Mark Kelly Defeats Martha McSally in Crucial Arizona Senate Race

first_imgMr. Kelly, who built a national profile as a gun safety advocate after the shooting of his wife, former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, ran as a pragmatic outsider. At the center of his campaign was the bet that he could appeal to voters in the rapidly changing state — especially the crucial voting blocs Ms. McSally had alienated, including women, younger voters and Latinos, who have become increasingly powerful parts of the electorate in recent years.His victory, predicted for months in statewide polls, was crucial for Democrats in their bid to take back the Senate. The contest, one of the most expensive and closely watched in the nation, was the first time Arizonans had voted to send two Democrats to represent the Senate since the 1950s, underscoring the shifting demographics and politics of a state once known as a conservative stronghold. Though she clung tightly to the president, the feeling was not always mutual. Mr. Trump had repeatedly asked his advisers if her candidacy was adversely affecting his own prospects in Arizona, and at his campaign rallies in the state, instead of bolstering Ms. McSally, he sometimes treated her with disdain. In the final days of the race, during a rally in Goodyear, Mr. Trump told the senator that she had one minute to speak, urging her to be “quick, quick, quick, quick!” Mr. Kelly leaned hard into his biography on the campaign trail, playing up his work as a NASA space shuttle pilot and retired Navy captain and presenting himself as an independent-minded moderate. He often sidestepped questions about more liberal policies favored by progressives in Congress, keeping a laserlike focus on health care and bludgeoning Ms. McSally over her handling of the pandemic.- Advertisement – Ms. McSally had a compelling story of her own to tell. The first woman to pilot an American warplane in combat, she sued the Bush administration for making her wear an abaya while on duty in Saudi Arabia, and last year spoke out powerfully about how she had been raped by a male superior officer.But she came into the contest weakened, having lost her first run for Senate in 2018 and prompting Gov. Doug Ducey to appoint her to the seat left vacant by the death of Senator John McCain earlier that year.In that race, Ms. McSally abandoned the centrist reputation she had cultivated as a congresswoman to prevail in a crowded Republican primary and enthusiastically embraced Mr. Trump, a strategy she maintained in the contest against Mr. Kelly in the special election to serve out the remainder of Mr. McCain’s term.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – “They don’t want to hear this, Martha,” he said as she rushed to the stage.There were unforced errors on her part, too. Ms. McSally came under fire in August after jokingly suggesting that supporters “fast a meal” to donate to her campaign. The comment underscored the enormous fund-raising disparity between her campaign and Mr. Kelly’s. He became a fund-raising juggernaut, tapping a web of donors from his time leading a gun control foundation and a swell of online enthusiasm.But perhaps the most insurmountable chasm Ms. McSally faced was between Arizona’s ruby-red activist base and an increasingly powerful coalition made up of moderates in the suburbs and ethnically diverse voters who chafed at the president’s divisive talk and handling of the pandemic. In a debate with Mr. Kelly in the closing weeks of the race, she declined to say whether she was proud of her support for Mr. Trump.The extent of the suburban revolt against Mr. Trump was underscored on Tuesday night as Representative David Schweikert, a Republican representing a district on the outskirts of Phoenix, tried to fend off a Democratic challenger in an area long considered safely Republican. Mark Kelly, an astronaut and retired Navy captain, toppled Senator Martha McSally, Republican of Arizona, early Wednesday, flipping a seat vital to Democrats’ effort to wrest control of the Senate.It was the second time that voters in the traditionally conservative state rejected Ms. McSally, who attached herself to President Trump to buoy her Senate prospects in 2018 and never let go, as they delivered a wholesale rebuke of the president and his allies.- Advertisement –last_img read more


Will Biden’s Focus on the ‘Blue Wall’ States Win Him the Election?

