| NEWS of the Day - July 17, 2012
|on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...
We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
From the L.A. Daily News
FDA approves Truvada as first drug to reduce risk of HIV
by The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection, a milestone in the 30-year battle against the virus that causes AIDS.
The agency approved Gilead Sciences' pill Truvada as a preventive measure for people who are at high risk of acquiring HIV, such as those who have sex with HIV-infected partners.
Gilead Sciences Inc. has marketed Truvada since 2004 as a treatment for people who are infected with the virus.
But company studies have shown the drug can prevent people from contracting HIV when used as a precautionary measure. A three-year study found that daily doses cut the risk of infection in healthy gay and bisexual men by 42 percent, when accompanied by condoms and counseling.
From Google News
Bridge company suspects Canadian connection in bomb threat
Bridge links Windsor and Detroit at North America's busiest border crossing
by CBC News
The president of the Detroit International Bridge Company suspects Monday's bomb threat against the Ambassador Bridge is somehow related to cuts to the Canada Border Services Agency.
"We cannot confirm, but suspect that this is has something to do with Canada's disinvestment at the border by cutting back on customs agents," president Dan Stamper wrote in a statement to media. "The Detroit International Bridge Company remains vigilant in its efforts to ensure that all those who cross the Ambassador Bridge remain safe."
Jason McMichael first national vice president of the Customs and Immigration Union, called Stamper's comment "mindless rhetoric" and "so perverse, it's laughable."
"Despite the fact they are faced with cuts and despite the fact they have been working without a contract for the last year, these folks go to work every day and protect the Canadian economy, Canadians and international travellers," McMichael said of his union's members.
McMichael acknowledged there may be people who would suspect disgruntled border agents, but said he doesn't believe anyone related to the CBSA is responsible.
"In my mind, it is out of the realm of possibly," he said. "What could possibly be accomplished that would — in any way, shape or form — aid my members?"
Second threat in a week
The Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor and Detroit was closed Monday night because of a bomb threat.
Detroit police said a 911 call came in around 7:20 p.m. ET Monday to authorities on the U.S. side of the Ambassador Bridge. The caller said a bomb would go off in 10 minutes along the busy freight crossing, police Inspector Don Johnson said during a news conference Monday night.
The closure came four days after the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel was shut down for nearly four hours on July 12 because of a bomb threat.
"We've been asked to close our side of the bridge," Windsor police Staff Sgt. Jeff Verkoeyen told CBC News just after the threat.
Windsor police are working with U.S. authorities to deal with the threat, which came just before 8 p.m. ET.
A one-kilometre safety zone was set up on either side of the bridge. Authorities in the U.S. used two vessels and two small boats to enforce the zone on its side of the border. Windsor police sent a vessel to secure the Canadian side of the international waterway.
"We can't speculate," U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Jeff Ogden said when asked whether there is a connection to the recent threat that shut down the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel.
"We'll do what we can to maintain maritime safety," Ogden said. "No matter how many times we have to do it, we'll maintain the safety of the public. No one should fear any danger. There is great international co-operation here."
Vehicles were rerouted to the tunnel, where traffic began backing up within an hour. Adding to traffic are Canadian fans returning from a baseball game in Detroit, where the Tigers hosted the L.A. Angels of Anaheim.
Monday's bridge bomb threat came from the Detroit side of the border, while the threat against the tunnel originated from a payphone in Windsor, according to local police.
Detroit police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens said early Tuesday that the bridge reopened at 1 a.m. ET after security sweeps failed to turn up any incendiary devices. Nothing was found at the tunnel last week either.
Bridge critical to economy
The Ambassador Bridge is North America's busiest border and a commercial lifeline for many manufacturers in southwestern Ontario and the U.S. Midwest.
Chrysler Canada's Windsor Assembly Plant, where minivans are built, depends on just-in-time delivery of product that crosses the bridge. Fortunately for Chrysler, its plants in Windsor and Brampton, Ont., were not operating Monday while closed for an annual shutdown.
Within an hour, truck traffic bound for the U.S. was backed up more than four kilometres.
Several truck drivers CBC News spoke with on Huron Church Road, which leads to the bridge, said they were told the wait will be at least six hours before the bridge opens.
One enterprising woman took advantage of the situation. Christie Jewell was out on Huron Church Road enticing truckers to a local adult entertainment club that is along the major transportation route.
"I'm basically inviting the boys in to be entertained. We know it's going to be a long haul," she said.
Media in Detroit began reporting at 11:30 p.m. that the bridge would reopen at approximately midnight.
In 2010, a reported 28,814 trucks crossed the privately owned Ambassador Bridge on a daily basis, with a trade value of almost $500 million US.
Bill Anderson, the Ontario research chair in cross-border policy, said even now, 25 per cent of trade between Canada and the U.S. crosses the bridge on a daily basis. He called a threat against the bridge "much worse."
"When you have the bridge shut down, there is a negative impact on the economy," Anderson said, calling the bridge "the single most-important crossing in the largest bi-lateral trade relationship in the world."
