What is the Petya ransomware attack, and how can it be stopped?

Companies have been crippled by an attack dubbed Petya, the second major ransomware crime in two months. Olivia Solon answers the key questions

Many organizations in Europe and the US have been crippled by a ransomware attack dubbed Petya. The malicious software has spread through large firms including the advertiser WPP, food company Mondelez, legal firm DLA Piper and Danish shipping and transport firm Maersk, leading to PCs and data being locked up and held for ransom.

Its the second major global ransomware attack in the last two months. In early May, Britains National Health Service (NHS) was among the organizations infected by WannaCry, which used a vulnerability first revealed to the public as part of a leaked stash of NSA-related documents released online in April by a hacker group calling itself the Shadow Brokers.

The WannaCry or WannaCrypt ransomware attack affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries, with the UKs national health service, Spanish phone company Telefnica and German state railways among those hardest hit.

Like WannaCry, Petya spreads rapidly through networks that use Microsoft Windows, but what is it, why is it happening and how can it be stopped?

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to a computer or its data and demands money to release it.

How does it work?

When a computer is infected, the ransomware encrypts important documents and files and then demands a ransom, typically in Bitcoin, for a digital key needed to unlock the files. If victims dont have a recent back-up of the files they must either pay the ransom or face losing all of their files.

How does the Petya ransomware work?

The Petya ransomware takes over computers and demands $300, paid in Bitcoin. The malicious software spreads rapidly across an organization once a computer is infected using the EternalBlue vulnerability in Microsoft Windows (Microsoft has released a patch, but not everyone will have installed it) or through two Windows administrative tools. The malware tries one option and if it doesnt work, it tries the next one. It has a better mechanism for spreading itself than WannaCry, said Ryan Kalember from cybersecurity company Proofpoint.

Where did it start?

The attack appears to have been seeded through a software update mechanism built into an accounting program that companies working with the Ukrainian government need to use, according to the Ukrainian Cyber Police. This explains why so many Ukrainian organizations were affected, including government, banks, state power utilities and Kievs airport and metro system. The radiation monitoring system at Chernobyl was also taken offline, forcing employees to use hand-held counters to measure levels at the former nuclear plants exclusion zone.

How far has it spread?

The Petya ransomware has caused serious disruption at large firms in Europe and the US, including the advertising firm WPP, French construction materials company Saint-Gobain and Russian steel and oil firms Evraz and Rosneft. The food company Mondelez, legal firm DLA Piper, Danish shipping and transport firm AP Moller-Maersk and Heritage Valley Health System, which runs hospitals and care facilities in Pittsburgh, also said their systems had been hit by the malware.

Shipping
Shipping company Maersks IT system was impacted by the cyber-attack. Photograph: Mauritz Antin/EPA

So is this just another opportunistic cybercrimnal?

It initially looked like Petya was just another cybercriminal taking advantage of cyberweapons leaked online. However, security experts say that the payment mechanism of the attack seems too amateurish to have been carried out by serious criminals. Firstly, the ransom note includes the same Bitcoin payment address for every victim most ransomware creates a custom address for every victim. Secondly, Petya asks victims to communicate with the attackers via a single email address which has been suspended by the email provider after they discovered what it was being used for. This means that even if someone pays the ransom, they have no way to communicate with the attacker to request the decryption key to unlock their files.

OK, so then who is behind the attack?

Its not clear, but it seems likely it is someone who wants the malware to masquerade as ransomware, while actually just being destructive, particularly to the Ukrainian government. Security researcher Nicholas Weaver told cybersecurity blog Krebs on Security that Petya was a deliberate, malicious, destructive attack or perhaps a test disguised as ransomware.

Ukraine has blamed Russia for previous cyber-attacks, including one on its power grid at the end of 2015 that left part of western Ukraine temporarily without electricity. Russia has denied carrying out cyber-attacks on Ukraine.

What should you do if you are affected by the ransomware?

The ransomware infects computers and then waits for about an hour before rebooting the machine. While the machine is rebooting, you can switch the computer off to prevent the files from being encrypted and try and rescue the files from the machine, as flagged by @HackerFantastic on Twitter.

Hacker Fantastic (@hackerfantastic)

If machine reboots and you see this message, power off immediately! This is the encryption process. If you do not power on, files are fine. pic.twitter.com/IqwzWdlrX6

June 27, 2017

If the system reboots with the ransom note, dont pay the ransom the customer service email address has been shut down so theres no way to get the decryption key to unlock your files anyway. Disconnect your PC from the internet, reformat the hard drive and reinstall your files from a backup. Back up your files regularly and keep your anti-virus software up to date.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/27/petya-ransomware-cyber-attack-who-what-why-how

McConnell’s test: Can he do more than obstruct?

