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Texas A&M fined $1 million for lab safety lapses

first_img Murano said work done at the biodefense laboratory represents 1% of the university’s $570 million annual research expenditure. However, she said yesterday that the work “is, nonetheless, a significant and critical part of our efforts to protect the citizens of our community, state, and nation from those who may choose to do us harm.” She added that Texas A&M will pay the fine from its research compliance funds. Elsa Murano, who became Texas A&M’s new president about 6 weeks ago, told reporters yesterday at a press conference that she proposed the large fine so that the university could more quickly resume its biodefense work, which has been on hold since the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suspended work at the lab in July 2007. The CDC halted work with select agents and toxins at the lab after the Sunshine Project, a nonprofit group that monitored biodefense research safety before it suspended operations earlier this month, exposed several safety violations at the lab. The lapses included lab workers infected with the category B bioterror agents Brucella and Coxiella burnetti. Sep 6, 2007, CIDRAP News story “Texas A&M chief vows to fix biodefense lab problems” After the CDC stopped work at the lab, it investigated and released a report in September that detailed a long list of safety violations, including instances in which the school didn’t immediately report or neglected to report lab worker infections or exposure to the pathogens. An official with the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) said the fine is the largest ever for violations involving select agents and toxins, the Austin American-Statesman reported today. See also: Donald White, a spokesman for the HHS OIG, said the department’s regulations allow $500,000 per violation, “and there were numerous violations, over a dozen,” according to the American-Statesman article. “So there was disagreement between OIG and Texas A&M on that point,” White said, according to the article. “In the end, Texas A&M agreed to pay $1 million.” Feb 20 Texas A & M press releasecenter_img The large fine that Texas A&M will pay sets a new standard of accountability for other research institutions that conduct work on select agents and shows that the university is serious about maintaining a safe program, Murano said. “This is serious. It’s important for us to have robust safety controls.” “I don’t know how much of a deterrent a million dollars is. I think the biggest deterrent, or the heaviest price, has related to publicity,” he told the paper. Edward Hammond, who directed the Sunshine Project when it revealed the violations at Texas A&M, told the American-Statesman that the Texas A&M lapses were the most egregious violations of their kind that have ever been publicized, and that though the fine is significant, it’s unclear what effect the amount will have on other institutions. Murano said she expects a team from the CDC will make a follow-up visit to campus in early March to verify that the school has corrected the safety problems, which would allow Texas A&M to resume its select agent work. “We will continue to cooperate fully with the CDC to develop a model program for research and compliance,” she told reporters. “Texas A&M has made tremendous research strides, and it’s crucial that we resume our work at the earliest date,” Murano said. “Our top priority will always be the safety of our students, faculty, and the community.” Feb 21, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Officials at Texas A&M University announced yesterday that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has accepted the school’s offer to pay a $1 million fine in connection with a 2007 report on several safety violations at its biodefense laboratory.last_img read more

