Apple urges U.S. government to form commission on encryption issuesApple urges U.S. government to form commission on encryption issues

Apple urges U.S. government to form commission on encryption issues

REUTERS – Apple Inc on Monday urged the creation of a government panel on encryption to help resolve a standoff over national security and data privacy that erupted last week after the technology company refused a U.S. government demand to unlock an iPhone linked to one of the killers in a mass shooting in California in December.

It was the latest move in a public and symbolic showdown between the U.S. government and technology companies, both of which are keen to set a precedent over how far U.S. investigators can dictate tech firms handling of their customers’ data.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook also sent a letter to employees Monday morning, making clear the company’s hardline stance addresses broader issues, not just the phone in question.

“This case is about much more than a single phone or a single investigation,” Cook said in the email to employees, seen by Reuters. “At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people, and setting a dangerous precedent that threatens everyone’s civil liberties.”

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking the company’s help to access Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone by disabling some of its passcode protections, which the government said are “non-encryption barriers.”

The latest volley from Apple followed a highly unusual call with reporters held by senior Apple executives on Friday to respond to the U.S. Department of Justice’s motion asking Apple to comply with a judge’s order to unlock Farook’s county-owned work phone.

But prosecutors acknowledged that their order, also issued Friday, was “not legally necessary” since Apple had not yet responded to the initial court order issued last week. The motion instead targeted Cook’s open letter to customers last week and criticized the company’s stance as a “brand marketing strategy.”

The Justice Department’s manoeuvres over the past week, which included going public with a kind of case that typically would be sealed and soliciting victims to file their own legal briefs, have prompted some Apple supporters to suggest the case is a public relations stunt while noting that Farook’s work phone likely contains little data of value to investigators.

Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, destroyed their personal phones before carrying out the Dec. 2 shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California, which killed 14 and wounded 22. Authorities believe the couple was inspired by the Islamic State. The phone at issue is an iPhone 5c issued to Farook by San Bernardino County in his role as a health inspector.

Privacy advocates and technologists have accused prosecutors of choreographing the case to achieve a broader goal of gaining support for legislation or a legal precedent that would force companies to crack their encryption for investigators.


The case has revived interest on Capitol Hill over how to deal legislatively with what law enforcement calls “going dark” – where tight digital security locks them out of accessing the data of criminal suspects.

The idea of setting up a commission – which may be a prelude to a broader legislative solution – is not new, although a political resolution of the data privacy and encryption debate has proven elusive for many years.

A digital security commission comprising technology, business and law enforcement experts has been proposed by Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Republican Representative Michael McCaul, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, to help break the impasse over encryption.

The bipartisan pair is scheduled to unveil details of legislation that would create a panel at a Washington event on Wednesday.

Apple indicated it would work with a commission or panel of experts to discuss the matter further.

“Apple would gladly participate in such an effort,” the company wrote in its Monday post on its website addressing questions about the case.

The company could not be immediately reached for further comment.

The Justice Department has pushed back on framing the dispute as an encryption issue. Apple has argued that while it is technically possible to bypass the security features of the iPhone by building a new operating system, such a move would set a dangerous precedent.


Philippine candidates grilled on poverty, crime in debatePhilippine candidates grilled on poverty, crime in debate

Philippine candidates grilled on poverty, crime in debate

In this image provided by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, from left: Vice President Jejomar Binay; Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago; Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of southern Davao city; Sen. Grace Poe; and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas; raise hands after a presidential candidates debate held in southern Cagayan de Oro city, southern Philippines on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016. The five Philippine presidential candidates were grilled in a nationally televised debate Sunday on how they would fight the long-pestering problems of poverty, corruption and crime that have blighted their Southeast Asian nation through several presidencies.(Lyn Rillon/Philippine Daily Inquirer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT, NO SALES

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — One Philippine presidential candidate warned of a bloody presidency, promising to take down criminals and the corrupt in six months. Others pledged to lift many from poverty and offered a way out of daily miseries, including a new way for fishermen to locate catch faster via radar technology.

The five aspirants addressed personal issues, including graft allegations, womanizing, incompetence, a bout with lung cancer and a lack of experience as they squared off Sunday in a nationally televised debate ahead of the May 9 presidential election.

Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista said the two-hour debate, the first to be organized by the commission in 24 years, aimed to shift the public’s focus toward policy talk and programs to confront social ills.

Voters being swayed more by personalities, patronage politics and showbiz-like campaigns have long been a concern in the Philippines, which continues to grapple with widespread poverty, Marxist and Muslim insurgencies, corruption and other major problems three decades after toppling a dictatorship through a “people power” revolt.

President Benigno Aquino III, who won with a landslide margin on a promise to battle poverty and corruption in 2010, ends his six-year term in June.

The candidates were asked how they would fight the long-pestering problems that have blighted their Southeast Asian country through several presidencies.

“If I become president, it would be bloody,” said Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who has gained prominence for his tough anti-crime campaign in southern Davao city, warning he would take down criminals, drug traffickers and corrupt officials in six months if elected.

He acknowledged he has killed an unspecified number of criminals himself but did not provide details, including how he could ease widespread crimes that fast. He has said in the past that he would reimpose the death penalty for heinous crimes and assured he would not resort to extrajudicial killings. Asked about his romantic links to a number of women, Duterte said he had girlfriends after separating with his wife, adding that he did not cause any scandals with his romantic flings.

“All of these happened in a bedroom, not elsewhere, so what’s the problem?” he said.

Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas pledged to continue the battle against poverty and corruption of Aquino, who backs his candidacy. With the improving economy, more than 2 million Filipinos have risen from poverty under Aquino, he said, promising to expand pro-poor projects like the use of a new radar technology that has helped fishermen find catch faster in one province.

Roxas addressed allegations that he failed to adequately deal with transport and law and order problems in the years he was in government, including his handling of the deadly devastation inflicted by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

Vice President Jejomar Binay said that if elected, he would apply to the entire Philippines what he has done as a mayor to Makati city, the country’s main financial district and Manila’s version of Wall Street. He repeated his denial of allegations of massive corruption, which came under a Senate committee investigation for months.

Sen. Grace Poe, the adopted daughter of a popular movie couple, showcased the bills she has pushed, including a larger budget to help poor farmers and a freedom of information bill that failed to pass. She said her being a political neophyte should not be an issue in a country where longtime politicians have failed to ease basic problems like hunger.

Another candidate, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, said she would crack down on corruption like she has done in her long government career, including as a feisty former trial court judge.

“We are resource rich but one of the poorest in Southeast Asia because everybody wants to have the money of the government in his own pocket,” she said.

Asked why she was seeking the presidency after surviving stage-4 lung cancer and other ailments that sidelined her from the Senate for long stretches of time, Santiago growled. “That’s my right under the constitution,” she said. “I was waiting to die, but my guardian angel did not kill me.”

The elections commission brought back the presidential debates, which were last held in 1992, to allow Filipino voters to scrutinize the main contenders and help them “vote correctly,” Elections Chairman Bautista said. After Sunday’s debate, held at a university in southern Cagayan de Oro city, two more will be staged in March and April ahead of the election.


Citibank to drop consumer banks in struggling South AmericaCitibank to drop consumer banks in struggling South America

Citibank to drop consumer banks in struggling South America

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Citibank is seeking to sell the consumer banking operations it has operated for a century in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia as South America’s three biggest economies suffer a downturn.

The New York-based bank said Friday in a statement that its decision was prompted by a desire to allocate resources where it can generate the best returns. It said it would still continue servicing corporate clients in the countries.

Citibank opened its first foreign branch in Argentina in 1914. Shortly later it added affiliates in Brazil and Colombia.

The bank in 2014 dropped consumer banking in 11 other Latin America nations.

The slowing of China’s economy has plunged all three economies into an economic down spiral with Brazil is in its deepest recession since the 1930s.


Breakthrough: Scientists detect Einstein’s gravity ripplesBreakthrough: Scientists detect Einstein’s gravity ripples


Breakthrough: Scientists detect Einstein’s gravity ripples

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an announcement that electrified the world of astronomy, scientists said Thursday that they have finally detected gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time that Einstein predicted a century ago.

