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Sun, 23 Apr 2017
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Stolen by hackers: 100,000 federal student aid applicants at risk of identity theft after IRS breach

© Joshua Roberts / Reuters
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen
The IRS has discovered a breach that could mean the personal information of up to 100,000 students and others who filed for financial aid from the federal program FAFSA was stolen by hackers.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen admitted that information from student financial aid applicants may have been stolen by hackers, including names, birth dates and Social Security numbers, during testimony to the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday.

Koskinen said the problem came from a "data retrieval tool" that gave millions of student loan applicants the ability to upload their tax information from a federal return to a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online.

The IRS examined 200 different ways that taxpayer information could be accessed. The agency found that hackers could easily breach the system using an e-file PIN. All they needed to sign on was a taxpayer's Social Security number, name and address.


US Labor Department goes after Google for 'systemic' pay discrimination against women

© Baz Ratner / Reuters
The US Department of Labor (DoL) has accused Internet search giant Google of discrimination, saying it had evidence of "systemic compensation disparities against women." Google says the allegations are evidence-free.

A DoL official shed some light on the agency's allegations at a court hearing in San Francisco.

"We found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce," Janette Wipper, a Labor Department regional director, testified on Friday, according to the Guardian.

She said the agency found pay disparities in a 2015 snapshot of salaries, adding that to fully assess the problem, officials needed earlier compensation data as well as opportunities to interview employees in person.

"We want to understand what's causing the disparity," she said.


Terrorist group ETA disarms after 40yr fight for independent state that killed 850+

© Gara / Reuters
ETA, a violent separatist group, has handed over eight weapons caches to French authorities, marking their official disarmament after four decades of armed struggle for an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southwestern France.

"The ETA we've known up to now has gone forever," Borja Semper, Basque parliamentary spokesman for Spain's ruling People's Party, said outside the legislature in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Reuters reports.

"What remains to be done is to wipe out the hatred that ETA embedded in a large part of Basque society," he added.


5 famous Trump supporters who are 'very upset' over Syrian airstrikes

© Carlos Barria/Reuters
Some of Trump's biggest supporters are very upset.

The Trump administration's apparent turn towards a pro-war policy against Syria, something which seemingly represents a reversal of policy in a 24 hour period, has alienated many of his most fervent supporters.

Here are 5 big league Trump supporters who have come out to oppose war on Syria.

Light Saber

#SavaşaHayır: Turkish Twitter users launch campaign against war in Syria

© Reuters/Ammar Abdullah
The campaign under the hashtag #SavaşaHayır (#NotoWar) was launched by Turkish Twitter users after the US missile strike hit a Syrian Air Force base.

The campaign ranked number one on Twitter in Turkey.

The hashtag #SavaşaHayır managed to go viral, despite the statements of the Turkish government suggesting that it supports the strike in Syria.

​On Thursday night, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha'irat, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Homs. US President Donald Trump said the attack was a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria's Idlib on Tuesday, which Washington blames on the Syrian government.


Inside the Syrian Arab Army: Why they fight and what they fight for

Inside the lives and minds of Syrian soldiers.

I don't know if it's thoughtlessness, stupidity or perversion or a combination that propels many in the established media and beyond to accuse the Syrian Government and the Syrian Arab Army of crimes against humanity, against their own people no less. Those who truly believe Assad is capable of murdering his own civilians are either stupid, perverse or completely detached from reality and the human condition. Just why would Assad do that? Why are the men and women of Syria sacrificing their lives to fight against terrorism if they were to truly believe their President is a war criminal?

The truth is they don't. One might say with confidence that the majority, if not all of the members of the Syrian Arab Army love their President, and they love their country and want it to remain united and secular. To deny their sacrifices, is to deny reality which only adds insult to injury. It is inhumane.


'Emergency' protests across US demand 'Hands off Syria'

© Stephanie Keith / Reuters
People participate in a demonstration against the recent U.S. strike in Syria, in New York, U.S., April 7, 2017.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in cities across the US to speak out against President Donald Trump's missile strikes on a Syrian airbase. Despite the demonstrations being mostly peaceful, there were arrests.

"Emergency" protests were held Friday in at least a dozen US cities. They were largely organized on social media by the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition, which called the US assertion that the Syrian government carried out attacks on its own people "unsubstantiated" and demanded an independent investigation.


Champion runner that wanted to compete as a woman jailed for attempted murder of UK Athletics HR boss

© PA
Lauren Jeska in court CREDIT: PA
A former champion fell-runner has been jailed for attempted murder following a row about her testosterone levels after it emerged she was transgender.

Lauren Jeska, a transgender athlete, has been given an 18-year sentence for the attempted murder of a UK Athletics official.

The 42-year-old left Ralph Knibbs with life-threatening stab injuries after taking two knives to his office at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium in March last year.

In September it emerged that a review was allegedly being planned into her status as a female athlete because she had been born a man.

Comment: According to The Birmingham Mail opponents complained that Jeska 'had unfair advantage because she was born a man'. Speaking after the hearing, Det Sgt Sally Olsen, of West Midlands Police, said:
"We understand Jeska had been asked to provide further evidence of hormone levels after historical complaints to UK Athletics that she had an unfair advantage competing in women's events because she had been born a man. "The governing body's policy required the athlete to take a blood test but she took exception to this and feared being unable to compete.

"Jeska carried out a violent and unprovoked attack on a man whose sole objective was to enable her to compete.
"She will now have plenty of time behind bars to contemplate the devastating consequences of her actions."

2 + 2 = 4

WCSH Meteorologist Tom Johnston found dead in Auburn

© Faacebook
Tom Johnston
The body of meteorologist Tom Johnston was found in Auburn on Thursday night, police said. His death was deemed a likely suicide.

Auburn police and searchers from the Maine Warden Service found the body of the 46-year-old, although investigators did not say where the discovery was made or what led them there.


Revolution for Truth Rally: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. exposes corporate media censorship

"I talked to Roger Ailes, who I have know since I was 17 years old, he's very sympathetic with this issue and saw the film Trace Amounts. I said to him, "I just want to go on one of your shows. Nobody will allow me to talk about this or debate me." He said to me, "I can't allow you on any of them. I'd have to fire any of my hosts that allowed you on my station." Because he said, "My news division gets up to 70% of advertising revenues during non-election years from the pharmaceutical companies.""
The above statement was made during Kennedy Jr's live-streamed speech in Washington, D.C. at The Revolution for Truth rally and protest. The event was held to call attention to the "withholding of truth by corporate, mainstream media" as well its abject failure in having become "nothing more than an instrument of government directed propaganda" according to the website. The rally and protest received only sparse coverage by mainstream US media outlets who ran mostly hit pieces - except for NewsWeek's somewhat balanced piece - in order to omit and obfuscate some hard truths which corporate journalists would rather not discuss. It is telling that although the BBC, STAT news, and other corporate media outlets were present in D.C. for the event, it was only Spanish Hispan TV who ran a full report complete with video coverage.