Friday, September 16, 2005

Some Alarming Stories

The avian flu is raising eyebrows across the world. It could potentially kill billions, and there is not enough medicine to fight it. This week at the United Nations Summit in New York, the U.S. government agreed to stockpile $100 million worth of a still-experimental vaccine. Both the head of the U.N. World Health Organization and President Bush have warned of the virus' deadly potential.

This virus started among wild birds in Asia, and represents a version of the flu that humans have never seen before. Because of this, we have no natural immunity to the avian flu. Right now, the virus kills 55% of the humans it infects. Furthermore, with today's international flight paths, the virus could potentially spread worldwide within a couple of days. The threat of the avian flu is serious, and needs to be taken very seriously. Awareness on the issue must continue to be raised, and efforts must be put into motion to both produce more vaccinations and set up protocol in case mass infection does occur.

As if that's not enough to worry about, consider this story of another potential terrorist plot. A student from Egypt was arrested when investigators found a pilot's uniform, a chart of Memphis International Airport, and a DVD titled "How An Airline Captain Should Look and Act" in his appartment. In addition to this, the 29 year old Mahmoud Maawad is in the country illegally, living under a fake social security number which he used to enroll in the University of Memphis and open a bank account.

Yikes. It's scary to think that the threat from terrorists is still so real. However, let's not forget that the FBI found this man and was able to detain him becuase of good intelligence. Some of which, I'm sure, they were allowed to get under provisions of the Patriot Act. Every potential terrorist plot that is foiled is another success for our country, and lives are saved because of it.

Keep these stories in mind, as they will surely be important in the near future.