Secret Service Tests Facial Recognition, France Addresses Riots, Alaskan Earthquake Aftershocks, and More

Secret Service Tests Facial Recognition, France Addresses Riots, Alaskan Earthquake Aftershocks, and More
  • The U.S. Secret Service is testing a facial recognition system in and around the White House, reports FCW. The pilot uses a facial recognition system to examine faces collected by the CCTV system that is used inside and outside the White House complex. The goal of the project is to determine whether a facial recognition capability can be used to identify known subjects of interest around the White House. Volunteer Secret Service agents are the test subjects. The test is not being conducted in real time. Hits generated on the system will be reviewed on a weekly basis, according to a document from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Elsewhere in the DHS, Customs and Border Protection is testing facial recognition as part of its biometric entry and exit screening plan to keep tabs on international travelers.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron is chairing an urgent security meeting in Paris to discuss the riots that have spread across France, reports NPR, and the government is considering declaring a state of emergency to contain the unrest. The "yellow vest" demonstrations, named for the roadside safety vests worn by the protesters, started last month over a hike in gas prices and have evolved into protests over the high cost of living in France. The protesters have no apparent leaders, making it difficult for the French government to negotiate with them. More than 350 people were arrested in demonstrations in the city on Saturday, and police used tear gas and water against the protesters. Protests began on November 17 when hundreds of thousands of people across France turned out to protest fuel taxes. At least three people have died in the protests since they began, all in traffic accidents caused by blockades set up by yellow vest protesters,

  • The 7.0 earthquake that occurred just north of Anchorage, Alaska, on Friday morning released 2 million tons of explosive force and generated 650 aftershocks within 30 hours, reports the Anchorage Daily News. A forecast issued Saturday by the U.S. Geological Survey gives an 88 percent chance of more magnitude 5.0 aftershocks; five aftershocks with magnitudes between 5.1 and 5.7 had occurred as of Saturday evening. The aftershocks have generally diminished in intensity and are expected to continue doing so. A spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Center says people should keep a safety plan in mind, such as where to go for protection in the event of an aftershock. The Anchorage Assembly voted Sunday to extend a declaration of civil emergency through Tuesday night for the municipality as the city's earthquake response continues.

  • KRCR-TV reports that Pacific Gas & Electric is using armed guards to protect its offices after some people blamed the utility for starting the Camp Fire in California. A man was arrested last week for making threats against PG&E workers working on the Camp Fire. The Butte County Sheriff's Office says the man had a white hard hat, and a green and orange safety vest like those worn by utility workers. He was arrested for making criminal threats and entering an emergency area without authorization. In another incident, the Chico Police Department is investigating graffiti that was discovered at the PG&E office located in downtown Chico. Butte County deputies and the Paradise Police Department will be working with PG&E to provide security for PG&E crews working in the field.

  • In other news, the National Safety Council reports that new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that accidental deaths rose 5.3 percent between 2016 and 2017 and have now reached their highest number in recorded U.S. history: 169,936. The Nadleh Whut'en First Nation released Trial by Fire: Nadleh Whut'en and the Shovel Lake Fire, 2018, a report that describes persistent problems with emergency management in British Columbia, Canada, and lessons learned from the fire. Central Illinois is coping with damage and injuries after 22 tornadoes were reported to the National Weather Service on Sunday.