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Researchers calculated that there is 79 percent probability that they may potentially cause disease.

Scientists have discovered a thriving ecosystem of infectious organisms aboard the International Space Station. A Nasa team found five different varieties of Enterobacter, which are similar to bugs found in hospitals down here on Earth.

The toilet of the orbiting space base was one of the main sites of infection along with the exercise area. Researchers calculated that there is a 79 percent probability that they may potentially cause disease, although analysis has only been carried out on dead samples at this stage so this risk could prove to be higher or lower following further research. It is feared some of the bacteria could be drug-resistant, meaning they could pose more of a threat to astronauts because traditional treatments would not work properly.

However, researchers stressed the drugs are not harmful to humans currently aboard the ISS. Dr Nitin Singh, who has just published a report on the bugs, said, Given the multi-drug resistance results for these bacteria and the increased chance of pathogenicity we have identified, these species potentially pose important health considerations for future missions. Luckily, the tiny organisms do not appear to be virulent enough to make humans ill at this stage, although they could evolve into a more dangerous form. It is important to understand that the strains found on the ISS were not virulent, which means they are not an active threat to human health, but something to be monitored, Dr Singh added.

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Critics blast utility companies, policymakers for deadliest fire in state history

The California state agency charged with overseeing utility companies took nine years to develop a consistent statewide map designating areas at high risk for destructive power-line fires. Seven of those years took place during outgoing Gov. Jerry Browns time in office and six were during the tenure of a president of a key state agency who resigned after a series of leadership scandals. Longtime critics of the utility companies and their role in sparking some of the states worst wildfires are voicing new concerns after reports that PG and Es transmission line malfunctioned minutes before the start of the Camp Fire, the deadliest, most destructive fire in the states history.

Others are calling for the creation of a new independent body to oversee the utilities, complaining that the companies and their legions of lobbyists have too much sway over the existing California Public Utilities Commission, or CPUC. We were the only city in the state to participate in the fire-mapping process. It is a very slow-moving and bureaucratic and byzantine process dominated by the utility companies, Bob Whalen, a city council member from the fire-prone Southern California city of Laguna Beach, told the Washington Free Beacon.

The rule-making process was largely controlled by utility-related representatives, he said. Any suggestion we made was typically voted down 31 to 1, he said. To me, what would really take the fire mitigation analysis to a higher level is if you have an independent body of experts involved, he added. The utilities are so familiar with the process and so involved in the day to day of it, they really dominate the proceedings.

The CPUC is the state government agency charged with protecting consumers safeguarding the environment and assuring Californians access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services, according to its website.

What the CPUChasn't done a good job at is requiring the utilities to follow good safety practices, said Chico attorney Ken Roye, a resident of fire-ravaged Butte County who has litigated eight fire-related cases. They are all in bed together. The CPUC has not done anything to alleviate the problem, and it is been going on for over 30 years.

All eight cases that I have litigated have all involved vegetation management issues, every single one, he said. A CalMatters report on Monday said the states increasingly dire blazes have brought a reckoning over the role of power equipment in starting wildfires. Fireproofing the equipment will not be cheap and customers may pay, the report warned.

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