NEWS SCAN: Avian flu, tainted Baxter flu materials, anthrax attack findings , drug-resistant malaria, homeland security, E coli in well water

first_imgFeb 26, 2009Avian flu detected in Vietnam, EnglandThe H5N1 virus struck poultry in another Vietnamese province, Dien Bien in the northern part of the country, raising the number of affected provinces to 11, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported today. Authorities culled about 1,460 ducks and destroyed more than 1,000 eggs to stop the spread of the virus. Elsewhere, British officials have detected avian influenza at two small Bernard Matthews turkey-breeding farms in England, but have so far ruled out H5 and H7 strains, the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said today[Feb 26 Xinhua story][Feb 26 DEFRA press release]Czech lab incident updateNew details about H5N1-contaminated virus samples that caused a scare at a Czech Republic lab emerged today in a report from the Canadian Press (CP). The tainted Baxter International product was an “experimental virus material” that was supposed to contain the H3N2 virus. The product was distributed to an Austrian company to subcontractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Germany. Officials continue to investigate.[Feb 26 CP story]Scientists share anthrax investigation findingsThe chemical components of the Bacillus anthracis spores sent in letters in the 2001 bioterrorism incidents don’t match the bacteria in a flask linked to Bruce Ivins, according to experts who presented their findings at an American Society for Microbiology biodefense meeting on Feb 24, Nature News reported yesterday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Jason Bannan, however, said that spores from the flask could have been removed and grown under different conditions that exposed them to different chemicals. The FBI has alleged that Ivins, who committed suicide, mailed letters in 2001 that contained the deadly pathogen.[Feb 25 Nature News story]WHO says drug resistance could stonewall malaria controlParasite resistance to artemisinin detected at the Thailand-Cambodian border could undermine global efforts to control malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement yesterday. The parasite can adapt more easily to monotherapies, so health officials have instead supported treating uncomplicated infections with a combination therapy containing artemisinin. The WHO said it has received a $22.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help contain the spread of the resistant parasites.[Feb 25 WHO statement]White House orders homeland security reviewThe Obama administration issued its first presidential study directive (PSD) in Feb 23 ordering an interagency team to review how the White House coordinates its homeland security and counterterrorism capacities, Federal News Radio (FNR) reported yesterday. The White House has replaced homeland security directives with PSDs, FNR reported.[Feb 25 FNR story]E coli turns up in wells near outbreak siteSeventeen of 74 private wells in Locust Grove, Okla., tested positive for Escherichia coli, a pathogen that caused an outbreak linked to a local restaurant, the Tulsa World reported yesterday. The state’s attorney general has said poultry litter from area farms may have contaminated the restaurant’s water supply, which was found to contain poultry DNA earlier this month.[Feb 25 Tulsa World story]last_img read more

Governor Wolf Announces $791,000 in PLCB Grants for Developing, Promoting Pennsylvania Beers

