China bypasses US chokehold with new pipleine

original article:  here

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China-Myanmar pipeline to open in May

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing and Gwen Robinson in Yangon

A pipeline connecting the Indian Ocean coast of Myanmar with southwest China will begin pumping gas at the end of May, according to the Chinese company that built it.

The new pipeline will help free China from its over-dependence on the Strait of Malacca as transit way for its energy imports, giving the country an alternate and shorter supply route.

CNPC, the parent of publicly listed PetroChina, published state media reports on its website on Monday saying that the 793km pipeline would be fully operational by May 30, less than three years after construction began.

 

A parallel pipeline that will transport crude oil imports from the Middle East and north Africa across the width of Myanmar and into China is expected to be finished by next year, the reports said.

At present, about 80 per cent of China’s crude oil imports are transported through the strategically important Strait of Malacca, but the new oil pipeline is expected to reduce China’s reliance on that route by about one-third.

The new pipeline should cut the transport distance for African and Arabian oil shipments by about 1,200km.

But far more important to Beijing than the shorter distance will be reducing the vulnerability that comes from so much of the country’s energy supply being transported through a geographical chokepoint that is effectively controlled by the US, which remains the strongest naval power in the region, despite China’sgrowing investment in its own military.

The new pipelines “provide China with an alternative supply route should the Strait of Malacca ever be blocked because of piracy, terrorism or conflict”, said Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, northeast Asia director at International Crisis Group. “Beijing also fears that the straits could be threatened or cut off by the US if there was ever a conflict between the countries in the Taiwan Strait or elsewhere.”

The new gas pipeline will have the capacity to carry 12bn cubic metres of gas a year to China, with most of that supply to come from Myanmar’s gasfields in the Indian Ocean.

As China tries to diversify away from a heavy reliance on coal, its natural gas demandis forecast to grow by an average of 20 per cent a year between 2010 and 2015, with the main constraint being a lack of supply.

The crude oil pipeline scheduled to go into operation next year will be able to carry 22m tonnes a year of imported crude to China. The country imported a total 271m tonnes of crude oil in 2012.

Myanmar will take no more than 2m tonnes of crude oil and 2bn cubic metres of gas a year from the pipeline for its domestic consumption.

Human rights and environmental groups have criticised the pipeline for safety concerns, environmental damage and inadequate compensation for residents affected by its construction.

Chinese state media reports laud the project for contributing to the economy of Myanmar and solidifying the “brotherly” bond between the two countries.

But Beijing has discreetly signalled growing anxiety about the future of various big infrastructure and natural resources projects in Myanmar – particularly the gas pipeline and its Kyaukpyu port and industrial zone development, as well as the controversial Monywa copper mine, a joint venture between Chinese weapons maker Norinco and the Myanmar military. The mine was the scene of a violent government crackdown on protesters late last year.

In recent weeks, clashes in Myanmar’s northern Kachin state, which borders China, have further complicated the traditionally close ties between the two countries. On Monday, China repeated warnings about the impact of the Kachin conflict, as the Chinese side of the border has been hit several times in the past month by artillery shells believed to have been fired at Kachin targets by Myanmar’s military.

The Kachin situation figured prominently in high level bilateral discussions at the weekend, attended by Qi Jianguo, the deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People ‘s Liberation Army.

 

 

 

Pilot arrested by FBI for entering a “secret” no fly zone

Original article: http://www.aopa.org/aircraft/articles/2013/130110secret-no-fly-zone.html

Pilots returned, one by one, to Bermuda High Soaring in Jefferson, S.C. By about 5 p.m. on July 26, 2012, the lift had died and everyone had returned to the gliderport—everyone except Robin Fleming. No one remembered hearing from Fleming since 1:30 or 2 p.m., and Jayne Ewing Reid, co-owner and chief tow pilot of the glider club and commercial operation, was worried.

She called pilots who lived in the region and asked them to try to contact Fleming on their handheld radios. She flew the club’s Piper Pawnee in the direction of Fleming’s last known radio call, but found no evidence of the missing glider or its pilot.

“This is when you get that feeling that something’s not right,” she said. Fleming always called if he landed out. Worried that something had happened to Fleming, an avid glider pilot and instructor at Bermuda High, Jayne Ewing Reid and business partner Frank Reid decided to file a missing airplane report. Neither suspected that Fleming was in trouble with the law.

Fleming, 70, had been arrested for breach of peace after flying his Rolladen-Schneider LS8-18 sailplane noiselessly over the H.B. Robinson Nuclear Generating Station at an altitude of 1,518 feet msl—by his estimates, about 1,000 feet over the power plant’s dome—on his way to search for lift at nearby Lake Robinson.

No airspace restrictions were printed on sectional charts; no notam marked the area off-limits. When a woman at Hartsville Regional Airport relayed over the Unicom that law enforcement wanted him to land, he had flown to that airport and landed, greeted by a swarm of law enforcement vehicles.

Nonetheless, Fleming spent the night awake in a cell with 11 other inmates. The next afternoon, still in custody, he discovered the details of the charges: “flying very close to the nuclear plant dome in a ‘no fly zone,’” “escalated a multi-jurisdictional call out to a homeland security situation,” “ordered several times to land,” “causing the disturbance throughout the community.”

He finally left the detention center 24 hours after his arrest, exhausted and eager to clear his name. The charges were dropped the next month, but now Fleming wants to make sure no other pilots are subjected to a similar ordeal.

robin flemingRobin Fleming regularly flies his glider out of Bermuda High Soaring and instructs there on the weekends. He never expected that flying the whisper-quiet craft would land him with a breach of peace charge.

The arrest

Fleming took off from Bermuda High Soaring in Jefferson, S.C., at 12:41 p.m. that day, towed to 2,000 feet agl by one of the private airfield’s Piper Pawnees. He had intended to fly to Asheboro, N.C.; Dillon, S.C..; and Winnsboro, S.C., to complete a 500-kilometer course, but in soaring one goes where the lift is. A flight recorder installed in the aircraft for record attempts and competitions shows Fleming’s circling course as he searched for thermals to the east. He had looped down to Bennettsville, S.C., he said, when he decided to head home. The path back to Jefferson, traveling from one small airport to the next in case the lift died down, would take him near Hartsville Regional Airport—and the H.B. Robinson Nuclear Generating Station, two nautical miles away.

He approached Hartsville from the north at 3,100 feet msl, flying southwest toward Lake Robinson to look for lift. He had been up to 5,000 feet earlier in the flight, and knew that it went up that high if he could find it. He just had to get high enough to glide back to Bermuda High.

robin flemingThe flight started out normally, with an aerotow like this. Jay Campbell, pictured, was among the pilots who searched for Fleming.

