Ex-councilwoman in Pa. pleads guilty sexually for assaulting a girl, starting at age 12

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Ex-councilwoman in Pa. pleads guilty in sex case

The Associated Press
WEST NEWTON, Pa.—An ex-councilwoman from southwestern Pennsylvania has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a girl, starting at age 12, who the woman coached on a local softball team.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ( reports Friday that 37-year-old Heather Prinkey's plea bargain calls for a sentence of two to 10 years in prison, followed by 10 years' probation.

Westmoreland County prosecutors say the deal required Prinkey to plead guilty, as opposed to no contest, to charges of aggravated indecent assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and other crimes.

The girl, now 16, has said Prinkey threatened to make her life "a living hell" if she told anyone about the relationship.

Prinkey resigned her position on the North Belle Vernon borough council before her arrest in July 2010.

She said in a written statement that she pleaded guilty to "put this ordeal behind me."


Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,


Southern Lights Seen From Space

Southern lights put on spectacular show for space station astronauts

Astronauts on the International Space Station photographed the aurora australis, or southern lights, while passing over the Indian Ocean on 17 September

ISS astronauts capture aurora australis or southern lightsView larger picture

The aurora australis as seen from the International Space Station. Photograph: ISS/Nasa

Photographer: ISS/NASA

'Breastaurant' Feud: Hooters Sues Rival For Stealing 'Trade Secrets'

Hooters Lawsuit Claims Rival Restaurant Stole ‘Trade Secrets'


WASHINGTON -- Hooters, the restaurant chain famous for its scantily clad Hooters Girls, sued the partner of an upstart rival in Georgia federal court this week, accusing the company developing Twin Peaks restaurants and a former Hooters executive of stealing trade secrets in their bid to take on the “delightfully tacky yet unrefined” restaurant chain.

In their lawsuit, Hooters claims that Joseph Hummel, former Hooters vice president, jumped ship to help develop the similarly themed Twin Peaks restaurants (motto: “Eats, Drinks, Scenic Views”) in July and took “sensitive business information” with him. The alleged trade secrets apparently involve more than just skimpy waitress outfits. According to the suit, in the weeks leading up to his departure to Twin Peaks development partner La Cima Restaurants, Hummel downloaded and emailed to his private account a “substantial volume” of Hooters documents, including plans related to management, recruitment, distribution and sales.

Although Hooters has more than 400 locations throughout the country, the two so-called breastaurant companies could soon have a rivalry in Georgia and other parts of the Southeast. According to the lawsuit, Hummel’s departure coincided with a number of other high-ranking defections from Hooters to La Cima, including former Hooters CEO Coby Brooks. Hummel is now chief operating officer at La Cima, which, like Hooters, is based in Atlanta.

HuffPost readers: Have you worked at a Hooters before? If so, we'd like to hear about your experiences. Email

A lawyer for Hooters referred questions to a Hooters spokesman, who could not be reached. A lawyer for La Cima did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Twin Peaks currently has 15 restaurants in five states, but last month it announced plans to open 35 franchises throughout the Southeast over the course of the next decade. Judging from the company’s website, the restaurants share many similarities with the better-known Hooters -- namely, chicken wings in the fryer, Ultimate Fighting Championship fights on the big screen, and precious little clothing on the servers. But whereas Hooters waitresses don the trademark white tank tops and orange short shorts, Twin Peaks servers tend to wear a mountain-themed ensemble of flannel bikini-like tops paired with tan hiker shorts.

In the lawsuit, Hooters says their “iconic” Hooters Girls are the “cornerstone of the [Hooters] concept,” and notes that “Twin Peaks directly competes with [Hooters] in the market of casual dining restaurants with an all female waitstaff.” Hummel recently told the Atlanta Business Chronicle that within the next seven years Twin Peaks expects to launch as many as seven franchises in the Atlanta area, going head to head with Hooters at its core. He also said the chain would differentiate itself from its competitor, saying Twin Peaks “brings a different feel, a different makeup of food.”

In their efforts to expand, Twin Peaks has apparently had a hard time avoiding lawsuits with other restaurants whose names play on breasts. In 2009, the chain’s parent company sued a competitor called Grand Tetons LLC in federal court in Texas, claiming that the company’s plans to open a restaurant in Arkansas called Northern Exposure infringed on Twin Peaks’ “trade dress.”

