Morning Security Brief: Bird Flu Source Suspected, Syrian Rebels and Chemical Weapons, and More
Chinese scientists theorize that the nation’s poultry markets could be spreading bird flu, a U.N investigator says that Syrian rebels are likely using chemical weapons, and a law making possession of a cell phone in prison a felony might lower crime rates among inmates.
► According to a CNN article, scientists at the University of Hong Kong have suggested that the China’s poultry markets may be spreading bird flu throughout the country. The scientists explain that workers move poultry from farms to market and back, creating an environment where the flu can thrive and easily spread. The scientists further note that closing Shanghai’s poultry market in early April led to a “sharp drop” in the number of human cases reported in the city.
► U.N. investigator Carla del Ponte told a Swiss newscaster that there is evidence that Syrian rebels have used chemical weapons . However, according to a report by the BBC, there is no indication that the Syrian government has used such weapons. In the interview, del Ponte said that interviews with victims, doctors, and field hospital personnel indicate that the rebels used sarin gas.
► Baltimore city officials are saying that legislation to prevent prisoners from having cell phones would have helped quell the crisis at the Baltimore City Detention Center, where a group of inmates orchestrated a drug and prostitution ring from behind bars using cell phones. Having a cell phone in prison is already illegal, but it is a misdemeanor. The legislation in question, which has failed to pass for four consecutive years, would have made the second offense of having a cell phone a felony. It would also have made it a felony for anyone, such as guards or visitors, to bring a cell phone to a prisoner. Maryland Corrections Secretary Gary D. Maynard told The Washington Post that the law might have the most effect on prison guards. Correctional officers are placed on leave without pay when they are charged with a felony, explained Maynard. This loss of pay might have prevented guards from committing the crime. Opponents argue that the law would have had little effect and that the state is better off pursuing cell phone jamming technology.