first_imgAlthough Mr. Biden visited Arizona and Georgia, his campaign had declined to spend a lot of precious time and money in those states — despite repeated pleas from local Democrats. And when two Democratic billionaires, Dustin Moskovitz and Michael R. Bloomberg, poured money into Texas in the 11th hour, Mr. Biden dispatched only Senator Kamala Harris of California, his running mate, to the state.Even that was more attention than Democrats were accustomed to getting from the national party in the traditionally conservative Western states. In Arizona, a state that Mr. Biden visited just once as the party’s nominee, officials said they were satisfied with the campaign’s approach to the state.“They spent a lot of time here; they put in a lot of energy and attention, more than previous campaigns,” said Representative Ruben Gallego, who represents the fast-growing Phoenix area. “And if we win, it doesn’t matter.”In total, Mr. Biden spent $57.8 million on advertising in Texas and Arizona. He spent nearly three times as much — $169.2 million — in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. But from the start of his presidential campaign until the final day of the race, the “scrappy kid from Scranton” maintained his bet that winning the White House would come down to rebuilding the Democrats’ once-solid “blue wall” in those three states that crumbled in 2016.And now, with Mr. Biden and President Trump locked in a nail-biter of an election, the ultimate path to 270 Electoral College votes for either man will wind through Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.“If I’m going to beat Donald Trump in 2020, it’s going to happen here,” Mr. Biden, the former vice president, told voters in Pittsburgh during the first address of his primary campaign in April 2019. If you just want results… There will be a results map on The Times’s home page, and yes, the infamous needle will be back — but only for Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, the only states providing granular enough information for our experts to make educated projections of uncounted votes.If you want constant updates… Times reporters are live-blogging all day and night. This will be your one-stop shop for minute-by-minute updates: race calls, on-the-ground reporting from swing states, news about any voting issues or disruptions, and more.If you want to check in every so often… Times journalists are also producing a live briefing from roughly 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. ET, with an overview of what’s happening in the presidential race, the Senate and House races, and the voting process itself. In the last days of the election, Mr. Biden’s campaign and allies privately maintained that he could win battleground states across the country, including places like North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia. But, they argued, the trifecta represented their easiest — though perhaps not fastest — path to the presidency. Final returns in all three states are expected to take days, and Mr. Trump tried early Wednesday to set the narrative that Democrats were trying to “steal the election” — a groundless assertion.But the Biden camp wasn’t about to take the bait.“We believe that we are well-positioned in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin,” Jen O’Malley Dillon, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, said on Monday in a briefing about election night. “We know those states in particular are coming in later, but we think we’re going to win those states. That is our clearest path to victory.” Such discipline is relatively rare in presidential politics — candidates, often times Democrats, usually get swept up with a big map conquest, like Hillary Clinton’s intense focus on Florida in 2016 and even her dalliances with Arizona and Utah.But this race was no ordinary contest: Like voters, activists and officials in his party, Mr. Biden was haunted by the narrow loss in 2016 of 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — the three traditionally Democratic states that cost the party the White House that year. “A lot of the problem was that Hillary Clinton was not here enough in some of the suburban areas that we lost to Trump,” said Jay Costa, the Democratic leader in the Pennsylvania State Senate. “The former vice president did a very good job of not falling into that trap another time.”In the final days of his campaign, Mr. Biden did add a stop in Ohio, a state that many Democrats believe has shifted — perhaps permanently — away from their party. They were proved right last night, when Mr. Trump won the state.Some Democrats attributed the stop in Cleveland to scheduling around events in Pennsylvania. Getting across the country to Arizona would simply take too many precious hours in the final days, given how many stops Mr. Biden’s campaign had planned in the Keystone State. For Joe Biden, it has always been about Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.Georgia might be turning purple, fueled by fast-changing suburbs. Arizona, reeling from the coronavirus and trending Democratic, was a tantalizing target as well.