"Every time a call comes like this, you have to take it serious," Anderson said.
Ottawa and the State of Michigan recently came to an agreement to build a new international crossing between the two cities.
Lydia Miljan, a political science professor at the University of Windsor, said the recent threats only make a stronger case for a second bridge to be located farther apart for security and strategic reasons. Anderson agreed.
"This plays up the fact it would be better to have another bridge available," Anderson said. "At the present time, there isn't an alternate route. Having another bridge would be an advantage."
Tunnel search found no bomb
No explosives were found following the July 12 threat to the 1.5-kilometre Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.
In that instance, the threat was called in between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to the Tunnel Duty Free Shop near the tunnel's Windsor-side entrance, said Carolyn Brown, executive vice-president of the tunnel corporation.
The caller simply said, "There's a bomb in the tunnel," police spokesman Sgt. Matt D'Asti said.
He confirmed police dusted a payphone for fingerprints near the tunnel entrance on the Windsor side.
The tunnel was evacuated in both directions and law enforcement personnel turned away pleasure boats and stopped freighters on the Detroit River.
The tunnel, which connects downtown Windsor with Detroit, can handle as many as 2,000 cars an hour. It is used mostly by passenger traffic, tourists and businesspeople than for trade.
NYC bus driver Steven St. Bernard catches 7-year-old girl after 3-story fall
(Video on site)
(CBS) NEW YORK - A quick-thinking New York City bus driver is being praised as a hero after catching a 7-year-old girl who fell out of a third-floor window in Brooklyn.
Saleema McCree told WCBS-TV that her daughter Keyla is autistic and was supposed to be asleep in her bedroom at the time of the incident. But she apparently slipped out of the window and climbed onto the family's newly installed air conditioner. Witnesses at the scene said she started dancing on top of the unit before falling.
The episode was caught on video.
"I heard somebody banging on the door, stating that my daughter was outside on the air conditioner, but I had no idea what was going on because I had my son," McCree said.
Steven St. Bernard was arriving home from work moments before Keyla fell.
"Basically she was dancing and I just - I was just praying that I would get there and that if she [fell] that I would catch her," he told WCBS.
"She was shocked, because she moaned a little bit," St. Bernard later told 1010 WINS.
The girl was transported to Coney Island Hospital, but suffered no major injuries. St. Bernard suffered a torn tendon in his hand.
"He has a heart, a very good heart -- kids, adults, anybody -- he would do anything for anybody," neighbor Jessica Aleman said of St. Bernard.
Police spoke with the girl's parents but determined that no charges would be filed in the incident.
From the Department of Homeland Security
The Truth About BioWatch: The Importance of Early Detection of a Potential Biological Attack
by Dr. Alexander Garza
Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer for DHS
We all know the importance of early detection in the treatment of diseases and medical emergencies. Routine screenings and monitoring as well as rapid response save thousands of lives every year. The same principles apply when mitigating the effects of biological threats, which is why DHS works with state and local officials through the BioWatch program to monitor for traces of dangerous pathogens in public places where large groups of people gather to ensure that we respond quickly when a potential threat is identified.
There has been some confusion reported in the news lately about how the BioWatch program works and what it is intended to do. First announced in 2003, BioWatch is the nation's first early detection and warning capability for biological attacks. DHS partners with public health laboratories, which are members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Laboratory Response Network, to conduct rapid analysis and provide information and expertise to governors and local emergency officials when a pathogen is detected in order to determine whether it indicates a potential biological attack.
Recent media reports have incorrectly claimed that BioWatch is prone to “false positives” or “false alarms” that create confusion among local officials and first responders. These claims are unsubstantiated. To date, more than 7 million tests have been performed by dedicated public health lab officials and there has never been a false positive result.
Out of these more than 7 million tests, BioWatch has reported 37 instances in which naturally-occurring biological pathogens were detected from environmental sources. Many of the pathogens the BioWatch system is designed to detect occur naturally in the environment, such as the bacteria that causes anthrax, which has been used as a weapon, but is also found in nature. For example, near the nation's Southwest border there have been a number of instances where a bacterium that is endemic in the environment has been identified. Thankfully, none of the instances were actual attacks. The detection of commonly occurring environmental agents is not a “false positive.”
Much like a home smoke detector goes off for both burnt toast and a major fire, the smoke detector is meant to notify you of a potential fire before it's too late. BioWatch works very much the same way. If BioWatch detects a potential threat, state and local officials as well as first responders have the ability to investigate the incident to the fullest and determine if there is a credible threat to the public.
These tools alone cannot and do not declare that a biological attack has occurred. Experts must interpret the data and quickly make tough, logical decisions about the reality of the threat. BioWatch is designed to provide the nation with the greatest lead time possible to respond to the potential release of a biological agent. The faster we detect an event, the more lives we can save by responding and delivering medical countermeasures. Looking forward, the scientists who operate the system will continue their work to improve BioWatch to keep the nation safe from any potential biological threats.