NIH to launch early Ebola vaccine trial in September

Promising but here’s the catch:If someone has full-blown Ebola hemorrhagic virus, there is no drug on the planet that is going to protect them. But in the monkey model, we do have drugs where, if you have an early stage of infection and an early stage of illness, some of them are pretty successful.”

via NIH to launch early Ebola vaccine trial in September.

India puts GM crop trials on hold | Environment | The Guardian

A significant victory but people need to watch carefully – Monsanto and its allies – have deep pockets and want to control your food!

The battle over testing of genetically modified crops in India took a new turn this week with the Bharatiya Janata party-led government putting field trials on hold.

The move reverses the previous Congress party-led government’s push for GM trials, which had resulted in approvals in the past few months for rice, maize, wheat and chickpea crops. Trials are the first step towards sale and plantation of GM seeds in India.

The BJP, which came to power in May, took a stand against GM crop trials in its election manifesto.

But this week’s announcement came after the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (Forum for National Awakening) and the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (Indian Farmers Association) , two grassroots groups affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist outfit that supports the BJP, met environment minister Prakash Javdekar on Tuesday to reiterate their opposition to holding GM trials.

The groups expressed concern about the potentially unknown effects on health and biodiversity as well as about the longer-term prospect of putting food production in the hands of a few multinational companies. “If a country’s food production becomes overly dependent on seeds and other inputs from a handful of such companies, will it not compromise its food security?” said the Manch in a press statement.

The biotech industry responded with dismay to the news. Stocks of Monsanto India slipped. An association of leading biotech companies in India criticised the government’s decision as “anti-science, anti-domestic research recommendations which seem motivated to kill the biotechnology sector in India.” Field trials are necessary, proponents say, to test the efficacy of seeds in real-world conditions.

But the introduction of GM crops has always been controversial in India. Opposition ranges across political lines, and many states, worried about contamination, refuse to allow field trials within their borders. Bt cotton is the only commercially available GM crop in India.

via India puts GM crop trials on hold | Environment | The Guardian.

Is there a Rihanna sex tape? No, it’s a malware scam on Facebook | Technology | The Guardian

There is no sex tape of Rihanna and her boyfriend doing the rounds online. You can’t see who’s been looking at your Facebook profile. And you can’t change your Facebook colour either.

This may all sound obvious, but according to antivirus firm Bitdefender, these are the most popular malware scams on the social network in 2014.

The company has published a list of the top 10 Facebook scams, with the fake app promising to tell you your Facebook views and visitors by far the most popular, accounting for 30.2% of bogus links it identified on the social network this year.

Clicking on any of them will lead Facebook users to sites that try to install viruses on their computers, as malware developers continue to seek new ways to spread their software to unsuspecting victims.

The chart is good news for Taylor Swift and Disneyland, who both featured in Bitdefender’s list a year ago. Swift’s non-existent sex tape and an offer of a free trip to Disneyland have fallen from the top 10 over the last 12 months.

“Why do people still want to see who has been taking a peek at their profile, despite all security warnings? I think they believe these are legitimate apps,” said chief security strategist Catalin Cosoi.

“This is social engineering at its finest – a challenging mental game that pushes the right psychological buttons. The baits have changed over time, with stalkers, peekers, admirers, overly attached girlfriends and exes haunting you, but the reason this scam works is simple: human nature.”

via Is there a Rihanna sex tape? No, it’s a malware scam on Facebook | Technology | The Guardian.

US restocks Israel with ammunition | Maan News Agency

Ceasefire called for but resupply with ammo to use against Gaza – OK!?!

The United States confirmed it had restocked Israel’s supplies of ammunition, hours after issuing a strong condemnation of an attack on a United Nations school in Gaza.

The Israeli military requested additional ammunition to restock its dwindling supplies on July 20, the Pentagon said. The US Defense Department approved the sale just three days later.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

“This defense sale is consistent with those objectives.”

Two of the requested munitions came from a little-known stockpile of ammunition stored by the US military on the ground in Israel for emergency use. The War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel is estimated to be worth $1 billion.

via US restocks Israel with ammunition | Maan News Agency.

Update on Ebola Evacuees! Ebola cases rise to 1,323; 2 African doctors die | CIDRAP

People being evacuated will follow CDC advice and protocols – good! Two US-based relief organizations announced yesterday that they were evacuating all nonessential personnel from Liberia because of the surge of EVD cases in the region. In a statement yesterday, SIM, based in Charlotte, N.C., said it and Samaritan’s Purse were taking the step as a precaution and were in the process of setting up the evacuation details.

SIM said no EVD symptoms are present in any of the evacuees, who are being monitored based on protocols recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other global health groups.

Two medical missionaries from the relief groups recently contracted EVD infections during joint operations in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. They are Kent Brantly, MD, medical director for the Samaritan’s Purse care center, and Nancy Writebol, who has been working as a hygienist decontaminating medical staff entering and leaving a hospital isolation ward.

In a related development, the Peace Corps announced today that it is temporarily removing its volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, due to the increasing spread of EVD. In a statement it said it will closely monitor developments with experts from the CDC and the US State Department. Currently the agency has 340 volunteers working in the three countries.

“All Peace Corps programs have emergency action plans specific to that country in place, and staff and volunteers are trained and prepared to respond in situations like this one,” the group said

via Ebola cases rise to 1,323; 2 African doctors die | CIDRAP.

US Peace Corps Pulling Volunteers Out of Ebola Epidemic Areas – With What Precautions?

Ebola is spread by people who have it and showing symptoms coming in contact with people as they travel, in hospital, at work, or at home.

People leaving an infected area should be screened before leaving and isolated, perhaps, when they arrive at new destination.

LA Times reports: The Peace Corps is removing more than 300 of its volunteers from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea as an Ebola outbreak that has left hundreds dead continues to worsen in West Africa.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Peace Corps said it is temporarily removing volunteers from the affected countries, and did not offer any comment on a possible return date.

The news came just days after two American charity workers contracted the disease in Monrovia, the Liberian capital. Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old consultant with the Liberian government, was also revealed to be the first American to die of the disease, relatives said Tuesday.

“The Peace Corps has enjoyed long partnerships with the government and people of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and is committed to continuing volunteers’ work there,” the statement read. “A determination on when volunteers can return will be made at a later date.”

The Peace Corps is removing more than 300 of its volunteers from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea as an Ebola outbreak that has left hundreds dead continues to worsen in West Africa.

UN: ‘world stands disgraced’ as shelter for Gaza children is shelled by Israel | World | The Guardian

United Nations officials described the killing of sleeping children as a disgrace to the world and accused Israel of a serious violation of international law after a school in Gaza being used to shelter Palestinian families was shelled on Wednesday.

At least 15 people, mostly children and women, died when the school in Jabaliya refugee camp was hit by five shells during a night of relentless bombardment across Gaza. More than 100 people were injured.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said the attack was “outrageous and unjustifiable” and demanded “accountability and justice”. The UN said its officials had repeatedly given details of the school and its refugee population to Israel.

via UN: ‘world stands disgraced’ as shelter for Gaza children is shelled by Israel | World | The Guardian.