Oct 17, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A recent Associated Press (AP) report revealed that, in the name of preventing biological attacks, the United States has rules barring the exportation of vaccines for avian influenza, smallpox, yellow fever, and many other pathogens to five countries classified as sponsors of terrorism.Under Department of Commerce rules, vaccines for a long list of viruses, bacteria, and biological toxins cannot be exported to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria unless they obtain a special export license, which can take weeks.Pandemic flu vaccines are not restricted under the rules. But the Department of Commerce confirmed that—as reported by the AP—Cuba, Iran, and Sudan are subject to a ban on pandemic flu vaccines as part of general US trade embargoes covering nearly all products. Those embargoes are based on “broader foreign policy reasons,” said Kevin Kurland, a spokesman for the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.The list of pathogens subject to the rules includes many viruses, some of which are little known and some of which there is no vaccine for. Examples, besides those mentioned, are the viruses that cause dengue fever, Ebola fever, Marburg fever, Rift Valley fever, and monkeypox. A list of animal pathogens covered by the restrictions includes highly pathogenic avian flu viruses.Bacterial pathogens on the restricted list include anthrax and the microbes that cause tularemia and plague. Not on the list are the causes of common vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, and seasonal influenza.It can take up to 40 days for a country to obtain an export license for a restricted product, Kurland told CIDRAP News. But he said humanitarian needs are considered, and licenses can be granted much faster in emergencies.Rules go back to 1990sThe AP report said the restrictions were quietly established in the mid 1990s and were strengthened after the Sep 11, 2001, attacks and subsequent anthrax mailings. Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were not even aware of the regulations until the AP asked about them, the story said.Disease and bioterrorism experts say there is little reason to think that exporting the vaccines would increase the risk of biological attacks, but a Commerce Department official quoted in the AP story defended them.”Legitimate public health and scientific research is not adversely affected by these controls,” Assistant Commerce Secretary Christopher Wall told the AP.Concerning avian flu vaccines for poultry in particular, Wall declined to explain what kind of threat they pose, but said there are valid reasons for taking steps to ensure they “do not fall into the wrong hands,” according to the story.In response to questions from CIDRAP News, Bill Hall, an HHS spokesman in Washington, DC, said HHS is not usually consulted about trade sanctions, even when they involve medical products. “The United States government currently requires a license for the export from the US of a wide range of goods, products, and services to Cuba, Iran, and Sudan as part of its overall foreign policy,” Hall commented by e-mail.”Although these licensing requirements cover exports of medical products such as human influenza vaccine, HHS is not routinely consulted on the foreign policy decisions to impose sanctions on exports of U.S. goods to state sponsors of terrorism, even including medical products such as vaccines.”In the meantime, HHS is working closely with the Department of Commerce and other government agencies to determine the most effective and humane actions the US government could take to help protect global public health, regardless of the nation or nations involved.”Vaccines into weapons?Scientists quoted in the AP report said the idea that vaccines could be used to make biological weapons makes little sense. Vaccines typically contain inactivated viruses or bacteria or pieces of a virus or bacterium, though some vaccines use live but weakened microbes. Smallpox vaccine contains live vaccinia virus, a less dangerous relative of the smallpox virus.Referring to avian flu vaccines, Ian Ramshaw, an immunology and biosecurity expert at Australian National University in Canberra, told the AP, “I can think of no scientific reason how a terrorist organization could use such a vaccine for malicious intent. I personally think it’s a rather silly attitude and the U.S. is probably going overboard as it has in the past with many of its bioterrorism initiatives.”Infectious disease expert Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, said he doesn’t see the logic behind the restrictions either. He is director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, which publishes CIDRAP News.”There really isn’t any reason that using the vaccine to create the agent would be a concern,” he said. “The only potential implication is if you had individuals working on [weaponizing] the agent, by vaccinating them you could protect them so they could work on it.”He observed that the idea of weaponizing the H5N1 