Daily Archives: May 18, 2011

US proposes retaining the world’s last known smallpox stockpile another 5 years


Microsoft founder Bill Gates shows a vaccination for Meningitis during a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. Gates is in Geneva to attend…   (Associated Press)

US: No rush to destroying last smallpox viruses

Associated Press | May 17, 2011

By JOHN HEILPRIN

The United States has proposed that the last known stockpiles of the smallpox virus should be retained for at least another five years to allow for more research and prevent one of the world’s deadliest diseases being used as a biological weapon.

U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sibelius told reporters Tuesday that the World Health Organization has been asked to decide whether the stockpiles held in secure U.S. and Russian labs should remain in place for at least another five years, when experts could again review the situation.

At a news conference at the U.N.’s European headquarters where the World Health Assembly also was debating the matter, Sibelius said the U.S. is “committed to the eventual destruction” of the stockpiles but fears that smallpox could still re-emerge and be released unintentionally or deliberately used as a biological weapon. Scientists would need the virus to create a vaccine.

An aide to Sibelius, Bill Hall, later told AP that the United States would not act unilaterally, but would await the outcome of a vote on the U.S. proposal in the Geneva-based assembly.

For centuries smallpox killed about one-third of the people it infected, but it was eradicated from the environment three decades ago. The last known case was in Britain in 1978.

Many countries say the world would be safer if the remaining stockpiles of the virus _ held at U.S. federal facilities in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Russian research center in Koltsovo _ were now destroyed. At the meeting this week some of WHO’s member countries again pushed to set a date for the virus’ destruction, the fifth year they have made such an attempt.

WHO officials said there was no indication there was more support for resolving the dispute this year.

The U.N. health agency first agreed in 1996 that smallpox should be destroyed _ though it lacks the power to enforce the decision. But that has been repeatedly delayed to give scientists time to develop safer smallpox vaccines and drugs. There are now two such vaccines and a third coming along, plus experimental drugs in the works to treat but not cure the disease.

A report commissioned by WHO last year concluded the stockpiles could still be useful for drug development.

Sibelius said the possibility of a future biological threat demands more tests with the virus. She says no one has ever verified whether all nations complied with WHO’s efforts to transfer all the collections of smallpox virus to the U.S. and Russian labs.

“The world has no immunity to smallpox whatsoever,” she said. “It could be released unintentionally or released as a bioweapon.”

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates did not directly address the smallpox issue, but he told the world’s health ministers Tuesday that every nation can increase its vaccination rates to as much as 90 percent coverage against meningitis, polio and other diseases over the next decade, as a low-cost way to protect their populations.

Was ‘Predator-obsessed’ maniac who beheaded a grandmother in Tenerife copying his favourite film?


Hunting: In the Predator films, above, aliens track their victims before killing and beheading them for sport

Deyanov said he loved how Predator aliens hunted and beheaded prey

He had alien language from film tatooed on his arm

Bulgarian vagrant grew up in luxury but turned to drugs

Daily Mail | May 17, 2011

By Tom Kelly and Tamara Cohen

The man who beheaded a British grandmother in Tenerife was obsessed with the film Predator and had alien symbols from the movie tattooed on his forearm.

Deyan Deyanov would rave about the movie in which aliens stalk their victims for sport.

He would tell friends that he enjoyed the way the aliens tracked down their prey and removed their heads.

The 28-year-old Bulgarian followed British grandmother Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, through the streets of Tenerife before stabbing her 14 times and decapitating her.

The details of his obsession come after it emerged that Deyanov, the son of a millionaire, turned to drugs and drifted across Europe.

He grew up in luxury with his father, who is a former Communist agent, and worked as a property broker before his life was ravaged by cannabis, cocaine and heroin.

His drug abuse also caused the breakdown of his relationship with the mother of his three-year-old daughter.

It emerged that Spanish police had described him as a danger to the public three months before he beheaded Mrs Mills-Westley in a shop last week.

‘He was obsessed by Predator,’ a friend told the Daily Mirror. ‘He enjoyed the way the Predators hunted and beheaded their victims. And he was always showing his tattoo off.

Yesterday friends described how the intelligent and bright schoolboy ‘threw his life away’ with drugs.

