Thursday, October 31, 2013

I Love The Price Is Right

What Makes 'The Price Is Right' One of TV's Most Successful Shows?

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Drew Carey with a "Price Is Right" contestant
When the current incarnation of "The Price Is Right" debuted on Sept. 4, 1972, the Watergate cover-up was just getting rolling, men were still landing on the moon, Jane Fonda was crossing over into enemy territory in North Vietnam, and not a single U.S. household was wired for cable. Bobby Fischer became world chess champion the week that "Price" first appeared on the public airwaves, and 11 Israeli athletes were taken hostage at the Olympic Games in Munich the day after its debut.
Everything in the world has changed since, but 6,474 episodes later, "The Price Is Right" is still on the air for one full hour every single weekday, still beckoning audience members to "come on down," still handing out new cars to ecstatic contestants, and still as popular and beloved as it was during the Nixon era.
"The Price Is Right" may well be one of the most successful shows in television history.
What is the lure of "The Price Is Right"? And what keeps fans coming back? Why do its bells and whistles continue to mesmerize while other shows and genres come and go? We paid a visit to the set on the occasion of its special Halloween episode to see if we could find out.
The crowds arrive early, and from the first, they are excited. Very excited. Knowing that it will be a Halloween-themed episode, many are in costume, even though it is early September. Sitting on long rows of metal benches spanning the outside of the Television City studios in Los Angeles, Calif., they can barely contain themselves as they crane their necks staring up at videos of great "Price" moments. Producer Mike Richards explains that the team makes sure the entire experience — from arrival at the studio gates to "Showcase Showdown," "feels like a ride."
But it's a ride with a lot on the line. Each audience member is, of course, a potential contestant on the show. While they wait to enter the studio, each is interviewed and photographed. According to Stan Blits, the co-producer who leads the all-important task of "casting" the show each day, the questions are asked not so much to learn the audience members' answers "but to see how they act, how much excitement they show. Who freezes up." Their files are then taken upstairs, reviewed, and discussed, and the magic names are chosen, their papers spread on a conference table like mug shots, while downstairs the people have no idea what destiny awaits them.
It is the genius of the "Price Is Right" format, Mike Richards explains, that at the very top of the show, before the host has even appeared onstage, you have four winners. On other game shows, contestants are screened and informed of their taping schedule months in advance, giving them time to pick out outfits and compose themselves into sober, restrained television fixtures. On "Price," we are there with them at the moment when they hear the magic words "Come on down!" Just becoming a contestant is a prize, and the contestants' giddiness at having been selected doesn't even begin to deflate the entire game.
Upstairs, the final touches are being put on the Halloween set, complete with gravestones and spider webs. Host Drew Carey — in the role today of Count Drewcula, though not yet in his spooky makeup — practices his entrance descending from the rafters in cargo shorts. He descends with the cape wrapped over his face, and they lower him a few times, searching for the exact right spot for him to open his arms and reveal the Drewcula beneath. Carey and Richards debate where the reveal should hit and how much flapping he should do. "You look like you were flying angry," Richards says of one take. He asks the crew on the ropes if they can "turn his body a little so we can read his name tag."
Across the stage, announcer George Gray runs through his lines. Clad in a green body suit, he shines a flashlight at his face, preparing to appear like a floating disembodied head during the show. Members of the crew take pictures of the remade set for keepsakes. A car that is to be driven onstage by a remote-controlled skeleton is pushed into position; the models who display the prizes, themselves in spooky makeup, pose alongside.

One of the first things one notices on the "Price Is Right" set is how much fun everyone seems to be having. Ninety-five percent of TV production involves waiting around — while lights are adjusted, sound levels are checked, and myriad other details area taken care of. Life on a set is typically downright tedious, and the mood is generally one of quiet professionalism at best, annoyed testiness more often. To say that the crew whistles while they work on "The Price Is Right" maybe takes it too far, but throughout the day, everyone from the host and executive producer to the guys who hold the cue cards seem engaged and excited to be here. They may not be bouncing up and down in their seats with excitement like the audience members, but their smiles don't stop. When the cameras are rolling, everyone stops what they are doing to watch the show on the monitors — something that definitely is not typical on most sets. The details of the Halloween makeover seem to tickle everyone. That they are maintaining this energy 6,474 shows into "Price's" run is miraculous.
Host Carey explains later, "Being in this energy all day is amazing. You live here surrounded by all these extra endorphins. Being around this kind of happiness all day, it's amazing what it does for you emotionally and psychologically. You just feel better. Automatically you're just in a better mood just being in the building. Even the crew's happy."

