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09-19-2017 Environment
Intensifying Hurricane Maria is a severe threat to the Caribbean and Puerto Rico;...

...Jose to scrape Northeast coast

The wicked 2017 hurricane season is set to deliver its next two punishing blows from Hurricanes Maria and Jose. In both the Caribbean and along the Atlantic coast of the Northeast United States, conditions are set to deteriorate rapidly through Wednesday as these storms arrive.

Of the two storms, however, Maria is the much more serious hurricane. The strengthening Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph has the potential to cause widespread destruction along its path from the central Lesser Antilles through Puerto Rico.

“Maria is likely to affect Puerto Rico as an extremely dangerous major hurricane, and a hurricane watch is in effect for that island,” the National Hurricane Center said Monday.

While Jose is capable of producing coastal flooding and pockets of damaging wind from Delaware to Massachusetts, its effects are most likely to resemble those of a strong Nor’easter – rather than a devastating hurricane.

This storm is rapidly intensifying which is a troubling scenario for the islands it will sweep across. At 11 a.m. Monday, it was positioned 60 miles east of Martinique, plowing west-northwest at 10 mph. The Hurricane Center predicts it will reach Category 4 intensity late Monday or early Tuesday and may peak in intensity Wednesday when it is nearing St. Croix and Puerto Rico.

“Atmospheric and oceanic conditions appear favorable for additional rapid strengthening for the next 24 hours and possibly longer,” the Hurricane Center said.

On Monday, the storm will cut across the islands of Dominica, Martinique, French Guadeloupe and St. Lucia, where hurricane warnings are in effect. It will also come close to and affect St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat, also under hurricane warnings, but perhaps positioned far enough north of the storm to miss its brunt.

The worst part of the storm is also likely to pass a good deal south of beleaguered Barbuda and Antigua, reeling from Hurricane Irma, but they may still get brushed by some strong wind gusts and heavy showers.

On Tuesday, Maria should mostly pass through a patch of the Caribbean free of islands before potentially closing in on St. Croix, now under a hurricane warning, late in the day or at night. This island was one of the few U.S. Virgin Islands that was spared Irma’s wrath, but may well get hammered by Maria.

The other U.S. Virgin Islands as well as the British Virgin Islands will also need to carefully monitor and prepare for Maria. While they may remain north of its most severe effects, they could easily face hurricane conditions

By Thursday, the storm is likely to pass very close to or directly affect Puerto Rico from southeast to northwest. A hurricane has not made landfall in Puerto Rico since Georges in 1998. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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09-19-2017 Science&Technology
No, Apple's Face ID Is Not A 'Secure Password'

Apple has announced its new smartphone, iPhone X. The device is extremely expensive, starting at $999 (or $1331 in the UK), so potential buyers are asking themselves: Is it really worth it?

One factor that might influence your decision is the fact Apple seems to want more money for fewer features. Most prominently, iPhone X doesn't include a 'Touch ID' fingerprint authentication system, but instead checks that your identity is authentic with 'Face ID', which is used to unlock the phone and authorize payments. That prompts another question: Is Face ID better?

You might expect a new system to offer better security, and Apple's website states that 'Your face is your secure password'. That statement is misleading, however.

In this article, I'll explain why, and compare face recognition to other approaches to biometric authentication, including fingerprints.

The impact of Touch ID

Your fingerprints and face are a 'biometric', a measurable biological characteristic. The main benefit of biometric security is obvious: if a thief can't use a phone because it's secure, they have less incentive to steal it.

Secure authentication is a desirable feature because your phone is valuable -- not only in terms of financial cost, but because of the priceless data it holds, like irreplaceable photos, private messages and email addresses.

Biometric security is popular because it's so simple to use, says Professor Anil Jain of Michigan State University. "There's no need for a passcode, you just put your finger or face in front of the mobile phone and it will unlock it."

At Apple's recent event, CEO Tim Cook said that iPhone "revolutionized security and privacy with Touch ID", and marketing chief Phil Schiller later added that "Touch ID became the gold standard in consumer device biometric protection."

Jain, who has developed numerous technologies for both fingerprint and face recognition, agrees. "Prior to Touch ID, most users did not protect their phone with a passcode or a PIN code, they would just leave it unlocked all the time."

While Apple wasn't the first to include fingerprint authentication, it did pave the way for the technology to become mainstream. "For the last 4 years since iPhone introduced Touch ID, almost every major vendor has been following in their footsteps," says Jain.

So if Touch ID remains ahead of the competition, why is Apple switching to Face ID? Well, the company answers that on its site: 'Our vision has always been to create an iPhone that is entirely screen.'

