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Archive for the ‘government’ category: Page 17

May 7, 2020

Amazon reportedly registers interest in bankrupt OneWeb’s broadband satellite constellation assets

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, government, satellites

Amazon is among the players in a bankruptcy bidding game with the assets of the OneWeb satellite venture at stake, according to Space Intel Report.

Quoting unnamed industry officials, Space Intel Report’s Peter B. de Selding says other potential bidders include two Chinese organizations that are apparently acting on behalf of the Chinese government; the Paris-based satellite operator Eutelsat, which apparently has the backing of the French government and several other European Union member states; and Cerberus Capital Management, a New York-based private equity firm with interesting connections.

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May 6, 2020

See which countries fund the most scientific research

Posted by in category: government

China ranks second only to the U.S.—thanks to a big boost in government spending.

May 5, 2020

Ex-Green Beret claims he led foiled raid into Venezuela

Posted by in categories: government, security

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A former Green Beret has taken responsibility for what he claimed was a failed attack Sunday aimed at overthrowing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and that the socialist government said ended with eight dead.

Jordan Goudreau’s comments in an interview with an exiled Venezuelan journalist capped a bizarre day that started with reports of a predawn amphibious raid near the South American country’s heavily guarded capital.

An AP investigation published Friday found that Goudreau had been working with a retired Venezuelan army general now facing U.S. narcotics charges to train dozens of deserters from Venezuela’s security forces at secret camps inside neighboring Colombia. The goal was to mount a cross-border raid that would end in Maduro’s arrest.

May 4, 2020

Pathogen Mishaps Rise as Regulators Stay Clear

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government

We are being told that mistakes can not happen in labs. I for one do not believe such, so let me take you on a trip down memory lane to 2014, around the same year funding of gain of function was stopped.

Lab workers at different sites accidentally jabbed themselves with needles contaminated by anthrax or West Nile virus. An air-cleaning system meant to filter dangerous microbes out of a lab failed, but no one knew because the alarms had been turned off. A batch of West Nile virus, improperly packed in dry ice, burst open at a Federal Express shipping center. Mice infected with bubonic plague or Q fever went missing. And workers exposed to Q fever, brucellosis or tuberculosis did not realize it until they either became ill or blood tests detected the exposure.


The recent number of mistakes documented at federal laboratories involving anthrax, flu and smallpox viruses have contributed to a debate over lax government oversight at high-level containment labs.

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May 4, 2020

Ban on gain-of-function studies ends

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, health, policy, surveillance

The debate is focused on a subset of gain-of-function studies that manipulate deadly viruses to increase their transmissibility or virulence. “This is what happens to viruses in the wild”, explains Carrie Wolinetz, head of the NIH Office of Science Policy. “Gain-of-function experiments allow us to understand how pandemic viruses evolve, so that we can make predictions, develop countermeasures, and do disease surveillance”. Although none of the widely publicised mishaps of 2014 involved such work, the NIH decided to suspend funding for gain-of-function studies involving influenza, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV.


The US moratorium on gain-of-function experiments has been rescinded, but scientists are split over the benefits—and risks—of such studies. Talha Burki reports.

On Dec 19, 2017, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that they would resume funding gain-of-function experiments involving influenza, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. A moratorium had been in place since October, 2014. At the time, the NIH had stated that the moratorium “will be effective until a robust and broad deliberative process is completed that results in the adoption of a new US Government gain-of-function research policy”. This process has now concluded. It was spearheaded by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) and led to the development of a new framework for assessing funding decisions for research involving pathogens with enhanced pandemic potential. The release of the framework by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), of which NIH is part, signalled the end of the funding pause.

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May 2, 2020

The Second Study on Vitamin D and COVID-19 Is Now Out

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, health, sex

The first study on vitamin D and COVID-19 was released as a preprint on April 23, and a second study was released as a preprint on April 26. Here’s what we can learn from the second study. The first study, which I reported on a few days ago, focused on disease severity, while the second one, which I’m reporting on here, focused on mortality.

The Results

The electronic health records of 780 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases from the government hospitals of Indonesia between March 2 and April 24 was searched for data on vitamin D status prior to admission, age, sex, preexisting conditions, and mortality. Vitamin D status was classified as normal (≥30 ng/mL), insufficient (21−29 ng/mL), or deficient (≤20 ng/mL).

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May 2, 2020

The US already has the technology to test millions of people a day

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, government

There is widespread agreement that the only way to safely reopen the economy is through a massive increase in testing. The US needs to test millions of people per day to effectively track and then contain the covid-19 pandemic.

This is a tall order. The country tested only around 210,000 people per day last week, and the pace is not increasing fast enough to get to millions quickly.

The urgency to do better is overwhelmingly bipartisan, with the most recent legislation adding $25 billion for testing a few days ago. Fears are growing, however, that testing might not scale in time to make a difference. As Senators Lamar Alexander and Roy Blunt wrote last week, “We have been talking with experts across the government and the private sector to find anyone who believes that current technology can produce the tens of millions of tests necessary to put this virus behind us. Unfortunately, we have yet to find anyone to do so.”

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Apr 29, 2020

The US government is helping get cash to private space companies, replacing frozen venture capital

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, economics, finance, government, military

Investment in the fast-growing space industry was booming well into the first quarter of 2020 but private capital has largely frozen as the coronavirus pandemic strikes the U.S., leading both civil and military agencies to step up funding for corporate partners.

“We kicked into high gear as soon as it was apparent a lot of companies were not going to be able to conduct business as usual due to distancing requirements,” Mike Read, International Space Station business and economic development manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, told CNBC.

U.S. equity investment in space companies totaled $5.4 billion across 36 deals in the first quarter, according to a report Friday by NYC-based firm Space Capital. But the second quarter is likely to just see a fraction of that investment, according to Space Capital managing partner Chad Anderson, as deal flow in the U.S. will follow China’s path. Chinese investment in space was climbing by record amounts until the first quarter, when “activity in China was basically shut off,” Anderson said.

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Apr 27, 2020

Yemen separatists declare self-rule in south

Posted by in category: government

The Yemeni government has warned of “dangerous and catastrophic consequences” of the move.

Apr 25, 2020

Smash and Grab – The UK’s Money Laundering Machine

Posted by in categories: business, economics, government

Download the full report here.

In 2017, Bellingcat and Transparency International UK published their joint report, “Offshore in the UK”, describing the phenomenon of Scottish Limited Partnerships (“SLPs”) and their use as a mechanism in global money laundering scandals and a range of illicit activities. Since then, SLPs have continued to be implicated in further scandals, perhaps most notably the Azerbaijani Laundromat, a scheme where $2.9 billion was laundered through UK companies.

In the same year, SLPs became obliged to register their Person of Significant Control at Companies House, and the boom in registrations ended. The government subsequently ran a public consultation into limited partnerships, and published its conclusions in December 2018. Currently, SLP registrations are at their lowest level since 2010. Nevertheless, a lack of regulation allowed thousands of opaquely owned partnerships, typically with no tangible link to the Uk, to flourish over a seven year period. We do not have the details of the business activities of these SLPs, who controlled them, or who their true beneficial owners are.

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