On the Charlotte sectional chart, the nuclear power plant is marked with nothing more than a group obstruction symbol. Fleming was familiar with the post-9/11 notam that advises pilots to avoid flying near facilities such as power plants “to the extent practicable,” but he thought nothing of a single pass over the Robinson facility on the west side of the lake as he headed toward where he thought there would be lift at the lake. If he couldn’t find a thermal there, he thought, he might have to land at Hartsville.

At Hartsville Regional Airport, Wendy Griffin was monitoring the Unicom. Griffin said the people at the power plant sometimes call her if they see an aircraft flying nearby to ask her who’s flying and why the aircraft is there. (One time, she said, she got a call about a helicopter lingering in the area and found out from the pilots that they were working for the power plant.) Sometimes she calls the pilots on the frequency to find out their intentions, but on July 26 she saw that it was a glider and didn’t think much of it, she said.

“I said, ‘Well, I really don’t think it’s a threat,’” she said. “’I wouldn’t worry about it.’”

Someone did worry about it. A little before 5 p.m., Griffin said, a couple of police cars rolled up. When the officers came in, she added, she said she’d try to reach the aircraft on the radio.

Looking for lift over Lake Robinson, Fleming was switching between the Bermuda High frequency and Hartsville Unicom to monitor local traffic. He later recalled that during one switch to Hartsville, he heard the end of a transmission mentioning a glider over the nuclear plant. He responded that he was circling and moving away from the plant, he said. He found a thermal, he said, and began climbing to return to Bermuda High.

Fleming recalls that at some point someone requested he land at Hartsville, but then he was told he could continue. He climbed to 3,100 feet msl, circling to the northeast away from the lake, and planned to head back to Bermuda High Soaring; but he lost lift and descended to 1,900 feet msl. He turned toward Hartsville again, but found a thermal and climbed to 2,740 feet. “All I needed was another few hundred feet” to return to Bermuda High, he said. But he received a radio transmission for Hartsville telling him to land.

At the airport, Griffin said the officers on the scene told her to demand the glider land at Hartsville, but that an FAA official on the phone said the FAA was not demanding he land. So, she said, she gave Fleming a choice: “Police officers here are asking you to land, but the FAA says you do not have to land. I’m leaving this up to you.” Fleming said to tell the officers he’d be there in a minute, she recalled.

These accounts seem consistent with the Darlington County Sheriff Department’s incident report. Capt. Joyce C. Everett wrote that the suspect was “advised” to land at Hartsville, and that he had advised he was going to land elsewhere because he didn’t want to have his airplane towed. When he was instructed again to land in Hartsville, Everett wrote, he did. In a supplementary report, Sgt. Christopher J. Pittman wrote, “It is unclear as to exactly how that radio conversation went, but the pilot initially stated that he intended to land at Bermuda High landing strip in Jefferson, SC. After it was made clear that law enforcement expected him to land in Hartsville the pilot stated that he would comply.”

The arrest report, however, paints a different picture, alleging that Fleming “had to be ordered several times to land” before he complied. Griffin strongly contests this version of events: “I was the only one on the unicom with him,” she said. “I never demanded him to land.”

As Fleming landed, Griffin said, about four police cars chased the nonpowered craft down the runway, lights flashing. The glider came to a full stop at 5:11 p.m.

hb robinson nuclear stationThe H.B. Robinson Nuclear Generating Station lies adjacent to Lake Robinson and a short distance from the Hartsville Regional Airport.

Officers approached the aircraft and requested Fleming’s identification and pilot certificate, searched his pockets, subjected him to a pat-down, and took his wallet, cellphone, glasses, and sunglasses, according to Fleming’s account. He asked to call the people waiting for him at Bermuda High to tell them where he was, he said, but was denied. He was told he should consider himself under arrest, he recalled.

“’Haven’t you heard about 9/11?’—that’s what they said to me.”

‘No I’m not kidding’

Later that evening, Jayne Ewing Reid emailed the pilots she had asked for help in the search for Fleming, with news from the FAA: “9:02 pm – Robins plane is reported to be at Hartsville Airport.” There was still no word of its pilot.

Frank Reid called Hartsville Regional Airport and got the surprising news. Jayne Ewing Reid said she was relieved to know Fleming wasn’t in a field somewhere, but still in disbelief.

“Robin is OK !!” she wrote at 9:17 p.m. in an email to the pilots she had updated earlier. “He is in jail. No I’m not kidding.”

Jayne Ewing Reid spoke with Fleming a little later when he was able to make a collect call from his cell, and Frank Reid looked for a lawyer. Fleming’s friends were baffled that the mild-mannered pilot could arrive at such a fate.

“That boy has never had a ticket,” Frank Reid said. “… He is the most laid back and gentle person I have ever seen in my life.”

Breach of peace

The arrest warrant referred to a “no fly zone.” The incident report said that “a glider or drone had infiltrated the restricted airspace over the H.B. Robinson Nuclear Power Plant.” But Fleming knew nothing on the FAA sectional charts prohibited him from flying there.

From flying competitions in the area, he knew that the Savannah River Site, a 310-square-mile Department of Energy industrial complex that handles nuclear materials in support of national defense, is marked on sectionals with a notice requesting—not requiring—that pilots avoid flight at and below 2,000 feet msl in the area. If a nuclear site as large as Savannah River didn’t prohibit overflight, how could the area around the Robinson plant be restricted—especially if nothing said so on the charts?

Facilities such as the Robinson plant are addressed in an FDC notam issued following 9/11: “In the interest of national security and to the extent practicable, pilots are strongly advised to avoid the airspace above, or in proximity to such sites as power plants … . Pilots should not circle as to loiter in the vicinity over these types of facilities.” Because gliders routinely circle to gain altitude in thermals, the Soaring Society of America sought a clarification from the FAA, posting on its website on March 7, 2002, that the FAA did not consider this behavior loitering. “The key is to spend only as much time as needed to gain lift and move on beyond the facility,” the association wrote.

Fleming had made a single pass over the plant, and his circling had been mostly on the opposite side of the lake. The FAA looked into the overflight and later confirmed to AOPA that it found no violation of the federal aviation regulations—but Fleming was transported to the Darlington County Detention Center. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security would interview him the next day, and Fleming said an officer read the arrest warrant to him around 3:30 p.m. July 27.

It’s unclear exactly how the concept of a no-fly zone was introduced, and a spokesman for the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office did not return phone messages requesting comment. Charles Ellison, site communications specialist at the nuclear plant, said that as he understands it, there is no no-fly zone around the facility. He said security staff had estimated that the glider flew about 400 feet above the plant, and so they contacted local law enforcement. “Any time an aircraft is flying that close, we consider it a perceived threat to security.”

