first_img91, of Brick, NJ, passed away on December 15, 2016. Mr. Hannon retired in 1993 as Township Administrator in North Plainfield, NJ. He was a US Navy Veteran during WWII from 1943-1946. He was a 4th degree member of Knights of Columbus at St. Andrew’s RC Church in Bayonne and an international member of the Order of Alhambra. Born and raised in Bayonne, he moved to Brick in 2014. Mr. Hannon was predeceased by his wife, Catherine E. Hannon in 2015; son, James P. Hannon in 2013; and by his brother, John Hannon and sister, Betty Lysaght. Surviving are his daughter, Jane Hannon Bonner and her husband, Anthony of Fairplay, CO; and sister, Ella Stone of Travis City, MI. Funeral arrangements by O’BRIEN Funeral Home, 505 Burnt Tavern Rd., Brick, NJ.last_img read more

Show Goes on With O.C. Theatre Company Camps

first_imgBy MADDY VITALEThe Ocean City Theatre Company (OCTC) and the city’s Recreation Department are teaming up to bring theatre camps to kids this summer.CDC guidelines will be adhered to. There will be small group settings of 20 students or less, face masks will be required when not able to social distance, and all of the activities will be held outdoors under the Music Pier Loggia. The three camps, one each for elementary, middle, and high school students, allow those who love the performing arts to join together and share their talents. “The theatre company is super-excited to team up with the city’s Recreation Department to keep the tradition of theatre camp going in Ocean City,” said Michael Hartman, founder of the OCTC and the special events coordinator for the city. “I am actually celebrating 19 summers of theatre camp in Ocean City with the Rec Center.” He emphasized that due to COVID-19 rules, there is limited capacity in each of the groups.“We encourage early sign-up because the spots are for 20 or less for each group,” Hartman noted. “It is really crucial for people who are interested to sign up as soon as possible.”Preliminary sign-ups are this Wednesday.Registration is now open and with limited capacity, interested families are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible to secure a spot by clicking the community pass link at www.ocnj.us/recreation.There will be an array of camps specifically geared toward the different age groups. “The younger kids each week have a different theme to give them a different experience,” Hartman said.The Music Pier Loggia in this 2019 summer photo, provides a large, outdoor area for the OCTC summer camps, while also protecting participants from inclement weather.The middle school students get to express themselves by writing their own monologue about how they deal with social media, bullying, the pandemic, or anything else they are dealing with.“It is really powerful,” Hartman said of the middle school camp. “There will also be some musical theatre.” Hartman described the high school camp as “intense musical theatre boot camp.”Each group of 20 kids will have a professional coach to guide them through performing challenges. It is not a talent show – it is camp, he emphasized.But the hope is that the older kids could learn more about musical theatre, the different shows and acting techniques and bond in their group of 20 kids.Hartman said this year, more than other years, is so important to keep kids who are a part of theatre, or are new to it, active and interested in the healthy outlet.“So many programs were canceled,” he said of the impact of the pandemic. “So many of these kids’ school shows were canceled and they didn’t get the chance for closure with choral and band programs. That was really taken away from them.”With a full schedule of camp programs beginning next week and running through August, there will be strict safety guidelines enforced. But still, the camp will go on and give young talents a place to shine.“Everything really is about safety first and providing an opportunity for the arts,” Hartman said.For more information about the Ocean City Theatre Company, visit www.oceancitytheatrecompany.com. To sign up for the summer camps and to view the dates and times, visit the city’s website at www.ocnj.us/recreation.Members of the Ocean City Theatre Company perform a variety of shows and the performers forge friendships. (Courtesy of OCTC) OCTC Camp is always a popular program for kids and this year, while it will look different than this one in 2019, it will still offer a host of activities for young talents to hone their performing skills. last_img read more

Daft Punk Is Reportedly In The Studio Working On New Music

first_imgWe haven’t heard much from Daft Punk since the release of their multiple Grammy-winning album Random Access Memories in 2013. But it looks like that may be changing soon. In an interview with Billboard, Republic Records executive Wendy Goldstein was asked a question about what artists she’s always wanted to work with, and answered–rather nonchalantly–with some exciting news: “Actually, we [Goldstein and fellow hitmaker Ron Perry] have a session coming up in two days with The Weeknd and Daft Punk. I’m a massive Daft Punk fan, and this is the first time that I’ve actually been involved with an artist who’s going to go and work with them.”While this is the only information we have about the reported session, this is definitely exciting news for fans of both The Weeknd and Daft Punk. Watch the full video below (or skip to  2:39 for Goldstein’s comment):[h/t – YourEDM]last_img read more

