Aching… but hopeful in a generation of believers

I pray for a future for them that is humane and free!

Nadia Issam Harhash

Jerusalem is bleeding tears… I do t think there is worse of a scene to ever capture this city as the ongoing violation and forging of history .

A world that is watching quietly and maybe with excitement enjoying the Israeli crowning of a land that is occupied and distorted with injustice and racism .

However, at the very same timing , a new generation of high school graduates is paving its way to the future.. I was watching the graduation of the Frere college in Jerusalem yesterday and I could not but believe strongly , that as long as we are having such young men and women paving their way ahead , we have hope.

There is so much to describe and to relate to , within such a crowd of a generation that is taking their life seriously. They know what they want and have clear ideas of…

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Israeli settlers, police, brutally attack Palestinian worshipers in Al-Aqsa

PNN/ Jerusalem/

Israeli settlers and special forces on Sunday morning violently attacked Palestinian worshipers and guards of Al-Aqsa mosque, after over 1000 settlers broke into the yards of the mosque.

Videos from PNN reporter showed Israeli special forces violently attack Palestinians in the mosque, in midst of Israeli settlers chanting pro-Israeli slogans.

IOF arrested a Palestinian child after brutally beating him inside the gates of the mosque compound. Shortly after, IOF arrested guard Mohammad Al-Salhi after brutal beating as well.

PNN reporter said that the Magharba gate after 1042 extremist settlers broke  into the mosque compound.

Clashes are still taking place at the moment

Food stamp cuts in farm bill are a needless attack on the poor: Rachel Cahill and Paul Bernier (Opinion)

Sadly, ensuring food security for “the least” among us simply because we are all human beings, created in God’s image and worthy of love, are not values reflected in the proposed farm bill with its cuts to food stamps, write Rachel Cahill and the Rev. Paul Bernier.

Ebola virus: wild and domestic animals, plants and insects…


Initial Ebola virus (EBOV) infection of humans is a rare zoonotic spillover event. 

Hypsignathus monstrosusEpomops franqueti and Myonycteris torquatebats, all fruit-eating megabats of the family Pteropodidae, are considered to be important reservoir hosts, yet they do not show signs of disease.[1] 

While a great deal remains unknown about the identity and spectrum of natural ebolavirus hosts,[1] zoonoses appear to co-occur with bat pregnancy.[2]

Animals that have died from ebolavirus infections include:[3,4]

  • Duiker (Cephalophus sp.; an antelope) 
  • Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla
  • Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)

Living animals found to harbour ebolavirus RNA include:[1,4,23]

  • Cynomolgus macaque monkey (Macaca fascicularis; RESTV) 
  • Franquet’s epauletted fruit bat (Epomops franqueti; EBOV) 
  • Hammer-headed bat (Hypsignathus monstrosus; EBOV) 
  • Little collared fruit bat (Myonycteris torquata; EBOV)

Those animals with only antibodies to EBOV in the absence of infectious virus, suggesting past exposure include:[5,6]

  • Domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris
  • Peter’s lesser epauletted fruit bat (Micropterus pusillus; fruit-eating) 
  • Angolan free-tailed bat (Mops condylurus; insect-eating) 
  • Giant roundleaf bat (Hipposideros gigas; insect-eating) 
  • Egyptian fruit bat (Myion; fruit-eating) 
  • Geoffrey’s rosette (Rousettus amplexicaudatus; a bat species; fruit-eating) 
  • Lord Derby’s scaly-tailed squirrel (Anomalurus derbianus)

Porcupines (Hystrix cristata) have been implicated as a source for human EBOV exposure but virus-positive animals have not been documented.[4]

Between nine and 25% of 337 domestic dogs from various towns and villages in Gabon during an EBOV outbreak in 2001-2002 were identified as possible hosts for EBOV when found to be seropositive.[7,8] It was not known when they became seropositive nor has it been experimentally determined that dogs are able to host an active EBOV infection.[9,10] Dogs were observed in contact with suspected virus-laden fluids and with other animals during the Gabon outbreak but seropositive dog specimens did not contain EBOV antigen or viral RNA. Three specimens from these seropositive dogs did not yield infectious virus in cell culture either and thus there remains no documented evidence for a canine source of human EBOV infection. In 2014, two dogs owned by human cases of EBOV/Mak in Spain (euthanized without testing [11]) and the United States of America (tested negative for EBOV[12,13]) did not exhibit any signs of disease.

