South Korea unveiled a cruise missile on Thursday that it said can hit the office of North Korea’s leaders, trying to address concerns that it is technologically behind its unpredictable rival which this week conducted its third nuclear test.
South Korean officials declined to say the exact range of the missile but said it could hit targets anywhere in North Korea.
The Defence Ministry released video footage of the missiles being launched from destroyers and submarines striking mock targets. The weapon was previewed in April last year and officials said deployment was now complete.
“The cruise missile being unveiled today is a precision-guided weapon that can identify and strike the window of the office of North Korea’s leadership,” ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters.
North Korea has forged ahead with long-range missile development, successfully launching a rocket in December that put a satellite into orbit.
The North’s ultimate aim, Washington believes, is to design an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could hit the United States.
The euro zone slipped deeper into recession in the last three months of 2012 after its largest economies, Germany and France, shrank markedly at the end of the year.
It marked the currency bloc’s first full year in which no quarter produced growth, extending back to 1995.
Economic output in the 17-country region fell by 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter, theEU’s statistics office Euros tat said on Thursday, following a 0.1 percent drop in output in the third quarter.
The drop was the steepest since the first quarter of 2009 and more severe than the average forecast of a 0.4 percent drop in a Reuters poll of 61 economists.
For the year as a whole, gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.5 percent.
Within the zone, only Estonia and Slovakia grew in the last quarter of the year, although there are no figures available yet for Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta and Slovenia.
Joe Stewart’s day starts at 6:30 a.m. in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with a peanut butter sandwich, a sugar-free Red Bull, and 50,000 or so pieces of malware waiting in his e-mail in-box. Stewart, 42, is the director of malware research at Dell SecureWorks, a unit of Dell (DELL), and he spends his days hunting for Internet spies. Malware is the blanket term for malicious software that lets hackers take over your computer; clients and fellow researchers constantly send Stewart suspicious specimens harvested from networks under attack. His job is to sort through the toxic haul and isolate anything he hasn’t seen before: He looks for things like software that can let hackers break into databases, control security cameras, and monitor e-mail.
Within the industry, Stewart is well-known. In 2003 he unraveled one of the first spam botnets, which let hackers commandeer tens of thousands of computers at once and order them to stuff in-boxes with millions of unwanted e-mails. He spent a decade helping to keep online criminals from breaking into bank accounts and such. In 2011, Stewart turned his sights on China. “I thought I’d have this figured out in two months,” he says. Two years later, trying to identify Chinese malware and develop countermeasures is pretty much all he does.
Computer attacks from China occasionally cause a flurry of headlines, as did last month’s hack on the New York Times (NYT). An earlier wave of media attention crested in 2010, when Google (GOOG) and Intel (INTC) announced they’d been hacked. But these reports don’t convey the unrelenting nature of the attacks. It’s not a matter of isolated incidents; it’s a continuous invasion.
At a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked the nation’s top financial regulators why Wall Street firms who broke the law were not taken to trial.
“We face some very special issues with big financial institutions,” she said. “If they can break the law and drag in billions and billions in profits, and then turn around and settle — paying out of those profits — they don’t have much incentive to follow the law. It is also the case that every time there is a settlement and not a trial, we didn’t have those days and days and days of testimony about what those financial institutions had been up to.”
I hope to see a day when Elizabeth Warren is the President of this country.
Former San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor took $2 million from a nonprofit foundation to feed a gambling addiction in which she lost more than $1 billion over a nine-year period, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
O’Connor, 66, appeared in federal court and pleaded not guilty to a money laundering charge as part of a deferred prosecution. Under the arrangement with federal prosecutors, she has two years to repay the $2 million taken from the R.P. Foundation, a nonprofit set up by her late husband, Robert O. Peterson.
Peterson was co-founder of the Jack-In-The-Box restaurant chain and later Southern California First National Bank Corp., which eventually became part of the Union Bank empire.
Prosecutors said O’Connor, who is in poor physical health, had $1 billion in gambling winnings between 2000 and 2009, but she posted losses during the same period that were greater than that amount. Her preferred game was video poker. They described her now as “destitute.”
EPFL’s Institute of Microengineering has reached a remarkable 10.7% efficiency single-junction microcrystalline silicon solar cell, clearly surpassing the previous world record of 10.1% held by the Japanese company Kaneka Corporation since 1998. Such significant efficiency, independently certified by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE CalLab PV Cells), was achieved in addition with less than 2 micrometers of photovoltaic active material.
The Photovoltaics-Laboratory (PV-Lab) of IMT, founded in 1984 by Prof. Arvind Shah and now headed by Prof. Christophe Ballif, is well known as a pioneer in the development of thin-film silicon solar cells, and as a precursor in the use of microcrystalline silicon as a photoactive material in thin-film silicon photovoltaic (TF-Si PV) devices. A remarkable step was achieved this week by the team led by Dr. Fanny Meillaud and Dr. Matthieu Despeisse with a new world record efficiency of 10.7% for a single-junction microcrystalline silicon solar cell, independently confirmed at Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE CalLab PV Cells), Freiburg, Germany.
You know, I am normally happy when Illinois Republicans who lose an election work to stay visible. But not this time:
Former Tea Party congressman Joe Walsh criticized Michelle Obama in a tweet Friday morning that asked if the first lady was attending the funeral of slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton to make a political point.
