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The next disease outbreak may start with New York's unbelievably diseased rats

Here's a shocking fact for you: Rats, the cute, cuddly creatures you sometimes see around your city, are actually kind of gross. And to find out just how gross, researchers at New York's Columbia University decided to do some tests, and the answer is clear: They're dangerously gross. The researchers examined the pathogens present in 133 rats in Manhattan and found food-borne illnesses, diseases never-before seen in New York and undiscovered viruses. Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, told the New York Times it's a "recipe for a public health nightmare."

The background: Scientists set traps in a few Manhattan buildings to catch the pests. "New York rats are a lot wilier than rats in other cities," researcher Cadhla Firth told the New York Times. "We had to bait traps and just leave them open for a week." Once they had their quota, they were able to extract tissue and look for pathogens. Some of the highlights include salmonella, vicious strains of E. coli and Seoul hantavirus, which had never before been found in New York. They even discovered 18 new viruses, including some that seem similar to the virus that causes hepatitis C.

While that may seem scary, scientists are calling it a good thing - now they can figure out how humans might be affected. The takeaway: The big health scares often deal with pathogens in other parts of the world coming here - Ebola comes to mind, along with our old friends SARS and bird flu. That's why politicians get worked into a tizzy tying disease outbreaks to immigration. But one quick look at some rats and it becomes clear that the U.S. is far from some hygienic paradise that can only be spoiled by foreigners. "Everybody's looking [for pathogens] all over the world, in all sorts of exotic places, including us," Columbia professor Ian Lipkin told the New York Times. "But nobody's looking right under our noses."
Passport

U.S. embassies in Ebola-stricken countries are still processing visas for non-US citizens

© Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA/Newscom
A woman looks at an Ebola sensitization mural in Monrovia, Liberia.
Despite the outbreak of Ebola, it is still possible to get a visa from the three West African countries at the heart of the outbreak, and a key congressman is demanding to know why.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, sent a sternly worded letter to Secretary of State John Kerry about the Obama administration's handling of the Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Royce said he was "deeply concerned" U.S. embassies in those countries were continuing to process visas for non-U.S. nationals despite the outbreak of the deadly disease.

An estimated 100 people per day are applying for U.S. visas at the three embassies, according to Royce. "Of course," he added, "once these individuals are issued a visa by the embassy, they are free to travel to the United States."

In the letter, Royce urged Kerry to contain the Ebola virus "at its source" in Africa before any additional cases reach the United States.

"I was surprised that the Department of State has not already exercised its authority to suspend consular services, which is standard procedure in countries experiencing a major security disruption," Royce wrote to Kerry. "This would be a prudent measure to mitigate the risk of Ebola exposure and contain its spread - a bedrock principal (sic) of health crisis management."
Light Saber

Yellowstone brucellosis-free bison to be given to Indian tribes instead of zoos

bison
© Reuters/Jim Urquhart
A car is stopped by a herd of bison crossing the highway in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, June 8, 2013.
An Indian reservation in Montana will receive 145 bison from Yellowstone National Park that were quarantined to create a herd free of a disease that threatens ranchers' cattle, according to a government plan approved on Thursday.

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission agreed unanimously to give the bison to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation to further the conservation of the country's last herd of wild, purebred buffalo.

The tribe was chosen instead of a proposal to distribute the iconic, hump-shouldered creatures to six organizations across five states, including New York's Bronx and Queens zoos.

"It would be a great celebration at Fort Peck to make this happen," said Becky Dockter, chief legal counsel for Montana's wildlife agency.

The bison, now in confinement at a Montana ranch owned by media mogul Ted Turner, were part of a government experiment that quarantined the animals to produce a band free of the cattle disease brucellosis, which is carried by roughly half of Yellowstone's buffalo.
Attention

Ebola panic ramping up as passenger dies after vomiting at JFK airport

JFK airport
© Reuters/Eduardo Munoz
People make their way at the international arrival terminal at JFK airport in New York.
A male passenger who died after vomiting on a trans-Atlantic flight from Nigeria to New York sparked panic he could be carrying the Ebola virus. However, initial tests on the 63-year-old man show that he tested negative to the virus.

