EDM Thursday Briefing: UN Passes Sanctions on North Korea, Apple Gains Support
Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 3, 2016: The UN passes sanctions on North Korea, Apple gains support from advocacy groups, Google helps fund a Zika virus program through UNICEF, and Portland's prided air quality is now suspect.
- By a unanimous vote of all 15 members of the UN Security Council on Wednesday, the UN imposed a fifth set of sanctions against North Korea. The United States wrote the resolution, which was backed by Pyongyang's only ally, China. The sanctions came in direct response to the nation's recent rocket launch and the its fourth nuclear test.
- The imposed sanctions, which took seven weeks to negotiate, were some of the toughest ever adopted against North Korea since its first atomic detonation in 2006. The sanctions include prohibiting sales of rocket and aviation fuel, banning raw material exports, such as gold, titanium, and iron ore, and the inspection of all cargo -- both to and from the nation.
- The new sanctions also include trade and banking restrictions, and the banning of luxury goods sales to the nation, such as sports equipment, expensive watches, and jet skis. The implementation of these sanctions is reportedly largely dependent on Beijing and to some extent, Russia.
- Apple, in its ongoing fight against unlocking the dead terrorists iPhone, has now gained the support of three separate advocacy groups -- Access Now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Wickr Foundation. The ACLU filed a document in support of Apple, citing concerns over developing security-weakening software ~ which can seriously impact the privacy of citizen's and pose a threat to cybersecurity.
- Access Now and the Wickr Foundation filed similar documents, indicating their concerns over the software's threat to cybersecurity and citizen's privacy and its implications for global human rights. These efforts follow on the heels of other tech giants whose filings also support Apple, including Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Corporation.
- The family of an Ohio boy, James Austin Hancock, the 14 year old accused of opening fire on his classmates during lunch at a school in Madison, has sent a statement indicating their devastation over the incident and noted they are praying for the injured students to recover quickly. Hancock is currently denying the six charges, which include two counts of attempted murder, and a move to adult court is being considered by Butler County authorities.
- In ongoing efforts to fight the Zika virus outbreak, Google has given a grant worth $1 million dollars to UNICEF. Goals of the grant program include reducing the infected mosquito population, helping to raise virus awareness, and efforts to help develop vaccines and cooperate with local governments and their communities to prevent disease spread.
- The company has also committed to helping UNICEF analyze data with a team of data scientists, designers, and engineers, including weather and travel patterns, to map the virus and project its spread. The virus, which has been linked to Guillian-Barre syndrome, and may be tied to an increase in microcephaly births, was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization in February.
- In Portland, Oregon, moss samples taken from trees across the city revealed toxic heavy metals, shocking resident's and causing concern. What's worse, surprisingly high concentrations of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal associated with liver malfunctions and cancer, were in the samples taken in close proximity to the city's two glass factories. Residents are worried, especially when authorities advised those living near the glass factories to skip gardening until recent soil and air samples can be analyzed.
- Amid the ongoing investigation into the city's air pollution, Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality Director, Dick Pedersen, resigned abruptly on Tuesday, citing health concerns. His departure was announced just prior to confirmation that another individual, David Monro, is also leaving the agency. Reports indicate the agency has been slow in responding to the crisis, failing to immediately notify schools of lead and arsenic found in soil samples, and struggling to effectively coordinate with government agencies.
— Rob Davis (@robwdavis) March 1, 2016
— Rob Davis (@robwdavis) March 2, 2016