• Firm says phone apps spy on Hong Kong protesters

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    HONG KONG (AP) — The Chinese government might be using smartphone apps to spy on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, a U.S. security firm says. The applications are disguised as tools created by activists to protests, said the firm, Lacoon Mobile Security. The firm said that once downloaded, they give an outsider access to the phone's address book, call logs and other information. The identities of victims and details of the servers used "lead us to believe that the Chinese government are behind the attack," said a Lacoon statement. China is, along with the United States and Russia, regarded as a leader in cyber warfare research. Security experts say China is a leading source of hacking attacks aimed at foreign gov

  • Firm says phone app spies on Hong Kong protesters

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    HONG KONG (AP) — A U.S. security firm says the Chinese government might be using a smartphone app to spy on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The firm, Lacoon Mobile Security, says activists have received a link to the application that says it was created by a protest group. The firm said once downloaded, the software gives an outsider access to the phone's address book, call logs and other information. Lacoon said the technical details of the application "lead us to believe that the Chinese government are behind the attack." China is, along with the United States and Russia, regarded as a leader in cyber warfare research. Security firms say they have traced an array of hacking efforts aimed at foreign government

  • Iraq considering Australian airstrike request

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Iraq's ambassador to Australia on Thursday gave no timetable for when his government might decide on Australia's request to launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets. Australia has six F/A-18F Super Hornet jet fighters waiting on standby in the United Arab Emirates for final authorization to begin combat missions with the U.S.-led coalition. "We are seriously considering the request from Australia," Ambassador Mouayed Saleh told The Associated Press. He said a decision could be made Thursday, the last working day before Independence Day and a weeklong holiday. But it might not be made until after the holiday, he said. Australia's Cabinet was waiting for the Iraqi response before

  • Iraqi Kurds fight Islamic State with aged weapons

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    MAHMOUDIYAH, Iraq (AP) — The exhausted Kurdish fighters leaned against a pair of antiquated green cannons on a hill overlooking this northern Iraqi village, the ground around them littered with shrapnel from fierce battles with Islamic State militants. One of them, Moustafa Saleh, tapped the cannon with his mud-caked boots. "Russian-made," he said, with a smirk. "My grandfather used the same one." Iraqi Kurdish fighters on the front lines of battle say they have yet to receive the heavy weapons and training pledged by the United States and nearly a dozen other countries to help them push back the Sunni militants. U.S.

  • Facebook apologizes to drag queens for name policy

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is apologizing to drag queens and the transgender community for deleting accounts that used drag names like Lil Miss Hot Mess rather than legal names such as Bob Smith. The world's biggest online social network caught heat recently when it deleted several hundred accounts belonging to self-described drag queens, other performers and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Facebook has long required its users to go by their "real names" on the site for security purposes, to stand out from other social networks and so it can better target advertising to people. Now, the company says the spirit of its policy doesn't mean a person's legal name but "the authentic name they use in real

  • US appeals court OKs evidence from no-warrant GPS

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday ruled that prosecutors can use evidence gathered after a GPS device was put on a suspect's van without a warrant. The decision is a blow to three Philadelphia brothers charged in a series of pharmacy robberies, and for civil rights lawyers concerned about the reach of police power in the technological age. "It's disappointing that today's decision lets law enforcement agents off the hook in a broader range of circumstances," said Catherine Crump, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley who argued the case in May for the American Civil Liberties Union. The U.S.

  • Connecticut lawmakers mull drone regulations

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut lawmakers say they are weighing public safety benefits against privacy rights as they take another stab at drafting regulations for drones. The Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee on Wednesday heard a staff report on how other states and the federal government are dealing with unmanned aircraft. There is a public hearing on potential drone regulations on Oct. 8, and the panel expects to present recommendations to the legislature in December. Drones equipped with cameras and other equipment can be used for the public good in helping emergency responders find fleeing criminals and injured victims, but they also can be used for nefarious purposes such as recording people w

  • Review: Pay by phone or just keep using plastic?

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — PayPal, Apple and others are betting on billions in mobile payments. But so far, trying to use my phone to pay at restaurants and retailers has been frustrating. It's easier just to pull out my plastic credit card than to figure out which card works with which app and which app works with which store. In theory, mobile-payment services such as Google Wallet are easy to use. You simply download an app and enter your card information. With Apple Pay, you can even snap a picture of the card or use the one you already use with Apple's iTunes. Then, when you're ready to pay, you typically hold your phone near the store's payment terminal.

  • Hong Kong protesters threaten to occupy buildings

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    HONG KONG (AP) — Raising the stakes in their standoff with the authorities, Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters threatened to occupy key government buildings unless the territory's top official resigns by the end of the day Thursday. The Chinese government, meanwhile, appeared to be losing patience. An editorial solemnly read Wednesday on state TV said all Hong Kong residents should support authorities in their efforts to "deploy police enforcement decisively" and "restore the social order in Hong Kong as soon as possible." And the Communist Party-run People's Daily warned of "unimaginable consequences" if the protests persist.

