Dudes n Beer – Week In The News April 10 2018

TechCrunch – This is Mark Zuckerberg’s prepared statement for Congress

Ahead of Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress on Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has released the Facebook CEO’s prepared statement.

In it, Zuckerberg explains that Facebook has always been an optimistic organization, focusing on connecting people and giving them a voice. But Zuckerberg also admits that the idealist train of thought might have blinded the company to potential misuses of Facebook’s toolset.

But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.

The statement also goes over both the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Russian election interference, thoroughly explaining what happened in each situation and what Facebook is doing to solve these problems.

Zuckerberg is set to testify before the Senate tomorrow and before Congress on Wednesday. We’ll be covering both hearings.

Wired – Cambridge Analytica Could Also Access Private Facebook Messages

The data consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which harvested as many as 87 million Facebook users’ personal data, also could have accessed the private inbox messages of some of those affected. Facebook slipped this previously undisclosed detail into the notifications that began appearing at the top of News Feeds on Monday. These alerts let users know whether they or their friends had downloaded a personality quiz app called This Is Your Digital Life, which would have caused their data to be collected and potentially passed on to Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook buried the disclosure in the details about what information was compromised: “A small number of people who logged into ‘This Is Your Digital Life’ also shared their own News Feed, timeline, posts and messages which may have included posts and messages from you.”

‘The harvesting of personal Facebook messages wasn’t disclosed, yet again, until the last second.’

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the app, which was designed by Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan to collect data on Americans on behalf of Cambridge Analytica’s British counterpart SCL, requested access to user inboxes through the read_mailbox permission. Unlike the collection of specific user friend information, which Facebook says it phased out in April 2015 unless both people had downloaded the same app, the read_mailbox permission didn’t fully deprecate until that October.

The Guardian – Facebook and Cambridge Analytica face class action lawsuit

British and US lawyers have launched a joint class action against Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and two other companies for allegedly misusing the personal data of more than 71 million people.

The lawsuit claims the firms obtained users’ private information from the social media network to develop “political propaganda campaigns” in the UK and the US.

Facebook, it is said, may initially have been misled, but failed to act responsibly to protect the data of 1 million British users and 70.6 million people in America. The data, it is suggested, was first used in the British EU referendum and then in the US during the 2016 presidential election.

As well as Cambridge Analytica, the two firms named in the legal writ are SCL Group Limited and Global Science Research Limited (GSR).

Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former campaign and White House adviser, led Cambridge Analytica in 2014, when the data was collected and extracted, the legal papers state.

The Cambridge University neuroscientist Aleksandr Kogan, a founding director of GSR, is also named.

USA Today – Facebook a big contributor to the committees in Congress that will question Mark Zuckerberg

Members of the House and Senate committees that will question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about user privacy protection next week are also some of the biggest recipients of campaign contributions from Facebook employees directly and the political action committee funded by employees.

The congressional panel that got the most Facebook contributions is the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which announced Wednesday morning it would question Zuckerberg on April 11.

Members of the committee, whose jurisdiction gives it regulatory power over Internet companies, received nearly $381,000 in contributions tied to Facebook since 2007, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The center is a non-partisan, non-profit group that compiles and analyzes disclosures made to the Federal Election Commission.

The second-highest total, $369,000, went to members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which announced later that it would have a joint hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee to question Zuckerberg on Tuesday. Judiciary Committee members have received $235,000 in Facebook contributions.

On the House committee, Republicans got roughly twice as much as Democrats, counter to the broader trend in Facebook campaign gifts. Of the $7 million in contributions to all federal candidates tied to the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social network, Democrats got 65% to Republicans’ 33%.

Of the 55 members on the Energy and Commerce Committee this year, all but nine have received Facebook contributions in the past decade. The average Republican got $6,800, while the average Democrat got $6,750.

Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., received $27,000, while Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the top-ranking Democrat, got $7,000.

Bloomberg – Facebook Scans the Photos and Links You Send on Messenger

Facebook Inc. scans the links and images that people send each other on Facebook Messenger, and reads chats when they’re flagged to moderators, making sure the content abides by the company’s rules. If it doesn’t, it gets blocked or taken down.

The company confirmed the practice after an interview published earlier this week with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg raised questions about Messenger’s practices and privacy. Zuckerberg told Vox’s Ezra Klein a story about receiving a phone call related to ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Facebook had detected people trying to send sensational messages through the Messenger app, he said.

