Categories
Technology US

NASA’s critical rocket test ends with a shutdown

A critical NASA rocket test ended with a shutdown on Saturday, a little over a minute into what was planned to be an eight-minute test. This trial run was a vital checkpoint for NASA’s much-delayed Space Launch System. The SLS is set to play a key role in the agency’s Artemis program which aims to return astronauts to the Moon.

During today’s Green Run test, the four rocket engines in the SLS core fired for a little over a minute while anchored in NASA’s rocket test stand. The team had planned to have the engines fire for approximately eight minutes, or about the same amount of time it will take to launch future missions to the Moon. The first 250 seconds of the test were especially key for the engineering team — during that time they planned to have the engines move through a series of maneuvers designed to test the responsiveness of the engines while they were lit.

During the test, about 1,400 sensors were gathering data on the rocket and its performance. Among other things, the sensors monitored the core for vibration, temperature, acoustics, and stress. Even though the test was cut short, those sensors did gather a lot of data that will help NASA determine the path forward.

Developing…

Categories
UAE

One dies, another critical in cooking gas cylinder blast in Sharjah

Sharjah: One person has died and another seriously injured in an explosion caused by a leakage in a cooking gas cylinder at a scrap shop in Al Sajja area in Sharjah, officials said.

The accident occurred on December 28. The person died on January 2 and his body was moved to the forensic laboratory on January 5.

The 25-year-old victim, F.M.M., was from Pakistan. The injured person was identified as F.H.Sh., aged 29 years. He is in a critical condition and remains in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Al Qassimi Hospital.

The owner of the shop, R.F., told Gulf News that his son-in-law [the deceased] was cutting the 50-pound gas cylinder, to be sold as scrap, when the incident occurred. His friend was sitting with him chatting at the time.

Then explosion took place around 8.15am. The owner said that he received a call from his son-in-law, who told him that he was burning and asked him to call the ambulance.

The owner immediately contacted National Ambulance. F.M.M. was admitted to the hospital at 10.35am in a critical condition. He died of his injuries on January 2 at 5.45pm and his body moved to forensic laboratory.

Al Sajja Police station has launched an investigation over the incident.

Categories
Canada

Critical workers also caught the attention of the newsroom

Acadie Nouvelle’s internal survey brought out other personalities who marked the year 2020. Here are the ones who caught the attention of the newsroom team the most.

Essential workers

L’Acadie Nouvelle wanted to salute the efforts made by essential workers in the province. They risked their lives during the pandemic when some of them are paid minimum wage.

These employees suffered an increased burden of their tasks (disinfection, customer awareness and wearing of protective equipment). In addition, some people frustrated by health regulations disrespected them.

In a report in April with employees of pharmacies, supermarkets and a gas station, a worker testified with tears in her eyes.

The outbreaks of infection in nursing homes in the province and the health crisis in CHSLDs in Quebec have also underlined as never before the importance of workers in these establishments.

The Progressive Conservative government of New Brunswick has been slow to reward them.

Blaine Higgs began by denying them in April the subsidy of a wage premium offered by Ottawa. He quickly changed his mind after much criticism. He then accepted a two-phase program, two-thirds funded by the federal government.

The provincial government announced the first phase in May: $ 2,000 for each skilled worker of essentials, earning $ 18 an hour or less (staff in early childhood homes, special care homes, homeless shelters, etc. .).

It announced the second phase in July for an expanded list of employees (private sector home support workers, early learning and childcare support workers), who received a bonus calculated differently.

Members of the Green Party and the Liberal Party have criticized the absence of certain professions from the government’s list.

Robert Gauvin

In February, Robert Gauvin chose to revolt against the Progressive Conservative government. He was, however, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture as well as Minister responsible for La Francophonie.

He opposed the closing of emergency departments at six rural hospitals (including three francophone) overnight.

A potentially fatal blow for the Blaine Higgs caucus, then in the minority. It was also a symbolic blow, because Mr. Gauvin was the only Progressive Conservative MP from a predominantly Francophone riding (Shippagan-Lamèque-Miscou).

