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Sunday, Apr 20th

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U.S. government says hackers trying to exploit 'Heartbleed' bug

heartbleed hackersThe U.S. government warned banks and other businesses on Friday to be on alert for hackers seeking to steal data exposed by the "Heartbleed" bug, as a German programmer took responsibility for the widespread security crisis.

On a website for advising critical infrastructure operators about emerging cyber threats, the Department of Homeland Security asked organizations to report any Heartbleed-related attacks, adding that hackers were attempting to exploit the bug in widely used OpenSSL code by scanning targeted networks.

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State workers can wear anti-governor pins, judge says

anti governor pinThe 2011 anti-Branstad pins marks at least the third time state officials have attempted to ban AFSCME pins. The state previously demanded employees remove a pin that read "When will this s--- end? Election day," which the union acknowledged pushed the boundaries and did not challenge.

But an arbitrator ruled in the union's favor in 1998 when the state banned University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics employees' pins that read "When will the shift end?"

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NSA denies report it exploited Heartbleed for years

Heartbleed bugThe Heartbleed security flaw that exposes a vulnerability in encryption has reportedly extended its reach well beyond Web services.

According to Bloomberg, citing "two people familiar with the matter," the National Security Agency knew about Heartbleed for at least two years and used the hole in encryption technology to gather intelligence.

However, the agency strongly denied the substance of Bloomberg's report.

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Obama taps budget guru, technocrat for health job

Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mathews Burwell, nominated to run "Obamacare," would bring a wealth of expertise in economics and government management to one of Washington's toughest jobs, even though she has little direct experience in the health care industry.

In selecting Burwell to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Obama chose a veteran technocrat who members of both parties say is up to the challenge of running a $1 trillion bureaucracy that rivals the Pentagon in complexity. If confirmed, she'll inherit a beleaguered agency seeking desperately to turn the page on a tumultuous chapter characterized by the shambolic rollout of Obama's health care law and HealthCare.gov.

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In a rare rebuke, U.S. blocks Iran's envoy to UN

Iran envoy barredThe United States has blocked Iran's pick for envoy to the United Nations, a rare diplomatic rebuke that could stir fresh animosity at a time when Washington and Tehran have been seeking a thaw in relations.

The Obama administration said Friday that the U.S. had informed Iran it would not grant a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi, a member of the group responsible for the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. While U.S. officials had been trying to persuade Iran to simply withdraw Aboutalebi's name, the announcement amounted to an acknowledgement that those efforts had not been successful.

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Pope Francis Asks Abuse Victims' Forgiveness

Pope FrancisPope Francis asked Friday for forgiveness from the victims of pedophile priests in some of his strongest words to date about the Catholic Church's sex abuse crisis.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome that: "The pope has come under fire from advocacy groups for a perceived lack of attention to the issue.

"Friday, in off-the-cuff remarks to members of the International Catholic Child Bureau, Francis said he felt compelled to take it upon himself to ask forgiveness for the evil that some priests had committed in sexually abusing children."

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CIA’s use of harsh interrogation went beyond legal authority, Senate report says

CIAA classified U.S. Senate report found that the CIA's legal justification for the use of harsh interrogation techniques that critics say amount to torture was based on faulty legal reasoning, McClatchy news service reported on Thursday.

The Central Intelligence Agency also issued erroneous claims about how many people it subjected to techniques such as simulated drowning, or "water boarding," according to the news service, citing conclusions from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report obtained by McClatchy.

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New Rule Prohibits Voters In Miami-Dade County From Using The Restroom, No Matter How Long The Line

Florida voter suppressionBroward and Palm Beach County voters can rest easy. Elections supervisors in the two counties say they won’t implement the restroom ban imposed by Miami-Dade County.

In the state’s most populous county, voters who need to go while waiting to vote aren’t allowed to do so.

The media office at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department didn’t respond to a request for information about the rule. But it’s detailed by county officials in email exchanges with a disability rights lawyer.

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U.S. Sentencing Commission votes to cut terms for drug crimes

drug sentencing lawsThe U.S. Sentencing Commission has voted to cut the terms recommended for most federal drug crimes.

At a public meeting Thursday, the commission approved new guidelines that officials said would mean shorter terms for about 70 percent of offenders. Generally, the changes would reduce mandatory minimums suggested for various quantities of drugs for crimes not involving the use of violence or firearms.

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