" Child?:
This blog is the continuation of The Stark Raving Viking blog. The author of all the posts here is Steven G. Erickson a.k.a blogger Vikingas. Keywords: Human Rights Watch China USA World Civil Judicial prosecutorial attorney Judge misconduct brutality police action Connecticut Politics State Martial Law US Constitution
"The Army is contributing $4.8 million toward the research because the government thinks ticks could be used in a bioterrorist plot to spread infectious diseases."
This is a printer friendly version of an article from the Poughkeepsie Journal
The number of cases of ehrlichiosis and babesiosis, both spread by the same black-legged tick that carries Lyme disease, rose steeply in Dutchess County last year.
The tiny blood-sucking arachnid already causes 1,300 documented cases of Lyme disease every year in Dutchess, on average in the past decade. Lyme disease causes a flu-like illness that can lead to severe neurological, arthritic and cardiac problems if not treated promptly and effectively with antibiotics.
And a new type of tick, the lone star tick, is making inroads in the county, promising yet another way to get ill from enjoying the outdoors in the Hudson Valley.
But there is hope, speakers said at a press conference in Poughkeepsie Wednesday that signaled an early kick-off to Lyme Disease Awareness Month in May.
A federal bill supporting research has increased support among local representatives, and scientists are already making progress toward developing a vaccine that would prevent black-legged ticks from biting.
"There is a lot of research going on to solve this problem," said Stephen Wikel, a University of Connecticut scientist who was invited to speak by the Hudson Valley Lyme Disease Association.
Wikel is working to sequence the genome of the black-legged tick. The aim is to understand how tick spit thwarts the human immune response, so that a vaccine can be developed to thwart tick spit. The Army is contributing $4.8 million toward the research because the government thinks ticks could be used in a bioterrorist plot to spread infectious diseases.
In Dutchess County, documented cases of the malaria-like babesiosis were up to 31 in 2005, from eight the past two years, according to preliminary Department of Health data. Documented cases of ehrlichiosis, which is now being called anaplasmosis, were also up significantly — to 194 cases from an average of 65 the previous three years.
Commissioner of Health Dr. Michael Caldwell said concerted educational efforts have helped residents and doctors better prevent and treat tick-borne diseases.
"We're frustrated. We've done all we can, and we need that research to push us forward," Caldwell said. "Ultimately, we're going to need a vaccine that can protect us from the bite of a tick."
A federal bill, the Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education and Research Act, would spend $100 million over five years on research and education. It has support from local Democrats and Republicans, but it is unclear how much support it has across the country.
"I'm hopeful we will be able to speed up the process of finding ways that Lyme disease can be detected, treated and prevented," said Lori Patricola, the Hudson Valley representative of U.S. Rep. John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park.
Dan Shapley can be reached at email@example.com
US bugged Diana's phone on night of death crash
Mark Townsend and Peter Allen in Paris
Sunday December 10, 2006
The American secret service was bugging Princess Diana's telephone conversations without the approval of the British security services on the night she died, according to the most comprehensive report on her death, to be published this week.
Among extraordinary details due to emerge in the report by former Metropolitan police commissioner Lord Stevens is the revelation that the US security service was bugging her calls in the hours before she was killed in a car crash in Paris.
In a move that raises fresh questions over transatlantic agreements on intelligence-sharing, the surveillance arm of the US has admitted listening to her conversations as she stayed at the Ritz hotel, but failed to notify MI6. Stevens is understood to have been assured that the 39 classified documents detailing Diana's final conversations did not reveal anything sinister or contain material that might help explain her death.
Scotland Yard's inquiry, published this Thursday, also throws up further intelligence links with the Princess of Wales on the night she died. The driver of the Mercedes, Henri Paul, was in the pay of the French equivalent of M15. Stevens traced £100,000 he had amassed in 14 French bank accounts though no payments have been linked to Diana's death.
Stevens's conclusion is that Diana, her companion Dodi Fayed, and Paul himself died in an accident caused by Paul driving too fast through the Pont de l'Alma underpass in Paris while under the influence of drink. The car was being pursued by photographers at the time.
