Home Daily Digests Heatwave Claims 550 Lives; Finland Starts Bird Flu Vaccines; The Fed Hacked

Heatwave Claims 550 Lives; Finland Starts Bird Flu Vaccines; The Fed Hacked

Extreme heat in Mecca has claimed over 550 hajj pilgrims’ lives, Finland begins bird flu vaccinations for humans, Goldman Sachs faces regulatory scrutiny over derivatives, and LockBit claims a breach of the US Federal Reserve.

The User's Profile Ivor June 26, 2024
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Extreme heat has claimed the lives of over 550 hajj pilgrims in Mecca, with temperatures soaring past 50°C. Among the deceased, 323 were Egyptians, primarily succumbing to heat-related illnesses. The total death toll reported by various countries stands at 577, though Saudi authorities have not updated their fatality figures. This year, temperatures reached a staggering 51.8°C at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Approximately 1.8 million pilgrims participated in the hajj, with 1.6 million coming from abroad. Many pilgrims, including a significant number of Egyptians, attempted the pilgrimage without official visas, lacking access to air-conditioned facilities. Saudi officials had previously removed hundreds of thousands of unregistered pilgrims from Mecca. Other countries reporting deaths include Indonesia, Iran, and Senegal. Despite the challenges, Saudi health officials claim successful implementation of health plans, preventing major disease outbreaks and providing over 5,800 consultations through a virtual hospital.

In a pioneering move, Finland has become the first country to start bird flu vaccinations for humans. The Nordic country plans to offer preemptive bird flu vaccines to some workers with exposure to animals, beginning as soon as next week. Finland has procured vaccines for 10,000 people as part of a joint EU procurement of up to 40 million doses for 15 nations. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare stated that the vaccine would be offered to those aged 18 or over who are at increased risk of contracting avian influenza due to their work or other circumstances. This initiative comes in response to the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has killed hundreds of millions of poultry globally and has increasingly spread to cow herds and, in some cases, humans. Finland’s unique conditions, including fur farms where animals can come into contact with wildlife, have prompted this preemptive measure.

Goldman Sachs Bank USA has seen its derivatives portfolio grow from $40 trillion in 2018 to $54 trillion by the end of 2023. Despite this increase, the bank has managed to reduce its credit exposure to capital ratio from 354% to 142% over the same period. However, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve Board have raised concerns about the bank’s ability to manage its derivatives portfolio, particularly in terms of modeling its unwind by counterparty. This issue was highlighted in a letter to Goldman Sachs’ CEO, David Solomon, after the bank failed its “living will” wind-down test. The ability to assess counterparty risk is crucial for determining capital needs, and the bank’s failure to model this effectively suggests potential regulatory capture in the U.S. Historical data from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission shows that major counterparties to Goldman Sachs’ credit derivatives required substantial bailouts during the last crisis, underscoring the need for heightened oversight.

The LockBit ransomware group has claimed responsibility for breaching the US Federal Reserve and exfiltrating 33 TB of sensitive data. The group announced the breach on its Tor data leak site and threatened to leak the stolen data on June 25, 2024. The Federal Reserve, which operates twelve banking districts across the country, has not confirmed the breach. Many experts are skeptical about the group’s announcement, considering the high-profile nature of the target. In early June, the FBI informed victims of LockBit ransomware that it had obtained over 7,000 LockBit decryption keys, which could allow some of them to decrypt their data. The FBI is inviting victims to come forward to reclaim their data and get back online. Following the claims of the hack, the Tor leak site of the LockBit group became unreachable.


Tragic Toll: Over 550 Hajj Pilgrims Die in Mecca Amid Scorching 50C Heat

At least 550 pilgrims have died during the hajj, underscoring the gruelling nature of the pilgrimage which again unfolded in scorching temperatures this year.

Source | Submitted by Barbara

Finland Pioneers Bird Flu Vaccinations for Humans Amid Rising Outbreak Concerns

Finland has become the first country in the world to start bird flu vaccinations for humans, health authorities announced on Tuesday.

Source | Submitted by Rector

Goldman Sachs’ Derivatives Balloon to $54 Trillion, Yet Credit Exposure Miraculously Improves by 200%

Goldman Sachs’ Bank Derivatives Have Grown from $40 Trillion to $54 Trillion in Five Years; So How Did Its Credit Exposure Improve by 200 Percent?

Source | Submitted by rhollenb

LockBit Claims Hack of US Federal Reserve, Threatens to Leak 33 TB of Data

The Lockbit ransomware group announced that it had breached the US Federal Reserve and exfiltrated 33 TB of sensitive data.

Source | Submitted by Shplad

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