GAO questions anthrax detection methods

first_img Of the 286 postal facilities tested, 23 tested positive. For two of the 23—in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Wallingford, Conn.—the first tests were negative but later tests turned positive. The Wallingford facility didn’t test positive until the fourth round of testing. In another building, in West Trenton, N.J., no anthrax was found in three rounds of tests, even though a worker had contracted cutaneous anthrax. The GAO puts the bottom line thus: “Because the agencies did not use an empirical process to validate their testing methods, the agencies had limited information available for reliably choosing one method over another and no information on the detection limit to use when evaluating negative results.” The agencies used any of four different preliminary tests and three confirmatory tests to identify anthrax in extracted samples. The number of different tests used, in combination with differences at other stages of the sampling process, increases the level of uncertainty about the results, the GAO contends. Rhodes’s prepared testimony summarizing the GAO reporthttp://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05493t.pdf For its evaluation, the GAO broke the agencies’ sampling activities down into five steps: sampling strategy (where and how many samples were gathered), sample collection methods, sample transportation, sample extraction in the lab, and sample analysis. The agencies mostly used processing solutions to extract samples from dry swabs and get them onto plates for culturing, though in some cases they brought dry swabs into direct contact with plates. Either way, the GAO says, “definitive scientific information regarding extraction efficiency is lacking,” casting additional doubt on the reliability of negative results. The GAO’s conclusion is based on an examination of the approaches used by three agencies—the US Postal Service (USPS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—to hunt for anthrax in 286 postal facilities after the anthrax mailings in 2001. The report also finds fault with the methods used to gather samples. In most cases the agencies used dry swabs on surfaces, though they also used some moistened swabs, wet wipes, HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air filter) vacuuming, and air samples. None of the collection methods were tested in advance, so the agencies “had no information available for reliably choosing one method over another and no information on the limits of detection to use when evaluating negative results,” the report states. In shipping their samples, the agencies followed regulations designed mainly to prevent leaks and protect workers. The GAO complains that the regulations did not address the matter of protecting the samples from extreme temperatures or other factors that could compromise their biological integrity and lead to false-negative test results. “The sampling strategy used by the agencies could not provide any statistical confidence with regard to the basic question: Is this building contaminated?” the report says. “The lack of validation of agencies’ activities, coupled with limitations associated with their targeted sampling strategy, means that negative results may not be reliable,” the report says. It recommends that the secretary of homeland security take on the task of ensuring that pathogen detection methods are validated and coordinating environmental testing for pathogens by different agencies. The agencies mainly used a targeted sampling strategy, collecting samples mostly from areas they judged likeliest to be contaminated. The GAO takes issue with this approach, saying the agencies should have done probability sampling to achieve “wide-area coverage” and provide statistical confidence in negative results. See also: “None of the agencies’ activities to detect anthrax contamination in the postal facilities were validated,” the GAO said in prepared congressional testimony based on the report. Apr 18, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says federal agencies may not be able to reliably rule out the presence of anthrax contamination in a building because their sampling and detection methods have not been adequately tested. The agencies have made some changes in their procedures on the basis of lessons learned from the 2001 attacks and have funded some new research. But these efforts, though important, “do not address the issue of validating all activities related to sampling,” in the GAO’s view. The GAO recommends that the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lead an effort to develop a definition of validation and to ensure that the whole set of sampling activities is validated. That should include studies to “develop probability-based sampling strategies that take into account the complexities of indoor environments.” Also, the DHS chief should coordinate the activities of agencies with expertise in environmental testing. However, DHS officials took exception to the role the GAO recommends for their department. DHS maintained that the EPA has “the primary responsibility of establishing the strategies, guidelines and plans for the recovery from a biological attack, while HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services] has the lead role for any related public health response and guidelines,” the final report states. DHS promised to “coordinate with EPA to ensure appropriate investments are made to explore improved sampling.” When they read a draft of the report, the CDC, USPS, and DHS all agreed that the methods for detecting anthrax were not validated and that a systematic validation effort is needed, the report states. The GAO—Congress’s investigative agency—prepared its report for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations. GAO staff member Keith A. Rhodes gave a 19-page summary of the 119-page report in testimony prepared for delivery to the committee on Apr 5. Full report “Anthrax Detection: Agencies Need to Validate Sampling Activities in Order to Increase Confidence in Negative Results”http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05251.pdflast_img read more

