The fish component of the diet of black browed and grey-headed albatrosses at South Georgia was investigated by intercepting 155 meals from adults arriving to feed chicks during February 1986 and 1994. Fish represented 30% and 72% by mass of the diet of black-browed albatrosses and 14% and 60% by mass of the diet of grey-headed albatrosses in 1986 and 1994 respectively. We determined the identity and quantified the contribution (by numbers, size and mass) of fish species mainly by using otoliths (54 representing 9 taxa and 57 representing 17 taxa in black-browed and greyheaded albatross samples respectively). For blackbrowed albatrosses in 1986 the main fish prey wasPatagonotothen guntheri (77% of otoliths, 51% of estimated fish biomass) and a single large specimen ofIcichthys australis (40% estimated biomass), whereas in 1994 Pseudochaenichthys georgianus was the main fish prey (57% of estimated biomass) withMagnisudis prionosa (30%) andChampsocephalus gunnari (12%) also making substantial contributions. Grey-headed albatross samples from 1986 were dominated by southern lampreys (40% by number, 79% of estimated bio mass), lanternfish (32% of numbers, 9% by mass) andPatagonotothen guntheri (11% by mass); in 1994Champsocephalus gunnari (42% by numbers, 24% by mass),Magnisudis prionosa (13% by number, 36% by mass),Muraenolepis microps (90% by number),Pseudochaenichthys georgianus (15% by mass) and lanternfish (18% by number but only 1% by mass) were the main prey. The importance ofPatagonotothen guntheri to both species in 1986 and its absence in 1994 probably reflect albatrosses obtaining it from the commercial fishery, which was active in 1986 but closed in 1994. Otherwise the fish diet of black-browed albatrosses is dominated by krill-feeding fish, characteristic of the waters of the South Georgia shelf. In contrast, the grey-headed albatross diet comprises deeper water mesopelagic species, especially lanternfish, which reflect its affinity for the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone and associated oceanic upwellings.
The buffetting of the magnetosphere by the solar wind is the cause of many phenomena in the magnetosphere and the ionosphere, and affects the way in which we observe many other features. Examples of magnetospheric phenomena caused, wholly or in part, by solar wind pressure variations include cavity and field-line resonances (e.g., , ), travelling convection vortices , ring current particle diffusion , quasi-periodic emissions , and possibly substorm onsets (e.g., ; but see ) and magnetopause reconnection . Examples of the way in which solar wind pressure variations affect the way we observe and interpret magnetospheric features include the structure of the magnetopause boundary layer  and possibly some FTE identifications , and similarly the structure of the magnetotail.
[Video: Vulf Records]The Fearless Flyers II Tracklisting:SIDE AFlyer DirectThe Baal Shem Tov (feat. Joey Dosik)Simon F15SIDE BDaddy, He Got a Cessna (feat. Chris Thile)Swampers (feat. Chris Thile)Hero TownView Tracklisting The Fearless Flyers are back with a brand new song, “Flyers Direct”, from their upcoming second record, The Fearless Flyers II.The new-ish Vulf Records project—which is produced and mixed by the “Vulfmon” himself, Jack Stratton (bandleader/multi-instrumentalist of Vulfpeck)—features bassist Joe Dart, guitarist Cory Wong, drummer Nate Smith, and Snarky Puppy guitarist Mark Lettieri.As they did on their 2018 debut record, The Fearless Flyers II appears to include spinoffs of original Vulfpeck compositions, including “Daddy, He Got A Cessna” (a play on “Daddy, He Got A Tesla”) and “Hero Town” (a song that originally appeared on 2017’s Mr. Finish Line). The six-track record also features special guest collaborations with frequent Vulf collaborator Joey Dosik (keys, sax, vocals) and mandolinist/vocalist Chris Thile (Live From Here).The band has only performed together live once, at Concord Music Hall in Chicago, IL last fall during North Coast Music Festival. The set featured special guests including Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay and fellow Vulf collaborators Antwaun Stanley and Theo Katzman. The group has their second scheduled performance coming up at Madison Square Garden in New York City opening for Vulfpeck on Saturday, September 28th.Check out the new “olympic level funk” from The Fearless Flyers below, and head here to place your order for a first vinyl pressing.The Fearless Flyers – “Flyers Direct”
Graduate student Alice A. Chen received the prestigious $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize on Wednesday (March 9) for her innovative applications of microtechnology to study human health and disease.Chen, a biomedical engineer, is enrolled at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) in the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) program, which is part of the collaborative Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology (HST).She is the second SEAS student to win the Lemelson-MIT prize. Last year, SEAS/HST graduate Erez Lieberman-Aiden, Ph.D. ’10, now a junior fellow in Harvard’s Society of Fellows, won the award for his inventive work on the 3-D structure of the genome.A fearless problem solver with a passion for mentorship, Chen is honored alongside three other winners from across the nation.