Jun 5, 2017

Report: Russians targeted U.S. election officials before election

Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

A Russian intelligence operation sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials days before the election, which ran through a hack of a U.S. voting software supplier. The Russian cyber espionage operation was functional for months before the 2016 U.S. election, according to a classified NSA report obtained by The Intercept (which also says the May 5 document was independently authenticated).

Why it matters: As The Intercept wrote, it's "the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light." Plus, the report shows Russian hacking may have weaseled its way further into U.S. voting systems than was previously known.

  • The NSA leaves no room for doubt for who carried out the attack by pointing the finger at Russian military intelligence — specifically, the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). That stands in stark contrast to Putin's denial that Russia has ever engaged in hacking the U.S. election at the state level.
  • Although the NSA doesn't name the breached company, it does reference a product made by a Florida-based vendor, VR Systems, which is used in eight states.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 1,595,350 — Total deaths: 95,455 — Total recoveries: 353,975Map.
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Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

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The view from the other side of the coronavirus peak

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Europeans and Americans are desperate to move beyond the worst of the crisis and return to something approximating normality, but the World Health Organization is cautioning that moving too fast will undermine the sacrifices made so far.

Where things stand: Nearly every country on Earth is still seeing their caseload increase, and a recent uptick in Singapore shows that apparent victory over the virus can be fleeting. But several countries are providing reason for optimism.

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