The man had boarded a flight at Lagos Airport in Nigeria, which was bound for New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. However, once airborne, the man complained of vomiting during the flight and was sick in his seat. He died sometime before the plane landed at JFK, leaving around 150 passengers worried as to why he had passed away.

Upon the plane's arrival at the terminal at around 6am local time, the door was left open connecting the plane to the airport building, "which a lot of the first responders found alarming," the source added, which was reported by the New York Post. Medical officials at the scene conducted a cursory exam and alleviated fears that the Ebola virus was present, according to a local police source.

Comment: As Ebola panic escalates there continues to be questions regarding the reliability of testing. See:

Ebola questions and answers: transmission, infection and false negative test results
Those tests are not entirely foolproof, though:
One test for Ebola, the indirect fluorescence assay, is known to have a rather low specificity, and therefore a rather high false negative rate. PCR testing has also been known to miss cases of affliction. (source)
In other words, it is possible for an Ebola test to be negative when the person actually does have Ebola.


Che Guevara

Thomas Sankara, assassinated President of Burkina Faso commemorated

© Unknown
President Sankara and Leader of the People of Burkina Faso, West Africa, was assassinated 27 years ago in a coup d'état
Burkina Faso president Thomas Sankara was a feminist Marxist Pan-Africanist revolutionary leader who was assassinated in a coup d'etat four short years after he took power.

On October 15, 1987, Burkina Faso president Thomas Sankara, the Marxist revolutionary and a feminist Pan-Africanst leader, was assassinated in a military coup. A week before his death, Sankara said in reference to Che Guevara, "Revolutionaries and individuals can be murdered, but ideas never die."

He changed the nation's name from the French colonial name Upper Volta, to Burkina Faso, which means "the land of the upright people."

He worked in the four short years he was president to create a "third way," during the Cold War in order to separate Burkina Faso's path from the interests of France and the U.S. He pushed against the hegemonic power of France in west Africa, by calling for the end of African nations' debt to international banks and to the colonial nations of the West. He refused to take World Bank loans and instead focused on strengthening local production of food and textiles. Sankara also abolished obligatory labor and tribute payments to village chiefs, female circumcision and polygamy. He began national immunization and river blindness programs, built basic transportation and housing infrastructure, and promoted literacy programs. It was women and the rural poor who were the focus of his revolution and who benefited the most from his presidency.

Comment: To learn more about the oligarchs and how they deal with Leaders that serve us, ordinary people, watch:

The coup against Hugo Chavez

Evidence of Revision: The PTB have been revising history regarding the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and others. With lots of historical footage.

Bad Guys

Alaska National Guard supports a culture of sexual assault, smuggling and theft

© Reuters
Would you put your trust in these people?
Several leaked documents show that the Alaska National Guard's leadership supported a culture of sexual assault, theft and smuggling. The released reports coincide with the state's contentious gubernatorial election.

The May 3 Army Regulation 15-6 (AR) report obtained by The Anchorage Press alleges that Lt. Col. Joseph Lawendowski, who joined the Alaska National Guard (ANG) in 2003, promoted steroid use by recruiters, used government vehicles for strip club outings, and possibly used government-issued credit cards for improper purchases when he led the command from 2008-2009. He also created a workplace environment where three male officers - Jarret Carson, John Nieves and Shannon Tallent - repeatedly violated regulations by having consensual sex with women while working.

The papers show that Lawendowski, the leader of the ANG Recruiting and Retention command at the time, created a climate of fear and intimidation. They also reveal that he and a command sergeant allowed three officers to carry out sexual assaults, retaliate against soldiers who filed complaints, and generally feel above the law, the AR report says.

The three came to be known as the "Three Headed Monster" because of their large sizes - all over six feet tall and over 250 pounds - and intimidating behavior. Nieves is alleged to have raped the 19-year-old sister of a solider he had recruited into the guard, threatening to ruin the soldier's career if she didn't have sex with him. Tallent bragged of having sex with high school students, and possibly raping several women.

Comment: It is inconceivable to the (somewhat) normal person that politicians and other people higher up condone or are even part of this pathological culture or pathocracy:
Any leadership position - down to village headman and community cooperative mangers, not to mention the directors of police units, and special-services police personnel, and activists in the pathocratic party - must be filled by individuals whose feeling of linkage to such a regime is conditioned by corresponding psychological deviations, which are inherited as a rule. However, such people become more valuable because they constitute a very small percentage of the population. Their intellectual level or professional skills cannot be taken into account, since people representing superior abilities with the requisite psychological deviations - are even harder to find.


