Members of the foreign military intelligence agency (the G.R.U.) were indicted Thursday on cyber-hacking charges in relation to leaked Olympic athletes drug data, allegedly to undermine an investigation into the Russian doping scandal. Four officers were also charged with targeting organizations that were probing Russia’s use of chemical weapons and three were charged in July for allegedly conspiring to interfere in the Russian elections. British ministers have also accused Russia of “reckless and indiscriminate” cyber attacks over the past three years.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They caught a break. Less than a month before 1,000 Sudanese refugees were set to lose their protection under the Temporary Protected Status immigration program, a federal district judge has ruled that ending TPS would cause “irreparable harm.” The program protects migrants from countries facing crises like epidemics, war and natural disasters. The injunction, which charged that the policy ending TPS may have been racially motivated, blocks the deportation of 240,000 people who had fled Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Sudan. The Justice Department has said it will appeal.
“They thought it was a random search warrant.” Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone reported that instead the officers were met with a hail of gunfire, followed by a two-hour standoff Wednesday as a gunman held children hostage inside a home. Three sheriff’s deputies were hit as they arrived, and four Florence city police officers were wounded — one fatally — as they responded with backup. The gunman eventually surrendered, leaving the children uninjured. It’s the second mass shooting of police officers in South Carolina this year.
In the face of “reckless harassment” in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy may respond with a show of force. That’s the message Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to deliver today in an anti-China speech to a Washington think tank. His remarks follow a near-collision between U.S. and Chinese warships near the hotly disputed Spratly Islands. Pence reportedly will repeat President Donald Trump’s accusations of Chinese meddling in U.S. midterm elections through “a whole-of-government approach” including propaganda, hacking and retaliatory tariffs.
The British prime minister is facing opposition from within her own Conservative Party that may jeopardize her plan for splitting from the European Union. May warned her fellow Tories in the final day of a party conference in Manchester that in pursuing “the perfect Brexit, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all.” She’s succeeded in getting EU member Ireland to go along with plans for an open border — a key sticking point — but EU officials fear May’s leadership, along with the deal, are at risk.
Know This: U.S. Senators will today read the FBI report on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, with a confirmation vote expected as early as Friday. Millions of Americans’ cell phones lit up Wednesday with a “presidential alert” — a national warning system test. British authorities have accused Russia’s intelligence service of orchestrating high-profile cyberattacks, including against a U.K. television network and the World Anti-Doping Agency. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to France: Find out why in the land of fine dining, the Golden Arches triumph.
File This: “For federal purposes, the statute of limitations for bringing the charge based on a tax crime is six years after the act.” — So said tax expert Megan Brackney on the possibility of President Trump being prosecuted for tax evasion after this week’s New York Times exposé.
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Mark Judge’s out-of-print 1997 book, Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk, was selling for $1,949.99 on Amazon Wednesday before being made available for free on the Internet Archive. The tale by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s high school classmate — whom Christine Blasey Ford claims was present when Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her — chronicles their booze-soaked exploits at Georgetown Prep. It’s being cited as evidence of Kavanaugh’s drinking, as Judge describes a character named “Bart O’Kavanaugh” drunkenly vomiting and passing out — something the nominee swore under oath never happened.
Maybe we all deserve a cut. Economist Mariana Mazzucato wants citizens to know that behind every smartphone, there’s state-sponsored tech like GPS, touch screens and the internet — and if government resources are responsible for such value creation, citizens should share in the profits. It’s an idea behind Mazzucato’s book, The Entrepreneurial State, describing a government that innovates far more than Silicon Valley cares to admit. She’s making waves in policy circles, not just with descriptions of “predatory” versus “productive” capitalism, but with practical visions of a fairer economy.
It was where the hungry came to feed. Ko Phi Phi Le island’s Maya Bay, depicted in Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2000 film The Beach, will be shut to tourists indefinitely after as many as 5,000 daily visitors damaged its marine ecosystem. Thai officials say the bay will reopen once it recovers, but rehabilitation could take years: Pollution from boats, litter and sunscreen has wiped out more than 80 percent of the area’s coral, which grows only a fifth of an inch per year.
PhD student Farooq Ali Khan’s fake study, Newer Tools to Fight Inter-Galactic Parasites and Their Transmissibility in Zyrgirion Simulation, was accepted by multiple scientific journals, despite being overtly littered with Rick and Morty and other pop culture references. The paper — an effort to call out institutions that publish dubious science without review — was accepted by three journals without question, and five in exchange for payment. Ali Kahn said he hoped the scam would highlight the “severe threat to science” posed by predatory journals.
Model Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit last week claiming the Portuguese football star raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009. The suit was first reported by Der Spiegel, prompting Ronaldo’s lawyer to threaten to sue the German magazine. Mayorga said she signed a nondisclosure agreement in 2010 and accepted a $375,000 settlement, but was inspired to come forward by the #MeToo movement. Las Vegas police have reportedly opened an investigation. Ronaldo denied Mayorga’s allegations, saying, “Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in.”