British Parliament Report Criticizes Government Refusal to Participate in Nuclear Deterrent Inquiry

Although the British government has promised a full and open public debate about the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, it has so far failed to explain what decisions need to be made, failed to provide a timetable for those decisions, and has refused to participate in a House of Commons Defence Committee inquiry on the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, according to a British parliamentary report. The report partially relies on research conducted by the FAS Nuclear Information Project for the SIPRI Yearbook.

Online overview of British nuclear forces

Breakdown of Federal Funding for Biodefense 2001-2007

The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation has released their analysis of US Federal Spending on Biodefense from 2001-2007.

The numbers are staggering: Since 2001 the U.S. government has spent or allocated over $36 billion among 11 federal departments and agencies on biodefense. The Bush Administration has proposed $8 billion in biodefense spending for FY ’07, approximately $120 million (or 1.5%) over the ’06 appropriation. Of particular interest was that only 2% of all federal biodefense funding has been devoted to efforts to prevent the development, acquisition, and use of biological weapons by other nations and terrorists.

You can view their analysis here or download it as a PDF

BARDA: House vs. Senate

Earlier this month, Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) submitted the House version (H.R.5533) of the `Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2006′ (BARDA). The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) (S.2564). The two bills are essentially the same with the exception of two controversial sections included in the Senate, but not the House version. Section 5: Orphan Drug Market Exclusivity for Countermeasures Products and Section 7: Collaboration and Coordination.

The Market Exclusivity section Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to extend the period of market exclusivity from seven years to ten years for certain new drugs, antibiotics, or anti-infective drugs to treat a rare disease or condition caused by a biological agent, toxin, chemical, radiological, or nuclear agent that is deemed by the Secretary to be a material threat to the United States.

The Collaboration and Coordination section provides an antitrust exemption for: (1) meetings and consultations held by the Secretary among persons engaged in the development of countermeasures or pandemic or epidemic products; and (2) agreements resulting from such meetings.

See the extended entry for the full text of Sections 5 and 7.

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G-8 Summit Begins July 15 in St. Petersburg

When I filled up my compact sedan this past weekend at the Getty station near my home, at – ouch! – 3.07 a gallon, I noticed an advertisement on the pump for a Lukoil credit card. I had not paid attention to this before, but Russian oil giant Lukoil owns the Getty name, and also several other brands in the Eastern United States. Those of us who live in the Washington, DC region no doubt have noticed a number of Lukoil direct-branded service stations popping up around the area.

Russia is rolling in profits not only from oil, but also from its natural gas reserves. And there is little doubt that Russian gas as part of nailing down a global energy security policy will be at the top of President Putin’s agenda at the G-8 Summit, which starts July 15 in St. Petersburg:
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Effort Underway in European Parliament Against US Nuclear Weapons in Europe

A Written Declaration presented in the European Parliament calls for the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Europe by the end of 2006. The Declaration has until December 10 to gather support from at least half of the Parliament’s 732 members to be adopted and formally submitted to the US government. The initiative comes as Russia refused last week to discuss tactical nuclear weapons with the United States. Most European want the US to withdraw its remaining nuclear weapons from Europe.

Background report: U.S. Nuclear Weapons In Europe