OUR PICKSExtreme Wildfires Have Doubled in 2 Decades | Red Tape Is Making Hospital Ransomware Attacks Worse | The Supply Chain Is Under Strain, and more

Published 24 June 2024

·  Extreme Wildfires Have Doubled in 2 Decades, Study Finds
In a changing climate, extreme wildfire events are becoming far more common and more intense, according to a new analysis

·  ‘It’s All Happening Again.’ The Supply Chain Is Under Strain.
As Houthi rebels intensify strikes on vessels headed for the Suez Canal, global shipping prices are soaring, raising fears of product shortages and delays

·  Law Enforcement Is Spying on Thousands of Americans’ Mail, Records Show
The Postal Service approves thousands of requests every year from police officers and federal agents seeking information from Americans’ letters and packages

·  Pro-Trump Extremists Are Sure He Will Win. That Could Be Dangerous.
Analysts say Donald Trump’s most militant fans are threatening online but quiet on the ground, a posture that could change if the November election doesn’t go their way

·  Red Tape Is Making Hospital Ransomware Attacks Worse
With cyberattacks increasingly targeting health care providers, an arduous bureaucratic process meant to address legal risk is keeping hospitals offline longer, potentially risking lives

Extreme Wildfires Have Doubled in 2 Decades, Study Finds  (Austyn Gaffney, New York Times)
The hottest year on record, 2023, was also the most extreme for wildfires, according to new research.
Both the frequency and intensity of extreme wildfires have more than doubled in the last two decades, the study found. And when the ecological, social and economic consequences of wildfires were accounted for, six of the last seven years were the most “energetically intense.”
“That we’ve detected such a big increase over such a short period of time makes the findings even more shocking,” said Calum Cunningham, a postdoctoral researcher in pyrogeography at the University of Tasmania and lead author of the study published Monday in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. “We’re seeing the manifestations of a warming and drying climate before our very eyes in these extreme fires.”
Wildfires can be deadly and cost the United States up to $893 billion annually, which includes the costs of rebuilding and the economic effects of pollution and injuries.

‘It’s All Happening Again.’ The Supply Chain Is Under Strain.  (Peter S. Goodman, New York Times)
Late last year, Houthi rebels in Yemen began firing on ships entering the Red Sea en route to the Suez Canal, a vital artery for vessels moving between Asia, Europe and the East Coast of the United States. That prompted ships to avoid the waterway, instead moving the long way around Africa, lengthening their journeys by as much as two weeks.
Then, a severe drought in Central America dropped water levels in the Panama Canal, forcing authorities to limit the number of ships passing through that crucial conduit for international trade.
In recent weeks, dockworkers have threatened to strike on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States, while longshore workers at German ports have halted shifts in pursuit of better pay. Rail workers in Canada are poised to walk off the job, imperiling cargo moving across North America and threatening backups at major ports like Vancouver, British Columbia.
The intensifying upheaval in shipping is prompting carriers to lift rates while raising the specter of waterborne gridlock that could again threaten retailers with product shortages during the make-or-break holiday shopping season. The disruption could also exacerbate inflation, a source of economic anxiety animating the American presidential election. (Cont.)