Boston is set this week to debate whether to ban a new, downtown biodefense laboratory from studying some of the world’s deadliest disease agents.
A Wednesday city council hearing is expected to consider a proposed citywide prohibition on so-called “Biosafety Level 4” research, which can involve diseases for which there are no known cures. The initiative marks the latest local pushback against Boston University’s effort to pursue the sensitive pathogen studies at its recently completed National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories.
In his draft ordinance, Councilor Charles Yancey said conducting such research at the site could enable an agent such as Ebola or Marburg to escape into the city, either by accident or deliberate action.
“I am not convinced we really need to invite that possibility to the city of Boston,” Yancey told the Boston Globe in remarks published in a Sunday editorial.
Boston University has criticized the rationale behind the council measure, arguing that the laboratory’s security is stringent and any sensitive research justified by the need to prepare against lethal disease agents.
A four-year risk study “considered hundreds of possible scenarios that could potentially result in an exposure of a worker to a pathogen, or the release of a biological agent [and] demonstrated conclusively that BSL-4 laboratories — built with multiple backup redundancies for its operations systems — are extremely safe,” the university said in a statement last month.
Sunday’s Globe editorial sides with the school, and argues that the site’s location would facilitate collaboration with experts throughout the region.
“It’s understandable why critics of the biolab might prefer that the research take place in an isolated facility … [but that] would impede scientists’ ability to learn from one another,” the newspaper said.
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Thirty-five years after he tried to kill President Reagan, John Hinckley Jr. has been freed. "A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has granted a request for Hinckley to leave the mental hospital where he's lived for decades, to go live full-time with his elderly mother in Williamsburg, VA. The release could happen as early as next week, the judge ruled. Under the terms of his order, Hinckley is not allowed to contact his victims, their relatives or actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed. Hinckley also will not be permitted to 'knowingly travel' to areas where the current president or members or Congress are present. The judge said Hinckley could be allowed to live on his own or in a group home after one year.
“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” started Bill Clinton. In his speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton brought a personal touch, telling parallel stories of his relationship with Hillary Clinton and the work she has done throughout her career. He lauded the Democratic nominee for her career of work, touching on her earliest days of advocacy for children and those with disabilities while in law school, her role as Secretary of State, and her work in raising their daughter, Chelsea. Providing a number of anecdotes throughout the speech, Clinton built to a crescendo, imploring the audience to support his wife for president. "You should elect her, she'll never quit when the going gets tough," he said. "Your children and grandchildren will be grateful."
A coalition of mothers whose children lost their lives in high profile cases across the country, known as the Mothers Of The Movement, were greeted with deafening chants of "Black Lives Matter" before telling their stories. The mothers of Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin spoke for the group, soliciting both tears and applause from the crowd. "Hillary Clinton has the compassion and understanding to comfort a grieving mother," said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin. "And that's why, in the memory of our children, we are imploring you — all of you — to vote this election day."
With the South Dakota delegation announcing its delegate count, Hillary Rodham Clinton is officially the Democratic nominee for president, surpassing the 2383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Clinton is expected to speak at the convention on Thursday night and officially accept the nomination.
About 5,500, according to official estimates. "The Monday figures marked a large increase from the protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where even the largest protests only drew a couple of hundred demonstrators. But it’s a far cry from the 35,000 to 50,000 that Philadelphia city officials initially expected."