His father, Valentin, was a well-placed member of Bulgaria’s communist party and ran a factory in the northern town of Ruse. When communism collapsed in 1989, he continued to do well, using his old party contacts to buy a lucrative transport company.

Deyanov’s childhood friend Nikolay Lambajiev said: ‘His family had everything. They owned two large apartments and had several expensive foreign cars. He lived a life of luxury and had almost everything he asked for.’

But his ex-girlfriend Dessislava Kosseva said his father’s business collapsed in the late Nineties. She said: ‘The family lost both homes and the parents divorced.’

Deyanov began to go off the rails, dropping out of school and using cannabis, said Miss Kosseva, 27.

Despite his problems, he pulled his life around and worked as a property broker. Mr Lambajiev said: ‘He was doing well. But it all went wrong again when he started taking cocaine and heroin in 2006 after he met a new friend. He persuaded Deyanov to go abroad. They worked for a catering company in Cyprus and went to Tenerife in 2007.’

On a return to Ruse he started a relationship with an economics student called Nadia. She gave birth to a daughter, but they split six months later because she despaired of his drug addiction. He returned to Spain.

He later found work handing out cards to advertise a timeshare scheme and rented a flat in Los Cristianos.

Following a crackdown on timeshare salesmen, he struggled for money working as a tout for beachfront restaurants and bars and eventually ending up living in a squalid semi-derelict building.

In a chilling video filmed on a mobile phone, the killer boasted people would ‘end up dead’, the Sun revealed.

The video – shot four years ago while Deyanov smoked marijuana – was filmed while he was working in a seafront restaurant.

In the five-minute film he added: ‘I don’t like human beings but you are one of the few I like.’

Yesterday Tenerife officials admitted that Mrs Mills-Westley’s death could have been avoided after it was revealed that Deyanov had been on bail for another violent crime at the time.

The Bulgarian, who was sleeping rough in the Los Cristianos resort, had been arrested on January 4 for an attack on a security guard.

Despite warnings that he was ‘dangerous’ and concerns about his mental health, he was detained in a psychiatric hospital for only five days’ assessment and then freed on bail.

On Friday he beheaded Mrs Mills-Westley in a Chinese supermarket.

Local politician Manuel Reveron said: ‘If it had been dealt with differently this terrible crime could have been avoided. He should not have been released from the psychiatric hospital.’

Deyanov is in prison awaiting psychiatric evaluation.

‘Somebody did something bad to me’: What IMF boss ‘sex attack’ victim told horrified brother about ‘assault’ at New York hotel


Denied bail: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, waits to be arraigned today

Strauss-Kahn ‘will claim consent, say defence lawyers’

Victim called her brother an hour after alleged assault

Claimed IMF chief ‘twice forced himself on her’

Police reportedly found blood on sheets in suite

Fresh claim he victimised other maids at same hotel

Daily Mail | May 17, 2011

By Daniel Bates

The alleged rape victim of Dominique Strauss-Kahn told a relative in her first phone call after the attack: ‘Somebody did something really bad to me’, he revealed tonight.

The woman phoned her older brother an hour after the alleged assault took place and gave him a horrifying account what the head of the IMF allegedly did to her.

Crying uncontrollably, she said that she had been trapped inside the hotel bedroom while the Frenchman twice tried to force himself on her.

She told him he was the first member of family to whom she had revealed the alleged attack He said he told her not to talk to anybody and immediately contacted a lawyer to represent her.

The alleged victim’s brother spoke out as Strauss-Kahn, 62, spent his first night in Rikers Island prison after being refused $1million bail.

His lawyers have indicated that the IMF chief will claim the sexual encounter was consensual, according to the New York Post.

Speaking exclusively to Mail Online, the alleged victim’s brother said: ‘No family should have to go through this.

‘She is a hard-working woman who is just a victim. She is a wonderful west African immigrant who just wants to work hard.

‘I love her, she is my little sister and she is doing better now she has had a chance to talk to a lawyer. She is somewhere very, very safe and will stay that way’.

The brother, 43, a restaurant manager from Harlem in New York, said his sister, 32, called him on Saturday in the afternoon, a mere hour or so after she claimed the attack took place.

He recalled: ‘She rang me and she said: “Somebody has done something really bad to me. I’ve been attacked”.

‘She was crying all the time.’

The brother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that he wanted to see Strauss-Kahn face a trial if he pleaded not guilty.

