Monday, February 21, 2011

Pneumonic Plague Outbreak in Madagascar Kills Sixteen (16) People

I keep my eyes on any story involving the pneumonic plague and this story of a pneumonic plague outbreak killing sixteen (16) people in Madagascar caught my attention.

Date: Sun 20 Feb 2011
Source: La Tribune online, Diego Suarez, Madagascar
[In French, trans. JW, edited]

An epidemic of pneumonic plague has been raging for weeks in the northern region of Madagascar, mainly around Ambilobe. There are already 16 deaths attributed to this epidemic.

This statement of the "Chancellery detached from France" in Diego Suarez is based on information from the referring doctor's office, Dr. Anant Govinjee: "An epidemic of pneumonic plague occurred in the region between Diana and Ambilobe Ambanja, specifically east of Beramanja (65 km). The first suspected case appeared 27 Jan 2011, followed by a first death on 29 Jan 2011. The death toll stands at 16.

Source: ISID

Sunday, February 20, 2011

U.S. Army Wants Machine Gun Rubber Bullets for Crowd Control (M1044, 40mm Non-Lethal (NL) Blunt Trauma, Linked Cartridge)

Hmmm, would the Army be wanting to buy rapid-fire rubber bullets for its machine guns (see: the image of the MK19 40mm machine gun above) for crowd control purposes unless it was expecting to have a need to use these rubber bullets at some point in the near future? My money is on a localized food riot, but there are many possibilities. Nevertheless, the closing date for this bid is February 21, 2011.

The original bid was first posted back in December, 2010, but the updated bid is here. The revised does not change much about the original bid. The Army's version of the bid is here.

Per the latest notice on January 7, 2011, there was supposed to be an RFP by January 19, but I can't seem to locate it yet. If someone else has a link to the RFP, please feel free to post it in the comments. Otherwise, I will update it when I do find it.

Coming straight out of the Army's "Center of Lethality" !!


Solicitation Number:
Notice Type:
Added: Dec 08, 2010 4:04 pm

Picatinny Arsenal, NJ 07806-5000

intends to issue a solicitation requirement for a XM1044, 40mm Non-Lethal (NL) Blunt Trauma, Linked Cartridge which will operate out of the MK19 Mod 3 Grenade Machine Gun. The XM1044 Cartridge will be used to confuse, disorient, or momentarily distract potential threats without the use of deadly force. This cartridge is intended to be an area fire, low hazard, and non-shrapnel producing device. The XM1044 shall meet MIL-PRF-XM1044VB0, Performance Specification for the XM1044. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code for this acquisition is 332993.This will be a competitive acquisition resulting in the award of an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ), Firm Fixed Price contract(s) with a duration of five years, which includes Design Verification Testing (DVT), First Article Testing of the XM1044, 40mm NL Blunt Trauma, Linked Cartridges to MIL-PRF-XM1044VB0, and delivery of XM1044 inert, cutaway, and NL Cartridges. The required Delivery Schedule will be approximately 12,000-15,000 XM1044 per month.

An integrated assessment will be made from the results of the evaluation of the factors as set forth in Section M of the solicitation. Pre-award surveys may be conducted. The Government intends to make only one award as a result of this RFP. The Government will select for award the proposal that represents the Best Value to the Government.

It is anticipated that this solicitation will be posted on the US Army JM&L, LCMC Procurement Network website located at and FedBizOpps Be advised that this notice does not constitute an RFP. The RFP will be issued on or about 23 December 2010. Contractors must be registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database by accessing the CCR web site at in order to be eligible for contract award. The point of contact for this action is Jillian Foley,, Contract Specialist, (973) 724-3271, ACC JM&L Contracting Center, Close Combat Center, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ 07806-5000.

Additional Info:
US ARMY TACOM-Picatinny Procurement Network

Contracting Office Address:
US Army, Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions and Lethality (JM&L) Contracting Center, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey 07806-5000

Point of Contact(s):
Jillian Foley, Contract Specialist,

Jillian Foley

FCC to Air First-Ever Presidential Alert on Nation's Emergency Alert System

When I did radio in Santa Barbara, there was a protocol in place to conduct emergency broadcast transmissions and the radio station (per the FCC) required that the DJs conduct regular tests of the system. I don't recall ever transmitting an emergency broadcast, but I certainly conducted tests that usually only took a minute or two. President Obama's administration is taking it a step further and will broadcast an actual Presidential Alert on this system for the first time ever.


This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.


February 3, 2011
Robert Kenny: 202-418-0506

Washington D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission today took action to help pave the way for the first-ever Presidential alert to be aired across the United States on the Nation’s Emergency Alert System (EAS).

The national test will help determine the reliability of the EAS system and its effectiveness in notifying the public of emergencies and potential danger nationwide and regionally.

The FCC voted unanimously to adopt a Third Report and Order that sets forth rules that will facilitate the federal government’s efforts to conduct a national EAS test by transmitting a Presidential Alert from Washington, D.C. to television and radio broadcasters, cable systems and satellite service providers who will then deliver the alert to the American public.

The test will assist the FCC, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Weather Service (NWS), with assessing the current system and better determining what improvements need to be made to further strengthen the Nation’s EAS, particularly as broadband technologies continue to emerge. Although the date for the National EAS test has yet to be determined, establishing the rules is an important first step in the process.

As Next Generation EAS systems become operational over the next few years, they will complement other public alert and warning systems now being developed, including FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and the Commercial Mobile Alert System that will enable consumers to receive alerts through a variety of multi-media platforms on their smart-phones, blackberries and other mobile broadband devices.

The national test will require EAS participants to be part of the exercise and to receive and transmit a live code that includes a Presidential alert message to their respective viewers and listeners. The FCC, FEMA and NWS, in coordination with EAS participants, will work together to launch a nationwide EAS Public Education and Awareness Campaign that will include press statements, workshops, regional outreach, and television and radio public service announcements targeted to consumers in general, and more specifically persons with disabilities and seniors, as well as first responders and state, local and tribal governments. The outreach will help ensure that the American public is aware that the national test will be conducted and the benefits of these kinds of public alerts in a real emergency.

Action by the Commission, February 3, 2011, by Third Report and Order (FCC 11-12). Chairman Genachowski, and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and Baker. EB Docket No. 04-296.

For additional information about the Third Report and Order please contact Lisa Fowlkes, Deputy Chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB), at 202-418-7452 or via email:; or Gregory Cooke, Associate Chief, Policy Division, PSHSB, at 202-418-2351 or via email:

News media Information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
TTY 202/418-2555
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D. C. 20554