Published on March 19, 2009
WORLD NEWS Baxter admits contaminated seasonal flu product contained live bird flu virus The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses. 27/02/2009 3:31:00 PM Medical Reporter, THE CANADIAN PRESS And an official of the World Health Organization's European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International's research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria. quot;At this juncture we are confident in saying that public health and occupational risk is minimal at present,quot; medical officer Roberta Andraghetti said from Copenhagen, Denmark. quot;But what remains unanswered are the circumstances surrounding the incident in the Baxter facility in Orth-Donau.quot; The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany. The contamination incident, which is being investigated by the four European countries, came to light when the subcontractor in the Czech Republic inoculated ferrets with the product and they died. Ferrets shouldn't die from exposure to human H3N2 flu viruses. Public health authorities concerned about what has been described as a quot;serious errorquot; on Baxter's part have assumed the death of the ferrets meant the H5N1 virus in the product was live. But the company, Baxter International Inc., has been parsimonious about the amount of information it has released about the event. On Friday, the company's director of global bioscience communications confirmed what scientists have suspected. quot;It was live,quot; Christopher Bona said in an email.
Street cars headed back to Washington Published: March 15, 2009 at 2:35 PM WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- Washington will soon enjoy streetcar service for the first time in 45 years as part of a $25 million project, officials say. John Lisle, public information officer for the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, said the two-mile project is the first part of a streetcar initiative that will include the construction of a new maintenance facility and tracks, The Washington Times reported. The service will operate three streetcars that have been in storage since they were purchased for $10 million in 2005. District Council Member Jim Graham, who previously opposed an attempt to bring streetcars back to Washington, is now fully in support of the new project. quot;Now there's been a reorientation, so it's serving the people of the District of Columbia and the route has a prospect now,quot; the Democrat said. The Times said the project is expected to be completed within 18 months.
Aging Charles Manson captured in prison photo 5:18 PM | March 18, 2009 California corrections officials released a photograph taken today of aging convicted mass murderer Charles Manson, replete with receding hairline, fading forehead Swastika carving and a thick, heavily graying beard. The photograph of the 74-year-old cult leader was taken at Corcoran State Prison, where he is serving a life sentence and is part of periodic updates of inmate images by prison officials, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This August marks the 40th anniversary of the Manson killings, which stunned the nation and effectively marked the end of the counter-culture, quot;flower powerquot; era of the 1960s. Manson and other members of his so
Internet Mother of six on welfare paid $2,000 for English bull dogs Telegraph-Journal HAMPTON - Michelle St. Amand admits she has a soft spot for animals, so when she saw an ad on the In ternet to adopt a pair of English bulldogs, she made arrangements to transport them to her home. Michelle St. Amand with her son Nigel Smith and their dog Sarge. She says they have been waiting since August to receive two bulldogs that she bought on the Kijiji website. Seven months and hundreds of dollars later, she is still without the pets. Sgt. Steve Gourdeau of the Hampton RCMP said police are investigating the case of alleged Internet fraud. The single mother of six children said when she saw the pitch for the adorable puppies last summer on the popular classified ad site Kijiji she was excited to welcome the brother and sister dogs named Nelly and Kelly into her home. She contacted the seller by phone and computer and arranged to have them flown from the African country of Cameroon to Saint John. The deal was that she would pay half of the approximately $400 transportation fee, which she sent by Western Union, and she was to pick them up at the Saint John airport around 4 a.m. last August. Before that happened, she was contacted again by the seller saying the dogs were being held at the Douala International Airport in Cameroon because they required carriers before they could board the plane. She has a Western Union receipt showing she sent another $729 at that time. Then days later it was another $129 the seller needed for food, and even more for health papers. All told, St. Amand says she sent upwards of $2,000 for the dogs she is yet to see except for photos sent to her by email. quot;I put a lot of money into these dogs,quot; she said Tuesday. Even while she was on the phone with the Telegraph-Journal, the seller was sending her notes via chat mail promising the dogs would be arriving soon if she helped make adoption arrangements for other dogs by placing ads on Canadian Internet sites that the international seller could no longer access. quot;I am still being told these dogs are coming but they need more money to get here,quot; St. Amand said from the tiny home she calls a camp on the Pickwauket Road. St. Amand is on welfare, and along with her children ages two to 11, shares her home with her boyfriend and six pets - including two mixed breed dogs. quot;I really thought this was all for real,quot; she said.