Hall to bring pig to campus

first_imgWelsh Family Hall is bringing a little bit of the family farm to campus Saturday with its “Kiss a Pig” fundraising event. The event will feature three teams, and whichever team raises the most money will have a chance to kiss an actual pig Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in front of Dillon Hall. Sophomore Kelly Huffman, who coordinated the event, said it was created in an effort to develop a signature event for Welsh Family Hall. “We were trying to come up with a new signature event for Welsh Fam and a girl in our dorm mentioned this idea,” she said. Sophomore Ellie Tumminello, who participated in a similar event in high school, proposed the idea.  The three teams participating are an Irish football team, an Irish hockey team and a faculty team. The football team, which will raise money for the Kelly Cares Foundation, will be represented at the event by Troy Niklas, Matthias Farley, Cam McDaniel and Andrew Hendrix. The hockey team will raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, and Irish coach Jeff Jackson will also participate. The faculty team will feature finance professor Carl Ackerman, psychology professor Anre Venter and chemistry professor Xavier Creary.  The team will raise money for Touching Tiny Lives, which benefits the children of AIDS victims in Africa. Donations can be made in either dining hall from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, as well as online through the “Kiss a Pig” Facebook page, Huffman said. Huffman said she hopes the online option will encourage donations from alumni. Huffman said various AcoustiCafe artists will perform at the event Saturday.  Along with Welsh Family Hall, the event is co-sponsored by the Student Union Board and the Pre-Vet Club, Huffman said. Huffman said she hopes the “Kiss a Pig” event will be successful and can be continued in future years.last_img read more

