Clinton campaign: Computer service used by campaign hacked
WASHINGTON (AP) — A computer service used by the campaign of Hillary Clinton was hacked as part of a broader breach of the Democratic National Committee, an intrusion for which the Russian government is the leading suspect, the campaign said Friday.
The breach affected a DNC data analytics program used by the campaign and a number of other organizations, according to the campaign. It said outside security experts reviewing the campaign’s computer system have found “no evidence that our internal systems have been compromised.”
The hackers had access to the program, which is used to conduct voter analysis, for about five days. It did not include Social Security numbers or credit card information, a campaign aide said.
The campaign did not specify what types of data the service was analyzing, but partnerships with modern e-commerce companies can allow sophisticated tracking, categorization and identification of website visitors. This can help organizations tailor their online content, advertising and solicitations to be more effective.
The announcement comes as the FBI investigates a hack at the DNC that resulted in the posting last week of embarrassing internal communications on WikiLeaks, and a similar intrusion of the House Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. President Barack Obama has said Russia was almost certainly responsible for the DNC hack, an assertion with which cybersecurity experts have agreed.
Clinton roars against Trump as a hacking distraction arises
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Fresh off a spirited convention, Hillary Clinton told prospective voters Friday they face a “stark choice” in November and pressed ahead with the scalding rhetoric against her Republican rival that marked many of the speeches in Philadelphia. Another distraction arose, however, as her aides acknowledged that a hacking attack that exposed Democratic Party emails also reached into a computer system used by her own campaign.
Rallying in Colorado, Donald Trump denounced Clinton’s convention speech as “full of lies” and said he’s starting to agree with those calling for Clinton to be locked up.
Not long after, the intrusion into a system used by the Clinton campaign came to light, first reported by Reuters. The FBI said it was working to determine the “accuracy, nature and scope” of the cyberattacks. Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said the newly disclosed breach affected a Democratic National Committee voter analysis program used by the campaign and other organizations. The hackers had access to the program for about five days.
Merrill said outside experts found no evidence that the campaign’s “internal systems have been compromised” but gave no detail on the program or nature of the attacks. President Barack Obama and cybersecurity experts have said Russia was almost certainly responsible for the DNC hack, and the House Democratic campaign committee reported Friday that its information had been accessed.
The developments followed the leaking of DNC emails earlier in the week that pointed to a pro-Clinton bias by party officials during her primary contest against Bernie Sanders. In the furor, party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz resigned just as Democrats were launching their convention.
Donald Trump speech beats Hillary Clinton in TV viewership
NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump pulled off the upset — at least in television popularity.
Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention was seen by 29.8 million people on the commercial networks, the Nielsen company said Friday. That fell short of the 32.2 million people who watched Trump speak to the Republicans a week before.
Trump, who used to carefully watch television ratings during his days as star of “The Apprentice,” immediately boasted about the victory during a campaign appearance Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“We beat her by millions on television. Millions!” he said. “Honestly, the numbers were incredible.”
Although Trump has been a proven ratings draw throughout his campaign, the Democratic convention had proven more popular with viewers than the Republicans for its first three nights. Stars like Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Paul Simon performed for the Democrats, and President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton showed off their oratorical skills.
Courts strike blows to GOP voter restrictions in 3 states
CHICAGO (AP) — Courts dealt setbacks on Friday to Republican efforts in three states to restrict voting, blocking a North Carolina law requiring photo identification, loosening a similar measure in Wisconsin and halting strict citizenship requirements in Kansas.
The rulings came as the 2016 election moves into its final phase, with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton locked in a high-stakes presidential race and control of the U.S. Senate possibly hanging in the balance. North Carolina is one of about a dozen swing states in the presidential race, while Wisconsin has voted Democratic in recent presidential elections and Kansas has been solidly Republican.
The decisions followed a similar blow earlier this month to what critics said was one of the nation’s most restrictive voting laws in Texas. The New Orleans-based U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said Texas’ voter ID law is discriminatory and must be weakened before the November election.
On Friday, a three-judge panel of the Virginia-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked North Carolina’s law that limited to six the number of acceptable photo IDs. The law also curtailed early voting and eliminated same-day registration.
The court said the North Carolina provisions targeted African Americans with “almost surgical precision.”
Turkey’s Erdogan slams US reaction to failed coup
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s president slammed the United States on Friday, claiming it was not standing firmly against a failed military coup and accused it of harboring the plot’s alleged mastermind, as a government crackdown in the coup’s aftermath strained Turkey’s ties with key allies.
Turkey has demanded the United States extradite Fethullah Gulen, a cleric living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania whom it accuses of being behind the violent July 15 coup attempt that left more than 200 people dead. It is accusing Western nations of not extending sufficient support to its efforts to counter further threats from followers of the Gulen movement, which it says have infiltrated the country’s state institutions.
Turkey considers Gulen’s movement a terrorist organization. Gulen has denied any prior knowledge of the plot and says his movement espouses interfaith dialogue. The United States has asked Turkey for evidence of his involvement, and said the U.S. extradition process must take its course.
