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Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - The Palestinians are considering "all options" in response to Israel's decision to halt peace talks and punish the Palestinian Authority over its unity deal with Hamas, an official said Thursday. “The Palestinian leadership will look into all options to respond to Israeli government decisions against the PA,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erakat told AFP. “The priority now for the Palestinians is reconciliation and national unity,” he added. On Wednesday, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) -- internationally recognised as the sole representative of the Palestinian people -- and Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement.
By Jim Finkle BOSTON (Reuters) - The world's biggest technology companies are donating millions of dollars to fund improvements in open source programs like OpenSSL, the software whose "Heartbleed" bug has sent the computer industry into turmoil. Amazon.com Inc, Cisco Systems Inc, Facebook Inc, Google Inc, IBM, Intel Corp and Microsoft Corp are among a dozen companies that have agreed to be founding members of a group known as Core Infrastructure Initiative. Each will donate $300,000 to the venture, which is recruiting more backers among technology companies as well as the financial services sector. Other early supporters are Dell, Fujitsu Ltd NetApp Inc, Rackspace Hosting Inc and VMware Inc. The industry is stepping up after the group of developers who volunteer to maintain OpenSSL revealed that they received donations averaging about $2,000 a year to support the project, whose code is used to secure two-thirds of the world's websites and is incorporated into products from many of the world's most profitable technology companies.
New rules on "net neutrality" are expected to allow Internet providers to negotiate agreements with content providers on the delivery of traffic to users as long as the deals they strike are "commercially reasonable," U.S. telecoms regulators said on Thursday. In a blog post, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said the rules, which he intends to have in place by year-end, would not change the agency's "underlying goals of transparency." The rules, to be circulated to commission members on Thursday, will include "no unreasonable discrimination among users," Wheeler wrote.
By Jennifer Saba NEW YORK (Reuters) - AOL is making a push into China with its digital video studio Makers, which struck a partnership on Thursday with that country's privately held Sun Media Group. This is AOL's biggest effort in China since it was spun out from Time Warner Inc almost five years ago. China's Sun Media Group is helping Makers, which produces documentaries focused on women, select and produce content to be shown in China and abroad.
Ukrainian government troops moved against pro-Russia forces in the east of the country on Thursday and killed at least two of them in clashes at checkpoints manned by the insurgents, the government and insurgents said. Russian President Vladimir Putin decried what he described as a "punitive operation."
ANSAN, South Korea (AP) — Students in the city hit hardest by the South Korean ferry disaster returned to classes Thursday, their school campus a tragic landscape of yellow ribbons, chrysanthemums and photos of classmates and teachers who make up the vast majority of the more than 300 people feared dead.
By Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators are expected to vote on May 15 on a new set of so-called "net neutrality" rules aimed at making certain that broadband providers do not slow down or block consumers' access to legal Internet content. The rules from the Federal Communications Commission, which released its framework in February, are expected to ensure network operators disclose how they manage Internet traffic and do not block any content on the Web. The proposed rules are also expected to allow Internet providers to negotiate agreements with content providers on delivery of traffic to users as long as the deals they strike are "commercially reasonable," according to an FCC spokesman. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has also said he planned to review the practices adopted by Internet providers on a case-by-case basis.
By Jeremy Wagstaff SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The next hacker playground: the open seas - and the oil tankers and container vessels that ship 90 percent of the goods moved around the planet. Somali pirates help choose their targets by viewing navigational data online, prompting ships to either turn off their navigational devices, or fake the data so it looks like they're somewhere else; While data on the extent of the maritime industry's exposure to cyber crime is hard to come by, a study of the related energy sector by insurance brokers Willis this month found that the industry "may be sitting on an uninsured time bomb". Globally, it estimated that cyber attacks against oil and gas infrastructure will cost energy companies close to $1.9 billion by 2018.
By Keith Weir MUNICH (Reuters) - Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone goes on trial for bribery in Germany on Thursday in a case that could see the Briton's long dominance of the motor sport ended by a jail sentence. Prosecutors in Munich have charged Ecclestone, 83, with bribing jailed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to smooth the sale eight years ago of a stake in Formula One to private equity firm CVC. Ecclestone, a former used car salesman who became a billionaire by building the sport into a global money spinner over the past four decades, denies wrongdoing and says he will fight to clear his name. CVC remains the largest shareholder in Formula One, a business that generates annual revenues of over $1.5 billion from its series of grand prix races held around the world.