“Alice Chen’s inventive accomplishments will impact the effectiveness of new therapies,” said Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. “Her passion to tackle problems and create solutions through collaboration and tenacity are qualities that must be celebrated at the collegiate level.”Chen’s innovations have always sprung from her ability to make unique connections — whether by linking approaches gathered from disparate fields and problems to novel solutions, or by building the relationships with others that create successful teams. It is a characteristic that makes the 29-year-old thrive when faced with a new challenge.Combining micro- and nanotechnology-based approaches to biological questions, Chen has developed an assortment of innovations with implications for drug development and disease modeling.Chen’s most recent inventive breakthrough — a humanized mouse with a tissue-engineered human liver — is intended to bridge a gap in the drug development pipeline between laboratory animal studies and clinical trials. In drug development, animal models are used as a surrogate to human patients to develop dosing regimens and identify potential dangers to the liver and other organs. Because of stark differences between animal and human liver activity, however, pre-clinical animal screens commonly underreport human toxicities.According to Chen, the mouse “becomes a miniature patient with a tissue-engineered liver that behaves like a human’s in many ways,” including the way the liver breaks down drugs and responds to toxic drug products.To read the full release.
Show Closed This production ended its run on Dec. 21, 2014 Daytime Emmy Award winner Joy Behar stopped by Morning Joe to chat with Mika Brzezinski about her off-Broadway show, Me, My Mouth and I. Well, first, they talk about furries (if you don’t know, don’t look it up). After that unprovoked sex-ed lesson, the comedian talks about her new solo show, which follows her childhood in Brooklyn (referring to herself as the “Shirley Temple of Metropolitan Avenue”), to co-hosting The View to (repeatedly) getting fired. Check out the interview below, and catch Me, My Mouth and I at the Cherry Lane Theatre through December 21! View Comments Me, My Mouth and I Related Shows
Most perennial herbs can be made more winter-hardy with a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch. After a severe winter, some outdoor plants such as rue, sage, thyme and southernwood may appear brown and dead. Scrape the bark of a few stems to determine the extent of damage. If the stem is green, delay pruning until after new growth begins. Winter’s first hard freezes are arriving just in time for Thanksgiving. You can help most herbs survive the winter by taking the time to give them a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch. Many perennial herbs are winter-hardy in all or parts of Georgia and can be left in the garden. A few plants are marginally winter-hardy. They can survive a mild winter but may die during a severe winter unless brought indoors.Winter Mulch HelpsOrganic mulch such as pine straw, hardwood bark or bark-sawdust mixture, is adequate winter protection for herbs such as mint, chives and fennel. It protects them to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit.A winter mulch helps maintain uniform soil temperatures around the root system. It provides protection against the heaving caused by frequent freezing and thawing of the soil in colder areas of Georgia.Some herbs require a thicker layer of mulch to protect their roots during extended freezing weather. Don’t mulch heavily before cold weather, since it will keep the soil warmer and may actually decrease winter hardiness.Mulch After Hard FreezeAfter the first hard freeze, apply a 3- to 6-inch layer of organic material such as straw, pine needles or chopped leaves. Remove most of the mulch in the spring as new growth begins.Rosemary, lemon verbena and a few other perennial herbs are not reliably winter-hardy in areas north of Atlanta. So provide extra winter protection.Cut plants back to within a couple inches of the ground after the first hard frost. Cover the remaining stub with soil. Then cover the soil with 4 to 5 inches of mulch.For lemon verbena, using a microfoam ground cover (the packing material used around fragile items) works well, too. This material can be held down with soil and will enable survival in most years.AlternativesAn alternative is to encircle the plant with a cage of hardware cloth or chicken wire. The cage diameter should be about 12 inches larger than the plant (6 inches on each side). Fill the cage with mulch.Harsh, drying winds can prove as fatal as cold temperatures to some of the less cold-tolerant herbs. Windbreaks can aid the survival and appearance of herbs such as French tarragon, germander, English lavender, Roman chamomile and winter savory.Covering with a few evergreen boughs will prevent the drying out of silver and lemon thyme foliage. The more cold-sensitive herbs have a better chance of survival if grown in a protected place.Other things that influence winter hardiness include fertilizing, pruning, watering and soil drainage. Photo: Wayne McLaurin Fertilizing. Don’t fertilize herbs after early August. Late summer nitrogen applications will promote new growth that may not have time to mature before frost. The herbs will remain actively growing instead of becoming acclimated for cold weather.Pruning. Avoid severe pruning in late fall, since winter hardiness is reduced until the cuts have healed. Don’t severely prune woody plants within four to six weeks of the first severe freeze. In north Georgia, make the last severe cutting on sage, lavender or oregano before early September. Light pruning after frost is acceptable.Watering. Keep plants adequately watered during late summer and fall. Drought-stressed plants are weaker and often less cold-hardy. Water during a dry winter, especially before a severe freeze.Soil Drainage. Excessively wet soil or sites with standing water can decrease the winter hardiness of some plants. This is especially true for Mediterranean plants such as rosemary, thyme, lavender and French tarragon, which are adapted to dry climates. Provide adequate drainage by incorporating pine bark mulch or planting in raised beds.
61SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Holly Fearing Holly lives and breathes social media; if you can’t find her IRL, try reaching out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, and you’ll likely get her right away. … Web: www.filene.org Details Keep a close eye on the competition and outperform them — Differentiation is a buzzword both for marketing professionals and the credit union industry. Why, then, do credit unions all too often try to emulate and imitate their big bank competition? The constant comparison of banks vs. credit unions is exhausting. And to be honest, I’m not sure the average consumer cares about the difference – unless you give them a reason to care. Break it: Instead of jumping into the same technology, providing the same services, being in the same locations, serving the same people, having the same reassuring look and messaging as all other financial institutions out there, why not drastically stand out as what credit unions uniquely are? Instead of trying to beat the disruptors and the banks at their own game, beat them with your game. Sure, you’ve got great rates, great customer service, convenient technology, but that’s just the minimum price of entry in this industry today. Those things go without saying. Say what no other FI can say. Market the thing you do different than everyone else, not better or as good as. Know what your customers want and deliver what they ask for – If you always made decisions based on customer needs, requests, survey results…would you ever have known to build a website before it was asked for? Or provide online banking, or remote deposit as a service for your members? What about security measures that ensure your members’ money and private information always remain safe—do you wait for owners to ask for that before knowing to do it? At some point, you are the financial expert, and your expertise should anticipate and direct what your members will need. Steve Jobs famously described this in response to inventing the iPod, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Break it: It’s not sustainable to avoid offering the option for members to communicate with you through social media. With 65% of the adult U.S. population using social media sites, it’s likely that is representative of your member base too. And even if not, the yet-to-be members will certainly expect it of you, and whatever’s next after that too. Get on social media now and start talking to people. You’ll be surprised how much your members will see that as an added value, even if they don’t ask for it now.Marketing should support sales – I often hear from marketing teams in credit unions that are continually hungry for data to show their leaders how their social media, brand ambassador and other ‘soft’ marketing tactics are adding to the bottom line. The truth is people are seeking trusted relationships with the brands that perform a significant function in their lives. I go back to my same hair stylist every time because I trust her and I believe she ‘gets me.’ And that’s just my hair, not my entire life’s savings. A relationship and building of trust simply can’t be mapped out on sales report. And it isn’t something that moves forward neatly quarter by quarter. Break it: This is the copy from a full page ad from my local food co-op in our local paper:“It’s important to us when you make a difference by choosing Willy Street Co-op. When our over 32,000 Owners give back to our community, we create positive change that reaches far beyond it. As a cooperative, we think holistically instead of individualistically. You help provide social, economic, environmental and educational support to many people in our community each time you shop with us. Thank you for making our Co-op one of the leading food cooperatives in the country. Thank you for being part of a community of people who care, create change and give so much…”Put out marketing that engenders a sense of community, togetherness, trust and bonding. And don’t worry about measuring it all. How do you measure the return on investment of a thank you note? How do you measure the ROI of doing the right thing? The old adage goes: you need to learn the rules before you can break them. Many wise and famous souls have been attributed with saying some derivative of that phrase, from Pablo Picasso to the Dalai Lama. My favorite version comes from the former, who has been quoted as saying, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”When it comes to the marketing efforts of credit unions, it’s my assessment that you spent a good long time learning and performing the rules of marketing as they have always been. You’ve learned the rules – and it is most certainly time to break them.With the irrefutable changes that the rise of the internet, online shopping, digital communications and social media has affected on our society over the last quarter century, it’s safe to say we have fully transitioned and are living in the world of the new consumer — empowered, engaged and entrepreneurial.Couple that with the fact that you, credit unions, are cooperatives – meaning you don’t have shareholders. Your members—these individuals from your communities—are your only owners, and that structure makes you unlike any other financial institution, traditional or disruptive. People