TIME New Zealand

Snowden: NSA Collected Data on New Zealand Citizens

Edward Snowden Julian Assange Kim Dotcom Moment of Truth
Hannah Peters—Getty Images Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Internet Party leader Laila Harre, Robert Amsterdam, Glenn Greenwald and Kim Dotcom discuss the revelations about New Zealand's mass surveillance at Auckland Town Hall in Auckland, New Zealand on Sept. 15, 2014.

New Zealand prime minister denies his government helped U.S. collect data on private citizens by gaining access to undersea cables

Documents released by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden purport to show U.S. and New Zealand officials have collected Internet data via underwater cables that connect New Zealand, Australia and North America.

The documents, reported by The Intercept and the Sydney Morning Herald, are said to show the program, called “Speargun,” had initially been implemented in 2012 or early 2013 by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) of New Zealand.

The GCSB was alleged to have gained covert access to a Trans-Pacific undersea cable network through which data is transmitted between Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii, to allow the NSA to harvest data.

Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key denies that the GCSB has participated in mass surveillance of citizens, though he reportedly would not discuss the existence of the program New Zealand reportedly used to conduct surveillance.

Snowden said in an interview with The Intercept website, which first reported the program’s existence, that the Prime Minister was fully aware of the program. “The Prime Minister’s claim to the public, that ‘there is no and there never has been any mass surveillance’, is false,” Snowden said. “The GCSB, whose operations he is responsible for, is directly involved in the untargeted, bulk interception and algorithmic analysis of private communications sent via internet, satellite, radio, and phone networks.”

[Sydney Morning Herald]

TIME 2014 Election

Planned Parenthood Pushes Back Against GOP on Birth Control Support

Pro-Choice Supporters Rally In DC Against Restrictive Abortion Laws
Mark Wilson—Getty Images Women hold up signs during a women's pro-choice rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 11, 2013.

The organization says the candidates are playing politics with women's health

Planned Parenthood is joining liberal groups in attacking Republican candidates who have recently come out in support of expanding access to over-the-counter contraceptives. Planned Parenthood Votes, the organization’s political action committee, launched ad buys in Colorado and North Carolina on Friday totaling nearly $1 million, targeting GOP Senate candidates Thom Tillis and Cory Garndner.

Both Tillis and Gardner are among Republican candidates who have recently said they believe contraception should be made more widely available. Planned Parenthood, however, is calling their stance a “last-ditch-political ploy” to attract women voters who polls show are wary of the GOP. The group says candidates want to turn “the pill into yet another bill” by shifting cost of contraceptives off of insurance companies and onto women.

“Women aren’t fooled,” Planned Parenthood Votes Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a statement. “They know that the politicians like Cory Gardner and Thom Tillis proposing to make birth control available over-the-counter are the same ones trying to get rid of insurance coverage for birth control, which would set women back economically to the tune of $600 a year out of pocket.”

The nearly $1 million buy includes about $500,000 worth of TV buys in North Carolina and over $400,000 worth of buys in Colorado. The ads are a part of Planned Parenthood’s Women are Watching campaign, which targets “anti-women’s health politicians.” Friday’s ads are Planned Parenthood Votes’ first buys of this election cycle.

Tillis and Gardner are both facing incumbent Democrats in the upcoming election. Though Tillis’ battle against Sen. Kay Hagan is considered a toss-up, recent polls show Gardner’s opponent Sen. Mark Udall ahead by over three points.

TIME celebrities

Shia LaBeouf Pleads Guilty to Disorderly Conduct

Actor Shia LaBeouf leaves Midtown Community Court after being arrested the previous day for yelling obscenities at the Broadway show "Cabaret," June 27, 2014, in New York.
John Minchillo—AP Actor Shia LaBeouf leaves Midtown Community Court after being arrested the previous day for yelling obscenities at the Broadway show "Cabaret," June 27, 2014, in New York.

The actor was arrested in June after interrupting a performance of Cabaret

Actor Shia LaBeouf pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct on Wednesday following the ruckus he created during a performance of Cabaret on Broadway in June .

LaBeouf has been ordered by the court to undergo three months of treatment. If all goes well and the 28-year-old actor does not get arrested again, the charges will be dismissed, ABC News reports. His charges reportedly included misdemeanor trespassing and other non-criminal violations including disorderly conduct.

According to the Associated Press, LaBeouf has been voluntarily undergoing treatment for alcoholism since the incident on June 24. That night, LaBeouf reportedly interrupted the performance and yelled obscenities as he was escorted out–one of several troubling incidents involving the Transformers star in 2014.