Jean Gauvin’s son became an independent MP, before joining the liberal camp in August, after the provincial elections were called.

“I am free, released. I am liberal ”, he proclaimed.

He argued that it was impossible to change the Progressive Conservative Party from within. He also argued that this political formation was no longer that of Richard Hatfield for which his father had been a minister and who had an openness to the French language.

Mr. Gauvain succeeded in being elected for the Liberal Party in September in the riding of Baie-de-Shediac-Dieppe with 5,839 votes, or 59.8% of the vote, far ahead of the Progressive Conservative, Mathieu Gérald Caissie (2,971 votes).

Blaine higgs

As Premier of New Brunswick, Blaine Higgs was very likely to influence 2020, but he has met with resounding failure and success.

His failure was his attempt to close between midnight and 8 a.m. the emergency departments of the hospitals in Caraquet, Sainte-Anne-de-Kent, Sackville, Sussex, Perth-Andover and Grand Falls.

He wanted to find a solution to the interruptions of service caused by the shortage of health workers in hospitals, which is likely to worsen as the population ages.

As soon as it was announced in early February, this reform attempt provoked great resistance.

The emergency departments of the three rural hospitals of the Vitalité Health Network threatened with closure received 5.7 serious cases on average per night in 2019, for example.

Blaine Higgs abandoned his project a few days after it was revealed to the public. At the same time, he promised to discuss with the targeted communities, which could not be done because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In November, the government nevertheless announced consultations during the first half of 2021 to find solutions to tackle the “staff shortage” and “underutilization of resources” in the health system.

Blaine Higgs’ achievement was his re-election as the head of a majority government in the midst of a pandemic. The Prime Minister called the poll on September 14, just 28 days before it was to be held.

The Acadie Nouvelle articles likened this decision to a “bet”.

“To provoke elections that no one else wants, in the midst of a pandemic, despite the historic collaboration of other parties, and for opportunistic reasons, is a good recipe for putting voters on their backs”, judged the columnist Francois Gravel.

Still, the Progressive Conservatives won 27 seats and garnered 39% of the vote. And this, without giving details on their program! The Liberals came far behind in second, with just 17 seats and 34.3% of the vote.

Blaine Higgs only failed, once again, to win over the Acadian electorate.

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Categories
Headlines UK

Save the Robin: Wildlife experts say it’s a critical time to support the ‘UK’s national bird’  

Britain’s iconic robin redbreast is especially under threat this winter due to declining winter temperatures, wildlife experts have warned.

A combination of disappearing hedgerows, declining food resources and harsh cold spells due to the La Niña phenomenon this winter means robins are relying on bird feeders in the public’s back gardens more than ever.  

The robin (Erithacus rubecula), which was officially voted ‘the UK’s national bird in 2015 and is considered an emblem of the festive season, can lose up to 10 per cent of its body weight in a single winter night while attempting to keep warm.

But unless it can feed well and replenish its reserves every day, a cold spell could be fatal, according to wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES). 

Robin numbers in our gardens have already decreased 32 per cent since 1979, the RSPB found, and without supplementary bird feeding in people’s gardens, up to half of robins in Britain could die of cold and starvation in a winter season. 

Robins can eat suet pellets, mealworms, dried fruit, crushed peanuts and even remains of roast potatoes from Christmas dinner, as long as they’re not too greasy.

Without supplementary bird feeding in gardens, up to half of robins could die of cold and starvation

ROBIN NUMBERS IN THE UK 

The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch results for this year showed robin numbers decreased 32 per cent since 1979 – a figure that’s unchanged since 2019.

Big Garden Birdwatch is the charity’s annual citizen science project, which requires the help of the general public to count bird numbers.

Other sources suggest they are not in a nationwide decline compared to figures earlier in the 20th century. 

The British Trust for Ornithology says the robin increased 52 per cent between 1967 and 2017.