Like competitors such as Samsung, Apple wanted to make a premium phone with a so-called 'edge-to-edge' display, which eliminates unsightly bezels around a screen. But removing bezels creates a problem for another feature: the fingerprint sensor. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Forbes

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09-19-2017 Security
Avast reckons CCleaner malware infected 2.27M users

Users of a free software tool designed to optimize system performance on Windows PCs and Android mobile devices got a nasty shock this morning when Piriform, the company which makes the CCleaner tool, revealed in a blog post that certain versions of the software had been compromised by hackers — and that malicious, data-harvesting software had piggybacked on its installer program.

The affected versions of the software are CCleaner 5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud 1.07.3191.

The company is urging users to upgrade to version 5.34 or higher (which it says is available for download here).

So clearly some users may still have a compromised PC on their hands (Piriform says it’s moving all users of the CCleaner to the latest version of the software, while noting that users of CCleaner Cloud will have been updated automatically.)

The malware was apparently capable of harvesting various types of data from infected machines — specifically, Piriform says: the computer name, IP address, list of installed software, list of active software and list of network adapters (data it describes as “non-sensitive”) — transmitting it to a third party computer server located in the US.

“We have no indications that any other data has been sent to the server,” it writes.

“Working with US law enforcement, we caused this server to be shut down on the 15th of September before any known harm was done. It would have been an impediment to the law enforcement agency’s investigation to have gone public with this before the server was disabled and we completed our initial assessment,” it added.

A spokeswoman for security giant Avast, which acquired the UK-based company back in July, told us: “We believe that these users are safe now as our investigation indicates we were able to disarm the threat before it was able to do any harm.”

“We estimate that 2.27 million users had the affected software installed on 32-bit Windows machines,” she further added.

At the time of the acquisition, CCleaner was billed as having 130M users, including 15M on Android. So concerns had been raised about the very large potential number of affected devices.

Although it would appear that, in this instance, the illegal payload was only successfully delivered to a small minority of users — and specifically to those using 32-bit Windows PCs.

No people running the tool on Android devices were affected, according to Avast’s spokeswoman.

Piriform’s VP of products has gone into some technical detail regarding the hack here, writing that: “An unauthorized modification of the CCleaner.exe binary resulted in an insertion of a two-stage backdoor capable of running code received from a remote IP address on affected systems.” ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Crunch

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09-19-2017 Politics
Trump pushes reform in United Nations debut, calls for ‘changing business as usual’

NEW YORK — President Trump called on the United Nations to enact reforms to the world body, pledging Monday in his debut here at the annual General Assembly meetings that he and his administration will be “partners in your work.”

Speaking at the opening session of the four-day conference, Trump said the organization founded in 1945 has “not reached its full potential” in recent years because of a bloated bureaucracy and “mismanagement.”

“We encourage all member states to look at ways to take bold stands at the United Nations with an eye toward changing business as usual and not being beholden to ways of the past which were not working,” Trump said, flanked by U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary General António Guterres.

Trump had spoken dismissively of multilateral institutions, including the U.N. and NATO, during his campaign, promoting an “America first” agenda aimed at reducing the United States's interventionism abroad in favor of domestic priorities.

His fellow leaders here at the annual gathering here of more than 150 delegations are listening for signs of how closely Trump will align himself with the U.N. in the face of a series of international challenges, including North Korea, Syria and Iran.

Speaking briefly with reporters, Trump riffed off of his campaign slogan, Make America Great Again. Trump said his main message is: "Make the United Nations great. Not again. Make the United Nations great. Such tremendous potential, and I think we'll be able to do this."

Introducing Trump, Haley said the former business mogul is “no stranger to change” and added that he “sees great potential, not just in the reform among members, but in the United Nations itself.”

Ahead of the meetings, Haley had lauded the U.N. for a pair of recent votes to enact severe economic sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The sanctions seek to cut off oil imports to Kim Jong Un's regime and block exports from the country.

The White House said Trump spoke by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is not attending UNGA, to discuss North Korea's efforts to "destabilize" Northeast Asia.

"The two leaders committed to maximizing pressure on North Korea through vigorous enforcement of United Nations Security Council resolutions," according to the White House statement.

But Trump has also voiced concerns that the U.N. and NATO have relied too heavily on the United States and that other members should shoulder more of the economic and leadership burdens. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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09-19-2017 Science&Technology
Slack Raises $250 Million; Tops $5 Billion Valuation

It was only two months ago that a Reuters report emerged stating that Slack Technologies, the San Francisco software company behind the app of the same name, was in the process of raising $250 million from an all-star list of investors.

According to a new report from the Financial Times on Sunday, the rumors were true.

Slack did indeed raise $250 million from investors, according to the report, the majority coming from SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The latest round puts the company's total funding raised to $841 million and its valuation at $5.1 billion (including cash raised).

It was previously valued at $3.8 billion.

The FT report notes that Slack continues its extraordinary growth, citing statistics from CEO Stewart Butterfield including growth of more than 100% annually and $200 million in annual recurring revenue. "If it was 10 years ago we’d be public by now," Butterfield tells Richard Waters. (He adds that a Slack IPO will come after 2018.)

The company competes with Atlassian, maker of HipChat; Facebook; Google; and Microsoft, which earlier this year debuted a rumored "Slack-killer" called Teams.

In June, Butterfield told Fortune's Michal Lev-Ram that the role of Slack—which began as a real-time chat service and now encompasses a range of features for business productivity, wrapped in a consumer-friendly interface—will continue to expand into what he calls a "virtual chief of staff" that could help with functions such as employee feedback.

"Performance reviews can be handled by bots," he told us.Just another day at one of the fastest-growing business software companies.

Read Original Article     ON:   Fortune

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09-19-2017 Politics
Opposition sees Brexit ‘chaos’ in UK govt shifts and feuds

LONDON — The British government’s attempt to appear strong and united over Brexit wobbled Monday as a top official was shifted from his post days before a new round of divorce negotiations with the European Union. Opposition lawmakers said the move reflected the Conservatives’ ”chaotic” approach to handling the biggest challenge facing the country.

Prime Minister Theresa May, meanwhile, faced calls to discipline fellow Conservative Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson for undermining her leadership by publishing his own manifesto for Brexit.

A week before negotiations between Britain and the bloc are due to resume in Brussels, the U.K. government announced Monday that the top civil servant on its negotiating team had left the Department for Exiting the European Union. The department said Oliver Robbins was moving to become May’s EU adviser.

The move follows reports of friction between Robbins and Brexit Secretary David Davis, the U.K.’s top negotiator.

Opposition Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said the shuffle “adds a whole new dimension to government’s chaotic approach to Brexit.”

In March, Britain triggered a two-year countdown to departure from the 28-nation EU. Since then, negotiations have made little progress on key issues including the status of the Ireland-Northern Ireland border and the amount Britain must pay to settle its financial commitments to the bloc.

EU officials say talks can’t move on to future relations with Britain until key divorce terms have been agreed upon. May is making a major speech Friday in Florence, Italy, that is intended to help break the logjam.

But before she could speak, Johnson laid out his own vision of Britain’s future outside the EU in a 4,000-word article for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. It called for the U.K. to adopt a low-tax, low-regulation economy outside the EU’s single market and customs union.

The article drew rebukes from May’s Cabinet allies — and sparked immediate speculation that Johnson wants replace May as leader of the Conservative Party.

Unlike May, who campaigned to stay in the EU before last year’s referendum, Johnson was an enthusiastic supporter of the “leave” side. He has the support of some Brexit-backing Conservative lawmakers, who worry that May will settle for a compromise “soft Brexit” that somehow keeps Britain inside the EU’s single market.

Some lawmakers called on May to fire Johnson — whose bumbling, jokey persona masks intense political ambition — but she is likely in too weak a position to do so. Her authority was severely undermined when she called an early June 8 election in a bid to increase her majority — only to see the Conservatives reduced to a minority administration. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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09-19-2017 Science&Technology
Mars research crew emerges after 8 months of isolation

HONOLULU — Six NASA-backed research subjects who have been cooped up in a Mars-like habitat on a remote Hawaii volcano since January emerged from isolation Sunday. They devoured fresh-picked tropical fruits and fluffy egg strata after eating mostly freeze-dried food while in isolation and some vegetables they grew during their mission.

The crew of four men and two women are part of a study designed to better understand the psychological impacts a long-term space mission would have on astronauts.

“It?s really gratifying to know that the knowledge gained here from our mission and the other missions that HI-SEAS has done will contribute to the future exploration of Mars and the future exploration of Space in general,” science officer Samuel Paylor said Sunday.

The data they produced will help NASA select individuals and groups with the right mix of traits to best cope with the stress, isolation and danger of a two-to-three year trip to Mars. The U.S. space agency hopes to send humans to the red planet by the 2030s.

The crew was quarantined for eight months on a vast plain below the summit of the Big Island’s Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano. After finishing their stint, they feasted on pineapple, mango and papaya.

While isolated, the crew members wore space suits and travelled in teams whenever they left their small dome living structure. They ate mostly freeze-dried or canned food on their simulated voyage to Mars.

During the eight months in isolation, mission biology specialist Joshua Ehrlich grew fresh vegetables.

“Carrots, peppers, pak choy. Chinese cabbage, mustard greens, radishes, tomatoes, potatoes tons of parsley and oregano, I mean it was phenomenal, just that delicious fresh taste from home really was good,” Ehrlich said.

All of their communications with the outside world were subjected to a 20-minute delay — the time it takes for signals to get from Mars to Earth. The crew was tasked with conducting geological surveys, mapping studies and maintaining their self-sufficient habitat as if they were actually living on Mars.

The team’s information technology specialist, Laura Lark, thinks a manned voyage to Mars is a reasonable goal for NASA. The project is the fifth in a series of six NASA-funded studies at the University of Hawaii facility called the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, or HI-SEAS. NASA has dedicated about $2.5 million for research at the facility.

“There are certainly human factors to be figured out, that’s part of what HI-SEAS is for,” Lark said in a video message recorded within the dome. “But I think that overcoming those challenges is just a matter of effort. We are absolutely capable of it.” ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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09-19-2017 Security
The Pirate Bay Gives Torrent Links, But Hijacks PC In Return With A Bitcoin Miner

The Pirate Bay, one of the world's most popular websites for torrent links to pirated content, is apparently now taking back from its loyal followers by hijacking their computers.

While The Pirate Bay does not take over computers like hackers do with malware, it was found to have JavaScript code that "borrows" the processors of PCs for the sake of mining Bitcoins.

The Pirate Bay Plunders Your PC For Bitcoins

According to a TorrentFreak report, The Pirate Bay users have recently noticed increased CPU usage when browsing certain pages of the torrent website. When The Pirate Bay was investigated, it was discovered that the usage spikes were caused by a Bitcoin miner that has been embedded on the website.

The Bitcoin miner, hidden at the footer of The Pirate Bay, is provided by Coinhive, which offers website owners the option of converting the CPU power of their visitors into Monero coins, a kind of Bitcoin that comes with several unique characteristics.

The Bitcoin miner implemented by The Pirate Bay is not found on all its pages, seen in the category listings and search results but not in on the hompage and the individual pages of torrents. When it is active, the drain on the PC's resources can be instantly noticed, even if the service is throttled at various rates across the websites.

According to The Pirate Bay, it was only testing the Bitcoin miner as a new means of revenue generation, and it might eventually replace the advertisements on the website. However, it appears that the website's users are already against the software's usage, with already many complaints in the official The Pirate Bay forums.

What Can The Pirate Bay Users Do?

For The Pirate Bay users who are being severely affected by the workings of the Bitcoin miner, one of the ways to avoid it is to disable Javascript, either through the settings of the internet browser that they are using to visit the torrent website or through blocker add-ons. Alternatively, users can also block the URL of the Bitcoin miner using an ad blocker.

However, the main issue that most The Pirate Bay users have with the sudden implementation of the Bitcoin miner is that many inexperienced users will not know what is going on when they visit the torrent website, as it uses their CPU to collect Monero coins.

Users can continue voicing their concern over the Javascript code through the website's official forums, and hopefully the people behind The Pirate Bay will listen to them and revert to using advertisements, which are still annoying but do not affect computer performance.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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09-18-2017 General
London terror attack latest: Second man arrested over tube bombing

London (CNN)British authorities have arrested a second man in connection with the bombing of a London Underground train on Friday, officials said Sunday.

The 21-year-old man was arrested late Saturday in Hounslow, west London, by detectives from the London Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command.

The incident at Parsons Green station, when an improvised device exploded as a train pulled into the platform during Friday morning's rush hour, injured 30 passengers.

"He was arrested under section 41 of the Terrorism Act and taken to a south London police station where he remains in custody," police said in a statement Sunday.

A search is taking place at a property in Stanwell, Surrey, in connection with this arrest, police added.

The arrests are part of a major manhunt for the perpetrators of Friday's attack. Police had previously arrested an 18-year-old suspect in the departure area of the port of Dover on Saturday. Dover is major port town about 80 miles southeast of London.

The teen was taken into custody "on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism," authorities announced.

Related: The unlikely suburban backdrop to London's latest terror attack

Meanwhile police were still searching a residential address west of London in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, on Sunday, with residents from surrounding buildings evacuated as a "precautionary measure."

Officers were seen entering and exiting a lilac-painted property on Cavendish Road, which had been cordoned off.

Reporters at the scene attracted attention from residents, some of whom said they would be surprised if anyone in Sunbury was connected with the incident.

The house is believed to be owned by an elderly couple known for fostering hundreds of children -- including refugees -- over the years and were honored by the Queen for their work with MBE (Member of the British Empire) medals in 2010, according to reports widely circulated in British media on Sunday. London's Metropolitan Police has not yet confirmed this.

Threat level lowered

The UK's terror threat level was downgraded from "critical" back to "severe," two days after the attack, the country's Home Secretary Amber Rudd said in a televised statement on on Sunday afternoon.

A Home Office spokesperson also told CNN that the threat level had been lowered.

In a police statement on the investigation, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: "There is still much more to do but this greater clarity and this progress has led JTAC (Joint Terrorism Analysis Center) -- the independent body that assess threat -- to come to the judgment that an attack is no longer imminent."

He added that lowering the threat level to "severe" means that an attack is now considered "highly likely." ...

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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09-18-2017 Science&Technology
Pirate Bay uses visitors’ CPUs for mining digital currency

Torrent and piracy websites are in a difficult situation when it comes to raising money. The more they grow in popularity, the bigger the costs of operation get, but they can’t exactly depend on advertising revenue to survive. While donations via Bitcoin have been the preferred option for some time now, it appears The Pirate Bay may be moving to a more direct method for generating funds: using visitor’s CPU cycles to mine digital currency.

Visitors to The Pirate Bay recently discovered JavaScript code being used that revealed a cryptocurrency miner was in place on the torrent website. This code makes use of visitor’s processors to mine Monero digital coins. It’s not a constant occurrence on the website, but users began digging after they noticed significant spikes in CPU usage while on certain pages.

Shortly after this was reported by TorrentFreak, The Pirate Bay confirmed to the site that it was using the miner as part of a 24-hour test to see if it could be used as a permanent way to generate revenue, allowing them to replace ads altogether. No other details were revealed, but The Pirate Bay said they might have more information in the future.

As you’d expect, visitors to the site weren’t place with having their computers’ resources hijacked without permission. It was quickly determined that the miner can be blocked by disabling JavaScript in the browser settings or using ad blockers. Should The Pirate Bay make the miner a permanent feature, they run the risk of upsetting a lot of their users if they don’t disclose it before it kicks in.

Read Original Article     ON:   Slash Gear

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09-18-2017 Politics
Trump retweets GIF of him hitting Clinton with golf ball

(CNN)President Donald Trump retweeted an edited video Sunday morning that showed him swinging a golf club and appearing to hit his former presidential campaign rival Hillary Clinton with a golf ball.

The animated GIF image Trump retweeted spliced together footage of Trump taking a swing on a golf course with footage of Clinton tripping and falling as she boarded a plane in 2011 as secretary of state. The footage is edited to make it appear as though Clinton is hit in the back with a golf ball before her fall.

The tweet, which came as Trump prepares to head to New York for a critical round of powerhouse diplomacy with world leaders at the United Nations, followed a week during which Clinton reemerged in the spotlight as she promoted her new book, "What Happened," about the 2016 campaign, reviving her fiercest criticisms of Trump and his supporters and reigniting the debate about her stunning, unanticipated loss.

Trump slammed Clinton over her new book earlier this week too, tweeting that she "blames everybody (and every thing) but herself for her election loss."

Trump's Sunday morning Twitter post was one of more than a half-dozen supporters' tweets the President retweeted Sunday before 8:30 a.m.

Those other tweets included an image predicting Trump would win every state for reelection in 2020, another showing Trump hauling US companies that have outsourced manufacturing abroad and a tweet claiming that "only true Americans can see that president Trump is making America great."

South Korea call

Trump also took to Twitter Sunday morning to tweet about his call late Saturday night with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to discuss the ongoing tensions with North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

"I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing," Trump tweeted, appearing to offer a new moniker for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. "Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!"

Both leaders' offices said Trump and Moon pledged during their call to work with the international community to ramp up pressure on the North Korean regime, which has so far been undeterred in advancing its nuclear and ballistic missile program despite a tightening of international sanctions.

Trump's retweeting spree also came on the heels of a week during which he drew criticism from pockets of his political base as he signaled he was close to a deal with Democrats to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, known as "Dreamers," from deportation in exchange for border security measures but not funding for the border wall at the center of his campaign.

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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09-18-2017 Science&Technology
Facebook under fire over Russian ads in election

Facebook is under fire after revealing that a Russian group tied to the Kremlin bought political ads on its platform during the 2016 elections.

Lawmakers are demanding answers, and liberal groups, who say the company failed to crack down on fake news, are seizing on the new disclosure.

Even Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, has cited the ads when discussing her loss during a book tour.

"We now know that they were sewing discord during the election with phony groups on Facebook," Clinton told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. "They were running anti-immigrant, anti-me, anti-Hillary Clinton demonstrations. They were putting out the fake news and negative stories untrue to really divide people."

Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said the company needs to be more forthcoming about the full extent of the ad buys.

Sleeping Giants, an anonymous left-leaning activist group, is turning its sights on Facebook as well. The group gained attention by pressuring 2,600 advertisers to remove their ads from conservative website Breitbart and is now pressing Facebook to be more transparent about how Kremlin-linked groups used the platform.

Beyond revealing that Kremlin-linked Internet Research Group spent $100,000 buying ads on the social media platform in 2016, Facebook has said little else publicly.

The company is sharing more privately with federal investigators. But lawmakers on intelligence committees in the House and Senate are complaining that Facebook still isn’t providing enough details.