“‘Heartbroken’ Michelle Obama attending funeral of Hadiya Pendleton. I guess the other 553 murder victims didn’t break her heart,” Walsh tweeted Friday. “Most of the 553 Chicago murder victims in 2012 & 2013 were young black males. Is she attending this funeral to make a political point?”
But wait, it gets worse:
Walsh, a Republican from Chicago’s suburbs, has been a harsh critic of President Barack Obama. Though he lost re-election to Tammy Duckworth in November, he has still tried to stay in the political spotlight.
He didn’t back down from the tweets later Friday, telling DNAinfo.com Chicago, “If I were one of the 3-, 4-, 500 African-American families in the last year that lost somebody to gun violence, I’d be so offended that Michelle Obama is ‘heartbroken’ over Miss Pendleton’s death. She’s never used that word before. Neither her or the president or Rahm Emanuel have ever really acknowledged the other murders over the last year. I just found that offensive.”
Mayor Emanuel has actually spoken regularly and extensively about the city’s murder woes over the last year, but that didn’t keep Walsh from trying to drag him into the fray.
“It’s not too much of a stretch [to think] this is purely a political maneuver on their part,” Walsh added. “There’s an agenda now and this is no secret and the great thing about Rahm Emanuel is he’s very overt in what he’s doing. It makes it easy for all of us. When he said a couple years ago, ‘Don’t ever waste a crisis,’ he’s made a career out of doing this.”
Emanuel actually said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” and quickly clarified that statement.
I am extremely glad this asshole is no longer in the Congress. As far as I’m concerned Joe Walsh can go fuck himself with a railroad spike.
The truth is discomforting: hatred and intolerance are moving into the mainstream in Europe.
An Afghan migrant is stabbed in the heart on the streets of Athens. Black-shirted paramilitaries linked to Hungary’s third-largest political party march through a Roma neighbourhood shouting, “You will die here.” A neo-Nazi gang commits a string of murders of Turkish immigrants in Germany. An ideologue driven by hatred of “multiculturalism” kills 67 mostly young people on a Norwegian Island.
It may be comforting to see these incidents as isolated, disconnected or driven by local events. But the truth is more discomforting: hatred and intolerance are moving into the mainstream in Europe.
Intolerance in Europe manifests itself in support for extremist parties and violence and discrimination against minorities and migrants. Rather than tackling the problem head on, Europe’s leaders often downplay the problem or blame the victims. But concerted steps are needed to stop the violence and discrimination and curtail the corrosive influence of racist parties, without limiting freedoms of speech and association.
In many European countries, extremist parties— espousing racist, anti-immigrant or anti minority policies—are part of the political landscape. Their platforms vary, with some corresponding to traditional far-right parties. But they frequently define themselves by strong opposition to particular groups, including Muslims and immigrants (particularly among parties in western Europe) and Roma (in eastern Europe).
A senior commander of the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guards was assassinated as he travelled from Damascus, authorities said on Thursday, in a development that spotlights the country’s role in the Syrian civil war.
General Hassan Shateri was killed on Tuesday in an ambush on the way from Damascus towards the Lebanese capital, the Iranian authorities said. They blamed the attack on Israel.
Gen Shateri was also in charge of the Iranian of the Iranian Committee for the Reconstruction of Lebanon, set up after the devastating war in 2006 between Israel and the Iran supported Shiite Hezbollah militia.
He died “at the hands of Zionist regime mercenaries and backers,” the force’s spokesman, Ramezan Sherif, said in the statement.
Abolishing Sang Chatti: Pakistan Works to Prevent Compensation Marriage and Other Forms of Violence Against Women
Seven-year-old Izzo Bibi* lives in a small village in the province of Sindh in southern Pakistan. Her father cannot afford to send her to school but her mother has taught her traditional Sindhi embroidery. Izzo’s older cousin Sheeno* used to help her learn new embroidery motifs.
When Izzo’s paternal uncle murdered his neighbour, the faislo (also called Jirga, the decision-making tribal gathering) demanded two girls from the murderer’s family as Sang Chatti (compensation marriage). At only 12 years of age, Sheeno was forcibly taken away by the aggrieved family. She did not even get to gather her belongings. The point was to punish the family by treating her harshly. No wedding ceremony took place. There was no music, no laughter — only Sheeno’s screams while she was being separated from her family.
The only news her mother received was that her daughter was being made to do household chores, wear worn-out clothes, walk barefooted and live as the wife of a 40-year-old man. Today Sheeno lives with both physical and emotional abuse and for the rest of her life she will be a taano (insult) for being a murderer’s daughter.
The Jirga’s decision had not yet been fully enforced and Sheeno’s suffering was deemed insufficient to compensate for the crime. According to the local elders, 7-year-old Izzo Bibi was also to be handed over to the aggrieved family as compensation.
Having witnessed Sheeno’s fate with her own eyes, Izzo’s fears worsened when she was told by her friends that she would also be sent as compensation as a wife to a 28-year-old man. Anticipating this, Izzo’s father sent her away for a few days.
Furthermore Izzo’s father decided not to obey the tribal decree, risking his life to stand up to the tribal custom. With a local lawyer, he submitted an application to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. His case was heard by the Supreme Court in 2011 which gave directions to the police to arrest the Jirga members and suspend its decision.