(CNN)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing a major test this week. Since revealing the details of the Republican health care plan, McConnell has watched as a number of important senators in his own party announced their concerns or opposition. Some, such as Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, have urged him to postpone the vote based on the assumption that, at this moment, it would not pass the upper chamber where the majority only has a slim 52 seats.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Congressional Budget Office announced that under the Senate bill there would be 22 million more uninsured Americans by 2026, making McConnell’s efforts to pass the bill that much more difficult.
But McConnell’s supporters believe he can make this happen. They see McConnell as a modern-day Lyndon Johnson, who has served as both Senate minority and majority leader, an old-school legislator who can twist arms and cut deals to bring his party together. They are confident that despite all the potential problems with this bill, McConnell must have enough tricks up his sleeve to defy conventional wisdom.
    But the truth is it’s nearly impossible to predict if McConnell will succeed. To many, he has defined his career as an obstructionist rather than as someone who creates new policies. The challenge he faces this week is fundamentally different than much of what he has confronted in his time as a party leader.
    Most of McConnell’s skills have come as a member of the congressional minority or as a majority leader facing a president from the other party. Under those conditions, McConnell could be brilliant and devastating. Shortly after President Obama’s inauguration, Utah Republican Bob Bennett recalled McConnell telling a retreat of Republicans: “We have a new president with an approval rating in the 70% area. We do not take him on frontally. We find issues where we can win, and we begin to take him down, one issue at a time.”
    His track record as an agent of obstruction is legendary. Throughout the Obama presidency, McConnell proved to be extremely effective at blocking many key legislative initiatives, from immigration reform to climate change regulations to criminal justice reform, that sometimes even commanded bipartisan support. The senator proved he knew how to whip up a no vote and to stand firm against intense political pressure to act.
    He demonstrated the same savvy with judicial and executive branch appointments. McConnell was more than willing to let seats remain empty. Never was his ability to hold the party together as clear as when Justice Antonin Scalia died during President Obama’s term. The Senate majority leader refused to even hold hearings on the nomination of Merrick Garland, based on the spurious argument that the next president should have the right to decide on the appointment. The seat remained vacant until a Republican controlled the White House.
    As an obstructionist, McConnell demonstrated he was able to ignore the scrutiny of the media no matter how hot it became. When pundits and policymakers took to the airwaves to lambast the Republicans for failing to govern or for creating a constitutional crisis, McConnell didn’t flinch. The breaking news cycle didn’t faze him. He plays, as he titled his memoir, the “Long Game” with an eye on the needs of his party. Between 2009 and 2017, he kept up the pressure on his colleagues in the Senate to stick to their guns, and it worked.
    Now the situation is different. For the first time in his career as a party leader (other than the brief moment he was selected as Senate majority leader in 2006), the public will see just how well he can perform in making things happen rather than blocking progress.
    But the skills are different on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
    Part of the job of the majority leader in times of united government is to bring disparate parts of the party together around proposals to change the status quo. “Trumpcare” would do just that. This is legislation that will strip away the health care benefits for millions of Americans and create a period of great uncertainty for health care markets.
    Some conservatives want Congress to do much more in dismantling government. To them, the government would still be spending too much money subsidizing markets and leaving too many regulations in place. Others in the GOP are not willing to make such grandiose changes, realizing the effects it will have on their electorate. In particular, they fear the effects of the rollback of Medicaid on their populations as well as the higher deductibles that people with more illnesses will face.
    Can McConnell bring these sides together, and work with the intransigent Freedom Caucus in the House, around legislation that will change the status quo and where Republicans will likely be blamed for any negative outcome?
    In the modern era, part of the job of the majority leader has also been to sell ideas to the public. This is where the job of the obstructionist is very different than the job of the policy creator. Unlike some recent Senate majority leaders, McConnell doesn’t really like to be on television and he tends to avoid reporters whenever possible. In this case, that comes at a cost since the natural face of the party is not out there convincing Americans why this is a good idea. That task is left to others, and right now his fellow salesmen, as reflected in public opinion polls about the health care bills, are doing a poor job.
    Until now, President Trump has not tested McConnell, since he has focused almost exclusively on executive actions and avoided the legislative front on large-scale issues.
    It is worth noting that McConnell does not really have many legislative issues that he is known for, other than his fierce opposition in the 1990s to campaign finance reform. This week he is dealing with a major issue that would have his signature in the history books.

    Join us on Twitter and Facebook

    Can McConnell deliver on this controversial legislation? Can he play the part of leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, who delivered when Democrats controlled the White House and Congress in the mid-1960s? Or, is this problematic bill something that is just too hot for this legislative leader to deliver?
    This is a question that will be answered as the week unfolds.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/26/opinions/mcconnell-health-care-opinion-zelizer/index.html

    Transgender firefighter marches as NYC Pride Parade grand marshal

    (CNN)When Brooke Guinan joined the New York City Fire Department in 2008 she publicly presented herself as a man. She had no idea that on Sunday she’d be one of the NYC Pride Parade’s grand marshals while identifying as a transgender woman.

