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A UCSD Whistleblower Alleges Problems With University’s Human Research Protections Program And More Local News

 August 15, 2019 at 2:52 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Thursday, August 15th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up or UC San Diego whistle blower claims. The university is putting thousands of research subjects at risk and weighing into this quarter. San Diego's new baby rhino at about 220 pounds. It was with frozen semen that's, that's only happened once before in the whole world and it's the first artificially inseminated CAF in North America. That more coming up right after the break. Speaker 2: 00:33 Thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh or UC San Diego whistleblower has alleged the university is putting at risk thousands of people each year by not following basic rules meant to protect medical research participants. I knew source investigative reporter Brad Racino as more Speaker 3: 00:52 in a letter delivered Monday to top University of California officials, the anonymous whistleblower Warren's quote. What is going to happen is someone will get hurt and quote the letter criticizes you CSDS. Human research protections program and says in part that university leadership pressures staff to approve unethical or dangerous studies to bring in more grant money. The whistleblower calls UCS DS program the most serial noncompliant throughout the University of California system, if not in the country. Speaker 4: 01:21 The report with very troubling Speaker 3: 01:23 Michael [inaudible] is a former associate director at the U S Office for human research protections. He read the complaint and said it suggests serious systemic problems at UC San Diego. Speaker 4: 01:34 The university chancellor, I think needs to take the complaint seriously, fully investigated and dooming the concerns raised are confirmed. Take major action to remove and hold accountable. You know, individuals that have encouraged noncompliance. Speaker 3: 01:50 A UCFD spokesman told, I knew source that a formal investigation has been opened and the allegations will be investigated through an official process for KPBS. I'm my new source investigative reporter Brad Racino. Speaker 2: 02:02 I knew source is an independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS. The family of Rebecca is a howl, found dead eight years ago at the Spreckels mansion in Coronado is demanding the case be reopened. Wednesday they announced a big reward to get people to come forward. KPBS reporter John Carroll has the latest Speaker 5: 02:22 the how family attorney Keith Greer with Rebecca sister marries how later by his side announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man. They say killed Rebecca Adam, check Nye Shaq. I is the brother of Jonah Shaq Nei. Rebecca's a house boyfriend at the time. Adam was the last person to see Rebecca alive. He was the one who called nine one one. After discovering her in the backyard, the sheriff's department investigation determines a how committed suicide by tying herself up and then hanging herself naked from a second story balcony. But Adam Shaq Nye was found for her murder in a civil trial last year. On Wednesday, Greer brought a startling charge against the sheriff. We have a sheriff Speaker 6: 03:06 who says, not only that it could be suicide, he's convinced it is suicide, and in saying that he's either lying or delusional, Speaker 5: 03:14 Keith Greer called on the doctor who was the medical examiner at the time to change the cause of death from suicide to homicide. John Carroll KPBS News, Speaker 2: 03:23 preventing credit card number theft at gas station pumps. Could be getting easier. KPBS side tech reporter Shalena Jelani says UC San Diego researchers created an application that detects credit card skimmers Speaker 7: 03:38 at a gas station in San Diego. Christopher road of the U s secret service opens up a gas pump. He blinks to a jumble of wires where criminals could install a Bluetooth skimmer or technology that can scan credit and debit card numbers and transmit them wirelessly so the bad guy could actually just be driving by park across the street, link up to it and actually have all the credit card data pushed out electronically. Skimmers aren't new, but these Bluetooth versions are trending across the country and are especially hard for inspectors to find. It's amazing this sophistication and the advancement of what ships can hold now and all the way up to 2000 card numbers can be found on an actual device. That's why the secret service partner? Yeah, Speaker 2: 04:19 with engineers at UC San Diego, they've created an application called Blue Tanya Speaker 6: 04:24 that can be used by a gas station. Inspectors to quickly determine whether there is the presence of any Bluetooth base guard skimmer at a particular station. Speaker 2: 04:35 Ucs, d engineer engineering a Sean buskers says the opposite, engineered to highlight skimmer frequencies, which normal Bluetooth apps can't do. Blue Taana isn't open to the public or the secret service, but it's being used by 44 gas station inspectors