- Advertisement – Some Democrats say it was Mr. Biden’s willingness to focus on the northern states, devoting his limited in-person campaign stops to show up even as coronavirus cases surged across the region, that gave him a chance of winning the states back. Mr. Biden and some of his allies see the working and middle-class moderate voters of the Midwest as his natural base, and they tried to build a coalition that was made up of more white voters than the base that elected former President Barack Obama and that Mrs. Clinton tried to replicate in 2016.“Biden is from a manufacturing town, and he’s of the right age demographic and financial background,” said Aaron Stearns, the Democratic chairman in Warren County in northwestern Pennsylvania. “People can relate to him in a way that they could not relate to Hillary Clinton.” – Advertisement – Shortly after Mrs. Clinton’s loss in 2016, Mr. Biden recalled feeling disturbed when seeing Mr. Trump strike a chord with voters at a rally near his childhood Scranton home, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.“Son of a gun — we may lose this election,” Mr. Biden recounted feeling, in an interview in December 2016 with The Los Angeles Times.Mr. Biden crafted his own approach, determined not to repeat what he saw as Mrs. Clinton’s mistakes. Not only did Mr. Biden start and end his campaign in Pennsylvania, he also visited the state more than any other during the campaign. Just a little more than 10 miles from his home in Wilmington, Del, and sharing a common media market, Pennsylvania was a second political home for Mr. Biden long before he started his third presidential bid.“From the time I started as a U.S. senator, Philadelphia has brought me to the dance!” Mr. Biden, a former senator from Delaware, told cheering supporters in the north part of the city, during his last event before polls closed on Tuesday evening. Election 2020 ›How to Follow the Election ResultsHere’s a guide to The Times’s election night coverage, no matter when, how or how often you want to consume it. The decision to focus on the industrial trio was driven by the practicalities of political math. Mrs. Clinton lost those states by tight margins, making them fertile ground for Democrats to begin a comeback. Just winning those three states, along with holding all of the traditionally Democratic strongholds won by Mrs. Clinton, would capture the presidency for Mr. Biden.But it was also a calculation born of cultural affinity. Despite his decades in Washington, Mr. Biden sees himself as a working-class son, just another “middle class Joe” taking the train to work like any other commuter.“Joe, people like him, they don’t dislike him,” Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan said in an interview this fall. “Hillary Clinton’s my friend, but she never walked into a union hall.” But others ascribed the stop to Mr. Biden’s dogged belief that the Democratic path to the White House still runs through the Midwest.The Biden campaign, unlike the campaigns of Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, did not impose a central strategy on state Democratic parties, said officials in the three states. Instead, the campaign integrated with voter outreach programs that each state had been building since their losses in 2016.“The big gamble for state parties was, would the presidential campaign push all the dishes off the table and start over or integrate with what we had been building?” said Ben Wikler, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “They didn’t impose a one-size-fits-all model.”Mr. Wikler said he had been in regular contact with Biden campaign officials beginning last summer to brief them on the program that the state party was building.After Mrs. Clinton failed to visit Wisconsin during her 2016 campaign, Mr. Biden made three visits to the state, which was set to host the Democratic National Convention before it became an all-virtual event because of the coronavirus pandemic, which is worse in Wisconsin than it is in any other battleground state.Mr. Wikler said the three visits, along with myriad other virtual events that Mr. Biden and his surrogates hosted for local supporters, were sufficient enough to maintain a presence for Wisconsin voters.“Biden has made clear all along that Wisconsin is a top priority,” he said.It may still be some time before the nation knows whether it was enough.Jennifer Medina, Reid Epstein and Nick Corasaniti contributed reporting. Updated Nov. 4, 2020, 4:21 a.m. ET – Advertisement – After midnight on Wednesday, he declared to supporters, “It’s going to take time to count the votes, but we’re going to win Pennsylvania.”By the time Mr. Biden addressed his car-honking supporters on Wednesday morning, the numbers had shifted. He has the edge in Arizona and he remains competitive in Georgia. But even if he wins both of those states, he would still need to prevail in at least one of the blue-wall states.Mr. Trump campaigned aggressively in Michigan, Wisconsin and especially Pennsylvania too. But Mr. Biden’s focus was notable: Many presidential nominees take their eyes off their most critical states, but Mr. Biden never lost sight of his goal to try to win back voters in those three states who abandoned the party four years ago.- Advertisement –last_img read more