    Guinan began identifying as a transgender woman in 2011, three years into her firefighting career at FDNY. She first came out as a gay man at a young age, but began to question her gender identity in college.
    Before joining the department, Guinan was unsure what her professional life would look like.
      Despite being a third generation firefighter Guinan did not think there was a place for LGBTQ people in the male-dominated fire department.
      But Guinan’s love of public service ultimately drove her to continue her family legacy in the fire department. There was no LGBTQ training in the beginning.
      During her first few years in the department, she served in both firefighting and administrative capacities.
      For the past two years, Guinan has stepped out of the firehouse and has served the FDNY as its LGBTQ outreach coordinator.
      In this role she has directed and produced training tools and services to better equip the FDNY to understand and work with the LGBTQ community.
      “The firehouse can be fun, but I am so enamored with my community and I am very pleased and grateful to do a different kind of lifesaving work in the fire department,” Guinan said.
      The FDNY has promoted LGBTQ experiences through their social media pages and has also produced its own video in support of the “It Gets Better” campaign, highlighting the stories of LGBTQ public safety employees.
      James Fallarino, spokesperson for NYC Pride, said Guinan appears to be the first openly transgender member of the FDNY. She is the first transgender public safety employee to serve as an individual grand marshal. In 2002, two organizations — the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) and FireFLAG — served as grand marshals after 9/11.
      Guinan participated in the Pride parade for years before being invited to be a grand marshal.
      “It is an amazing honor to be the Grand Marshal of this year’s Pride parade,” she said. “I have always found inspiration in other people’s voices and it is an honor to be given an opportunity for my voice to be heard.”
      She was one of four grand marshals. The others are Krishna Stone, the director of community relations at Gay Men’s Health Crisis; Geng Le, a leader of the LGBTQ equality movement in the People’s Republic of China; and the American Civil Liberties Union.
      “Our 2017 Grand Marshals are a snapshot of the numerous organizations, individuals, and philanthropists that will leads us through this unprecedented time in our nation,” noted NYC Pride March Director Julian Sanjivan in a press release.
      The NYC Pride March is the largest pride parade in the United States and is meant to celebrate the LGBTQ community and bring awareness to issues the community faces. The parade originated 48 years ago in the wake of the Stonewall riots, a series of protests by the LGBTQ community against a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in 1969.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/25/us/firefighter-transgender-woman-pride/index.html

      Nebraska Democrat fired for saying he was ‘glad’ Rep. Scalise was shot

      Washington (CNN)A member of the Nebraska Democratic Party was fired Thursday morning after an audio recording of him surfaced on YouTube saying he was “glad” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot at a congressional baseball game practice and wished the Louisiana Republican was dead.

      In the expletive-laced recording, Phil Montag, then the volunteer co-chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party’s technology committee, blamed Scalise for seeking to take away people’s health care coverage through the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
      “This motherf***er, like, his whole job is like to get people [to] convince Republicans to f***ing kick people off f***ing health care,” Montag can be heard saying in the recording in reference to Scalise.
        When he made the remarks, Montag was speaking to Chelsey Gentry-Tipton, the chairwoman of the state Democratic Party’s Black Caucus, and her friend, Destin Madison, according to the Omaha World-Herald and Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb.
        It’s unclear how the conversation began, but the recording on YouTube starts with Madison asking, “So what is it you want to do?”
        Gentry-Tipton responds to Montag’s complaints by saying, “We know all of this.” Madison later is audible telling Montag that he has been recording him and plans to release the audio of their conversation.
        “I hate this motherf***er. I’m f***ing glad he got shot. I’m glad he got shot,” Montag says on the tape.
        “So then say something. So then say something,” Gentry-Tipton responds.
        “I’m not going to f***ing say that in public,” Montag replies.
        “You don’t have to say that in public. Then say something, say something,” Gentry-Tipton says again as Madison asks, “Well then, what are you saying it to us for? What are you telling us for?”
        “I wish he was f***ing dead,” Montag then says of Scalise.
        “Why are you telling us, but not telling anyone else?” Madison asks.
        “I’m trying to f***ing — because I’m trying to f***ing figure out (inaudible)” Montag says.
        “It’s ok, because I’ve been recording this conversation since you’ve come in, so I will publicly release it myself,” Madison says before the recording abruptly ends.
        Gentry-Tipton has come under fire for remarking on Facebook earlier this month that she thought it was “so funny” to watch congressmen “crying on live tv” about the trauma they experienced in the shootings at the Republican congressional baseball practice, according to the World-Herald. In the same chain, the World-Herald reported she wrote, “The very people that push pro NRA legislation in efforts to pad their pockets with complete disregard for human life. Yeah, having a hard time feeling bad for them.”
        The comments prompted the state Democratic Party leadership to call for Gentry-Tipton’s resignation as Black Caucus chairwoman, but she refused to do so, saying in a statement on Facebook that her posts were taken out of context by party officials and that she would not resign “at this point,” the World-Herald reported.
        Kleeb, the state Democratic chair, told CNN she made the decision to fire Montag when she saw the video.
        “He made disgusting comments about a member of Congress, and we relieved him of his volunteer position of the party on Thursday morning as soon as we saw the video,” Kleeb said. “It’s a disturbing time in politics. I’ve worked in politics for over 10 years, and I’ve never seen such hateful rhetoric from both the right and left.”
        Montag could not be reached for comment Saturday. He told the World-Herald that the recording was edited to take his words out of context, adding that he was “horrified” by the shooting of Scalise and “absolutely” did not wish he was dead.
        “I did not call for the congressman’s death,” Montag said.
        Montag also told the World Herald that the recording posted on the internet Wednesday night was a small part of a conversation that lasted 30 minutes to an hour.
        Gentry-Tipton and Madison did not return immediate requests from CNN for comment on the recording or Montag’s allegation that it had been edited to take his words out of context.
        Nebraska is a one-party consent state, which means it is legal for an individual to record others without their knowledge as long as the person recording is a party to the conversation.
        Scalise, a member of the Republican baseball team, was hospitalized after a gunman opened fire while Republican members of Congress were practicing earlier this month in Alexandria, Virginia, ahead of the annual charity baseball game.
        The congressman went through multiple surgeries after the shooting and is still hospitalized, although he was released from intensive care Thursday.
        The shooter, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, died from gunshot wounds he sustained in a shootout with police at the practice field, federal law enforcement officials said.
        The incident marks the first time a sitting member of Congress was shot since Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords was targeted by a gunman in 2011.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/24/politics/nebraska-dem-fired-scalise-shot/index.html