have never been more interested in what that could mean for them, what value that idea could bring to their communities. If ever a time to break the mold with the way you market your credit union, it was 5 or 10 years ago. If you’ve started already, great. If not, then your time to break the rules should start tight now.Here are 5 ‘tried and true’ marketing rules to try breaking in 2016.Drive brand awareness – Sure, maximizing brand awareness is a smart marketing strategy, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg of what is expected from brands by consumers today. Break it: Try focusing on the “post-action” phase of social media—what your customers do and say about you online after each experience they have with you. Each engagement is an opportunity for someone to share their story with others. Embrace the conversations being had about you and let your audience share their experiences and tell their stories to drive more awareness and desired call-to-action behaviors that traditional marketing focuses on. REI’s recent #OptOutside campaign is a perfect example of this effort in practice.Don’t forget to include your employees in the story. They are likely your most engaged group of members at your credit union and deserve to be respected as such. Don’t stifle their ability to engage about their work on social media. If the thought of this makes you sick in the gut, a quick polishing up of your social media policy should settle the nerves. Control your message – A colleague of mine often begins his presentations by taking out his smartphone, holding it up and saying, “what am I going to ask you to do with these?” And every time, the audience begrudgingly mumbles “turn them off…” like they’ve had the fire of life beaten out of them a million times by that request already. To that, he will enthusiastically shout, “turn them on! I want you to take pictures, tweet, quote, share slides, snapchat, text your friends about what we’re talking about today.” It’s the only way the message gets beyond the walls of the room.The exact same is true of your credit union’s messages. If you’re banning your employees from talking about your credit union on social media, engaging with your brand messages on social media or communicating with members/potential members in their social networks in general during work hours, you’re drastically and dangerously limiting the scope of your messaging to only what your brand can control. Plus, 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from their networks. Break it: Despite the best efforts, no one can control social media today – the conversation about your brand is already happening and you can chose to be part of it or not. The best you can do is be prepared. As leaders, be prepared to talk to your members on social media and be prepared to have your staff do so too.2016 is upon us, and if you’re ready to take your credit union marketing to the level of a skilled artist, these are the rules you can and should break to stand out as something entirely new, different and better for your community.
This article is the second in a special four-part series focused on various aspects of risk mitigation. Keep your eye out for the next article, which will discuss specific steps these experts take to mitigate risk in their institutions. 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Trace Ledbetter Trace Ledbetter is Executive Vice President at State National Companies, where he directs and oversees delivery of all services and products for Lender Services, including customer relationship management, underwriting, and claims. Web: https://www.statenational.com Details Credit unions have a two-fold mission — providing for the needs of their members in terms of member experience and access to financial products and services, and also protecting the institution so that it can remain profitable, grow, and be there in the long-term for future members.The sources of risk in financial institutions are plentiful, but certain areas spring to mind readily when thinking about the risks any financial institution faces:Economic Risks:Consumer ConfidenceUnemployment RateYield-Curve PerformanceHousing Market PerformancePolitical Conditions:U.S. Trade RelationsTariffsPublic OpinionMedia InfluencesFinancial Assessments:Loan-to-Value RatiosCollateral Protection/Loan SecurityDeposit Balances/Share GrowthDelinquencies and Charge-OffsFluctuating Interest Rates on Both Deposit Accounts and LoansIn addition, there are some risks that may not be as obvious but can be just as impactful in their effects. We discussed a few of these myriad areas of risk that a credit union faces with a group of risk mitigation professionals.DATA INTEGRITY AND SECURITYDave BrydunVP of Consumer Lending, BCU, Vernon Hills, IL:“Over the past few years, we’ve increased the percentage of loans (auto loans, credit cards, unsecured loans) that are automatically decisioned, vs. manually decisioned by an underwriter, to roughly 60%. The next frontier for us in terms of growing this percentage entails the use of “on-us” data and incorporating it into our system decisioning. Having strong data quality within our organization enables this opportunity but also presents risk if the data isn’t managed properly.”Henry RobaszewskiDirector of Risk Management, Finance, BCU, Vernon