Inside Daily Brief - February 1st, 2020 |

Inside Daily Brief (Feb 1st, 2020)

US declares emergency over coronavirus / Senate votes against calling witnesses / UK leaves EU after 3 1/2 year drama

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1. The U.S. government has declared a public health emergency and is quarantining U.S. citizens and residents who return from Hubei province, where the city of Wuhan is located, for 14 days. The public health emergency becomes effective Sunday at 5 p.m. ET and allows the government to take measures to contain the outbreak. There are seven confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring 191 other people for possible infection. There are around 12,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection worldwide, and 259 are confirmed dead from the virus. In addition, the U.S. and Australia have joined a list of countries denying entry to foreign nationals who have been in China recently as they work to curb coronavirus outbreaks within their borders. Other countries that have imposed similar restrictions are Russia, Japan, Pakistan and Italy. -- NPR

2. The Senate on Friday voted 51-49 not to call witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Trump, with Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) joining their Republican colleagues in voting down the resolution. As a result, the trial should rap up next week, with final arguments scheduled for Monday and speeches by senators on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. A final vote on the impeachment articles is set for Wednesday afternoon. Next week will also see the Iowa caucuses on Monday and the president's State of the Union address on Tuesday. -- FOX NEWS

3. The United Kingdom has officially left the European Union, more than three and a half years after UK voters supported a referendum to leave. Boris Johnson, who won the prime minister post in an election based primarily on Britain's exit from the EU, said in a speech on Friday: "For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come. And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss ... I understand all those feelings, and our job as the government -- my job -- is to bring this country together now and take us forward." The UK signed a deal with the EU that provides a transition period that ends on Dec. 31, regardless of whether they have reached a formal exit deal or not. In the meantime, EU laws and regulations will continue to apply to the UK. -- CNN

4. In a draft of his new book, former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton writes that President Trump last May directed him to call Volodymyr Zelensky, the newly elected president of Ukraine, to set up a meeting with Rudy Giuliani about investigating potential political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Present at the May meeting were Guiliani, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, according to an unpublished manuscript obtained by the New York Times. The May meeting was followed by the July phone call between Trump and Zelensky that led to the whistleblower complaint and House impeachment of the president. -- NEW YORK TIMES

5. The Australian government has declared a state of emergency as the raging wildfires in that country are threatening the capital of Canberra. The wildfires are currently on the outskirts of the capital, which is set to host the sitting of a new parliament in several days. Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to do more to stop the spread of the fires. Morrison has been criticized by opposition parties and environmentalists for being to close to the oil and gas industries and not doing enough to reduce the effects of climate change on the country. In response, Morrison has countered that clearing land around properties threatened by the fires is a more effective firefighting strategy than reducing carbon emissions. -- FINANCIAL TIMES

6. The Trump administration has pledged to supply oil and gas to Belarus after Russia refused to sell unless the Eastern European country agreed to greater economic integration. “Our energy producers stand ready to deliver 100% of the oil you need at competitive prices. We’re the biggest energy producer in the world and all you have to do is call us,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a press conference with Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei. Previous U.S. administrations have imposed sanctions on Belarus over its poor human rights record under long-serving President Alexander Lukashenko. -- NEW YORK POST

7. American Sofia Kenin has won the Australian Open, her first Grand Slam title. She becomes the youngest player to win the tournament since 20-year-old Maria Sharapova in 2008. The 14-seeded Kenin defeated two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza in a stunning victory that saw Kenin come back from love-40 while serving at 2-all in the third set. "After that, I was on fire. I was ready to take the beautiful trophy," Kenin said. She ended up winning the set and the match, 4-6, 6-2, and 6-2. In Sunday's men's final, Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, plays Austrian Dominic Thiem. -- AP VIA ESPN

8. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is raffling off his $130 million presidential jet in a bid to save taxpayers money – and because he often flies commercial. After trying to unload the Boeing 787-8 plane in other ways, the populist president has decided to raffle it off for $27 a ticket, with the goal of selling six million tickets. The raffle is set to held on May 5, on the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo. Former President Felipe Calderón purchased the plane back in 2012 for $218.7 million. -- CNN

9. Jeff Bezos, the controversial CEO of Amazon, saw his wealth reach $124.9 billion on Friday, an increase of $7.9 billion, after the company posted a fourth-quarter profit that beat Wall Street's expectations. Amazon's stock rose while the S&P 500 dropped the most since October. Bezos owns 12 percent of Amazon's stock and about $6.2 billion worth of closely held Blue Origin. MacKenzie Bezos, his ex-wife, owns about 4 percent of Amazon stock and is the world's fifth-richest woman, with a net worth of $40 billion. -- BLOOMBERG

10. Joachim Kerschbaumer, an Austrian-based security researcher, and his team were able to identify 60 vulnerabilities in 20 security cameras and other physical security products. The team found two critical vulnerabilities in the Honeywell MAXPRO video management system and network video recorder that could enable attackers to gain remote control of the systems. Kerschbaumer told Security Week that his research team examined 28 video management systems and 13 access control systems for the study, focusing on remotely exploitable vulnerabilities in web interfaces, APIs with network access, and services with proprietary protocols. -- SECURITY WEEK


Tom Brady's cryptic tweet!

Fred Donovan is a professional writer, editor, and content specialist with decades of experience, most recently in the areas of information technology and cybersecurity. He has written for such publications as, FierceITSecurity, InfoSecurity Magazine, Report on Patient Privacy, TechGenix, and NetDefense. Fred has a B.A. from Harvard University in government and an M.S. in national security from Georgetown University.

Edited by Beth Duckett, who covers tech news for Inside.

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