TIME Canada

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Diagnosed With Abdominal Tumor

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford pauses while participating in a mayoral debate in Toronto on July 15, 2014.
Darren Calabrese—AP Toronto Mayor Rob Ford pauses while participating in a mayoral debate in Toronto on July 15, 2014.

Doctors are not yet able to determine what type of tumor the Mayor has

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has an abdominal tumor, discovered after he was admitted to a hospital on Wednesday.

Ford entered Humber River Hospital’s Church Street facility in Toronto earlier in the day, complaining of abdominal pains, a problem that had plagued the politician for the last three months but had suddenly become “unbearable,” his brother, City Councillor Doug Ford said.

By Wednesday evening, doctors had given Ford a “working diagnosis of a tumor.

Councillor Ford said he could not comment on how the diagnosis will impact Mayor Ford’s campaign for reelection. Rob Ford is running for mayor despite having been in rehab earlier this year for problems with alcohol and drugs including crack-cocaine.

President and CEO of Humber River Hospital Dr. Rueben Devlin said during a press conference Wednesday that physicians won’t be able to determine exactly what type of tumor Ford has until they complete a biopsy. The full investigation into his condition is likely to wrap up by the end of the week, Devlin said.

A CT scan found that “it wasn’t a small tumor,” Devlin said. “But size is not as relevant as what it is.” The biopsy will determine if there are tumors anywhere else in Ford’s body.

Doug Ford said Wednesday that despite the diagnosis, his brother is in “good spirits.” Councillor Ford also asked for privacy until they know what the tumor is.


Baltimore Ravens Owner: ‘We All Failed’

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti on the field during a week three game between the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 22, 2013, at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
David Drapkin—AP Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti on the field during a game between the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 22, 2013, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore

Ravens team leaders spoke out for the first time since Rice was released from the team

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti continued his public contrition Wednesday when he said that team leadership had “failed” in their investigation into Ray Rice’s attack on then fiancée Janay Palmer.

“We all failed. I was kept abreast of every little thing that we were doing here,” Bisciotti told the Baltimore Sun.

Ravens leadership has claimed that the team followed league protocol when they decided to keep Rice on following a police report detailing the attack, which occurred in February. Rice was only cut from the team this week after a troubling video emerged of him punching his now wife unconscious.

Executives like Ravens president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome have insisted that no one from the team saw that video until it was released by TMZ on Monday. NFL leadership also claims it had not viewed the video prior to Monday, though an Associated Press report on Wednesday claimed to refute that claim. Sources told AP that someone within the organization had seen the video in April.

On Wednesday, Bisciotti called the video “disgusting” and “shocking.”

“There’s a big difference between reading a report that says he knocked her unconscious or being told that someone had slapped someone and that she had hit her head. That is one version of the facts. That’s what we understood to be the case,” Cass told the Sun. “When you see the video, it just looks very different than what we understood the facts to be.”

[Baltimore Sun]

TIME justice

Ferguson Protesters Attempt to Shut Down Highway

Ferguson City Council Holds First Meeting Since Police Shooting Death Of Michael Brown
Scott Olson—Getty Images Residents shout out during the Ferguson city-council meeting on Sept. 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.

Some demonstrators appear to have been arrested by police while attempting to march near I-70 entrance ramp in the St. Louis suburb

Protesters in Ferguson, Mo., attempting to shut down a local highway on Wednesday were reportedly blocked by a phalanx of police officers, in a confrontation that risked turning violent.

The demonstration was planned as an effort to get Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to appoint a special prosecutor in the case against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot dead unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown last month.

Local reports indicate that protesters were planning to shut down a part of Interstate 70, but were stymied by the large police presence. News station KMOV reports the Missouri Highway Patrol warned protesters, “Attempting to block an interstate highway is unsafe and unacceptable.” Live streams of the protest showed several demonstrators being arrested.

The protest comes just one day after the Ferguson city council held its first meeting since Brown’s shooting. According to CNN, the meeting was met with protests and calls for justice for the dead teenager. One of the agenda items was reportedly to consider creating a citizen-review board that would work directly with local police.


FCC Chair: Redskins Name ‘Offensive and Derogatory’

Cleveland Browns v Washington Redskins
TJ Root—Getty Images A Washington Redskins helmet sits on the grass during a preseason football game between the Redskins and Cleveland Browns at FedExField on August 18, 2014 in Landover, Maryland.

But Tom Wheeler says Washington football team's owner must decide to change name himself

Federal Communications Commission Chair Tom Wheeler condemned the Washington Redskins’ team name in a recent interview, but says he won’t use his power to push the team’s owner to change it.

“I don’t use the term personally and I think it is offensive and derogatory,” Wheeler said in an interview with Broadcasting and Cable News. “I am a Civil War buff and there were a lot of terms that were appropriate at that time that aren’t appropriate anymore.”