Stamping Out Passport

first_imgBy Dialogo January 01, 2012 Source: Strategic Forecasting Inc. (STRATFOR) Counterfeit passport created by a vendor Passport with altered photo (photo-subbed passport) Blank passport stolen and filled in Genuine passport intentionally issued in a false identity by a government Genuine passport issued based on fraudulent identification documents (birth certificate, driver’s license, etc.) In addition to making counterfeiting tougher, the passport also speeds up the process of verification for international arrivals and departures at airports. Paraguay Paraguay has increased its measures to strengthen the national identification systems and overcome instances of corruption. The Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent U.S. foreign aid agency, contributed to the country’s efforts in 2009 by funding the New Identification System (NIS), which added biometric information to national ID cards. Having secure national IDs is important because they are not only used in issuing passports; they are also valid documents for travel to other Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay). Paraguay also redesigned its IDs and passports according to International Civil Aviation Organization requirements, which the government described as tamper-proof documents. Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office Types of Passport Fraud Maps of Brazil on the back cover of the document that only appear when exposed to ultraviolet light. The RFID chip, which stores a photo, two fingerprints and a signature. A digital authentication certificate that allows officials to confirm that the information on the chip was recorded by an authorized government authority. Extended Access Control, which protects biometric information by only allowing those with knowledge of a special digital certificate to access the data on the RFID chip.center_img Before the ID card system was brought up to international standards, the Paraguayan National Police was unable to file fingerprints electronically. The Millennium Challenge Corporation reported that the reform required an overhaul of the information technology infrastructure as well as comprehensive staff training in the collection of biometric data. Entries in the NIS database are now linked to biometric identifiers — fingerprint images — that are captured through live-scan technology; photographs and signatures are captured with digital cameras and electronic pads, and are automatically verified as they become part of the database, according to the foreign aid agency. The system reduces the risk of fraud by tracking all entries, so each transaction can be traced back to the staff member who logged in using a fingerprint scanner. The result is a reliable ID and passport system that reduces the threat of identity theft and improves document verification. Mexico Fraudulent travel documents are as important as weapons to a terrorist, and Interpol has described their use as “the biggest threat facing the world.” But through international cooperation, countries in the Americas are improving detection of fraudulent passports and other identification documents (IDs). Nations are sharing information through Interpol’s lost and stolen passport database and through databases pinpointing terror suspects. Countries such as Brazil are upgrading their travel documents with biometric indicators, making forgeries a thing of the past. A few countries have even begun to tackle government corruption – an important step, considering that the officials inspecting documents at ports of entry are the first line of defense in denying terrorists the freedom to travel and preventing the smuggling of humans, drugs, illicit cash and weapons. Brazil As a country that has traditionally played an important role in collective security efforts in the hemisphere, Brazil began issuing passports with biometric data stored on a radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip in November 2010. The new passport meets the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard for machine-readable travel documents, as well as the guidelines of the trading bloc Mercosur. The country also added layers of security to its civil identity cards and birth, marriage and death certificates, making it harder to forge documents that can be used to obtain a passport. According to the Brazilian Federal Police, the new passport’s security features include: In January 2011, President Felipe Calderón signed an order requiring all Mexican citizens age 17 and younger to get a national identity card with biometric information embedded, including an iris scan. “It is a constitutional obligation to offer this identification card,” Interior Minister José Francisco Blake Mora said during the launch of the program in Tijuana. Once all children have been included in the database, a second phase will issue the new ID cards to Mexican adults, the minister of the interior said. A third phase will cover foreigners residing in Mexico. The new ID cards include a photo, a unique ID number, a hologram, iris scan data embedded in a bar code and fingerprint data. The government described the biometric IDs as a big step forward in preventing identity fraud, and the data collected is expected to help in cases of missing children. The idea of the database and accompanied information sharing is to make it difficult for criminals to operate within the country. In addition, Mexico has improved its Migratory Operation System, which keeps records on travelers who arrive at airports, with funding from the Merida Initiative security cooperation agreement with the U.S. Merida Initiative funding has also improved security along Mexico’s southern border, where document verification software and biometric equipment have been delivered to Mexico’s National Institute of Migration (INAMI), according to the U.S. State Department. INAMI and the Office for the National Registration of the Populace have also worked alongside U.S. officials to integrate biometrics at border checkpoints. The Narcotics Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico has developed standard operating procedures for immigration officers enrolling and verifying biometric data. That has been the basis for a Central Biometric Database that aims to identify and match traveler biometric data to international databases of known and suspected terrorists and fugitives. United States Since the 9/11 Commission identified it as one of the most effective tools for fighting terrorism in 2004, curbing terrorist travel has become part of the U.S. national security strategy. To keep terrorists from entering the United States, the country provides security assistance to nations to modernize passport systems and improve detection of document fraud. For example, the State Department’s Terrorist Interdiction Program gives countries the tools to develop and use terrorist screening information. About 150 foreign ports of entry used this program in 2010, according to government statistics. However, a July 2011 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office said these programs don’t go far enough. “Some countries do not have their own database systems with terrorist screening information or access to other countries’ terrorist screening information to keep track of biographical and biometric information about individuals who are known or suspected terrorists,” the report reads. “Even when countries have terrorist screening information, they may not have reciprocal relationships to share such information or other travel-related information such as airline passenger lists with other countries, thereby limiting their ability to identify and prevent travel of known or suspected terrorists.” A Serious Problem Terrorists rely on forged travel documents to move around the world with ease to conduct surveillance, train for a mission or carry out an attack. That is why measures to prevent passport fraud are so critical, according to Ron Noble, the secretary-general of Interpol. “The No. 1 risk confronting airlines and countries around the world is the risk terrorists or other dangerous persons will carry a fraudulent identity document and move from one country to another.” Sources: L-1 Identity Solutions, U.S. Transportation Security Administration, infosurhoy.com, San Diego Union Tribune, Mexico’s El Universal Key Steps in Building Capacity to Prevent Terrorist Travel Share information about known and suspected terrorists through international databases. Address the use of fraudulent travel documents by increasing penalties and improving detection. Upgrade passport security by replacing easily counterfeited documents with ones that meet international standards and include biometric information. Combat corruption in passport issuance and immigration agencies. last_img read more

