News Scan for Mar 05, 2014

first_imgSaudi Arabia reports two MERS cases, one fatalSaudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) announced two new Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections today, one of them fatal.Few details were available about the patients, according to a statement in Arabic posted on the MOH Web site. Both of them are from Riyadh. One is a 55-year-old man with a chronic health condition who died from his infection, and the other is a 51-year-old man who also suffers from an underlying condition and is hospitalized in an intensive care unit.No other details were posted, such as any possible exposure to animals.The two new cases bump Saudi Arabia’s MERS total to 150 cases, of which 62 were fatal. The country has by far the most cases of any nation reporting infections.So far the World Health Organization (WHO) has yet to confirm three previous cases reported recently by Saudi Arabia. They involve a 56-year-old woman from Riyadh, a 58-year-old man from Al-Ahsa, and an 81-year-old woman from Riyadh who died. The agency’s latest MERS count, updated Feb 28, is 184 cases, including 80 deaths.Mar 5 Saudi MOH notice Saudi MOH MERS-CoV page with case count Feb 28 WHO update on MERS-CoV Study: vCJD blood test accurate enough for large-scale screeningIn a large trial, a test to detect the abnormal prion protein associated with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) performed well enough to conclude that it can be used to screen populations at risk for the disease, scientists reported in JAMA Neurology.Variant CJD, a degenerative brain disease, is the human counterpart of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease), which, the report notes, may have infected as many as 3 million cattle in the United Kingdom.The authors, led by Graham S. Jackson, PhD, of the University College of London Institute of Neurology, used the test on blood samples from 5,000 US blood donors, 200 healthy British donors, 352 patients with nonprion neurodegenerative diseases, 105 patients deemed likely to have prion diseases, and 10 patients with confirmed vCJD.The test showed 100% specificity (no false-positives) in the US donors (who were presumed to be free of prion disease) and in the healthy British donors. Likewise, it produced no false-positives among the patients with nonprion neurodegenerative diseases.Among patients believed likely to have a prion disease, two who had sporadic CJD tested positive (98.1% specificity; 95% confidence interval [CI], 93.3% to 99.8%). And in a small set of samples from unaffected persons and patients known to have vCJD, the test showed 70% sensitivity (95% CI, 34.8% to 93.3%), which reconfirmed previous findings.The authors said the test performed well enough to justify using it to screen a large sample of the British population and at-risk groups to estimate the prevalence of blood prions among British blood donors. Such an estimate would help policy makers decide whether routine vCJD screening is needed for blood, tissue, and organ donations and for patients facing high-risk surgical procedures.Mar 3 JAMA Neurology abstract Mar 3 JAMA press release  Listeria, Vibrio top list of deadliest foodborne pathogensIn terms of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) lost per illness, Listeria monocytogenes and Vibrio vulnificus far and away top the list of deadliest foodborne pathogens, according to a new study in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease.University of Florida and US Department of Agriculture researchers studied 14 of the commonest US foodborne pathogens and ranked them by QALYs, which they say “provide a means of comparing relative risk from diverse health outcomes.”L monocytogenes and V vulnificus both were associated with more than 5,800 QALYs lost per 1,000 cases. That ranked far worse than the next pathogens on the list, with 125 QALYs lost per 1,000 cases for Toxoplasma gondii, 26 for Escherichia coli O157:H7, 16 for both Salmonella and Campylobacter, and 14 for Yersinia enterocolitica.The remaining seven pathogens were estimated to cause less than 5 QALYs lost per 1,000 cases, the researchers said. The 14 pathogens combined cause more than 61,000 lost QALYs each year, the investigators found, and called their numbers “likely conservative.” Mar 3 Foodborne Pathog Dis abstract Experimental drug protects macaques against MarburgScientists have shown for the first time that a small-molecule drug candidate protects nonhuman primates from the Marburg virus, according to a study in Nature.Researchers from the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and their industry partners found that the experimental agent BCX4430 protected cynomolgous macaques from Marburg virus infection when administered by injection as long as 2 days after infection.They further noted that BCX4430, a synthetic adenosine analogue, protected mice against both Ebola and Rift Valley fever viruses, two additional filoviruses. Also, the drug candidate protected guinea pigs exposed to Marburg virus either by injection or by inhalation, with the drug protecting in the latter situation even when given 3 days after infection.In the macaque arm of the study, the investigators treated groups of six infected macaques beginning either 1, 24, or 48 hours after infection with Marburg virus. One animal in the 1-hour-post-infection group died, while all other macaques survived. Untreated monkeys, in contrast, all died within 10 days of infection.First author Travis K. Warren, PhD, of USAMRIID, said in a USAMRIID press release that the drug candidate acts by interfering with the internal “machinery” of the Marburg virus, preventing it from replicating its genetic material. The authors said that the agent exhibits broad-spectrum antiviral activity against bunyaviruses, arenaviruses, paramyxoviruses, and coronaviruses as well.Mar 2 Nature abstract Mar 3 USAMRIID press release  South Korea notes high-path test results for outbreak H5N8 strainThe H5N8 strain of avian influenza responsible for at least 26 outbreaks in South Korean poultry and the death of more than a half million birds has been shown by several measures to be highly pathogenic, according to a report posted yesterday by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).Dr TaeYung Kim, director general of the Livestock Policy Bureau of the country’s Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, said in the report that outbreak viruses the agency tested have a series of basic amino acids at the hemagglutinin cleavage site that confirms they are highly pathogenic to chickens. They also have an intravenous pathogenicity index of 3.0, and the threshold for high pathogenicity is 1.2.In addition, scientists with the country’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (QIA) injected 10 6-week-old chickens intravenously with 0.1milliliters of 1/10 diluted H5N8 virus, and all the birds died within 24 hours, the report said.The report also notes that the QIA submitted genetic information from the viruses to the publicly accessible GenBank database.Mar 4 OIE reportlast_img read more