avian flu virus, for example, is not a concern, since the virus does not easily infect humans or spread easily from person to person. The virus could be used as a weapon against poultry, “but that’s not about the vaccine,” he said. “So I don’t understand the logic about this at all.””Anywhere in the world you can reduce the potential for these diseases, we should do that,” Osterholm said.Kurland said countries subject to the restrictions can get export licenses fairly quickly in emergencies.”By executive order, the process for reviewing licenses can take up to 40 days, although this can be expedited in emergency situations,” he said via e-mail. “Humanitarian issues are considered in license applications. During recent hurricane relief efforts in Cuba, for example, license applications for such humanitarian efforts were processed in 4 days or less.”See also: Commerce Department regulations supplement listing pathogens whose vaccines are subject to export restrictions for countries classified as sponsors of terrorism (see pages 57-60, 70)http://www.access.gpo.gov/bis/ear/pdf/ccl1.pdf
Survivors of the 47 people, mostlytourists, who were on or near the volcano when it erupted on Dec. 9., are stillbeing treated in hospitals in both countries for severe burns. An aerial view of the Whakaari, also known as White Island volcano, in New Zealand on Dec. 12, 2019. REUTERS/JORGE SILVA The two individuals were HaydenMarshall-Inman of New Zealand and Winona Langford of Australia, police said. WELLINGTON – The death toll rose to 20on Thursday from a volcanic eruption on New Zealand’s White Island last month,as two people still missing were officially confirmed dead. From the official tally of 20 deaths,18 people have died in New Zealand and two in hospitals in Australia. Official inquiries into the eruptionand New Zealand’s response will take up to a year, Prime Minister JacindaArdern said.(Reuters)
It’s been another frantic week in the world of esports news. There’s been plenty going on as always – and we’re on hand to bring you the biggest stories before the weekend hits.Amongst the biggest headlines this week include Blizzard’s reveal of Overwatch League expansion plans and the revelation they expect to make a profit on its first year. Additionally, 100 Thieves and Fnatic have both made big appointments – whilst rounding off the weekly news is Team Vitality securing substantial investment as the organisation continues to grow.Here’s your weekly roundup:Blizzard eye second season Overwatch League expansionBlizzard has revealed that it will be looking to expand the Overwatch League later this year with the second season.A representative from Blizzard confirmed the news to PC Gamer, saying: “We expect to begin selling additional expansion teams in the Overwatch League later this year. We have no further details to share at this time”. The quarterly earnings call also revealed that it expects the price of expansion teams to increase on the reported $20 million for initial franchises, and also that it expects the Overwatch League to turn a profit in its first full year of operation. The other notable points from the call are that Blizzard is set to focus on expanding the audience and improving the viewer experience. The current season will finish in June and one would assume a second season will get underway and finish before the end of the year.Currently there’s nine of twelve franchises over in the United States, with only three outside of the US. London Spitfire, Seoul Dynasty and Shanghai Dragons are the sole representatives from outside of North America so one would assume Blizzard will be targeting further global expansion.Read the full article here.100 Thieves welcome John Robinson as COO100 Thieves, the organisation founded and owned by Matt “Nadeshot” Haag, has brought John Robinson on board as its first President and Chief Operating Officer.Robinson will report to Nadeshot and serve on 100 Thieves’ board of directors – predominately focusing on growing monetisation capabilities and partnerships for the organisation.John Robinson and Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, 100 ThievesFirst announced in a tweet, this is just another new development for 100 Thieves. Initially starting as a lifestyle and clothing brand run by Nadeshot, the organisation entered the Call of Duty scene during Black Ops II before exiting on July 7, 2016, following a last place finish in the second season of the Call of Duty World League.Discussing the new hire, Nadeshot tweeted that he was “thrilled to announce one of the most important pieces we’ve added to 100 Thieves this year. John’s passion for esports paired with his deep business experience makes him the perfect partner for me. We’ll be working side by side to take 100T to new heights.”More recently, 100 Thieves joined the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) after receiving an investment from Dan Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers, and his venture capital firms. The organisation also joined the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitive scene by acquiring the ex-Immortals roster. It then withdrew from the 2018 season on January 31 due to roster and visa complications.Read the full article here.Nick Fry joins Fnatic as Head of Commercial StrategyLondon based Fnatic have made a major appointment this week with the former CEO of the Mercedes AMG Formula One team, Nick Fry, joining the esports org asHead of Commercial Strategy.Acting as an advisor both commercially and strategically, Fry and his firm Stonehaven Partners will look to continue to grow the esports brand.Announced on February 5, Fnatic will use Fry’s knowledge and experience in performance management and media rights to boost its footprint in the esports industry, as well as improving its potential for partnerships with other brands.Fry began his long-forged career in the automotive industry with Ford Motor Companyover 40 years ago in 1977, initially working in Product Development. 25 years later he became the Managing Director of BAR F1. More recently, he was a main player in Formula One, acting as CEO of Mercedes’ team before leaving in 2013.Read the full article here.Team Vitality secure €2.5 million investmentThe co-founders of Team Vitality, Fabien Devide and Nicolas Maurer, have today announced that they have secured a major investment to the tune of €2.5 million (£2.21m). This has come from investment groups Korelya Capital, Kima Ventures and H26. H26 is an investment company owned by Olivier Decourt, the President of Ligue 1 side Dijon FCO. Team Vitality have stated that they will use the funds to ‘recruit the best players, participate in major professional video game competitions and leagues around the world, and create an academy dedicated to League of Legends’. This academy aspect is perhaps the most interesting, and it’s something more teams are looking to as they aim to train and nurture the next generation of pros. Nicolas Maurer, CEO of Team Vitality said of the news: “Vitality’s ambition is to become an undisputed European leader whose teams participate in all the major professional e-sports leagues. The fundraising, along with our partners, will let us accelerate our growth and consolidate our position among the biggest e-sports brands in Europe.”Team Vitality is one of the top organisations hailing from France, and recently announced that they would be one of four currently announced new teams to join the new season of Gfinity’s Elite Series in London. This investment is notable too as whilst an increasing number of esports orgs over in the States have found major investors, this is a rarer occurrence here in Europe. Vitality field players and teams across a dozen games including League of Legends, FIFA, and PUBG. Read the full article here.
For more on this story, click hereUpdate as of 11:40am – Highway 49 has been re-opened in both directions. At this time the RCMP have not released any information about this accident. When we get more details we will pass them along.At this time we have very little information about an accident that has closed Highway 49 near Dawson Creek.- Advertisement -The road has been closed in both directions from Dawson Creek to about 10km east of Dawson Creek because of a collision. Detours are available on Hwy 3 (Rolla Road) north to Road 210 and on Hwy 3 (Rolla Road) south to Hwy 2.If you have any information or photos to share, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post more information as it becomes available.
The day is meant to be an opportunity to make peace in our own personal relationships, as well as to reflect on and take action to end the larger conflicts of our time. Participants are encouraged to gather at the Northern Alberta Railways Park at 11:15 a.m., where acting mayor Bud Powell will read a proclamation on behalf of the City of Dawson Creek. The march will then proceed to Peace Park, where students and teachers from Notre Dame School will perform the “Song of Peace.” A “Peace Prayer” will then be read, followed by the raising of the United Nations flag.Rotarian Fred Feddema said the local clubs have recognized the International Day of Peace with an event for the last 10 years or so.“One of Rotary’s ideals is to foster fellowship and good will throughout the world, and so peace is one of the avenues we try to promote,” he said. “We try to encourage peace amongst ourselves and our neighbours, and certainly other countries.”- Advertisement -Peace Park was built by the Dawson Creek Beautification Committee as a tribute to international peace.The International Day of Peace, or “Peace Day,” was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly, and the first Peace Day was celebrated in September, 1982. In 2002, the General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.Peace Day is celebrated by millions worldwide with events ranging in scale from private gatherings to public concerts and forums. The public is encouraged to participate by doing something as simple as lighting a candle at noon, or just sitting in silent meditation, or by getting involved in larger events.Advertisement