Frank Howard assists on 6 baskets in Syracuse’s 60-57 win against Georgia Tech

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Frank Howard was recruited to Syracuse because he is a good passer. He doesn’t turn the ball over. He’s a smart point guard who makes good offensive decisions.Within six minutes of entering the game for SU against Georgia Tech on Saturday, he had proven his reputation correct. By then, he registered four assists, and propelled the Orange to a 29-22 lead, the largest it would be all game.“Frank Howard made some of the best passes we’ve seen in years here,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said.Howard stayed in the game for 14 meaningful minutes of Syracuse’s (15-8, 5-5 Atlantic Coast) 60-57 home win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. He scored just one point, but dished out six assists, collected three rebounds and didn’t turn the ball over a single time.MORE STORIESAdvertisementThis is placeholder textMalachi Richardson closes out Syracuse’s win over Georgia TechDajuan Coleman turns in positive offensive performance despite fouling outWhat we learned from Syracuse’s 60-57 win over Georgia TechFull transcription of Jim Boeheim addressing support for Dwayne “Pearl” WashingtonHe had played just 17 minutes combined over the past three games and had six assists throughout the first nine conference games.“I’ve been trying to come here more focused, watch a lot of film to know where I can pick my spots,” Howard said. “And I think I did a good job of identifying those and making plays.”His prettiest assist came on a Syracuse fast break. Howard ran down to the right wing and took a pass from Malachi Richardson as soon as he got his feet set. Not even a tick later, the ball was in the hands of a cutting Tyler Roberson, who finished a dunk.He bookended his run by drawing in three defenders and tossing a somewhat sidearmed dish to Roberson again. The Orange was up by seven and the Yellow Jackets called timeout.“I thought he was great,” Trevor Cooney said. “From a guard perspective, I’ve been with Frank and I’ve told him to be that spark. All good Syracuse teams have had a spark come off the bench, and he can be that for us, easily. And he was today.”Boeheim joked that he would stay in the game more if he didn’t take so many bad 10-foot floaters. Howard’s 1-of-14 shooting clip in conference games is an indication of why he thinks that. But he did praise the freshman that has wrestled away the backup point guard spot from Kaleb Joseph. And Boeheim praise is tough to come by.“It’s aways good when you can get a compliment from him,” Howard said. “I’m happy I made him proud.” Comments Published on January 30, 2016 at 4:28 pm Contact Sam: sblum@syr.edu | @SamBlum3last_img read more

Countryside Motors is one of the top Hustler Turf Products volume dealers in Kansas

first_imgCountryside Motors is pleased to announce they are one of the top volume dealers for Hustler Turf Products in the state of Kansas.For the first time ever Countryside Motors has been able to take advantage of a special purchase directly from Hustler Turf products in Hesston, KS.    They have taken delivery of an entire truck load of 54 inch Raptor Super Duty mowers. Due to the terms of this special purchase Countryside Motors is able to pass along hundreds of dollars of savings off of MSRP to their customers.   This is a one -time purchase and there are a limited number of units available at this price.   Call Countryside Motors for full details at 620-326-7433. Click the “Read More” button for more details.Âlast_img read more

Port Plaza Features Olympia Brew Fest August 3

first_imgFacebook1Tweet0Pin0 Olympia Brew Fest, on August 3 from 1:00 – 8:30 pm, showcases Northwest micro-breweries and supports Thurston County Economic Development.  Everyone 21 years of age or older with a valid ID is welcome at the Port Plaza.More than 30 Northwest breweries will be on hand with 60+ beers along with five local food vendors and live music.  General admission includes a commemorative mug and six taste tickets for $25.  You may also purchase additional taste tickets.  Admission for designated drivers is discounted to $5.Port of Olympia is a sponsor of this event which benefits the Thurston County Chamber Foundation Small Business Development Program.You will find the Port Plaza just north of Percival Landing, behind Anthony’s Homeport.  Look for the tall viewing tower.Submitted by Port of Olympialast_img read more