Bristling with energy, the moment of truth approaching, the audience is hustled in to take their seats, escorted by zombie ushers. Perhaps unique among game shows, "The Price Is Right" has no obnoxious warm-up comic, but it relies on the host and the announcer themselves to chat with the crowd and keep them entertained. Having an accomplished comedian as the host certainly helps. Bob Barker in his day functioned as the chief cheerleader — a figure from the Ed Sullivan era to intone "How about that?" in appreciation of every act big and small.
Carey, in contrast, seems the wise guy at the dinner table, making ironic observations about audience members, poking fun at their excitement, their hometowns, their professions. He threatens to bite and kill a lawyer, and when one audience member reveals that she is a flight attendant, Carey shoots back, "Where's my bags, bitch?" Later in the show, Carey, in the Halloween spirit, will refer to one of their prizes — a Honda motorcycle — as a "death machine."
We ask him later if he is trying to push the boundaries of what is acceptable in the most Middle American of entertainments. Not at all, he says. "I think I'm being funny. I'm not looking to test the limits. I'm just teasing and having fun. If you're trying to be funny and in your head you're worried about what you can do and what you can't, you'll never be funny. I never want to make fun of anybody — I never want to hurt their feelings and make fun of them; you want to have fun with them."
However, the yukking it up with Drewcula is not all fun and games. To the side of the stage, co-producer Hilts watches. His first choices for who will play having been made, he is studying them as they sit in the audience watching Drew, unaware that their destinies hang in the balance. "Once we make our picks, we watch them on the line, we watch them in the audience. Anyone who looks tired, who crosses their arms and gets quiet, we yank them and go to our list of backups."
Backstage, Richards talks about his most unusual path to running a network show, particularly one as august as "Price." An actor himself who had hosted the NBC reality competition "Beauty and the Geek," he initially came in to audition for the hosting role as the producers faced the most perilous moment in the show's history: filling the shoes of the show's iconic host, Bob Barker. After having guided "Price" since its premiere, Barker was at last moving on.

The part eventually went, of course, to Carey, but Richards's preparation for the audition and his thoughts about the show impressed its overlords so much that months later, they asked him to come aboard behind the scenes. He remembers how he began thinking about the challenge of moving "The Price Is Right" forward to a post-Barker era while not alienating its fanatically loyal fan base.
"I spent four months kind of deconstructing the show," Richards recalls. "During my workout, I had it on, and I had a notepad, and by the end I had 60 pages of notes. I looked at what was 'The Price Is Right' without Bob Barker, because at the time it was impossible to imagine it. So when I got the call about stepping in, I was very clear about what was great about the show and what it was that Drew did well. It was my job to fuse the two, because Drew was still hosting Bob's show. But Drew is very different."The fusion occurred while retaining the basic skeleton of the show, the format, the "Come on Down" — looking for places to freshen up the production and let it reflect Carey's interests and his style. "It was about getting hipper prizes," Richards says. "Drew really likes technology. He likes amazing trips. He really likes giving away big amounts of money. And the shooting style of the show had to change because Bob was a technician. He hit every mark and did the rules of the games perfect every time and would bring the show in on time every episode. You could be four minutes long halfway through and he'd get it on time. That's not Drew. He's an improv guy. So it has to be looser; you have to take risks in how you shoot it."
Once the cameras begin to roll, it is as though all that energy and excitement that has been building in the audience rolls like a tidal wave over the set. On TV, you see the joy as people bound down the aisle to join the chosen at the podium. In person, the entire room explodes with such glee for the select few that it is hard to maintain a cynical detachment and not find yourself grinning at the spectacle.