Stormtrooper

'Shot in the heart': Israeli army kills 13yo Palestinian boy

Israeli soldiers
© Reuters / Abed Omar Qusini
A Palestinian boy was shot in the chest point-blank and later died amid a confrontation between Israeli forces and stone-throwing youths in a village of the occupied West Bank, according to local media and medical sources.

Bahaa Badr, 13, was fatally shot by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) as the troops made their way to Beit Liqya village in the West Bank, located near the border with Israel, Reuters reported citing medical sources and local residents.

Badr was shot from a close range into the heart area and died shortly after the impact, Palestinian Ma'an news agency quoted another source as saying.

Upon entering the village, Israeli troops were met by Palestinian protesters who began throwing stones at them. It is still unclear whether the boy took part in the protest.

Israel has referred to the demonstration as an "illegal riot," saying that demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails at soldiers as they were leaving the village.

In response, troops began shooting live ammunition rounds, according to an Israeli military spokesperson, who added that the incident will be investigated.

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been running extremely high since the start of Israel's seven-week war in Gaza in July, which took the lives of more than 2,000 Palestinians - mostly civilians - and over 70 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
Ambulance

Passenger train collides with freight train in northwest Arkansas injuring 44, including five critically

© KNWA/KFTA
Emergency responders were at the scene in Washington County and transported 31 to local hospitals, 5NewsOnline.com reported.
A passenger train on a sight-seeing trip collided with a freight train Thursday in northwest Arkansas injuring 44, including five critically, THV11 reported. The incident occurred at about 10:30 a.m. and involved four passenger cars carrying 44 passengers and six crew members. Emergency responders were at the scene in Washington County and transported 31 to local hospitals, the report said.

Washington County Emergency Management Director John Luther said 37 people were able to walk away from the wreck. Hazmat teams were also inspecting the site. Luther told KNWA/KFTA that about 300 gallons of diesel fuel spilled near the White River.

Details of the crash remain unclear. An official from the county told the station that the passenger train, which left from Springdale and en route to Van Buren, a 134-mile trip, stalled and the other train was sent to assist. But somehow the assisting train collided with the stalled one, the source said.
Arrow Down

Arkansas juvenile detainees locked in controversial device 'when verbal deescalation is not working'

WRAP restraint system
© Photos obtained via Freedom of Information Act
Scott Tanner, Juvenile Detention Ombudsman, experiences the WRAP restraint system in the Yell County Juvenile Detention Center in Danville, AR.
Juvenile detention facilities across the state are coming under fire for using a disturbing restraint device that some are calling "torture."

The device is known as the "WRAP" system. According to state officials, the device is used to restrain minor detainees "when verbal deescalation is not working" - sometimes for hours on end.

The system involves binding a child's arms and legs together using straps and handcuffs, and sometimes involves shrouding the child's face with a hood or a helmet. Photos from the Yell County Juvenile Detention Center in Danville, Arkansas, have raised eyebrows following their exposure through a FOIA request. Questions are being raised about whether the treatment is ethical or humane.

The Danville facility has been shown to strap detainees with a mask which appears to be covered with duct tape and decorated as a cartoonish, dehumanizing cross-eyed effigy.
X

The psychopathy virus is spreading: Rape, sex offenses spike in England and Wales

© Reuters / Navesh Chitrakar
The number of recorded rapes and sexual offences has dramatically risen in the past 12 months, despite overall crime levels in the UK falling to their lowest since the 1980s.

Data recorded by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed a 29 percent increase in the number of recorded rape cases last year, while the number of overall crimes filed as sex offences rose by 21 percent to 22,116.

Additionally, the ONS data showed the number of rape attacks carried out at knifepoint had risen by 48 percent, from 199 to 294. Sex offences committed at knifepoint similarly rose by 22 percent, from 91 to 111.

The ONS said the rise may be due to a growing willingness among victims to report attacks to the authorities. They also said police forces may be increasingly open to investigate such cases fully.
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