“In that case, our systems detect what’s going on,” Zuckerberg said. “We stop those messages from going through.”

Some people reacted with concern on Twitter: Was Facebook reading messages more generally? Facebook has been under scrutiny in recent weeks over how it handles users’ private data and the revelation struck a nerve. Messenger doesn’t use the data from the scanned messages for advertising, the company said, but the policy may extend beyond what Messenger users expect.

Read more: Zuckerberg’s date with Congress is set

The company told Bloomberg that while Messenger conversations are private, Facebook scans them and uses the same tools to prevent abuse there that it does on the social network more generally. All content must abide by the same “community standards.” People can report posts or messages for violating those standards, which would prompt a review by the company’s “community operations” team. Automated tools can also do the work.

“For example, on Messenger, when you send a photo, our automated systems scan it using photo matching technology to detect known child exploitation imagery or when you send a link, we scan it for malware or viruses,” a Facebook Messenger spokeswoman said in a statement. “Facebook designed these automated tools so we can rapidly stop abusive behavior on our platform.”

Gizmodo – Facebook Admits Mark Zuckerberg and Top Execs Have Deleted Their Sent Messages Remotely

Have you ever sent an email or text that you wish you could take back and delete forever? That’s not possible on the open web. But we now know that Mark Zuckerberg has the power to reach into every single Facebook inbox and delete messages that he’s sent. Zuck and other executives at Facebook have reportedly used that power multiple times.

The practice only came to light when Facebook users started to examine the information being stored by the social media company using the Download Your Information tool. According to Techcrunch, some people who have exchanged Facebook messages with Mark Zuckerberg have noticed that their old messages from Zuckerberg were gone.

Messenger has a feature that allows users to send messages that delete automatically, but that was only introduced in 2016. Users report that messages with Zuckerberg from as far back as 2010 have been deleted remotely, leaving only the recipient’s side of the conversation.

But it wasn’t just Zuckerberg who was deleting his sent messages. A Facebook statement makes it clear that multiple executives at the company have probably done this.

CNBC – Facebook sent a doctor on a secret mission to ask hospitals to share patient data

Facebook has asked several major U.S. hospitals to share anonymized data about their patients, such as illnesses and prescription info, for a proposed research project. Facebook was intending to match it up with user data it had collected, and help the hospitals figure out which patients might need special care or treatment.

The proposal never went past the planning phases and has been put on pause after the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal raised public concerns over how Facebook and others collect and use detailed information about Facebook users.

“This work has not progressed past the planning phase, and we have not received, shared, or analyzed anyone’s data,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC.

But as recently as last month, the company was talking to several health organizations, including Stanford Medical School and American College of Cardiology, about signing the data-sharing agreement.

Daily Wire – London’s Mayor Declares Intense New ‘Knife Control’ Policies To Stop Epidemic Of Stabbings

The police will now stop and frisk people believed to be carrying knives.

An epidemic of stabbings and acid attacks in London has gotten so bad that London mayor Sadiq Khan is announcing broad new “knife control” policies designed to keep these weapons of war out of the hands of Londoners looking to cause others harm.

The “tough, immediate” measures involve an incredible police crackdown, a ban on home deliveries of knives and acid, and expanding law enforcement stop-and-search powers so that police may stop anyone they believe to be a threat, or planning a knife or acid attack.

Khan announced Friday that the city has created a “violent crime taskforce of 120 officers” tasked with rooting out knife-wielding individuals in public spaces, and is pumping nearly $50 million into the Metropolitan Police department so that they can better arm themselves against knife attacks. He’s also empowering the Met Police to introduce “targeted patrols with extra stop and search powers for areas worst-affected,” according to a statement.

The mayor took to Twitter to announce his new policies.

Strangely enough, Khan is responsible for decreasing the number of stop-and-searches, having previously declared the tactic racist and potentially Islamophobic. It’s also not clear what local Londoners will now use to cut their food.

AP – Israel blamed for missile strike in Syria; 14 reported dead

BEIRUT (AP) — Russia and the Syrian military blamed Israel for a pre-dawn missile attack Monday on a Syrian air base that reportedly killed 14 people, including three Iranians, while international condemnation grew over a suspected poison gas attack over the weekend that was said to be carried out by the Syrian government.

Opposition activists said 40 people died in the chemical attack, blaming President Bashar Assad’s forces. The U.N. Security Council planned to hold an emergency meeting Monday to discuss the chemical attack.