Robins have increased markedly since the mid 1980s having been previously set back earlier by a succession of cold winters, it says. 

‘With their striking red breasts robins are one of the UK’s favourite birds,’ Charlotte Ambrose wildlife advisor at RSPB, told MailOnline. 

‘For many people, spotting robins feeding in the garden or local park will be among their first memories of connecting with nature.

‘Up until now birds have been able to find natural foods available to them like insects and seeds, but the cold weather means that they will be more inclined to move into our gardens to find refuge. 

‘You can make a real difference and improve their chances of survival, as well as being rewarded by great views of wildlife in your garden or outside space.’

Robins like eating insects and worms, but also feed on nuts and fruit such as berries from the hedgerows – however, around 50 per cent of British hedgerows have been lost since WWII. 

‘Hedgerows are bejewelled with hawthorn berries, rose hips, sloes and a myriad of other fruits in the autumn, and can be a veritable larder for birds and small mammals preparing for winter,’ said Megan Gimber, key habitats project officer at PTES. 

UK charity SongBird Survival says robins and other species – tree sparrows, willow tits, linnets and tree pipits – are in great danger of becoming extinct, especially in winter with depleted food supplies.  

This winter, the Met Office has warned of the effects of La Niña – the large-scale cooling of the ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean – leading to variations in global weather.

WHAT IS LA NINA?  

La Niña occurs in the Pacific Ocean every three to seven years.

The weather pattern causes abnormally strong winds, making the ocean colder.

This small change in temperature can trigger local weather patterns globally, including torrential rain, plunging temperatures and cyclones.

Rain clouds normally form over warm ocean water. La Niña blows all of this warm water to the western Pacific.

This means that places like Indonesia, Australia and southern Africa can get much more rain than usual.

It typically unfolds during the end of autumn or early winter.

‘La Niña has a profound effect on weather across the globe with us even seeing impacts that extend across the UK,’ said Professor Adam Scaife, head of long range prediction at the Met Office. 

‘In late autumn and early winter it historically promotes high pressure in the mid-Atlantic, which stops Atlantic weather systems from delivering mild air to the UK, and therefore can allow cold conditions to intensify.’

Therefore, food, water and shelter in the form of nest boxes for birds visiting a back garden can make a difference to robin survival rates.  

Robins prefer to forage and feed off the ground, so by placing a small food tray full of food close to a shrub tree or perch, Brits can encourage them to make a garden their home for the season. 

After time, robins can quickly become confident in human presence and feeding from the hand is not unknown, providing the perfect opportunity to catch some festive photographs for next year’s Christmas cards. 

The RSPB suggests feeding robins calorie-rich foods like mixed seed, sunflower seed, nyjer seed and good quality peanuts, or even make homemade fat cakes to hang off a branch.  

Kitchen scraps like mild grated cheese, bruised fruit that’s not gone mouldy, leftover pastry bits (especially made with suet) and unsalted bits of bacon rind chopped up into small chunks are also good options.  

Robins feed on insects (especially beetles), worms, fruit, seeds, suet, crushed peanuts, sunflower hearts and raisins

Robins feed on insects (especially beetles), worms, fruit, seeds, suet, crushed peanuts, sunflower hearts and raisins

FOOD FOR ROBINS  

The best foods to put out for robins are: 

– Mealworms and calcium worms, which are especially beneficial because they are insectivores 

– Fatty foods like suet pellets

– Special high protein robin blends 

– Meaty kitchen scraps 

– Mild cheese 

– Cake and biscuit crumbs 

– Dried fruit 

– Peanuts (shredded or crushed) 

However, some foods around the kitchen at Christmas can dangerous for birds, such as cooking fat from the roast, which could stick to feathers and stop them from being waterproof.

‘As a general rule it’s better to steer clear of cooked meats and fats to put out for birds,’ said wildlife expert Sean McMenemy.

‘This is because it mostly has too much salt, quickly turns rancid and attracts rodents.