Hills, IL:“This area of data quality also relates to CECL, the new loss allocation model for loan losses that FASBI has required to be implemented in a few years. Adoption hasn’t taken place yet, but eventually all financial institutions will have to comply with that, so it is causing us to take a look again at the data, all the past history, and what it could mean for the future.”Eric FuglisterVP Consumer Lending, Wings CU, Apple Valley, MN:“Data security is obviously a huge risk. Especially with the Equifax data breach a couple of years ago — I think that should have shocked every financial institution down to its core. Every financial institution has a lot of sensitive information and you sure wouldn’t want to have something like that happen. So, your investment in data security and keeping on top of that is a huge deal.”COMPLIANCE OMISSIONSDeborah McRaeVP Risk Management, Five Star CU, Dothan, AL:“Failure to give disclosures on new accounts can definitely be a source of risk, and in lending, if you fail to disclose certain things in advance of a real estate loan, you’ve got issues. Whether in account opening or consumer loans there are so many disclosures we deal with, and the failure to do any one of those could get you into trouble because we’re in such a litigious environment, where everybody wants to get together and have class action suits for everything.”TECHNOLOGICAL COMPETITIONEric FuglisterVP Consumer Lending, Wings CU, Apple Valley, MN:“One good reason to automate as many of your loan decisions as possible is the risk of competition. Each member, while they might be a member of your credit union, might also use a number of other institutions or have other financial relationships. So when a potential borrower is auto shopping, for example, when they apply you need to be able to get them their decisions as quickly as possible. Because if you don’t, you’re at a competitive disadvantage — gone are the days of, ‘hey, submit an application, we’ll get back to you in two business days.’ Now you need to get them a decision right away because otherwise they’re just going to walk across the street to someone else.”HIRING, STAFFING, AND TURNOVEREric FuglisterVP Consumer Lending, Wings CU, Apple Valley, MN:“Trying to hire, especially for entry-level positions, has become extremely tough and competitive, both on pay and what you have to offer in benefits. Getting people in the door has been tough. You schedule interviews and people don’t show up, or you make offers and they accept and then they don’t show up for the first day of work — this is not just at Wings, I think everyone has seen a lot more of that. And then when you’re not fully staffed, your other employees are having to pick up the workload and you have staff burnout.”Deborah McRaeVP Risk Management, Five Star CU, Dothan, AL:“Sometimes training can be a challenge, making sure staff is trained to watch for red flags of potential fraud. And if you’re having a lot of turnover, it can feel like you never really get anybody trained before they’re gone again, before they get past the basics of how to make a deposit or withdrawal and move up to the level of developing relationships with members so they can provide the proper products and services based on each member’s needs. That not only lessens the member experience, it means passing up income opportunities, which is a profitability risk.”VEHICLE VALUES AND EXTENDED LOAN TERMSDave BrydunVP of Consumer Lending, BCU, Vernon Hills, IL:“Financial institutions are certainly taking on additional risk by originating auto loans with extended terms. Over the past few years, the percentage of auto loans with terms beyond 72 months has grown quite a bit. While we don’t originate much volume above 75 months, for the small portion that we do, we make sure additional rate premiums are in place to ensure that we are being compensated for the additional risk. So, yes, even though it’s a risk, in the end it’s how the financial institution or credit union prices for the risk that’s most important.”Eric FuglisterVP Consumer Lending, Wings CU, Apple Valley, MN:“Yes, I think the average price of new vehicles now is well into the mid-30s, and it’s not uncommon to have new vehicles well over $50,000. People are leasing or extending the terms to keep the payment down. Some financial institutions have even started going to 96 months to keep the payment manageable for the member or the customer. God forbid something happens and they total that vehicle or have something happen — all of a sudden they could be staring at a lot of negative equity. GAP claims have continued to rise because if someone does total their vehicle that deficiency balance on their insurance is getting to be larger and larger. It’s not uncommon to have negative deficiency of $5,000, $10,000, even $15,000. And if someone doesn’t have GAP it’s a large enough number that they might have to structure a personal loan and maybe they can’t really afford it. It has definitely created some issues in the auto lending world.”A comment from one of our interviewees summed up just how many areas of exposure a financial institution faces each and every day. When asked which parts of her business face risk, Deborah McRae said, “I can’t think of one that doesn’t! I don’t know that there’s any area that doesn’t have risk.”