The timing of the strike on the air base in the central Homs province, hours after President Donald Trump said there would be “a big price to pay” for the chemical weapons attack, raised questions about whether Israel was acting alone or as a proxy for the United States. Israel typically does not comment on its airstrikes in Syria.

It was the second such attack this year on the air base, known as T4, where Iranian fighters are believed to be stationed.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said two Israeli aircraft targeted the T4 air base, firing eight missiles. It said Syria shot down five of them while the other three landed in the western part of the base. Syrian state TV quoted an unnamed military official as saying that Israeli F-15 warplanes fired several missiles at T4. It gave no further details.

CNN – Police talked with YouTube shooter hours before attack — and say they didn’t notice anything disturbing

Eleven hours before she shot up YouTube headquarters and then killed herself, Nasim Najafi Aghdam chatted with police.

It was 1:40 a.m. Tuesday, and Aghdam was hundreds of miles away from home. Police found her car overnight at a Mountain View parking lot, about 30 miles southeast of YouTube headquarters.

A quick check of her license plate revealed the owner had been reported missing from the San Diego area.

“We contacted the woman inside the vehicle, who was asleep, to check on her and to determine if she was the same person who had been reported missing,” Mountain View police said.

Atlanta Journal Constitution – Missing CDC researcher Cunningham likely drowned, investigators say

The Atlanta researcher reported missing more than seven weeks ago likely drowned in the Chattahoochee River, the Fulton County Medical Examiner said Thursday. There were no signs of foul play, investigators said. 

Timothy Cunningham, 35, was last seen Feb. 12 leaving his job at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after telling colleagues he didn’t feel well. Cunningham’s family and police located his keys, wallet, cellphone, vehicle and his beloved dog, Mr. Bojangles, inside his northwest Atlanta home. 

In the days after Cunningham’s disappearance, Atlanta police said he had been upset about not getting a promotion, according to the CDC. The CDC later retracted the information, saying that Cunningham had recently gotten a promotion. Late Tuesday, two fisherman spotted a body in Chattahoochee and called 911, according to police. Thursday morning, investigators identified the body as Cunningham. 

The Morehouse College and Harvard University graduate was an epidemiologist, working for the chronic disease department of the CDC.

Popular Science – MIT is making a device that can ‘hear’ the words you say silently

It’s like having Siri listen to your internal commands.

Students from MIT have created a prototype device, dubbed AlterEgo, that can recognize the words you mouth when silently talking to yourself—and then take action based on what it thinks you’re saying.

Arnav Kapur, a master’s student at the MIT Media Lab—a division of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that focuses on the intersection of people and technology— and author of the paper, stresses that the device doesn’t read thoughts or the random, stray words that just happen to pass through your mind. “You’re completely silent, but talking to yourself,” he says. “It’s neither thinking nor speaking. It’s a sweet spot in between, which is voluntary but also private. We capture that.”

The prototype system, as it exists right now, looks like a white headset a telemarketer might wear. But instead of a mic hovering in front of their lips, it sticks to the face and neck, where a handful of electrodes pick up the miniscule electrical signals generated by the subtle internal muscle motions that occur when you silently talk to yourself. The device connects via Bluetooth to a computer, which then communicates with a server that interprets the signals to determine what words the wearer is articulating.

Daily Mail – Military experts warn the US is not prepared for space-based attacks as the world nears ‘a point where Star Wars is not just a movie’

Legislators and military experts have envisioned the possibility of a war in space for several decades.  

Until recently, that issue has been cast aside as others like war on our own planet and terrorism have taken precedent. 

A new report outlines concerns that a space war may be approaching faster than many anticipated and that world leaders like the US are woefully unprepared unlike other nations.

A new report outlines concerns that a space war may be approaching faster than many anticipated and that world leaders like the US are woefully unprepared unlike other nations. File photo

The US Department of Defense has warned that the US isn’t ready for a space war, while Russia and China have developed technologies that could destroy satellites that are crucial for many everyday tasks, ranging from ATMs to apps like Uber Eats, according to Politico.

The satellites are also used for reconnaissance and guiding precision bombs, missiles and drones. 

‘We are now approaching a point where ‘Star Wars’ is not just a movie,’ Steve Isakowitz, CEO of think tank Aerospace Corp., told Politico. 

The Pentagon has set aside billions of dollars to ‘harden’ its defenses against anti-satellite weapons and training troops to survive in space.  

