Jan 14, 2018

Hawaii false alarm to speed changes to alerts

Honolulu, Hawaii, the morning a false emergency alert about an inbound ballistic missile was sent out. Photo: EUGENE TANNER / AFP / Getty Images

"A false alert sent to cellphones across Hawaii on Saturdaywarning of an incoming ballistic missile is calling attention to an emergency notification system that government officials at all levels say needs major improvements," per the N.Y. Times' Cecilia Kang:

  • "The Federal Communications Commission said it was opening a 'full investigation into what happened' when the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent the errant alert as a result of what Gov. David Y. Ige said was human error: a worker who 'pushed the wrong button' during a shift change at the state’s emergency command post."
  • Why it matters: "The episode in Hawaii appeared to be the Wireless Emergency Alerts system’s most serious misfire since it became operational in 2012 to [use alerts pushed to cellphones to] modernize America’s decades-old approach of using television and radio to notify the public about impending weather, safety and other hazards."
  • What's next: "The system has come under growing scrutiny in recent months, with public safety officials complaining that it requires upgrades on several fronts. Critics say they are often sent too widely, sowing fear among people unlikely to be affected by the threat in question."

This is a great read ... Go deeper: "False Alarm Hints at Thin Line Between Mishap and War," by N.Y. Times' Max "The Interpreter" Fisher:

  • "Security experts called it a frightening warning of how a technical error could set off an unintended conflict with North Korea."

Go deeper

Hong Kong police fire pepper pellets at demonstrators

Hong Kong riot policeissue a warning as they aim to clear away people gathered downtownon Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong riot police have fired pepper pellets at activists and surrounded the Legislative Council during demonstrations against a bill proposing to criminalize "disrespect of the Chinese anthem" on Wednesday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The bill is the latest concern pro-democracy protesters have that Chinese authorities are encroaching on the high degree of autonomy the former British colony has retained since it was returned to China in 1997.

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Tear gas is fired as police clash with protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis police used tear gas during clashes with protesters demanding justice Tuesday night for George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody, according to multiple news reports.

Driving the news: The FBI is investigating Floyd's death after video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes, ignoring protests that he couldn't breathe. Hundreds of protesters attended the demonstration at the intersection where Floyd died, per the Guardian.

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings. He announced the measure, effective Friday, as coronavirus case numbers increased to 39,342.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.