Some scientists likened the breakthrough to the moment Galileo took up a telescope to look at the planets.

The discovery of these waves, created by violent collisions of massive celestial objects, excites astronomers because it opens the door to a new way of observing the cosmos. For them, it’s like turning a silent movie into a talkie because these waves are the soundtrack of the universe.

“Until this moment we had our eyes on the sky and we couldn’t hear the music,” said Columbia University astrophysicist Szabolcs Marka, a member of the discovery team. “The skies will never be the same.”

An all-star international team of astrophysicists used a newly upgraded and excruciatingly sensitive $1.1 billion set of twin instruments known as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, to detect a gravitational wave from the crash of two black holes 1.3 billion light-years from Earth.

To make sense of the raw data, the scientists translated the wave into sound. At a news conference, they played what they called a “chirp” — the signal they heard on Sept. 14. It was barely perceptible even when enhanced.

Some physicists said the finding is as big a deal as the 2012 discovery of the subatomic Higgs boson, sometimes called the “God particle.” Some said this is bigger.

“It’s really comparable only to Galileo taking up the telescope and looking at the planets,” said Penn State physics theorist Abhay Ashtekar, who wasn’t part of the discovery team. “Our understanding of the heavens changed dramatically.”

Gravitational waves, first theorized by Albert Einstein in 1916 as part of his theory of general relativity, are extraordinarily faint ripples in space-time, the hard-to-fathom fourth dimension that combines time with the familiar up, down, left and right. When massive objects like black holes or neutron stars collide, they send gravity ripples across the universe.

Scientists found indirect proof of the existence of gravitational waves in the 1970s — computations that showed they ever so slightly changed the orbits of two colliding stars — and the work was honored as part of the 1993 Nobel Prize in physics. But Thursday’s announcement was a direct detection of a gravitational wave.

And that’s considered a big difference.

“It’s one thing to know soundwaves exist, but it’s another to actually hear Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony,” said Marc Kamionkowsi, a physicist at Johns Hopkins University who wasn’t part of the discovery team. “In this case we’re actually getting to hear black holes merging.”

Gravitational waves are the “soundtrack of the universe,” said team member Chad Hanna of Pennsylvania State University.

Detecting gravitational waves is so difficult that when Einstein first theorized about them, he figured scientists would never be able to hear them. The greatest scientific mind of the 20th century later doubted himself and questioned in the 1930s whether they really do exist, but by the 1960s scientists had concluded they probably do, Ashtekar said.

In 1979, the National Science Foundation decided to give money to the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to come up with a way to detect the waves.

Twenty years later, they started building two LIGO detectors in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana, and they were turned on in 2001. But after years with no luck, scientists realized they had to build a more advanced system, which was turned on last September.

“This is truly a scientific moonshot and we did it. We landed on the moon,” said David Reitze, LIGO’s executive director.

The new LIGO in some frequencies is three times more sensitive than the old one and is able to detect ripples at lower frequencies that the old one couldn’t. And more upgrades are planned.

Sensitivity is crucial because the stretching and squeezing of space-time by these gravitational waves is incredibly tiny. Essentially, LIGO detects waves that stretch and squeeze the entire Milky Way galaxy “by the width of your thumb,” Hanna said.


Escaped Hatton Garden Raider ‘Is Ex-Cop’Escaped Hatton Garden Raider ‘Is Ex-Cop’

Escaped Hatton Garden Raider ‘Is Ex-Cop’

Mystery Hatton Garden raider is former police officer, ringleader claims Taken from:

The mystery raider ‘Basil’ who escaped after the Hatton Garden heist is a former policeman, one of the ringleaders has claimed.

A new letter received by Sky News suggests he was the “brains” behind the entire operation.

Danny Jones, who is awaiting sentence for the £14m raid, wrote in a letter from Belmarsh Prison: “I can say that someone told me he was an ex-policeman who got into security by the guy who introduced him to me.

“He said Basil heard about me from a close friend on the police force, as I was arrested for a similar raid in Bond Street in 2010.

“Basil was the brains, as I was recruited by him. He let me in on the night of the burglary, he hid keys and codes throughout the building.”