Hacha Command Helps Fight Gangs in El Salvador

first_imgBy Dialogo December 28, 2015 The training of the Armed Forces of El Salvador is for a military war, not a civil war such as the one we are living through now, it’s out of place If this commando really exists, why don’t they for once and for all comb out the criminals and terrorists gangs of the so called territories they control? I like that armies all over the world are preparing to stop the enemies of their people Truth never reveals itself I am someone who was in the elite group and says it’s better to be in hell with a brave and intelligent commander than in heaven with a coward and [illegible] hacha means to accomplish the mission I hope we fight this scourge of uncertainty caused by the criminals who operate in El Salvador (gangs). Hacha Commando, it is definitely time to act because if you’re in the Army or the police force you are apt to be killed so by the same token you are apt to kill anyone based on the mere fact that they belong to a gang. Ok. Putting an end to crime and living in peace are the wishes of all the Guanacos [Salvadorans]. Well, it really must be so, take our army out onto the streets, towns, rural areas because they are the only ones trained in theory and in practice I believe they have more experience and power of decision when enforcing the law with those who deserve it. The army can be more effective than the PNC, and regarding Human Rights, they can be modified so that when these gentlemen (gang members), commit homicide, they lose their rights and let there be no compassion when enforcing the law, because they have no pity for the people (individuals), why should we pity them, when they’re put in jail it’s a training ground or their training academy to plan evil acts when they get out….we are lost…etc. It’s so good to see, to know that there are people fighting for the safety and well being of the Salvadorans. Thank you to all of them for all their sacrifices and spirit of service toward their citizens. It is a very nice country for tourists and the Salvadorans themselves – may they be able to enjoy their beautiful beaches, natural landscapes, cultures and customs. Greetings to Commander Romano Panameno on his recent birthday. “The members are enlisted personnel, officers, and non-commissioned officers. The course teaches special tactics that will help them lead airborne, air mobile, and close-quarter combat missions aimed at decreasing the number of terrorist groups that threaten Salvadorans’ security and tranquility,” said one of the GOE’s trainers who cannot be identified publicly for security reasons. “[They’ll] maintain the high international esteem that this particular military institution holds,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo González, GOE’s commander. FAES officials created the Hacha Command on December 11, 1983, with the goal of training FAES members to use all military weapons and equipment. Less than three decades later, the Hacha Command was ranked as the Western Hemisphere’s best elite force during the international Fuerzas Comando Military exercises in 2011 and 2012. “The training session introduced us to the latest technology and equipment available today. It also trained us in first-level operational procedures executed with special vehicles and weapons,” said GOE Colonel José González, who commanded the Cuscatlán battalion deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2013. The Hacha Command’s newest members received their wooden Hacha tabs for successfully completing several weeks of training in October. The Hacha Command, an elite group within the Salvadoran Armed Forces Special Operations Group (FAES-GOE, for its Spanish acronym) that specializes in attack operations, has conducted successful operations against the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 (M-18) gangs, as well as other criminal groups and individuals. The special command members maintain their skills through ongoing training, nationally and with partner nations. For instance from May 1st to June 29, 2013, 13 Hacha Command officers participated in the Joint Security Forces Assistant Course, which was administered by the U.S. Army’s 162nd Infantry Brigade at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana. They learned how to provide expert advice to Afghanistan’s Police and Air Force as part of the Coalition Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once Hacha Command members have completed training, they are deployed throughout El Salvador as part of the Rapid-Response Special Forces (FER, for its Spanish acronym), a specialized group that combats the MS-13 and M-18. A joint training exercisecenter_img In April, the FER dismantled gang cells in the departments of La Paz and San Vicente, where the Hacha Command captured two MS-13 gang members, injured two others, and seized an Uzi submachine gun. The FER had taken fire by gang members after converging on a makeshift range the MS-13 was using for target practice. “A team from the Hacha Command set out on four Naval vessels and stopped the suspicious boat,” Lt. Col. González explained. The attack specialists use their training to survive perilous situations. For instance in March 2014, a Cessna O-2A Skymaster with Hacha Command members on board made an emergency landing on Ilopango Lake, about 23 kilometers from the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador. The Soldiers used their training to survive the incident without sustaining any injuries. Combating crime throughout the country “Our personnel operate in small groups, day and night, in any environment – land, sea, or air,” said Colonel Mario Romano Panameño, the commander of the FAES’s Special Forces Command. “They are capable of dealing with adverse situations and can perform long- and short-range reconnaissance, ambushes, surprise attacks, beachhead shots, infiltrations, and extractions.” On September 5th, the Hacha Command captured three Colombians and seized 14 packages of cocaine after intercepting a boat speeding in Salvadoran waters. Hacha (Spanish for “axe”) Command members are distinguished by their strong character, spirit of sacrifice and camaraderie, sense of honor, physical strength, and unwillingness to surrender, according to the Special Forces Command. “What’s special about small countries like El Salvador is they do not really have much to fear in the way of terrorism,” said SOUTHCOM Commander General John F. Kelly during his visit to the course at the Joint Readiness Training Center on June 24, 2013. “They are good and decent people who have stepped up to fight alongside good and decent people.”last_img read more

Westbury Burglar Grabbed Woman, Cops Say

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A burglar tried to a force a 21-year-old woman into her Westbury apartment when she turned to flee upon arriving home and discovering her front door open three weeks ago, Nassau County police said Wednesday.The assailant grabbed the victim and demanded money at her Oliver Avenue home, but she refused and dropped to the ground before the thief fled with two watches at 5:20 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, police said. The victim was not injured.Police released images of the suspect, who was caught on a surveillance camera, in the hope that a member of the public might recognize him. The suspect is described as 5-feet, 9-inches tall, 20 to 25 years old with a mustache. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt.Third Squad detectives ask anyone who recognizes the suspect or with information regarding this crime to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.  All callers will remain anonymous.last_img read more