Bank Of America Debit Card Fees: Twitter Reacts

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Bank Of America Debit Card Fees: Twitter Reacts

Bank of America announced Thursday that bank will start charging $5 per month for customers who use their debit cards to make purchases beginning in 2012.

Shortly after the announcement Twitter exploded with reactions to the news. Many of the updates were negative and some even threatened via tweet to switch banks. The announcement generated so much buzz that "Debit card fees" was a trending topic on Google on Friday.

To add fuel to the fire, Bank of America's website was temporarily down on Friday. Some customers in New York and California reported login problems and others saw a message that read the site was "operating slower than usual," according to the Associated Press.

Tara Burke, a spokeswoman for the bank, did not specify why the site was experiencing problems, only to say that it wasn't due to hacking, the AP reported.

According to the AP, Bank of America is the largest bank in the nation by deposits.

LOOK: Twitter reacts to Bank of America's Debit Card Fee Announcement:

Andy Borowitz

Bank of America is like a man who's been saved from a burning building and then kicks the fireman in the nuts.


Robots in the sky that recognize and track you

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Coming soon: Robots in the sky that recognize and track you

Military research has been the source of a number of modern technologies, most notably the Internet.

But now, the Army just issued contracts to develop two technologies that don’t seem as fun as, say, poking someone on Facebook.

The contracts, which Wired reports are for work on surveillance projects, could make drones more adept at targeting specific individuals.

One is to develop drones with strong facial recognition that prevents the drone from losing a face in a crowd. Others are for machines that can integrate intelligence data with information from an informant to determine your intent.

Part of a broader effort called TTL (for “Tagging, Tracking and Locating”), these new projects will support the Pentagon as it attempts to monitor enemies and insurgents in places like Afghanistan, where the strategy has switched from rebuilding societies to targeting specific individual bad actors.

Current technologies include using tiny transmitters that can use cellular, satellite or radio frequencies to report their whereabouts and lingering scents that mark targets with a vapor that can be tracked for hours. But they are inadequate because targets may discover their transmitters and remove them, and scents eventually dissipate.

A drone that recognizes you

Progeny Systems Corporation, which won one of the contracts, is developing a drone that can use photos to create a three-dimensional model of the target’s face. As Wired says,

It’s not an easy trick to pull off — even with the proper lighting, and even with a willing subject. Building a model of someone on the run is harder. Constructing a model using the bobbing, weaving, flying, relatively low-resolution cameras on small unmanned aerial vehicles is tougher still.

The new technology, called the “Long Range, Non-cooperative, Biometric Tagging, Tracking and Location” system, could be revolutionary because it can overcome what is a current problem in tagging, tracking and locating work: targets are usually only visible occasionally in crowds or in sheltered positions.

Progeny’s new project can take a poor-quality (50 pixel) photo of someone with any expression, in any pose and under any lighting and build a 3-D model of his/her face. After the face is initially entered into Progeny’s system, it takes only another 15- or 20-pixel image to recognize him.

The technology is robust enough that it can tell identical twins apart, as evidenced by tests that researchers from Notre Dame and Michigan State Universities ran using images of faces at a “Twins Days” festival.

Though the software works better the closer the drone is, the facial information can be added to “soft biometric” information such as skin color, height, build, age and gender to track a person of interest from a distance too far to use facial recognition.

Drones that read your mind

Another technology, being developed by Charles River Analytics, analyzes human behavior to determine if someone has malicious intent. The technology, called Adversary Behavior Acquisition, Collection, Understanding, and Summarization (ABACUS), compiles behavioral data to determine if a subject has built up anger against the U.S. and might pose a threat.

Similarly, Modus Operandi, Inc. is developing a system that will use “probabilistic algorithms th[at] determine the likelihood of adversarial intent.” Its name is “Clear Heart,” which surely trades on the idea of transparency and does not imply what is to be found in these targets’ hearts.

Photo: ijy/MorgueFile


NASA Press Conference Whaaaat Was That? Elenin,Asteriods?

St. Louis Iraqi Attacked By Muslims Carved Star Of David On His Back!