IAC considers Vimeo spinoff after achieving $2.75 billion valuation

first_imgCorrection: The headline on this story was updated with the correct valuation for Vimeo.Subscribe to CNBC PRO for access to the livestream of CNBC’s continuous election and business news coverage. IAC-owned Vimeo raised $150 million in equity from Thrive Capital and GIC, valuing the video company at $2.75 billion, IAC announced on Thursday.IAC is also considering a spinoff of its ownership stake in Vimeo, which has seen a boost in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A decision is still in the early stages, and it’s unclear what the terms of the spinoff would look like, IAC CEO Joey Levin said in a letter to shareholders Thursday.“Given Vimeo’s success, and investor adulation for the Software-as-a-Service category generally, we expect Vimeo’s access to capital inside of IAC will be much more expensive than access to capital outside of IAC, and that capital will be helpful to enable Vimeo to achieve its highest ambitions,” Levin said.- Advertisement – Anjali Sud, CEO of VimeoNurPhoto | NurPhoto | Getty Images If the companies separated, it would make Vimeo the 11th public company to spin out from IAC. The company last agreed to spinoff all of its shares of online dating company Match Group.“We’ve always said we’re the anti-conglomerate, and we optimize for whatever allows our businesses to achieve their best chance of operating success,” Levin said.IAC reported in its third quarter earnings Thursday that Vimeo grew overall revenue 44% year over year to $75.1 million, while its subscribers grew 21% to 1.46 million. The company’s operating loss decreased from $11.2 million to $3.3 million, while Adjusted EBITDA grew to $3.4 million compared to a loss of $8 million in Q3 2019.- Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more


Google Maps Timeline Getting a New Trips Tab on Android, Shows a Summary of Past Vacations

first_imgMi TV Stick vs Fire TV Stick Lite vs Mi Box 4K vs Fire TV Stick 4K: Which is the best budget streaming device for TVs in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. Google Maps will soon have a new Trips tab in Timeline on Android that will show users a summary of past vacations and total kilometres travelled. This is a part of the new features Google is introducing related to trips and travelling. Google Photos will soon be receiving Timeline as well that will allow users to see the paths they took on a certain day, alongside photos. You can also see and share past trip itineraries, including hotels and restaurants, you’ve received confirmations for in your Gmail by tapping on the Trips tab on the desktop site, Trips tab in Timeline on Google Maps will show an estimate of places you may have been to and routes you may have taken, based on your location history. According to Google, you will be able to see a summary of your past vacations, information about the places you have visited, total kilometres travelled, and the modes of transportation you used through the tab.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img You can edit your timeline at any time and choose to delete your Location History. Timeline can be viewed on Google Maps app version 9.12 and up, and the Trips tab will soon be available in the app for Android users.Google said that Timeline will soon be rolling out to the Google Photos map view as well. This will let you see the paths you took on a particular day alongside your photos, including pictures you clicked while hiking or driving. It is also possible to hide your Timeline from your map view’s settings in Photos.Google had recently also added a COVID-19 layer in Maps that allows users to get information about COVID-19 cases in a particular area. Google Maps will soon be able to show you how busy a location is directly from map view.- Advertisement –last_img read more


