On October 28, NASA launched a “next-generation” weather satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A Delta II rocket was freighted with the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System, which will collect data on the earth’s atmosphere. It consists of “five science instruments for making various measurements of the Earth and its atmosphere,” according to a Wired.com article.
In a press release, NASA stated that the satellite “will allow scientists to extend the continuous satellite record needed to detect and quantify global environmental changes.” For the first three months, it will be operated from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Satellite Operations Center in Suitland, Md., during which time the system will be monitored for functionality.
REPUBLICAN FRONTRUNNER CONFRONTS HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS
Politico.com broke a story on October 30 that Republican presidential frontrunner Herman Cain was accused of sexual harassment during his tenure at the National Restaurant Association (NRA). From 1996 to 1999, Cain served as the president and CEO of the NRA. During that time, “at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain,” the article stated.
Cain, a Georgia businessman with no record of political service, has enjoyed favorable standings in the polls and a meteoric rise within the pool of GOP presidential candidates. This ongoing development has set Cain and his campaign on the defensive: “I believe this is an intended smear campaign,” said Cain in a November 1 interview with HLN.
EXECUTIVE ORDER TO ADDRESS DRUG SHORTAGE
On October 31, President Obama issued a new executive order that allows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “get better advance warning of impending supply problems and speed up its review of applications from companies that want to change or ramp up production to address shortages,” according to a Reuters.com article.
In a statement at the signing ceremony, President Obama described the impetus for this order, saying, “Congress has been trying since February to do something about this. It has not yet been able to get it done. It is the belief of this administration that ... we can’t wait.” While the order seeks to take action, it “lacks the authority of legislation, and U.S. health officials cautioned that its impact could be limited,” reports Reuters. According to the FDA, roughly 200 drugs have approached scarce levels this year alone, up from 56 in 2006.
CHINA-BASED HACK TARGETED MAJOR FIRMS
In July and September 2011, “a China-based industrial espionage hacker attack targeted at least 29 chemical industry firms, including Fortune 100 firms,” reports ComputerWeekly.com (CW). Researchers at computer security firm Symantec unearthed evidence that, “a man in the Hebei region of China … funneled the process through a server located in the U.S.,” reports CW.
The hack was initiated via emails appended with malicious attachments: “Clicking on the attachments activated a PoisonIvy Trojan designed to provide details of the targeted computer networks.” The report of these attacks comes in the wake of two other hacks of Japanese governmental bureaus, thought to have also originated in China.