Domestic pigs have been found to be a natural host for the Reston ebolavirus[9,14] and antibodies to EBOV have also been found in guinea pigs, an animal that can also be experimentally infected.[15] Domestic dogs and guinea pigs appear to become infected without symptoms.[6,7] Horses, mice, guinea pigs and goats have been experimentally inoculated with EBOV to produce antisera or test therapeutic preparations.[16,17]

Pigs experimentally infected with a member of the Zaire ebolavirus become symptomatic.[8] NHP, guinea pigs and mice have been used to examine aspects of disease progression and exhibit various degrees of disease when experimentally infected.[18,19] 

On a few occasions in one study into possible hosts, a low viral load of EBOV could be sporadically recovered after inoculation of a snake (up to 11 days post inoculation), a mouse (up to nine days later) and a spider (21 days later) but the authors of this study concluded that these results could have represented residual inoculum.[21]

Plants, arthropods, cows, cats and sheep have not been found to naturally carry or host ebolavirus infection but only small numbers of some species have been examined.[3,20-22]


  1. Leroy EM, Kumulungui B, Pourrut X, et al. Fruit bats as reservoirs of Ebola virus. Nature 2005;438:575-6. 
  2. Plowright RK, Eby P, Hudson PJ, et al. Ecological dynamics of emerging bat virus spillover. Proc Biol Sci 2015;282:20142124. 
  3. Olson SH, Reed P, Cameron KN, et al. Dead or alive: animal sampling during Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreaks in humans. Emerg Health Threats J 2012;5 
  4. Lahm SA, Kombila M, Swanepoel R, Barnes RF. Morbidity and mortality of wild animals in relation to outbreaks of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Gabon, 1994-2003. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 2007;101:64-78. 
  5. Marsh GA, Haining J, Robinson R, et al. Ebola Reston virus infection of pigs: clinical significance and transmission potential. J Infect Dis 2011;204 Suppl 3:S804-9
  6. Gonzalez JP, Herbreteau V, Morvan J, Leroy EM. Ebola virus circulation in Africa: a balance between clinical expression and epidemiological silence. Bull Soc Pathol Exot 2005;98:210-7. 
  7. Allela L, Boury O, Pouillot R, et al. Ebola virus antibody prevalence in dogs and human risk. Emerg Infect Dis 2005;11:385-90. 
  8. Weingartl HM, Nfon C, Kobinger G. Review of Ebola virus infections in domestic animals. Dev Biol (Basel) 2013;135:211-8. 
  9. Stansfield SK, Scribner CL, Kaminski RM, Cairns T, McCormick JB, Johnson KM. Antibody to Ebola virus in guinea pigs: Tandala, Zaire. J Infect Dis 1982;146:483-6. 
  10. Connolly BM, Steele KE, Davis KJ, et al. Pathogenesis of experimental Ebola virus infection in guinea pigs. J Infect Dis 1999;179 Suppl 1:S203-17
  11. Why Dallas Won’t Kill The Dog Of The Texas Nurse With Ebola. Business Insider, 2014. (Accessed 27/4/2015, at ) 
  12. Starting today, Dallas Animal Services will begin testing Nina Pham’s year-old dog Bentley for Ebola. The Dallas Morning News, 2014. (Accessed 17/4/2015, at 
  13. EBOLAVIRUS, ANIMAL RESERVOIR (05): USA, DOG, NOT. 2014. (Accessed 01/05/2015, at ) 
  14. Barrette RW, Metwally SA, Rowland JM, et al. Discovery of swine as a host for the Reston ebolavirus. Science 2009;325:204-6. 
  15. Rouquet P, Froment JM, Bermejo M, et al. Wild animal mortality monitoring and human Ebola outbreaks, Gabon and Republic of Congo, 2001-2003. Emerg Infect Dis 2005;11:283-90. 
  16. Kudoyarova-Zubavichene NM, Sergeyev NN, Chepurnov AA, Netesov SV. Preparation and use of hyperimmune serum for prophylaxis and therapy of Ebola virus infections. J Infect Dis 1999;179 Suppl 1:S218-23
  17. Bray M, Davis K, Geisbert T, Schmaljohn C, Huggins J. A mouse model for evaluation of prophylaxis and therapy of Ebola hemorrhagic fever. J Infect Dis 1998;178:651-61. 
  18. Ebihara H, Takada A, Kobasa D, et al. Molecular determinants of Ebola virus virulence in mice. PLoS Pathog 2006;2:e73. 
  19. Geisbert TW, Young HA, Jahrling PB, Davis KJ, Kagan E, Hensley LE. Mechanisms underlying coagulation abnormalities in ebola hemorrhagic fever: overexpression of tissue factor in primate monocytes/macrophages is a key event. J Infect Dis 2003;188:1618-29. 
  20. Turell MJ, Bressler DS, Rossi CA. Short report: lack of virus replication in arthropods after intrathoracic inoculation of Ebola Reston virus. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1996;55:89-90. 
  21. Swanepoel R, Leman PA, Burt FJ, et al. Experimental inoculation of plants and animals with Ebola virus. Emerg Infect Dis 1996;2:321-5. 
  22. Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Sudan, 1976. Report of a WHO/International Study Team. Bull World Health Organ 1978;56:247-70. 
  23. Miranda ME, Ksiazek TG, Retuya TJ, Khan AS, Sanchez A, Fulhorst CF, Rollin PE, Calaor AB, Manalo DL, Roces MC, Dayrit MM, Peters CJ. Epidemiology of Ebola (subtype Reston) virus in the Philippines. J Infect Dis. 1999 Feb;179 Suppl 1:S115-9.
    This post from 03JUL2015 was posted over on my old blog platform and has now been moved to here and lightly updated. 

