UNITED STATES SETS CYBERSPYING PRECEDENT
Attorney General Eric Holder has announced the first ever cyber espionage accusation against five Chinese Military officials, who he has accused of spying on the U.S. economic activity and stealing trade secrets. The attorney general pointed to five different American companies as being affected by the spying: SolarWorld, United Steelworkers Union, Alcoa World Alumina, Westinghouse Electric Company, U.S. Steel Corporation, and Allegheny Technologies.
This marks the first time that the U.S. Justice Department has formally accused China of cyber spying. There have been accusation in the past of the Chinese army launching cyber attacks against American military targets. For their own part, Chinese officials deny these accusations outright and argue that they have been the victims of a sustained cyber espionage campaign on the part of organizations like the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command.
In March, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in light of increased vulnerabilities in U.S. cyberspace, announced the Pentagon is preparing to triple its cybersecurity staff in the next few years.
MURRAY CHOOSES NEW POLICE CHIEF
As part of a long uphill battle to reshape the Seattle Police Department’s heavily-criticized record, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has chosen a new police chief in the hopes that she can reform the department. This Monday, Murray nominated Kathleen O’Toole, a police commissioner from Boston, as his choice for the new Police Chief of SPD.
If chosen, O’Toole will be the first female police chief the city has ever had. The appointment must be finalized by the Seattle City Council, but considering the lack of tangible changes that have occurred in the SPD since the Justice Department investigated their use of force back in 2011, chances are that O’Toole will be chosen. If instated, O’Toole will also join a number of reforms currently being instituted in the police department, like a new ability of the Chief to bring in assistants and deputy chiefs from outside the department. According to the current timeline, the Council’s decision should be finalized by the summer.
NEW SEATTLE MICROHOUSING RULES KEEP BUILDING
A new piece of legislation aims to regulate guidelines for Seattle’s microhousing developments continues forward this Monday with a public hearing at the Seattle City Council in City Hall. The hearing comes as yet another point in a long line of debate around microhousing units that has been going on over the course of the past year. Back in February, an appeal was made by activists Dennis Sacman and Chris Leman against the Department of Planning and Development’s proposal to go forward with legislature governing the role of microhousing in Seattle. The activists went to the city’s Hearing Examiner, voicing fears that microhousing would cause too great a strain on the city’s resources and lead to increased development. The Examiner rejected the appeal after evidence made it clear that these criticisms were not legitimate. This Monday’s hearing will allow developers, advocates, and critics alike to all weigh in on the proposed legislation.
CECILY MCMILLAN SENTENCED TO THREE MONTHS
After being convicted on May 5 of assaulting a police officer, Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan has been sentenced to three months at Rikers Island and five years of probation that will require her to receive mental health counseling. McMillan, who was arrested in Zuccotti Park on March 17, 2012, faced the possibility of seven years in prison for supposedly elbowing NYPD officer Grantley Bovell in the eye as he removed her from the park.
McMillan maintains that the she did so out of reflex when Bovell groped her breast amidst the removal. Photos produced by McMillan during the trial showed a pronounced, hand-shaped bruise on her breast. The prosecuting attorney, Assistant District Attorney Shandra Strain, has argued that McMillan’s testimony is a fabrication because she did not mention the bruise or the assault in three out of four hospital visits.
Activists who have taken an interest in the case argue that the events are evidence, not only of the state attempting to intimidate social movements like Occupy, but also a chilling message about the treatment of women in these movements by the police. Members of the Justice for Cecily Campaign plan to make another plea for her release, this time in the form of a White House Petition.
NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR LET GO
Jill Abramson, the former New York Times Executive editor who lost her job last week, made her first public appearance this Monday after losing the position. At a commencement speech at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, the editor spoke to students about the uncertainty of success in the world, and the trials that come from rejection, even going so far as likening herself to a college graduate.
Abramson, who is 60 and received her appointment in 2011, was the first woman to ever fulfill the role of executive editor at the paper. She will be replaced by Dean Baquet, the current managing editor at the paper. Since it was announced, Abramson’s removal has evoked a lot of criticism, with many arguing that the decision was made in response to her previous complaints about unfair treatment of women in the company and unequal pay. Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the paper’s publisher, refuted these claims, instead referencing Abramson’s management style—citing “arbitrary decision making” and “a failure to consult and bring in colleagues”—as the real reason for her dismissal.
CALIFORNIA FIRES IGNITE FEARS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE
In the last week, over a dozen fires spring up around the state of California, causing $20 million in damages. The fires have piggy-backed on the third consecutive drought that has occurred in the state over the last three years.
According to Al Jazeera, officials have announced that the snow pack feeding the state’s water reserves is 30 percent of what it usually is, and the state is preparing for its worst ever wildfire season.
Now, the state’s governor Jerry Brown is linking the fires to global climate change, stating on ABC that “humanity is on a collision course with nature.” The state of California deals with, on average, about 800 fires a year. This year, however, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has responded to more than 1,500.
According to the article, the state has appropriated $600 million to fight the fires, but many fear this won’t be enough. As of Sunday morning, officials have announced that the San Marcos fire that has been raging in San Diego is 85 percent contained.