- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cheating website subscribers included federal workers from White House, Congress, military

WASHINGTON (AP) - Hundreds of U.S. government employees - including some with sensitive jobs in the White House, Congress and law enforcement agencies - used Internet connections in their federal offices to access and pay membership fees to the cheating website Ashley Madison, The Associated Press has learned.

The AP traced many of the accounts exposed by hackers back to federal workers. They included at least two assistant U.S. attorneys; an information technology administrator in the Executive Office of the President; a division chief, an investigator and a trial attorney in the Justice Department; a government hacker at the Homeland Security Department and another DHS employee who indicated he worked on a U.S. counterterrorism response team.

Few actually paid for their services with their government email accounts. But AP traced their government Internet connections - logged by the website over five years - and reviewed their credit-card transactions to identify them. They included workers at more than two dozen Obama administration agencies, including the departments of State, Defense, Justice, Energy, Treasury, Transportation and Homeland Security. Others came from House or Senate computer networks.

The AP is not naming the government subscribers it found because they are not elected officials or accused of a crime.

Hackers this week released detailed records on millions of people registered with the website one month after the break-in at Ashley Madison’s parent company, Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc. The website - whose slogan is, “Life is short. Have an affair” - is marketed to facilitate extramarital affairs.

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What the secret nuclear inspection accord between Iran and the UN says - and what others say

VIENNA (AP) - An AP report has revealed that the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency has agreed with Iran that Iranian experts and equipment will be used to inspect Iran’s Parchin military site, located in not far from Tehran, where Iran is suspected of conducting covert nuclear weapons activity more than a decade ago.

Here are some questions and answers about the document, and what it means for the larger deal between Iran, the United States and five other world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for easing sanctions against Iran.

WHAT HAVE IRAN AND THE IAEA AGREED?

According to a draft document viewed by AP, Iran has agreed to cooperate with the U.N. in answering longstanding allegations about possible past work to develop nuclear weapons at its Parchin plant - but only with the Iranians conducting the inspections themselves. Iran would collect its own environmental samples on the site and carry out other work usually done by IAEA experts. The IAEA will be able to review the Iranians’ work after the fact. The deal on Parchin was between the IAEA and Iran. The Obama Administration was not a direct party to the agreement, but apparently was aware of it.

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10 Things to Know for Friday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:

1. WHO SUBSCRIBED TO THE CHEATING WEBSITE?

Hundreds of U.S. government employees - including some who worked in the White House, Congress and law enforcement agencies - accessed and paid membership fees to the Ashley Madison website.

2. JIMMY CARTER SAYS HE’S ‘AT EASE’ IN AFTERMATH OF CANCER DIAGNOSIS

Carter said doctors found four small tumors in his brain, and he is undergoing treatment with radiation and drugs.

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N. Korea puts troops on standby, warns of retaliation after exchange of fire with rival South

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - North Korea on Friday declared its frontline troops in a “a quasi-state of war” and warned of military operations a day after the rival Koreas exchanged fire across the world’s most heavily armed border.

The North has made similar bombastic claims before and the huge numbers of soldiers and military equipment stationed along the Koreas’ tense border mean the area is always essentially in a “quasi-state of war.” Still, the declaration, following South Korea’s firing of dozens of shells across the border after the North lobbed several rounds at a South Korean town, signals a worrying development.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported Friday that leader Kim Jong Un ordered at an emergency military meeting that his troops “be fully ready for any military operations at any time from 5 p.m. (0730 GMT) Friday.”

The report said that “military commanders were urgently dispatched for operations to attack South Korean psychological warfare facilities if the South doesn’t stop operating them.”

Seoul said the North fired Thursday across the Demilitarized Zone to back up an earlier threat to attack South Korean border loudspeakers that, after a lull of 11 years, have started broadcasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda. North Korea, which denies firing at the South, later said the South Korean shells landed near four military posts but caused no injuries. No one was reported injured in the South, either, though hundreds were evacuated from frontline towns.

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Local governments far from Gulf of Mexico get shares of $687M in BP settlement money

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Clusters of landlocked municipalities more than 100 miles from the Gulf Coast have secured millions of dollars in BP money through settlements designed to compensate local governments for lost tourism dollars and other economic damage from the company’s 2010 oil spill, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

This week, BP finished making approximately $687.4 million in settlement payments to 383 local government entities in the five Gulf states. Nearly $8 million of that money went to 32 government entities that are more than 100 miles from the coast, in places like the Mississippi Delta and suburbs of central Alabama, the records show.

BP’s well blowout off Louisiana’s coast triggered a deadly explosion that killed 11 rig workers and spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, staining beaches, killing wildlife and scaring away tourists.

The company agreed last month to pay up to $1 billion to resolve economic claims by local governments, but the settlement payouts have fallen well short of that maximum amount. The records obtained by the AP provide the most comprehensive accounting of where the money went and what types of government entities received shares.

