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Laptop

Syrian hackers claim to break into US Central Command network

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© Unknown
SEA Attack on Harvard website
Hackers loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad say they have accessed US military documents after penetrating the network of US Central Command (CENTCOM).

The hackers, who call themselves the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), say they targeted CENTCOM after US President Barack Obama announced a "decision to attack Syria with electronic warfare."

In a message on its Twitter account on Friday, the group claimed to "have already successfully penetrated many central repositories."

Airplane

It WAS hijacked: Malaysian official says it's CONCLUSIVE - seized by individual or group 'with significant flying experience‏

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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday refused to confirm reports the plane was 'hijacked'
Investigators say the missing Malaysia Airlines jet was hijacked and steered off-course.

A Malaysian government official said people with significant flying experience could have turned off the flight's communication devices, meaning the plane could have flown for up to six hours after it was lost by satellite.

The representative said that hijacking theory was now 'conclusive', and police are now believed to be searching the home of one of the pilots.

While Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak refused to confirm that flight MH370 was seized, he admitted 'deliberate action' on board the plane resulted in it changing course and losing connection with ground crews.

Question

New York parrot-pigeon "hybrids" probably just dyed pigeons

Dyed Pigeon?
© bytegirl's flickr
Experts agree: this is not a magical pigeon-parrot hybrid.
Last weekend some mysterious pigeon-parrot hybrids were spotted in Queens, but experts now tell us these are just your garden variety rock pigeons with some colorful dye applied. Next they'll tell us this isn't a photo of Anthony Weiner astride a pegasus! Below are theories and thoughts from a birder, a pigeon fancier, and the NYC Audubon.

New York City birder Yojimbot tells us the pigeon "has been dyed... impossible to say with what but I'm guessing some vegetable based dye, because anything else would affect the flight of the bird. I've heard of similar things in Europe and India for religious ceremonies."

Onorio Catenacci, a pigeon fancier from Michigan, tells us the process is painless: "I've seen pigeons with dyed feathers before; it doesn't hurt the birds at all any more than a human being dyeing his or her hair would hurt them.

Magic Hat

"Glowing" Virgin Mary statue attracts hundreds of visitors

glowing virgin mary statue
© getty
Light in the dark: Many visitors claim to have been cured of ailments after seeing her
Hundreds of people have been flocking to a house in southern Belgium to catch a glimpse of a small statue of the Virgin Mary which reportedly glows in the dark.

Local media reported that on Wednesday, 500 people visited the house in the normally quiet town of Jalhay to witness what is being referred to as "the mysterious glowing Virgin".

Police have been required to bolster their presence around a pavilion erected by the retired Belgian owners of the statue, which witnesses suggest lets out a dull glow after dark.

The phenomenon was first noticed in mid-January and has gradually attracted larger crowds, with local media reporting that some of those visiting the statue claim to have been cured of a skin condition.

The statue, about 30 centimetres (one foot) in height, represents the "Virgin of Banneux", from the name of a nearby village where in 1933 a young girl was said to have witnessed an appearance by the Virgin.

Green Light

Emergency room visitors risk tickets from Florida red light cameras

red light camera speeding

DO NOT RUSH: Tamarac officials considered it was a good idea installing red light camera at the entrance of an Emergency Room.
Pay two tickets and call me in the morning.

Authorities installed red-light cameras near the emergency room entrance at University Hospital in Tamarac to nail traffic violators, but those rushing to the facility for medical attention are getting ensnared.

When Jacob Alcahe began to sweat and feel chest pains this past October, he thought he might be having a heart attack.

"That day I felt very bad," Alcahe said. "I couldn't breathe and I was sweating and my chest hurt," he told Florida Watchdog.

So Alcahe decided to drive himself to the Tamarac hospital. With the emergency room in sight, he stopped at the traffic light at the intersection of University Drive and 72th Street and waited anxiously for the light to turn green. After several minutes, he decided he'd waited long enough.

"I was desperate to get to the hospital because I felt very nervous," Alcahe said.

Fortunately for him, the episode wasn't life threatening. Alcahe was prescribed some medicine and was told to go home and rest.

The real heart stopper came a few days later when he received a fine of $158 for running the light.

Snakes in Suits

Amazon accused of cheating customers through shipping costs

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© Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
An employee prepares an order at Amazon's fulfillment center in San Bernardino, Calif., Oct. 29, 2013.
Amazon claims that a $79 annual membership for Amazon Prime provides free two-day shipping on "millions" of items, but for some products, the company is accused of encouraging sellers to inflate shipping prices, according to two recent lawsuits.