‘I trust the American justice system and will let it do what it has to do,’ he said.

‘I want him to see justice. Justice will be served’.

Meanwhile Strauss-Kahn was spending his first night in an isolation cell at New York’s notorious Rikers Island jail after he was denied $1m bail on charges that he raped the hotel maid.

Today prosecutors revealed graphic details of Strauss-Kahn’s alleged brutal sex attack on the maid at a bail hearing in front of a female judge at Manhattan’s criminal court.

Police also reportedly found blood on bed sheets in the hotel suite where the assault allegedly took place and DNA samples on carpet and fabric that they removed for testing.

A rape kit is also said to have found DNA on the victim after she reported the attack.

Looking haggard and wearing the previous day’s clothes, Strauss-Kahn, who should have been meeting European finance ministers in Brussels, stood at the bench next to his lawyer Benjamin Brafman as prosecutors outlined the severity of the charges against him.

These include two counts of a first degree criminal sexual act, two counts of sexual abuse, attempted rape, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

A one-page indictment provided further lurid claims, accusing Strauss-Kahn of forcing the maid to take part in both oral and anal sex.

The court papers claim he forcibly touched the woman’s breasts, twice ‘forcibly made contact with his penis and the informant’s mouth’ and ‘engaged in oral sexual conduct and anal sexual conduct with another person by forcible compulsion’.

It took 20 minutes for Judge Melissa Jackson to refuse Strauss-Kahn’s bail offer of $1million at the hearing this morning.

He had also offered that all his travel documents  be confiscated in the potential deal, his lawyer Mr Brafman said.

Judge Jackson said she was a ‘fair judge’ but added: ‘When I hear your client was at JFK airport about to board a flight that raises concern.’ Strauss-Kahn was on an Air France flight minutes from take-off when he was arrested.

Assistant District Attorney John A McConnell had earlier called Strauss-Kahn an ‘incurable flight risk’ and voiced concerns that if he managed to flee to France the U.S. would not be able to extradite him.

He called the charges severe and said that ‘the victim provided a very powerful and detailed account’ of the alleged attack and had had a full sexual assault examination in hospital.

The maid, a Guinean immigrant, told authorities that when she entered Strauss-Kahn’s suite to clean it on Saturday afternoon, he emerged naked from the bathroom and chased her down a hallway before pulling her back inside.

The maid claims she then briefly fought him off before he dragged her into the bathroom and forced her to perform oral sex on him.

The woman said she was able to break free again as he tried to remove her underwear and ran downstairs to tell hotel staff what had happened.

After Strauss-Kahn rang to recover his mobile phone, which he had left in his room, detectives were able to find him at John F Kennedy airport.

Indicating that there ‘may be’ forensic evidence in the suite supporting the maid’s claims, Mr McConnell added that he had seen CCTV video footage of Strauss-Kahn leaving the hotel.

He appeared to be ‘a man who was in a hurry’, he said.

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Tommy Thompson Wanted To Implant Data Chips In Humans

huffingtonpost.com | May 17, 2011

WASHINGTON — “Tracking” in politics usually refers to poll numbers. But for prospective Wisconsin Senate candidate Tommy Thompson, it had another, more literal meaning when he sat on the board of a company that implants digital chips in people.

The company, VeriChip, makes something called radio frequency identification chips that are implanted in an arm, and can help doctors track a person’s medical history, or can be used in high-tech security systems. They could also be used to track pets or people with advances in GPS technology.

Privacy advocates fear that the technology’s potential for keeping tabs on workers, patients or even immigrants will be so enticing to businesses and governments that someday everyone could be forced to get “chipped.”

Thompson, who joined the board of VeriChip in 2005 before it changed its name to PositiveID, made TV appearances for the company in which he expressed no reservations about the devices.

“You put it in your right arm and it is very small and it doesn’t bother you at all, but it certainly is going to allow you to identify who you are, protect your child if you have a new child that’s born in a nursery, you can protect that child from having somebody walk off with it,” Thompson said in a CNBC interview.

He insisted he would have no qualms about getting one himself.

“I certainly would and I think it is a coming thing,” Thompson.