        The Resistance Now: activists say ‘hell no’ to Republican healthcare bill

        Progressives sprung into action with dozens protesting outside the Senate majority leaders office, while Democrats took stock after Ossoffs loss

        So about that healthcare bill…

        Dozens of people were arrested after protesting outside Senate majority leader Mitch McConnells office on Thursday including some in wheelchairs as Republicans unveiled Republicans unveiled Trumpcare 2.0 (or are we on 3.0 now?).

        Activists from disability rights organization Adapt gathered outside McConnells office to demonstrate against the bill, which would dramatically cut Medicaid and strip funding from Planned Parenthood, to name just two measures.

        A
        A protester is led away by police on Thursday. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

        Progressive organizations sprung into action to try to defeat it.

        Our Revolution set up a page on its website urging people to take action to stop AHCA [the Senate bill is called the Better Care Reconciliation Act but many of the principles are the same as the AHCA House bill] and prevent millions from losing their healthcare.

        The organization has provided a number which will connect people to their Senators office, and has also provided some talking points.

        AHCA would leave 23 million Americans without healthcare.

        The bill would allow insurance companies to discriminate against patients and deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

        A majority of voters strongly oppose repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).

        Americans want to expand healthcare, not gut it. In fact, two-thirds of Americans support Medicare for all.

        Indivisible has its own page too, where people can submit amendments to their senator. This is about applying your constituent power directly to the process, Indivisibles website says. They also have an extensive list of reading material and a script people can use when talking to their representatives.

        Ossoff: doomed from the start?

        Thats what a number of progressives told the Guardian, after the 30-year-old lost to Republican Karen Handel in Tuesdays special election.

        Jon Ossoff ran on a centrist, Clinton-esque platform that focussed on rather beige, uncontroversial issues like government waste. There was no talk of universal healthcare and little of welfare issues. He ran in what has traditionally been a Republican stronghold, and lost by only five points, but Ossoff was basically the opposite of the kind of populist candidate the left believes is the way forward.

        Hes not in favour of single-payer healthcare, hes not outspoken on campaign finance reform, said Moumita Ahmed, founder of Millennials for Revolution. Why would I as a Republican vote for someone who isnt a Republican, but still has the same values as a Republican?

        Jon
        Ossoff plus balloons. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

        Winnie Wong, from People for Bernie, said Ossoffs run the election was the most expensive House race in history, by the way was a massive failure of Democratic party leadership.

        He didnt have a core progressive message and that ultimately is why he lost. The Democratic party could spend $100m and he would still lose. Because he didnt stand for anything.

        but there is hope for a Brand New Congress

        Thats the name of a group that selects, trains, supports and promotes progressives who want to run for Congress.

        Brand New Congress (BNC), formed in April 2016, currently has 14 candidates who have announced their 2018 mid-term campaigns, including several who are running against incumbent Democrats.

        We essentially provide full service campaign service, BNCs Corbin Trent told the Guardian this week. Brand New Congress manages press request, helps with events and ballot access, does opposition research on incumbents, and can even help with speechwriting.

        Brand New Congress has organized a weekend canvassing kick off for its candidates (who are from across America) on Sunday. Each of the candidates all of whom are running on progressive platforms are holding events to boost their campaigns.

        Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is running against incumbent Democrat Joseph Crowley in New Yorks 14th congressional district, organized for the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016.