We've all seen new cars in our time. When someone buys one these days, neighbors rarely pour out of their houses to dance in the street. In its four decades, "The Price Is Right" has given away literally thousands of cars. But the excitement when George Gray informs the audience that the next prize will be "a brand-new car!" is worthy of a religious revival meeting. The hysteria would put teenage girls screaming at a One Direction concert to shame. Carey, through his vampire makeup, breaks a smile every time. "Cars, cash, and trips — that's what people want to win," he offers later. "It's one of those big purchases — a house and a car. It's the second-biggest thing people ever pay for their whole life besides their house."
And that is the key, perhaps, to "The Price Is Right." It's not offering impossible dreams of recording contracts, eternal fame, or true love. The gifts are things you use, you need, you stress over the costs of. The stars are not reality show freaks but very familiar people who for a moment get to be a part of something that they have known and watched from afar, by and large, their entire lives.
As the show winds down, we spot an older woman who has just lost the "Showcase Showdown" being led through the wings back to her seat. She is the happiest loser you've ever seen, still trembling with excitement and joy just for having stood on that stage.
As long as "The Price Is Right" can keep manufacturing that feeling, it will last for a long time to come.
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Abortion !!!!

Federal appeals court reinstates most of Texas' abortion restrictions

Members of the gallery cheer and chant as the Texas Senate tries to bring an abortion bill to a vote as time expires, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Amid the deafening roar of abortion rights supporters, Texas Republicans huddled around the Senate podium to pass new abortion restrictions, but whether the vote was cast before or after midnight is in dispute. If signed into law, the measures would close almost every abortion clinic in Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A federal appeals court issued a ruling Thursday reinstating most of Texas' controversial new abortions restrictions, just three days after a federal judge ruled they were unconstitutional. 
The decision by the panel of judges at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals means as many as 12 clinics won't be able to perform the procedure starting as soon as Friday.
The panel said the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital can take effect while a lawsuit moves forward. The restrictions could take effect Friday.
The panel left in place a portion of District Judge Lee Yeakel's order that prevents the state from enforcing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration protocol for abortion-inducing drugs in cases where the woman is between 50 and 63 days into her pregnancy. Doctors testifying before the court had said such women would be harmed if the protocol were enforced.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott had made an emergency appeal to the conservative 5th Circuit, arguing that the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges is a constitutional use of the Legislature's authority.
Abbot said in a statement Thursday that "this unanimous decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women."
Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers had argued that the regulations did not protect women and would shut down a third of the abortion clinics in Texas.
The court's order is temporary until it can hold a complete hearing, likely in January. The restrictions are among the toughest in the nation and gained notoriety when Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis launched a nearly 13-hour filibuster against them in June. 
The law also bans abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy and beginning in October 2014 requires doctors to perform all abortions in surgical facilities.
During the trial, officials for one chain of abortion clinics testified that they've tried to obtain admitting privileges for their doctors at 32 hospitals, but so far only 15 accepted applications and none have announced a decision. 
Many hospitals with religious affiliations will not allow abortion doctors to work there, while others fear protests if they provide privileges. 
Many have requirements that doctors live within a certain radius of the facility, or perform a minimum number of surgeries a year that must be performed in a hospital.
The Associated Press contributed to this report

Oh Matt, What Large Boobs

Image: Matt Lauer dresses as Pam Anderson's character from 'Baywatch' (© Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

I Love The Chilling Dracula !!!