'Contagion' Connections: How Links Among Humans, Animals And The Environment May Be Spawning A New Class Of Infectious Diseases

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'Contagion' Connections: How Links Among Humans, Animals And The Environment May Be Spawning A New Class Of Infectious Diseases

Contagion Pig
The first in a series investigating the complex linkages between human, animal and environmental health: The Infection Loop.

Bronx Zoo pathologist Tracey McNamara started to see lifeless crows dotting her zoo's grounds in mid-August 1999. After Labor Day weekend that year, she recalls, "All hell broke loose."

Even as crows kept falling from the sky, Chilean flamingos, laughing gulls and a snowy owl, among other captive species, also suddenly began dying. "Many of these birds were healthy at breakfast and dead by dinnertime," says McNamara, now a professor of pathology at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif.

Among the casualties was the zoo’s mascot, a bald eagle named Clementine. A necropsy showed the worst brain inflammation in a bird that McNamara had seen in her 18-year career, and she fretted that her surgical mask wasn’t enough protection against whatever had killed Clementine.

"I got a sinking feeling in my stomach, the hair stood up on the back of my neck and I went home and wrote my will," she says.

McNamara became convinced that the surge in bird deaths was tied to the growing reports of New Yorkers sickened or dying with similar signs of muscle weakness and confusion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that mosquito-borne St. Louis encephalitis was the killer, but she was skeptical, since that virus doesn't kill birds.

In fact, New York was seeing the first cases of West Nile virus ever reported in the Western hemisphere. Ultimately, 62 people were hospitalized in New York for West Nile that year and seven died. The CDC later admitted it erred by dismissing the potential link between the human and animal illnesses.

Twelve years later, are we preventing, preparing or monitoring possibly epidemic new diseases in adequate fashion? According to specialists who track seemingly exotic public health threats, the answer is no. Our proximity to migrating animals, rodents and livestock, combined with environmental upheaval, has created conditions that make animal-borne epidemics more likely –- a theme the new film "Contagion" embraces with enough zeal to throw Gwyneth Paltrow into a fit of lethal convulsions.

Animals carry a number of viruses, usually without consequence to themselves, but those same viruses can prove deadly to another species. Humans have simply yet to cross paths with most of these pathogens.

"In the future, we're going to come across viruses that have been around for millions of years in obscure animals," says Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a New York-based organization of scientists dedicated to conserving biodiversity.

While science can typically track down creatures that are hosts to threatening viruses, such human factors as population growth, income inequality, environmental degradation, climate change and even global travel may all play a much more decisive role in unleashing outbreaks of deadly and hard-to-control diseases.

"Microbes are out there and they are paying attention," says James Hughes, a professor of medicine and public health at Emory University, who spent about three decades with the CDC. "They are pretty good probes for weaknesses in the public health system."

Just look around, analysts warn. As deforestation and development shrinks the margins between civilization and the untrammeled regions globally, diseases will have more opportunities for transmission to humans.

Intensifying agricultural production can also facilitate epidemics, which is why the United States made Daszak's watchlist for countries that are likely to be home to emerging infectious diseases. Combined with the overuse of antibiotics, tightly penned livestock such as chickens and cows can also play a role in jumpstarting outbreaks (as happened recently with both salmonella and E. coli threats).

A multidisciplinary movement called "One Health" has emerged as means of raising public awareness around threats of contagion and for developing ways of combating the problem. At its core, the movement seeks more recognition of the connections between the health of the environment, animals and human beings.

The movement's ecologists, veterinarians and doctors focus on a range of public health risks that stretch across their respective disciplines, including food- and water-borne diseases as well as other infections that are zoonotic (meaning they originate in animals before jumping to humans).

One Health advocates have plenty of work to do. Three of four newly emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, and while there are roughly 2,000 known animal viruses, there are an estimated 1 million out there.

As a whole, infectious diseases kill some 15 million humans each year.

Ian Lipkin, a professor of epidemiology and pathology at Columbia University nicknamed the "microbe hunter," has come to know many of these diseases through his microscope. Lipkin helped McNamara prove that the same virus was behind both the bird and human outbreaks that became apparent at the Bronx Zoo in 1999.