  • UN says Syria vaccine deaths was an NGO 'mistake'

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The recent deaths of Syrian children after receiving measles vaccinations was the result of a "mistake" by a non-governmental partner who mixed in a muscle relaxant meant for anesthesia, a spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general said Wednesday. But Stephane Dujarric told reporters the incident has nothing to do with the quality of humanitarian aid now going through U.N. channels into Syria. A physician who administered the vaccinations in rebel-held parts of northwestern Syria told The Associated Press in mid-September that at least 15 children, some of them just babies, died. The physician, Abdullah Ajaj, said the children exhibited signs of "severe allergic shock," with many suffocating to death as

  • NYC launches website for tech businesses

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — New York City is unveiling a website it hopes will be one-stop-shopping for Internet start-up companies and potential employees. Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled the Digital.NYC website Wednesday in Brooklyn. The site was created in a public-private partnership. De Blasio said it will "help turn ideas into business." It will include resources for start-ups to find funding. Job-seekers get a chance to check employment listings. The idea began under de Blasio's predecessor, Michael Bloomberg. Both mayors repeatedly have said that the city aims to rival Silicon Valley as a home for Internet and technology companies. The launch came weeks after the city began distributing .nyc Internet domai

  • Palestinians: Israeli occupation must end in 2016

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Palestinians are asking the U.N. Security Council to set a deadline of November 2016 for an Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 including East Jerusalem in a new push to achieve independence. The circulation of the draft resolution to council members follows Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' announcement to the U.N. General Assembly last Friday that he would ask the council to set a deadline for a pullout and dictate the ground rules for any talks with Israel.

  • East Jerusalem construction plan moves ahead

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — City officials said Wednesday that they have granted final approval for the construction of a controversial new Israeli housing development in east Jerusalem, dealing a new blow to already tattered relations with the Palestinians and raising the likelihood of a fresh round of international condemnations. The announcement was circulated by an anti-settlement watchdog group as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was meeting President Barack Obama at the White House, though officials said the decision was taken two weeks ago. The U.S. has repeatedly criticized Israeli construction in east Jerusalem.

  • France ups military deployment against IS group

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — France is deploying an anti-aircraft frigate and more fighter jets in the Persian Gulf region to boost its ability to carry out airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq. The Defense Ministry said Wednesday that three Rafale jets will shortly join six others already based at a French air base outside Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. It said French military liaison officers will also join allied command structures in the region. Acting on a request from Iraqi authorities, France has conducted two sets of airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq since Sept. 19 — the first foreign country to join the United States in conducting such strikes in Iraq. France is not participating in U

  • US Navy says crew member missing in Persian Gulf

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are conducting a search and rescue operation for a missing aircrew member who ejected over the Persian Gulf. A statement from the U.S. Navy says two crewmen bailed out of a Marine Corps aircraft on Wednesday when it lost power on takeoff from the USS Makin Island. The pilot of the MV-22 Osprey was able to regain control and land safely aboard the ship. The Navy says the other crewman who bailed out was rescued and is in stable condition. Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. The Makin Island is currently on a scheduled deployment supporting military operations against the Islamic State extremist group in Iraq and Syria.

  • Syria blasts at school kill 32, including 10 kids

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Twin bombings near an elementary school in Syria killed at least 32 people on Wednesday, including at least 10 children, with the second blast going off as screaming parents frantically searched for their sons and daughters in a street littered with school bags and body parts. Syrian children are frequently among the victims of attacks in the country's civil war, but on Wednesday they appear to have been the target. The first vehicle exploded as children were leaving school, and the second struck as adults carried away bodies, sending a new wave of panic through the crowd.

  • British warplanes destroy IS targets in Iraq

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    LIMASSOL, Cyprus (AP) — British Royal Air Force warplanes flying out of a UK air base on Cyprus have destroyed four Islamic State group targets in Iraq over the last two days, the base commander said Wednesday. RAF Akrotiri station commander, Group Captain Chaz Kennett said that two Tornado GR4 aircraft used bombs and precision missiles to destroy a "heavy weapon position" and an armed pick-up truck. They were supporting Kurdish troops under attack Tuesday from the extremist group in northwest Iraq. In the second strike early Wednesday, a pair of Tornado planes fired four missiles to destroy two Islamic State group vehicles, including an armed pick-up truck. They were assisting Iraqi government troops west of the capital Ba

  • Baghdad car bomb kills 15

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — A car bomb near pet and vegetable markets in Baghdad killed 15 people and wounded another 40 on Wednesday, Iraqi security and medical officials said. Several cars were damaged in the attack. Hours earlier, a suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden car into a police checkpoint on a highway just south of Baghdad, killing four civilians and three policemen, a police officer and a medical official said. They said 24 people were wounded in the explosion. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with reporters. The United Nations said Wednesday that at least 1,119 Iraqis died in violence in September. But the real number was likely much higher since the U.N.

  • Saudi overhaul reshapes Islam's holiest city Mecca

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) — As a child, Osama al-Bar would walk from his home past Islam's holiest site, the Kaaba, to the market of spice and fabric merchants where his father owned a store. At that time, Mecca was so small, pilgrims could sit at the cube-shaped Kaaba and look out at the serene desert mountains where the Prophet Muhammad once walked. Now the market and the homes are gone. Monumental luxury hotel towers crowd around the Grand Mosque where the Kaaba is located, dwarfing it. Steep rocky hills overlooking the mosque have been leveled and are now covered with cranes building more towers in row after row. "My father and all the people who lived in Mecca wouldn't recognize it," said al-Bar, who is now Mecca's mayo

  • New York Times cutting 100 jobs, NYT Opinion app

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Times Co. is launching another round of buyouts and layoffs, telling staff on Wednesday that it must cut 100 newsroom jobs to further reduce costs and focus resources on its digital operations. It's also axing its NYT Opinion app after four months and relegating the NYT Now app to a smartphone-only product aimed at new and younger readers, after the lower-priced subscription products failed to take off as hoped. The planned cuts represent about 7.5 percent of a total current newsroom staff of 1,330. Buyouts will be offered to an undisclosed number of senior managers in the print, digital and advertising divisions, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and CEO Mark Thompson said in a morning m