Queenohearts ready to return reports Stuart Edmunds | Racing News

first_imgHe added: “We are looking at these races around three miles, because I think that is the sort of trip you will see the best of her at.“She is a tough mare that has a touch of quality.”Edmunds also hopes Classic Ben can go one better than on his comeback at Exeter when returning to Sandown, the scene of his only success over fences, for the Betfair London National on December 5.He said: “It was a good prep he had at Exeter. He got outpaced, but stayed on and did everything we wanted him to.“He has come out of the race well, and the plan is to go for the London National.“Everything seems to suit him at Sandown, and he seems to love the place for some reason.”Edmunds expected Classic Ben to need his latest outing, and the manner of his performance took him by surprise.He added: “I thought the track at Exeter would suit it him, but the run was better than I expected.“I just thought the ground might have been a bit quick for him.“He did find it a little bit lively down the back straight, before staying on really well.” Stuart Edmunds reports Grade Two winner Queenohearts remains on course to make her return from injury this month.The seven-year-old has not been sighted since finishing down the field in the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, having missed all last season.- Advertisement – An outing in either a Pertemps Hurdle qualifier at Market Rasen on November 19, or a Listed mares’ hurdle at Kempton four days later, will be first up for the daughter of Flemensfirth.Edmunds said: “Queenohearts missed last season with a leg injury, but that’s 100 per cent now.“She was going to run this week, but she had some physio and she was just a bit sore – she will be out in the next two weeks.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – “She will either go to Market Rasen for a Pertemps qualifier or the Listed mares’ race at Kempton.“She would have a penalty to carry at Kempton – and whether the ground would be soft enough, I’m not sure.”Queenohearts is yet to race beyond two and a half miles, but Edmunds believes she will improve for a step up in trip.- Advertisement –last_img read more


Nikki Bella Was ‘Really Shocked’ After Gleb Savchenko’s Split

first_imgSavchenko, 37, and Samodanova, 36, announced on Friday, November 6, that they were going their separate ways after 14 years of marriage and two children together. Shortly after confirming their split, rumors of infidelity swirled around the former couple, particularly surrounding Savchenko’s chemistry with season 29 Dancing With the Stars partner Chrishell Stause. Both the ballroom dancer and the Selling Sunset star, 39, denied the cheating allegations.“One thing that I’ve just known from personal experiences is there’s always two sides to every story so keep that in mind,” Nikki, who competed on season 25 of DWTS in 2017, said on Wednesday. “But then I know because things started to fall on Chrishell. So Chrishell came out with a statement and said, ‘We’re only friends,’ ’cause I think people then took that and assumed they were having an affair.”The Total Bellas star admitted that during her experience on the ABC dance competition, she noticed plenty of pros growing close to their celebrity partners. Nikki competed with Artem Chigvintsev, and the duo later sparked a romance outside of the ballroom. In July, they welcomed their first child together, son Matteo, seven months after announcing their engagement. Chigvintsev, 38, is currently competing in the DWTS ballroom with Kaitlyn Bristowe.CHRISHELL STAUSE GLEB SAVCHENKO cheating rumorsChrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko ABC/Eric McCandless- Advertisement – “[Chrishell was] like, ‘We all just get really close. You just get really close with your partner,’ and she starts to talk about that and I’m like, ‘Yeah, right?’” Nikki continued on the podcast. “Then I’m like, ‘Wait! My guy has a partner!’ It’s funny now to be on the other side. … Artem didn’t find it too funny but people were like, ‘[It’s] Sleeping With the Stars,’ and had all these jokes of all these new names of Dancing With the Stars.”Though Savchenko and Samodanova’s split quickly turned messy, the Incomparable coauthor hopes the drama doesn’t sour DWTS‘ reputation.Gleb Savchenko Elena Samodanova cheating rumorsGleb Savchenko and Elena Samodanova MediaPunch/Shutterstock“I know people will blame dance. And the one thing is, it is very touchy-feely with the opposite sex so that’s where I think it gets more attention. Or if people are playing a love relationship on a TV screen, I think those get more tension because they’re actually being pretty intimate. But I feel like this can happen anywhere,” Nikki said. “When you have an attraction to someone, that’s it. I know people who were on Dancing With the Stars and they hated who they were dancing with or they became like brother and sister. … I think that’s anywhere you go. If the attraction’s there, it’s there and that’s life and that’s how it happens.”- Advertisement – Still in shock. Nikki Bella couldn’t believe her eyes after learning of Gleb Savchenko‘s recent split from wife Elena Samodanova.“I love Gleb and his wife,” the former pro wrestler, 36, said while speaking with Brie Bella during their “Bellas Podcast” on Wednesday, November 11. “I definitely was shocked. I thought they were doing amazing. It just goes to show you again … what you see on Instagram, you don’t really know what’s going on behind closed doors, right? Because if you look at their Instagram, they just look so happy and all family-oriented.”Nikki Bella People Will Blame Dance for Gleb Savchenko's SplitNikki Bella and Gleb Savchenko Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock Kelsey McNeal/ABC- Advertisement – Listen to Us Weekly’s Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories! – Advertisement –last_img read more