"I'm convinced that was a bellwether event," Lipkin says of the West Nile virus outbreak. "A federal agency was embarrassed and vowed it would never happen again. One Health finally had legs."

At the end of "Contagion," a film on which Lipkin consulted, a short sequence of clips acts as a prequel to a One Health nightmare scenario: A bulldozer clears a patch of trees for a new piggery, into which a displaced and diseased bat drops a chunk of banana, which is gobbled by a pig that later lands in the hands of a chef.

"This is a classic example of an emerging infectious disease," says Lipkin. "The chef doesn't wash his hands, infects Gwyneth Paltrow, and we go from there," with a global pandemic soon following.


The fictitious MEV-1 virus of "Contagion" was modeled after the real-life Nipah virus, which first swept through Malaysia's pig farms in 1998 and '99. Bats infected pigs, farmers got sick and millions of swine were slaughtered.

In fact, most of the biological factors that triggered the movie's pandemic have already happened, scientists say. The only element that remains fiction is the "incredible transmission among people," according to Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York, who added that this last step is "not beyond the realm of possibility."

Hughes, the Emory professor, agrees.

"We've been relatively lucky that bird flu does not easily transfer from person to person," he notes. "But with an opportunistic mutation or two, an avian virus could be more easily transmitted to humans and then between humans."

A select group of animals pose the greatest threats of passing on a disease to humans, including one that could become contagious. These creatures -- whether wild, domestic or livestock -- tend to be those close to us, both in terms of physical proximity and genetics.

"The closer a species is related to us, the greater the chance that a pathogen it carries can infect us," says the EcoHealth Alliance's Daszak. "You're not going to die from a lizard virus, but you could from a mammalian virus."

Common culprits include ubiquitous rodents, backyard birds and primates, the latter blamed for the introduction of HIV. Bats pose yet another threat.

"Bats are the stuff Hollywood movies are made of," says Jennifer McQuiston, an epidemiologist at the CDC in Atlanta. "The fact that they can fly and migrate across great distances might mean they are exposed to more things that they can then bring back to naïve populations."

By destroying bat habitats, humans effectively encourage the winged mammals to search for surrogate sources of food –- such as fruit orchards -– that are located closer to where large clusters of people live. Bats are an effective carrier for Nipah because they don't suffer ill effects from the disease.

"A bat with Nipah doesn’t look ill at all," says Daszak. "But the virus is 70 percent lethal to people."

Pigs, like people, are highly susceptible to Nipah. These next links in the chain of transmission tend to live in close relation both to each other and to humans, making them prone to propagating and passing on the pathogen.

The close similarities between pig and human digestive and organ systems make them even more likely to bring disease. "Pigs are physiologically more similar to humans than many of us would like to admit," Lipkin says.

Within a pig, the virus can exchange genetic material with other native viruses, resulting in an amplified and human-ready pathogen.

In "Contagion," as Jennifer Ehly's character suggests to Laurence Fishburne's, it all started when "the wrong pig met up with the wrong bat."


In one recent outbreak, researchers found the same strain of E. coli in humans, pigs and spinach fields. "The same fingerprint was also in the manure that washed into the fields from cows on top of the hills," says Lonnie King, dean of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. "If you look at it through the lens of animal health, it makes sense."

There's also an ecological lens. A hydrologist suggested that flooding may have mixed the surface water with groundwater, contaminating the irrigation systems. Sure enough, King said, the water systems were found to carry the organism.

"If you don't see these three entities together, then you don't understand the total outbreak," King notes. "You've got to move upstream and look at the environmental conditions and animal conditions, too."

Human odds of getting new infections also often jump with the introduction of non-native species to an existing ecosystem. This can be accidental, such as a sea creature hitching a ride on a boat, or it can be intentional, as witnessed through the far-flung global wildlife trade. A rodent trapped in the wilds of Africa and brought into the U.S. led to the emergence of monkeypox, for example, while monkeys themselves are another notorious purveyor of pathogen pollution.

On a macro level, climate change can influence the movement of animals from one habitat to another, creating novel interactions with other species, including humans. Even slight changes in temperature can affect reproductive cycles of disease vectors such as mosquitoes and ticks. Heat waves, droughts, floods and other extreme weather events have been linked to increased infectious disease outbreaks and, as a new report published this month reinforced, to global warming.