        We have the capacity and opportunity to be ambitious in legislation, Ocasio-Cortez told the Guardian. Because the world is changing in ways weve never seen before.

        What were reading

        • Were in the midst of an all-hands-on-deck emergency, writes Rebecca Solnit, in which new groups and coalitions are emerging along with unforeseen capacities in many people who didnt previously think they were activists. Solnit says there are extraordinary things happening in this moment, in an uplifting survey of the activist land.
        • Progressives should try to speak conservative to score victories, historian and LGBTQ strategist Nathaniel Frank writes in the LA Times. He says the successes of the LGBTQ movement came when activists learned to speak the language of those they most needed to enlist rather than those who already agreed with them.

        Ron Swanson reimagined as Berniecrat progressive

        Parks
        Parks and Recreations Ron Swanson … an eerie doppelganger for a Democratic candidate whos making headlines. Photograph: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

        Randy Bryce, known as @IronStache on Twitter, sprung to fame this week when he announced his challenge to Republican house speaker Paul Ryan. In his favour? An evocative campaign advert, a leftwing message, and the mustache, denim and workboots of an all-American.

        That masculine, blue-collar image prompted one Twitter user to suggest Bryce was genetically engineered from Bruce Springsteen songs, while several people compared the Democrat to the Parks and Recreation character Ron Swanson. Just not a libertarian.

        Randy
        Randy Bryce is running for Paul Ryans seat in Congress. Photograph: YouTube

        Sign up for weekly news updates about the protests and activism in the US

        Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/23/resistance-now-newsletter-healthcare-jon-ossoff

        Would Trump make a good royal?

        (CNN)The power of the British monarchy has been on display during recent tragedies.

        Whether comforting victims of the Grenfell tower block fire or unveiling the priorities of her government in the state opening of Parliament, Queen Elizabeth II has demonstrated the sort of steady, dignified endurance that rises above the chaos of a divisive Brexit vote and an inconclusive general election.
        Leave it to Prince Harry to spoil it all.
          In a revealing interview with Newsweek, the Queen’s most rebellious grandson let slip the secret at the heart of his family.
          “We are involved in modernizing the British monarchy. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people…. Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time,” he said.
          Prince Harry’s words are extraordinary. But he should know better than anyone if his father Charles and brother William, both groomed for the job since birth, do not even want the throne.

            Prince Harry opens up about Diana’s funeral

          Who, after all, could survive the nonstop attention and demand for selfies? Who would thrive under such scrutiny, and do it all while wearing a gold crown weighing more than three pounds?
          It would take a certain type of person. The sort of person who fills his court with relatives, perhaps, who thinks the separation of powers is a foreign concept, and who would quite fancy himself as the head of a church.
          Anyone coming to mind here?
          President Donald Trump may be struggling to navigate power in the world’s greatest democracy. But how about the top job in a smaller, dustier administration?
          There may be centuries of convention about how the monarch is supposed to relate to Parliament (keep quiet and sign the bills when they arrive), but an unwritten constitution means there is nothing to stop him doing whatever he wants.
          These days, marrying a Catholic is not even a problem, so Melania is safe.
          It is, of course, a stupid idea. A poor joke deployed by a Brit in America (yours truly) trying to make sense of Prince Harry’s comments and the truth about duty.
          Harry’s point is that nobody should want the crown. Nobody should want the awesome responsibilities that come with it. The accident of birth has rather ruled him out of contention anyway. Prince Harry now stands fifth in line to the throne.

            Prince Harry hosts Obama at Kensington Palace

          But it is easy to understand how a fun-loving 30-something would balk at the idea.
          His mother died in a car accident in a French road tunnel as she was pursued by paparazzi, photographers trying to sate the massive interest in the Royals’ real-life soap opera.
          A photo of Harry walking in his mother’s funeral cortege became the public’s defining image of the young prince.
          “My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television,” he said in the Newsweek interview.
          “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen.”
          It got worse as Harry got older and became fair game for the tabloids. Now every girlfriend is scrutinized by a public that knows him only from a distance.
          When he dressed up as a Nazi for a fancy dress party, photographs turned up on newspaper front pages.

            UK royals talk candidly about losing Diana

          And as his brother William will one day find out, being king rather makes showing up at a Colonials and Natives themed party a bit of a no-no. (Although his choice of outfit at that notorious 2005 party — a lion costume — shows the way he has been groomed from a young age to avoid accidentally triggering outrage by dressing up as a murderous fascist.)
          We have all watched the crown and marveled at the way Princess Elizabeth blossomed into a young queen as she grappled with her new burden and the duties she learned at her father’s side.
          How much more difficult that transition would be today, in our nonstop world of Twitter, hot takes and rolling news.

          Join us on Twitter and Facebook

          Anyone lusting after the position of sovereign would possess not just an unhealthy masochism, but a level of narcissism at odds with the humility displayed by the Queen during this past week.
          What kind of monster would want that life?