Postal Service Takes ‘Operation Santa’ Letter Campaign National

first_imgFor more than a century, it was a simple way of making a child’s dreams come true during Christmas. Volunteers could go to the post office, sift through piles of letters that children had sent to Santa Claus and pick one — or more — that tugged at their heartstrings. Gifts were then acquired, wrapped and shipped to families whose space beneath the tree might otherwise be bare.With the coronavirus pandemic still raging, however, the U.S. Postal Service announced on Monday that it was taking its annual “Operation Santa” campaign nationwide, and that letters to Santa could be read exclusively online.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – “Covid-19 has caused undue hardships, both financial and emotional, to so many Americans this year,” Kimberly Frum, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service, said in an email. “The program provides kids and families with an opportunity to receive gifts during the holidays from anonymous, generous postal customers.”- Advertisement – Those customers used to review the letters in person, but Operation Santa has moved largely online in recent years after a pilot program in 2017. By 2019, the online operation had expanded to 15 cities, including New York, Chicago, Denver and Grand Rapids, Mich., to, “enhance the ability for generous people across the nation to help those in need no matter where they live,” Ms. Frum said. So-called legacy programs still operated in New York and Chicago, where customers could go to a post office to read letters in person, but those programs will not be offered this year because of the pandemic, Ms. Frum said.The move to make the program available nationally is an acknowledgment of the grim reality many Americans face going into the holiday season. Widespread job losses have contributed to a situation in which one in eight families don’t have enough to eat. Though jobs have started to return, with last month’s jobs report showing a full percentage point drop in the unemployment rate, the number of long-term unemployed people — those out of work for more than half a year — rose by 50 percent to 3.6 million. And a steep increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks threatens those fragile economic gains.The Postal Service said the Operation Santa program had received hundreds of thousands of letters each year. “It seems like a small thing,” Ms. Frum said. “But for anyone who is struggling, it’s a huge deal to be able to give or receive a gift and share in a bit of the joy that is the holiday season.” Some things aren’t changing: Much as it had over the past 108 years, the Postal Service said that it was inviting American children to write letters and to mail them to the North Pole, using a special address and ZIP code and affixing the proper postage.This year, however, the letters will be uploaded to the Operation Santa website, so long as they are legible and make specific requests for items like toys, clothes or games. Starting on Dec. 4, postal customers can then read them and choose to send gifts with their responses, with a signature saying it’s from Santa (or St. Nick, Kris Kringle or any of Santa’s many names). – Advertisement –last_img read more