AP – APNewsBreak: US suspects cellphone spying devices in DC

For the first time, the U.S. government has publicly acknowledged the existence in Washington of what appear to be rogue devices that foreign spies and criminals could be using to track individual cellphones and intercept calls and messages.

The use of what are known as cellphone-site simulators by foreign powers has long been a concern, but American intelligence and law enforcement agencies — which use such eavesdropping equipment themselves — have been silent on the issue until now.

In a March 26 letter to Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that last year it identified suspected unauthorized cell-site simulators in the nation’s capital. The agency said it had not determined the type of devices in use or who might have been operating them. Nor did it say how many it detected or where.

The agency’s response, obtained by The Associated Press from Wyden’s office, suggests little has been done about such equipment, known popularly as Stingrays after a brand common among U.S. police departments. The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the nation’s airwaves, formed a task force on the subject four years ago, but it never produced a report and no longer meets regularly.

The devices work by tricking mobile devices into locking onto them instead of legitimate cell towers, revealing the exact location of a particular cellphone. More sophisticated versions can eavesdrop on calls by forcing phones to step down to older, unencrypted 2G wireless technology. Some attempt to plant malware.

Charlotte Observer – UFO researchers release video of strange craft hovering in night sky over NC town

Video of yet another claimed UFO sighting over North Carolina has hit YouTube, this time in Columbus, a Polk County town 85 miles west of Charlotte.

The video, shot at night, features a hovering v-shaped object illuminated by six lights.

“Whatever it is, it seems to be dropping,” says the unidentified man behind the camera. “I’d like to know what the heck those six lights are.”

The YouTube channel The Hidden Underbelly referred to the object as as a “huge mother ship.”

CBS Pittsburgh – A Third Of Millennials Aren’t Sure The Earth Is Round, Survey Finds

A new survey has found that a third of young millennials in the U.S. aren’t convinced the Earth is actually round. The national poll reveals that 18 to 24-year-olds are the largest group in the country who refuse to accept the scientific facts of the world’s shape.

YouGov, a British market research firm, polled 8,215 adults in the United States to find out if they ever believed in the “flat Earth” movement. Only 66 percent of young millennials answered that they “always believe the world is round.” Science teachers across the U.S. will be shaking their heads after learning that nine percent of young adults answered that they have “always believed” the planet was flat.

USA Today – Feds charge Backpage founder after human-trafficking investigation

founder of a 45-year-old alternative weekly newspaper in Phoenix has been charged in the apparent culmination of a federal human-trafficking investigation.

Michael Lacey, 69, of Sedona, Ariz., who helped build a nationwide media empire out of the Phoenix New Times, was charged Friday as part a 93-count indictment that remained sealed late Friday, according to Lacey’s lawyer, Larry Kazan.

Lacey also co-founded the online classified advertising site Backpage, and authorities had spent months probing whether the website served as a willing participant in the online sale of sex, including with underage girls.

Lacey, former editor of New Times, and Jim Larkin, the former publisher, were arrested in October 2016 on California charges that they had profited from prostitution activities through Backpage. A judge there threw out charges that the pair and Backpage Chief Executive Carl Ferrer conspired to engage in pimping.

Friday’s charges are only the latest in a list of legal troubles for Lacey and also perhaps for Larkin, whose Paradise Valley, Ariz., home was the scene of an FBI search Friday.

Money – A Third of Americans Would Forfeit Their Voting Rights For a 10% Pay Raise, Says Study

More than a third of Americans would give up their right to vote for a 10% annual pay raise, according to a new survey.

Pause for a second to let that sink in.

The peculiar findings come from a survey conducted by LendEDU, an online student loan marketplace, that polled 1,238 working Americans. In exchange for the hypothetical pay bump, about 35% of these employees said they would sacrifice their voting rights for life. In addition, just over 9% of respondents said they would give up their children’s (or future children’s) right to vote for life for the make-believe raise.

But those aren’t the only big sacrifices the respondents would make for a 10% annual salary increase. More than 12% said they would break up with their partners, and nearly 19% said they would give up their health insurance for the next five years. Forty percent would forfeit their dental care for five years for a raise, and nearly 18% would say goodbye to their Social Security benefits.

Other concessions would greatly impact an employee’s life at work. More than 55% of those surveyed said they would work an extra 10 hours each week for the raise. More than 15% said they would give up all vacation days for five years, and more than 50% said they would work a weekend day for a year. Putting these results in context, just 5% of those surveyed would eat one Tide pod for the raise. (Apparently some Americans believe eating a Tide pod would do more damage than losing their voting rights for life.)

