U.S.-China: When computer networks are hacked, victims are sometimes their own worst enemies
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The victims were their own worst enemies.
The hacking techniques the U.S.government says China used against American companies turned out to be disappointingly mundane, tricking employees into opening email attachments or clicking on innocent-looking website links.
The scariest part might be how successfully the ruses worked. With a mouse click or two, employees at big-name American makers of nuclear and solar technology gave away the keys to their computer networks.
In a 31-count indictment announced on Monday the Justice Department said five Chinese military officials operating under hacker aliases such as "Ugly Gorilla," "KandyGoo" and "Jack Sun" stole confidential business information, sensitive trade secrets and internal communications for competitive advantage. The U.S. identified the alleged victims as Alcoa World Alumina, Westinghouse, Allegheny Technologies, U.S. Steel, United Steelworkers Union and SolarWorld.
China denied it all on Tuesday.
Republicans against Republicans: Primary votes set stage for Senate-control fight in November
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell looked to vanquish a tea party challenger in Kentucky, and nearly a dozen candidates vied Tuesday night for spots on the Georgia ballot for fall elections that will decide control of the U.S. Senate, highlights of primaries that spread across six states.
In Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor and his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton, ran unopposed for their party nominations, pointing toward their highly anticipated battle in November as the GOP labors to gain a majority.
Pennsylvania Democrats eager to gain control of their statehouse sorted through four contenders vying to challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who faces an uphill battle for re-election in November.
Idaho and Oregon also held primaries on the busiest night of the year so far on the political calendar.
Republican primary struggles between establishment-backed conservatives and tea party-favored rivals were a dominant feature in several states, as they had been earlier in North Carolina and will be later in Mississippi, Kansas and Alaska.
Ex-players sue NFL, accuse it recklessly dispensing painkillers; drugs ‘handed out like candy’
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Opening another legal attack on the NFL over the long-term health of its athletes, a group of retired players accused the league in a lawsuit Tuesday of cynically supplying them with powerful painkillers and other drugs that kept them in the game but led to serious complications later in life.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages on behalf of more than 500 ex-athletes, charges the NFL with putting profits ahead of players’ health.
To speed injured athletes’ return to the field, team doctors and trainers dispensed drugs illegally, without obtaining prescriptions or warning of the possible side effects, the plaintiffs contend.
Some football players said they were never told they had broken bones and were instead fed pills to mask the pain. One said that instead of surgery, he was given anti-inflammatory drugs and excused from practices so he could play in games. Others said that after years of free pills from the NFL, they retired addicted to painkillers.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, in Atlanta for the league’s spring meetings, said: "We have not seen the lawsuit, and our attorneys have not had an opportunity to review it."
Thailand’s army declares martial law, denies coup under way as it intervenes in political crisis
BANGKOK (AP) -- Thailand’s powerful military chief intervened Tuesday for the first time in the country’s latest political crisis, declaring martial law and dispatching gun-mounted jeeps into the heart of the capital with a vow to resolve the deepening conflict as quickly as possible.
The move stopped short of a coup and left the nation’s increasingly cornered caretaker government intact, along with the constitution.
Despite a steady stream of army edicts throughout the day that expanded the military’s power and included censorship of news and social media, life continued normally, with residents largely unfazed by the declaration. But the intervention, which follows six months of crippling protests that killed 28 people and injured more than 800, left the country at another precarious crossroads -- its fate now squarely in the hands of the military.
"The key going forward will be the military’s role in politics," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. "If they play the role of enforcer of law and order and even mediator ... this could be a resolution to the impasse."
But if they don’t, "we can expect protests and turmoil from the losing side."
Official says 118 dead, toll to rise in twin car bombs at bus station in Nigerian city
JOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Two car bombs exploded at a bustling bus terminal and market in Nigeria’s central city of Jos on Tuesday, killing at least 118 people, wounding dozens and leaving streets strewn with bloodied bodies.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the twin car bombs. But they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group that abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls last month and has repeatedly targeted bus stations and other locations where large numbers of people gather in its campaign to impose Islamic law on Nigeria.
The second blast came half an hour after the first, killing some of the rescue workers who had rushed to the scene, which was obscured by billows of black smoke.
Dozens of bodies and body parts were covered in grain that had been loaded in the second car bomb, witnesses said. A Terminus Market official said he helped remove 50 casualties, most of them dead. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to give information to reporters.
"It’s horrifying, terrible," said Mark Lipdo of the Stefanos Foundation, a Christian charity based in Jos, who described the sickening smell of burning human flesh.
Police: ‘Shield’ actor Jace called 911 and told operator that he shot his wife in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Actor Michael Jace, who played a police officer on the hit TV show "The Shield," was arrested Tuesday after calling 911 and telling an operator that he shot his wife, authorities said.
Detectives were investigating whether the couple’s financial or other marital difficulties might have played a role in the killing that police said occurred during an argument on Monday night while the couple’s two sons, both under 10, were in the house.
Police were unsure if the children had witnessed the argument or gunfire. They were placed in the care of relatives.
The body of April Jace, 40, was found with multiple gunshot wounds in a hallway of the home in the quiet, modest Hyde Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Police recovered a handgun believed to belong to her husband, Los Angeles police Detective Dean Vinluan said.
"She came home with the kids and then the dispute happened and the shooting happened," he said.
Ukrainian citizens’ anger grows at pro-Russian rebels as Kiev lawmakers make new peace offer
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) -- From the country’s richest man to citizens under fire, anger and dismay over Ukraine’s eastern turmoil gained strength Tuesday, but pro-Russian rebels who have declared the region independent vowed defiance.
In Kiev, home to the central government that the separatists detest, lawmakers passed a memorandum that guaranteed the status of Russian as Ukraine’s second official language and proposed government decentralization. While the document offered no specifics or timeframe, Russia -- which long had pressed for both commitments -- offered words of guarded welcome.
"If what you are saying is true, this is the development we have been speaking about for the past months," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin was quoted as telling state news agency RIA Novosti.
In Mariupol, an eastern Ukrainian city that suffered fatal clashes this month between protesters and police, workers at a steel mill stopped their labor at noon as a siren blew. They gathered for a speech from the company’s chief condemning the separatist movement known as the Donetsk People’s Republic.
"We are here because Mariupol needs a peaceful sky above us. Tanks and guns have no place in our city," said mill worker Sergey Kulitsh.
Judge overturns Pennsylvania’s gay marriage ban, calls challengers ‘courageous’
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage was overturned by a federal judge Tuesday in a decision that legalized same-sex unions throughout the Northeast and sent couples racing to pick up licenses.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III called the plaintiffs -- a widow, 11 couples and one couple’s teenage daughters -- courageous for challenging the constitutionality of the ban passed by lawmakers in 1996.
"We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history," Jones wrote.
Jones declined to put his ruling on hold for a possible appeal by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, so the order went into immediate effect. The governor did not immediately announce Tuesday whether he would appeal.
County offices in Philadelphia stayed open late to handle marriage applications, while officials in Pittsburgh were closed for election day but accepting them online.