first_img December 19, 2018 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Governor Wolf Announces $791,000 in PLCB Grants for Developing, Promoting Pennsylvania Beerscenter_img Economy,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has approved grants totaling $791,412 for 12 projects to increase the production of Pennsylvania-made malt and brewed beverages and enhance the Pennsylvania beer industry through promotion, marketing, and research-based programs and projects.“Increasing the quality, production, and sale of malt and brewed beverages produced in Pennsylvania is vital not only to our growing beer industry, but these improvements also enhance agricultural and tourism opportunities in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “These grants will explore how agriculture can better support brewers, give new tools and resources to beer makers, and ultimately help improve the craft beer experience for Pennsylvania consumers.”Act 39 of 2016 created the Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverages Industry Promotion Board and authorized the PLCB to approve up to $1 million annually for development and marketing of the Pennsylvania beer industry.“The craft beer and brewing industry continues to grow and thrive in Pennsylvania, and these grants will fund projects focused on agricultural research, industry training, product development, economic development and consumer engagement to advance production and marketing of Pennsylvania beers,” said Board Chairman Tim Holden. “The PLCB is proud to support the continued development of the commonwealth’s beer industry through these grants.”“Craft brewing has grown exponentially in Pennsylvania,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “This investment in research will support our brewers’ efforts to produce quality and variety and stay number one in the nation.”The grant projects, summarized as follows, were recommended for approval by the Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverages Industry Promotion Board.Visit Philadelphia$125,000Beer Tourism Grant for the Craft Beer Trail of Greater Philadelphia:Grant will allow Visit Philadelphia to market and promote greater Philadelphia’s craft beer and breweries in order to boost Philadelphia and Pennsylvania’s image as one of the country’s best places for craft beer; drive visitation to the five-county Philadelphia area and its roughly 100 breweries; and encourage more people to visit breweries during their time in the area, increase the number of breweries people visit and boost sales at breweries in the region.Somerset County Chamber of Commerce$105,000Pennsylvania Craft Brew Festival:Modeling the successful Pennsylvania Wine Fest held each year at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, the first Pennsylvania Craft Brew Festival is expected to attract 5,000 to 7,500 people and 30 producers to take advantage of tastings and brewer education workshops. The economic impact of the 2019 event is estimated at $1.2 million for the Laurel Highlands Tourism Region.Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences$98,702Improving the Agricultural Value Chain for the Craft Fermented Beverage Industry:Explore brewer demand for agricultural inputs for beer production and inform growers about increasing market opportunities, demand for ingredients and costs for producing crops for the beer industry. The project will facilitate agricultural literacy among brewers, who need to better understand crops’ seasonality and production costs, and farmers, who need better understanding of how to work with and supply local brewers.California University of Pennsylvania$72,500Establishing and Maintaining a Research and Educational Hop Yard in Southwest Pennsylvania:Establish a hop yard in Washington County that will be an educational hub focused on sustainable production of hops, disease management, and growing conditions that will increase hop yield and growing success. The project will integrate local high school students and university students in the design of the hop yard and development of marketing and business plans for hops as a local commodity and crop.Shippensburg University$71,701Educational Outreach for the Brewing Industry:Development of education, training and technical assistance to build a skilled workforce for the brewed beverage industry. Educational short courses, professional training and laboratory work aim to develop a strong foundation of educational and apprenticeship-type experiences to benefit current employees in brewing, as well as train a future workforce.Edinboro University$71,060Pennsylvania’s Brewer’s Yeast Library:Improve the knowledge, processes and opportunities for small breweries in northwest Pennsylvania through the development of a Brewer’s Yeast Library, which will offer training and short courses and use of Edinboro University facilities for the propagation of yeast. Brewers will gain the knowledge and skills to grow and care for their own yeast, which could save brewers money and avoid contamination and flavor issues.National Beer Museum Development Group$59,700The Story of Beer in Pennsylvania:Creation of a stand-alone, permanent exhibit in Pittsburgh informing consumers about Pennsylvania breweries and beers. Compelling stories about the legacy and vibrancy of beer in Pennsylvania will be presented in interactive, interesting and entertaining ways, compelling consumers to learn more about Pennsylvania’s brewing heritage and explore Pennsylvania breweries and beers.Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences$47,276Critical Success Factors for Advancing Beer Tourism in Pennsylvania:Identify, through surveys and interviews of owners of craft breweries in Pennsylvania, current barriers and success factors of craft brewery businesses; discuss with local tourism bureaus selection and promotion of beer tourism activities; and present research outcomes through outreach materials and a handbook.Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation$50,000Cumberland Valley Beer Trail Marketing and Visitation Increase:Enhance promotion of the existing Cumberland Valley Beer Trail through new photography and videography and expanded marketing campaigns to new outlets and target markets. Marketing efforts aim to increase the sale of malt and brewed beverages produced in Cumberland County and the surrounding region, as well as increase sales and visitation to other area attractions, lodging, dining and shops through beer tourism.Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences$46,766Measuring Amylase Activity in Non-Barley Malts for Gluten-Free Beer:Explore the use of gluten-free alternatives to barley in brewing to identify optimal mashing conditions and complementary combinations of gluten-free grains to achieve fermentable sugars comparable to those derived in barley and wheat worts. The effort will benefit Pennsylvania brewers who are brewing or wish to develop gluten-free beers.Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences$35,175Educating Hops Growers to Enhance and Promote the Pennsylvania Microbrewing Industry:Development of research-based recommendations for current and prospective hops growers on practices to start or improve their hop yard to produce high-quality product for the microbrewing industry. Grant will sustain an existing research hop yard, provide for hop growing schools in eastern and western Pennsylvania to promote and educate growers on best practices and create an online hops database.Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences$33,532Malting Barley Extension and Outreach:Raise awareness among farmers, mills and distillers about quality standards for malting barley, which may lead to increased local production, improved grain quality, and availability of grain meeting quality standards. Roundtable discussions and listening sessions with brewed beverage industry members will inform development of educational materials and field days for growers, buyers and brewers.The PLCB awarded the inaugural round of grants supporting Pennsylvania’s beer industry in February 2018, with grants for 13 projects totaling nearly $705,000. In June 2018, the PLCB awarded $1 million in grants to enhance the Pennsylvania wine industry and increase production of Pennsylvania-made wines, bringing PLCB wine-grant funding to nearly $3 million since the first wine grants were approved in 2017.The PLCB regulates the distribution of beverage alcohol in Pennsylvania, operates more than 600 wine and spirits stores statewide, and licenses 20,000 alcohol producers, retailers, and handlers. The PLCB also works to reduce and prevent dangerous and underage drinking through partnerships with schools, community groups, and licensees. Taxes and store profits – totaling $16.5 billion since the agency’s inception – are returned to Pennsylvania’s General Fund, which finances Pennsylvania’s schools, health and human services programs, law enforcement, and public safety initiatives, among other important public services. The PLCB also provides financial support for the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, other state agencies, and local municipalities across the state. For more information about the PLCB, visit read more

Loot boxes, skins gambling forecast to generate $50 billion by 2022

first_imgAccording to a new study from Juniper Research, it’s been forecast that loot boxes and skins gambling will reach a spend of $50 billion (£35.265 billion) by 2022. This number is up massively from this year’s $30 billion (£21.159 billion).Loot boxes are in-game packs that hold random items, and skins are effectively in-game cosmetics that either affects the appearing of characters or weapons.Lauren Foye, Research author elaborated on the market: “Skins are acquired both through playing video games and from opening purchased loot boxes. These items have value depending on rarity and popularity within game communities. On PCs, skins are traded for real money via Steam’s ‘Marketplace’; the platform has 125 million registered users globally.”Steam has attempted to squash concerns surrounding skins gambling – in which the items are fundamentally used as virtual currency for betting – in the past. For years, third-party websites have allowed users to bet in-game skins to cash in for real money. It’s worth noting that Steam makes money from transaction fees when its marketplace is used, which could be part of the reason as to why this market still exists – despite it being unregulated.The study states that unless the regulation is implemented for skin trading and gambling, then wagers will surpass $1 billion (£705.085 million) globally since 11% of 11-16 years old in the UK had placed bets with skins in 2017.Esports Insider says: The underage aspect of skins gambling has been an issue for quite some time, but with gigantic numbers being forecast, it’s hard to see Steam not wanting the biggest piece of that pie that’s available. Nonetheless, esports is becoming more and more professional as it grows, so regulations seem inevitable at some point.last_img read more