Fleming said he understands the nuclear site’s initial concern, but thinks the ordeal could have stopped right there when security personnel who came to question him at the airport saw him in the police car and it became evident he wasn’t a threat. Ellison said it’s the plant’s policy to turn the matter over to local law enforcement. “Once we’ve neutralized the threat, we step back and we remove ourselves from the issue,” Ellison said.

How close was Fleming to the plant? His flight recorder, which logged his position every four seconds, gave the glider’s altitude when it passed over the site as 1,518 feet msl; the highest charted obstruction there is 577 feet msl. The incident report cited security staff as estimating it “within only a few hundred yards of critical structures.” Griffin said she heard security people saying Fleming had flown 100 feet over the dome.

“That just wasn’t true,” she said. “There’s just no way he ever did that.”

Freedom to fly

Fleming estimated he had been awake for almost 30 hours when he entered a room where a special agent from the FBI, an aviation security inspector from DHS, and a woman whose affiliation he can’t remember waited to question him July 27. He recalled that someone told him there was no intention to charge him with any federal offenses related to the incident, and that he was asked to explain the intent of his flight. He explained how he navigated by VFR charts, and that no restrictions were charted or published by notam in the area of the plant.
About 5:30 p.m., Fleming collected his pilot certificate and other belongings. Pilots from Bermuda High met him at the detention center and drove him to Hartsville to retrieve his glider.

robin flemingFleming was unable to stow his aircraft safely in its trailer while he was in custody for 24 hours.

The attorney Frank Reid had found represented Fleming for the breach of peace charge, but Fleming sought additional assistance from an attorney familiar with aviation through AOPA’s Legal Services Plan/Pilot Protection Services. John Hodge, an attorney and 17,000-hour pilot who has flown gliders, provided aviation-related information under the plan’s 20 hours allotted for local law enforcement issues. From the FAA’s perspective, Fleming’s flight was legal and legitimate: No restricted or prohibited areas were charted. Plus, local law enforcement does not have the authority to order an aircraft to land, Hodge said. And any argument that Fleming delayed in complying with the request to land must take into account the nature of a sailplane: Just like a sailboat, it can’t simply go directly from Point A to Point B.

A better knowledge of aviation issues among law enforcement officials may have produced a better result for Fleming. Griffin said she had to tell the officers on the scene to clear out the runway, and one officer talked about commandeering the airport. “He was running around, the one guy that was commandeering everything, saying, ‘We were going to shoot him down,’” she said.

On the other hand, Griffin said that pilots from the Chesterfield County Sheriff flew the department’s helicopter to the airport, but left when they found out what was going on. “They pulled out a chart and they said, ‘Look here, … nothing in this chart says you cannot fly over the nuclear plant,’” she said. “’Nothing.’”

Protecting pilots

Fleming waited outside the courtroom Aug. 21 as his case went before the judge. When his attorney returned and said the case would be dismissed if he agreed not to take any legal action against Darlington County law enforcement, he said, he reluctantly agreed. But he wouldn’t be satisfied until he could be sure a pilot can rely on the sectional for direction and not go through a similar ordeal.

In a post-9/11 environment, pilots must be sensitive to security concerns, but that doesn’t mean they must give up their freedom to fly. In its communication to members about the rules for flying near power plants and other infrastructure, the Soaring Society of America called on glider pilots to reach out to on-site security at local power plants and laboratories: “Open a dialogue and tell them who you are and when you may be in their area.” In addition, airports often encourage pilots to “fly friendly” in sensitive areas; the Hartsville airport has a right traffic pattern for Runway 3, keeping pilots on the far side of the airport as much as possible and minimizing overflight of the nuclear plant. But no law prohibits pilots from flying over it, and AOPA is working to ensure that law enforcement agencies and security at critical infrastructure understand how to respond appropriately when they have a concern about an aircraft.

AOPA routinely works with federal agencies on security issues, and the association reached out to staff at the TSA and National Protection and Programs Directorate to inform them of the issue. The association requested action formally in a letter to DHS, the organizations’ parent agency.

“This incident raises several disturbing issues that demand the immediate attention of the Department of Homeland Security to prevent unnecessarily detaining United States Citizens, or even worse, needlessly causing injuries or fatalities that would have resulted from a ‘shoot down’ of the aircraft,” wrote AOPA Senior Vice President Melissa Rudinger in the letter. She urged the department to “immediately conduct a thorough review of all security programs for similar types of facilities to ensure that it is clear on what constitutes a violation and what is the appropriate action to be taken.” She also requested that DHS make it clear that no one may shoot down an aircraft outside of the existing command structure.

The TSA responded in a letter that it takes these matters seriously—“Both in context of aircraft loitering in airspace around critical infrastructure as well as appropriateness of responses by various organizations at the Federal, State, and Local levels.” The agency said it would continue to work with organizations at all levels “by providing them with education on airspace matters via the local TSA Federal Security Directors and headquarters engagement. This will allow them to make informed and effective decisions on when and how best to execute a response based on their specific statutory and/or legal authorities.” AOPA continues to press the agency, along with the National Protection and Programs Directorate which deals with infrastructure protection, to explain what these education efforts entail; the association also has offered to assist in developing guidance and resources on general aviation-related issues.

AOPA General Counsel Ken Mead emphasized the importance of continued advocacy, explaining that it is “outrageous under these circumstances to be confined in jail without charges being filed for this length of time.” He added, “We should be persistent in demanding corrective action as well as better educational efforts of law enforcement authorities. Although the breach of peace arrest warrant that was ultimately filed refers to a ‘No Fly Zone’ neither the federal nor local authorities could cite a federal violation because this was not a ‘No Fly Zone.’”

Swine Flu Vaccination causes narcolepsy. What a surprise.

 H1N1 vaccine narcolepsy: Emelie Olsson watches television in Stockholm, Saturday. IMAGE
 
4 hr ago  By Kate Kelland of Reuters
A vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline for the 2009 H1N1 swine flu, and distributed to 47 countries but not the U.S., is under scrutiny for possibly triggering narcolepsy in children.

STOCKHOLM — Emelie Olsson is plagued by hallucinations and nightmares. When she wakes up, she’s often paralyzed, unable to breathe properly or call for help. During the day she can barely stay awake, and often misses school or having fun with friends. She is only 14, but at times she has wondered if her life is worth living.

Emelie is one of around 800 children in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe who developed narcolepsy, an incurable sleep disorder, after being immunized with the Pandemrix H1N1 swine flu vaccine made by British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 2009.

Finland, Norway, Ireland and France have seen spikes in narcolepsy cases, too, and people familiar with the results of a soon-to-be-published study in Britain have told Reuters it will show a similar pattern in children there.

Their fate, coping with an illness that all but destroys normal life, is developing into what the health official who coordinated Sweden’s vaccination campaign calls a “medical tragedy” that will demand rising scientific and medical attention.

