Category Archives: SPECIAL REPORTS

Police use of ‘StingRay’ cellphone tracker requires search warrant, appeals court rules 

A device that tricks cellphones into sending it their location information and has been used quietly by police and federal agents for years, requires a search warrant before it is turned on, an appeals court in Washington ruled Thursday. It is the fourth such ruling by either a state appeals court or federal district court, and may end up deciding the issue unless the government takes the case to the U.S. Supreme Court or persuades the city’s highest court to reverse the ruling.

The case against Prince Jones in 2013 involved D.C. police use of a “StingRay” cell-site simulator, which enables law enforcement to pinpoint the location of a cellphone more precisely than a phone company can when triangulating a signal between cell towers or using a phone’s GPS function. Civil liberties advocates say the StingRay, by providing someone’s location to police without court approval, is a violation of an individual’s Fourth Amendment right not to be unreasonably searched. The D.C. Court of Appeals agreed in a 2 to 1 ruling, echoing similar rulings in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and federal district courts in New York City and San Francisco.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2017/09/21/police-use-of-stingray-cellphone-tracker-requires-search-warrant-appeals-court-rules/?utm_term=.13fd7120f1a1

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Google May Be at the Mercy of Its Enemies in EU Antitrust Battle

How will the European Union’s antitrust cop determine whether Google meets her demand? She’ll see what its enemies say.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has just one week to meet the deadline of an EU order to stop illegal conduct in the way it displays shopping results in search. After leveling a $2.7 billion fine in June, EU regulators may threaten more penalties against the search engine after the Sept. 28 deadline, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in an interview at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters on Thursday. If Google fails to give equal treatment for other shopping services, the company could face recurring fines of up to 5 percent of daily global revenue.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-21/google-may-be-at-mercy-of-foes-in-european-antitrust-battle

Mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases could invade 75% of America, warns US government | The Independent

 


Mosquitos can spread serious and potentially deadly diseases such as Zika, dengue and yellow fever could invade about three-quarters of mainland United States, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have warned.

The CDC, a US federal agency, has previously warned that climate change could affect human healthin many ways including increasing the number of “disease carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks”.

In a paper published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, it revealed maps showing areas where the habitat was suitable for two particular species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus to survive.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/mosquitos-deadly-diseases-us-government-warning-invade-america-zika-dengue-yellow-fever-chikungunya-a7959586.html

Hillary Clinton Whitewater indictment case heads to court 

A federal appeals court will hear a case brought by Judicial Watch on Friday to make public draft indictments of Hillary Clinton from the Whitewater scandal in the 1990s.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group that files Freedom of Information Act requests, wants copies of the documents that the National Archives and Records Administration has declined to release. It filed a FOIA request for the documents in March 2015 and in October 2015 the group sued for the 238 pages of responsive records.

According to Judicial Watch: “The National Archives argues that the documents should be kept secret, citing grand jury secrecy and Clinton’s personal privacy.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article174454791.html

Scientists say recent quake swarm at Rainier is not unusual 

Nearly two dozen small earthquakes have rattled Mount Rainier over the past week, but seismologists say there’s no cause for worry.

“In the past, these swarms last a couple of days to a week or so and then die out,” said Paul Bodin, of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington.

The first of the 23 quakes struck on Sept. 11 near the volcano’s summit. The largest of the quakes registered magnitude 1.6.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/science/scientists-say-quake-swarm-at-rainier-is-not-unusual/

TRUMP: GOP HEALTH BILL SHORT OF VOTES BEFORE DEADLINE

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday the Republicans’ last-resort “Obamacare” repeal effort remains two or three votes short, forecasting days of furious lobbying ahead with a crucial deadline looming next week.

The legislation by Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina would repeal major pillars of former President Barack Obama’s health law, replacing them with block grants to states to design their own health care programs. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to round up 50 votes to pass the legislation before Sept. 30, when special rules preventing a Democratic filibuster will expire.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CONGRESS_HEALTH_OVERHAUL?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-09-20-18-42-44

Monsanto’s New Weed Killer, Dicamba, Divides Farmers 

Farmers planted a new kind of seed on 25 million acres of soybean and cotton fields this year. Developed by Monsanto, the seeds, genetically modified to be resistant to a weed killer called dicamba, are one of the biggest product releases in the company’s history.

But the seeds and the weed killer have turned some farmers — often customers of Monsanto, which sells both — against the company and alarmed regulators.

Farmers who have not bought the expensive new seeds, which started to appear last year, are joining lawsuits, claiming that their crops have been damaged by dicamba that drifted onto their farms. Arkansas announced a 120-day ban of the weed killer this summer, and it is considering barring its use next year after mid-April. Missouri briefly barred its sale in July. And the Environmental Protection Agency, not known for its aggressiveness under President Trump, is weighing its own action.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/09/21/business/monsanto-dicamba-weed-killer.html?referer=http://www.drudgereport.com/

SEC Discloses Edgar Corporate Filing System Was Hacked in 2016 

WASHINGTON—The top U.S. markets regulator disclosed Wednesday that hackers penetrated its electronic system for storing public-company filings last year and may have traded on the information.

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s chairman, Jay Clayton, revealed the breach in an unusual and lengthy statement issued Wednesday evening that didn’t provide many details about the intrusion, including the extent of any illegal trading.

The SEC said it was investigating the source of the hack, which exploited a software vulnerability in a part of the agency’s Edgar system, a comprehensive database of filings made by thousands of public companies and other financial firms regulated by the SEC.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/sec-discloses-edgar-corporate-filing-system-was-hacked-in-2016-1505956552

More than 200 killed as powerful 7.1 earthquake strikes central Mexico 

A powerful 7.1 earthquake rocked central Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing homes and bridges across hundreds of miles, killing at least 217 people and sending thousands more fleeing into the streets screaming in a country still reeling from a deadly temblor that struck less than two weeks ago.

Entire apartment blocks swayed violently in the center of Mexico City, including in the historic districts of El Centro and Roma, crumbling balconies and causing huge cracks to appear on building facades.

Panic spread through the city’s core; rescue vehicles raced toward damaged buildings, and neighbors took on heroic roles as rescuers.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://beta.latimes.com/world/la-fg-mexico-earthquake-20170919-story.html

Did Obama Know about Comey’s Surveillance?

This week CNN is reporting more details on the Obama Administration’s 2016 surveillance of people connected to the presidential campaign of the party out of power. It seems that once President Obama’s appointee to run the FBI, James Comey, had secured authorization for wiretapping, the bureau continued its surveillance into 2017. CNN reports:

US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.

The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.

Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three sources familiar with the investigation. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive.

This means the wiretapping was authorized more than ten months ago and perhaps more than a year ago. It was presumably a tough decision for a judge to issue a secret warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, enabling the administration to spy on someone connected with the presidential campaign of its political adversaries.

One would presumably only approve such an order if the request presented by the executive branch was highly compelling and likely to produce evidence that the subject of the wiretap was in fact working with Russia to disrupt U.S. elections. Roughly a year later, as the public still waits for such evidence, this column wonders how this judge is feeling now, especially now that CNN has reported that at least two of its three sources believe the resulting evidence is inconclusive.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/did-obama-know-about-comeys-surveillance-1505852932