False earthquake alerts have gone off on Android smartphones in Iran as the country continues to grapple with nationwide protests. The deputy chief of Iran’s cyber police told Iranian state television on Wednesday that only Android phones received the fake alert. He blamed testing at state-owned service provider Iran Mobile Communications Co. for the alert. Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency meanwhile described the incident as a hack and said: “This message is fake; do not leave your homes.” The two conflicting accounts of the event could not be immediately reconciled.
A judge has sentenced former Theranos executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani to nearly 13 years in prison for his role in the company’s blood-testing hoax — a sentence slightly longer than that given to the CEO, who was his lover and accomplice in one of Silicon Valley’s biggest scandals. Balwani was convicted in July of fraud and conspiracy connected to the company’s bogus medical technology that duped investors and endangered patients. His sentencing came less than three weeks after Elizabeth Holmes, the company’s founder and CEO, received more than 11 years in prison. The scheme has been dissected in a book, HBO documentary and award-winning TV series.
A published report says at least two items marked as classified were found in a storage unit in West Palm Beach, Florida, after lawyers for former President Donald Trump arranged for a firm to search for additional classified materials. The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, reports that the items were discovered by an outside team that was brought in by Trump’s representatives to search his other properties for any additional classified materials. The nature of the classified materials wasn't immediately clear, but the newspaper said the storage unit in which they were found had been used to hold items from an office in northern Virginia used by Trump staffers after he left office.
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans believe that suicide rates spike every time the holiday season comes around. There’s just one catch: It's not true.
Along with the thousands of books it released in 2022, the publishing industry also offered — not always willingly — some stories about itself. Penguin Random House's effort to buy Simon & Schuster ended up in a closely watched antitrust trial. Some 250 HarperCollins staffers went on strike and members of the publishing community maintained ongoing response on social media. Authors posted their book advances, agents criticized HarperCollins and other publishers and editors shared they year-by-year salaries. Some even used social media to announce they were quitting. Overall, sales were down from the historic high of 2021, but the numbers are still better than before the pandemic.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has delivered another rebuke of Donald Trump, saying anyone who thinks the Constitution can be suspended would have a “very hard time” becoming president in the United States. The comment marked the second time in as many weeks that McConnell and other Republicans have been compelled to denounce Trump’s words and actions since the former president announced he is running again for the White House in 2024. Over the weekend, Trump called for the “the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution” after new revelations of what he said was Twitter’s unfair treatment of him during the 2020 presidential election,
There were plenty of reasons Vince Guaraldi's soundtrack to ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ shouldn't have worked. Jazz music for an animated television special featuring the famous comic strip characters? Yet the show has become a holiday tradition from its first airing in 1965, the music performed by Guaraldi's piano-led jazz trio even more so. What unites Prince, Michelle Obama and Foo Fighters? They all performed the soundtrack's “Linus and Lucy” in public. Members of show producer Lee Mendelson's family wish they had the envelope where he hurriedly wrote lyrics to the song “Christmas Time is Here.”
A federal judge has dismissed a U.S. lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Tuesday's ruling bows to the Biden administration’s insistence that the prince was legally immune in the case. Washington, D.C., U.S. District Judge John D. Bates heeded the U.S. government’s request shielding Prince Mohammed from the case under the longstanding principle of limited immunity for heads of government. That's despite what Bates called “credible allegations of his involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.” Saudi officials killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, had written critically of Prince Mohammed.
Facebook parent Meta Platforms says it will be forced to consider removing news content from its platform if Congress passes legislation that could require social media companies to pay news outlets. The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, if passed, would allow news companies to collectively negotiate with social platforms over the terms on which their material appears on their sites. Meta has taken similar stands in the past. Last year, it briefly blocked news from its platform in Australia after the country passed legislation that would compel tech companies to pay publishers for using their news stories.
The elections director in the largest county in one of the nation’s most important battleground states details the threats he and his co-workers have received since the 2020 presidential election and how he responded to protect his staff. Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria, who will leave his position next month, tells The Associated Press in an interview that people who believed the lies about the previous election being stolen would wait for workers to return from their lunch break and harass and threaten them as they hurried back into the office. That prompted him to secure money from the county so he could provide breakfast and lunch to his staff this year as they counted the midterm votes.
Arizona’s top officials have certified the midterm election results. The governor, secretary of state, attorney general and chief justice signed off on the election results Monday. Their signatures formalize victories for Democrats over Republicans who falsely claimed the 2020 election was rigged. The certification opens a five-day window for formal election challenges. Republican Kari Lake, who lost the race for governor, is expected to file a lawsuit after weeks of criticizing the administration of the election. The certification also allows for an automatic recount to begin in a handful of races.