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Scandal would have kept Schwarzenegger out of office, analysts say


The offices of actor and former Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, where local media reported the trysts that caused his marital separation took place, in Santa Monica, California on May 17, 2011. Film star turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted Tuesday to fathering a lovechild with a staff member which he kept secret for a decade, until its disclosure torpedoed his marriage. The former bodybuilder’s estranged wife Maria Shriver, a daughter of the Kennedy political dynasty, reacted by asking for privacy during a ‘painful and heartbreaking time,’ while their children rallied round the family. A power couple married for 25 years, Schwarzenegger and Shriver announced their separation last week, four months after the former ‘Terminator’ star left office as California governor in January. Getty Images

McClatchy | May 17, 2011

By DAVID SIDERS AND SAM STANTON

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For more than a decade, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger managed to keep secret the fact that he had fathered a child with a member of his household staff, misleading not only to his family, but also to millions of Californians who may not have elected him had they known.

Battered by years of fiscal problems, Schwarzenegger’s public approval rating had dipped to 23 percent when he left office in January. On his final day in office, he shortened the manslaughter sentence for the son of his political friend Fabian Nunez, angering his shrunken pool of supporters. If that had not already ruled out any political future, observers said, his acknowledgment Tuesday almost surely did.

“This layered on top of the Nunez thing pretty much means his political future is done at this point,” said Jeff Randle, a Republican strategist and former adviser to Schwarzenegger.

In the months since leaving office, Schwarzenegger has traveled extensively in Europe and South America, negotiated movie and animated TV show deals, and been mentioned as a possible federal appointee.

Schwarzenegger and wife Maria Shriver announced last week that they were separating but gave no reason. Shriver moved out of their home in Los Angeles’ Brentwood neighborhood earlier this year, after Schwarzenegger acknowledged having a child with a household employee.

“This is a painful and heartbreaking time,” Shriver said in a statement. “As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal. I will have no further comment.”

It was Shriver who defended her movie star husband against accusations he groped women late in his 2003 campaign, a defense that friend Barbara O’Connor said Shriver would not have provided had she known.

“She staked her whole life on her husband and her family,” said O’Connor, professor emeritus of communication at California State University, Sacramento. “This has to be her worst nightmare.”

Political advisers who worked for Schwarzenegger during his campaign to recall Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 said they were unaware of the child and acknowledged it would have made the campaign more difficult, if not impossible. When faced with allegations from multiple women in the days before the recall election, Schwarzenegger denied them all and finally said he had “behaved badly sometimes.”

Many observers said Schwarzenegger could not have overcome it.

“If it had come out during the recall campaign he wouldn’t have been elected,” said Dan Schnur, a veteran GOP strategist and director of the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. “If it had come out while he was governor it would have had a huge impact.”

But Schnur said its impact on his legacy will likely be no more than a footnote.

“Arnold has always been pretty upfront about being fairly libertine in his personal life,” Schnur said. “That’s not to minimize the fact that there’s a child involved here, but he’s never presented himself as a social conservative or as a strong advocate for religious values.”

Democratic strategist Bob Mulholland, who fought against the effort to recall Davis, said Davis likely would have survived the recall effort and a Schwarzenegger candidacy would have been doomed if word of his dalliance had become public before the election.

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Resentment still burns in the Ireland the Queen didn’t see


An anti-British protestor confronts a cordon of riot police, during a demonstration against the first-ever visit to Ireland of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, in Dublin, Tuesday May 17, 2011. The Queen set foot on Irish soil at the start of a historic state visit which will herald a new era in relations between Britain and the Republic. AP Photo

Scotsman | May 17, 2011

By Tom Peterkin

THE biggest security operation ever mounted in Dublin ensured that bomb threats and noisy republican protests failed to overshadow the Queen’s first visit to the Republic of Ireland.

Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft patrolled the skies and snipers occupied rooftops to protect the Queen.

The fact that it is the first state visit by a British monarch since George V went to Dublin in 1911 was powerful evidence of the transformed relationship between the two countries following hundreds of years of conflict.

But despite the new atmosphere of trust and friendship symbolised by the four-day trip, there were signs of lingering resentment from extremist republican groups, who objected to the Queen’s presence. A total of 21 people were arrested during several demonstrations across the Irish capital, while a pipe bomb was discovered in the luggage compartment of a bus on the outskirts of Maynooth, Co Kildare, 25 miles from Dublin.

