Norwegian Cruise Line threatens to keep ships out of Florida over Ron DeSantis’ lax COVID-19 vaccination standards
In Florida, far-right Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law a bill that bans businesses from requiring that customers show proof that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19. And Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, according to the Associated Press, is threatening to keep its ships out of Florida ports because of it.
Federal health officials, in their guidelines, have recommended that most passengers and crew members be vaccinated on cruise ships that enter U.S. waters. And Norwegian believes that Florida's law does not follow that recommendation.
Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, told AP, "It is a classic state-versus-federal-government issue. Lawyers believe that federal law applies and not state law, but I'm not a lawyer. And we hope that this doesn't become a legal football or a political football."
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' corporate office is in Miami. But Del Rio has said that Norwegian cruise ships "that otherwise would have gone to Florida" could go to other U.S. states or the Caribbean instead — although the CEO also said, "We certainly hope it doesn't come to that."
AP reporter David Koenig notes, "Last month, DeSantis signed an order banning businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination and prohibiting state agencies from issuing so-called vaccine passports that document COVID-19 vaccinations and test results. This week, he signed legislation that includes the provision about businesses and gives him power to overrule local measures related to the pandemic, such as mask mandates."
Newsmax hires former Trump adviser and former OAN host in effort to 'bolster its MAGA credentials': report
The pro-Trump news outlet Newsmax announced a new weeknight show hosted by former Trump adviser Steve Cortes alongside former One America News (OAN) host Jenn Pellegrino, The Daily Beast reports.
Cortes & Pellegrino will debut on May 11. The new show comes as Newsmax's ratings took a dip in the wake of the 2020 election. The outlet reportedly has hired several Trump allies to "bolster its MAGA credentials."
Read more at The Daily Beast.
The FBI said Monday that ransomware from the shadowy DarkSide group forced the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline network, as the major fuel supplier said it was beginning to resume operations after the three-day freeze.
Colonial said in a statement that it was moving toward a partial opening of its 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers) of pipeline -- the largest fuel network between Texas and New York -- after hackers locked down its corporate IT systems on Friday, apparently demanding a significant amount of money in ransom.
At the White House, Deputy National Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall said President Joe Biden was being kept updated on the incident, which threatened to crimp supplies of gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel across much of the eastern United States.
"The president continues to be regularly briefed on the incident," she said.
Colonial said in a statement that "segments of our pipeline are being brought back online in a stepwise fashion."
It said the ransomware targeted its corporate computers systems and not the separate computer controls of its pipeline.
However, it said, "we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems."
"To restore service, we must work to ensure that each of these systems can be brought back online safely."
The company did not comment on how it was addressing the ransom demand.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation separately identified DarkSide as the group which produced the ransomware used in the attack.
"We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation," said in a statement.
DarkSide is an enigmatic group that surfaced last year with its corporate-style approach to inserting itself into a target's computers, locking them up and demanding payment in exchange for supplying the tools to digitally unfreeze them.
They focus on large corporate targets like Colonial, and reportedly ask for payments of between hundreds of thousands of dollars and the low millions of dollars to unlock the frozen systems.
They claim to be apolitical and strictly in the business of making money via extortion.
Nothing yet has tied them to any government, and they have indicated in statements that they will work with other hackers to use DarkSide hacking tools and to share the ransom.
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