The post Ebola virus: wild and domestic animals, plants and insects… appeared first on Virology Down Under.

Cops have a secret, unaccountable system for tracking you by your cellphone, and they abuse it like crazy

Sophia, NOT Loren!

Securus Technologies markets a product to law enforcement that taps into realtime cell-tower data from mobile carriers to produce fine-grained location tracking of anyone carrying a phone; it is nominally marketed to find parolees and wandering Alzheimer’s patients, but because it has no checks or balances, cops can query it willy-nilly to find anyone’s location.

That’s what, Cory Hutcheson, ex-Sheriff of Mississippi County, MO, is accused of doing; prosecutors say that for three years, Hutcheson abused Securus’s system to track all kinds of people — even a local judge — without a warrant.

Securus claims that it restricts the use of its system to legally permitted surveillance, requiring users to upload warrants or court orders prior to use; but it does not vet or review those orders before granting access. Securus also does not make the alleged court orders visible to carriers before it queries their databases, meaning that the phone companies have to take Securus’s word for it.

The carriers, meanwhile, are exploiting a loophole in privacy laws that nominally prohibit selling this kind of data: by burying “consent” to the sale of your location data in their lengthy, never-read agreements, the carriers are able to circumvent the law; primarily to sell your data to marketers, but also to surveillance companies like Securus.

Hutcheson is a great object lesson in the problems with “extraordinary access” or “lawful interception” rules that weaken digital security to help law enforcement. The US has about 18,000 police agencies, and Hutcheson presided over a sparsely populated, rural district. Before the latest indictments, he was already under indictment for forgery and for illegal surveillance; he lost his job following the death of an inmate in his custody (though of course, no one was held accountable for that death).

He is a crooked, corrupt cop, in other words. Whether you think he’s typical or atypical, if he represents even one percent of law enforcement agents who have access to tools that allow their wielders to attack the public in far-reaching frightening ways, that means that criminals and spies and griefers have a wide pool of corrupt officials to choose from if they want to abuse the system.

We’re all familiar with the detective movies where someone writes down a license plate and the PI casually remarks that he’ll get a friend on the force to run the plate and find the drivers’ identity. It’s just not surprising that a cop might allow a friend to “harmlessly” abuse a police database. When we discuss backdooring phone crypto or other far-reaching attacks on the security of the digital world, we’re really saying, “Cops and dirty cops and friends of dirty cops and their friends will all have access to all your digital life.”

Privacy concerns about Securus and location services were raised to the F.C.C. last year before the company’s sale to Platinum Equity, a private equity firm, for about $1.5 billion. Lee Petro, a lawyer representing a group of inmate family members, wrote letters urging the commission to reject the deal, based in part on concerns about locating people who spoke with inmates over the phone.

Securus, founded in Dallas in 1986, has marketed its location service as a way for officials to monitor where inmates placed calls. Securus has said this would block escape attempts and the smuggling of contraband into jails and prisons, and help track calls to areas “known for generating illegal activity.”

In an email, Securus said the service was based on cell tower information, not on phone GPS.

Securus received the data from a mobile marketing company called 3Cinteractive, according to 2013 documents from the Florida Department of Corrections. Securus said that for confidentiality reasons it could not confirm whether that deal was still in place, but a spokesman for Mr. Wyden said the company told the senator’s office it was. In turn, 3Cinteractive got its data from LocationSmart, a firm known as a location aggregator, according to documents from those companies. LocationSmart buys access to the data from all the major American carriers, it says.

Service Meant to Monitor Inmates’ Calls Could Track You, Too [Jennifer Valentino-DeVries/New York Times]