Tests have confirmed that Paul was more than three times over the French drink-drive limit and was travelling at 'excessive' speed. The inquiry will quash a number of conspiracy theories that have circulated since 31 August 1997, among them that Diana was pregnant. It also found no evidence that the princess was planning to get engaged to Dodi, son of Mohamed Fayed.
The Harrods tycoon believes that Paul's blood samples were swapped to portray him as a drunk in an elaborate cover-up by the establishment to stop Diana marrying Dodi, a Muslim.
Stevens is expected to concede that while there was a mix-up it was an accident and that the original French post-mortem which found that Paul was three-times over the French drink-drive limit was correct.
He is also expected to discount the role of the white Fiat Uno which struck Diana's car shortly before the crash, even though British police officers have failed to track down the vehicle which left paintwork on the black Mercedes.
The inquiry will support the findings of the original French accident inquiry in criticising the paparazzi as a possible reason for encouraging Paul to speed. The 'bright light' theory - the claim that the driver was deliberately blinded by a beam immediately before the crash - is also dismissed by Stevens.
The Queen Mother
The Hyde Park memorial
24.08.2002: Diana's mother angry at tribute
01.08.2002: Monument to Diana 'is mediocre'
01.08.2002: The Diana memorial: inoffensive and forgettable
17.07.2002: Setback over Diana memorial
31.08.1997: Di reported dead with Dodi in Paris car crash
01.09.1997: How a game of cat and mouse ended with carnage
01.09.1997: Haunted by the image of fame
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The women began disappearing from Vancouver's seediest streets in the 1980s, hookers and dope addicts abandoned on the margins of society. Desperate friends and families were outraged when the police appeared to do little to find them.
Now, the man accused of murdering at least 26 of those missing women is finally going to trial. Jury selection was to begin Saturday for the case against Robert "Willie" Pickton, a pig farmer who, if convicted of all the murders, would become the worst serial killer in Canadian history.
Some 600 potential jurors were being called in Saturday. Justice James Williams has ruled that the trial will be divided into two parts, with the first six counts being tried first.
The gruesome allegations against Pickton fall under a publication ban which prevents the media from revealing details of the alleged crimes until opening arguments on January 8.
Journalists covering the preliminary hearings have been so haunted by the courtroom revelations that some have sought psychological help to deal with their anxiety and nightmares.
Pickton, 56, was arrested in February 2002 by police investigating the disappearances of sex-trade workers from Vancouver's grubby Downtown Eastside district. Health officials later issued a tainted-meat advisory to neighbors who may have bought pork from his farm, concerned the meat may have contained human remains.
Pickton and his brother, Dave, used to throw parties at the hog farm in a barn they had dubbed the "Piggy Palace," telling neighbors they were raising money for charity. Investigators, however, have said the parties were drunken raves with prostitutes and plenty of drugs and booze.
After Pickton was arrested and the first traces of DNA of some of the missing women were allegedly found on the farm, the buildings were razed and the province spent an estimated $61 million to excavate and sift through acres of soil looking for bones and other evidence.
Friends and family of the missing women say those who survived tell horror stories about what took place at the 17-acre pig farm outside Vancouver in Port Coquitlam.
"We deal with stories out here that would blow your mind; this story is just the apex," said the Rev. Ruth Wright of the First United Church in the heart of the Downtown Eastside, the most impoverished neighborhood in all of Canada, where the average life span does not even reach 40.
She knew seven of the victims in her decade of work in the neighborhood, where heroin addicts and sex workers line up in front of her mission for a hot meal, a foot bath or free toiletries, to sleep on the church pews, or seek legal advice and help finding a job.
Wright remembers with sadness Sereena Abotsway, a sweet-faced prostitute who was 29 when she disappeared in August 2001, shortly after marching at the front of a parade demanding the city help find the missing women. The first count of murder against Pickton is in Abotsway's name, and investigators have said that her DNA was found on the farm.
"She was very childlike, very gentle," Wright says of Abotsway. "The last conversation I had with her, she was holding a teddy bear. She loved stuffed animals."
Wright, relatives of the missing women and others who work or live on the streets of the Downtown Eastside say the city and police ignored their plight until the media began investigations of their own and relatives began holding demonstrations demanding answers.
Constable Catherine Galliford of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Joint Task Force told a news conference in March 2002, just after Pickton was arrested and public criticism had peaked, that police resources were limited and the magnitude of the case overwhelming.