Stephen Curry is known for scoring deep 3-point shots and buzzer-beaters from half-court but even the celebrated Warriors guard didn’t sink five consecutive full-court baskets, despite a convincingly edited video that swept social media this week. The clip of the 34-year-old phenom racked up more than 28 million views and more than 40,000 shares on Twitter after Sports Illustrated posted it on Sunday. However, the video is “not real,” said Raymond Ridder, Warriors senior vice president of communications. Sports Illustrated acknowledged on Tuesday that the video wasn't real. Its tweet credited the video to Ari Fararooy, a video creator known for similar stunts.
Poland's prime minister has backed down from his initial declaration to award bonuses to the national soccer team for its World Cup performance. It was a sudden reversal by Mateusz Morawieck after saying earlier in the day the players should be rewarded for advancing from their group. It was Poland's best result in 36 years. But following controversy fuelled by high inflation and uncertainty in the country, Morawiecki eventually said on Facebook that “there will be no government means” for bonuses for the players. A government spokesman previously said the money mentioned would be spent on training children and developing the soccer infrastructure. Some angered Twitter users said the taxpayers' money should be spent on general use purposes.
Facebook’s quasi-independent oversight board says an internal system that exempted high-profile users, including former U.S. President Donald Trump, from some or all of its content moderation rules needs a major overhaul. The report released Tuesday by the Oversight Board said the system “is flawed in key areas which the company must address.” The board opened its review after The Wall Street Journal reported that the system was being abused by many of its elite users, who posted material that would result in penalties for ordinary people, including for harassment and incitement of violence. Meta has agreed to respond to the report within 90 days.
Kirstie Alley, a two-time Emmy winner who starred in the 1980s sitcom “Cheers” and the hit film “Look Who’s Talking,” has died. She was 71. Her death was announced Monday by her children on social media and confirmed by her manager. The post said their mother died of cancer that was recently diagnosed. She starred as Rebecca Howe on the NBC sitcom “Cheers” from 1987 to 1993, after the departure of original star Shelley Long. She had her own sitcom on the network, “Veronica’s Closet,” from 1997 to 2000. John Travolta, who starred with Alley in two “Look Who's Talking” films, was among the stars who paid tribute to her online.
Latvian media authorities have revoked the license of an independent Russian TV channel exiled in the Baltic country for, among other things, voicing support for the Russian military and including Crimea in its map of Russia. The decision by the Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council was based on a number of recent violations by TV Rain and the license was revoked on the grounds of a threat to national security and public order. The region’s main news agency, Baltic News Service, said the decision will take effect on Thursday when not only TV Rain’s broadcasts but also its programs on YouTube will be blocked in Latvia.
News channel Al Jazeera is formally asking the International Criminal Court to investigate the fatal shooting of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as she was reporting from a Palestinian refugee camp in May. Al Jazeera, which made the request Tuesday, has accused the Israeli government of specifically targeting its journalists, calling Abu Akleh’s death a war crime. The news outlet said it wants ICC prosecutor Karim Khan to include the reporter's killing in his ongoing investigation into the situation in Palestine.
Bulgaria has rejected accusations that its border guards shot a Syrian refugee in October. Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev said, “There are no cases of violence against migrants.” He spoke after a video released Monday showed a man being fired at on European country’s border with Turkey. The footage of an asylum-seeker being hit with live ammunition on Oct. 3 was part of a joint investigation by several European media outlets led by Lighthouse Reports. In the video recorded on the Turkish side of the border, a young man falls to the ground after a bullet goes through his hand and into his chest.
A Florida sheriff says one of his deputies fatally shot another while they were off duty and taking a break from playing an online video game. Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in a social media video posted Sunday that the deputies were best friends and roommates. Ivey says 23-year-olds Andrew Lawson and Austin Walsh were standing around talking Saturday after playing the online game when Lawson took out a gun he believed he had unloaded and “jokingly” pointed it at Walsh. A round fired and fatally struck Walsh. Lawson has been charged with manslaughter. The sheriff called the shooting “an extremely dumb and totally avoidable accident.”
One would have to go back hundreds of years to find a monarch who reigned longer than Queen Elizabeth II. In her 70 years on the throne, she helped modernize the monarchy across decades of enormous social change, royal marriages and births, and family scandals. Her death in September was arguably the most high-profile death this year. Other world leaders who died in 2022 include former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died in August. Among the entertainers who died this year was groundbreaking actor Sidney Poitier, who played roles with such dignity that it helped change the way Black people are portrayed on screen.
French writer Dominique Lapierre has died at age 91. In 1964, Lapierre drew on archived material to co-author with American writer Larry Collins “Is Paris Burning?” a novel about the World War II liberation of the French capital. Lapierre had a special bond with India and spent a lot of time in Kolkata, a city that was nicknamed “The City of Joy” after his 1985 novel with that title. The book chronicled the life of a rickshaw puller and was adapted by Roland Joffé into a 1992 film. The Var Matin newspaper in southern France reported Monday that Lapierre died Friday, citing an interview with the author’s wife.
(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)