Fears of a possible attack from dissident republicans were heightened as passengers were evacuated and a controlled explosion was carried out by the Irish army’s bomb squad in the early hours of the morning.

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny condemned those who left the bomb. He added: “The vast, vast majority of people here welcome the visit of the Queen and her party. We hope that they will have a very enjoyable time here.”

Snipers and armed police combed the rooftops and a church spire along Parnell Square in Dublin’s inner city overlooking the Garden of Remembrance, where the Queen laid a wreath to honour those who died fighting British rule.

The atmosphere was tense as up to 300 activists gathered near the historic site.

Fireworks, glass bottles, bricks and cans were thrown by dissident supporters hemmed into narrow streets by the riot squad. Many covered their faces and held placards in support of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement – the political wing of the Real IRA, which bombed Omagh in 1998, killing 29 people and unborn twins.

At one stage motorists, including women with children, were trapped between protesters and police, with two windows on a public bus smashed.

A police helicopter circled overhead as officers used loudspeakers urging demonstrators to disperse before the riot squad swooped in and charged at the crowd of more than 100 demonstrators. Several people, including two women, were arrested.

A known dissident republican from north Dublin was also seen by gardai driving back and forth along the city’s quays in a Northern Ireland registered car.

Sinn Fein, whose national headquarters is near the garden, released black balloons into the sky as the Queen arrived.

Aengus O Snodaigh, a Sinn Fein member of the Irish parliament, said the balloons were intended to symbolise those killed by British troops in Northern Ireland and the 33 people killed in loyalist car bomb attacks on Dublin and the border town of Monaghan exactly 37 years ago.

Mr O Snodaigh said: “The fact that Dublin city is on lockdown for the week makes it clear that the relationship between the two islands is still not ‘normal’.

“Sinn Fein wants to have good relations with all our neighbours, but that can only happen in an atmosphere of equality and mutual respect and with the reunification of our country.”

There were minor scuffles on one of the city’s main shopping streets, Henry Street, just off the main thoroughfare O’Connell Street, before republicans laid their own wreath at 16 Moore Street – the site where leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising sought refuge and eventually surrendered after the shelling of the GPO.

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5,000 police protect Queen Elizabeth in biggest security operation in Irish history


A woman is detained by riot police during disturbances in north Dublin May 17, 2011. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth begins a four day state visit to Ireland today which is the first state visit by a British monarch since Ireland’s independence. Reuters

Belfast Telegraph | May 17, 2011

The Queen today forged ahead with an historic first visit to the Republic of Ireland in the face of a security nightmare sparked by a spate of bomb alerts.

The monarch insisted plans to touch down on Irish soil this afternoon would go ahead as security forces dealt with two bomb alerts.

Fears of a dissident republican threat to the Queen were heightened this morning after the Irish army made safe a “viable” improvised explosive device found on a bus bound for Dublin.

More than 5,000 Irish police officers have been drafted in to bolster security during the visit.

The Queen shoook hands with the President at the front of the Aras before moving inside to be greeted by Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny and sign the visitors’ book.

God Save The Queen and Amhrann na bhFainn, the Irish national anthem, were played in the grounds of the Aras as a 21-gun salute sounded and an Air Corps flypast took place.

The Queen reviewed the guard of honour before joining the Duke in a private meeting with the President and her husband, Dr Martin McAleese.

To sign the visitor’s book, the Queen sat down in the Aras’s lavish state ballroom, which dates from 1802.

She arrived with the President looking relaxed and the two women, who have met a number of times before, chatted animatedly. They were followed by the Duke and Dr McAleese.

Under an ornate Regency-style brass chandelier commemorating the Act of Union of 1801 with an intertwining shamrock, rose and thistle – the national floral emblems of Ireland, England and Scotland – the Queen took off her right black glove and picked up a pen to write her signature.

Philip took his own pen from his pocket and joked with the group, asking: “Do you want me to put the date on it?”

Meanwhile, the Republic’s army bomb disposal team was called in after a suspect package was found near the Luas line in the Inchicore area of the Irish capital. It was later declared a hoax.

The alerts came just hours after the roads around Buckingham Palace were closed off in London while a controlled explosion was carried out.

The Foreign Office confirmed that the Queen would press ahead with the four-day visit which has seen the biggest security operation in Irish history.

The Royal visit marks the first time a monarch has set foot in Ireland since it gained independence.