EDM Friday Briefing: North Korea Makes Nuclear Threat, NSA Warns of Attack on U.S. Power Grid
Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 4, 2016: North Korea puts the world on edge with a nuclear threat, the NSA director expresses concern of an attack on the U.S. power grid, and the number of reported Zika virus cases in the U.S. continues to grow.
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made yet another move to increase tensions on the Korean peninsula, this time by ordering his country to be ready to use nuclear weapons at any time. The leader made his thoughts be known through a report carried by the country's official KCNA news agency. While North Korea has threatened nuclear war in the past, it is unclear exactly how far along its nuclear program actually is at this time.
- The director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Michael S. Rogers, said that it is only a matter of when, not if, the U.S. will see a major attack on critical power infrastructure. In the wake of the massive and sophisticated cyber attack that took down the power grid in Ukraine and left hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians in the dark, the U.S. needs to be on alert, Rogers said.
- Syria reported a massive power outage across the country yesterday. While intermittent power failures are fairly common in the war-torn country right now, nationwide blackouts are still relatively rare. The reason for the major blackout is currently unknown, but maintenance teams worked to identify the cause and restore power as quickly as possible.
- The list of reported cases of Zika virus in the U.S. continues to grow. There are now four reported cases of Zika in the San Francisco area, and the number of confirmed Zika cases in Texas has grown to 18. As of March 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported at least 153 cases of Zika in the U.S. overall.
- According to a recent study, the global sea level rose more in the 20th century than in any of the previous 27 centuries. Researchers closely examined global sea level rise and any effects that climate change had on the rise, and discovered a direct connection between global warming and the rise of the seas.
- Ted Gatsas, the Mayor of Manchester, NH, urged New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan to declare a state of emergency to fight against the heroin epidemic the city is currently facing. There have reportedly been 119 overdose calls already in Manchester this year, with victims ranging from age 15 to age 70.
- Earlier this week, Senate Republicans blocked an amendment that would add $600 million in emergency funding to an opioid abuse bill. Democrats are pushing for additional funds to help cities that are currently struggling with prescription drug and heroin addiction, but many Republicans are questioning the need for more funds at this time.
- A recent study linked the thawing of permafrost with further effects on global warming. Scientists studied tundra in Alaska to examine exactly what happens to the land when it thaws, and discovered that the thawing contributed greenhouse gases that, in turn, further compounded the effects of global warming.
- A piece of debris that may be from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 surfaced off the coast of Madagascar this week, almost two years after the mysterious disappearance of the aircraft. Authorities are working to examine the debris, but Malaysia Airlines has yet to comment, pending investigation.