Boost for black-owned firms in South Africa

first_imgMaponya Mall in Soweto is owned by RichardMaponya, a Black South African. DTI’s deputy minister Bongi Ntuli believesthe scheme will empower black-ownedbusinesses. World Bank’s Francisco Campos is workingwith DTI in the programme.(Images: Bongani Nkosi)MEDIA CONTACTS• Sidwell Moloantoa MedupeDirector: Media Relations, DTI+27 12 394 1650 or +27 73 522 6801Bongani NkosiBlack-owned emerging businesses are set to receive a welcome boost from a revised empowerment scheme recently introduced by government.The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) relaunched its Black Business Suppliers Development Programme in Pretoria on 28 July. It will offer financial support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a grant-application process.The programme was initially launched in 2002 and has already given grants to more than 9 600 local companies. The revised one will focus more on funding machinery and other equipment required by black-owned firms. It is partially funded by the European Union Job Creation Fund.Operating on a cost-sharing agreement, the DTI will cover 35% of machinery and equipment expenses. It is also offering up to R800 000 (US$110 000) for tools and an additional R200 000 ($27 000) for corporate development.As part of the country’s Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment policy, the programme is targeted at businesses that are more than 50% black-owned and all-women teams. The term “black people”, according to the policy, refers to coloured, African and Indian South Africans – all of whom were excluded from meaningful participation in the country’s economy during apartheid.Companies from all sectors with a current annual turnover of between R500 000 ($69 000) and R35-million ($4.8-million) qualify for funding.The programme will ensure that “small black businesses with potential are given the necessary assistance to grow their enterprises and become more competitive”, said the DTI’s deputy minister, Bongi NtuliThe success of the programme will be measured by the growth of the funded companies in terms of winning major government and private-sector tenders, jobs created and annual profits.“The launch represents a milestone in our efforts to support sustainable black businesses and small businesses in general,” said Tsepiso Makgothi of the DTI’s enterprise organisation division.Role played by World Bank The revised programme will have a trial run from 1 September 2010, with applications open until 15 November. During this period the DTI will be targeting 2 500 enterprises across the country.“The idea is to get as many applications as possible during these two months so that the process starts from there,” said Francisco Campos, a World Bank official who’s helping the DTI implement the programme. The World Bank’s role is purely to provide assistance – there is no financial involvement.If the target is reached, “applications will be closed for the time being”, Campos said.The programme will be piloted for 18 months until government launches the final version, which will allow time for improvements to be made, he added.“I am confident that that whatever teething problems we find will be addressed in this pilot phase,” said Ntuli.Since the initial launch in 2002, the DTI has set up a well-staffed unit to manage the programme. This, together with the new focus on funding equipment, will help the department better meet grant-applicants’ needs.“The new one is far bigger, far better. We believe it will benefit the SMEs,” said Dr Meshack Khoza, CEO of Fresh Thinking Capital, a company that conducted a study on the scheme progress since 2002.Nation-wide focusThe DTI is hoping to reach companies from all over the country, even those in rural areas. It will embark on a massive drive to get the word out.“There will be workshops throughout the country to create awareness,” said Campos.The department has contracted facilitators in all nine provinces to run the workshops. “We’re relying on our facilitators to spread the message,” said Makgothi. “We’ll go throughout the country to inform people so that when we launch it by 1 September, they know about it.”Although the World Bank is not funding the programme, it will monitor how the scheme is being implemented and conduct a study on it. Part of World Bank’s role is to ensure fairness and transparency in the roll-out process.Campos said they aim to guarantee that “no one is excluded on the basis of not knowing anyone” and that “everyone has an equal chance” to get funding.More beneficiaries since 2002The programme began with just four beneficiaries in 2002, but over the years has provided financial support for 9 663 businesses. With about 52% of these being majority-women-owned, the scheme is ensuring that “more and more people have an opportunity to participate in the economy,” said Makgothi.last_img read more

Punjab CM urges Amit Shah to tackle cross-border drones

first_imgTwo days after the Punjab police seized a huge cache of arms, including five AK-47 rifles, pistols hand grenades and satellite phones, and investigation revealed that the weapons were suspected to have been delivered from across the border from Pakistan over drones, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said the incident was a new and serious dimension to Pakistan’s sinister designs in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370.The Chief Minister urged the Union Home Minister to tackle the problem at the earliest.Tagging Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a tweet from his official handle, Capt. Amarinder wrote, “’Recent incidents of Pakistan-origin drones dropping consignments of arms & ammunition is a new and serious dimension on Pakistan’s sinister designs in aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370. Request @AmitShah ji to ensure that this drone problem is handled at the earliest.”On September 22, the police busted a terrorist module of the revived Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), backed by a Pakistan and Germany based terror group, made the arms seizure and arrested four suspects from the outskirts of Chola Sahib village in Tarn Taran district.State Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta had pointed out that initial investigation revealed that the weapons were suspected to have been delivered recently across the border from Pakistan over drones launched by Pakistan’s ISI and the State-sponsored Jihadi and pro-Khalistani terrorist outfits working under its command. “The large-scale infiltration appeared to have been aimed at scaling terrorism and militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and the Indian hinterland, in the wake of the recent developments in the Valley,” he had said.last_img read more