The AP analyzed minimum distances from the center point of each city or town to the coastline to determine which locations were farther than 100 miles away from the coast.

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Apache helicopter pilot, military police officer are 1st Army women to pass Ranger School

FORT BENNING, Ga. (AP) - The first two women to pass the Army’s notoriously difficult Ranger School impressed male classmates left in their dust during road marches and proved their mettle as teammates by helping carry heavy weapons when others were too fatigued to lift another ounce.

As the Pentagon weighs a decision on allowing women to serve in combat jobs long held by men only, a Ranger School comrade offered a blunt assessment of Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver as they spoke to reporters Thursday.

“They can serve by my side anytime because I know I can trust them,” 2nd Lt. Erickson Krogh said. “Especially these two. I’d have no qualms about serving with them in combat.”

Griest, 26, of Orange, Connecticut, and Haver, 25, of Copperas Cove, Texas, will become the first women to wear the Army’s coveted Ranger tab when they graduate alongside 94 male soldiers Friday at Fort Benning.

Despite proving their grit in the two-month Ranger course, the two women are still unable to join infantry, armor and special forces units - including the 75th Ranger Regiment. That could change next year after the Pentagon makes its recommendations.

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With humor and honesty, Jimmy Carter details his cancer diagnosis and modern-day treatment

ATLANTA (AP) - With a broad smile and an upbeat attitude, former President Jimmy Carter told the world Thursday that he has cancer in his brain, and feels “perfectly at ease with whatever comes.”

Carter said doctors had removed melanoma from his liver, but found four small tumors in his brain. Later Thursday, he received radiation treatment. He also began receiving injections of a newly approved drug to help his immune system seek out and destroy the cancer cells wherever else they may appear.

Wearing blue jeans and a blazer, Carter spoke with good humor and unsparing honesty, revealing that he had kept suspicions of cancer from his wife, Rosalynn, for weeks until the diagnosis was confirmed in June.

“Now I feel it’s in the hands of God, whom I worship, and I’ll be prepared for anything that comes,” he said.

Carter’s team of doctors at Emory Health Care includes Dr. Walter Curran Jr., who runs Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute. Treatments for melanoma have improved tremendously recently, and Carter’s prospects are good even at the age of 90, Curran said. But he cautioned against the idea that Carter can be “cured.”

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‘A hole in our state’s heart’: 3 firefighters mourned out West after being overrun by flames

TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The firefighters - members of a specially trained unit that is sent into danger ahead of everyone else to size up a wildfire - rushed up a narrow, winding gravel road with steep hills on either side.

It proved to be a deathtrap.

Their vehicle crashed, and before they could escape, flames rolled over them, killing three firefighters inside and injuring four others nearby, one critically, authorities said.

The tragedy Wednesday night cast a pall in Washington state and brought to 13 the number of firefighters killed across the West this year during one of the driest and most explosive wildfire seasons on record.

The blazes have “burned a big hole in our state’s heart,” Gov. Jay Inslee lamented Thursday, describing the outbreak as an “unprecedented cataclysm.”

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US stock market endures worst day in 18 months over worries about China, global growth

NEW YORK (AP) - The U.S. stock market endured its worst performance in 18 months on Thursday, driven lower by another slump in Chinese shares and heavy selling by technical traders.

The global rout started in China, where sharp declines in energy and property stocks pushed the Shanghai Composite down more than 3 percent. That selling soon spread to European and U.S. markets, where the Standard & Poor’s 500 index moved further below a closely watched trading level.

Investors, facing screens full of red, retreated to their usual places of safety: bonds, gold and cash.

“The emerging markets really got slammed overnight and that quickly spread to the rest of the world,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.

The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 358.04 points, or 2.1 percent, to 16,990.69. The S&P; 500 dropped 43.88 points, or 2.1 percent, to 2,035.73 and the Nasdaq composite lost 141.56 points, or 2.8 percent, to 4,877.49.

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Investigators to present evidence for vehicular manslaughter charge against Caitlyn Jenner

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Caitlyn Jenner could face a vehicular manslaughter charge after sheriff’s investigators found she was driving unsafely when she caused a chain-reaction crash that killed a woman last February, officials said Thursday.

Investigators determined Jenner was driving at a speed “unsafe for the prevailing road conditions,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.

Jenner was hauling an off-road vehicle on a trailer behind her Cadillac Escalade on Feb. 7 when she steered to avoid cars slowing for a traffic light in front of her on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

Jenner was unable to stop in time and her SUV rear-ended two cars, pushing a Lexus into oncoming traffic and also hitting a Toyota Prius. The Lexus driver, 69-year-old Kim Howe, was killed when her car was struck head-on by a Hummer.

Daniel W. Vomhof, an accident reconstructionist, said the additional weight from towing a loaded trailed makes it more difficult to stop a vehicle quickly.


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