September 14, 2016

Russian Hackers Strike Again, Luxembourg Wants Hungary Out Of The EU


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Russian Hackers Get Petty

Still miffed over their ban from the Rio Olympics, Russian hackers just fought back by leaking confidential medical files of the US Olympic athletes. A group calling themselves “Fancy Bears” – presumably because “Sore Losers Who Code” was taken – claimed responsibility for hacking into the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to access records of “therapeutic use exemptions,” a list of athletes cleared for certain banned substances due to their verified medical needs. Athletes affected include gymnast Simone Biles and tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, though it doesn’t look like the hackers found anything too damaging.

Luxembourg To Hungary: ‘You Can’t Sit With Us’

The European Union was in enough trouble when countries started leaving, now countries are trying to kick each other out. Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn called for Hungary to be thrown out of the EU for the horrendous way they treat refugees. In a scathing interview with German newspaper Die Welt, he said, “Anyone who, like Hungary, builds fences against refugees from war or who violates press freedom and judicial independence should be excluded temporarily, or if necessary forever, from the EU.” Ooph, shots fired.

Hungary didn’t waste time shooting back either. Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó dismissed Asselborn as “an intellectual lightweight” and his comments as “sermonizing, pompous and frustrated.” Banter aside, Human Rights Watch also called on Europe to use its “enforcement powers” against Budapest after documenting abuse of asylum seekers. Luxembourg is merely pointing out that Hungary has breached legal obligations under European and international law – even if they are pointing it out through press and gossip.


US And North Korea Enter A Muscle-Flexing Competition

Just days after North Korea shook things up with their nuclear test – and we mean that literally – the United States felt it was time to flex a little might of their own. The US flew two supersonic B-1B Lancer strategic bombers over South Korea in a show of force, warning the DPRK of “serious consequences” in light of their recent test. Granted, the air show seems a bit paltry compared to North Korea’s 5.3-magnitude earthquake, but B-1B bombers are capable of carrying nuclear missiles and bombs that can reach even underground bunkers.

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Another One Bites The Dust In Brazilian Politics

Just a few months after presiding over the impeachment proceedings against then-president Dilma Rousseff, Eduardo Cunha finds himself in a precarious situation. The former speaker of Brazil’s lower house was impeached Tuesday for corruption. Cunha claimed he was impeached as “political vengeance” for his role in Rousseff’s impeachment, but his family’s shopping sprees in Miami, New York, Paris and Zurich provide pretty strong evidence he was earning more than his declared income of $130,000. The fun isn’t over for Cunha, who will now have to face possible criminal charges in addition to being impeached and barred from politics for eight years.

Don’t expect this to be the last you hear of corruption and impeachments in Brazilian politics. After the hearing, Cunha told reporters he planned to write a book and said, ominously, “I have a good memory.”

US Economy Finally Benefits People Who Aren’t Top 1%

It took a few years but median incomes in the US are finally starting to rise. The Census Bureau reported a 5.2% annual increase in household income, the fastest rate since they started keeping track. The poverty rate also dropped by more than 1% to 13.5%. Don’t bust out the champagne quite yet, though. Median incomes are still lower than they were in 2007 before the recession and below their 1999 peak. The whole “anti-establishment fury” tends to make sense when you think about how incomes have essentially come down despite 15 years of “economic growth.”


Big Sugar: Thanks to newly released historical documents, the press revealed how the sugar industry bribed Harvard scientists to downplay sugar’s role in heart disease. Researchers began to see how high-sugar diets caused metabolic problems as early as the 1950s, but the research in a 1967 issue of New England Journal of Medicine told a different story: that fat and cholesterol were the real contributors to heart disease, ignoring sugar.

Germany: Three suspected ISIS members were arrested in Germany and are currently being investigated in connection with November’s terror attacks in Paris. Officials indicate that the three were brought to Europe by the same organization of smugglers that imported the Paris attackers.

North Carolina: Responding to the recent North Carolina law that curbed anti-discrimination protections for LGBT communities, the NCAA will relocate all championship games over the coming academic year. This is a serious blow to officials in North Carolina, where college basketball is central to the state’s culture and pride.


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Black Metal Legend Elected To Town Council Against His Will

If you’re not familiar with Norwegian music legend Fenriz or his infamous black metal band, Darkthrone, you might get to know him now that he has made a reluctant segue into politics. While preparing to release his next album, Fenriz agreed to join a “backup list” of potential candidates for a neighborhood council outside of Oslo. His campaign was literally just a picture of Fenriz holding his cat with the words “Please don’t vote for me.”

He clearly underestimated the marketing power of a cat. Fenriz won, proving that none of us should underestimate the power of a “backup list” this election season. Fenriz really didn’t want the gig, but he will be required to serve as councilman for four years before stepping down is even an option.

Yes, I want to sound marginally more intelligent: