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Showing posts from January 13, 2013

Banks seek NSA help amid attacks on their computer systems

By Ellen Nakashima,

Major U.S. banks have turned to the National Security Agency for help protecting their computer systems after a barrage of assaults that have disrupted their Web sites, according to industry officials.

The attacks on the sites, which started about a year ago but intensified in September, have grown increasingly sophisticated, officials said. The NSA, the world’s largest electronic spying agency, has been asked to provide technical assistance to help banks further assess their systems and to better understand the attackers’ tactics.

The cooperation between the NSA and banks, industry officials say, underscores the government’s fears about the unprecedented assault against the financial sector and is part of a broader effort by the government to work with U.S. firms on cybersecurity. Nonetheless, the assistance is likely to dismay privacy advocates, who say that the NSA has no business peering inside private companies’ systems, even if for the strict purpose of improvi…

North Korea has a new name for North Koreans: ‘space conquerors’

North Korean state media present an easy target, but the latest from the official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, is a doozy even by the DPRK’s already-monumental standards of lunacy. A recent editorial in the paper repeats the usual exhortation to each and every North Korean to “devote oneself to building an economic giant with burning patriotic enthusiasm to fully demonstrate Korea of the sun.”

What’s interesting is that the state-run Rodong Sinmun seems to employ a new, unofficial name for the North Korean people: “space conquerors.” In only 365 short words, it refers to North Koreans five different times as “space conquerors,” according to the official English translation. To give you a sense of how firmly the paper is hammering this home, here are two successive paragraphs (my emphasis added):

It is necessary to actively learn from and thoroughly embody the white gem-like loyalty of space conquerors who carried out the behests of leader Kim Jong Il to the letter.

It is imperative to strug…

Pakistani Shiites continue protest, blocking road with coffins containing bodies of dead kin

QUETTA, Pakistan — About 3,500 Pakistani Shiites protested in southwestern Pakistan for a second day on Saturday, blocking a main road with dozens of coffins of relatives killed in explosions to demand better security from the government.

Police in the city of Quetta had earlier said that the protest had ended, but a prominent Shiite leader Ibrahim Hazara said it would continue until the city was handed over to the army and the provincial government was dismissed.

Some 50 coffins blocked the road near a place where Shiites worship in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province. Shiites protested to condemn security lapses they say were responsible for Thursday’s twin bombings of a billiards hall that killed 86 people.

“My son went to a billiards hall to play, but now I am sitting with his body here. I want to know what was the fault of my son and who killed him and why?” said Begum Dilawar Shah.

The dead included police, rescuers and journalists who rushed there in response t…

Egyptian court overturns Hosni Mubarak’s life sentence, orders retrial

By Abigail Hauslohner, Sunday, January 13, 3:49 PM

CAIRO—An Egyptian court Sunday ordered a retrial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, granting an appeal of the former autocrat’s life sentence for failing to prevent the killing of more than 900 protesters during the 2011 uprising that ended his rule.

Sunday’s court ruling also overturned convictions for Mubarak’s former interior minister Habib al-Adly and six other security officials who stood trial alongside Mubarak last year. The latter six were acquitted,k but all will now be retried.

The ruling is unlikely to spark a public outcry. None of the defendants will go free, due to other cases that are pending against them. And both the defense and the prosecution had appealed the sentences.

Many Egyptians have complained that theousted president’s earlier trial was deeply flawed, marred by political loyalties within the court and an inept prosecution. And some activists hailed the retrial order as a small victory.

“The court’s ruling is a re…

Sicily Unilaterally Halts Construction of US Next-Gen Military Satellite Station

TEHRAN (FNA)- Sicily's governor has halted the installation of a US military satellite communication system, demanding guarantees it isn't a threat to people's health.

The decision, taken independently from Rome, comes after activists clashed with police.

The governor of the autonomous region, Rosario Crocetta, said more research has to be done on how the US operated Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) ground station, affects health and the environment, RT reported.

The MOUS network, developed for the US Department of Defense, is aimed at providing the next-generation military communications system. When complete, it will consist of four ground stations around the world. One such station is being currently constructed in Sicily's Sughereta Nature Reserve in Niscem, raising criticism from people there.

Locals are concerned about the possible increase in radiation levels caused by the electromagnetic waves emitted by the system. People fear that it may cause diseases such…