‘While avoiding salty foods or liquid fats, a few roasties put out for the birds on a cold day will delight them. 

‘Just make sure you pick up any uneaten leftovers before nightfall and safely dispose of them before they go off and become toxic or attract pest species.’ 

Other foods to avoid are dried coconut, cooked porridge oats, milk, and mouldy or salted food.

Fresh water for drinking and bathing is also important this season, meaning bird tables will make a big difference to the survival of robins in urban and suburban areas. 

Garden owners can float a small ball, such as a ping-pong ball, on the surface of the water in a bird bath to stop it from freezing over.  

RSPB’s website also has guidelines for making a wooden nestbox, to give robins a home in the winter.  

European robin, Erithacus rubecula, with grubs in its beak feeding its young in a garden nesting box, Painswick, Gloucestershire, UK

European robin, Erithacus rubecula, with grubs in its beak feeding its young in a garden nesting box, Painswick, Gloucestershire, UK

Nest boxes, which will be used as night roosting sites as well as places for nesting in the spring, should be placed at least seven feet from dense vegetation in order to prevent surprise attacks from cats. 

These boxes are frequently communal, the RSPB told MailOnline, with many residents packing in together for extra warmth – the record number of birds found in one box is 63 wrens.

But even letting dense hedges such as privet or hawthorn, or festive ivy or holly, to grow will provide a place for robins to roost and shelter. 

It’s also worth ensuring that the back garden isn’t too pristine or tidy, as some wild undergrowth will encourage the proliferation of insects and help robins find food.

RSPB says that turning a garden into a bird home and making sure it’s filled with food now will improve chances of a successful Big Garden Birdwatch next month – the charity’s annual citizen science project, running from January 29-31.  

Brits signed up to the project need to spend an hour counting the birds they see in a garden, from a balcony or in a local park to help RSPB provide a comprehensive estimate of the country’s bird numbers.   

MAKE A FAT CAKE FOR BIRDS THIS WINTER 

Brits can provide an excellent full-fat winter food for birds by making homemade bird cakes or fat balls. 

All that’s needed is lard or suet (at room temperature), a handful of bird seed, a handful of peanuts (unsalted), grated mild cheese or raisins, dry leftovers (like bread or cake), old clean yoghurt pots and string.   

Method 

Melt the lard or suet slightly if it’s chilled and hard as it needs to be room temperature.

Use one part fat to two parts dry mixture and mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Make a small hole in the bottom of each of your yoghurt pots, thread a length of string through the hole and tie a knot to secure it.

Pack each pot tightly with the mixture and put it in the fridge until it’s set hard.

Once it’s fully set, cut away the yoghurt pot and recycle it. It should come off OK if the mixture is cold enough.

Tie the string over a tree or shrub branch and (make sure to pick a spot that’s out of reach from the pet cat).

If the fat cake is a bit crumbly, next time add a little more fat and a little less dry mixture.  

Fat cakes are a good help to birds in the lean months, but even better is to create a wildlife-friendly garden, according to the National Trust. 

‘Have plants in your garden that carry fruit, nuts, seeds and berries as they’re good sources of food for birds and mammals,’ said National Trust wildlife adviser Jo Hodgkins.

‘Leave seed heads on over winter so birds can eat them and insects can over-winter in hollow stems. 

‘Having wild areas and log piles which harbour insects will also help hedgehogs and other small mammals over winter.’

Source: The National Trust   

Categories
Canada

COVID-19: 10 hospitals in “critical” situation in Quebec

The Minister of Health Christian Dubé and the National Director of Public Health, Dr Horacio Arruda, provided an update on the pandemic in the province.

• Read also: COVID-19 in Quebec: 1,773 additional cases, 36 new deaths

• Read also: [EN DIRECT] All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

10 hospitals are in “critical” situation in Quebec, announces the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé.

Despite a marked 60% increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, there should be no shortage of beds to accommodate people who will be hospitalized during the critical holiday season.