“We need to get a lot more from the technology companies,” Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Friday on “Morning Joe.”

Schiff suggested Facebook has been slow to release details because “it’s against their economic interest to be advertising problems about how a foreign government was exploiting their technologies.”

Warner admitted on Wednesday that Facebook had not shared that the Russian group involved had purchased ads for anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rallies that they organized on Facebook.

The senator only became aware of those ads after a Daily Beast report.

According to the report, the Russian group tried to rally Americans to show up at political events in Iowa and other states. Subsequent reports showed that the Russian group created a Texas fan page, which disseminated pro-Texas secessionist messages. Facebook ultimately took the page down.

“I question whether Facebook has put near the resources they need into getting us all the facts,” Warner told reporters on Wednesday. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Hill

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09-15-2017 Politics
Politics ‘A new strategy’ for Trump? Democrats cautious but encouraged by fresh outreach.

President Trump on Wednesday vowed not to cut taxes for the wealthy, extolled the virtues of bipartisanship as leading to “some of the greatest legislation ever passed” and then — in a surprise move announced deep into the night — agreed to cut a deal with Democrats saving hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from deportation.

That Trump did all of that while declaring himself “a conservative” only heightened the sense of surrealism that has wafted through the nation’s capital over the past eight days, as the president has expressed a newfound, if tentative, willingness to work across the aisle — a development that has left many Republicans chagrined and some Democrats cautiously optimistic.

Trump’s outreach suggested that an unexpected deal he reached last week with Democrats may not have been an aberration. This week’s effort began Tuesday at a bipartisan White House dinner with senators and proceeded to a gathering of House Democrats and Republicans on Wednesday afternoon.

It was finally capped off Wednesday night by a presidential meal with the nation’s two top Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), during which they reached the contours of an immigration deal and discussed Beijing trade issues over a menu of Chinese cuisine.

Calling the dinner “very productive,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement late Wednesday that Trump had agreed to “enshrine the protections” of a Barack Obama-era executive order into law “quickly,” protecting about 700,000 illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. They would also “work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” the statement said.

In a separate statement, the White House said the gathering was “constructive” and that it focused on immigration, infrastructure and trade.

“Bottom line: There really is a new strategy coming out of the White House,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar, a moderate Texas Democrat who had turned down previous White House invites but decided to attend Wednesday’s afternoon session. “He meets with the bipartisan senators last night. He meets with us. He meets with Pelosi and Schumer today. There is a new strategy in place.”

Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), a Trump supporter who also attended the afternoon gathering, said the president “has seen the theater up here and learned the lesson: Extremes on both the right and left are problematic to getting his agenda accomplished. You can’t run a partisan bill to the finish line, so he knows he has to have his Plan B ready.” ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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09-15-2017 Politics
Japan and India Discuss Defense as China Gets Bolder

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds his 10th summit with India’s leader Narendra Modi on Thursday, underscoring the importance of strategic ties between the countries as the two face an increasingly assertive China. Supplying submarine technology would lock Japan and India into an even tighter defense relationship for years to come.

Despite the close relationship between the two right-leaning nationalist leaders, Japan is hesitant to plunge into negotiations on submarine exports. A bid to supply Australia with an adapted version of its Soryu subs failed last year, despite the deepening security ties between the two nations.

Japan is among the countries India contacted for information about cooperating on its plans for six diesel submarines to add to the underwater fleet it is seeking to build to counter that of China, in a project worth about 500 billion rupees ($7.8 billion). The two governments held their first round of talks on overall defense technology cooperation last week, but are not currently in negotiations on the submarine project, according to a Japanese foreign ministry official who asked not to be named.

In India, an official from the Ministry of Defence who asked not to be named citing rules, said the process for submarine procurement had just been initiated with the Japanese submarine builder. It will be a long, drawn process, said another Ministry of Defence official.

Indian Navy spokesman D. K. Sharma said he had no comment on the matter.

While the Japanese government is not ruling out a deal, here are some reasons why it probably won’t be the front runner.

Price Tag

Japan only loosened its decades-old self-imposed ban on defense exports in 2014. The exclusively domestic focus of the industry has kept it small in scale, resulting in higher costs, which are off-putting for India. The two countries have, for example, been negotiating a possible sale of ShinMaywa’s US-2 amphibious aircraft for years, but have so far failed to agree on a price.

The roughly $12 billion yen ($109 million) per plane price tag, depending on specifications, is one of the key sticking points, according to the Japanese foreign ministry official. He added that the talks would take some time.