Jones, 60, insists he does not know Basil’s identity and if he did he would not reveal it.

:: Hatton Garden Raiders: The One That Got Away

He wrote: “I saw Basil about four times throughout, he came and went. I don’t know nothing about him, where he lives. I wasn’t interested.

“I wouldn’t give him up as I wouldn’t grass. It’s not a done thing where I come from as (I) fear for family members.”

Jones, a career criminal, has admitted his part in the Hatton Garden raid.


In Boston area, the bald eagle population is soaringIn Boston area, the bald eagle population is soaring

In Boston area, the bald eagle population is soaring

In Boston area, the bald eagle population is soaring

BOSTON (AP) — People spotting bald eagles in the skies over the Boston area aren’t hallucinating — there really are more of the majestic birds of prey setting up shop in the urban eastern areas of the state, experts say.

There were 51 confirmed territorial breeding bald eagle pairs in Massachusetts last year, the most since they were reintroduced to the state in 1982, said Andrew Vitz, the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife ornithologist. That includes pairs close to Boston in the towns of Milton, Waltham, Lynnfield and Framingham, all confirmed in the past year or two.

“One of the areas of most rapid expansion has been eastern Massachusetts, which has been a great surprise,” Vitz said.

The exact number of eagles in the state is probably higher, because there may be some breeding pairs scientists don’t even know about, and the winter population is bolstered by eagles that make their way south looking for open water when lakes and ponds to the north ice over, Vitz said.

Social media has been buzzing with sightings of the birds, distinct because of their 7-foot wingspan and snow-white heads.

They have been spotted near the Charles River and Jamaica Pond in Boston, Spy Pond in Arlington and even the Chestnut Hill Reservoir near Boston College, where the athletic teams are known as the Eagles.

Not every sighting has been confirmed, and it’s unclear whether it’s the same eagle or several, but there is no doubt there are more of them around, Vitz said.

Tom Palmer was awed when he spotted a bald eagle in late January near the Neponset River on the border of Milton and Boston. When he was growing up, bald eagles, the national symbol since 1782, were so rare that they had an almost mythical quality.

“It was the first time I had ever seen an actual bald eagle, and it was right in my neighborhood,” said the Milton resident who manages Willett Pond in Walpole for the Neponset River Watershed Association. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Bald eagles have made a huge comeback nationwide. There were less than 500 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states in 1963. By 2007, when bald eagles were taken off the endangered species list, there were about 10,000, according to federal figures.

Boston isn’t the only urban area bald eagles are calling home, said Kevin McGowan, an ornithologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

“It is a fairly widespread phenomenon,” he said.

They are moving to the city for a couple of reasons, the experts said.

To breed, bald eagles need two things — tall trees in which to nest, and a nearby body of water in which to hunt for their favorite food: fish. Seeing eagles in the greater Boston area is proof that the region’s once notoriously polluted waterways are getting healthier.

“One of the reasons eagles disappeared from Massachusetts 100 years ago was water quality,” Vitz said.

Eagles are also getting more used to humans, and humans are not shooting the birds as much, said McGowan, the Cornell scientist.

“You never get tired of seeing eagles,” he said.


Ribery: Ancelotti wanted me at Chelsea and likes me as a playerRibery: Ancelotti wanted me at Chelsea and likes me as a player

Ribery: Ancelotti wanted me at Chelsea and likes me as a player

Ribery: Ancelotti wanted me at Chelsea and likes me as a player

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery is looking forward to working with Carlo Ancelotti next season and has revealed the Italian already attempted to sign him during his time in charge ofChelsea.

Ancelotti will replace Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena at the end of the 2015-16 campaign and Ribery has heard nothing but good things about the 56-year-old.

“Ancelotti already wanted to sign me in 2009 when he was with Chelsea. That means he likes me as a player and that is obviously great,” Ribery told Sport Bild.

“I think Ancelotti is a great coach and human being. Communication will not be an issue because he speaks French after his time with PSG. I have heard a lot of good things about him.

“We have already met, but we have not had extensive talks yet. But I always hear that he is very close to his players. This type of coach suits me.”

