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The Spill: Hackers Target Beef

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That Cheeseburger Might Cost a Small Fortune

On the heels of the ransomware attack shutting down the Colonial Pipeline just a few weeks ago, another sophisticated cybersecurity assault has forced the country’s largest beef processor to shut down nine of its locations. BPS USA – the American branch of the world’s largest meat producer, including 26 chicken processing plants in the U.S. – was hit on June 1.

One Facebook post from a plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, announced the breach: “Team member: This weekend our company was the target of a cyberattack that has impacted our IT systems. As a result, we will not operate tomorrow. ONLY MAINTENANCE AND SHIPPING ARE SCHEDULED TO WORK.”

All U.S. locations were impacted heavily by the forced closures. The facility in Greeley, Wisconsin, shut down its two major shifts Tuesday, affecting 3,000 employees.

The halt of production lasted a few days, but the threat seems to be in the occurrence of the attacks. Anne Neuberger, a cybersecurity adviser at the National Security Council, wrote: “The threats are serious, and they are increasing. We urge you to take these critical steps to protect your organizations and the American public.” She further warned: “All organizations must recognize that no company is safe from being targeted by ransomware, regardless of size or location.”

President Joe Biden and the White House have gotten involved as well and are blaming Russian hackers for this latest attack. Mr. Biden said he was “looking” at possible retaliation.

Singing Humpback Whales Delight Scientists

Just a few miles off the coast of New York City, pods of humpback whales are singing their songs of love and family – at least according to scientists who have recorded 6,000 plus hours of the marine musicians.

Why is this so exciting? The Humpback is an endangered species under observation and protection. A few years ago, before a massive clean-up of the Hudson River, whale numbers were down to a handful. Now, more than 270 are reportedly hanging out in the waters of New York Harbor and the Hudson.

A study by marine biologist Julia Zeh gives conservationists much-needed hope for the turnaround of the local waters. As Zeh says, “by listening for humpback whales in waters off New York, we found exciting evidence of humpback whale presence in winter and spring, which emphasizes both the conservation needs for this area and the many questions we still have about humpback whale occurrence in this habitat.”

The resurgence of whale pods has been a long time coming. Paul Sieswerda is the Executive Director of New York’s Gotham Whale – an advocacy group that combines citizen activism with science. In the recent publication of Oceanographic, Sieswerda writes:

“The story of whales in New York is one of hope. The environmental work that began in the 1970s has brought us to the point where the Hudson River discharges nutrients rather than pollution. Legislation protects the wildlife and the environment. The abundance of fish species, in particular, menhaden, attracts the marine mammals. We need to keep the positive trend in place, and each new whale that comes to NYC proves that it can be done.”

A pod is a social group that travels together, hunts together, migrates and protects one another, and shares in the care of their young. With this recent news, it appears the hard work has paid off for the whales summering in the waters off New York City.

Tiananmen Square Protests on Memorial Anniversary

The Tiananmen Square protests were student-led demonstrations calling for democracy, free speech, and a free press in China that came to a bloody end on June 5, 1989. It was a massacre by the Chinese government that left thousands of protesters shot dead and nearly 10,000 jailed as dissidents. Many nations responded by imposing sanctions on China in the aftermath, including the United States under then-President George H. W. Bush.

Since the massacre, China has not allowed any talk of Beijing’s brutal attack on students on the mainland, but Hong Kong has been slightly more tolerant over the years. That tolerance appears to have ended as well, as thousands of police were deployed to enforce a ban on Hong Kong’s traditional candlelight vigil – an event that has been widely attended for more than three decades. Police have arrested 24 activists as organizers of the event, many of whom were convicted and jailed. And it was all for letting people know on social media that the candlelight vigil was planned.

Political journalist, Ching Cheong, once jailed for his reporting, said, “I don’t think marking the anniversary of the crackdown itself will lead to the collapse of the communist regime, but it’s evident proof the regime is extremely afraid of people knowing the atrocities that it has committed.”

Activists asked people to light candles and place them in windows. China claims it suppressed the gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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