Make in India

Modi’s campaign to have more high-tech goods made on Indian soil will make any submarine deal more difficult. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, the two firms that build Japan’s submarines, will be concerned about whether they can maintain quality, according to Abhijit Singh, a former naval officer who is now at New Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Bloomberg

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09-14-2017 Science&Technology
The iPhone X is the one phone where you’ll really want to wait for the reviews

With all the leaks ahead of Apple’s big event this week, we thought we knew all about the iPhone X. It’s just a $999 combo of iOS, a bezel-less OLED screen, wireless charging, and a polished glass back, right? We’re familiar with all of those things, even the eyebrow-raising price, from the world of Android, so the radically redesigned new iPhone flagship shouldn’t feel all that radical. But for myself (and, I imagine, most current iPhone users), Apple’s presentation threw up more questions than answers, and it positioned the iPhone X as the most enigmatic phone we’ve seen in years.

Here’s a rundown of the things I’d want to know more about before passing judgment on this most fundamental of iPhone redesigns:


If you want to talk about a revolution for hundreds of millions of smartphone users, Apple’s removal of the iPhone’s home button is it. A decade’s habit of hitting the home button to safely return to your starting position is being wiped out with this change in the iPhone X. Every non-techie I know, when encountering a new mobile device, has looked for a home button, not a home swipe. We practically yearn for an escape hatch when we dive into new software. Apple is saying / assuming that the mainstream phone user is now savvy enough about gestures to adapt to a new UI built around them.

How do the iPhone X gestures actually work in practice? At first blush, I can’t say that the idea of swiping up from the bottom to return home is particularly intuitive, and neither is the distinction between a swipe down from the left of the screen’s monobrow (for notifications) and a swipe down from the right (which pulls up the iOS Control Center). Users are likely to adapt, as they have adapted to Apple’s other significant changes like the removal of the headphone jack, but that won’t mean they’ll necessarily like or prefer it.

Another major question with respect to interactions on the iPhone X relates to how the bezel-less bottom of the phone will work. Apple has issued design guidelines saying "Avoid explicitly placing interactive controls at the very bottom of the screen" to developers who've had their controls in a strip at the bottom of the screen since forever. It’s not obvious where those UI elements are supposed to be now. The upheaval for app makers will also include a new, narrower aspect ratio on the iPhone X, which will generate letterboxing effects for things that haven’t been tailored to the new screen. Videos are the most benign example of that, but I expect there’ll be an uncomfortable transition period as devs rejigger their software to play nice on this new canvas. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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09-11-2017 Environment
Destructive winds, rain hit Florida as Hurricane Irma makes landfall in the Keys

MIAMI — The fierce winds of Hurricane Irma regained Category 4 strength early Sunday as the storm’s eye made it to the lower Florida Keys just before 9 a.m. The massive storm already has caused hundreds of thousands of power outages across South Florida, its leading edge lashing several major population centers.

The National Weather Service said the storm made landfall at 9:10 a.m. on Cudjoe Key, with wind gusts reaching 130 mph. Forecasters warn that a second landfall could happen later on Sunday as Irma heads north to the U.S. mainland.

Officials said storm surges in the Keys could reach a devastating five to 10 feet there before the hurricane slowly proceeds up the state’s west coast.

“A very dangerous day is unfolding in the Florida Keys and much of West Florida,” Michael Brennan, a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center, said in an early morning update Sunday. “It certainly could inundate the entire island. That’s why everyone in the Keys was urged so strongly to evacuate.”

And due to the size of the hurricane, weather officials warn that Florida’s east coast — home to Miami and Fort Lauderdale — also remains in danger from winds and storm surges expected to easily overwhelm some areas. Officials fears the storm could ravage the state with destruction not seen in a generation.

More than 6 million residents were ordered evacuated by Saturday evening, as Irma’s outer bands scraped Florida, forcing thousands to cram into shelters. Gov. Rick Scott (R) sounded dire warnings about the storm, urging residents in evacuation zones to leave their homes immediately.

“Once the storm starts, law enforcement cannot save you,” Scott said Saturday at a news conference in Sarasota.

While the National Hurricane Center had downgraded Irma to a Category 3 storm Saturday, the storm was upgraded again to Category 4 early Sunday. At 5 a.m., weather officials said the storm was plodding northwest at about 8 miles per hour, placing it on pace to reach Naples by about 5 p.m. The storm could potentially make a second landfall further north on Sunday.

“It could make landfall anywhere along the west coast,” Brennan said. “It’s really hard to predict where the eye will make landfall on the west coast once it leaves the keys.”

Regardless of its track, all of Florida will probably experience damaging winds, rains, flooding and possibly tornadoes. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for all of southern Florida and the Florida Keys.

