cybersecurity, ransomware, largest global meat processor, Brazil, Russia
The authors write, “A ransomware attack on the world’s largest meat processing company disrupted production around the world just weeks after a similar incident shut down a US oil pipeline. Brazil’s JBS SA, however, said late Tuesday that it had made “significant progress” in dealing with the cyberattack and expects the “vast majority” of its plants to be operating Wednesday. ... Earlier, the White House said JBS had notified the US of a ransom demand from a criminal organization likely based in Russia.” Photo credit: sf-dvs / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Former Health Department Employee Granted Whistleblower Status ; Can the US Avoid Another Trump? ; and More Picks 6/2

PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to

Former Health Department Employee, Rebekah Jones, Granted Official Whistleblower Status (DonkeyHotey)

From the Tampa Bay Times: “Rebekah Jones is officially a whistleblower under Florida law, the Office of the Inspector General told her attorneys Friday. Jones, who was responsible for building the COVID-19 data dashboard for the Florida Department of Health, was fired last year after raising concerns about ‘misleading data’ being presented to the public, according to the complaint, which was reviewed by the Miami Herald.”

PODCAST: Can the US Avoid Another Trump? (Sean)

From the Guardian: “When Donald Trump won the US election in 2016 it upturned the assumptions of many in America about who was electable to the highest office in the land. It seemed obvious to many that Trump would lose to Hillary Clinton and yet he won a stunning victory. For the former Obama aide Ben Rhodes it was a moment to take stock and search for clues as to how it could have happened. He tells Anushka Asthana that his quest took him around the world to countries that had elected their own ‘strongman’ leaders. He asks what lessons can be learned to avoid another Trump-style presidency?”

Judge Rails at L.A. for Letting Homeless People Die (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “At a hearing Thursday devoted to structural racism in a federal lawsuit about homelessness in Los Angeles, the defendants offered no evidence to suggest it doesn’t exist. Neither did the plaintiffs. Judge David O. Carter said a long, winding road of racism led him to the belief that he had to act and order the city and county of Los Angeles to offer shelter to everyone on skid row by October. As the defendants, the city and county struck back by appealing the case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal — and won a temporary pause of the deadlines in Carter’s order.”

Dozens of Mexican Candidates Have Been Killed in a Bloody Election Season (Dan)

From the Wall Street Journal: “Abel Murrieta, candidate for mayor in the northern city of Ciudad Obregón, was handing out fliers on a crowded street corner on May 13. Music played from loudspeakers. He smiled and chatted with passersby. Suddenly, two men approached and shot him 10 times in the face, neck and chest, police say. As the 58-year-old lawyer and former state prosecutor lay dying, his killers walked off calmly and terrified bystanders scurried for cover. Across Mexico, variations on that scene have played out in the run-up to midterm elections on June 6. Even in a country with a history of electoral violence, this vote is shaping up as the most bloody in recent memory as more, smaller criminal gangs viciously compete to control local areas by intimidating or killing off politicians.”

Congo Volcano Risk Remains as Evacuees Return (Dana)

From the New Humanitarian: “Trickles of displaced people are heading back to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern city of Goma, just days after officials ordered residents to evacuate following a volcanic eruption on 22 May that left at least 32 people dead and 20,000 homeless. … Congolese photojournalist Ley Uwera has been following the situation over the past week, photographing residents as they fled to neighbouring Rwanda — which has also been affected — and to the town of Saké, 25 kilometres northwest of Goma.”

Alzheimer’s Drug Sparks Emotional Battle as FDA Nears Deadline on Whether to Approve (Russ)

The author writes, “When Phil Gutis was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease at 54, he immediately enrolled in a clinical trial for an experimental drug but had little hope of being helped. Over time, though, he started feeling better, his brain less cloudy. ‘There was just a fogginess I remember having a couple of years ago that I don’t really feel I have now,’ said Gutis, who has received monthly infusions of a medication called aducanumab for five years, except for a short interruption. Now, he is hoping others with the disease will have a chance to try the drug. But he is worried that the Food and Drug Administration, which is weighing whether to approve the drug, will reject it, derailing the medication and jeopardizing his ability to get the treatment.”

Woman Donates Kidney to Hubby’s Ex-Wife Days After Wedding (Maria)

The author writes, “Ten years after their first date, Debby Neal-Strickland put on a cream-colored lace gown and married her longtime sweetheart at their Florida church. Two days later, she put on a hospital gown and donated a kidney to Mylaen Merthe — her new husband’s ex-wife. An unusual story? Yes. But the tale of Jim Merthe and his two wives is a testament to how love and compassion can triumph over division.”


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