“WikiLeaks: The CIA is using popular TVs, smartphones and cars to spy on their owners”
The latest revelations about the U.S. government’s powerful hacking tools potentially takes surveillance right into the homes and hip pockets of billions of users worldwide, showing how a remarkable variety of everyday devices can be turned to spy on their owners. Televisions, smartphones and even anti-virus software are all vulnerable to CIA hacking, according to the WikiLeaks documents released Tuesday. The capabilities described include recording the sounds, images and the private text messages of users, even when they resort to encrypted apps to communicate. While many of the attack technologies had been previously discussed at cybersecurity conferences, experts were startled to see evidence that the CIA had turned so many theoretical vulnerabilities into functioning attack tools against staples of modern life. These include widely used Internet routers, smartphones, and Mac and Windows computers. Wikileaks said it redacted lists of CIA surveillance targets, though it said they included targets and machines in Latin America, Europe and the United States. On Tuesday, resignation and frustration rippled through Silicon Valley as technologists grappled with revelations of yet another U.S. government attempt to exploit their systems. And cybersecurity experts reacted with alarm. The anti-secrecy group also said that by developing such intrusive technology — rather than helping tech companies patch flaws in their products — the CIA was undermining efforts to protect the cybersecurity of Americans.
“In First Trade War Shot, Mexico Cancels Sugar Export Permits To U.S.”
While the Trump administration has in recent days withdrawn from calls for an all-out trade war with Mexico, and is seeking to re-establish calmer relations with the Mexican presidency after a sharp fallout over his plan to build a wall on the Mexican border and crack down on illegal immigrants arriving from Mexico, it appears that it is Mexico that has taken a pre-emptive step in the imminent trade dispute by canceling existing sugar export permits to the US in a dispute over the pace of shipments, Reuters reports citing a letter. The trade flare-up could temporarily disrupt supplies industry sources were cited as saying. Reuters adds that the letter was sent by Mexico’s sugar chamber to mills on Monday, partly blaming the situation on unfilled positions at the U.S. Department of Commerce, which it said has led to a «legalistic» interpretation of rules with no U.S. counterparts in place in Washington for Mexican officials to negotiate with.
According to Richard Pasco, president of the Sweetener Users Association trade group, the Mexican license cancellation adds to protracted marketplace uncertainty. «We need adequate supplies and the lack of resolution is a problem,» he told Reuters in a phone interview on Tuesday.
Whether and how the Trump administration will respond to this pre-emptive trade dispute escalation, which could cause a spike domestic sugar prices, has yet to be seen. For now, the president appears to have his hands full with repealing Obamacare, which as we reported yesterday has been met with open rebellion by conservative groups, and will likely not have the required number of seats to pass the House while its passage in the Senate remains highly doubtful, in the process delaying the implementation of Trump’s tax -and trade – policies as well.
“Afghanistan: IS gunmen dressed as medics kill 30 at Kabul military hospital”
More than 30 people have been killed after attackers dressed as doctors stormed the largest military hospital in Kabul, Afghan officials say. The attack began at 09:00 local time (04:30 GMT). Militants armed with guns and grenades gained entry after one detonated explosives at a hospital gate and then opened fire on staff and patients.
Commandos who landed on the Sardar Daud hospital roof killed all four attackers after several hours of fighting. The so-called Islamic State (IS) group has claimed the attack. The Taliban has denied any involvement. More than 50 people were also wounded, the defence ministry said. President Ashraf Ghani said the attack at the 400-bed hospital «trampled all human values».
“Washington unites – in early opposition to Obamacare replacement bill”
Republican leadership’s first effort to sell an Obamacare replacement plan has given rise to an unusual consensus in Washington. Officials on both sides of the aisle – including disparate factions within parties – and influential outside groups seem to be in agreement: the bill in its current form will never make it to the White House. President Donald Trump on Tuesday nodded to the long road ahead. «Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation”
The early reviews suggest those negotiations might be even more contentious than many expected. That Democrats would be united in their opposition was a given — and an afterthought. The party is almost completely powerless on Capitol Hill, where much of action will happen through the simple majority budget process. But the GOP rank-and-file and its orbit of donors and think tanks will have their say. And so far, they’re saying the bill is «dead on arrival.»
“Day Without a Woman’ strike shuts down schools as teachers bolt”
Several schools in at least four states were closed Wednesday so teachers can participate in «A Day Without a Woman» strike in which organizers are urging female workers to stay home.
While the gender equality demonstration, which comes on the same day as International Women’s Day, was organized prior to President Trump’s election and inspired by women’s protests in other countries, critics say it is meant to denounce his presidency and bring politics into the classroom. The strike was created by the organizers of the historic Women’s March on Washington in January, which drew hundreds of thousands in protest of Trump. Among the groups supporting Wednesday’s demonstration are Planned Parenthood, MoveOn.org and Amnesty International, according to the Women’s March website.