They broke the internet. Denial-of-service attacks gridlocked web traffic Friday, temporarily blocking access to multiple providers including Twitter and Netflix. It started at 7:10 a.m. EDT, shortly after a security researcher from attack target Dyn, a key internet infrastructure firm that connects users, warned other experts about just such a threat. Access problems occurred worldwide, but focused on the eastern U.S. Dyn reported fending off the sophisticated assault by 6:17 p.m., noting the flood of activity emanated from malware-infected devices like webcams and DVRs, and while state actors are suspected, a lone hacker could be responsible.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s a violent way to send a message. While Iraqi and Kurdish forces are making progress in pushing ISIS out of the 10 percent of Iraq they still control, the militant group is making it clear that it won’t be easy. This morning, gunfire and explosions rocked Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk as suicide bombers and snipers attacked government buildings, and 10 employees of a power plant were killed. Security forces have reportedly regained control after the attacks, which may have been an attempt to weaken Iraqi-Kurdish alliances against ISIS.
This roast got dark. The annual white-tie Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, where presidential candidates typically make lighthearted jokes, took on the campaign’s ugly tone last night — with Donald Trump even drawing boos from the well-heeled crowd. Hillary Clinton needled her opponent’s history of misogyny, saying he “looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a 4.” Meanwhile, Trump accused Clinton of hating Catholics and called her “so corrupt” — after saying earlier in the day he’d only accept the election result “if I win.”
It’s a matter of principle. Though neither South Africa nor the U.N. have commented on the reports, the country’s sent a formal document that could mean quitting the global body that prosecutes war criminals. South Africa got in trouble with the ICC last year for refusing to arrest wanted Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir. It’s reportedly concerned that such orders contradict South African laws by denying heads of state diplomatic immunity — and that the ICC has disproportionately prosecuted African leaders. Burundi and Namibia have also announced plans to withdraw.
They’re butting in. British American Tobacco already owns 42.2 percent of Camel-maker Reynolds American, and has now extended a $47 billion offer — $20 billion in cash, plus shares — for the rest. BAT’s shares have risen precipitously since the Brexit vote, but those gains are balanced by the plunging value of sterling. The tobacco industry’s struggling to adjust to modern consumers’ rejection of cigarettes by inventing electronic versions, focusing on developing markets and consolidating — and this merger, if it’s approved, would create the largest cigarette conglomerate yet.
Know This: Madagascar’s drought could mean 840,000 people go hungry, according to the United Nations. Thailand is mad about “false” reports from foreign media that it was uncertain about succession after the recent death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. And Samsung’s trying to block a fad for making parody videos about its former flagship phone, the Note 7.
Read This: Male make-up mavens— including one who matches his lipstick to his snacks — are making it big on Instagram.
Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz.
They want to be acknowledged. The British government had been set to pardon en masse thousands of men convicted of having consensual sexual relationships with other men before homosexuality was decriminalized in 1967. But now some of the 15,000 survivors of the 65,000 convicted may have to wait longer to have their criminal records wiped clean, after the proposed bill failed in Parliament after a Conservative filibuster. The bill was set to follow the 2013 royal pardon of WWII hero codebreaker Alan Turing, who was fired and chemically castrated after his “gross indecency” conviction.
The world has its eyes on Mosul — in more ways than one. Battle images and videos have been available to the public for years, but Mosul’s the first major-scale military operation to be a click away for the Facebook generation. For some, war footage on social media, where users weigh in with comments and emojis, is a bridge too far for transparency. But others hope it’ll bring the reality of war home to those watching online and on Iraqi or Kurdish TV — while deterring potential ISIS recruits.
It goes beyond the Trump-Putin bromance. Institutions from the Naval War College to Georgetown University are showing new interest in studying Russia, as it re-emerges on the geopolitical scene. It’s not Cold War fever yet, but America now has a thirst to know more about Russian territorial expansionism and hacking prowess. Yet the scholarly bench is shallow after two-plus decades of disinterest, much like the pre-9/11 academic scene on the Middle East — so the coming years will likely see a spike in opportunities for true Russian scholars.
Good grief. The insurance giant first deployed the Peanuts gang in 1985, taking advantage of their nostalgic appeal for fans of the comic strip and its tie-in cartoons. But come 2017, there will be no more Snoopy on the MetLife blimp as the company rebrands with a new logo and tagline. The cartoon beagle apparently no longer resonates with a generation that embraces streaming services over Saturday morning cartoons, and with MetLife’s new strategy of selling to U.S. corporations rather than individuals who could be courted with a cuddly mascot.
He’s been kicked off the plane. Brown admitted a history of abusing his wife in newly revealed police documents, causing New York to leave him behind when it flew to London for Sunday’s game. The kicker was suspended one game in August after an abusive incident, but the NFL said it wasn’t aware of his admission to Washington state police. The league says it will investigate further, but with Brown initially punished far less than Tom Brady was for deflating footballs, many aren’t impressed with its domestic violence stance.