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Thursday, Apr 17th

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Jihad Jane: Despite cooperation, U.S. seeks 'decades' in prison

Jihad JaneThe Pennsylvania woman who called herself Jihad Jane and a teenage accomplice from Maryland provided "very significant" assistance to U.S. authorities in several terrorism investigations but still remain threats to the public, prosecutors say in new court filings.

Prosecutors said Colleen LaRose, 50, should be sentenced to "decades behind bars" for her role in a failed 2009 plot to kill Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist who offended many Muslims by drawing the Prophet Mohammed on the head of a dog.

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Wells Fargo agrees to $541 million loan settlement

wells fargoWells Fargo & Co will pay a net $541 million to Fannie Mae to settle claims over defective home loans, completing the government-controlled mortgage company's efforts to have banks buy back troubled loans made before the financial crisis.

Fannie Mae said on Monday it has reached settlements worth roughly $6.5 billion over loan buybacks with eight banks, including Wells Fargo, the nation's largest mortgage lender and fourth-largest bank by assets.

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I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on

US drone programWhenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them some questions. I'd start with: "How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?" And: "How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?"

Or even more pointedly: "How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicle] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?"

Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand.

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Snowden: Surveillance worse than in Orwell’s ‘1984’

SnowdenNational Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden invoked George Orwell and warned of the dangers of unchecked government surveillance Wednesday in a televised Christmas message to the British people that reflected his growing willingness to take a public role in the debate he ignited.

Speaking directly into the camera from Moscow, where he has taken refuge after leaking vast troves of information on NSA spying, Snowden said government surveillance methods far surpass those described in Orwell’s dystopic novel “1984.”

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Cryptolocker ransomware has 'infected about 250,000 PCs'

cryptolockerA virulent form of ransomware has now infected about quarter of a million Windows computers, according to a report by security researchers.

Cryptolocker scrambles users' data and then demands a fee to unencrypt it alongside a countdown clock. Dell Secureworks said that the US and UK had been worst affected.

It added that the cyber-criminals responsible were now targeting home internet users after initially focusing on professionals.

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US 'may never know extent of Edward Snowden NSA leaks' – report

Snowden leaksGovernment officials have concluded that they may never know the full extent of information leaked by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, according to a report published on Saturday by the New York Times.

Senior government officials told the newspaper that investigators are unsure of the scope of information Snowden collected, partially because the Hawaii data facility he worked at, as a contractor, did not have employee monitoring software with which other NSA facilities were equipped. Such software is meant to detect unusual behavior among the agency's approximately 35,000 employees.

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State surveillance of personal data is theft, say world's leading authors

authors say spying is theftMore than 500 of the world's leading authors, including five Nobel prize winners, have condemned the scale of state surveillance revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden and warned that spy agencies are undermining democracy and must be curbed by a new international charter.

The signatories, who come from 81 different countries and include Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Orham Pamuk, Günter Grass and Arundhati Roy, say the capacity of intelligence agencies to spy on millions of people's digital communications is turning everyone into potential suspects, with worrying implications for the way societies work.

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