across six states, including some in San Diego. In the meantime, he says consumers can play it safe by paying for gas inside. For KPBS news, I'm Shalina Celani the state of California just got some good news. It's ahead of schedule on its goal of cutting carbon emissions, but kqbd science reporter Lauren summer says the state may not be able to keep that up. The headline is California has already hit its 2020 carbon emissions goal. Thanks largely to the rise of renewable energy, but here's the fine print. The biggest reason for California's 2017 emissions drop was a boom in hydro power from dams. It rained a lot and as Californians now that doesn't happen every year. Along with that. We are driving more of an ever, so vehicle emissions are still going up. That means a lot more Californians will have to switch to electric cars for the state to meet its climate goals beyond 2020 for the California report. I'm Lauren summer. The Baby Rhino Board at the San Diego Zoo safari park to a daf weeks ago is thriving under the watchful protective by of KPV. As reporter Eric Anderson says, the birth is an important milestone on the long journey to save a rhino species hovering close to extinction. Speaker 8: 06:08 Victoria led little Edward Out of their barn into an exercise paddock. They're not quite three week old. Southern White Rhino is feisty and keep her. Johnny [inaudible] says Edward wants mom to play along. Speaker 1: 06:24 He's trying to engage her and play and she just might not be feeling as excited and as playful like a typical mom. Speaker 8: 06:32 Edward also enjoys the muddy area in the middle of the pen. Computer says that the calf is curious and full of energy, especially in the mornings. Speaker 1: 06:44 He is very bold. He's really silly and playful. Um, he's a good addition to our faith or Rhino family here. He fits right in and he's doing well with his mom. Speaker 8: 06:54 Mom is particularly attentive, occasionally shielding her son from [inaudible] blockers. It's a protective spirit that keepers are happy to see and they're pleased. The calf who's packing on the weight, he was 148 pounds just two days after birth. Now the little rhino weighs 220 pounds. Got Says he'll add about 25 pounds a month during his first year of life. Edward's playful passion has zoo officials excited, but the zoos, reproductive physiologists, Barbara Durant's, as they're most pleased that the young rhino is here at all. Speaker 1: 07:31 So this is our first successful artificial and fit insemination, and it was with frozen semen. That's, that's only happened once before in the whole world. And it's the first artificially inseminated CAF in North America. Speaker 8: 07:44 Duran says, Edward represents an important lifeline and the effort to save the critically endangered northern white rhino. Only two are still alive and both are too old to breed. Duran says Edward's mom. Victoria is one of six southern White Rhino. Females playing a critical role in the northern white rhinos struggle against extinction Speaker 1: 08:06 and now we know that Victoria is what we call a proven female. So she, we know she can conceive, she can carry a fetus to term, she can give birth and she can take care of it. That's really important for us because in the future Victoria and the other girls here at the Rhino rescue center are going to be surrogates for northern white. Rhino Embryos. Speaker 8: 08:26 Scientist are still working out how to create northern white embryos from frozen cell samples. That gives to read time to get each of the six southern whites pregnant twice, once by artificial in semination and once by embryo implantation. Speaker 1: 08:41 Once we're ready with northern white rhino embryos, these females will each have had two calves so we know that they're fully capable. Speaker 8: 08:48 Victoria has already taken that first step at another member of the herd is close postdoctoral fellow Parker Pennington says another Rhino Female Amani is about 400 days into her pregnancy and a person might think that she would show it. Speaker 9: 09:03 No. Well. Um, they're quite large animals and they don't show their pregnancy quite so much. Speaker 8: 09:09 Pennington says the calf is located in the back half of the belly near the hind legs. She typically uses an ultrasound wand that gives researchers glimpses of the calf. She just doesn't get a complete picture because the ultrasound is small and the calf is large Speaker 9: 09:23 because it does sit so deep into her belly, we can actually see it. Um, and we can even detect movement on occasion when it's feeling active. Speaker 8: 09:32 Amani still has about a hundred days to go and her pregnancy, but so far Pennington says she's tracked right along with the pregnancy that Victoria went through. She says the rhinos are helping teach researchers. Speaker 9: 09:43 They're giving us some of the, um, the first ever information like this. Um, they're allowing us access so that we can actually see what's going on, um, and get some measurements. On occasion we can measure things like heart or a heart rate. And so that's new information for us Speaker 8: 10:02 with one playful rhino calf already on the