China faces mounting pressure over Hong Kong security law

first_imgChina faced growing international pressure Friday over its move to impose a security law on Hong Kong that critics say will destroy the city’s autonomy, with the United States and Britain placing the issue before the UN Security Council.The US, Britain, Canada and Australia led criticism of the planned law, which would punish secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and acts that endanger national security, as well as allow Chinese security agencies to operate openly in Hong Kong.China’s rubber-stamp parliament on Thursday approved the plans for the law, which followed seven months of huge and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year. Topics : After China fended off initial American efforts this week to have the controversy put on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council, the US and Britain succeeded in securing an informal discussion about it for Friday, diplomatic sources told AFP.Beijing’s proposed security law “lies in direct conflict” with China’s international obligations to guarantee certain freedoms in Hong Kong, the two countries said in a joint statement with Canada and Australia on Thursday.”The proposed law would undermine the One Country, Two Systems framework,” they added, referring to Hong Kong’s special status within China under the terms of its handover from Britain in 1997. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also said the UK would widen its rules around the rights of British National (Overseas) passport holders — a status offered to many Hongkongers at the time of handover — if China went ahead with the new law.  The Chinese parliament’s vote came just hours after Washington revoked the special status conferred on Hong Kong, paving the way for the territory to be stripped of trading and economic privileges.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the status had been withdrawn because China was no longer honoring its handover agreement with Britain to allow Hong Kong a high level of autonomy.US President Donald Trump also announced he would hold a press conference on Friday about China, with Hong Kong and a series of other flashpoint issues — including the coronavirus, espionage and trade — almost certain to be brought up.”We’ll be announcing tomorrow what we’re doing with respect to China,” Trump told reporters on Thursday.”We’re not happy with China.” ‘Safe environment’ China has remained defiant in the face of Western criticism on Hong Kong, insisting “foreign forces” are to blame for fuelling the pro-democracy movement and creating turmoil in the city of 7.5 million people.Li Zhanshu — chairman of the NPC Standing Committee which will now draft the law — said Thursday the move was “in line with the fundamental interests of all Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots”. Under the “one country, two systems” model agreed before the city’s return from Britain to China, Hong Kong is supposed to be guaranteed certain liberties until 2047 that are denied to those on the mainland.The mini-constitution that has governed Hong Kong’s affairs since the handover obliges the territory’s authorities to enact national security laws.But huge protests blocked an effort to do so in 2003, and Hong Kong’s government then shelved it while watching the pro-democracy movement grow.China’s state-run media on Friday said the law was in the interests of protecting peace and autonomy in Hong Kong.”For [Hong Kong residents], safeguarding national security is a must, rather than a choice,” the official news agency Xinhua in a commentary.Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily said in an editorial that law would only target “a small minority of people who are suspected of committing crimes that endanger national security.”But rather than diminishing the rights of Hong Kong residents, including freedom of speech, the law will “further safeguard those legal rights and freedoms in a safe environment,” the paper said.In Hong Kong, the pro-democracy movement voiced the opposite sentiments.”It’s the end of Hong Kong,” pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo told AFP.”They are cutting off our souls, taking away the values which we’ve always embraced, values like human rights, democracy, rule of law.”last_img read more

Arsenal to miss CL spot as UEFA opt for points system if season cut short

first_img Liverpool have averaged a staggering 2.83 points per game with Leicester on 1.83, Chelsea on 1.66 and United on 1.55, narrowly pipping Sheffield United – two points behind in table having played one game less – on 1.54. Premier League players are threatening legal action over a proposed pay cut Read Also: UEFA open to seasons ending early due to COVID-19 However, there is some good news for Arsenal as it would be the Gunners who claimed the third Europa League spot with 1.43 points per game, 40 from 28 games, even though North London rivals Tottenham – 41 from 29 at 1.41 – are ahead of them in the Premier League. For the Champions League, 26 teams qualify for the group stages automatically each season with the remaining six slots made up by the play-offs. England, Spain, Germany and Italy are the only countries to get four spots. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Loading… Promoted Content”Chronicles Of Narnia” Fans Were Bemused To See How She Looks NowSan-Francisco Runner Creates Art Just By Jogging AroundA Lot More People Should See Hanna’s Fantastic Bread MasterpiecesWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?The Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read MoreBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemWho Earns More Than Ronaldo?Who Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?8 Weird Facts About Coffee That Will Surprise YouThe 10 Best Secondary Education Systems In The WorldCan Playing Too Many Video Games Hurt Your Body?Top 10 TV Friends Who Used To Be Enemiescenter_img Arsenal are set to be denied a plucky Champions League place in next season’s competition with UEFA reportedly opting for a points-based system. The Gunners had received a lifeline when UEFA considered using their coefficient rankings to determine who would play in the tournament in 2020/21. Arsenal would miss out on the Champions League but Chelsea qualify if Uefa use a points-based system Despite being ninth in the Premier League, their performances in Europe over the last five seasons would put them above Chelsea, who are fourth in the league, in UEFA’s system. But according to The Times, UEFA are set to announce that in the event of league campaigns not being completed this term, qualification for the Champions League and Europa League would be on sporting merit. And that is expected to mean an average of points per game in the respective leagues this season. In England, that would mean Liverpool, Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester United take the Champions League spots with Manchester City banned.Advertisementlast_img read more