Attacks From Al Qaeda, Russia and a Tiny Fungus
Law enforcement officials in New York are attempting to determine if a reported Al Qaeda terror threat on or before Election Day is actually legitimate. It’s reported that Virginia and Texas are also possibly at risk. Governor Cuomo assures residents that the state is prepared for whatever happens and New Yorkers will see “more state police, more National Guard, more soldiers on duty than ever before.” Mayor de Blasio confirmed “an extraordinary police presence for Tuesday” and that “New Yorkers should assume Sunday, Monday, Tuesday is going to be a continuum of a high level of police presence."
In addition to Al Qaeda terror attacks, the U.S. is also worried regarding an attack from Russia on Election Day. The White House and the Department of Homeland Security are grouping together, along with the CIA and the National Security Agency to prevent any undermining of the election via Russian cyber attacks. In addition to cyber attacks, departments are also worried that Russia may try to influence the election through the release of fake documents via social media, which would implicate either candidate in an explosive scandal, influencing voter choices before news media have the chance to fact check any claims.
One unnamed official said that the Russians “want to sow as much confusion as possible and undermine our process in ways they've done elsewhere. So this is to make sure that we have all the tools at our disposal and that we're prepared to respond to whatever it is that they do…We need to be prepared on every front, not just technical but messaging, and so on. Because any reporting irregularity could be incredibly disruptive…They can cause tremendous chaos, and by the time we are able to attribute, the damage may have already been done.”
A different kind of attack is occurring on a microscopic level. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced yesterday that 13 people have become ill from an infection never before seen within the United States. The fungus is called Candida auris and is typically found in hospitals and nursing homes in Japan, South Korea, India, South Africa, Kuwait, Colombia, Venezuela, Pakistan and the United Kingdom. The infections have a 50 percent fatality rate in some cases; some strains are multi-drug resistant. The CDC is assuming that seven of the 13 cases were related to those in South America and South Asia, and each patient affected additionally had underlying, unrelated medical conditions. On its website, the Centers noted, “Experience outside the United States suggests that C. auris has high potential to cause outbreaks in healthcare facilities.”
Police in France are continuing to deal with the aftermath of the destruction of the “Jungle” camp in Calais. After the migrants were driven out of the shore town, many transferred to Paris, where a small camp was set up in the northeast portion of the city. Before the weekend, police had removed thousands of refugees from the area, saying that all 3,852 were now relocated to holding centers and public facilities. It took the 600 police only a few hours to clear out the crowds, before crews came in to dispose of tents, mattresses and trash.
China successfully launched its Long March 5 rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Center this week. It’s the largest rocket produced thus far by the country and it carries a satellite used to test various technology, such as space debris observation and electric propulsion. China’s space program continues to grow, and the country hopes to have a fully-crewed space station within six years, and also aims to send an unscrewed mission to Mars between 2024 and 2030. China was excluded from the International Space Station project, and now hopes to become its own aerospace power. There are some worries, however, that the country is using its space program to target other countries’ national defenses. China, of course, has denied this. The Christian Science Monitor says SpaceX, the Elon Musk private space company, is China’s biggest competitor at the moment, but that when the International Space Station is no longer useable, China may be the only national government with a space station in low-earth orbit.