Mar 12, 2009 9:53 pm US/Pacific Paraplegic Man Suffers Spider Bite, Walks Again MANTECA, Calif. (CBS13) ― He has been confined to a wheelchair for 20 years. Now a paraplegic man is walking again, and his doctors call it a miracle. CBS13 went to Manteca to find out how a spider bite helped get him back on his feet. quot;I closed my eyes and then I was spinning like a flying saucer,quot; explains David Blancarte. A motorcycle accident almost killed David 21 years ago. At the time he might have wished he was dead. quot;I asked my doctor, 'Sir what happened? I can't feel my legs',quot; said David. Ever since, David's been relying on his wheelchair to get around. Then the spider bite. A Brown Recluse sent him to the hospital, then to rehab for eight months. quot;I'm here for a spider bite. I didn't know I would end up walking,quot; says David. A nurse noticed David's leg spasm and ran a test on him. quot;When they zapped my legs, I felt the current, I was like 'whoa' and I yelled,quot; he says. He felt the current and the rush of a renewed sense of hope. quot;She says,'your nerves are alive. They're just asleep',quot; explained David. Five days later David was walking. quot;I was walking on the bar back and forth,quot; he said. Now David is out of the hospital and on his feet and walking. David basks in his glory and gives a ray of hope to other hoping to walk again. The 48-year-old former boxer and dancer is taking it in stride, knowing his best days are still ahead. David's dream is to see his 14-year-old twin daughters grow up and get married so he can walk them down the aisle and have that first dance.
World’s Luckiest Truck Driver March 14, 2009 ―It’s probably not a tactic economic advisors advocate but one woman who lost her job as a truck operator gambled for four consecutive days, winning again and again until she won her biggest prize — a Colorado Lottery jackpot worth $50,000. Cathy Ortiz said it was one of the luckiest weeks of her life. On Sunday, she won $1,260 playing slots in Black Hawk. A day later, she won $500 on the Colorado Lottery’s Free Ride Scratch game. The next day, while cashing in her winning ticket, she bought 10 more Free Ride tickets as well as a few Lotto and Powerball tickets. On Thursday morning, Ortiz realized that one of those Powerball tickets was worth $50,000.‖
Mexican drug lord makes Forbes' billionaire list MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) -- What do software mogul Bill Gates and banking investor Warren Buffett have in common with wanted Mexican drug lord Joaquin quot;El Chapoquot; Guzman Loera? They are all featured in Forbes magazine's world's billionaires report as quot;self-made― billionaires. Guzman Loera, whose nickname means Shorty, escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001. He heads the powerful Sinaloa cartel, investigators say. Authorities on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border blame the Sinaloa and other cartels for a surge in violence in the region. He ranked 701th on Forbes' yearly report, with an estimated fortune of $1 billion. Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora expressed outrage at the publication and described Forbes' calculations on Guzman Loera's fortune as mere quot;speculation.quot; quot;I will never accept that a criminal could be recognized as someone distinguished, even if it is by a magazine like Forbes,quot; Medina Mora said to local media during a drug traffic summit Thursday in Vienna, Austria. Forbes is quot;comparing the deplorable activity of a criminal wanted in Mexico and abroad with that of honest businessmen,quot; he said. Mexican President Felipe Calderon -- speaking at a business summit Thursday in Mexico City -- alluded to the report, saying, quot;It is very sad the intensification of a campaign, which seems to me, has been launched against Mexico.quot; Calderon added, quot;Public opinion and now even magazines not only attack and lie about the situation in Mexico but now also praise criminals. In Mexico, it is considered a crime to praise criminals.quot; Guzman Loera has a three-decade history of drug trade spanning North, Central and South America. The Forbes profile of Guzman Loera reported that quot;the U.S. government is offering a $5 million rewardquot; for the billionaire's capture. Forbes magazine was not available for comment, but its article offers a clue as to why Guzman Loera made the list. quot;So is there anywhere one can still make a fortune these days? The 38 newcomers offer a few clues. Among the more notable new billionaires are Mexican Joaquin Guzman Loera, one of the biggest suppliers of cocaine to the U.S.quot;