“The steps now are observation, but it is controlled. It will depend on how he does. It is not highly complex, but it is still brain surgery.”- Advertisement – Mauricio Pochettino reminisces on sharing a room with Maradona and how his charismatic personality reminds him of former PSG teammate Ronaldinho He was later transferred to the Olivos Clinic in Buenos Aries to undergo surgery on a subdural hematoma – an accumulation of blood between a membrane and his brain.“I was able to evacuate the hematoma successfully and Diego tolerated the surgery very well,” said Leopoldo Luque, Maradona’s neurosurgeon and personal physician. Image:Maradona was initially admitted to hospital on Monday, suffering from anaemia and dehydration Maradona last appeared in public on his 60th birthday last Friday before his side’s league match against Patronato.He was gifted a plaque and a cake to celebrate the occasion but he did not stay to watch the game and witnesses said he looked unwell and weak. 5:20 The hematoma was likely to have been caused by an accident, Luque added, although Maradona has said he does not remember the event.Maradona, who won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986 and is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, currently coaches local club Gimnasia y Esgrima.He had initially self-isolated after one of his bodyguards displayed symptoms of coronavirus, the country’s state-run news agency Telam reported last Tuesday.- Advertisement – Diego Maradona has undergone successful brain surgery, the Argentina legend’s doctor has confirmed.Maradona, 60, was initially admitted to the Ipensa Clinic in La Plata, Argentina on Monday, suffering from anaemia and dehydration.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – The former Napoli, Barcelona and Boca Juniors player has suffered frequent periods in hospital over the years, often due to the extravagant lifestyle that accompanied and followed his playing career.The former Napoli striker was also admitted to hospital in January 2019 with internal bleeding in the stomach.He also fell ill at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he was filmed passing out in an executive box at the Argentina-Nigeria game.Maradona was taken into hospital in 2004 with severe heart and respiratory problems linked to cocaine use. He later underwent drug rehabilitation in Cuba and Argentina before a stomach-stapling operation in 2005 helped him lose weight.In 2007, he checked himself into a clinic in Buenos Aires to help him overcome alcohol abuse problems.
In the 1990s the treaty countries worked on setting up an agency similar to the IAEA or OPCW but couldn’t agree on details, the UN reported. In 2001 the countries decided to take a new approach focusing on better implementation of the existing provisions of the convention, and the resulting process showed the need for a small team to assist countries in those efforts. See also: Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention site The UN said the Sixth Review conference of the Biological Weapons Convention in December 2006 decided to establish the support unit to help countries in their efforts to implement the treaty. “The decision was a landmark in the history of the international community’s efforts against biological weapons, as the Convention itself has no provision for institutional support,” the statement said. The international agreements dealing with nuclear and chemical weapons have well-established organizations that oversee their operations (the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW]), but no such institution exists for biological weapons, the UN said. The need for such a group has often been noted, but an agreement on how to proceed was elusive until recently. The Biological Weapons Convention took effect in 1975 and was the first multilateral treaty banning an entire category of weapons. A total of 155 countries are parties to the convention, according to the treaty’s Web site. Aug 29, 2007 (CIDRAP News) The United Nations recently established a small team in Geneva to help implement the Biological Weapons Convention, the first international institution created for that purpose. Richard Lennane was appointed earlier this year as head of the unit, which began operating Aug 2, the UN said. The unit was officially inaugurated with an Aug 20 ceremony in Geneva. The launch coincided with the opening of the 2007 Biological Weapons Convention Meeting of Experts. The unit will also serve as a clearinghouse for information about “confidence-building measures,” provide administrative support to the participating countries, and work to persuade other countries to sign the convention, the UN said. “Much of the mandate of the Unit is concerned with facilitating communication among States parties [to the convention] and, upon request, facilitating contacts with scientific and academic institutions, as well as non-governmental organizations,” said Sergio Duarte, the UN’s high representative for disarmament affairs. Aug 20 UN news releasehttp://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2007/dc3079.doc.htm The Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit has a staff of three professional officers who will promote adherence to the 1972 treaty banning biological weapons and facilitate communication among countries that signed it, the UN said in an Aug 20 news release.