ground. And another one close attention is turning to the rest of the herd. And the hope is that maybe a couple of more rhinos will be pregnant by the end of the year. Eric Anderson KPBS news Speaker 2: 10:18 for the past three days, Canadian attorney Laelani Fara, the United Nations special repertoire on adequate housing has been touring the streets of San Diego. She's been talking to people dealing with the city's unprecedented housing crisis. She's charged by the u n with investigating whether cities are in compliance with international human rights law when it comes to housing for us. Sat down with KPBS reporter Max for Evelyn Adler on Wednesday afternoon in South Park shortly after meeting with city and county officials. Speaker 8: 10:50 What have you seen during your visit to San Diego? Speaker 1: 10:53 I've seen a lot of homelessness, but to be honest, I've seen some really heartbreaking situations. Um, people living in really extreme life-threatening circumstances. Uh, and we have to remember there are of course the u s is the richest country in the world and California is a really wealthy state and yet people I saw are living on the pavements on sidewalks intense. I saw people living in their cars. I met a single mom with three children. One of whom was three years old, living in her little white car. I'm, I met people, older people today in particular who were living in RVs, um, made worse by the fact that their attempts to just survive are being criminalized. So they're being constantly inter interacted with by the police and harassed by the police. They're ticketed, fined, they can, they face misdemeanors. They've gone to jail just for trying to live. So it's, it's pretty stark and unacceptable from a human rights obligations point of view. Speaker 10: 11:57 The city council recently passed a bill making it illegal for people to live in their cars in certain areas of the city. Does this help exacerbate the housing crisis? Speaker 1: 12:06 There are a lot of people in San Diego who have no choice but to live in cars and RVs because they can't afford the cost of housing here. It's a really expensive place to live and if you're on low income or moderate income even, it's really tough to eek out an existence here. So, um, and criminalizing is obviously contrary to human rights. Um, and it also further stigmatizes those who are living in homelessness and allows more affluent segments of the population to look down on Poe on people living in homelessness to say, Oh look, they're, you know, involved with the police and you know, they must be dangerous or drug abusers or, and all those sorts of things. Speaker 10: 12:50 How has the rental market in California and across the country fundamentally changed in the post 2008 world where you have actors like the Blackstone group, private equity groups, um, moving into the rental market and, uh, just trying to earn money for their investors as opposed to provide adequate housing? Speaker 1: 13:07 Yeah, so we have seen the housing landscape shift and change entirely since 2008 and really since 2011 when those big financial actors, the private equity firms like Blackstone and others, big asset management firms, pension funds, insurance companies, started to invest unprecedented amounts of wealth and money in residential real estate. One to grow wealth to make it have a good return on investment for their investor clients. But also they use residential real estate as a way to leverage more capital to keep accumulate, accumulating wealth and buying more properties, et cetera. It's having a devastating effect on cities around the world. I haven't investigated that as much as I would like to in San Diego. Uh, but sure. It's a problem in northern California where I visited a year and a half ago. Uh, and, and in other places in the u s Speaker 10: 14:05 today you met with officials from both the city and county of San Diego. How did that go? Speaker 1: 14:10 No one with whom I spoke with within the city or the county was proud of the homelessness crisis in the city. I'm hopeful that political will and that interest in the issue will translate in to human rights outcomes. One of the things that, um, I think the city needs to grapple with is like what is an appropriate response to the situation. And I would really encourage them to better acquaint themselves with what their international human rights obligations are and to start using that to determine policy programs, ordinances, or lack of ordinances. I would love to see a moratorium on the criminalization of of homelessness in Speaker 2: 14:52 this city. Canadian attorney Laelani fora the United Nations special repertoire on adequate housing. Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. For more KPBS podcasts, go to

A UCSD whistleblower claims the research university is putting thousands of research subjects at risk each year because it’s not following basic rules and values money over safety. Also, a new app developed by UCSD researchers aims to curb card skimmers at gas stations, a $100,000 reward if being offered for new information in the death of Rebecca Zahau, and San Diego’s new baby rhino is getting bigger.