"The bottom line is the free shipping that Amazon offered to its Prime members wasn't free," said Kim Stephens, attorney for one of the plaintiffs, adding that he was "shocked" by Amazon's alleged pricing practices.

Marcia Burke of Alabama says she became an Amazon Prime member and used its "free shipping" service at least 18 times in 2010, according to her lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in Seattle. Prime-eligible products are designated on Amazon's website.

In what she hopes will be certified as a class-action lawsuit, Burke accuses Amazon of encouraging third-party vendors to increase their prices to Prime members by the amount they charged others for shipping, without revealing that a portion of those alleged "inflated" prices was for shipping fees, the lawsuit claims.

Cell Phone

First Amendment: Landmark Victory in 'recording police' case - yes, you CAN

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Christopher Sharp
A Baltimore City lawsuit settlement sparks major police policy and training reforms that affect everyone with a cell phone camera.

The police department is putting it into writing so their officers fully understand. You can record them and they can't do anything about it. First Amendment advocates call it a major victory.

When police made an arrest at Pimlico four years ago, Christopher Sharp was one of several recording. Officers didn't like it. "Do me a favor and turn that off. It's illegal to record anybody's voice or anything else," an officer told Sharp.

But that's not true. Sharp says the officers took his phone and deleted videos, including family videos. "I still am disturbed about what happened," Sharp said.

Camcorder

Public has right to film police officers

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Rules come as Baltimore pays $250,000 to settle lawsuit

The Baltimore Police Department has instituted a new policy that prohibits officers from stopping people from taping or photographing police actions, the agency said Wednesday.

The new rules were unveiled as the city agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who says police seized his cellphone and deleted the video of an arrest at the Preakness Stakes in 2010.

"Four years ago, if we had taken the complaint seriously and addressed it in a very rapid manner, we may not be sitting here today," Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said Wednesday. "What I've been brought here to do is do reform of this organization. It's not an easy job. It's a tough job, because we're changing the culture in the Police Department as a whole."

The agency instituted rules on the public's right to film officers in 2012, but lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland said they didn't go far enough. The new Baltimore Police Department policy states that "members of the general public have a First Amendment right to video record, photograph, and/or audio record BPD members while BPD members are conducting official business ... unless such recordings interfere with police activity."

The new policy also states that officers "shall allow all persons the same access for photography and recording as is given to the news media."

Red Flag

Another deadly knife attack puts China on edge

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© Reuters
A woman cries after her parent was killed in a knifing incident in Changsha, Hunan province, China, March 14, 2014.
Just two weeks after a mass stabbing in southwest China claimed 29 lives, and days after 153 Chinese disappeared on Flight MH370, another tragedy appears to have struck the Middle Kingdom

Not again? On the morning of March 14, knife-wielding individuals unleashed a stabbing attack in Changsha, the capital of central China's Hunan province. Three people were killed and two seriously injured, according to Chinese media. In addition, one suspect was shot dead by police and another was captured, reported the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party. Three suspects are still at large.

Friday morning's bloodshed echoed a far deadlier rampage on March 1 in the southwestern city of Kunming, which resulted in 29 deaths and more than 140 injuries. That mass murder binge was blamed by the Chinese government on separatists from the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang, which is home to the Turkic-speaking, largely Muslim Uighur ethnic minority. All eight of the assailants were either killed or captured. Only one of the attackers' names has been made public. A couple of days after the carnage, Chinese authorities deemed the case "solved."

Pistol

"We must shoot'em in the head" - a Ukrainian Nazi sponsor about counter-coup protestors in the East


Gennady Balashov, Ukrainian businessman and political activist, one of the sponsors of the ultranationalist organization "Right Sector", speaking at "Euromaidan" on March 10, 2014:

"We must block the pipeline [Russian gas supply to Europe through the Ukrainian territory]. We must not allow natural gas trade. Only this can stop the invaders. We must block the pipeline and let them send Alpha [Russian counter-terrorist spetsnaz unit] to shoot everyone there.
These people [anti-coup protesters in the east and south of Ukraine] are on the foreign territory. Crimea, Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk are the Ukrainian cities. If they wear the St.George ribbon [distinguishing mark of the counter-coup protesters, Russian symbol of victory over Nazism], if they tear down our flag, we must shoot them in the head because they are enemy. We should not talk to them or educate them..."