THE PANDEMIC VACCINE PUZZLE Part 2: Vaccine production capacity falls far short

first_img “We have been working at the federal, state, even the local level to try to make sure this issue is visible,” he said. “To date, the results have been underwhelming.” “Everyone understands that if you don’t have vaccine you are dead in the water, but what has not been dealt with is that, if you don’t have the syringes and needles, the vaccine doesn’t do you any good,” said George Goldman, senior director for hypodermics at BD Medical Surgical Systems in Franklin Lakes, N.J. “Six hundred million devices, which is what in theory would be required to vaccinate the US population twice, is a very large volume if you plan for it and an even larger volume if you produce them in a reactive mode. We do not believe the industry is capable of producing that kind of volume in any short period of time under the best of circumstances” (see Bibliography: BD 2007). Food and Drug Administration (FDA) planners have accepted that, absent rapid changes in current flu-vaccine manufacturing techniques, delivering the earliest doses of a vaccine tuned to a newly emerged pandemic strain would take a minimum of 4 months (see Bibliography: Goodman 2006). A vaccine-industry scenario, described in August in the journal BioPharm International, goes out 6 months: 3 to 4 months to generate a seed strain, 4 to 6 weeks of manufacturing set-up, and 18 weeks of production, including 2 to 3 weeks of quality assurance and regulatory approval—all adding up to a vaccine product that would arrive roughly in time for the pandemic’s second wave but long after the first patients had recovered or died (see Bibliography: Thomas 2007). The nine countries—France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Australia—trade vaccine across borders but are unlikely to keep doing so in a pandemic, he added: “In 2000, a total of six western European companies distributed 66 million doses of vaccine to 18 western European countries. Only 42% of these doses were distributed within the countries that produced them; the remaining 58% were exported to other western European countries. For the rest of the world, about 40% of the doses used in central and eastern Europe, 60% of the doses used in the western Pacific and Southeast Asia, and virtually 100% of the doses used in Latin America, the eastern Mediterranean, and Africa were imported from one or more of the nine vaccine-producing developed countries” (see Bibliography: Fedson 2003). While the US government has taken initial steps to support manufacturers—witness the $133 million given to two manufacturers this past summer to retrofit existing plants and the $1 billion awarded for cell-culture research—much more is needed (see Bibliography: HHS 2006, 2007). What about vials and syringes? While vaccine manufacturers are likely grateful for the HHS funding, others in the industry say the investment is incomplete—because it does nothing to expand capacity for critical downstream tasks such as bottling and administering completed vaccine. But the more difficult obstacle is not the time needed to produce vaccine—which newer technologies such as cell culture could shorten to some degree—but the amount of vaccine needed. Despite years of work, the grave mismatch between predicted demand and likely supply has yet to be solved. Little incentive to buildMany experts have warned that the only way to expand flu-vaccine manufacturing capacity is to get governments to pay for it. In its 2004 “Consultation on priority public health interventions before and during an influenza pandemic,” the WHO cautioned: “Industry has little incentive to build additional manufacturing capacity, which requires very large long-term investments for an event that occurs only rarely and unpredictably.” (See Bibliography: WHO 2004) Last year, Britain’s Royal Society added bluntly: “It is not commercially viable for the vaccine industry to commit the necessary resources to scale up production in advance of a pandemic when there is no existing market, the threat of a pandemic may be years away and the risk in any single year may be considered to be low” (see Bibliography: Royal Society 2006). The pandemic vaccine puzzle Manufacturing 600 million syringes would take 2 years if manufacturers used only their existing excess capacity, Goldman said, and creating a new manufacturing line takes approximately a year. A vaccine embargo?The WHO analysis hides a number of highly optimistic assumptions, including zero glitches in production and 100% cooperation by regulators. But the greatest assumption may be that the newly produced pandemic vaccine would be distributed equitably to all comers around the globe. It is more likely that vaccine would never leave the countries where it is produced. The WHO plan asks countries that do not now use seasonal flu vaccine to launch new seasonal vaccination campaigns as a way of stimulating demand. It also asks countries with existing vaccination programs to increase vaccine use, so that 75% of those for whom vaccination is recommended are taking the shot. Both recommendations may be unrealistic: The United States, which uses more vaccine than any other nation, has never reached 75% uptake even among groups that are urged to take the shot because they are at high risk for flu complications. In the 2005-06 flu season, according to CDC data published in September, the highest acceptance of seasonal flu shots—69.3%—was among adults older than 64, who are considered “high risk” because of their age. Fifty- to 64-year-olds who are at high risk because of chronic medical conditions had a vaccination rate of 48.4%; only 32.3% of those in the same age range who had no high-risk conditions took the flu shot, and only 18.3% of healthy adults between 18 and 50 did so (see Bibliography: CDC 2007). The “fill-finish” sector—which puts bulk manufactured vaccine into vials or syringes—is not being asked to prepare for any excess capacity, said Jack Lysfjord, vice-president for pharmaceutical consulting in the Valicare division of Robert Bosch Packaging Technology Inc., in Brooklyn Park, Minn., a leading manufacturer of production and fill-finish equipment. “We are talking to some companies, but we are not hearing that they plan to buy twice as much from us in the next five years,” he said. “If they want to expand, they should be starting production now” because building an automated filling line can take 2 years (see Bibliography: Bosch 2007). “I have never believed that boosting seasonal flu-vaccine demand was the way to prepare for pandemic flu,” said Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), which publishes CIDRAP News, and of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)–funded Minnesota Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance. “That economic model doesn’t work on its own and it has no scalability to provide flu vaccine for the rest of the world” (see Bibliography: Osterholm 2007). The companies that occupy the end of the vaccine-production process are also experiencing anxiety—on their own behalf and for the pharmaceutical manufacturers who feed product to them—that their operations will be disrupted by the start of a pandemic if they are brought into the process too late. In one example of the supply-demand mismatch, the United States plans to secure enough pandemic vaccine to deliver two doses to all 300 million of its residents (see Bibliography: FDA 2007: Committee meeting transcript). But current US manufacturing capacity tops out at 150 million 15-mcg doses, a total that is expected to rise to 250 million when a new Sanofi Pasteur plant comes online in 2008 (see Bibliography: Sanofi Pasteur 2007), but that still falls far short of the number the federal government hopes to deploy. And those hoped-for 600 million doses do not include the 40 million destined for the US pandemic stockpile that must be replaced periodically as flu strains mutate or the vaccine expires (see Bibliography: Riley 2007).center_img As a foreign-owned company, with its US unit in Minnesota and headquarters and manufacturing plants in Europe, Bosch feels this acutely. Much of the fill-finish equipment sold out of its US plant undergoes preliminary assembly in Germany, and many of the manufacturers for whom Bosch makes equipment rely on pharmaceutical ingredients or production components sourced from around the world. The same frustration is evident at BD (formerly Becton, Dickinson and Co.), the dominant company in syringe manufacturing. To be useful, those investments must be made well in advance of when vaccine is needed: The WHO estimates that building and licensing a new vaccine production line takes up to 5 years (see Bibliography: WHO 2004). The same scenario could happen again. “The U.S. will have a serious problem if the pandemic doesn’t strike in the next couple of years, because interest will decline and demand will go down again,” said Hedwig Kresse, an associate analyst for infectious diseases with the British-based market analysts Datamonitor. “Governments will have to guarantee a certain sales volume to keep [manufacturers] in the market and to keep these capacities up” (see Bibliography: Kresse 2007). Creating enough vaccine-manufacturing capacity to protect the world’s population is not cheap. The price tag is likely to be at least $2 billion and could rise to $9 billion, according to a WHO estimate (see Bibliography: WHO 2006: Global pandemic influenza action plan). Experts within the vaccine industry say that expecting manufacturers to make the investment asks companies to spend against their own best interest. “In the US market alone by the year 2010 there could be a surplus capacity resulting from ‘building for demand’ for pandemic preparedness but ‘suboptimal utilization’ based on significantly lesser demand for seasonal vaccines,” an engineer and two strategists from the Danish biotech firm NNE PharmaPlan wrote in the industry journal BioPharm International. “In Europe, Asia and the rest of the world, planned future capacities for ‘pandemic preparedness’ would have to address how potential surplus capacities can be effectively used in markets where there is little or no demand for seasonal vaccines” (see Bibliography: Thomas 2007). “If we