Many diseases emerge or reemerge as a result of multiple factors. The resurgence of malaria, for instance, is driven in part by climate change, human development and the overuse of pesticides.

A similar collection of unfortunate inputs could explain the dynamics of the bird flu, a disease that appears to be threatening to reemerge after a couple quiet years. The migratory pathways and movement patterns of wild waterfowl, which can be influenced by long-term climate change, are what "keeps the flu chugging along," said Ostfeld. Temporary limitations on standing water, such as drought, and permanent limits, like human development, forces more birds to fewer water sources, increasing the chance of contact and viral transmission.


Tackling diseases from such a wide range of angles may sound novel, but the core concept behind the One Health movement is time-tested.

"Some of the greatest discoveries have been made at the interface of human and animal health," says Laura Kahn, a research scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. In the 1800s, for example, the chemist Louis Pasteur discovered the vaccine for chicken cholera, a disease that also infected many poultry farmers.

"The One Health idea was more apparent and accepted 100 or 150 years ago than it is now," says King, the Ohio State University veterinary college dean.

In the 1960s, many experts including the U.S. Surgeon General declared victory over infectious disease. Our new arsenal of antibiotics, vaccines, pesticides and water chlorination, they suggested, were vanquishing diseases such as whooping cough, polio, tuberculosis and malaria -- particularly in developed countries.

Their optimism proved premature.

Subsequent decades have brought the identification of Lyme disease, emergence of HIV and resurgence of tuberculosis -- including multi-drug resistant strains.

"There are many, many examples," of new diseases replacing those the industrialized world believes it has vanquished, or old diseases returning with a vengeance, says Hughes. "If you haven't learned to expect the unexpected, you haven’t been paying attention."

In addition to an ongoing arms race between pathogens and people, those trained to combat various aspects of the problem -- doctors and veterinarians, as well as environmental scientists -- have also grown increasingly specialized. Which is to say, they have grown apart.

"Physicians and veterinarians were not talking to each other, public health and agriculture folks were not talking to each other," says Kahn. That meant, she says, that it became easy to overlook links between fields.

A heart condition in tamarin monkeys, for example, was discovered decades before the same problem was identified in humans. "And no one spends a penny figuring out why it appears that sharks rarely get cancer," Kahn says.

Barriers between disciplines remain high, says McNamara, the former Bronx Zoo pathologist, partly because funding for research is highly prescribed, meaning that even in cases where a multidisciplinary team is ready to work together, it can be difficult to determine who is allowed to work on what and with whose funding.

Animal doctors generally get the short end of the funding stick.

More acutely, lingering professional schisms predisposes officials to be reactive to infectious diseases rather than getting out in front of the threat more proactively.

"Our health system is so tied into treating diseases and health care delivery, we lose sight of prevention," King notes.

Indeed, the public health system usually only springs into action after illnesses emerge.

"Once humans get sick, we start paying attention and taking action," says Kahn. "But the same disease had probably been in animals for a long time."

Referring to the West Nile virus outbreak that surfaced at the Bronx Zoo, Kahn points out that “no one was interested in listening to [McNamara] because she was a vet.”

Things have changed since 1999, but progress has been slow. Not until 2007 did the American Medical Association adopt a policy formally advocating closer ties between human and veterinary medicine.

That same year, however, the CDC opened the National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Disease. King, now of Ohio State, was the center’s first director and soon launched an office that he specifically designated as One Health.

"We brought together ecologists, physicians, veterinarians," he says. "The whole idea of One Health really started to take hold."

Still, a 2009 report by The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council concluded that the authors were "unable to find a single example of a well-functioning, integrated zoonotic disease surveillance system across the human and animal health sectors."

"You don’t snap your fingers and it happens," King concedes. "It takes a while."

Education is another battlefront for the One Health movement.

Tufts University now offers a masters program in conservation medicine, while the University of California, Davis, holds a seminar series for ecology, medical and veterinary students called "Frontiers in One Health." The University of Florida graduated their first joint Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health class this year.