Minister: Gibraltar STS LNG transfer performed safely

first_imgGovernment of Gibraltar informed that the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, Minister Cortes and Minister Balban visited the Port Authority to witness the ship-to-ship transfer of LNG.The visit presented the opportunity for the Chief Minister to be briefed directly by the Deputy Captain of the Port and the Bunkering Superintendent, both of whom are trained in ship-to-ship LNG transfer, on the safety procedures of a ship-to-ship LNG transfer whilst a transfer was taking place, the government informed in a statement.It thus presented a unique opportunity for the Chief Minster, accompanied by the Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate Change and Minister for Technical Services, to personally witness the health and safety procedures in practice and to ask any questions that may arise.Minister claimed that the transfer is not something that should concern the citizens from either the safety or the environmental protection standpoint. LNG World News Staff; Image: Government of Gibraltarlast_img read more

Ocean Aero Wins DoD Deal

first_imgSan Diego-based Ocean Aero has signed a multi-million dollar two-year contract with the Department of Defense under the Rapid Innovation Fund (DoD RIF) program. Ocean Aero was selected to create a prototype Long Range Unmanned Underwater and Surface Vessel, similar to their current Submaran model. This contract is the result of a year of developing this concept, drafting and writing the proposal, as well as negotiating the contract with the DoD.The Department of Defense’s Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) was created to implement small business technologies into programs designed for national security needs. RIF issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) early last year looking for firms who had the ability to produce a “long range, high endurance hybrid unmanned underwater/surface vehicle that can transit for long, open ocean distances on the surface with a relatively low signature and then submerge to avoid surface traffic and conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.”CEO and President, Eric Patten, said: “We are very excited about this opportunity to grow as a company and demonstrate how valuable the Submaran is to major organizations around the world. This contract further validates that our team is on the right path with our technology and vision.”Image: i7last_img read more

Will-writing fraudster jailed

first_imgAn unregulated will-writer has been jailed for 14 months after fraudulently charging 130 clients between £30 and £60 to fix a non-existent problem with their wills. Berkshire resident Walter Ventriglia, 47, was running a will-writing firm called Legacy & Law. He wrote to the clients, under the alias Tony Edwards, to advise them that their wills would become invalid by changes to the law unless they paid him to make the necessary modifications. There had been no changes to the law. He also ran a will storage business, UK Will Register, that he claimed stored clients’ wills in a secure facility in London, whereas in truth they were kept in an airing cupboard at his home. He was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on 19 August having pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading contrary to section 9 of the Fraud Act 2006.last_img read more

World Crane and Transport Summit 2009

first_imgThe Summit promises to be an exciting new networking business information and social event for the leaders of the world crane and specialised transportation industries, their suppliers and manufacturers.It will comprise a top-level, two day conference and formal business dinner, which will bring together senior executives from around the world. At the Summit, HLPFI columnist, Richard Krabbendam will give a presentation addressing the issues involved in the Stability of Platform Trailers.Delegates will hear about the latest prospects for the global construction industry, the ongoing efforts to create meaningful, harmonised international standards, the most up-to-date and effective strategies on safety, risk management, certification and maintenance, the latest information on energy emissions, permits and load securement. For more information visit week later, this subject will be addressed in more detail (as well as other subjects) during a seminar being organised by Mr Krabbendam. More details for that seminar can belast_img read more