Part bumbling, part dead serious, the sprawling jailhouse plot to kidnap a North Carolina prosecutor who put a seasoned gang member in prison for life has shaken a US justice system already enduring a slew of deadly attacks. A federal indictment released Tuesday details a complex plot said to be orchestrated by Kelvin “Dizzy” Melton, a North Carolina prison inmate and alleged higher-up in the Bloods street gang, to pay $10,000 to a group of henchmen on the outside to kidnap and kill his defense attorney and the prosecutor who put him in prison for a 2011 murder. The plot led the group of nine accomplices first on a goose chase in March from Atlanta to New Orleans, and then to the small town of Wake Forest, N.C., where the group on April 5 grabbed Frank Janssen, the father of Wake County prosecutor Colleen Janssen, after stun-gunning him on the threshold of his home. Ms. Janssen, the actual target, was part of the team that put Mr. Melton away last year.
By Esteban Israel SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff praised the United States on Wednesday for its decision to ease control over the Internet and called for a more democratic, transparent network following the U.S. National Security Agency spying scandal. Rousseff spoke at a global conference that she convened on how to govern a safer, less U.S.-centered Internet after revelations that she and other world leaders had been spied upon by the NSA. Rousseff hailed President Barack Obama's decision to hand off control of ICANN, a California-based non-profit in charge of assigning Internet domains or addresses, to an international oversight body that has yet to be decided on. Revelations last year by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden that the United States spied on Internet users with secret programs prompted worldwide calls for reducing U.S. control of the network now connecting one-third of the world's population.
Netflix Inc on Wednesday announced its first original Spanish-language television series, a bid by the video-streaming company to attract subscribers in Latin America and Spanish speakers in the United States Netflix said the series, a 13-episode comedy about a family feud among the heirs to a soccer club, is slated to premiere in 2015 and will be shot in Mexico. The series, which is so far untitled, will be produced by Gaz Alazraki, the director of the popular 2013 Mexican comedy film "Nosotros los Nobles" ("We Are the Nobles"), and star Mexican actor Luis Gerardo Mendez. Netflix's venture into original programming, which includes political thriller "House of Cards" and comedy-drama "Orange Is the New Black," has earned the first Emmy Awards for an online-only company. Netflix is available in much of Latin America.
Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday confirmed they are detaining a U.S. journalist working with Vice News. The self-declared separatist mayor of Slaviansk told reporters the journalist, Simon Ostrovsky, had been detained for reporting what he said was false information that was "destabilizing for us" but that he was being treated well. Mayor Vyacheslav Ponomaryov attempted to joke about the situation. Vice News has said on its website that it is in contact with the U.S. State Department and other government authorities to work toward securing the safety of its journalist.
Amazon.com's streaming video service will offer some older shows from premium-cable channel HBO starting next month, a deal that intensifies both companies' competition with subscription-video service Netflix. This is the first time HBO, owned by Time Warner Inc, has licensed its award-winning programming to an online subscription streaming service, the companies said in a statement on Wednesday. HBO shows are not available through Netflix. Netflix shares fell 4.7 percent to $355.31 on Nasdaq.
By Chris Francescani NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York Police Department campaign to burnish its image via social media instead produced a flood of pictures of apparent police brutality and tweets critical of the force being shared at a rate of thousands an hour. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Wednesday he would continue and expand the NYPD Twitter campaign a day after it backfired, triggering an outpouring of negative images including police violence at New York's Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, an NYPD officer pointing a gun at a dog, and an officer asleep in a subway car. "Most of those photos that I looked at are old news," said Bratton, appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to take over from Ray Kelly, who served for 12 years under de Blasio's predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.
By Jim Finkle BOSTON (Reuters) - The FBI has warned healthcare providers their cybersecurity systems are lax compared to other sectors, making them vulnerable to attacks by hackers searching for Americans' personal medical records and health insurance data. Health data is far more valuable to hackers on the black market than credit card numbers because it tends to contain details that can be used to access bank accounts or obtain prescriptions for controlled substances. "The healthcare industry is not as resilient to cyber intrusions compared to the financial and retail sectors, therefore the possibility of increased cyber intrusions is likely," the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a private notice it has been distributing to healthcare providers, obtained by Reuters.
But for two special guests at Sukiyabashi Jiro on Wednesday evening, mouthfuls of melt-in-the-mouth tuna, squid, and octopus were the culinary backdrop to discussing urgent matters of regional security. Soon after Air Force One touched down here, Barack Obama found himself in Tokyo’s upmarket Ginza district, tucked behind the counter of arguably the world’s best sushi restaurant with his Japanese host, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Sukiyabashi Jiro’s modest size – it has just 10 seats – is inversely proportionate to its reputation. The 19-piece special course, featuring a selection chosen by owner Jiro Ono, costs around $300, not including drinks.