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/22/opinions/prince-harry-trump-royal-opinion-crilly/index.html

          Donald Trump says he doesn’t want a ‘poor person’ in cabinet roles

          President tells crowd during Iowa tour that economic adviser and commerce secretary had to give up a lot to work for him

          Donald Trump has said he doesnt want a poor person to hold economic roles in his administration as he used an Iowa rally to defend his decision to appoint the wealthy to his cabinet.

          The US president told a crowd on Wednesday night: Somebody said why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy? No its true. And Wilburs [commerce secretary Wilbur Ross] a very rich person in charge of commerce. I said: Because thats the kind of thinking we want.

          The president explained that Ross and his economic adviser Gary Cohn had to give up a lot to take these jobs and that Cohn in particular, a former president of Goldman Sachs, went from massive pay days to peanuts.

          Trump added: And I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions I just dont want a poor person. Does that make sense?

          He made the comments as he toured the state with agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue and Ross partly to celebrate a Republican congressional victory in Georgia being seen as an early referendum on his presidency.

          Trump touched down Wednesday evening in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and headed to a local community college and then to a campaign rally where he reveled in Karen Handels victory.

          Were 5-0 in special elections, said Trump in front of a boisterous crowd that packed a downtown arena. The truth is, people love us … they havent figured it out yet.

          Supporters
          Supporters at a Donald Trump in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA

          He also applauded Republican Ralph Norman, who notched a slimmer-than-expected win in a special election to fill the South Carolina congressional seat vacated by Mick Mulvaney, and mocked Handels challenger, Jon Ossoff, saying the Democrats spent $30m on this kid who forgot to live in the district.

          Trump, no stranger to victory laps, turned his visit to a battleground state he captured in November into a celebration of his resilience despite the cloud of investigations that has enveloped his administration and sent his poll numbers tumbling.

          With the appearance in Cedar Rapids, he will have held five rallies in the first five months in office.

          The event underscores Trumps comfort in a campaign setting. He laughed off the occasional heckler, repeated riffs from last year and appeared far more at ease when going after Democrats in front of adoring crowds than trying to push through his own legislative agenda from the confines of the White House.

          Trumps aides are making a renewed push to get the president out of Washington. The capital is consumed with the investigation into Russian meddling in last years election and Trumps firing of his FBI director, James Comey.

          Iowa, with its large share of independent voters, could be a proving ground for whether Trump can count on the support of voters beyond his base. Unaffiliated voters, or no party voters as they are known in Iowa, make up 36% of the electorate, compared with 33% who registered as Republican and 31% registered as Democrat.

          Self-identified independents in Iowa voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton by a margin of 13 percentage points last year, according to exit polls conducted for the Associated Press and television networks. That margin helped Trump take the state by nearly nine points after Barack Obama won it the previous two elections.

          Trump held a Des Moines rally in December as part of his transition-era thank you tour of states he had won, but has not been back to Iowa since.

          At the rally, he touted his administrations efforts to roll back regulations, mused about putting solar panels on a Mexican border wall, derided wind power for killing birds in a state that uses a lot of it and revealed that he urged the Senate to create a health care plan with heart. Add some money to it!

          He avoided any discussion of the scandals surrounding his presidency, other than one brief reference to the witch hunt, his term for the inquiries into his campaigns ties to Russia.

          Associated Press contributed to this report

          Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/22/donald-trump-says-he-doesnt-want-a-poor-person-in-cabinet-roles

          Officers who killed Seattle woman in her home had mental health crisis training

          Questions raised over why two police officers, who knew Charleena Lyles had mental health issues, used deadly force within minutes of arriving

          Two Seattle police officers who shot and killed a pregnant woman inside her apartment had been trained to deal with people showing signs of mental illness or other behavior crises.

          Officials also say the officers had at least one less-lethal way to handle the woman who they knew had a previous volatile encounter with law enforcement and had been having mental health issues.

          Still, within minutes of arriving Sunday to take a burglary report, the officers drew their guns and shot 30-year-old Charleena Lyles with three of her four children inside her apartment.

          Authorities say Lyles confronted the officers with two kitchen knives less than two weeks after she had threatened officers with long metal shears when they responded to a domestic disturbance at her home.

          Family members say they want to know what happened Sunday and why police did not use a non-lethal option when they knew Lyles had been struggling with her mental health.

          Police and the mayor say the shooting will be investigated.

          The killing occurred as Seattle police are under federal oversight following a 2011 investigation that found officers were too quick to use force.

          All Seattle officers now receive training on how to better handle those with mental illness or abusing drugs. One of the officers who shot Lyles had been certified as a crisis intervention specialist.

          Detective Patrick Michaud said Seattle officers are required to carry a less-lethal option to subdue suspects and have a choice between a Taser, baton or pepper spray.

          He said the officers who killed Lyles did not have a Taser and he was unsure which option they had at the time.

