EDM Friday Briefing: Tech Giants Team Up Against FBI, Kansas Gunman Kills 3, Global Warming Debate Heats Up
Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 26, 2016: Apple, Microsoft and Google team up in the battle against the FBI, a gunman opens fire in a Kansas manufacturing plant, and scientists debate the specifics of recent global warming trends.
- Apple filed a motion yesterday that would effectively dismiss the FBI's request for help accessing a locked cell phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters. Both Google and Facebook are reportedly backing Apple's position, and will file official documents -- either jointly or individually -- stating their position.
- A gunman in Kansas killed three and wounded 14 more after opening fire inside of a manufacturing plant with an assault-style long gun. The suspected gunman, Cedric Ford, reportedly worked at the plant, but no motive is known at this time. Police killed the suspect once he turned his fire on officers.
- Scientists are at odds about whether or not a global warming slowdown has occurred this century. While the different groups of scientists agree that global warming is assuredly taking place, one group believes that there has been a 'hiatus' or 'slowdown' in this century, while the other does not.
- By 'slowdown,' the scientists are referring to contested findings that the planet is still warming, but just not as quickly as some expected it to. The debate is heating up, in part, because some skeptics are using the findings to undermine global-warming theory.
- U.S. and Chinese scientists released a new study yesterday that warned of the cyclical global warming dangers presented by thawing Arctic permafrost. According to the study, permafrost that thaws due to global warming releases greenhouse gases during the thaw, which then, in turn, further compounds the problem of climate change.
- Aid agencies reached the outer islands and villages in Fiji, days after a historic cyclone ravaged the archipelago. The death toll from the cyclone is now up to 42. Thousands of residents are still sheltering in evacuation centers as recovery efforts get underway.
- Environmentalists say that the recent events in Fiji shine a spotlight on why the world must get serious about helping climate-vulnerable countries, as small island states like Fiji are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Climate coalitions point to the issue that while island states rarely contribute to the problem of man-made warming, they are on track to bear the brunt of it.
- The acting Governor of Hawaii, Shan Tsutsui, extended the state’s emergency proclamation to address homelessness earlier this week. Hawaii first issued the emergency proclamation on October 16, 2015 and then extended the emergency on both October 26 and December 24. The island state has the highest per capita rate of homelessness in U.S.
- Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and former Emergency Manager Darnell Earley are now scheduled to testify about the Flint water crisis next month. Snyder and Earley will testify in front of a U.S. House committee that is investigating Flint's decision to change its water source from Lake Huron water (via the Detroit water system) to the Flint River in April 2014. The switch resulted in dangerously high lead levels in the city's drinking water.
- Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in two counties in the wake of severe storms and tornadoes that hit the state earlier this week. Nearly 100 residences suffered significant damage from the storms in Santa Rosa and Escambia counties.
- The U.S. and Russia agreed on a cessation of hostilities in Syria, and the agreement is set to take effect at midnight Friday. But President Obama expressed doubts about the recent cease-fire agreement , saying that there are "plenty of reasons for skepticism" that fight will stop in the war-torn country.