Air Charter Service assists Haiti’s cholera response

first_imgRichard Thompson, senior account manager at ACS London, said: “We received the first call on a Sunday afternoon after the news broke, and had the aircraft – an Antonov 12 – positioned into Madrid’s Torrejon air base on the Monday ready to depart. By late Tuesday the aircraft had landed in Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince.”This was the first of many flights from Europe that ACS’s London office has arranged since, utillising a wide variety of aircraft, including three Boeing 747s, and an Ilyushin 76 carrying 39 tonnes of medical kits and water purifying units.Stuart Smith, cargo director of ACS New York, added: “We have operated many flights out of Miami to Haiti on a range of aircraft including Antonov 12s, B767s and MD-11s over the past few weeks.”last_img read more

ACS’ revenue soars

first_imgThe broker arranged almost 15,000 contracts in 2017, across all divisions, up from 12,500 in 2016. Cargo flights increased by 11 percent year-on-year to 4,300 contracts arranged.Group ceo, Justin Bowman, added: “Our cargo figure of GBP213 million (USD300 million) was somewhat boosted by charters related to the hurricanes in the Caribbean and the southern states of America, along with other one-off contracts, but underlying growth is still impressive.”Out of its 20 worldwide offices, 14 experience at least double-digit growth, says ACS, with its European, American and Far Eastern offices proving to be the star performers.Bowman concluded: “It is an exciting time at ACS right now – two weeks ago we opened our 21st office, in Manhattan, and we have plans for several more in the next 12 months.” www.aircharterservice.comlast_img read more

City solicitor suspended for second cocaine caution

first_imgA high-flying City solicitor has been suspended for a year after being arrested and cautioned for the possession of cocaine and not telling the regulator.Matthew Podger, admitted in 2013, was an associate at US firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton when he was arrested outside his London home in 2018. Podger accepted a caution for possession of a Class A drug for his own use after being found with three wraps of cocaine.According to a judgment published by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, Podger – formerly a trainee at magic circle firm Slaughter and May – did not report his caution to his employer or the Solicitors Regulation Authority.Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP found out about the incident when it received an anonymous letter 10 months later. The former associate was suspended and resigned shortly afterwards.A statement of agreed facts and proposed outcome said Podger had previously accepted a caution in 2014 for possession of cocaine, in what he described as a ‘one off and uncharacteristic lapse of judgment’. In that instance, he had promptly self-reported.On the second caution, the former associate accepted he had ‘failed to show moral soundness, rectitude and a steady adherence to an ethical code’ and had undermined public trust.In mitigation, Podger said he had been undergoing ‘significant stress’ and marital problems, and had been working very long hours. ‘He felt in order to try to maintain his livelihood and save his marriage, he had no choice but to keep secret what had happened.’The tribunal ordered that Podger be suspended from practice for one year to commence on 24 June 2020 and it ordered him to pay costs of £1,809.Upon the expiry of the term of suspension, Podger may not act as a compliance officer for legal practice, a compliance officer for finance and administration, or a money laundering reporting officer.last_img read more

SBB takes up Flirt option

first_imgSWITZERLAND: SBB has exercised an option with Stadler Bussnang for a further 13 Flirt electric multiple-units to be delivered in 2012-13. The SFr128m order announced on May 9 is being partly funded by the cantons of Bern, Luzern and Solothurn.Seven of the 15 kV AC units will be used on Olten – Biel/Bienne services, four on Olten – Luzern RegioExpress services and one on Luzern – Sursee route S18. The final unit will be a spare. The four-section low-floor EMUs will offer 173 seats, a wheelchair-accessible toilet, space for bicycles and prams, air-conditioning, onboard passenger information systems and CCTV.last_img read more

Four railways save money with a joint train order

first_imgSWITZERLAND: Four metre-gauge operators in western Switzerland have jointly selected Stadler Bussnang to supply a total of 17 two and three-car electric multiple-units worth a total of SFr150m.Announcing the orders on March 13, Stadler said joint procurement had saved SFr28m compared to separate competitions and should offer long-term savings through maintenance synergies. Having reached the same point in their fleet renewal cycles, in August 2012 the operators issued a joint invitation to tender with a list of specifications that would meet the needs of all four companies. Stadler will sign separate contracts with each railway. Deliveries are scheduled to run from January 2015 to July 2016, and there are options worth a further SFr80m. Compagnie du Chemin de fer Montreux Oberland Bernois has ordered four EMUs to replace its Class 4000 EMUs dating from 1968. Transports de la Région Morges-Bière-Cossonay has ordered four EMUs to replace units dating back to 1981 and enable the provision of a half-hourly service between Bière and Morges from December 2015. Transports Vallée de Joux Yverdon-les-Bains Ste-Croix has ordered two EMUs to replace stock nearing the end of its service life, and a third to allow the introduction of a half-hourly service between Sainte-Croix and Yverdon-les-Bains. Transports Publics Fribourgeois has ordered six EMUs to replace four older units and provide enhanced Fribourg commuter services.last_img read more