Associated Press Police: Texas group home residents forced to fight Tuesday, March 17, 2009 (03-10) 13:52 PDT HOUSTON, (AP) -- Seven employees of a state-run home for the mentally disabled have been suspended for staging fights between residents who were forced to shove, punch and strike each other, authorities said Friday. Police learned of the fights when someone gave a cell phone containing videos of the brawls at the Corpus Christi State School to an off-duty officer on Friday, police Captain Tim Wilson said by phone from Corpus Christi. quot;Workers were running their own fight club using clients. It's pretty appalling that someone would think of this,quot; he said. In the videos, which show several fights dating back to 2007, mentally disabled male residents can be seen fighting each other while the employees watch. In one video, a disabled resident raises his hands in victory after a bout, Wilson said. quot;It's pretty appalling. I've been in police work over 30 years and I've never anything like this,quot; he said. quot;These people who were charged with caring for these clients were exploiting them for entertainment.quot; Police expect to file charges later this week, said Wilson. Most of the employees seen in the videos have been identified, he said. Laura Albrecht, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, which oversees the institutions known as state schools, said the videos show seven current and four former employees. The current employees have been placed on emergency leave pending the investigation. In addition to Corpus Christi police, the abuse allegations are also being investigated by Texas Adult Protective Services, the Health and Human Services' office of inspector general, and the Nueces County District Attorney, Wilson said. These are the latest in a spate of abuse allegations against state school employees in recent years. A 2008 federal report cited negligent and abusive care that violated residents' rights. It cited 53 deaths linked to preventable conditions at the institutions. The report also called hundreds of reports of abuse and injuries to patients quot;disturbingly highquot; and said more than half of state facilities are in danger of losing Medicaid funding because of care and safety problems.
Are you in there, Bindi? The 10ft snake that swallowed a 14lb pet terrier... WHOLE 16th March 2009 If this snake looks a little out of shape, there's a very good reason for its swollen tummy. It's just swallowed a pet dog, together with its collar and name tag. Owner Patty Buntine was mystified when her three-year-old Maltese terrier cross Bindi disappeared from her home in Katherine, in Australia's northern territory. Stuffed: The lump bulging from this snake's belly appears to be tragic Bindi But a quick maths calculation by a professional snake catcher soon provided the answer. The 10-foot long olive python with the enormously bulging tummy weighed 35lb. Usually it would weigh about 21lb, meaning that whatever it had swallowed weighed 14lb - roughly the size of poor little Bindi. There is one more piece of compelling evidence. Since the snake showed up in Ms Buntine's back yard Bindi hasn't been seen.
Porn Sting Goes To The Dogs Attempt to ensnare boyfriend comes back to bite Indiana woman MARCH 18--Meet Michelle Owen. Concerned that an ex-boyfriend had used her laptop to search for child pornography, the Indiana woman asked police to search the computer for illegal images, but had her plan backfire when cops discovered two videos of her engaged in illicit acts with a dog. Owen, 24, was charged last week with two felony bestiality counts in connection with the video files, which a detective found in the laptop's quot;recycle bin.quot; At the time Owen asked cops to search the computer, she was locked up in the Johnson County Jail on a public intoxication charge (which violated the terms of her release in a prior drunk driving case). According to a police affidavit, a copy of which you'll find here, a cop told Owen that he had found videos of her on the laptop and asked if she quot;knew what those files might be.quot; Owen, pictured in the below mug shot, replied, quot;The one with the dog.quot; Cops believe that the dog in question, Toby, is a beagle. After asking if she was quot;going to be charged with this,quot; Owen said that the videos quot;were just something she did when she was drunk and barely remembers it,quot; adding that she tried to quot;delete them the next day when she was sober.quot;
NZ women's breasts getting bigger March 16, 2009, 5:57 pm New Zealand women are getting bigger breasts, with D cups and bigger accounting for nearly half of Bendon bras sold in New Zealand last year. Though the C cup is still the most popular bra cup size, sales of D to J cup sizes have increased by 53 percent over the past three years, compared to a 2 percent increase in the sales figures of AA to C-cupped bras, according to Bendon figures. The figures were calculated based on sales of Bendon, Fayreform and Elle Macpherson Intimate ranges of bras. Fayreform quot;braologistquot; Carol Rashleigh had seen steady growth in breasts over more than two decades of helping women into fitting bras. quot;More than 70 percent of women in New Zealand wear the wrong bra size or style, which can affect posture, cause back pain and lead to sagging breasts,quot; she said.