Meanwhile, international collaborations are enhancing worldwide surveillance of human and animal diseases, and sharing strategies. This February, the first International One Health Congress met in Melbourne, Australia. Bruce Kaplan, a retired veterinarian in Florida and member of the conference’s scientific advisory committee, hopes to further the cause through the One Health Initiative, a collaborative effort he started with Kahn a few years ago. He runs the group's website, which he noted hosts visitors from over 100 different countries every day.

Among those nations is Nigeria. Like its neighboring countries, Nigeria's infectious disease concerns range from the bird flu and rabies to Lassa fever, HIV, brucellosis and tuberculosis.

A OneHealthNigeria Google group led by Tayo Babalobi, a Nigerian veterinary epidemiologist, aims to serve as a platform for communication between medical, veterinary, laboratory and environmental scientists. Babalobi says Nigeria also has the world's first epidemiology program with a veterinary tract, which he says other African countries have expressed interest in emulating. Further, Nigeria is currently working to create a version of a One Health-centered CDC.

"We're seeing more adaptation of One Health in the developing world," says King, the Ohio State professor. "It makes sense. In these countries, animals and people are closely associated and you don't have to jump over the barriers of specialized medicine."

Rising fears over the use of biological weapons have garnered One Health greater attention within the U.S. defense community. Kahn, the Princeton professor, shifted her focus toward animal health after taking a course on weapons of mass destruction shortly after 9/11 and the 2001 anthrax attacks frightened the country. During the course, she learned the great majority of viral weapons are zoonotic.

It's no coincidence that zoonotic viruses don't need a lot of tweaking in the lab. As Laurence Fishburne's "Contagion" character says: "Someone doesn’t have to weaponize the bird flu. The birds are doing that."


Around the time the West Nile virus first emerged in the United States, McQuiston, a veterinarian by training, joined the CDC’s Epidemiology Intelligence Service. One of her key aims: controlling environmental factors enough to prevent people from getting sick in the first place.

“West Nile really emphasized that surveillance in animals can inform us about human risk,” she says.

Still, the CDC's primary responsibility is human health, leaving the surveying of wildlife disease to outside agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and federal and state departments of agriculture. Those agencies tend to focus on species of agricultural, hunting, fishing or conservation importance, according to McNamara.

As a result, she said, animals that come into close contact with people -- crows, pigeons, squirrels, pets and zoo animals -- escape such surveillance.

“The next infectious disease could emerge in a dog or a cat, or maybe some exotic species housed at a zoo,” McNamara says. “But a vet does not have the ability to pick up phone and call public health to get samples tested. They fall between the cracks. They are so common they are ignored.”

Zoos, she said, can help seal such cracks, as she saw in 1999. While the Bronx Zoo's flamingos, magpies and ducks fell ill, the chickens in the neighboring children's zoo remained healthy. This left all of the known poultry diseases unlikely to be responsible. Similarly, the emus were spared. Because emus are known to be sensitive to eastern equine encephalitis, they helped rule out that disease.

With funding from the CDC, McNamara has since helped establish a national disease surveillance system across more than 100 zoos and other institutions. "They have the unique advantage of having the entire animal kingdom to look across," she says.

Other scientific advancements have helped speed the identification of pathogens. The CDC now uses a device known as the Personal Genome Machine, which helped to identify the source of the E. coli outbreak in Germany earlier this year.

"If a person gets sick, we can rapidly test the pathogen in the person and then continue testing to make linkages and trace it back to its origin," says Greg Lucier, chairman and CEO of Life Technologies, which makes the PGM. He said the device could also help track the mutation of globe-traveling infections like the bird flu.

But the Cary Institute's Ostfeld and other experts urge broadening public-health strategies beyond vaccination and treatment.

"As long as our focus is exclusively on the ever-faster development of vaccines, we will be missing an opportunity to understand the principles of emergence that will help us anticipate when and where new emergence events will occur," Ostfeld says, adding that he was disappointed that ecological factors were barely covered in "Contagion."

"Ecological principles at the very least could help us target where surveillance can happen. We can't do it everywhere -- budgets are disappearing," he adds. "And if the ultimate solution is vaccination, the sooner we can to anticipate a species jump, the quicker we'd be able to act."