really want to have surge capacity for pandemic vaccine, we have to invest in it like we do our oil reserves, or military reserve capacity,” Osterholm said. “The facilities may sit for years before they are utilized. But the analogy is having an airport fire department in case of a plane crash: You hope never to use it, but you invest as though it were a possibility” (see Bibliography: Osterholm 2007). Oct 26, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The difficult reality is that, even if influenza science were perfect and research funding were abundant, achieving a widely deployable pandemic vaccine is currently out of reach. Chief among the reasons: The world lacks the manufacturing capacity to make enough vaccine to matter. “You have to think about every part of the components,” Lysfjord said. “The machines, the plants, the chemicals; the stopper, the glass, the aluminum overcast for the top of the vial; the labels. You’re not aware of how well-connected the system is until it breaks, and it is going to break big-time.” The United States has already experienced the aftermath of vaccine companies’ feeling overextended. Between 1998 and 2002, two of the four companies that then supplied seasonal flu vaccine left the market, citing losses on investment and increased regulatory demands. In the 2000-01 and 2003-04 flu seasons, the country experienced significant shortages of flu vaccine, with long lines, panic buying, price-gouging, and subsequent congressional investigations (see Bibliography: GAO 2001, 2004; Grady 2004). The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) own best-case analysis, published in the agency’s 2006 “Global Pandemic Influenza Action Plan to Increase Vaccine Supply,” and updated in an Oct. 23, 2007, press release, breaks down the situation this way. In 2006, global manufacturing capacity for seasonal flu vaccine was 350 million doses per year of trivalent vaccine (comprising one 15-microgram [mcg] dose of each of three flu strains’ antigens). This year, according to the WHO, capacity could rise as high as 565 million doses, a total that incorporates both actual capacity increases achieved by manufacturers and theoretical capacity that would be created if manufacturing lines ran around the clock for the entire calendar year—something they do not do for seasonal flu-vaccine production. Given that a pandemic vaccine would be aimed at a single strain rather than three, global capacity could thus rise as high as 1.5 billion doses. But a pandemic vaccine would need to be given twice, because, unlike with seasonal flu, there would have been no prior exposure to the novel strain. So absent the use of adjuvants to stretch limited antigen supplies, industry could produce at best enough vaccine for 750 million people, far short of the amount needed to cover the world’s 6.7 billion inhabitants (see Bibliography: WHO 2006: Global influenza action plan; WHO 2007: Projected supply of pandemic influenza vaccine; Palkonyay 2007). The role of seasonal flu vaccine demandThe WHO action plan avers that manufacturers will significantly expand production capacity by 2012, largely because demand for seasonal flu vaccine will rise—but it offers no evidence that demand can be stimulated to levels that will persuade manufacturers to invest (see Bibliography: WHO 2006: Global pandemic influenza action plan). In the United States, for instance, the amount of vaccine manufactured has risen nearly every year, but so too has the amount returned to manufacturers unused. In the 2006-07 season, manufacturers selling to the US market delivered 120.9 million doses, the highest on record; they received back 18.4 million unused doses, also a record (see Bibliography: Santoli 2007). Editor’s note: This is the second in a seven-part series investigating the prospects for development of vaccines to head off the threat of an influenza pandemic posed by the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The series puts promising advances in vaccine technology in perspective by illuminating the formidable barriers to producing large amounts of an effective and widely usable vaccine in a short time frame. Part 1 described how flu research has been a relatively low priority until very recently, which has left many important scientific questions unanswered. Seven hundred and fifty million “is fewer than the number of people that live in the nine countries that produce 85% of the world’s supply of flu vaccine,” said David Fedson, MD, a retired academic and vaccine-industry executive who has published critical analyses of pandemic-vaccine planning. “Which means that, if you live outside of a vaccine-producing country—whether that means Indonesia or Sweden or Spain—you get nothing” (see Bibliography: Fedson 2007: Author interview). Part 1: Flu research: a legacy of neglectPart 2: Vaccine production capacity falls far shortPart 3: H5N1 poses major immunologic challengesPart 4: The promise and problems of adjuvantsPart 5: What role for prepandemic vaccination?Part 6: Looking to novel vaccine technologiesPart 7: Time for a vaccine ‘Manhattan Project’?Bibliographylast_img read more

