The Office of Personnel Management and its files on four million federal employees fell under attack last December in what is believed to be the second major Chinese hacking operation against the U.S. government in a year. Social security numbers were apparently targeted, and it’s feared that the stolen data could be used to help criminals access computer systems — or to uncover personal secrets and blackmail employees. Officials suspect the breach was state-sponsored — which Beijing denies — and the NSA is gearing up by expanding warrantless surveillance of foreign hackers.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’re gonna need more time. Athens won’t be paying the $338 million it owes today and will instead bundle four June payments together to pay $1.7 billion by the end of the month. June 30 also marks the end of its EU and IMF bailouts, so the clock is ticking to secure more funds. While Prime Minister Alex Tsipras says an agreement is “in sight,” creditors indicate differences remain — and Tsipras must still seek approval at home, where many in his ruling Syriza Party would prefer to defiantly withhold payment.
The former public spokesman for Saddam Hussein’s long regime died this morning after more than ten years in captivity. Known for his wide-rimmed glasses, the former Foreign Minister was captured shortly after the fall of Iraq in 2003 and was sentenced to death by the Iraqi Supreme Court in October 2010. A month after the conviction, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani commuted the sentence into a lifetime prison term due to internal government pressure. Aziz was 79 years old at the time of his death.
The Eastern Star is upright, but there’s no sign of life. Crews working feverishly on the Yangtze River, where more than 400 are believed to have died, have righted the stricken cruise ship. But authorities have acknowledged that the chances of finding anyone alive are “slim.” Of the 456 aboard, 14 survived, 97 bodies have been found and the rest remain missing. Crews will now turn their attention to raising the ship entirely out of the water and searching the boat’s 150 cabins for victims’ remains.
The West African nation is reeling after around 175 people died in a gas station fire brought on by devastating floods. Scores sought shelter from a downpour at the station in the capital, Accra, late Wednesday. But it flooded and exploded, leaving firefighters battling the deadly blaze overnight. Loved ones have watched in horror as the death toll mounted, and many remain trapped in cars and offices around the city. President John Mahama has called for three days of mourning and vowed that the country must never again endure such tragedy.
Eight of 10 arrested for the attack on Malala Yousafzai “secretly acquitted” in Pakistan. (Telegraph)
Malaysian quake strands climbers on Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu. (BBC)
IMF urges U.S. not to raise interest rates before 2016. (FT) sub
Argentine president met with Edward Snowden in Moscow. (DW)
Five charged in Kenyan university massacre. (Al Jazeera)
Will it help cure those “headaches”? A federal advisory panel has recommended approval of the little pink pill known as flibanserin, which influences brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine in premenopausal women. The drug’s been rejected twice before by the FDA over its modest effectiveness in boosting sexual desire, as well as its side effects, including low blood pressure and fainting. Activists hailed the decision, which will likely lead to FDA approval in August, but opponents fear it’ll set a precedent for swallowing drugs with limited utility.
Financial analysts are anticipating new product announcements at Monday’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference. While not as sexy as a self-driving car, the expected refresh of iOS and OS X software, as well as new programming kits for Apple TV and Watch developers, will help traders discern the company’s future prospects. The most immediate release expected is a new music service that will build upon technology acquired in the Beats deal last year. Expect Tim Cook to stride into place in San Francisco by ten in morning and for analysts to complete assessments by the end of that hour.
Barriers to study and serve are crumbling. Barnard, the famed women’s college affiliated with Columbia University, is changing its admissions policy to welcome transgender women beginning in 2016. And female students who transition while in college will be able to finish their studies at Barnard as men. The U.S. Air Force, meanwhile, has just made it more difficult to discharge transgender troops by requiring high-level approval for such moves, perhaps signaling a pending shift toward embracing all soldiers, regardless of where they identify themselves on the gender spectrum.
This may take more than a couple of minutes to fix. Nestle has pulled its Maggi “two-minute” instant noodles from shelves amid what it’s calling “unfounded concerns” over lead contamination and dangerous MSG levels. Six Indian states have already banned Maggi products — one barred three other brands over similar concerns — so Nestle, seeing its share prices plunge, took charge and recalled them. But the Swiss food giant says its products are safe and that India’s popular fast food will return “as soon as the current situation is clarified.”
Haven’t Netflix execs seen Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in Nine to Five? Surely they should know better than to mess with the formidable female stars over compensation. The duo have complained that they’re getting paid the same as supporting cast members Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen, despite having more screen time — their characters’ names are the show’s title, after all — and serving as executive producers. But fans say Tomlin and Fonda aren’t “just a step on the boss man’s ladder” and are circulating a petition demanding fair pay.
Worth. Every. Penny. The NBA’s two best teams put on a thrilling show last night in the finals opener. Cleveland enjoyed an early 14-point lead before they stalled, missing the first eight shots of overtime and allowing the Warriors to shine. Despite LeBron James’ 44 points for the Cavs, losing Kyrie Irving to a leg injury may have sealed their fate. Golden State seized the opportunity and gave Oakland a show they’d waited 40 years to see. Now Cleveland hopes to even the score on Sunday.