"The very sad truth is that horrible things are happening everyday to women who work the streets," she said. "This investigation into missing women is forcing light onto a part of our society that traditionally resides in the very dark shadows."
The task force says it has located at least 102 women believed to be missing. Another 67 women remain on the list, as well as three unidentified DNA profiles from the Pickton farm.
If Pickton is found guilty, he would be the worst serial killer in Canadian history, claiming more victims that Clifford Olson, who pleaded guilty to killing 11 children in British Columbia in 1982.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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If you look at this innocuous little tidbit from the Guardian UK, you'll see that Neil Bush, brother of President George W. Bush, is palling around in public with exiled Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky at a sporting event in England. Nothing of note is mentioned in the item, just some scuttlebutt about UK soccer transactions.
You all remember Neil Bush, right? Billy Carter pales in comparison to this guy. Neil Bush made his bones with the spectacular $1 billion failure of Silverado Savings & Loan and has been involved in several sordid adventures since. But he’s been out of the public eye for a long time, surely to keep from embarrassing his brother.
And who is Boris Berezovsky, you ask? Well, take a look at his Wikipedia entry. You’ll see that Berezovsky, or Platon Elenin as he prefers to be called, has ties to Chechen terrorists and was the subject of a book that claimed he was “a mafia boss who had his rivals murdered.” So what the heck is he doing hobnobbing with the brother of the president of the United States?
Maybe Helen Thomas can ask Tony Snow about it, next time she’s allowed back into the Washington press corps.
UPDATE 14 SEP 2006: A reader pointed out a murder in Russia today that could be tied to Berezovsky or his rivals.
Sir Richard Doll, the celebrated epidemiologist who established that smoking causes lung cancer, was receiving a consultancy fee of $1,500 a day in the mid-1980s from Monsanto, then a major chemical company and now better known for its GM crops business.
While he was being paid by Monsanto, Sir Richard wrote to a royal Australian commission investigating the potential cancer-causing properties of Agent Orange, made by Monsanto and used by the US in the Vietnam war. Sir Richard said there was no evidence that the chemical caused cancer.
Documents seen by the Guardian reveal that Sir Richard was also paid a £15,000 fee by the Chemical Manufacturers Association and two other major companies, Dow Chemicals and ICI, for a review that largely cleared vinyl chloride, used in plastics, of any link with cancers apart from liver cancer - a conclusion with which the World Health Organisation disagrees. Sir Richard's review was used by the manufacturers' trade association to defend the chemical for more than a decade.
The revelations will dismay scientists and other admirers of Sir Richard's pioneering work and fuel a rift between the majority who support his view that the evidence shows cancer is a product of modern lifestyles and those environmentalists who argue that chemicals and pollution must be to blame for soaring cancer rates.
Yesterday Sir Richard Peto, the Oxford-based epidemiologist who worked closely with him, said the allegations came from those who wanted to damage Sir Richard's reputation for their own reasons. Sir Richard had always been open about his links with industry and gave all his fees to Green College, Oxford, the postgraduate institution he founded, he said.
Professor John Toy, medical director of Cancer Research UK, which funded much of Sir Richard's work, said times had changed and the accusations must be put into context. "Richard Doll's lifelong service to public health has saved millions of lives. His pioneering work demonstrated the link between smoking and lung cancer and paved the way towards current efforts to reduce tobacco's death toll," he said. "In the days he was publishing it was not automatic for potential conflicts of interest to be declared in scientific papers."
But a Swedish professor who believes that some of Sir Richard's work has led to the underestimation of the role of chemicals in causing cancers said that transparency was all-important. "It's OK for any scientist to be a consultant to anybody, but then this should be reported in the papers that you publish," said Lennart Hardell of University Hospital, Orebro.
Sir Richard died last year. Among his papers in the Wellcome Foundation library archive is a contract he signed with Monsanto. Dated April 29 1986, it extends for a year the consulting agreement that began on May 10 1979 and offers improved terms. "During the one-year period of this extension your consulting fee shall be $1,500 per day," it says.
Monsanto said yesterday it did not know how much work Sir Richard did for the company, but said he was an expert witness for Solutia, a chemical business spun off from Monsanto, as recently as 2000.