Europe’s drugs regulator has ruled Pandemrix should no longer be used in people aged under 20. The chief medical officer at GSK’s vaccines division, Norman Begg, says his firm views the issue extremely seriously and is “absolutely committed to getting to the bottom of this,” but adds there is not yet enough data or evidence to suggest a causal link.

Others — including Emmanuel Mignot, one of the world’s leading experts on narcolepsy, who is being funded by GSK to investigate further — agree more research is needed but say the evidence is already clearly pointing in one direction.

“There’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Pandemrix increased the occurrence of narcolepsy onset in children in some countries — and probably in most countries,” says Mignot, a specialist in the sleep disorder at Stanford University in the United States.

30 MILLION RECEIVED PANDEMRIX

In total, the GSK shot was given to more than 30 million people in 47 countries during the 2009-2010 H1N1 swine flu pandemic. Because it contains an adjuvant, or booster, it was not used in the United States because drug regulators there are wary of adjuvanted vaccines.

GSK says 795 people across Europe have reported developing narcolepsy since the vaccine’s use began in 2009.

Questions about how the narcolepsy cases are linked to Pandemrix, what the triggers and biological mechanisms might have been, and whether there might be a genetic susceptibility are currently the subject of deep scientific investigation.

But experts on all sides are wary. Rare adverse reactions can swiftly develop into “vaccine scares” that spiral out of proportion and cast what one of Europe’s top flu experts calls a “long shadow” over public confidence in vaccines that control potential killers like measles and polio.

“Noone wants to be the next Wakefield,” said Mignot, referring to the now discredited British doctor Andrew Wakefield who sparked a decades-long backlash against the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot with false claims of links to autism.

With the narcolepsy studies, there is no suggestion that the findings are the work of one rogue doctor.

Independent teams of scientists have published peer-reviewed studies from Sweden, Finland and Ireland showing the risk of developing narcolepsy after the 2009-2010 immunization campaign was between seven and 13 times higher for children who had Pandemrix than for their unvaccinated peers.

“We really do want to get to the bottom of this. It’s not in anyone’s interests if there is a safety issue that needs to be addressed,” said GSK’s Begg.

LIFE CHANGED

Emelie’s parents, Charles and Marie Olsson, say she was a top student who loved playing the piano, taking tennis lessons, creating art and having fun with friends. But her life started to change in early 2010, a few months after she had Pandemrix. In the spring of 2010, they noticed she was often tired, needing to sleep when she came home from school.

But it wasn’t until May, when she began collapsing at school, that it became clear something serious was happening.

As well as the life-limiting bouts of daytime sleepiness, narcolepsy brings nightmares, hallucinations, sleep paralysis and episodes of cataplexy — when strong emotions trigger a sudden and dramatic loss of muscle strength.

In Emelie’s case, having fun is the emotional trigger. “I can’t laugh or joke about with my friends anymore, because when I do I get cataplexies and collapse,” she said in an interview at her home in the Swedish capital.

Narcolepsy is estimated to affect between 200 and 500 people per million and is a lifelong condition. It has no known cure and scientists don’t really know what causes it. But they do know patients have a deficit of a brain neurotransmitter called orexin, also known as hypocretin, which regulates wakefulness.

Research has found that some people are born with a variant in a gene known as HLA that means they have low hypocretin, making them more susceptible to narcolepsy. Around 25 percent of Europeans are thought to have this genetic vulnerability.

When results of Emelie’s hypocretin test came back in November last year, it showed she had 15 percent of the normal amount, typical of heavy narcolepsy with cataplexy.

The seriousness of her strange new illness has forced her to contemplate life far more than many other young teens: “In the beginning I didn’t really want to live anymore, but now I have learned to handle things better,” she said.

H1N1 vaccine narcolepsy: Emelie Olsson falls asleep whle watching television in Stockholm, Saturday. IMAGE

TRIGGERS?

Scientists investigating these cases are looking in detail at Pandemrix’s adjuvant, called AS03, for clues.

Some suggest AS03, or maybe its boosting effect, or even the H1N1 flu itself, may have triggered the onset of narcolepsy in those who have the susceptible HLA gene variant.

Angus Nicoll, a flu expert at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), says genes may well play a part, but don’t tell the whole story.

“Yes, there’s a genetic predisposition to this condition, but that alone cannot explain these cases,” he said. “There was also something to do with receiving this specific vaccination. Whether it was the vaccine plus the genetic disposition alone or a third factor as well — like another infection — we simply do not know yet.”

GSK is funding a study in Canada, where its adjuvanted vaccine Arepanrix, similar to Pandemrix, was used during the 2009-2010 pandemic. The study won’t be completed until 2014, and some experts fear it may not shed much light since the vaccines were similar but not precisely the same.

It all leaves this investigation with far more questions than answers, and a lot more research ahead.

WAS IT WORTH IT?

In his glass-topped office building overlooking the Maria Magdalena church in Stockholm, Goran Stiernstedt, a doctor turned public health official, has spent many difficult hours going over what happened in his country during the swine flu pandemic, wondering if things should have been different.

“The big question is, Was it worth it? And retrospectively I have to say it was not,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Being a wealthy country, Sweden was at the front of the queue for pandemic vaccines. It got Pandemrix from GSK almost as soon as it was available, and a nationwide campaign got uptake of the vaccine to 59 percent, meaning around 5 million people got the shot.

Stiernstedt, director for health and social care at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, helped coordinate the vaccination campaign across Sweden’s 21 regions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the 2009-2010 pandemic killed 18,500 people, although a study last year said that total might be up to 15 times higher.

While estimates vary, Stiernstedt says Sweden’s mass vaccination saved between 30 and 60 people from swine flu death. Yet since the pandemic ended, more than 200 cases of narcolepsy have been reported in Sweden.
With hindsight, this risk-benefit balance is unacceptable. “This is a medical tragedy,” he said. “Hundreds of young people have had their lives almost destroyed.”

PANDEMICS ARE EMERGENCIES

Yet the problem with risk-benefit analyses is that they often look much more different when the world is facing a pandemic with the potential to wipe out millions than they do when it has emerged relatively unscathed from one, like H1N1, which turned out to be much milder than first feared.

David Salisbury, the British government’s director of immunization, says “therein lies the risk, and the difficulty, of working in public health” when a viral emergency hits.

“In the event of a severe pandemic, the risk of death is far higher than the risk of narcolepsy,” he told Reuters. “If we spent longer developing and testing the vaccine on very large numbers of people and waited to see whether any of them developed narcolepsy, much of the population might be dead.”

Pandemrix was authorized by European drug regulators using a so-called “mock-up procedure” that allows a vaccine to be authorized ahead of a possible pandemic using another flu strain. In Pandemrix’s case, the substitute was H5N1 bird flu.