There is precedent for anticipatory action. Public officials usually deploy preparation and prevention techniques when they ponder natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

"We often know where earthquakes are likely to happen," Daszak notes. "So when building a block of apartments in one of these hot zones, we have incentive to build them with good foundations and proper structures so that they don't fall over."

While similar approaches should hold for environment-level safeguards from infectious disease, they simply don't yet. Just as Americans are not going to stop building houses in San Francisco, Daszak says, humans are unlikely to stop building roads through forests. "But we should aim to do it in a way that cuts down on the risks," he observes, proposing the prior identification of species and pathogens that might be affected and then responding accordingly.

As One Health continues to grow, Daszak predicts a shift from reactionary to proactive and precautionary within the next several decades.

"My dream is for us to stop a disease before any humans die. That's not going to happen tomorrow, but I think we're on track for that within next 20 to 40 years," he says. "Stopping a pandemic boils down to stopping the underlying causes. It's all about the environment, animals and humans."

"As 'Contagion' did beautifully show," says Ostfeld, "we don't have a moment to spare."


Mexico Drug Violence: 'Zeta Killers' Vigilantes Vow To Exterminate Drug Cartel (VIDEO)

A Mexican vigilante group with links to a drug cartel has vowed to "eliminate" members of the country's leading narco-trafficking gang.

A video posted on YouTube shows five large men identifying themselves as "Los Mata Zetas" (The Zeta Killers), referring to the Zeta cartel that has been responsible for thousands of drug-related killings in recent years.

The video comes days after the gruesome discovery of 35 bound, semi-nude, tortured bodies on a freeway in the Gulf state of Veracruz.

The 'Zeta Killers' spokesman in the video claims responsibility, saying that all of those who died, including 12 women and two minors, were linked to the Zetas cartel. The bodies were dumped on the freeway in the midst of the city's rush hour.

The Associated Press has further details of the statement the group released:

"We are the armed wing of the people, and for the people," says a man with a ski mask, who is seen in the video sitting at a table with four other masked associates and reading from a prepared statement. "We are anonymous warriors, with faces, but proudly Mexican." The speaker said his group was prohibited by its ethical code from carrying out kidnappings or extortion.

The Zeta Killers have been linked to another Mexican drug cartel, known as New Generation (Gente Nueva). The tactics of the two groups are seen as similar, and a banner left at the scene of the mass body-dumping in Veracruz threatened the Zetas and bore the initials "G.N."

CNN reports that U.S. officials with knowledge of the group said Gente Nueva was not a vigilante group but a facade for the Sinaloa cartel, which at the time has been battling the Zetas and Gulf Cartel in Veracruz.

The Wall Street Journal reports that other cartels, most notably La Familia, based in the state of Michoacan, have tried to use the Zetas' reputation for brutality as a way of rallying popular support and gaining new adherents to fight them. La Familia recently suffered a major split after the group made peace with the Zetas.

Though The Zeta Killers expressed their admiration for the work of the Mexican authorities in battling cartels, the Mexican government has rejected the involvement of vigilante groups.

The Washington Post quotes a statement from Mexico's Interior Department:

"While it is true that the criminal organization known as the Zetas should be defeated, that must occur by legal means and never by methods outside the law."

Jesse Ventura : DEPOPULATION is the plan

Illuminati's Depopulation Plan Exposed by Japans Princess Nakamaru and I...

Iranian Pastor Stands Firm in Faith, Faces Execution

Court to determine Yousef Nadarkhani’s fate in the coming week.
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Iranian Pastor Stands Firm in Faith, Faces Execution

Court to determine Yousef Nadarkhani’s fate in the coming week.

ISTANBUL, September 28 (CDN) —
Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani refused to recant his Christian faith today at the fourth and final court hearing in Iran to appeal his death sentence for apostasy (leaving Islam).
The court house in Rasht, 243 kilometers (151 miles) northwest of Tehran, has swarmed with security forces for four consecutive days since Sunday (Sept. 25), the first day of his four appeal hearings. Applying sharia (Islamic law), the court on Monday, Tuesday and today gave Nadarkhani, 35, three chances to recant Christianity and return to Islam in order for his life to be spared. In all instances, Nadarkhani refused to recant.