The National Weather Service said southwestern Florida could see storm surges up to 15 feet if peak surge happens during high tide. A storm surge warning is in effect for much of the Florida peninsula. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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1 The New York Times / United States 2 The Guardian / United Kingdom 3 The Daily Mail / United Kingdom 4 China Daily / China
5 The Washington Post / United States 6 The Telegraph / United Kingdom 7 The Wall Street Journal / United States 8 USA Today / United States
9 The Times of India / India 10 The Independent / United Kingdom 11 Los Angeles Times / United States 12 El País / Spain
13 Financial Times / United Kingdom 14 The People's Daily / China 15 United Daily News / China 16 The Economic Daily / China
17 Le Monde / France 18 Daily Mirror / United Kingdom 19 El Mundo / Spain 20 Daily News / United States
21 La Repubblica / Italy 22 Bild / Germany 23 Le Figaro / France 24 The Sydney Morning Herald / Australia
25 Houston Chronicle / United States 26 Hürriyet / Turkey 27 Chicago Tribune / United States 28 The Examiner / United States
29 New York Post / United States 30 Asahi Shimbun / Japan 31 Corriere della Sera / Italy 32 The Economic Times / India
33 Milliyet Gazetesi / Turkey 34 Marca / Spain 35 Liberty Times / Taiwan 36 Die Welt / Germany
37 The Globe and Mail / Canada 38 Nihon Keizai Shimbun / Japan 39 The Hollywood Reporter / United States 40 Sabah / Turkey
41 The Christian Science Monitor / United States 42 Daily Express / United Kingdom 43 Kompas / Indonesia 44 The Indian Express / India
45 Yomiuri Shimbun / Japan 46 Gazeta Wyborcza / Poland 47 The Hindu / India 48 The Toronto Star / Canada
49 The Sun / United Kingdom 50 The Age / Australia 51 The Boston Globe / United States 52 Philippine Daily Inquirer / Philippines
53 Süddeutsche Zeitung / Germany 54 The Washington Times / United States 55 Clarín / Argentina 56 Chosun Ilbo / Japan
57 Die Zeit / Germany 58 The Onion / United States 59 Metro / United Kingdom 60 ABC / Spain
61 The Seattle Times / United States 62 The Times / United Kingdom 63 La Gazzetta dello Sport / Italy 64 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Germany
65 The Hill / United States 66 Dainik Bhaskar / India 67 The Philadelphia Inquirer / United States 68 The Oregonian / United States
69 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea 70 La Nación / Argentina 71 The Hindustan Times / India 72 San Jose Mercury News / United States
73 The Dallas Morning News / United States 74 AS / Spain 75 The Australian / Australia 76 Star Tribune / United States
77 Qingdao News / China 78 The Jerusalem Post / Israel 79 The Plain Dealer / United States 80 L'Equipe / France
81 Komsomolskaya Pravda / Russia 82 The Denver Post / United States 83 Mladá fronta Dnes / Czech Republic 84 Libération / France
85 O Globo / Brazil 86 Aftonbladet / Sweden 87 The Japan Times / Japan 88 Business Standard / India
89 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 90 Kommersant / Russia 91 Le Parisien / France 92 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand
93 Detroit Free Press / United States 94 Newsday / United States 95 The Baltimore Sun / United States 96 National Post / Canada
97 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 98 The Miami Herald / United States 99 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 100 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States
101 The Irish Independent / Ireland 102 South China Morning Post / Hong Kong SAR 103 The Irish Times / Ireland 104 The Star Online / Malaysia
105 De Telegraaf / Netherlands 106 Dawn / Pakistan 107 Der Standaard / Austria 108 The Sacramento Bee / United States
109 20 Minutos / Spain 110 Mainichi Shimbun / Japan 111 Rossiyskaya Gazeta / Russia 112 Apple Daily / Taiwan
113 DNA - Daily News & Analysis / India 114 La Stampa / Italy 115 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / United States 116 20 Minutes / France
117 La Vanguardia / Spain 118 Evening Standard / United Kingdom 119 China Times / Taiwan 120 The Straits Times / Singapore
121 Orlando Sentinel / United States 122 Der Tagesspiegel / Germany 123 South Florida Sun-Sentinel / United States 124 Verdens Gang / Norway
125 Argumenti i Fakti / Russia 126 Boston Herald / United States 127 Infobae / Argentina 128 Dagbladet / Norway
129 Independent Online / South Africa 130 The New York Observer / United States 131 Yeni Safak / Turkey 132 Seattle Post-Intelligencer / United States
133 The Kansas City Star / United States 134 Al-Ahram / Egypt 135 The Scotsman / United Kingdom 136 Nikkan Sports / Japan
137 Deseret News / United States 138 Herald Sun / Australia 139 The Vancouver Sun / Canada 140 Yang Cheng Wan Bao / China
141 Les Échos / France 142 Gulf News / United Arab Emirates 143 Yedioth Aharonot / Israel 144 Sports Nippon / Japan
145 The Orange County Register / United States 146 Expressen / Sweden 147 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / United States 148 / Russia
149 Handelsblatt / Germany 150 The Daily Telegraph / Australia

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