Thousands of North Carolinians freezing after gunfire attacks on power substations – National & International News – TUE 6Dec2022

One of the two power substations in Moore County, NC, that was struck by gunfire Saturday night.

 

**BREAKING** Jury finds Trump Org guilty on all tax fraud counts

A jury in New York has found that Trump’s company committed tax fraud by providing untaxed benefits to employees in lieu of pay. The convictions against the firm include scheming to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records.

The company may face fines of up to $1.7 million. The organization will also likely have difficulty securing financing and doing business with other firms whose policies prohibit working with companies with fraud convictions.

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Thousands freeze in North Carolina after gunfire attacks on power substations. Jan. 6 Cmte. chair Bennie Thompson says criminal referrals on the way. Is Ukraine carrying out drone attacks in Russia?

 

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Thousands of North Carolinians freezing after gunfire attacks on power substations

Saturday night, saboteurs opened fire on two different power substations serving Moore County, NC. Police have said that this attack was not “random” and that it was “targeted”. The attacks critically damaged the two substations, initially leaving about 45,000 people in the county without power. Three days later, some 30,000 still don’t have service and temperatures have been falling below freezing at night.

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields says the perpetrators “knew exactly what they were doing”. The saboteurs broke into at least one of the substations in order to access the equipment they were targeting. The two facilities are located about five miles apart.

While police have not firmly identified a motive, some speculate that the attack was connected to protests over a drag show that was to take place in the city of Southern Pines in Moore County. The drag show was to start at 7pm, which is about the same time the attacks happened. Local authorities have called in the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to help in the investigation.

Duke Energy, the private utility company that operates the two substations, warned residents that repairs could take days. Meanwhile, many have been gathering for warmth in shelters at night. Some people who use heart and lung machines at home have had to go to these shelters to charge batteries for their life-saving equipment. Sheriff Fields says murder charges are possible if anyone dies as a result of the blackout.

Such attacks could be easily prevented

Jon Wellinghoff, the former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, says that attacks like these can be easily prevented with some fairly inexpensive modifications and safeguards in place. Wellinghoff investigated a similar attack at a substation in San Jose, CA. The perpetrators were never caught.

Because of that incident and other similar incidents, FERC later issued physical security standards to protect these critical pieces of infrastructure from these sorts of attacks. This includes relatively simple and cheap protective solutions. Following the San Jose attack, California’s private utility PG&E put up a cement wall around the structure. Wellinghoff mentions that even sandbags piled up around the equipment can effectively protect it from gunfire.

Despite these recommendations and growing recognition of the vulnerability of power grid infrastructure, such measures haven’t been widely implemented. Wellinghoff attributes to a failure by states to require the private companies that hold monopolies in providing critical services to adopt these simple safeguards.

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Jan. 6 Committee chair Bennie Thompson says criminal referrals on the way

Today, Congress is honoring the Capitol Police officers who endured the Jan. 6, 2021, siege at the Capitol by awarding them Congressional Gold medals. On his way into the ceremony, Jan. 6 Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) was beset by reporters asking about the committee’s deliberations ahead of the release of its final report. Thompson told the reporters that the committee had decided to make at least one criminal referral. This would mean the committee wants the Justice Department to pursue charges against someone in connection with Jan. 6.

The committee is still discussing the details and hasn’t formally finalized any decisions. Thompson would not say how many referrals the committee would make, what the charges would be, or who they were targeting. Possibilities could include former President Trump himself or any number of his close advisors.

As for what the charges might be, the committee has delved into a wide range of actions by Trump and his advisors both on and before Jan. 6. It’s possible charges could focus narrowly on the events of the day itself, or the fomenting of violence leading up to it. More broadly, the committee could recommend charges related to state-level efforts by Trump and his advisors to obstruct the electoral process in the weeks before Jan. 6.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Is Ukraine carrying out drone attacks in Russia?

Yesterday, explosions occurred at two airbases deep within Russia, far from the Ukrainian frontlines. At one, the Russian defense ministry confirmed that two of its long-range bombers were damaged. This was at the Engels-2 airbase in Russia’s Saratov region. Another explosion took place at the Dyagilevo airbase, less than 150 miles from Moscow. Here, a fuel truck exploded, killing three people and wounding five.

At first the cause of the explosions was unclear. Now it appears that both were the result of long range drone attacks by Ukraine. According to an anonymous Ukrainian official, these were apparently pre-emptive strikes by Kyiv targeting the long-range bombers that Russia has been using to cripple Ukraine’s power infrastructure. However, Kyiv has not officially confirmed they were behind any of these attacks.

Today, another Ukrainian drone strike struck another airbase in Russia’s Kursk region, which borders Ukraine. Here the drone attack blew up an oil storage tank.

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