          Near the beginning of a roughly four-minute police audio recording of the incident and before they reached the apartment, the officers discussed an officer safety caution about the address involving the previous law enforcement interaction.

          The officers talked about the woman previously having large metal shears, trying to prevent officers from leaving her apartment and making weird statements about her and her daughter turning into wolves.

          Seattle municipal court records show that Lyles was arrested 5 June and booked into King County jail. She pleaded not guilty to two counts of harassment and obstructing a police officer.

          A
          A girl walks past a memorial outside the apartment where Charleena Lyles was shot and killed by police on Monday. Photograph: Elaine Thompson/AP

          She was released from jail on 14 June on the condition that she check-in twice a week with a case manager and possess no weapons.

          The audio recording and transcripts released by police indicates that the officers had spent about two minutes calmly speaking with Lyles before the situation escalated.

          The transcript shows one officer yelling get back! repeatedly and Lyles saying Get ready, (expletive).

          An officer said we need help and reported a woman with two knives. He urged his partner to use a stun gun but that officer responded: I dont have a Taser.

          Sue Rahr, a former sheriff who heads the state Criminal Justice Training Commission, noted that circumstances determine whether officers are able to use non-lethal force or resolve a situation without force.

          Officers may be able to take their time to persuade a suspect whos standing in the middle of an intersection with no one nearby to drop a knife, but that might be different in cramped quarters or with children nearby, she said.

          If the officer has time, space and cover, they have more options than using deadly force, but thats not necessarily going to be the case, Rahr said.

          James Bible, an attorney representing relatives of Lyles, said Tuesday that the officers knew she was vulnerable when they went to her apartment.

          When we call police for help, we expect protection, we expect safety, Bible said. It was their responsibility to protect her and they didnt.

          Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/20/seattle-police-shooting-charleena-lyles-mental-health

          Is it safe to live on a former landfill site? – BBC News

          With the need for more housing, developers are moving in to build on top of former landfill sites. But how safe are these places, and should people be concerned about living on top of them?

          The UK dumps nearly 50 million tonnes of industrial, commercial and domestic waste into landfill sites every year – enough rubbish to fill Wembley Stadium to the brim more than 50 times over.

          The process is tightly regulated. Meticulous records are kept of what we dump and where we dump it.

          But landfill hasn’t always been this well managed – and Britain’s appetite in years gone by for filling huge holes in the ground with waste is beginning to haunt us.

          There are 20,000 former landfill sites across the UK – 1,200 of them are on England’s coastline. File on 4 has had exclusive access to an unpublished report commissioned by the Environment Agency, looking at these sites and the impact of flooding and coastal erosion.

          Prof Kate Spencer from Queen Mary University of London led the investigation and has now raised serious concerns about the impact not only on the environment – but on public health.

          Image caption Historic landfill sites buried underground are being exposed by coastal erosion

          One example can be found on Clinker Beach in East Tilbury, along the foreshore of the River Thames in Essex, where a layer of old clothes and plastics hangs out of a muddy bank. The spot has become a popular spot for treasure hunters.

          “You see people rummaging through it, picking up bits of material and taking them home. Certainly I wouldn’t touch any of this without gloves,” says Kate.

          “Here on the floor you can see these little black cylinders – they’re the cells from inside old batteries and we know that batteries used to contain lead and mercury. We’ve analysed the waste and it contains pretty much all the nasty chemicals that you can think of at concentrations that would be predicted to cause significant ecological harm.”

          She says it would cost billions of pounds to clean up all the sites so it is important to identify which pose the biggest threat.

          “We need to come up with some suitable management scenarios. The ultimate responsibility either lies with the local authority or with the Environment Agency but I don’t think they have the resources to deal with it.”

          Image caption Barry Falgate, site manager at Dunbar landfill

          In 1990, the Environmental Protection Act set out a regime for regulating and licensing the disposal of controlled waste.

          One site in Dunbar, on the east coast of Scotland, handles 5,000 tonnes of waste every week from Edinburgh, which is around 30 miles away.

          “Before we put any waste in, we put in a metre of engineered clay,” explains site manager Barry Falgate. “Then it’s lined with a heavy duty plastic, then gravel on top, which catches the water which comes from the waste as it degrades.

          “Then, when we’ve finished, we put plastic over the top and then we put soils on it. We have the aftercare of this site for at least 60 years, so we want to make sure that that waste is safe and we can control the waters and gases out of it. I was brought up around here so I care what we do.”

          The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs used to offer grants to local authorities to clean up contaminated land, via the Contaminated Land Capital Projects (CLCP) programme. This funding stream came to an end in March this year.

          Image caption Prof Kate Spencer says managing former landfill sites is essential

          In Amber Valley in Derbyshire battle lines are being drawn, where a developer wants to build 200 homes on a former landfill site.

          “My mum stopped growing vegetables because of what was under the ground here,” says campaigner Kellie Judson.

          “We used to get foul smells on my mum’s garden when I was a little girl – a TCP smell and an eggy smell.”