Vlad the Impaler: The real Dracula was absolutely vicious

7 hours ago
Hulton Archive / Getty file
Actor Bela Lugosi, who played an iconic Dracula, prepares to bite the neck of an unconscious young woman in the 1931 movie "Dracula."
Few names have cast more terror into the human heart than Dracula. The legendary vampire, created by author Bram Stoker for his 1897 novel of the same name, has inspired countless horror movies, television shows and other bloodcurdling tales of vampires.
Though Dracula may seem like a singular creation, Stoker in fact drew inspiration from a real-life man with an even more grotesque taste for blood: Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia or — as he is better known — Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Tepes), a name he earned for his favorite way of dispensing with his enemies.
Vlad III was born in 1431 in Transylvania, a mountainous region in modern-day Romania. His father was Vlad II Dracul, ruler of Wallachia, a principality located to the south of Transylvania. Vlad II was granted the surname Dracul ("dragon") after his induction into the Order of the Dragon, a Christian military order supported by the Holy Roman emperor. [8 Grisly Archaeological Discoveries]
Situated between Christian Europe and the Muslim lands of the Ottoman Empire, Transylvania and Wallachia were frequently the scene of bloody battles as Ottoman forces pushed westward into Europe, and Christian Crusaders repulsed the invaders or marched eastward toward the Holy Land.
When Vlad II was called to a diplomatic meeting in 1442 with Sultan Murad II, he brought his young sons Vlad III and Radu along. But the meeting was actually a trap: All three were arrested and held hostage. The elder Vlad was released under the condition that he leave his sons behind.
A portrait of Vlad the Impaler, circa 1450, from a painting in Castle Ambras in the Tyrol.
Years of captivityUnder the Ottomans, Vlad and his younger brother were tutored in science, philosophy and the arts — Vlad also became a skilled horseman and warrior. According to some accounts, however, he may also have been imprisoned and tortured for part of that time, during which he would have witnessed the impalement of his the Ottomans' enemies.
The rest of Vlad's family, however, fared even worse: His father was ousted as ruler of Wallachia by local warlords (boyars) and was killed in the swamps near Balteni, Wallachia, in 1447. Vlad's older brother, Mircea, was tortured, blinded and buried alive.
Whether these events turned Vlad III Dracula ("son of the dragon") into a ruthless killer is a matter of historical speculation. What is certain, however, is that once Vlad was freed from Ottoman captivity shortly after his family's death, his reign of blood began. [7 Strange Ways Humans Act Like Vampires]
In 1453, the city of Constantinople fell to the Ottomans, threatening all of Europe with an invasion. Vlad was charged with leading a force to defend Wallachia from an invasion. His 1456 battle to protect his homeland was victorious: Legend holds that he personally beheaded his opponent, Vladislav II, in one-on-one combat.
Daniel Mihailescu / AFP / Getty Images
Bran Castle is known more as Dracula's castle. Located in Transylvania, Romania, it is a major tourist attraction.
Though he was now ruler of the principality of Wallachia, his lands were in a ruinous state due to constant warfare and the internal strife caused by feuding boyars. To consolidate power, Vlad invited hundreds of them to a banquet. Knowing his authority would be challenged, he had his guests stabbed and their still-twitching bodies impaled.
What is impaling?Impaling is a particularly gruesome form of torture and death: A wood or metal pole is inserted through the body either front to back, or vertically, through the rectum or vagina. The exit wound could be near the victim's neck, shoulders or mouth.
In some cases, the pole was rounded, not sharp, to avoid damaging internal organs and thereby prolong the suffering of the victim. The pole was then raised vertically to display the victim's torment — it could take hours or days for the impaled person to die.
Though Vlad is widely credited with bringing order and stability to Wallachia, his rule was undisputedly vicious: Dozens of Saxon merchants in Kronstadt, who were once allied with the boyars, were also impaled in 1459.
The Ottoman Turks were never far from Vlad's thoughts — or his borders. When diplomatic envoys had an audience with Vlad in 1459, the diplomats declined to remove their hats, citing a religious custom. Commending them on their religious devotion, Vlad ensured that their hats would forever remain on their heads by having the hats nailed to the diplomats' skulls.
During one of his many successful campaigns against the Ottomans, Vlad wrote to a military ally in 1462, "I have killed peasants, men and women, old and young, who lived at Oblucitza and Novoselo, where the Danube flows into the sea … We killed 23,884 Turks, without counting those whom we burned in homes or the Turks whose heads were cut by our soldiers ...Thus, your highness, you must know that I have broken the peace."
Vlad's victories over the invading Ottomans were celebrated throughout Wallachia, Transylvania and the rest of Europe — even Pope Pius II was impressed. But Vlad also earned a much darker reputation: On one occasion, he reportedly dined among a veritable forest of defeated warriors writhing on impaled poles. It's not known whether tales of Vlad III Dracula dipping his bread in the blood of his victims are true, but stories about his unspeakable sadism swirled throughout Europe.
Tens of thousands killedIn total, Vlad is estimated to have killed about 80,000 people through various means. This includes some 20,000 people who were impaled and put on display outside the city of Targoviste: The sight was so repulsive that the invading Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, after seeing the scale of Vlad's carnage and the thousands of decaying bodies being picked apart by crows, turned back and retreated to Constantinople.
In 1476, while marching to yet another battle with the Ottomans, Vlad and a small vanguard of soldiers were ambushed, and Vlad was killed and beheaded — by most reports, his head was delivered to Mehmed II in Constantinople as a trophy to be displayed above the city's gates.
The Middle Ages were notoriously violent, and the name of Vlad III Dracula may have been a mere historical footnote were it not for an 1820 book by the British consul to Wallachia, William Wilkinson: "An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia: With Various Political Observations Relating to Them." Wilkinson delves into the history of the region, mentioning the notorious warlord Vlad Tepes.
Stoker, who never visited Vlad's homeland, was nonetheless known to have read Wilkinson's book. And if ever there were a historical figure to inspire a bloodthirsty, monstrous fictional character, Vlad III Dracula was one.
Follow Marc Lallanilla on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescienceFacebook an