In addition, the vaccination campaign put in place this week is going well: 21 sites should be ready across Quebec as of Monday.

Priority is given to beneficiaries in CHSLDs, and to workers in these care settings.

Several voices are being raised to ensure that all health care workers receive the vaccine, including those in hospitals, especially given the numerous outbreaks observed in these places.

As of Friday, there are 27,400 health care workers infected.

HERE IS THE LIST OF ESTABLISHMENTS IN CRITICAL SITUATION

  • Chicoutimi Hospital
  • CHUQ Enfant-Jesus Quebec
  • Trois-Rivières Hospital
  • Pierre-Boucher Hospital
  • Anna-Laberge Hospital
  • Lakeshore Hospital
  • Verdun hospital
  • Hull hospital
  • Sherbrooke University Hospital
  • IUCPQ in Quebec

More details to come …

Categories
Technology US

Facebook hits back at Apple with second critical newspaper ad

Facebook is stepping up its campaign against Apple’s privacy changes with a second full-page newspaper ad today. This new ad claims Apple’s iOS 14 privacy changes “will change the internet as we know it,” and force websites and blogs “to start charging you subscription fees” or add in-app purchases due to a lack of personalized ads. It follows a similar full-page newspaper ad in the The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and the Washington Post yesterday.

Apple is planning to make changes to iOS 14 early next year that will require developers to ask for permission to gather data and track users across mobile apps and websites on an iPhone or iPad. Apple revealed how iOS 14 users will be prompted to opt into tracking in apps this week, noting that developers like Facebook can explain to users why they should allow tracking within the prompt.

Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 privacy prompt.
Image: Apple

These changes will impact Facebook’s lucrative ad business, but the social networking giant is framing them as something far larger that could impact small businesses. Unsurprisingly, Apple doesn’t agree. “We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users,” said an Apple spokesperson in response to Facebook’s first full-page newspaper ad yesterday. “Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not.”

Facebook clearly isn’t holding back on its PR campaign, with this latest newspaper ad trying to sway readers that Apple’s changes are more about moving websites and apps into a paid model where Apple stands to benefit from in-app purchases and subscriptions. With full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and the Washington Post, Facebook is also very clearly trying to convince regulators (i.e. people that still read paper newspapers) to look at Apple’s privacy changes.

This is just the latest in an ongoing public spat between Apple and Facebook over iOS 14 privacy and policy changes, and follows Apple’s new App Store privacy labels. Facebook also hit out against Apple’s App Store policies earlier this year, adding to the growing industry pressure against Apple’s cloud gaming restrictions. Facebook also welcomed the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) this week, hoping that the DMA “will also set boundaries for Apple.”

Categories
Football USA

Giants’ big Daniel Jones decision sets stage for critical test

The games get bigger and bigger now — these final four games in a meaningful December that Giants fans have been longing for, a meaningful December watching a team growing up sooner than they expected before their eyes, led by a precocious rookie head coach who is already bringing back memories of exhilarating days when Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin ruled the roost and roamed the sideline as football Gen. Pattons.

Joe Judge’s vision of Giants fans proudly wearing their hats and T-shirts and jerseys again has come to fruition, the prospect of discovering the surprise gift of a dream team beneath their Christmas tree giving them a dream season during this pandemic nightmare making their Big Blue hearts sing and dance again.

And his tough young franchise quarterback, Daniel Jones, desperately wanted the fortunes of his franchise in his hands again and gets it back from Colt McCoy at this moment of playoff truth.

On the heels of that monumental takedown of Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in Seattle, this is no time for Judge’s Giants to take bows and let up or suffer a letdown, not that Judge would ever allow it. This is no time for them to think they’ve accomplished anything just because the NFC Least reveals them as a first-place team.

The Washington Football Team’s upset of the previously perfect Steelers leaves them 5-7, same as the Giants. The Giants have won four in a row, and before the WFT visits the 49ers, it would be a good idea for them to drive for five against Kyler Murray’s reeling 6-6 Cardinals team that could be in competition for that seventh and last (wild-card) playoff berth.

