Attack on Google said to hit password system
New details surface about the December raid that compromised security
By John Markoff April 19, 2010
Ever since Google disclosed in January that Internet intruders had stolen information from its computers, the exact nature and extent of the theft has been a closely guarded company secret. But a person with direct knowledge of the investigation now says that the losses included one of Google’s crown jewels, a password system that controls access by millions of users worldwide to almost all of the company’s Web services, including e-mail and business applications.
The program, code named Gaia for the Greek goddess of the earth, was attacked in a lightning raid taking less than two days last December, the person said.
The Tuesday Essay: Brought down to earth
The closure of Europe’s airports has brought the continent to a standstill. But there are lessons to be learned – both social and economic – from this remarkable event, says Hamish McRae
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
How fragile our modern society has become. One natural event, albeit a most unusual one, has not just disrupted European life by shutting down most of its air transport. It has in effect shut off Europe from the world. As a result there is the inevitable churn of news, speculation and comment about the immediate events. What on earth is happening? Have we done as well as we should, and if not, why not? What are the practical ways in which we can plod back to some sort of normality?
A seaport asks for another kind of bounty
The cash-strapped town of Gloucester, Mass., portrayed in ‘The Perfect Storm,’ contends that it’s a high-risk terrorist target and entitled to Homeland Security money.
By Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times
April 20, 2010
Reporting from Gloucester, Mass
Gloucester has sent men to the sea in ships – whalers, schooners, dories and more – for nearly four centuries. A seaside memorial enshrines the names of more than 5,300 mariners who never returned, lost to howling nor’easters and monstrous waves, including the doomed swordfishing crew portrayed in the film “The Perfect Storm.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s mournful poem “The Wreck of the Hesperus” and Rudyard Kipling’s adventure story “Captains Courageous” are set here. Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper brought their easels to paint local seascapes. T.S. Eliot came crabbing.
FDA plans to limit amount of salt allowed in processed foods for health reasons
By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The Food and Drug Administration is planning an unprecedented effort to gradually reduce the salt consumed each day by Americans, saying that less sodium in everything from soup to nuts would prevent thousands of deaths from hypertension and heart disease. The initiative, to be launched this year, would eventually lead to the first legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in food products.
The government intends to work with the food industry and health experts to reduce sodium gradually over a period of years to adjust the American palate to a less salty diet, according to FDA sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the initiative had not been formally announced.
Airspace reopens as the dust settles and airlines argue their case
From The Times
April 20, 2010
Philip Pank, Transport Correspondent, and David Charter, Brussels
Intense lobbying from the airlines could still lead to the opening up of European airspace, closed since the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull first sent its debilitating cloud across the continent last week.
The expansive no-fly zone that left millions stranded has been reduced sharply after airline bosses, whose companies have lost $1 billion between them and cancelled 80,000 flights since Thursday, lined up to criticise governments and regulators for their handling of the crisis.
Fifty test flights took to the skies to add empirical weight to claims that, in cutting off Europe’s busiest aviation hubs, the authorities were being too cautious.
Germany faces up to sexual abuse after scandals at Catholic, other schools
Allegations of sexual abuse at schools run by the Catholic and Lutheran churches, as well as at an elite secular boarding school, have put child protection at the top of the domestic agenda in Germany.
By Isabelle de Pommereau, Correspondent / April 19, 2010
At first, Germans were stunned by revelations about elite Jesuit boarding schools, where hundreds of former pupils say they suffered sexual abuse in the 1970s and ’80s. Then attention turned to the Lutheran Church, which apologized for widespread abuse after World War II in its children’s institutions. And last month, a similar pattern of abuse, and a coverup, rocked one of the country’s most prestigious progressive boarding schools.
The experience in Germany is a reminder that the criticism swirling around the Catholic church and Pope Benedict XVI — that they failed to do enough to protect children in their care — is not an exclusively Catholic problem. Pope Benedict, celebrating his fifth anniversary as Pope today, referred to the church as a “wounded sinner” that feels “all the more the consolation of God,” according to L’Osservatore Roman, a Vatican newspaper.
A taboo that harms Arabs too
The refusal of the Muslim world to recognise Israel’s Jewish character is still the greatest obstacle to peace
Israel today celebrates its 62nd anniversary as the reborn sovereign state of the Jewish people. History demonstrated that Jews could not survive, let alone flourish, at the whims of majority cultures. This is not merely an academic argument but a lesson lived, learned and branded into Israel’s DNA.
While I was born in the independent Jewish state, my father and grandfather were forced to flee Nazi Germany to strive for freedom in their homeland. Their experience taught me that the rights and freedoms provided to the Jewish people through the state of Israel can never be taken for granted.
US summons Syrian diplomat over missile transfers to Hezbollah
From Times Online
April 20, 2010
The United States has summoned Syria’s most senior diplomat in Washington over its “provocative behaviour” regarding the potential transfer of Scud missiles to Hezbollah.
The State Department said it condemned arming the militant Lebanese-based Islamist group, which would threaten the security of Israel and Lebanon.
“The transfer of [arms including Scud missiles] can only have a destabilising effect on the region,” State department spokesman Gordon Duguid said in a statement after meeting Syria’s deputy chief of mission in Washington, Zouheir Jabbour.
Pakistan suspends officials named in UN report on Benazir Bhutto killing
Senior police officer and interior ministry official among those removed from their jobs following inquiry into PM’s death
Saeed Shah in Lahore
The Guardian, Tuesday 20 April 2010
Pakistan has suspended several officials in response to a UN commission report into the assassination of the former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.
The officials removed from their jobs include a senior police officer, Saud Aziz, who ordered the scene of Bhutto’s December 2007 murder in Rawalpindi to be hosed down, destroying invaluable evidence, and the interior ministry official, Javed Cheema, who claimed that Bhutto was killed as a result of a plot hatched by the then leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud.
“The failure of the police to investigate effectively Ms Bhutto’s assassination was deliberate,” the UN report found.
How Twitter attack brought down the most popular tweeter in India
Junior Foreign minister resigns over claims on microblogging site that his girlfriend received free £9.8m stake in IPL franchise
By Andrew Buncombe in Delhi Tuesday, 20 April 2010
For once, the Twitter account of the sleek and urbane Shashi Tharoor has fallen silent.
Three whole days have elapsed by since the senior UN official-turned Indian politician and best-selling novelist sent a message. His last post read: “Thanks for all the support & good wishes. U folks are the new India. We will ‘be the change’ we wish to see in our country. But not w’out pain!”
His words were prophetic. Amid allegations that he had improperly used his position as India’s junior Foreign minister for personal ends in a cricket tournament deal, the 54-year-old has been forced to take the “pain” and resign from the government.
Swaziland’s No 1 lady detective wins green prize
By Daniel Howden, Africa Correspondent Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Thuli Brilliance Makama is not everyone’s idea of an environmental hero.
An attorney in Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, she has made her name not as a conservationist but by investigating the deaths of suspected poachers.
Yesterday she was named as among the winners of the most prestigious environmental award in the world: the $150,000 Goldman Prize. Leading the Swazi green group Yonge Nawe, she has worked with local communities to help them to file lawsuits against the kingdom’s flourishing private game parks.