Canada reports its sixth BSE case

first_img Apr 17, 2006, CIDRAP News article on Canada’s fifth BSE case The case was found in a mature cross-bred cow from Manitoba, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said. The disease was detected through Canada’s ongoing surveillance program, and no part of the animal’s carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems, the CFIA said. The agency had announced the discovery of a potential case on Jun 30. See also: Confirmation of the new BSE case came less than 2 weeks after the CFIA announced a strengthening of its BSE-related feed restrictions. The new rule, to take effect in 2007, bans the use of high-risk cattle parts, called specified risk materials, in all animal feeds, pet foods, and fertilizers. The CFIA said including more products in the ban helps prevent contamination of cattle feed during production, transportation, storage, and use. Removing the risky cattle tissues from pet food and fertilizers is also intended to address misuse of these products. On the other side of the border, the CFIA announced on Jun 29 that Canada was opening its border to a broader range of US animals and animal products. All classes of US cattle, including those used for breeding that were born after 1999, are eligible for entry based on certification requirements. Beef from cattle over 30 months of age will be eligible for import under certain conditions. The United States banned Canadian cattle and beef imports after Canada’s first BSE case was found in May 2003. In August 2003 the USDA loosened the ban to allow imports of boneless beef from cattle less than 30 months old. In July 2005, the agency reopened the border to live Canadian cattle intended for slaughter before reaching the age of 30 months. In an investigation, CFIA officials determined that the owner purchased the cow in 1992 “as part of an assembled group of cattle,” the agency said. This means that the animal was at least 15 years old and was born well before the 1997 start of Canada’s ban on feeding rendered cattle protein to cattle and other ruminant animals, officials said. The US Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing public comments on a proposal to broaden the US feed ban. The proposal—more limited than Canada’s new rule—is to ban the use of older cattle’s brains and spinal cords from all animal feeds and pet foods. Jul 5, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Canada yesterday confirmed its sixth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. The CFIA has said that it expects to continue to find a few BSE cases, but that the expanded feed ban will hasten the eradication of the disease in Canada. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has not announced any new restrictions on importation of Canadian cattle or beef in the wake of the new BSE case. USDA spokesperson Ed Loyd told the Associated Press last week that US officials have a high degree of confidence in the BSE safeguards used in the US and Canada. Canada’s fifth BSE case, in a British Columbia dairy cow, was reported in April 2006. Humans who eat meat products from BSE-infected cattle are believed to be at risk for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), the fatal human equivalent of BSE The CFIA said investigators are attempting to locate the animal’s birth farm, which will help identify herd mates and the feed it was exposed to at an early age. “Given the animal’s age, investigative efforts may be constrained by few surviving animals and limited sources of information, such as detailed records,” the agency said. A calf born to the affected cow in 2004 is also being traced.last_img read more


FDA clears some spinach as E coli cases grow to 175

first_img Health officials are awaiting test results to determine if two patients who died of known or suspected E coli infections last week, an elderly Maryland woman and a 2-year-old Idaho boy, have the strain linked to the outbreak. The 175 cases reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) represent an increase of 9 since Sep 22. Ninety-three people (53%) were hospitalized, and 28 suffered the serious kidney condition known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the CDC said. The number of states stayed the same today at 25, as did the number of deaths: one confirmed and two suspected. The CDC said last week that people who experience diarrhea after eating fresh spinach or salad blends containing fresh spinach should contact their healthcare provider and ask to have a stool sample tested for E coli O157:H7. The CDC said that cooking spinach at 160ºF for 15 seconds will kill E coli O157:H7, but consumers need to make sure all parts of the spinach reach that temperature, particularly if they cook it in a frying pan. “Consumers are advised not to purchase or consume fresh spinach if they cannot verify that it was grown in areas other than the three California counties implicated in the outbreak,” the FDA said. Other produce grown in the three counties is not implicated in the outbreak, nor is frozen or canned spinach. Sep 25 CDC statement The FDA said two more companies voluntarily recalled their products: Triple B Corp., doing business as S.T. Produce, of Seattle, Wash., and Pacific Coast Fruit Co. of Portland, Ore. Triple B’s recall involves its fresh spinach salad products with a use-by date between Aug 22 and Sep 20, because they have may have contained spinach supplied by Natural Selections Foods, a major spinach supplier that was the first to recall its products. Triple B products were distributed in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. See also: A second bag of E coli–contaminated spinach has been identified, this time by Utah health officials, according to a press release yesterday from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The contaminated spinach was the same brand and type as the contaminated bag found last week in New Mexico: Dole baby spinach. Both bags had a use-by date of Aug 30. The FDA is now indicating it is safe to eat fresh spinach that was not grown in the three counties implicated in the outbreak. In tracing tainted spinach, the FDA said last week it had narrowed its investigation to farms in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Clara counties, all in the greater Salinas Valley. The E coli case count has grown steadily since the FDA issued its initial spinach advisory on Sep 14, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that 50 patients in eight states had been diagnosed with E coli infections and that fresh or raw spinach was the food most of them had in common. Sep 24 FDA press release Products from Pacific Coast Fruit Co. also may have contained spinach supplied by Natural Selections Foods. Their recall involves salad products with a use-by date on or before Sep 20 and pizza products with a use-by date of Sep 14. The products were distributed in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Sep 25, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The case count in a national outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections linked to fresh spinach rose to 175 today, but federal officials signaled that it’s safe to eat spinach from places other than three counties in California’s Salinas Valley. Last week produce industry representatives met with federal and state health officials to determine how to safely get fresh spinach from uninvolved areas back on the market. One option they discussed was adding region-of-origin labels to products that contain fresh spinach.last_img read more