PBA: Magnolia picks up 2nd win after fending off Rain or Shine

first_imgEthel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’ MANILA, Philippines–Magnolia flashed its might on defense when it mattered to hold off Rain or Shine, 69-68, in Friday in the PBA Governors’ Cup at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Becoming his own man Javee Mocon had 14 for the Rain or Shine, while debuting reinforcement Kayel Locke had 14 in the losing stand that gave them a 1-3 card.Magnolia faces winless Alaska next on Sunday at Araneta Coliseum in Cubao while Rain or Shine goes up against Phoenix Pulse next Wednesday at Cuneta Astrodome, also in Pasay.POST-GAME INTERVIEW Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics MOST READ DTI creates Marahuyo, a luxe Filipino fashion brand for global buyers Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next This jewelry designer is also an architectcenter_img Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issue Canadian vaping study details danger from ‘popcorn lung’ chemical Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? Andy Murray’s China Open run meets brave end in quarterfinals LATEST STORIES Drilon apologizes to BCDA’s Dizon over false claim on designer of P50-M ‘kaldero’ “It’s a test of our character. We were just mentally (tougher) in the end,” said Hotshots coach Chito Victolero, whose charges improved to 2-1.Import Romeo Travis took charge in scoring, accounting for the Hotshots’ 26 points to go with 14 rebounds.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40SPORTSBecoming his own manOld reliables Mark Barroca and Ian Sangalang both added eight in the effort.“Our defense is our strength. We’ve gotten it back. That was what we were lacking [in the] last conference,” said Victolero who lauded the Hotshots’ effort down the stretch just when the Painters were trying to complete a comeback. View commentslast_img read more

Aspirations goals and dreams for graduation class of 2018

first_img Updated: 10:16 PM June 13, 2018 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) — It’s graduation time! We thought it might be interesting to hear more from some of this year’s young graduates.“What are your plans for the future?” we asked.At James Madison High in Clairemont Mesa and at Clairemont High, some students talked about becoming engineers, veterinarians, and teachers. One young man said he would join the military and eventually try to get a job as an EMT-firefighter. Another graduating senior said he was going to join the electricians’ union, in preparation for starting a business as an electrician.One young woman said she hoped to become an environmental lawyer, and then the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Many students said they would attend a local community college first and later transfer to San Diego State or another four-year university.Many students told us they were aware of the steeply rising costs of a college education. According to a 2014 national study, seven in ten college students had student loan debt, with an average of nearly $29,000 for each student borrower.We also asked the graduates who they credit for their passion and inspiration.Some said their friends and family helped them, while many gave the credit to their coaches and teachers. 6,000 students this week graduated from the 22 public high schools in the San Diego Unified School District.At the two high schools we visited, more than 90 percent said they planned to attend 2 to 4 year universities.To the class of 2018, we wish all of the young graduates throughout San Diego County much happiness and success! Aspirations, goals and dreams for graduation class of 2018 Sasha Foo, center_img Sasha Foo Posted: June 13, 2018 Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Man Convicted of Killing Son Arrested in Death of Girlfriends Baby

first_imgBy Michelle Richardson, Special to the AFROA man who once spent time in prison for the death of his own son, has been arrested for the murder of his girlfriends 18-month-old child; one of two children who died of murder on consecutive days (the other was seven-year old Taylor Hayes), in Baltimore.Francois Browne, 35, was taken into custody July 20 and charged with first degree murder, according to the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).Francois Browne, 35, was taken into custody July 20 and charged with the murder of his girlfriend’s 18-month-old baby. He spent three years in prison after being charged in the death of his son in 2012. (Courtesy Photo)According to police, Emergency Medical Services responded to the 2800 block of Forest Glen Road in West Baltimore on July 18, at approximately 9:30 p.m. for a report of an unconscious and unresponsive child. Zaray Gray was in the care of Browne at the time when his mother arrived home and found him not breathing. The baby was transported to Sinai Hospital where he was pronounced dead.According to police, doctors at the hospital told detectives that baby Zaray had visible injuries on his body and an X-ray confirmed at least one broken bone. In 2012, Browne spent three years in prison for the death of his biological son, seven-month old Kendall Browne. According to court documents, Browne was alone with his son on New Year’s Eve when he told police he played with his son before they both fell asleep. Browne allegedly told police that when he awoke he found baby Kendall not breathing and that he attempted to perform CPR on the child.Baby Kendall spent several days on life support before he died and his death was the first homicide of 2013, said Baltimore Police. Court documents show he sustained severe head trauma, bleeding on the brain and fractured ribs.Browne was being held at Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center at press time.last_img read more