When the WHO declared a pandemic, GSK replaced the mock-up’s strain with the pandemic-causing H1N1 strain to form Pandemrix. GSK says the final H1N1 version was tested in trials involving around 3,600 patients, including children, adolescents, adults and the elderly, before it was rolled out.

The ECDC’s Nicoll says early warning systems that give a more accurate analysis of a flu strain’s threat are the best way to minimize risks of this kind of tragedy happening in future.

Salisbury agrees, and says progress towards a universal flu vaccine — one that wouldn’t need last-minute changes made when a new strain emerged — would cuts risks further.

“Ideally, we would have a better vaccine that would work against all strains of influenza and we wouldn’t need to worry about this ever again,” he said. “But that’s a long way off.”

With scientists facing years of investigation and research, Emelie just wants to make the best of her life.

She reluctantly accepts that to do so, she needs a cocktail of drugs to try to control the narcolepsy symptoms. The stimulant Ritalin and the sleeping pill Sobril are prescribed for Emelie’s daytime sleepiness and night terrors. Then there’s Prozac to try to stabilize her and limit her cataplexies.

“That’s one of the things that makes me feel most uncomfortable,” she explains. “Before I got this condition I didn’t take any pills, and now I have to take lots — maybe for the rest of my life. It’s not good to take so many medicines, especially when you know they have side effects.”

Surprise! Analysis of NOAA temperature data shows half of reported global warming in USA is artificial

Link to original article: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/29/press-release-2/

 

**poster’s note** I can’t believe how dubious NOAA’s original report was, and their methodology for trending the reported temperature data UP in their final report. While I can’t vouch for the math in this report, the holes he found in the old report are big enough to drive a mac truck  through. Given how much money climate science is attracting these days, I can’t believe the underlying data is still in question. 

My own views have been that global warming was occurring, but the attribution to human causes were difficult because we don’t know all the variables and the computer models of the effects were beyond a joke – bad assumptions on bad assumptions leading to bad science and bad policy. The implications here may lead me to rethinking whether or not global warming is actually occurring.

 

New study shows half of the global warming in the USA is artificial

NOTE: 7/31/12 this thread has gotten large and unable to load for some commenters, it continues here

PRESS RELEASE – U.S. Temperature trends show a spurious doubling due to NOAA station siting problems and post measurement adjustments.

Chico, CA July 29th, 2012 – 12 PM PDT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A comparison and summary of trends is shown from the paper. Acceptably placed thermometers away from common urban influences read much cooler nationwide:

A reanalysis of U.S. surface station temperatures has been performed using the recently WMO-approved Siting Classification System devised by METEO-France’s Michel Leroy. The new siting classification more accurately characterizes the quality of the location in terms of monitoring long-term spatially representative surface temperature trends. The new analysis demonstrates that reported 1979-2008 U.S. temperature trends are spuriously doubled, with 92% of that over-estimation resulting from erroneous NOAA adjustments of well-sited stations upward. The paper is the first to use the updated siting system which addresses USHCN siting issues and data adjustments.

The new improved assessment, for the years 1979 to 2008, yields a trend of +0.155C per decade from the high quality sites, a +0.248 C per decade trend for poorly sited locations, and a trend of +0.309 C per decade after NOAA adjusts the data. This issue of station siting quality is expected to be an issue with respect to the monitoring of land surface temperature throughout the Global Historical Climate Network and in the BEST network.

Today, a new paper has been released that is the culmination of knowledge gleaned from five years of work by Anthony Watts and the many volunteers and contributors to the SurfaceStations project started in 2007.

 

This pre-publication draft paper, titled An area and distance weighted analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends, is co-authored by Anthony Watts of California, Evan Jones of New York, Stephen McIntyre of Toronto, Canada, and Dr. John R. Christy from the Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama, Huntsville, is to be submitted for publication.

The pre-release of this paper follows the practice embraced by Dr. Richard Muller, of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project in a June 2011 interview with Scientific American’s Michael Lemonick in “Science Talk”, said:

I know that is prior to acceptance, but in the tradition that I grew up in (under Nobel Laureate Luis Alvarez) we always widely distributed “preprints” of papers prior to their publication or even submission. That guaranteed a much wider peer review than we obtained from mere referees.

The USHCN is one of the main metrics used to gauge the temperature changes in the United States. The first wide scale effort to address siting issues, Watts, (2009), a collated photographic survey, showed that approximately 90% of USHCN stations were compromised by encroachment of urbanity in the form of heat sinks and sources, such as concrete, asphalt, air conditioning system heat exchangers, roadways, airport tarmac, and other issues. This finding was backed up by an August 2011 U.S. General Accounting Office investigation and report titled: Climate Monitoring: NOAA Can Improve Management of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network

All three papers examining the station siting issue, using early data gathered by the SurfaceStations project, Menne et al (2010), authored by Dr. Matt Menne of NCDC, Fall et al, 2011, authored by Dr. Souleymane Fall of Tuskeegee University and co-authored by Anthony Watts, and Muller et al 2012, authored by Dr. Richard Muller of the University of California, Berkeley and founder of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project (BEST) were inconclusive in finding effects on temperature trends used to gauge the temperature change in the United States over the last century.

Lead author of the paper, Anthony Watts, commented:

“I fully accept the previous findings of these papers, including that of the Muller et al 2012 paper. These investigators found exactly what would be expected given the siting metadata they had. However, the Leroy 1999 site rating method employed to create the early metadata, and employed in the Fall et al 2011 paper I co-authored was incomplete, and didn’t properly quantify the effects.

The new rating method employed finds that station siting does indeed have a significant effect on temperature trends.”

Watts et al 2012 has employed a new methodology for station siting, pioneered by Michel Leroy of METEOFrance in 2010, in the paper Leroy 2010, and endorsed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation (CIMO-XV, 2010) Fifteenth session, in September 2010 as a WMO-ISO standard, making it suitable for reevaluating previous studies on the issue of station siting.

Previous papers all used a distance only rating system from Leroy 1999, to gauge the impact of heat sinks and sources near thermometers. Leroy 2010 shows that method to be effective for siting new stations, such as was done by NCDC adopting Leroy 1999 methods with their Climate Reference Network (CRN) in 2002 but ineffective at retroactive siting evaluation.

Leroy 2010 adds one simple but effective physical metric; surface area of the heat sinks/sources within the thermometer viewshed to quantify the total heat dissipation effect.

Using the new Leroy 2010 classification system on the older siting metadata used by Fall et al. (2011), Menne et al. (2010), and Muller et al. (2012), yields dramatically different results.