          Amber Valley Rugby Club now occupies the former landfill site – but they’ve been offered brand new facilities by the developer if they move.

          Underground testing has shown that remedial work could make the area safe, but Kellie and other residents are worried about an adjacent former landfill which contains known hazardous waste.

          “We’re concerned that contamination from the other site could potentially leach on to this one – that disturbing the ground in this area could pose a threat to people living locally,” she says.

          Image caption Kellie Judson is leading the campaign against 200 new homes near a hazardous landfill site

          The development has twice been turned down by the planning board of Amber Valley Borough Council and it goes before the planning inspectorate next month.

          Whether it goes ahead or not, little will be done to further risk assess the surrounding area unless something new emerges, because government guidelines don’t demand it.

          The deputy leader of the council, Trevor Ainsworth, supports the development plans.

          “There are things in the ground that, on the face of it, would be dangerous to human health. However I know it can be remediated and made safe. It is one of our policies that we regenerate land that has been used as tips – lots of houses now have been built safely on old tips,” he says.

          Image caption President of Amber Valley Rugby Club, Steve Evans, is backing the development, which includes plans for new pitches and changing rooms for the club

          A spokesman for Defra told the BBC: “Our revised Statutory Guidance means more resource can be directed to those sites most in need and allows local authorities to take a more stringent, risk-based approach when identifying and cleaning up contaminated land.”

          The Local Government Association said: “Councils take this issue very seriously and work closely with the Environment Agency, continuing to monitor sites long after they have closed.”


          File on 4: What Lies Beneath – The Legacy of Landfill is on BBC Radio 4, 20 June at 20:00 BST – catch up on BBC iPlayer Radio.

          Have you got something you want investigating? We want to hear from you. Tweet us or email fileon4@bbc.co.uk

          Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40308598

          What fathers do

          Some fathers do these things.

          Some fathers go to the Columbus Public Library used book sale in about 1980 and buy five big boxes of books on every topic. They place those books in a playroom and they result in a consistently relevant personal library for his kids. Every year they learn something new out of that room.

          Some fathers take their sons and daughters to Computer Express, a small computer shop, after taking you to Radio Shack and Sun TV and deciding the prices there are too high. Some fathers help you decide on an Atari 800XL with tape drive and they buy you River Raid to go with it.

          Some fathers buy you a modem and let you call BBSes all night.

          They take you to Boy Scouts and help you win the local Pinewood Derby. They drive you to Bell Labs where you learn UNIX and shell scripting.

          Some fathers sit with you and type in programs out of the back of ANTIC Magazine.

          They convince the family it wants a dog and picks a special breed, a Kerry Blue Terrier, because it doesnt shed.

          They get drunk at the Sheraton hotel bar happy hour and fall out of the car and turn you off alcohol until late in college. Thats when you really find you have a taste for it.

          Some fathers help you with your science fair projects and explore wind power with you by making balsa wood models of various generators.

          Some fathers give you phone wire, broken stereos, and a soldering iron and tell you to experiment. You do. Some fathers have a garage full of tools and show you how to cut wood and fix brakes and listen to NPR on a broken radio.

          Some fathers buy you a Packard Bell 286 and help you learn programming.

          Some fathers leave a basket of vinyl in the basement and in it you find Dylan, the Stones, and Janis Joplin, thereby making you the least pop-culturally-aware high schooler in Columbus.

          Some fathers work for 40 years at the same boring job to pay for a house and food.

          Some fathers take you to Europe and show you the magic of travel. They buy you Mad Magazine in German.

          They take you to Mad Magazines offices in Manhattan where you meet Dick DiBartolo, Nick Meglin, and Bill Gaines. That could inspire you to be a writer.

          They marvel at your new novel, The Tale of the White Worm, you write when youre twelve. They edit your school essays and, one night, they write an entire research paper about The Crucible for you because youre sick.

          Some fathers drive you from college to college looking for the right one. Then some fathers come drive you back from the right college every summer because you dont have a car.

          Some fathers help you sell your car when you move to Poland for work.

          Some fathers come to your wedding in Warsaw.

          They Skype you almost every day, leaving cryptic messages and posting links from Craigslist. Some fathers listen to Rush Limbaugh all day because hes a pleasant distraction.

          Some fathers drive twelve hours to visit you in Brooklyn.

          Some fathers get grumpy.

          Some fathers still make you laugh.

          Some fathers get lung cancer.

          Some fathers make you scared.

          Their failing health encourages you to run again and quit drinking because watching a man who looks so much like you get sick is frightening. But it also encourages you to reconnect with him.

          I know: Some fathers beat you. Some fathers leave you. Some fathers die early. Some fathers are cruel. Some fathers die inside.

          But some of us get lucky.

          Some fathers are great. Some fathers are kind. Some fathers educate, expand, and elucidate. Some fathers give all.

          Some of us get lucky.

          Happy Fathers Day.

          Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/18/what-fathers-do/