Some of the other propositions appeared more realistic — or, at least, not contradictory to decades of human rights activism and voting rights legislation. More than 73% of those surveyed said they would give up all alcoholic drinks for the next five years, and more than 50% would not watch a single movie for three years. And, sorry HBO, but more than 88% of workers would choose to never watch Game of Thrones again to earn the raise.

iO9 – Black Panther Has Beaten Titanic to Become the Third Highest Grossing US Theatrical Release of All Time

For years, James Cameron’s Titanic was the golden standard by which all American theatrical releases were judged, the magic money maker that no one would ever beat. Then, Cameron himself beat it, with Avatar, and a few years later Star Wars: The Force Awakens rocketed past both of those.

Now, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, having grossed around $661 million in its incredible box office run, has narrowly edged the ship-sinking epic out, cementing its place as the third highest-grossing US theatrical release of all time.

For Coogler and his team, who made an incredible, diverse film, it’s an amazing accomplishment, the capper to a string of broken records. And for the rest of the entertainment industry, it’s a huge wake-up call, proving that the interest for compelling heroes and heroines of color is more than just a trend; it’s literally the biggest thing happening. And while the established hierarchy of mostly white, mostly cis, mostly male entertainment and film industries might be slow to hear this message or give it the credence it deserves, it’s increasingly difficult to ignore.

As we tend to say in moments like this: Wakanda forever.

New York Times – Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit

Victoria Toline would hunch over the kitchen table, steady her hands and draw a bead of liquid from a vial with a small dropper. It was a delicate operation that had become a daily routine — extracting ever tinier doses of the antidepressant she had taken for three years, on and off, and was desperately trying to quit.

“Basically that’s all I have been doing — dealing with the dizziness, the confusion, the fatigue, all the symptoms of withdrawal,” said Ms. Toline, 27, of Tacoma, Wash. It took nine months to wean herself from the drug, Zoloft, by taking increasingly smaller doses.

“I couldn’t finish my college degree,” she said. “Only now am I feeling well enough to try to re-enter society and go back to work.”

Long-term use of antidepressants is surging in the United States, according to a new analysis of federal data by The New York Times. Some 15.5 million Americans have been taking the medications for at least five years. The rate has almost doubled since 2010, and more than tripled since 2000.

Nearly 25 million adults, like Ms. Toline, have been on antidepressants for at least two years, a 60 percent increase since 2010.

The drugs have helped millions of people ease depression and anxiety, and are widely regarded as milestones in psychiatric treatment. Many, perhaps most, people stop the medications without significant trouble. But the rise in longtime use is also the result of an unanticipated and growing problem: Many who try to quit say they cannot because of withdrawal symptoms they were never warned about.

NBC News – Diplomacy has been ‘weaponized’ with memes, trolling, online polls

Coming in the wake of fake news factories and troll farms, the tactics are the latest way public trust in official information is eroded.

A growing army of diplomats is spreading targeted propaganda online.

Techniques for promoting news articles and memes on social media are being used by governments around the world to influence opinion about global events and to undermine public confidence in rival countries.

The spy poisoning case and Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election have proved to be fertile ground for their work.

Russia has taken to trolling adversaries using official diplomatic Twitter accounts — creating tongue-in-cheek online polls and even snarky memes.

Coming in the wake of fake news factories and troll farms, experts warn such digital diplomacy is the latest way in which public trust in official information is being eroded.

Researchers say that while some governments are using social media transparently to streamline their message, others are engaged in covert disinformation campaigns that disrupt traditional foreign relations.

“There is a now a sense that public diplomacy has become weaponized,” said Jan Melissen, a professor of diplomacy at the University of Antwerp and a senior research fellow at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael. “These technologies are being used in ways that we didn’t anticipate.”

Time – A Global Arms Race for Killer Robots Is Transforming the Battlefield

Over the weekend, experts on military artificial intelligence from more than 80 world governments converged on the U.N. offices in Geneva for the start of a week’s talks on autonomous weapons systems. Many of them fear that after gunpowder and nuclear weapons, we are now on the brink of a “third revolution in warfare,” heralded by killer robots—the fully autonomous weapons that could decide who to target and kill without human input. With autonomous technology already in development in several countries, the talks mark a crucial point for governments and activists who believe the U.N. should play a key role in regulating the technology.