“I’m in contact with Iran,” a source close to Nadarkhani’s family said, “but the news isn’t very good. We’ll see. If they really want to they can kill him they can, because he hasn’t renounced his faith. It finished today. We have left everything in the hands of God.”

Authorities arrested Nadarkhani in his home city of Rasht in Oct. 2009 because he allegedly questioned obligatory religion classes in Iranian schools. In September 2010 the court of appeals in Rasht found him guilty of apostasy and in November issued a written confirmation of his charges and death sentence.

At an appeal hearing in June, the Supreme Court of Iran upheld Nadarkhani’s sentence but asked the court in Rasht to determine if he was a practicing Muslim before his conversion. The Supreme Court also determined that his death sentence could be annulled if he recanted his faith.

On Sunday (Sept. 25) in the first two and a half hours of the court, the judges determined that Nadarkhani indeed was not a practicing Muslim before his conversion to Christianity. The source said that in this time period things looked more promising for Nadarkhani, and that the court might reverse the sentence based on the findings.

In the end, however, the court declared that although Nadarkhani was not a practicing Muslim before his conversion, he was still guilty of apostasy due to his Muslim ancestry, the source told Compass.

Secret service agents surrounded the court and maintained a presence there throughout the following days, and his wife, Tina, was not allowed in the courtroom. On Sunday (Sept. 25), she was allowed to stand at the doorway for a few minutes to see her husband, the source said.

A defense lawyer told Nadarkhani’s family and friends there is a way to take the case back to the Supreme Court or extend Nadarkhani’s prison sentence, but the source said the directives of the Supreme Court were clear and he didn’t think there was much hope.

“Yousef is known as a hero, so if he is released it will seem like the government was defeated,” he said, “but if they leave him in prison there could be more international pressure.”

It is critical for foreign governments to negotiate and engage in diplomacy with Iranian authorities about Nadarkhani’s case, the source said, adding that his predicament could be more hopeful if they intervened.

“They need to start negotiating,” the source said. “It’s the moment to negotiate, because if they do, the situation could be regulated.”

The source and advocates in the international community fear that authorities may kill Nadarkhani as early as midnight tonight or any time in the coming week. The court said a verdict on Nadarkhani would be issued within the next week.

“They probably won’t kill him today, but they can do it whenever they want,” the source said. “They can hang him in the middle of the night or in 10 days. Sometimes in Iran they call the family and deliver the body with the verdict. They have gone outside the borders of law. This is not in the Iranian law, this is sharia. Sometimes they don’t even give the body.”

The final appeals hearing today lasted about an hour and a half, ending around 1 p.m. after Nadarkhani’s defense lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, gave his closing defense. Dadkhah also reportedly faces charges for “actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime,” due to his human rights activities.

The hearings on Monday (Sept. 26) and yesterday lasted just 30 minutes, long enough for Nadarkhani to refuse to recant Christianity.

The source said Nadarkhani’s 30-year-old wife is very apprehensive about what the courts might decide this week. They have two children: Joel, 7 and Daniel, 9.

“The wife is under depression and worried; we can say his wife is very worried,” he said. “It is difficult for all his family, it is difficult for us.”

Nadarkhani, whose first name is also spelled Youcef, belongs to the Church of Iran, a group that has been marginalized by other Christian Iranian groups over concerns that its doctrine on the Trinity is inadequate.

The Church of Iran’s statement of faith on its website asserts that God is “revealed in the Scriptures as Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19).”

The church’s statement of faith also affirms “...the Lordship of Jesus Christ, only Son of God, the Word manifested in flesh. We believe that He is from the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20) and He was born of a Virgin Mary (Matt. 1:23, Luke 1:34). We believe in His atoning death and redemption (Heb. 9:28), in His bodily resurrection (Luke 24:39), in His ascension (Acts 1:9-11), on His return in person to gather His Church (1 Thess. 4:17), followed by His coming in glory to judge the rebels and establish the reign of a thousand years (Rev. 1:7). ”

The church also states that it believes the “baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5, 2:38) is the new birth (John 3:5-8). It introduces the Christian in the Eternal Life of God and leads into all truth, to holiness in communion with Christ.”