PRIMA RiskWatch
Nov. 18, 2010

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Report questions safety of planned biodefense lab
The Wall Street Journal
A new report contends that federal officials have underestimated the risks associated with building a new lab in northeast Kansas that will study dangerous animal diseases that can be passed to humans. The National Research Council report criticizes placing the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, a college town in the heart of cattle country. The new lab would replace an aging one on Plum Island, N.Y., isolated, 840-acre 100 miles east of New York City. The research council calculates that based on DHS figures, there is a 70 percent chance a leaked pathogen could cause an infection within the next 50 years.More

Bars could close at 4 a.m. if they agree to city's stricter regulations
The Gamecock
A proposed 2 a.m. curfew for the bars in Five Points is in the process of making its way to Columbia, S.C.'s city council as a response to recent violence in the area, but some bars could steer free of it. Bars that agree to certain rules, including no alcohol in parking lots and no drinking games or wet T-shirt contests, could stay open until 4 a.m. according to the new plan approved by Columbia's hospitality task force. They must also ensure extra training for employees and increased security. The curfew for those 17 and younger would be 11 p.m. More

Subway safety claim filed
The Wall Street Journal
New York City Transit hasn't done enough to make sure gates over subway entrances stay open during emergencies, according to a lawsuit filed by a subway supervisor. Peter Nichik says he repeatedly warned subway officials about unsecured gates that are sometimes rolled down to close entrances. If too many gates are closed, intentionally or not, during an emergency, passengers could become trapped. He's asking a judge to order the MTA to fix the problems. That's something the MTA said it has already done.More

Council OKs new floodplain regulations
Iowa City Press-Citizen
New construction in Iowa City's floodplains will be required to be built on higher ground under changes approved Tuesday night by the Iowa City Council. The council voted unanimously to amend the city's floodplain regulations to require that new buildings be constructed 1 foot above 500-year flooding levels. The building standards and requirements in the current flood ordinance had been written to meet the risks of a 100-year flood, but the city endured flooding that reached the 500-year mark in 2008.More

China to tighten fire safety rules
CBC News
Chinese officials have ordered tighter fire controls after a deadly fire at a Shanghai highrise left 53 people dead. China's state council ordered campaigns to inspect and remove fire hazards, saying high-rise towers and construction sites would face increased scrutiny, Xinhua, China's official news agency, reported. More than 60 fire trucks and army fire fighters rushed to the site during Monday's fire, but crews struggled to reach the upper half of the 28-story building in Shanghai.More

Cow Palace bans rave-type shows after drug-related deaths
San Mateo County Times
Cow Palace leaders have decided to ban rave-type events at the state-run entertainment venue for the foreseeable future after drug and alcohol overdoses, including two deaths, at electronic music shows this year. The Cow Palace board unanimously approved a moratorium on "music and dance parties," although that decision didn't specify a length of time or preclude the venue's leaders from considering bringing back such shows at a later date. Despite the move, at least one Daly City, Calif., City Council member still wants the state to give the city local control of certain Cow Palace events in case the venue does host those concerts again.More

Robbery in casino lot defeated tight security
The Philadelphia Inquirer
With 24-hour security patrols inside and out, a state police outpost, regular checks from city officers, and more than 500 surveillance cameras, SugarHouse Casino might be one of the most thoroughly policed areas in the city. And when three women were robbed by two men at gunpoint in the parking lot on their way into the casino, SugarHouse officials said, a security vehicle was patrolling nearby. The robbery, the first reported at SugarHouse's 45,000-square-foot property on the Delaware River since it opened in September, according to police, happened quickly — possibly in less than a minute, said Anthony DiLacqua, the casino's head of security.More