Nuclear Midnight, Biological Threat Surveillance, Nuance in Disaster Preparedness

Topics in this issue include disaster risk reduction, Ebola countermeasures, Chemical Weapons Convention verification, and nuclear midnight.

Research and Evaluations of the Health Aspects of Disasters, Part IX: Risk-Reduction Framework

The Disaster Logic Model (DLM) is used to define the value, impacts, and benefits of interventions directed at risk reduction. A Risk-Reduction Framework, based on the DLM, details the processes involved in hazard mitigation and/or capacity-building interventions to augment the resilience of a community or to decrease the risk that a secondary event will develop. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine Journal >>

DTRA Awards 3.4M Contract for Ebola Countermeasure

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has awarded a one-year, $3.4 million contract award to Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and collaborator Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) to combine two available medications and test the resulting combination drug therapy against the Ebola virus. Global Biodefense >>

What Kinds of Skills Are Necessary for Physicians Involved in International Disaster Response?

The objectives of this study were to survey the primary skills required for physicians from a Japanese FMT and to examine whether there were differences in the frequencies of performed skills according to demographic characteristics, previous experience, and dispatch situations to guide future training and certification programs. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine Journal >>

Analysis of Chemical Warfare Agents for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention

A simple, sensitive and low temperature sample preparation method is developed for detection and identification of CWAs and scheduled esters in organic liquid using magnetic dispersive solid phase extraction (MDSPE) followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis. The method utilizes Iron oxide@Poly(methacrylic acid-co-ethylene glycol dimethacrylate) resin (Fe2O3@Poly(MAA-co-EGDMA)) as sorbent. Science Direct >>

US Suspends Cluster Munitions Sales to Saudi Arabia

The United States is suspending transfers of cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia in the wake of civilian harm caused by the weapon in Yemen. “We applaud this decision,” said Megan Burke, Director of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “The United States is rightfully applying its own national law that forbids transfers of cluster munitions to states that might use them against civilian targets or in civilian areas.” Cluster Munition Coalition >>

Three Minutes to Nuclear Midnight

Even if you’ve never won an office raffle, a sports pool or a lottery, consider yourself supremely lucky. Unlike the atomic bomb victims who were recognized by President Obama’s recent visit to Hiroshima, you’ve never experienced the horrors of nuclear war. That’s nothing any of us should take for granted, says former Defense Secretary William Perry. On at least three occasions, he noted recently, the U.S. military received false alarms of a Soviet nuclear attack. Huffington Post >>

AAAS Panel Discussion on #CTBT20 with ES Lassina Zerbo

On 19 May, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ in Cambridge, United States, hosted a panel discussion to mark the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. The topic of discussion was the prospects for its ratification and the enduring risks of nuclear testing. One of the discussants was CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo, who noted the importance in the implementation of the CTBT’s verification regime. CTBTO >>

Historic Start of Chemical Weapons Reduction

June 1 marks the anniversary of a historic meeting more than a quarter century ago between the leaders of the United States and what was then the Soviet Union that resulted in an agreement to end the production of chemical weapons. Three years later, more than 150 nations signed on to a comprehensive treaty banning chemical weapons – but despite those efforts they remain a threat today. VOA News >>

Battelle’s REBS System Selected for Biological Threat Surveillance Program

The Resource Effective Bio-Identification System (REBS) was one of several candidate technologies to recently undergo the U.S. government’s live agent performance trials—and made the down-selecting cut for the Joint United States Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition (JUPITR) program. Global Biodefense >>

Experts, Laypeople, and Nuance in Disaster Preparedness

Engineers, psychologists, and sociologists have long puzzled over differences in risk perception—especially, though not exclusively, where nuclear issues are concerned. Why do different people fear different things? Why do they so often disregard scientific calculations about probabilities and fatalities? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

India’s Unresolvable Nuclear Debate

If deterrence fails and India must decide if to retaliate proportionally after a Pakistani nuclear first strike, how could Indian leaders be confident that there would not be further nuclear escalation? When news emerges that Pakistan has tested another short-range missile or increased its stockpile of nuclear weapons, debate resumes in New Delhi over whether India should revise its nuclear doctrine and forces. The Wire >>

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