IDEA FOR EXTENDED WEEKEND: Legends of Plitvice Valleys

first_imgThere is little time left until June 23, the day when the Legends of Plitvice Valleys will come to life in the Municipality of Rakovica, near the Old Town of Drežnik. Serežani, Japodi, Eugen Kvaternik, Korana river… all of them come to Kula for one day to show visitors a part of the rich history and tradition of the Plitvice region.Workshops for all generationsAlready at noon the program begins with a variety of creative workshops for children and adults. After meeting the “revived” legends, visitors will follow the map in search of the “undiscovered treasure”, participate in a small school of archeology for children, have fun running in jute bags, try their hand at throwing stones from a slingshot and of course take pictures in beautiful historical costumes. There will also be transformations into historical figures by painting faces and an attractive workshop on quilling techniques – paper processing that dates back to the Renaissance.A little earlier, at 10 am, a special, as long as six hours long cycling tour “Legends of Plitvice Valleys Bike Tour” begins, which everyone can sign up for and experience this event on two wheels along the beautiful route of Plitvice Valleys. The plan is to visit Barać’s caves, the Eco Market, and return to the tower where visitors will be greeted by costumed Legends.Who are the Legends of Plitvice Valleys?Throughout the day, visitors will be able to socialize with the main stars – historical figures who marked this area and thus learn all about them first hand. These are Eugen Kvaternik, the leader of the Rakovica Rebellion; serious Serezani, the historical elite police of the Plitvice Valleys in their impressive uniforms; the Japod tribe, masters in making beautiful jewelry that visitors will be able to see, and even the Korana River, a beauty that will come to life one day and tell why it was so important for the people of this area.Gastro duel with the guest appearance of Steve KarapandžaAn attractive gastronomic duel starts at 16:30, and a very interesting guest we all know comes to the event – another legend, well-known chef Stevo Karapandža as a jury member in a gastronomic duel with colleagues Dario Špehar and Igor Jularić from Plitvice Lakes National Park.Two teams, KUD Izvor Rakovica and Folklore Society Otočac, which have very good chefs in their ranks, will clash in the preparation of indigenous dishes, and a jury of three excellent chefs will decide the winner. In the breaks from cooking, folklore societies will of course show their skills in song and dance.Program for all generations and beautiful horses!The manifestation of the Legend of Plitvice Valleys will be visited again this year by horses from nearby equestrian clubs that will be available to visitors, and guests can expect special gifts.Surprise for the endAlso, the organizers invite all guests to stay at the event until dark, because they are preparing a special surprise! What it is still a secret, but we are interested, so we will definitely see each other on June 23 in Rakovica near the tower.The official hashtag of the event is # Legende2018, and you can follow everything on social networks and the Facebook event: Legends of Plitvice Valleys 2018last_img read more

DeepGreen and Allseas Form Seafloor Mining Alliance

first_imgDeepGreen Metals and Allseas Group have formed a strategic partnership, bringing DeepGreen’s expertise in exploring for high-grade metals obtained from seafloor polymetallic nodule deposits together with Allseas’ offshore engineering capabilities.DeepGreen recently engaged Macquarie Capital and Fearnley Securities to co-lead a USD $150m investment round in order to finance the company through feasibility studies, targeted for completion in 2023.Allseas comes in as a lead strategic investor, which will ultimately enable DeepGreen to develop a state-of-the-art polymetallic nodule harvester and riser system to gather nodules from the seafloor of the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific, and transport them up to a surface vessel some 4 to 6.5 kilometers above.“Our partnership with Allseas will ultimately help us open up a new, disruptive source of battery metals for the green revolution and transform the mining industry as we know it,” said DeepGreen’s chairman and CEO, Gerard Barron. “This new industry needs world-class, innovative companies that bring expertise from other industries to help us get things moving. Allseas is one of the most highly regarded offshore engineering companies on the planet, and we are proud to have them alongside us to develop our pilot mining system, and ultimately our offshore production system. Allseas is a company founded and owned by a creative engineer, and today employs 600+ full time engineers with more than 200 engineers working in the innovation and R&D function. It’s not surprising that they have many world firsts to their name. It was important to us to find a partner who can bring not just strong offshore engineering expertise but also a strong 24-7 production mindset in the deep-sea environment—something Allseas has done for decades in their pipelaying business and recently to great effect in the offshore heavy lift industry.”“Extracting battery metals like nickel and cobalt from terrestrial mines is facing many challenges, and the environmental, CO2 and social costs are simply too high. Seafloor polymetallic nodules contain more than enough base metals that the world needs to get to a clean energy economy, and they require no blasting, drilling or digging. Indeed, our life cycle sustainability analysis shows that, with regards to NMC batteries with copper connectors for electric vehicles, ocean nodules generate at least 75% less CO2 when compared to producing these metals from land ores.”“Together with Allseas, we’ll engineer a deep ocean nodule harvesting system that will have minimal impact to the deep sea environment, enabling us to bring what we call clean metals to market in order to power some of the one billion electric vehicles that are forecast to be produced over the coming three decades.”Edward Heerema, founder and president of Allseas, said:“We are very pleased to be partnering with DeepGreen and supporting their vision to responsibly collect battery metals from the ocean floor. For more than 30 years our company has been an innovator in the offshore oil and gas industry, and we are now excited to find a new industry to leverage our experience, expertise and maybe some of our operational assets. We looked at several entry points to this industry and decided that the DeepGreen team and their strategy was one we were comfortable with, and in our opinion had the best chances of succeeding.”Operational activities will occur in international waters and are to be governed by the first-of-its-kind regulatory framework currently being developed through the UN International Seabed Authority (ISA). As such, the minerals in the CCZ are the ‘common heritage of mankind’, and the mandate of the ISA is to regulate mining activities on the deep sea bed while ensuring the protection of the ocean environment and the participation of developing nations.last_img read more