I Say Go "Israel" !!!!!!!

Israeli aircraft attack Syrian base to destroy Russian shipment of missiles

The Syrian government and rebels cooperate to allow 1,800 civilians flee a besieged town, but for many refugees already outside Syria life remains a bleak challenge. Mana Rabiee reports.
ISRAELI warplanes yesterday attacked a shipment of Russian missiles inside a Syrian air base in a development that threatened to add another explosive layer to regional tensions from the Syrian civil war.
An Obama administration official confirmed the Israeli air strike overnight, but provided no details. Another security official said the attack occurred yesterday in the Syrian port city of Latakia and that the target was Russian-made SA-125 missiles.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to publicly discuss the attack. There was no immediate confirmation from Syria.
It's not the first time the base has been attacked.
A large explosion was reported at the facility on July 5. Israel was also blamed for that attack.
The revelation came as the government of President Bashar Assad met a key deadline in an ambitious plan to eliminate Syria's entire chemical weapons stockpile by mid-2014 and avoid international military action.
A fire ball rises as the Israeli air force carries out a raid over Gaza City on November 17, 2012. Israel was behind an attack o
A fire ball rises as the Israeli air force carries out a raid over Gaza City on November 17, 2012. Israel was behind an attack on a major Syrian defence facility yesterday, US officials say.
The announcement by a global chemical weapons watchdog that the country has completed the destruction of equipment used to produce the deadly agents highlights Assad's willingness to cooperate, and puts more pressure on the divided and outgunned rebels to attend a planned peace conference.
Since the civil war in Syria began in March 2011, Israel has carefully avoided taking sides, but has struck shipments of missiles inside Syria at least twice this year.
The Syrian military, overstretched by the civil war, has not retaliated, and it was not clear whether the embattled Syrian leader would choose to take action this time. Assad may decide to again let the Israeli attack slide, particularly when his army has the upper hand on the battlefield inside Syria.
Israel has repeatedly declared a series of red lines that could trigger Israeli military intervention, including the delivery of ``game-changing'' weapons to the Syrian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group.
Israel has never officially confirmed taking action inside Syria to avoid embarrassing Assad and sparking a potential response. But foreign officials say it has done so several times when Israeli intelligence determined that sophisticated missiles were on the move.
An Israeli F-16 I fighter jet takes off during a display for foreign media at the Ramon air force base in the Negev Desert, sout
An Israeli F-16 I fighter jet takes off during a display for foreign media at the Ramon air force base in the Negev Desert, southern Israel.
In January, an Israeli air strike in Syria destroyed a shipment of advanced anti-aircraft missiles bound for Hezbollah, according to US officials. And in May, it was said to have acted again, taking out a shipment of Iranian-made Fateh-110 missiles at a Damascus airport.
The Fateh-110s have advanced guidance systems that allow them to travel up to 300km per hour with great precision. Their solid-fuel propellant allows them to be launched at short notice, making them hard to detect and neutralise.
Israel has identified several other weapons systems as game changers, including chemical weapons, Russian-made Yakhont missiles that can be fired from land and destroy ships at sea, and Russian SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles. Israel's January air strike is believed to have destroyed a shipment of SA-17s.
Syrian activists and opposition groups reported strong explosions Wednesday night that appeared to come from inside an air defence facility in Latakia. They said the cause of the blasts was not known.
The announcement Thursday that Syria had completed the destruction of equipment used to produce chemical weapons came one day ahead of a November 1 deadline set by The Hague-based watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
An Israeli army Merkava tank is pictured from the Lebanese side of the border, near the Wazzani river, during manoeuvres by Isra
An Israeli army Merkava tank is pictured from the Lebanese side of the border, near the Wazzani river, during manoeuvres by Israeli forces in northern Israel just off the border with Lebanon.
But while some experts portrayed the step as a milestone, others said it has little impact as long as Syria still has its entire remaining stockpile of functioning chemical weapons.