Ribery initially enjoyed a close relationship with Guardiola as well, but the Frenchman has admitted his ongoing injury problems have changed things.

“Everything was great when Pep first joined Bayern,” he added.

“But then I started picking up injuries early in 2014. I hardly played last season and was not often part of the team. It is only logical that we speak less regularly.


Euribor 6 face 2017 trial in UK, charged with rate-rigging plotEuribor 6 face 2017 trial in UK, charged with rate-rigging plot

Euribor 6 face 2017 trial in UK, charged with rate-rigging plot

Euribor 6 face 2017 trial in UK, charged with rate-rigging plot

LONDON (Reuters) – Six French, German, British and Danish bankers, who have been charged in Britain with being part of a six-year scheme with traders at major banks to manipulate Euribor benchmark interest rates, are set to face a jury trial on Sept. 4, 2017.

Christian Bittar, once one of Deutsche Bank’s most profitable derivatives traders, Achim Kraemer, who is still at that bank and former Barclays traders Philippe Moryoussef, Carlo Palombo, Colin Bermingham and Sisse Bohart are charged with one count each of conspiracy to defraud between 2005 and 2009.

The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) alleges they conspired with others at Barclays , Deutsche Bank , Societe Generale and other banks to defraud by rigging Euribor, the Euro interbank offered rate, for profit.

Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale declined to comment.

At a hearing on Wednesday at London’s Southwark Crown Court, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith scheduled the first dates for the world’s first Euribor trial, which is expected to last around three months to deal with what the prosecutor called “a huge volume of material”.

The group, aged between 37 and 59 and resident in countries from Singapore to the United States, is the first to be charged in relation to Euribor, the euro counterpart of the London interbank offered rate (Libor) – crucial benchmarks for around $450 trillion of financial contracts and loans worldwide.

A lawyer for Bittar has said previously he would contest criminal proceedings. Representatives of the others have declined comment.

An earlier initial hearing at a lower court ended in confusion on Monday. The SFO had planned to charge 11 bankers, but prosecutors found out at the last minute that five foreign nationals would not show up.

The SFO says it is still “considering its position” about how to proceed in its case against the five who did not appear, Germans Andreas Hauschild, Joerg Vogt, Ardalan Gharagozlou and Kai-Uwe Kappauf, and Frenchman Stephane Esper.

Wednesday’s hearing set a date of March 18 for the SFO to tell the court its plans for the bankers who did not appear.

“The prosecution is considering what if any steps to take in relation to those absent,” Prosecutor James Waddington said.

The SFO has confirmed that the foreign suspects had the right to refuse the initial summons to appear. A lawyer for Vogt noted the banker was not legally obliged to attend Monday’s initial hearing. Legal representatives for the other four did not respond to requests for comment about why they stayed away.


Three killed in breach of Ukraine holiday truceThree killed in breach of Ukraine holiday truce

Three killed in breach of Ukraine holiday truce

Three killed in breach of Ukraine holiday truce

At least three people have been killed as Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists clashed in the first violation of a holiday truce, military officials from both sides said Sunday.

The victims — a Ukrainian soldier and two civilians — are the first since the warring sides agreed on Tuesday to halt fire through the New Year holidays in the latest attempt to cease hostilities.

“Over the past 24 hours… one Ukrainian soldier was killed and another three were wounded,” Ukraine’s military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told reporters.

He said the village of Zaitseve, some 55 kilometres (30 miles) north of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, was the epicentre of the clashes.

An elderly woman also died from shrapnel wounds suffered in shelling on the village, which is partly controlled by Kiev, he added.

Rebel forces spokesman Eduard Basurin said two civilians — a man and a woman — were killed in the same village. It was impossible to verify whether the two sides had reported the death of the same woman.

More than 9,000 people have been killed in the conflict between Kiev forces and pro-Russian separatists that broke out in eastern Ukraine in April 2014.

Kiev and the West have accused Russia of fuelling the insurgency and of sending regular troops across the border, claims that Moscow denies.

A series of truce agreements have helped significantly reduce the fighting, although sporadic clashes continue on the frontline.