Published Monday, June 7, 2021 | 9 p.m.
Updated Monday, June 7, 2021 | 9:16 p.m.
US recovers most of ransom paid after Colonial Pipeline hack
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has recovered most of a multimillion-dollar ransom payment made to hackers after a cyberattack that caused the operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline to halt its operations last month, officials said Monday. The operation to seize cryptocurrency paid to the Russia-based hacker group is the first of its kind to be undertaken by a specialized ransomware task force created by the Biden administration Justice Department. It reflects a rare victory in the fight against ransomware as U.S. officials scramble to confront a rapidly accelerating threat targeting critical industries around the world. “By going after the entire ecosystem that fuels ransomware and digital extortion attacks — including criminal proceeds in the form of digital currency — we will continue to use all of our resources to increase the cost and consequences of ransomware and other cyber-based attacks,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at a news conference announcing the operation.
FDA approves much-debated Alzheimer’s drug panned by experts
WASHINGTON (AP) — Government health officials on Monday approved the first new drug for Alzheimer’s disease in nearly 20 years, disregarding warnings from independent advisers that the much-debated treatment hasn’t been shown to help slow the brain-destroying disease. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug from Biogen based on study results showing it seemed “reasonably likely” to benefit Alzheimer’s patients. It’s the only therapy that U.S. regulators have said can likely treat the underlying disease, rather than manage symptoms like anxiety and insomnia. The decision, which could impact millions of Americans and their families, is certain to spark disagreements among physicians, medical researchers and patient groups.
‘A lot of anxiety’ for Democrats as Biden agenda stalls
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hopes for a big infrastructure investment are teetering. An ambitious elections and voting bill is all but dead. Legislation on police brutality, gun control and immigration has stalled out. After six months of Democratic control in Washington, the party’s progressive wing is growing increasingly restless as campaign promises go undone — blocked not only by Republican obstruction, but also by Democrats’ own inability to unite fully around priorities. The time ahead is pivotal for President Joe Biden and his allies in Congress to seize what some view as a transformative moment to rebuild the economy and reshape the country.
Carbon dioxide levels hit 50% higher than preindustrial time
The annual peak of global heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air has reached another dangerous milestone: 50% higher than when the industrial age began. And the average rate of increase is faster than ever, scientists reported Monday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the average carbon dioxide level for May was 419.13 parts per million. That’s 1.82 parts per million higher than May 2020 and 50% higher than the stable pre-industrial levels of 280 parts per million, said NOAA climate scientist Pieter Tans. Carbon dioxide levels peak every May just before plant life in the Northern Hemisphere blossoms, sucking some of that carbon out of the atmosphere and into flowers, leaves, seeds and stems.
‘Do not come’: Harris seeks ‘hope at home’ for Guatemalans
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris offered an optimistic outlook for improved cooperation with Guatemala on addressing the spike in migration to the U.S. after her meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Monday. She also delivered a direct warning to migrants considering making the trek: “Do not come. Do not come.” Her comments, during a press conference after she met privately with Giammattei, underscored the challenge that remains even as Harris engages in substantive talks with the Guatemalan and Mexican presidents during a three-day visit to the region this week, her first foreign trip as vice president.
Fed lawyers: Trump not liable for ‘crude’ remarks at accuser
NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump cannot be held personally liable for “crude” and “disrespectful” remarks he made while president about a woman who accused him of rape, Justice Department lawyers said Monday in arguing for him to be replaced by the United States as defendant in a defamation lawsuit. The lawyers told the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that responding to allegations of misconduct falls within activities that form part of any president’s office. Trump was acting “within the scope of his office” in denying wrongdoing after White House reporters asked him about claims by columnist E.
Oil pipeline foes protest Enbridge’s Line 3 in Minnesota
SOLWAY, Minn. (AP) — Hundreds of protesters vowing to do whatever it takes to stop a Canadian-based company’s push to replace an aging pipeline blocked a pump station Monday in northern Minnesota, with some people chaining themselves to construction equipment before police began making arrests. Environmental and tribal groups say Enbridge Energy’s plan to rebuild Line 3, which would carry Canadian tar sands oil and regular crude from Alberta to Wisconsin, would worsen climate change and risk spills in sensitive areas where Native Americans harvest wild rice, hunt, fish, gather medicinal plants, and claim treaty rights. By evening, at least 30 people were arrested by state police and sheriff’s officers, but the number “is growing rapidly,” Ashley Fairbanks, a spokeswoman for Treaty People Gathering, told The Associated Press.
Canadian police say Muslim family targeted by deadly attack
TORONTO (AP) — A driver plowed a pickup truck into a family of five, killing four of them and seriously injuring the other in a deliberate attack that targeted the victims because they were Muslims, Canadian police said Monday. Authorities said a young man was arrested in the parking lot of a nearby mall after the incident Sunday night in the Ontario city of London. Police said a black pickup truck mounted a curb and struck the victims at an intersection. “This was an act of mass murder perpetuated against Muslims,” Mayor Ed Holder said. “It was rooted in unspeakable hatred.” The extended family issued a statement identifying the dead as Salman Afzal, 46; his wife Madiha, 44; their daughter Yumna, 15; and a 74-year-old grandmother whose name was withheld.
As India’s surge wanes, families deal with the devastation
LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Two months ago Radha Gobindo Pramanik and his wife threw a party to celebrate their daughter’s pregnancy and the upcoming birth of their long-awaited grandchild. They were so happy that they paid little attention to his wife’s cough. It’s an oversight that may forever haunt him. Within days, his wife, his daughter and his unborn grandchild were all dead, among the tens of thousands killed as the coronavirus ravaged India in April and May. “Everyone whom I loved the most has left me,” the 71-year-old said on a recent night as a Hindu priest chanted mantras and performed a ritual for the dead at his home in the northern city of Lucknow.
Jeff Bezos will blast into space on rocket’s 1st crew flight
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Outdoing his fellow billionaires in daredevilry, Jeff Bezos will blast into space next month when his Blue Origin company makes its first flight with a crew. The 57-year-old Amazon founder and richest person in the world by Forbes’ estimate will become the first person to ride his own rocket to space. Bezos announced his intentions Monday and, in an even bolder show of confidence, said he will share the adventure with his younger brother and best friend, Mark, an investor and volunteer firefighter. He said that will make it more meaningful. Blue Origin’s debut flight with people aboard — after 15 successful test flights of its reusable New Shepard rockets — will take place on July 20, a date selected because it is the 52nd anniversary of the first moon landing by Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.