Using Leroy 2010 methods, the Watts et al 2012 paper, which studies several aspects of USHCN siting issues and data adjustments, concludes that:

These factors, combined with station siting issues, have led to a spurious doubling of U.S. mean temperature trends in the 30 year data period covered by the study from 1979 – 2008.

Other findings include, but are not limited to:

· Statistically significant differences between compliant and non-compliant stations exist, as well as urban and rural stations.

· Poorly sited station trends are adjusted sharply upward, and well sited stations are adjusted upward to match the already-adjusted poor stations.

· Well sited rural stations show a warming nearly three times greater after NOAA adjustment is applied.

· Urban sites warm more rapidly than semi-urban sites, which in turn warm more rapidly than rural sites.

· The raw data Tmean trend for well sited stations is 0.15°C per decade lower than adjusted Tmean trend for poorly sited stations.

· Airport USHCN stations show a significant differences in trends than other USHCN stations, and due to equipment issues and other problems, may not be representative stations for monitoring climate.

###

We will continue to investigate other issues related to bias and adjustments such as TOBs in future studies.

FILES:

This press release in PDF form: Watts_et_al 2012_PRESS RELEASE (PDF)

The paper in draft form: Watts-et-al_2012_discussion_paper_webrelease (PDF)

The Figures for the paper: Watts et al 2012 Figures and Tables (PDF)

A PowerPoint presentation of findings with many additional figures is available online:

Overview of the paper (PPT)

Methodology – Graphs Presentation (.PPT)

Some additional files may be added as needed.

Contact:

Anthony Watts at: http://wattsupwiththat.com/about-wuwt/contact-2/

References:

GAO-11-800 August 31, 2011, Climate Monitoring: NOAA Can Improve Management of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network Highlights Page (PDF)  Full Report (PDF, 47 pages)   Accessible Text Recommendations (HTML)

Fall, S., Watts, A., Nielsen‐Gammon, J. Jones, E. Niyogi, D. Christy, J. and Pielke, R.A. Sr., 2011, Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends, Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, D14120, doi:10.1029/2010JD015146, 2011

Leroy, M., 1999: Classification d’un site. Note Technique no. 35. Direction des Systèmes d’Observation, Météo-France, 12 pp.

Leroy, M., 2010: Siting Classification for Surface Observing Stations on Land, Climate, and Upper-air Observations JMA/WMO Workshop on Quality Management in Surface, Tokyo, Japan 27-30 July 2010http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/en/Activities/qmws_2010/CountryReport/CS202_Leroy.pdf

Menne, M. J., C. N. Williams Jr., and M. A. Palecki, 2010: On the reliability of the U.S. surface temperature record, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D11108, doi:10.1029/2009JD013094

Muller, R.A., Curry, J., Groom, D. Jacobsen, R.,Perlmutter, S. Rohde, R. Rosenfeld, A., Wickham, C., Wurtele, J., 2012: Earth Atmospheric Land Surface Temperature and Station Quality in the United Stateshttp://berkeleyearth.org/pdf/berkeley-earth-station-quality.pdf

Watts, A., 2009: Is the U.S. surface temperature record reliable? Published online at:http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/surfacestationsreport_spring09.pdf

World Meteorological Organization Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation, Fifteenth session, (CIMO-XV, 2010) WMO publication Number 1064, available online at: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/CIMO/CIMO15-WMO1064/1064_en.pdf

Notes:

1. The SurfaceStations project was a crowd sourcing project started in June 2007, done entirely with citizen volunteers (over 650), created in response to the realization that very little physical site survey metadata exists for the entire United States Historical Climatological Network (USHCN) and Global Historical Climatological Network (GHCN) surface station records worldwide. This realization came about from a discussion of a paper and some new information that occurred on Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. Research Group Weblog. In particular, a thread regarding the paper: Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res.
2. Some files in the initial press release had some small typographical errors. These have been corrected. Please click on links above for  new press release and figures files.

Fed give’s clue how big JPM’s CIO loss is: $31.5 Billion

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/21/2012 23:59 -0400

Earlier today we mocked Jamie Dimon for announcing the cancellation of his firm’s stock buyback program, just two shorts months after March 13, when none other than JP Morgan forced the Fed to scramble and release the full stress test ahead of schedule, after Jamie Dimon decided to frontrun the full FRBNY stress test release (whose sole purpose was to determine under what worst case scenario the Fed was ok with allowing JPM and various other Bank Holding Companies to proceed with dividend raises/stock buybacks) and announce just that – a dividend increase and a stock buyback. Well, in addition to some well justified egg in Dimon’s face, today’s results actually have some far more troubling implications. Because while we now know that the buyback is over, what we still don’t know, because Jamie Dimon refuses to tell us, is just how big the CIO P&L loss as of close today. Yes, there are many speculations but nobody knows for sure. Zero Hedge was the first to suggestbased on reverse engineering of what the potential loss drivers may well have been, and subsequently the slower media corroborated, that the total loss would be orders of magnitude greater than the $2 billion announced on May 10. But how many orders? Well, for what may be a critical clue, we go to the Fed’s stress test itself. Presenting Exhibit A – page 73 of 82:

This is from the “Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review 2012” for JP Morgan, conducted by the NY Fed. Specifically, these are, among others, the permissive gating conditions, which if met, would still enable JP Morgan to proceed with the then announced buyback. The highlighted section above speaks for itself:

  • the cumulative “realized losses/gains securities (AFS/HTM) and Trading and Counterparty Losses” amount to $31.5 billion for the pendency of the stress test.
  • In other words $31.5 billion is how much pain JPM is allowed, in the NY Fed’s view, to sufferbefore losses and dividends/buyback would jeopardize the capital structure, and the buyback process should be halted
  • Once again, as a reminder, the buyback process was halted today.

While we do not know the combined loss on these two line items, what we do know as of this morning is that the prohibitive threshold for buybacks was passed just two months after it had been permitted.

Does this imply that the CIO losses, as conferred by JPM to the Fed in privatehave a statutory loss potential of over $31.5 billion through Q4 2013? Or is the hit to just this quarter so substantial, that spreading the loss over a period of time has become meaningless, and the Fed has barred JP Morgan from any other future buybacks, i.e., capital outflows, until such time as the trading/realized loss has been offset and the hit to the balance sheet has been undone?

Something tells us that we won’t be the only ones asking these questions.

 

UPDATEThe Independent is noting this morning Europe-time, that the losses at JPMorgan could have grown to $7bn:

Rival traders reckon that the losses could be as high $7bn. “The markets know pretty much what JP Morgan has and in what sizes,” said one trader.

 

The main index on which Mr Iksil’s credit default swaps trades were based has calmed down in recent days, which suggests that JP Morgan has decided to trade out of its positions gradually rather than take one massive hit.

 

 

According to JP Morgan traders, in [Ina Drew’s] absence there were regular shouting matches between her subordinates in New York and London. “The strife distracted everyone because no one could push back,” one trader told The New York Times.

 

[ZH: We suspect the apparent ‘calmness’ is simply a reflection of the moderation in the skew in HY9 and IG9 – but does not reflect the noise that we are seeing in various other credit indices such as HYG, JNK, IG18, and HY18 all of which have traded a long way from ‘fair-value’ recently as JPM reached for any and every liquid hedge (and at the same time caused the NYFed to postpone the MLIII auction) and also the fact that it is highly unlikely that JPM was actually able to trade out of the now super-illiquid tranche positions that were the cause of these market technicals – leaving basis risk even larger on this hedge of a hedge]


IG9 10Y skew almost normalized…

 

as is IG9 5Y

 

but this has caused ‘problems’ in the on-the-run indices…

 

Link to original article:  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/did-fed-just-give-us-very-big-clue-just-how-big-jpms-cio-loss-may-be

[video] Nigel Farage On Europe’s Economic Suicide

 

 

Dismissing the propaganda-like vision of growth and jobs that is now at the forefront of any and every word from the status-quo seekers that are the European Elite, England’s Nigel Farage notes the hypocrisy of the forthcoming summit’s agenda. The Euro itself was supposed to create growth and jobs and yet it is actively destroying both of those things – more of the same – as themedicine is killing the patient. He attacks the idea that the world will end if Greece were to exit the Euro – “European leaders say if Greece leaves the sky will fall in – it won’t!” – though notes that there will indeed be a difficult few weeks – and when challenged by a Greek politician (who questions what will happen when gas prices for Greeks rise on Farage’s suspected 50% devaluation in the Drachma), Nigel, offering the other side of the coin related to real growth, investment, and innovation to compete with expensive imports pointedly remarks: “Give Greece a chance because stuck inside the Euro, you are going to be literally destroyed”.

 

US Citizens Now One Step Closer To Becoming Permanent Tax Slaves

Poster’s note: Maybe Ron Paul was right… the Wall they want to build on the southern boarder is to keep the citizens IN the country, rather than keeping illegals out…..

Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man

US Citizens Now One Step Closer To Becoming Permanent Tax Slaves

This week, the universally stupid brainchild of US Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey known as the Ex-PATRIOT Act inched a bit closer towards becoming law.

‘Ex-PATRIOT’ is an absurd acronym that stands for “Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy”. I call it the Tax Slave Act… and it proposes three key provisions:

1) Individuals who are deemed, in the sole discretion of the US government, to have renounced US citizenship in order to avoid US taxes, will be permanently barred from re-entering the United States.

2) Such individuals will also be required to pay a 30% capital gains tax to the United States government on ALL future investment gains derived from the US. Currently, non-citizens who do not reside in the US pay no US capital gains tax.

3) These proposals are RETROACTIVE, and, if passed, would apply to anyone who renounced his/her citizenship within the last 10-years.

During a Sunday interview with ABC News, House Speaker John Boehner threw his support behind the bill… certainly a big step towards its eventual passage.

Let’s pause briefly for a little history lesson–

Dart Container Corporation was founded in 1960 by William F. Dart, the man who first perfected the design of styrofoam. Dart Container is today a multi-billion dollar family-owned company with thousands of employees and operations around the world.

In the early 1990s, brothers Kenneth and Robert Dart, heirs to the family fortune, renounced their US citizenship and became citizens of Belize and Ireland, and set up residency in the Cayman Islands.

Around the same time, several other wealthy Americans renounced citizenship, including Carnival Cruise Lines founder Ted Arison (who obtained Israeli citizenship), Campbell Soup heir John Dorrance (Irish citizenship), and fund manager Mark Mobius (German citizenship).

President Clinton was furious, and in 1996, he pushed Congress to pass a series of financial penalties for people who renounce citizenship. At the time, a ‘renunciant’ had to continue filing US tax returns for 10-years after renouncing.

Effectively, though, this penalty was a tax on worldwide income, not an exit tax on assets.

Fast forward to the mid-2000s, a time when the asset bubble was at its peak; the stock market was at its all-time high and real estate prices kept going up.

The Bush regime passed a series of changes to expatriation rules, dropping the income tax filing requirements in lieu of charging a one-time exit tax on assets.

In this way, the government was able to derive a much larger payment up front based on total assets rather than chasing around a former citizen for a piece of annual income.

In the years since the exit tax on assets was established, two things have happened:

1) The number of Americans renouncing US citizenship has risen steadily, from 235 people in 2008 to 1,780 last year (according to Schumer’s office).

2) The asset bubble has burst, and assets are worth much less than just a few years ago. As such, the government isn’t collecting as much revenue from the exit tax.

My sense is that the government has been watching the number of expatriates rise over the years, and simultaneously watching the value of the exit tax fall… and they’ve been looking for an excuse to make sweeping (i.e. retroactive) changes.

Eduardo Saverin is the perfect excuse. The Facebook co-founder’s recent renunciation of US citizenship has become a rallying cry for politicians to go back in time and steal money from former citizens retroactively…plus establish a larger base for future tax revenues.

This is a truly despicable thing to do considering that these former citizens followed the appropriate rules at the time, paid the tax, and moved on with their lives. Now Uncle Sam wants to go back in time to unilaterally change the deal, and expect everyone to abide even though they’re not even citizens anymore. The arrogance is overwhelming.

More importantly, this bill is also a major deterrent for people who are thinking about renouncing US citizenship today.

The passage of this law will undoubtedly cause many people who were considering expatriation to abandon the idea altogether as the thought of being permanently barred from entry is too much to bear.

It’s truly extraordinary that the Land of the Free has deteriorated to the point that the government must now resort to threats, coercion, and intimidation in order to keep its most productive citizens inside.

Link to original article at sovereign man: http://www.sovereignman.com/finance/us-citizens-now-one-step-closer-to-becoming-permanent-tax-slaves/

Total number of jobs lost since Obama took over is still over 3 MILLION

I’ve read a lot of spin recently on how thet gain / loss of employment has actually completely recovered in private sector jobs since Obama has taken office.

Here’s an example of such an article: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/05/04/478368/478368/

While this is great spin for trying to get Obama re-elected, it doesn’t represent reality. The problem with pulling statistics like this (net jobs) is it doesn’t measure the unemployed that fall off the statistics. If you are unemployed, there are two ways the government stops counting you as unemployed. The first is to get a job. The second is to stop getting unemployment insurance. Millions of american’s have run through their unemployment insurance without finding a job, but the “change in employment” data will only see unemployment decrease, not jobs increase.

The MOST ACCURATE way to measure the status of the employed in this country is to use the department of labor statistics measurement of total employed.

