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Cyber-Security Breach at U.S. Government Agencies; Russian Anti-Virus Software Suspected 

Hackers. Russian government hackers used an antivirus software made by a Russian company, Kaspersky Lab, to search computers around the world for the code names of American intelligence programs. People at nearly two dozen American government agencies including the State Department, Justice Department and Treasury Department were among the software’s 400 million users. Those agencies are under an order to remove the Kaspersky software. The Russian operation stole classified documents from a National Security Agency employee who had improperly stored them on his home computer. Israeli intelligence uncovered the breach and alerted the United States.

Travel ban. The Supreme Court dismissed a major challenge to Trump’s travel ban on majority-Muslim countries because it has been replaced with a new version. The Trump administration asked the court to drop the case after Trump signed an order Sept. 24 that replaced the temporary travel ban on six countries with an indefinite ban affecting eight. Two federal appeals courts struck down major portions of the ban. The challengers have renewed their lawsuits in the lower courts. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented. She would have dismissed the case in a way that would have preserved the appeals court ruling against the ban.

Fires. At least 17 are dead in out-of-control wildfires in California. In Sonoma County alone, officials had more than 180 reports of missing people. “I fully expect this will be the worst fire disaster in California history,” said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.). Thousands of firefighters from California and Nevada struggled to build containment lines. As many as seven blazes started almost simultaneously Sunday night. The wind was gusting up to 70 mph. As of Wednesday at 9 a.m. (EDT), there were 11 deaths reported in Sonoma County, two in Napa County, three in Mendocino County and one in Yuba County. Firefighting efforts are focused on the southern ends of the fires because the north winds, known as Diablo winds, are likely to blow the flames in that direction. A team of law enforcement officers has been put together to find and excavate human remains. “People were waking from a dead sleep and running for their lives with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” said Janet Upton, deputy director of Cal Fire.

Football. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants players to stand for the national anthem. Goodell’s letter was sent two days after Trump supporter Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys’ owner, said he would bench players who “disrespect the flag.” NFL teams, as private businesses, can limit what employees say or do while working. The collective bargaining agreement requires that rules can’t be changed after training camp.

October 11, 2017