Monkey 'kills cruel owner with coconut thrown from tree' A monkey who was forced to climb palm trees by his owner took revenge by killing him with a coconut. 11 Mar 2009 The animal threw the missile from the top of a tree after becoming frustrated with his tiring labour, according to reports. Leilit Janchoom, 48, had employed the monkey to pick coconuts which he could then sell for around 4p each. The animal – named Brother Kwan – found the work tedious and strenuous but Mr Janchoom refused to let him rest, dishing out beatings if he refused to climb trees. It is believed that the monkey eventually snapped, and targeted his owner from a high branch with one of the hard-skinned fruits. Mr Janchoom, from the province of Nakorn Sri Thammarat in Thailand, died on the spot after being struck by the coconut, according to reports in a local newspaper. The dead man's wife said that the monkey had quot;seemed lovablequot; when they bought him for £130. News of the attacks comes after scientists disclosed this week that a chimpanzee at a Swedish zoo became so annoyed at being gawked at by tourists in a zoo that he started creating weapons to hurl at them. Santino the chimp would calmly collect stones and fashion discs made out of concrete even when the zoo was closed, to throw at visitors when they returned. Scientists believe his behaviour is the strongest proof yet that humans are not the only creatures which can make plans for the future.
The Koenigsegg Quant If you haven’t already heard of Koenigsegg, expect to soon. The Swedish supercar firm has developed a concept car called the Quant utilizing a most unlikely combination of power sources: solar energy and pyrite, otherwise known as fool’s gold. A company spokesperson at the Geneva Motor Show was quoted as saying the Quant will have a 300 mile range and take just 20 minutes to fully recharge.
2010 Honda Insight Across the showroom floor from the new Prius stood that car’s closest new competitor: the Honda Insight. The idea behind the Insight is to make hybrid technology affordable for the masses; the hybrid hatchback starts at around $19,000 and, depending on your driving style, gets anywhere from 40 to 60 mpg. Watch this site for PopSci contributing editor Mike Spinelli’s test drive of the Insight, coming soon.
The Italdesign Giugiaro Quaranta The Quaranta is one of the most sleek and dynamic solar concept cars currently in existence. Its batteries are powered completely by solar energy, which is collected via panels positioned on the roof and front end of the vehicle. While the bulk of the Quaranta was designed by Italdesign Giugiaro, Toyota contributed its expertise to the sophisticated electronics.
The Mercedes-Benz Formula Zero Mercedez-Benz made its name in luxury, not eco-friendliness, so it might come as a surprise that the company is now placing its hat in the solar-powered car ring. Pictured above is the Formula Zero, a concept car that was entered into 2008’s Design Los Angeles Challenge. It is propelled by electric motors on each of its 4 wheels and batteries that draw their power from an aero-efficient solar layer.
The Mindset Six50 The Six50 (on pace for a scheduled 2009 unveiling) can go 100KM on a single battery charge, drawing its power from roof-mounted solar panels. One major advantage of the Six50 is its price: although not currently in production, it has been estimated that Mindset will offer the Six50 for as little as 31,000 Euros, a pittance compared to many newer hybrids.
The Antro Solo The Hungarian-built Astro Solo and its one-of-a-kind design get an astounding 150MPG, using a combination of solar and gas-electric power. During good weather, the solar panels on the roof are sufficient to power the car on brief 15-25 kilometer trips. When the skies are overcast, the Astro Solo defaults to a small electric engine or - get this - the foot pedaling of the three passengers!