FBI seeks independent review of anthrax probe

first_imgSep 16, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The FBI plans to ask the National Academy of Sciences to review the bureau’s investigation that led to its conclusion that government microbiologist Bruce E. Ivins committed the 2001 anthrax attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller III told Congress today.Mueller’s revelation before the House Judiciary Committee comes in the wake of doubts expressed by a number of scientists about the FBI’s findings and calls from several experts for an independent review of the bureau’s work in the case.In an opening statement before the committee hearing, which was webcast, Mueller said the FBI has “initiated discussion with the National Academy of Sciences” about a review of the investigation.Later, in response to questions from Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Mueller said, “As I indicated, we’re in discussion with and are going to request the National Academy of Sciences to review the work that was done in the course of this investigation.”Ivins died in an apparent suicide Jul 29 as the FBI was preparing to charge him in the attacks, in which anthrax-laced letters mailed to two US senators and several media offices led to 22 illness cases, 5 of them fatal. Ivins had worked at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) for many years and had done research on anthrax vaccines.The FBI announced on Aug 6 its conclusion that Ivins was to blame. The evidence cited was largely circumstantial, but the agency said scientists had developed a new DNA fingerprinting technique that enabled them to match the mailed anthrax to a batch of anthrax that was in Ivins’ custody at USAMRIID.Since then, a number of disease and biodefense experts have said it is not possible to judge the FBI’s claim about the genetic match without seeing the full scientific details, which have not been released. In addition, a number of observers have raised questions about other aspects of the case, such as how the FBI eliminated a large number of other USAMRIID workers who had access to the anthrax in Ivins’ work area.Another question is whether the anthrax powder used in the attacks was a simple preparation of dried anthrax spores or a special weaponized preparation. Early in the investigation, the FBI suggested that the spores were specially treated to make them spread more easily through the air and into the lungs, implying that it would have been difficult for one person to produce them. But at an Aug 18 press conference, FBI experts said they had determined that making the anthrax was a fairly simple process. They said that silica found in the powder occurred naturally, not as a special additive.Nadler brought up this issue at today’s hearing. Citing a report that silica content higher than 1% in the anthrax would not occur naturally, he asked Mueller, “What was the percent of silica?””I’d have to get back to you on that,” Mueller replied.”If the percent is greater than 1%, it would indicate the anthrax was manipulated,” Nadler said. He said only a “handful” of laboratories could achieve that, and asked Mueller if the FBI had investigated all of those labs and how it ruled them out.”You can assume we looked at every lab in the US and several overseas” that had people and facilities capable of preparing the anthrax powder, Mueller said. But he said would have to get back to Nadler later about how the bureau cleared individual labs of suspicion.The anthrax probe was just one of several topics covered in the committee hearing. Early in the session, Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., castigated Mueller for not responding directly to questions the committee had sent to him in advance.”How come we can’t get some straight answers on the questions I wrote you and I asked you in person? What is this?” Conyers asked after Mueller’s opening statement.Mueller said the bureau’s responses to the committee questions had to be reviewed by the Justice Department, causing inevitable delays. “I do believe we’ve tried to be responsive. I do believe we’ve been responsive to those questions,” Mueller said.Mueller is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow.See also: Sep 9 CIDRAP News story “Congress seeks answers from FBI in anthrax case”Aug 20 CIDRAP News story “FBI says it easily replicated anthrax used in attacks”House Judiciary Committee site read more