A good idea for them to show up as Card sharks.

Giants fans will have their fingers crossed that when Daniel Jones runs through the MetLife Stadium tunnel, he will not tweak his questionable hamstring, that Judge’s most critical decision of the season involving the quarterback position will be proven right.

Daniel Jones (l) and Joe Judge
Daniel Jones (l) and Joe Judge
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Jones was a full participant at the Friday practice, the hamstring checked out just fine on Saturday, and barring an unforeseen setback, will be back in the saddle of the Big Blue horse.

There are never any guarantees with hamstrings from one day to the next, from one exerted movement to the next, so Colt McCoy was placed on red alert all week in the event Jones starts and cannot finish.

To start or not to start Jones is only Judge’s most critical decision of the season, one with potential short-term and longer-term ramifications.

Giants fans watching from afar now know this about their team: It will rally around the quarterback on both sides of the ball.

Gen. Judge has molded the Giants into a well-trained army — tough, smart, disciplined — that fights together and fights to the finish, and has learned how to finish.

What surely titillated Giants fans last week was a team that imposed a brand of bully-ball on a formidable opponent — Wayne “The Train” Gallman choo-chooing behind an evolving and feisty young offensive line, and a Patrick Graham defense long on brain (think Logan Ryan, Blake Martinez and Dalvin Tomlinson) and brawn (think Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence and Tomlinson).

Jones, even if he is discouraged from using his legs as a weapon, would (unlike McCoy) threaten the entire field, a boon to the ground game, and would be trusted more to win the game in the fourth quarter. Chandler Jones, who recorded four of the Cardinals’ eight sacks against him 14 months ago, is lost for the season with a right biceps injury.

You would have to believe that if Graham’s camouflage defenses could confuse Wilson, it should be able to torment the less experienced Murray — who has been struggling lately, particularly against the blitz, and accounted for just 128 combined yards in the Cardinals’ 27-21 win a year ago.

If ILB Martinez (lower back, questionable) can make it, Big Blue will field just three starters (Tomlinson, Lawrence, Jabrill Peppers) from last season’s matchup. If Murray’s barking throwing shoulder proves vulnerable to Williams’ predatory assaults, it will help mitigate the threat of DeAndre Hopkins for James Bradberry.

It bodes well for GM Dave Gettleman’s future that he and Judge have been working so well together. Gettleman has been proven right on Williams, Ryan, Martinez, Bradberry, Peppers, Lawrence, Nick Gates, Lorenzo Carter and Graham Gano, and there is optimism that with the drafting of Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart and Shane Lemieux, the offensive line might finally be fixed. We can debate drafting Saquon Barkley with the second-pick all day for now. Has Gettleman made mistakes rebuilding the Giants? Of course he has. Every GM does.

Most of all, Gettleman was right on Jones.

And also most of all, the franchise decision-makers were right on Judge.

One voice. One heartbeat.

Football junkies and gym rats building the only kind of culture that gives you an opportunity for sustained success.

Because Judge and his staff have developed the players that Gettleman has gotten them.

The future looks bright.

And razing Arizona would be further evidence that the future might very well be now.

Categories
Canada

Two minors in critical condition after an accident in Saint-Lin — Laurentides

Two miners are in critical condition after a collision on the St-Jean stream range, in Saint-Lin — Laurentides, on Friday around 4:45 pm.

For a reason still unknown to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), the driver of the vehicle lost control of her car and ended her path in the ditch. The two minors who were in the vehicle with her suffered most of the damage, and had to be transported to a hospital in critical condition.

The SQ said Friday night that young people were still between life and death.

The driver was also taken to hospital with nervous shock. She will be met when her condition permits.

Rang Brook St-Jean was closed for an indefinite period, between Montée St-Jacques and Rang St-Philippe, because an investigation was still in progress.

No assumptions were ruled out at the time of this writing.