You can find this data here: http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea01.htm

under “employed”, just look at the number, and add three zero’s to the end to get the total number of employed.

What you will find is in 2008, the last year of statistics before Obama, over 145 million people were employed in this country. As of April of this year, that number is down to 141,865,000, a LOSS of more than three million jobs.

Here’s what the real graph looks like for total American’s with jobs:

What’s worse is the the tail of this graph is starting to head the wrong way again – the total number of employed Americans has GONE DOWN for three straight months.

This implies that “shadow” unemployment is hovering  around 16% which is somewhere between Portugal (on the brink of insolvency) and Greece (insolvent) – neither country removes unemployed from their statistics.

Sheriff’s Deputy orders inmates to dance to Usher. Ordered dances included the robot and the worm.

Inmates dance, deputy fired

 

By Phil Trexler
Beacon Journal staff writer

Published: May 2, 2012 – 04:55 PM | Updated: May 3, 2012 – 07:47 AM

deputy03cut

Attorney Robert Meeker (left) listens to defendant Dominic Martucci as hearing for the five Summit County Deputies accused in the death of inmate Mark McCullaugh before visiting Judge H.F. Inderlied Jr. in this Feb. 4, 2008 file photo. (Lew Stamp/Akron Beacon Journal)

Some inmates did the worm, others chose the old school robot. Each dance was performed to the beat of hip-hop artist Usher on command from a now-fired Summit County deputy.

The inmate prize: use of a jail microwave.

The charges are revealed in an internal affairs report released Wednesday. Deputy Dominic Martucci, 35, was fired for violating the department’s policies, including a mandate that inmates be treated humanely.

Martucci is accused of ordering five inmates dance to Usher’s Yeah! song and then inviting other deputies to watch during an early evening shift on April 11. The inmates danced their way to regaining use of a microwave that they had lost earlier that day.

Another inmate won the right to use the phone and commissary items for his old-school robot dance routine. Martucci blared the music from a smartphone, the report said.

“I did what I had to do so I could use the phone,” the inmate told investigators. A family member had died and he needed to contact relatives, he said.

At one point, Martucci signaled a fellow deputy to watch the dance.

“Stop and watch this, it’s going to be funny,” he said, according to the report.

One inmate said as many as five deputies looked on during the dance. They were also looking to make sure a supervisor was not nearby, investigators said. The inmate said some dancers were rewarded with commissary items, but not him.

The inmate was told he “messed up” and faced a trip to the hole. The inmate alleged Martucci demanded he dance “one minute to my liking.” The inmate was eventually let out of lock down, the report shows.

The allegations came out through an inmate’s memo to a sergeant sent days later.

“[Martucci] told the inmates that if they wanted out of lock up and the microwave back, that they would have to dance for him,” an internal affair report noted. “He let out the [five inmates] and told them to entertain him by dancing…”

Martucci was suspended April 23. This week, Sheriff Drew Alexander fired the deputy on departmental charges of mistreating the inmates, misconduct and having a cell phone in the jail.

An appeal is expected, but neither Martucci nor a union official could be reached for comment Wednesday. Alexander was not available for comment.

“The community needs to be assured that all inmates that come the doors of the Summit County Jail will be treated humanely and with respect,” said sheriff’s spokesman Bill Holland. “All allegations to the contrary are thoroughly investigated. Any member of our agency that does not share this philosophy will be disciplined accordingly.”

In his defense, Martucci told investigators he forced the inmates to dance in order to regain day room privileges lost earlier in the shift. The inmates did not touch each other.

During the internal investigation, investigators said Martucci admitted his actions were wrong, but that he intended only to “lighten the tension” in the jail pod.

Another deputy who saw the dancing said the inmates were laughing during the song.

Martucci tenure with the department has been marked by controversy. In 2006, he was accused with four other deputies in the 2006 death of jail inmate Mark D. McCullaugh Jr. After one deputy was acquitted of murder, charges against Martucci and three other deputies were dismissed in September 2008.

Martucci’s father, Frank Martucci, is a retired Akron police officer and ran unsuccessfully in March as a Democratic candidate for sheriff.

Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717

 

More can be found at original article: http://www.ohio.com/news/break-news/inmates-dance-deputy-fired-1.304412

 

 

“Harmless” TSA Milimeter wave body scanner destroy’s diabetics insulin pump

Diabetic teen upset with TSA screeners at Salt Lake City Airport

Updated: 5/07 10:23 pm | Published: 5/07 8:03 pm
Reported by: Don Hudson
  • SALT L AKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A Colorado teen is upset with screeners at Salt Lake City International Airport. The type one diabetic says TSA agents were abrupt, rude and were responsible for breaking her $10,000 insulin pump. A pump she has to have to survive.

Savannah Barry is mad and on a mission. She wants travelers to be warned before they walk through TSA security. “They need to get with the program and have some education across the board for TSA.” After participating in a DECA conference in Salt Lake City with several classmates last week, Savannah, who is a type one diabetic and wears an insulin pump 24 hours a day, says she ran into TSA agents who were not prepared to deal with her medical situation. “I went up to the lady and I said, I am a type one diabetic. I wear an insulin pump. I showed her the pump. I said, what do you want me to do? I usually do a pat down – what would you recommend?”

Savannah then showed agents a doctor’s note explaining that the sensitive insulin pump should not go through the body scanner. She says she was told to go through it anyway. “When someone in a position of authority tells you it is – you think that its right. So, I said, Are you sure I can go through with the pump? It’s not going to hurt the pump? And she said no, no you’re fine.”

The 16-year-old walked into the scanner with some serious reservations “My life is pretty much in their hands when I go through a body scan with my insulin pump on.” She was right to be worried. She says the pump stopped working correctly. “Coming off an insulin pump is rough. You never know what is going to happen when you are not on the insulin pump.”

She says TSA agents then made the situation worse when they didn’t know what to do about her juice and insulin. “She said, because we don’t have the machines to scan the juice to make sure this is not an explosive we do have to do a full body pat down and search your through your bags.” Of course, that’s what she wanted in the first place, but it was too late.

Savannah believes TSA screeners need more training. And she says, until that happens – people with medical conditions need to be warned. “It’s unacceptable. And I don’t want other people to feel the way I felt.”

We asked TSA about the incident. We received an email that says “TSA is reviewing the passenger’s screening experience and will respond directly to the family. TSA works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly.”
TSA also has a tollfree hotline for passengers with medical conditions. They can call it before hand to find out about policies and procedures. 1-855-787-2227.

Savannah (see picture) already has a new insulin pump. A company that heard her story quickly got it to her when she got back to Colorado.

More info and video at the original article: http://www.abc4.com/content/news/state/story/TSA-diabetes-salt-lake-insulin-savannah/Az-QjubuEUeXMX7LAbC1Xw.cspx

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