2010 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe Test Drive: 28 MPG and Turbo Power, but Practicality—Not So Much SANTA MONICA, CALIF.—THE CONVERTIBLE SOLSTICE HAS SENSUAL LINES, SHORT BODY OVERHANGS AND A CLEAN PROFILE. IN TURBOCHARGED GXP TRIM THE CAR HAS SOME SERIOUS THRUST TOO. BUT THE SOLSTICE ROADSTER SUFFERS FROM CUTE-CAR STIGMA. FOR A BRAND LIKE PONTIAC—WHOSE LEGENDARY MUSCLE CARS WORE SCREAMING CHICKENS AND PACKED SUPER DUTY V8S THAT RUMBLED UNDERNEATH SHAKER HOOD SCOOPS —THE SOLSTICE IS ALMOST TOO TAME AND DELICATE-LOOKING. PONTIAC HAS FIXED THAT PARTICULAR PROBLEM WITH THE SOLSTICE COUPE. BY SIMPLY ADDING A FASTBACK HARD ROOF TO THE DESIGN, PONTIAC GAVE THE SOLSTICE A SHOT OF MACHISMO. IT LOOKS TOUGH. THE NEW SOLSTICE COUPE NOW RESEMBLES A SEVEN-EIGHTHS-SCALE CORVETTE. AND IN TERMS OF STYLE, IT GETS A10. THE SOLSTICE GXP COUPE MAY LOOK LIKE A SMALLER VERSION OF AMERICA'S SPORTS CAR, BUT DOES IT PROVIDE CORVETTE-LEVEL MAGIC IN A LESS EXPENSIVE, LESS EXTREME PACKAGE? DOES THE SOLSTICE COUPE OFFER A TASTE OF THE CORVETTE'S RARE COMBINATION OF PERFORMANCE AND PRACTICALITY—FOR FIFTEEN GRAND LESS? WE SPENT A WEEK WITH THE $33,000 SOLSTICE GXP COUPE TO FIND OUT.
Top 5 High-Tech Guns for Next-Gen Infantry Futuristic military systems get plenty of attention—and funding. Despite all the high-profile warplanes and combat ships, however, the current theater of urban environments and guerrilla enemies makes the development of new weapons for troops on the ground a pressing need. When the Pentagon recently tweaked its Future Combat Systems initiative, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made noise about fielding weapons to infantrymen who need them now, rather than planning for hypothetical dogfights and sea battles. But there's been some slow progress in bringing new squad-level weapons to foot soldiers. Here, then, are the most innovative systems currently in development—or already on the battlefield………………………..
Developer Magpul Industries (USA) Caliber 9mm Features Spring-loaded design transitions from box to gun with a single button-push, with a 31-round Glock 18 magazine loaded and ready to fire. Progress Nonfiring semiautomatic prototype shown in March 2008. No word yet on when a firing model—much less a fully automatic one—might be available.
Developer Corner Shot (Israel), Dynamit Nobel Defence (Germany) Caliber 60mm Features A collapsible firing-post, which is fitted with a camera and video screen, attaches to a disposable, one-shot 60 mm grenade launcher. Rounds can be fired at a 90 degree angle— other Corner Shot devices fire at up to 60 degrees. Progress Unveiled in 2004, the system does not appear to have been deployed yet.
Developer Singapore Technologies Kinetics (Singapore) Caliber 5.56mm Features Integrated visible/ infrared laser sight and 1.5x optical scope, translucent ammo magazines. Progress The SAR 21 became standard issue for Singapore's armed forces in 1999, but there are no plans for adoption elsewhere.
FNH USA (USA) 1 | SCAR-LIGHT Developer Caliber 5.56mm Features More accurate and less prone to jamming than the standard-issue M16 and M4 rifles, the SCAR uses quick-change barrels that can be swapped using a minimal number of tools. Progress The manufacturer had initially expected the weapon to be deployed in 2006, but after a limited production run last year, there's hope for the SCAR.
Developer Alliance Techsystems (USA) Caliber 25mm Features A computer-aided targeting system that allows the user to quickly aim at a target and to adjust the range of the air-bursting round. Progress The XM-25 is still in development, but in this industry—and particularly for a system that survived the OICW debacle—that amounts to very good news.
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