Categories
Tech News

Hackers Targeting Firms Critical for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution: IBM


IBM is sounding the alarm over hackers targeting companies critical to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, a sign that digital spies are turning their attention to the complex logistical work involved in inoculating the world’s population against the novel coronavirus.

The information technology company said in a blog post published on Thursday that it had uncovered “a global phishing campaign” focused on organisations associated with the COVID-19 vaccine “cold chain,” the process needed to keep vaccine doses at extremely cold temperatures as they travel from manufacturers to people’s arms.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency reposted the report, warning members of Operation Warp Speed, the US government’s national vaccine mission, to be on the lookout.

Understanding how to build a secure cold chain is fundamental to distributing vaccines developed by the likes of Pfizer and BioNTech because the shots need to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 F) or below to avoid spoiling.

IBM’s cybersecurity unit said it had detected an advanced group of hackers working to gather information about different aspects of the cold chain, using meticulously crafted booby-trapped emails sent in the name of an executive with Haier Biomedical, a Chinese cold chain provider that specialises in vaccine transport and biological sample storage.

The hackers went through “an exceptional amount of effort,” said IBM analyst Claire Zaboeva, who helped draft the report. Hackers researched the correct make, model, and pricing of various Haier refrigeration units, Zaboeva said.

“Whoever put together this campaign was intimately aware of whatever products were involved in the supply chain to deliver a vaccine for a global pandemic,” she said.

Haier Medical did not return messages seeking comment.

Messages sent to the email addresses used by the hackers were not returned.

IBM said the bogus Haier emails were sent to around 10 different organisations but only identified one target by name: the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union, which handles tax and customs issues across the EU and has helped set rules on the import of vaccines.

Representatives for the directorate-general could not immediately be reached for comment.

IBM said other targets included companies involved in the manufacture of solar panels, which are used to power vaccine refrigerators in warm countries, and petrochemical products that could be used to derive dry ice.

Who is behind the vaccine supply chain espionage campaign isn’t clear.

Reuters has previously documented how hackers linked to Iran, Vietnam, North Korea, South Korea, China, and Russia have on separate occasions been accused by cybersecurity experts or government officials of trying to steal information about the virus and its potential treatments.

IBM’s Zaboeva said there was no shortage of potential suspects. Figuring out how to swiftly distribute an economy-saving vaccine “should be topping the lists of nation states across the world,” she said.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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The Buzz

Assam ex-CM Tarun Gogoi extremely critical; on life support


Guwahati, November 23

The health condition of former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi deteriorated on Monday morning and he is “very very critical”, doctors have said.

The octogenarian Congress leader, undergoing treatment at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital for post-COVID complications, is being monitored by a team of nine doctors, GMCH Superintendent Abhijit Sarma has said.

“The present status of Sir (Gogoi) is very very critical and the doctors are doing their best,” he told reporters.

“The former CM’s condition is extremely critical and worrisome. He is completely on life support and though doctors are trying, now God’s blessings and peoples’ prayers are required to improve his current condition,” Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is at GMCH along with Gogoi’s son Gaurav, said.

Sarma said Gogoi’s organs have failed with the brain receiving some signals, eyes are showing some reflexes and his heart is functioning as a pace-maker is fitted but no other organs are functioning.

Gogoi, who was on dialysis on Sunday for six hours, was again flushed with toxins and he was not in a position to undergo the process again, the Minister said.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said he had directed the health department to provide every possible treatment to him, adding: “I pray to God for his speedy recovery.”

The doctors attending on Gogoi is in constant touch with a team from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), led by Randip Guleria.

Gogoi was put on ventilation after suffering a multi-organ failure.

The 84-year-old three-time chief minister was admitted to GMCH on November 2. He was put under invasive ventilation on Saturday night when his condition worsened.

On October 25, Gogoi, who was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 and other post-recovery complications, was discharged from GMCH after two months.

He had tested positive for COVID-19 on August 25 and admitted to the GMCH the next day. PTI





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