Nothing ends the tech week with a bang like the president's much-anticipated words on the NSA. But let's start with the weekly roundup of tech news from here at NPR and our friends at publications around the country.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 3:12 pm
Tom Coburn will leave the Senate with a reputation as "Dr. No," but not necessarily as doctrinaire.
The Oklahoma Republican, who at age 65 is undergoing his fifth bout of cancer, announced that he will resign in December, two years before his second term expires.
"This decision isn't about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires," Coburn, a physician, said in a statement. "As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere."
The malicious computer program used against Target was revealed in a government report released yesterday.
Officials are calling the cyber attack operation “Kaptoxa,” a Russian word that comes from a piece of code in the malware. Investigators say the malware used in the recent breach was partly written in Russian, though it’s unclear whether the attack originated in Russia.
The civil war in Syria is a confusing mix of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, al-Qaida aligned fighters from the group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), and the regime’s army.
That’s especially true on Syria’s border with Turkey. The BBC’s James Reynolds reports from the border on that conflict.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:13 pm
In a period of just over two years, Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests for molesting children, according to the AP, which says it obtained a document representing a rare collection of such data.
As of Friday afternoon, NPR hasn't independently confirmed the AP's information, not having seen the document. Here's a bit of context from NPR's Sylvia Poggioli in Rome:
"If confirmed, the number of nearly 400 marks a sharp increase over the 170 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of defrocked priests.
President Obama delivered the following speech on reforms to National Security Agency Programs Jan. 17 at the Justice Department in Washington.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you so much, please have a seat.
At the dawn of our Republic, a small, secret surveillance committee, born out of the Sons of Liberty, was established in Boston. And the group's members included Paul Revere. At night, they would patrol the streets, reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America's early patriots.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:17 pm
From the outside, it's nothing special. Just another 1970s-era house with a landscaped yard, white columns, and green shutters. Thousands of people drive past the split-level on Wade Avenue in Raleigh every month, without a second glance.
And that's just what its owners intended — because this house is far more unusual than its appearance would suggest.
Gen. Martin Dempsey on his 'sacred obligation' to the troops
On Morning Edition, NPR's Tom Bowman profiled Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Dempsey, as Tom reported, says the U.S. public, and even its leaders, know little about how military power can be used. The disconnect is most glaring when comes to this: What can the U.S. military achieve in places like Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria?
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 1:23 pm
The holiday season data breach at Target that hit more than 70 million consumers was part of a wide and highly skilled international hacking campaign that's "almost certainly" based in Russia. That's according to a report prepared for federal and private investigators by Dallas-based cybersecurity firm iSight Partners.
And the fraudsters are so skilled that sources say at least a handful of other retailers have been compromised.
"The intrusion operators displayed innovation and a high degree of skill," the iSight report says.
Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 10:17 am
If only dropping pants sizes were as easy as switching from Coke to Coke Zero.
Sure, you're cutting out empty calories when you ditch the sugar-sweetened drinks in favor of artificially sweetened ones. But there's a growing body of research that suggests this isn't really helping in the battle of the bulge.