From: Homeland Security News Wire
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Passenger Ebola screening sought | Detention centers problems | Tremor-proofing hospitals
Date: Mon Aug 04 11:03:40 MDT 2014
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Monday 4 August 2014 vol. 8 no. 178

In Today's Issue

Airports scrambling to find effective passenger Ebola screening methods

Some airports in Africa have begun screening passengers for Ebola. The current methods involves thermal screening of patients, and then subjecting passengers with an elevated temperature, a symptom of Ebola, to a blood testcalled a polymerase chain reaction test. The test can take eight hours or longer to obtain lab results, and is expensive.Aviation experts recommend screening passengers for Ebola the same way aviation security screen passengers for other threats like terrorism, but say the screening methods must be made to yield results more quickly and cheaply.

Border security
DHS IG finds problems in detention centers for undocumented immigrants

A DHS IG report finds problems in several detention centers for Central American children and families who recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, including inadequate food supplies, temperature-control problems, and a high employee-to-detainee ratio.

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Tornado protection
Kansas, Missouri invest in tornado safe-rooms

Last year's tornado season prompted officials in Kansas and Missouri to invest heavily in safe rooms to shelter residents from future severe weather events. Schools tend to be popular choices for safe rooms, but new funding from FEMA is helping cities build safe rooms in other public spaces. The safe rooms are built to withstand tornado winds of up to 250 mph, and can survive being hit by a 67 mph projectile vertically or 100 mph horizontally.

Infrastructure protection
New Bay Area hospital is constructed to withstand the most severe earthquake

The new Stanford Hospital is being constructed to withstand the most severe tremors. The new hospital will be placed on 206 base isolators, enormous parallel steel plates with a sort of ball bearing suspension system between them, providing a buffer between the building and the moving ground. Each plate can move as much as three feet in any direction, allowing the building to shift up to six feet during seismic activity. Reducing horizontal movement during an earthquake minimizes the strain on a building’s vertical load-bearing structures. When completed, in 2017, the building will be one of the most seismically safe hospitals in the country, able to continue operations after an 8.0, or “great,” earthquake.

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"Gain-of-function" (GOF) research
Scientists support research which increases microbes’ virulence, transmissibility, or host range

Amid new concerns about lab safety lapses and in a counterpoint to recent calls for restrictions on research that may render pathogens more dangerous, thirty-six scientists from several countries have issued a formal statement asserting that research on potentially dangerous pathogens can be done safely, and is necessary for a full understanding of infectious diseases. The statement rejects calls for limiting "gain-of-function" (GOF) research, that is, experiments which involve increasing the virulence, transmissibility, or host range of microbes.

Lab safety
Research institutions must support strong, positive safety culture in chemical labs

Everyone involved in the academic chemical research enterprise -- from researchers and principal investigators to university leadership -- has an important role to play in establishing and promoting a strong, positive safety culture, says a new report from the National Research Council. This requires a constant commitment to safety organization-wide and emphasis on identifying and solving problems, rather than merely adhering to a set of rules and assigning blame when those rules are not followed.

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STEM education
Helping grow the next generation of scientists

Scientists, uniformed service members, and the DTRA’s Chemical/Biological Technologies Department (CB) leadership worked hard to make this year’s Joint Science and Technology Institute (JSTI), a summer program for high school-aged students, designed to increase awareness and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) academics, a success.

New rules proposed for crude oil shipments

U.S Department of Transportation (DOT) secretary Anthony Foxx has announced that the department is proposing new rules for shipments of high-hazard crude oil by trains, as well as moving to phase out the use of older tank cars that many see as unsafe. The order follows a deadly year for oil train accidents, including a July 2013 derailment in Lac Megantic, Quebec resulting in the deaths of forty-seven people and a 30 April derailment in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Also noted

Obama has legal power to help immigrants stay, experts say | Immigration becomes ‘pro-life’ issue for Catholic leaders | Al Qaeda groups develop on Android | DHS sends money to remote, frozen island to fend off terrorists | Over 700,000 American citizens are on the U.S. terrorist watch list | Toledo faces second day of water ban | Muslims sue federal govt for stonewalling citizenship requests | Seattle-area aerospace firm, Homeland Security partner to secure workforce | Geo-engineering dilemma | Coasts can't rely on feds for hurricane response

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