“Instead of thanking this nation that quashed the coup in the name of democracy, on the contrary, you are taking sides with the coup plotters,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an angry speech Friday at a police special forces headquarters in Ankara. The facility was bombed and fired upon during the attempted coup, and 47 police officers were killed.
“The putschist is already in your country,” Erdogan said.
Pope visits Auschwitz, begs God to forgive “so much cruelty”
OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — Choosing silence to convey his sorrow, Pope Francis visited the former Nazi death factory at Auschwitz and Birkenau on Friday, meeting with concentration camp survivors as well as aging saviors who helped Jews escape certain doom. In a guest book entry he made an anguished plea: “Lord, forgiveness for so much cruelty!”
Wearing unadorned white robes, Francis entered Auschwitz on foot, passing through the gate that bears the cynical words “Arbeit Macht Frei” — Work Sets you Free.
One by one, he greeted 11 survivors, among them 101-year-old Helena Dunicz Niwinska, who played the violin in a death camp orchestra, and two other centenarians. One survivor, Valentina Nikodem, helped deliver babies born to Auschwitz inmates.
Elzbieta Sobczynska, who was 10 when she was brought to Auschwitz in 1944 from the Warsaw ghetto, said that in his silence, Francis spoke volumes.
“You don’t need words. Prayer was enough,” Sobczynska said, speaking to Poland’s TVN24.
‘Zika is now here’: Mosquitoes now spreading virus in US
MIAMI (AP) — Mosquitoes have apparently begun spreading the Zika virus on the U.S. mainland for the first time, health officials said Friday, a long-feared turn in the epidemic that is sweeping Latin America and the Caribbean.
Four recently infected people in the Miami area — one woman and three men — are believed to have contracted the virus locally through mosquito bites, Gov. Rick Scott said.
No mosquitoes in Florida have actually been found to be carrying Zika, despite the testing of 19,000 by the state lab. But other methods of Zika transmission, such as travel to a stricken country or sex with an infected person, have been ruled out.
“Zika is now here,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Still, U.S. health officials said they do not expect widespread outbreaks in this country like those seen in Brazil, in part because of better sanitation, better mosquito control and wider use of window screens and air conditioners.
2 San Diego police officers shot, 1 fatally, during stop
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Two San Diego police officers were shot — one fatally — after a late-night stop turned into a gunfight, triggering a manhunt that led to the capture of one wounded suspect in a ravine and an hours-long SWAT standoff Friday that ended after officers detained a second man who may have been involved.
The shooting came as departments around the country are on high alert following the killing of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this month. San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said it was unknown whether the San Diego attack was premeditated.
The chain of events unfolded over more than 12 hours in a blue-collar area of southeastern San Diego with modest single-story homes and streets lined with palm trees.
It started about 11 p.m. Thursday when two veteran gang unit officers in bulletproof vests stopped a person on a street. Almost immediately a shootout ensued and the officers called for backup.
Authorities initially said the officers made a traffic stop involving a motorist, but clarified later that they were still trying to determine whether it was a traffic stop or a stop to check out a pedestrian.
New Sandy Hook school opens nearly 4 years after massacre
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The new Sandy Hook Elementary School, built to replace the one demolished after a massacre that took the lives of 20 children and six educators, features three courtyards, study spaces designed to look like treehouses and a moat-like raingarden.
Still, many would give anything to have the old building back.
“But, let me state unequivocally that we would trade in a minute this beautiful new school for the more familiar and ancient Sandy Hook school, built in the ’50s, if we could just change the past,” said Pat Llodra, the town’s first selectman.
The new 86,000-square-foot school opened Friday for the first time to the media and the general public, containing no obvious memorials to the 26 people who died in December 2012, but officials said it was created with them in mind.
The $50 million replacement was built on the same property but not in the old footprint. All that remains are two large concrete slabs containing dinosaur footprints that also sat outside the old building.
US economy expected to pick up after weak growth in spring
WASHINGTON (AP) — A surprisingly lackluster economy last quarter served as a reminder of how choppy the pace of growth has been since the Great Recession ended seven years ago. Businesses pared their stockpiling and investment through the spring. But consumers — the heart of the U.S. economy — kept spending.
Most economists foresee faster, if still modest, growth the rest of this year.
The Commerce Department’s report Friday showed that gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of the economy — grew just 1.2 percent in the April-June quarter. That was far weaker than the forecasts of most analysts, who had expected growth of twice that pace in a bounce-back from a slump at the start of the year.
Earlier this week, a statement from the Federal Reserve had led many economists to conclude that a strengthening economy would lead the Fed to resume raising rates as soon as September. But after Friday’s tepid GDP report, many said a September rate hike was now probably off the table.
“The GDP data have significantly reduced the chances of a near-term rate hike,” said Paul Ashworth, chief economist at Capital Economics. Ashworth predicts only one interest rate increase this year, in December.