The meeting comes at a critical juncture. In July, Kalashnikov, the main defense contractor of the Russian government, announced it was developing a weapon that uses neural networks to make “shoot-no shoot” decisions. In January 2017, the U.S. Department of Defense released a video showing an autonomous drone swarm of 103 individual robots successfully flying over California. Nobody was in control of the drones; their flight paths were choreographed in real-time by an advanced algorithm. The drones “are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature,” a spokesman said. The drones in the video were not weaponized—but the technology to do so is rapidly evolving.

This April also marks five years since the launch of the International Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which called for “urgent action to preemptively ban the lethal robot weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervention.” The 2013 launch letter—signed by a Nobel Peace Laureate and the directors of several NGOs—noted that they could be deployed within the next 20 years and would “give machines the power to decide who lives or dies on the battlefield.”

Express UK – World Cup 2018 BLOODBATH: Russian hooligans warn England fans ‘Prepare to DIE’

RUSSIAN football hooligans have issued a dire ultimatum ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2018, pledging a “death sentence” against all England fans if they dare head to the tournament this summer.

Thousands of Russian ultras are gearing up to shed blood at the 21st World Cup in June, a shocking dive into social media has revealed.

Groups of raging football hooligans from Moscow and other cities have united on Russia’s popular Facebook alternative, Vkontakte.com (VK), for a large scale operation.

In the VK group “Russian Hooligans”, the football ultras have pledged to “unleash hell” during the World Cup.

A group moderator posted: “We are starting operation ‘Mundial’. Our plan is already well underway.”

Reuters – Keystone pipeline leak in South Dakota about double previous estimate: paper

The Keystone crude oil pipeline leak in November in rural South Dakota was nearly double the original estimate, making it one of the largest U.S. inland spills since 2010, a newspaper report on Saturday said.

An aerial view shows the darkened ground of an oil spill which shut down the Keystone pipeline between Canada and the United States, located in an agricultural area near Amherst, South Dakota, U.S., in this photo provided November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Dronebase

Robynn Tysver, a spokeswoman for Calgary-based TransCanada Corp, which owns the pipeline, told the Aberdeen American News some 9,700 barrels of oil leaked in the Nov. 16 spill, the South Dakota paper reported. The original estimate was 5,000 barrels.

The spill gave further ammunition to environmental groups and other U.S. opponents of another pipeline the company has proposed, the long-delayed Keystone XL.

TransCanada had shut down the 590,000 barrel-per-day pipeline, one of Canada’s main crude export routes linking Alberta’s oil fields to U.S. refineries, immediately following the spill. Operations were restarted less than two weeks later.

The Sun – BOTCHED OP: Russian woman, 27, dies in agony after being ’embalmed alive’ instead of being put on saline drip in hospital blunder

A RUSSIAN woman was killed after allegedly being embalmed alive in a horrific medical blunder.

Ekaterina Fedyaeva, 27, is said to have died after medics put her on a formalin drip – a solution containing formaldehyde – instead of saline.

She was in the hospital for an unspecified but routine surgery when she was injected with formalin, normally infused into the veins of the dead to prevent decomposition.

Her mother accused physicians of “murder” following the incident in her home city of Ulyanovsk, Russia.

Ekaterina suffered horrible pains and convulsions for two days before falling into a coma.

She was attached to a life support machine but her heart stopped beating several times.

Miami Herald – Lockdown at Dolphin Mall lifted. Mayor says ‘shots fired’ possibly a ‘hoax’ — again

Police have lifted a lockdown at Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater after there were multiple reports of shots being fired around 9 p.m. Saturday.

Officials say it’s very possible that those reports were untrue and that “all there was was a fight.”

“We still don’t know what area of the mall it happened in,” Sweetwater Mayor Orlando Lopez told the Miami Herald at around 9:45 p.m.

Reuters – Iran hit by global cyber attack that left U.S. flag on screens

Hackers have attacked networks in a number of countries including data centers in Iran where they left the image of a U.S. flag on screens along with a warning: “Don’t mess with our elections”, the Iranian IT ministry said on Saturday.

 “The attack apparently affected 200,000 router switches across the world in a widespread attack, including 3,500 switches in our country,” the Communication and Information Technology Ministry said in a statement carried by Iran’s official news agency IRNA.

The statement said the attack, which hit internet service providers and cut off web access for subscribers, was made possible by a vulnerability in routers from Cisco which had earlier issued a warning and provided a patch that some firms had failed to install over the Iranian new year holiday.










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