``Only after those weapons have been destroyed or removed from Syrian control will the state be demilitarised,'' said David Reeths, director at HIS Jane's Consulting.
With the initial stage of verification and destruction of weapons machinery completed, the hard task now begins.
The executive committee of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has until November 15 to decide how best to permanently destroy Syria's chemical weapons program and its stockpile of deadly mustard gas, sarin and precursor chemicals.
It's not yet clear how and where the arsenal will be destroyed, but carrying out the work in Syria or transporting the chemical weapons out of the country for destruction elsewhere are both fraught with risks amid the ongoing civil war. The country is believed to have around 1000 metric tons of chemical weapons.
Bedouins watch Israeli army helicopters pass over head in the Bedouin village of Al-Arakib, Israel.
Bedouins watch Israeli army helicopters pass over head in the Bedouin village of Al-Arakib, Israel.
Assad has so far met all required deadlines according to the strict timeline, demonstrating his willingness to go to great lengths to avoid international military action.
``This is a clear indication of the Syrian government's wish to cooperate and abide by its commitments,'' said Syrian lawmaker Issam Khalil. He said Syria knows ``full well that the US has not ceased its hostile policies toward Syria and will attempt to exploit any excuse - however small and inconsequential - to carry out a military strike against Syria.''
The US-Russian deal to destroy Syria's stockpile averted a US military strike against the Syrian government that appeared certain in August, following a chemical weapons attack near Damascus that killed hundreds the US blamed on Assad.
By making him a partner in implementing the disarmament deal, the agreement appears to have restored some of Assad's legitimacy while angering his opponents, who now baulk at attending political transition talks the US hopes will begin in Geneva in November.
No final date has been set for the talks, and there have been disagreements among opposition groups on whether to attend or not, and the conditions for taking part. Syria's main opposition group in exile, the Syrian National Coalition, postponed its general council meeting in Istanbul from Friday to Nov. 10, pending further discussions on the highly divisive talks.
An Israeli air force pilot and his copilot are pictured in the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 I fighter jet.
An Israeli air force pilot and his copilot are pictured in the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 I fighter jet.
U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, currently in Damascus, has urged both sides to come to the talks without preconditions. But both have placed seemingly unrealistic conditions for attending.
At a Senate hearing in Washington yesterday, Senator John McCain said Assad, who was about to be toppled a year ago, has ``turned the tide'' while continuing to slaughter innocent civilians.
Fighting continued at a high pace across many parts of the country, including in the town of Safira, in northern Aleppo province. Experts say the town is home to a chemical weapons production facility, as well as storage sites.
Activists said troops were advancing Thursday in the town, capturing several neighbourhoods and causing casualties on both sides.
Also on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based Syria watchdog, said more than 120,000 people have been killed since the start of the country's conflict nearly three years ago. In July, the UN estimated 100,000 have died in the conflict since March 2011. It has not updated that figure since.
The violence underscored the dangers the chemical weapons' inspectors face as they race against tight deadlines in the midst of an ongoing civil war.
Earlier this week, the inspectors said they had completed their first round of verification work, visiting 21 of 23 sites declared by Damascus. They were unable to visit two sites because of security concerns, the inspectors said.
On Thursday, the chemical weapons agency said the two locations were, according to Syria, ``abandoned and ... the chemical weapons program items they contained were moved to other declared sites, which were inspected.''
It was not immediately clear if the facility in Safira was one of the two sites.
Commenting on the two sites, OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan said, ``it was just deemed too risky.'' He told the AP that Syrian authorities were not able to offer the necessary security guarantees for inspectors to visit those sites.
He added, however, that the Syrian side provided ``quite compelling documentary evidence'' that equipment in one of the sites was moved to another location that inspectors did visit.