But Wheeler went on to say that it is up to team owner Dan Snyder to ultimately change the name himself. “I think it would be great if the Washington football team would recognize those kinds of changes itself,” Wheeler said. “I hope that this is something that if enough people express themselves, Dan Snyder can see which way things are going.”

Wheeler isn’t the first FCC official to speak out against the Washington football team’s name. Former Chair Reed Hundt has said the name could potentially violate FCC decency standards. In a 2013 letter, several former FCC officials urged Snyder to abandon the name.

Snyder has said several times he has no plans to change the team’s name or mascot. The team’s trademark was canceled because “redskins” is a dictionary defined racial slur, but the team has since appealed that decision.

[Broadcasting and Cable News]

TIME Congress

House Democrats Want ‘Transparency’ From NFL

Roger Goodell
David Goldman—AP NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference at the NFL's spring meeting in Atlanta on May 20, 2014.

Lawmakers say major sports leagues have a responsibility to “be at the forefront of handling" incidents of abuse

A dozen House Democrats sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday seeking more “transparency” surrounding its actions that followed the recent release of a video that depicted star running back Ray Rice hitting his wife.

“Given the important role the NFL and other major professional sports leagues can play in shaping public perceptions concerning domestic violence,” the 12 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee wrote. “It would appear to be in the public interest to have the highest level of transparency associated with reviews of potential misconduct.”

In an interview with CBS that aired Tuesday, Goodell insisted the NFL had requested to see the video of the former Baltimore Ravens running back knocking his then-fiancée unconscious in a casino elevator, but those requests weren’t granted. On Monday, TMZ released the video and Rice was subsequently released from the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

Lawmakers said the public is ill-informed about the specifics of the request including “how relevant law enforcement responded.” The members, including House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich), also want to know whether or not Rice’s attorney, any other NFL employees or consultants, or the casino staff had requested the video.

The letter comes as Congress commemorates the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, which provides assistance and protection to victims of domestic and relationship violence. The Democrats praised the NFL for recent changes to its policy for disciplining players who commit acts of domestic violence, but said professional leagues should “be at the forefront of handling” incidents of abuse.


Miley Cyrus Is Now a Visual Artist, Too

Her debut collection, aptly titled "Dirty Hippie," was presented at New York Fashion Week during designer Jeremy Scott's show

Miley Cyrus never ceases to amaze. On Wednesday, the 21-year-old pop star debuted her newest artistic venture: an art collection, aptly titled “Dirty Hippie,” as a part of avant-garde designer Jeremy Scott’s New York Fashion Week Show. Models in Scott’s show reportedly wore some of the pieces, which will also be on display at V Magazine‘s New York offices starting on Sept. 11. Details of the collection were also presented in V, whose cover Cyrus graces this month.

The collection features a five-foot-bong, a vibrator with a joint attached to it, and a party hat the singer told V she saw and thought “it might be fun to glue some sh-t onto it.” There is also a piece featuring a pineapple, because Cyrus says the fruits make “yummy c-m.” Sure!

Cyrus is not a formally trained artist, and though the pieces — which the singer has been teasing on her Instagram account — give off a high-DIY-project vibe (mainly because it was a high DIY project), Scott told V that’s what drew him to her work. As for Cyrus, the project was about exploring other artistic avenues so she doesn’t have to “die a pop pop dumb dumb.”

Cyrus’s main inspiration for her work was her fans and her tour, from which many of the pieces (including the vibrator with the joint attached to it) were derived. In the interview, Cyrus said her creations were like therapy, given the rough start she had to 2014.

“At the beginning of this year, I hated 2014 because everything that could go wrong kept going wrong. Being in the hospital, my dog dying…Everything just kept sh-itting on me and sh-tting on me. So then I started taking all of those sh-t things and making them good, and being like, I’m using it. My brother and my friends all said that’s what they felt I was doing. So, that’s how I started making art. I had a bunch of f-cking junk and sh-t, and so instead of letting it be junk and sh-t, I turned it into something that made me happy. “

Welp, so long as she’s happy.


TIME cybersecurity

Nearly 5 Million Google Passwords Leaked on Russian Site

Google Reports Quarterly Earnings
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images A sign is posted outside of Google headquarters on Jan. 30, 2014, in Mountain View, Calif.

The usernames and passwords of 4.93 million users were posted in a Russian Bitcoin security forum

Almost 5 million usernames and passwords purportedly for Google accounts were uploaded to a Russian online forum by hackers late Tuesday.

The International Business Times reports that data for 4.93 million Google accounts of English-, Spanish- and Russian-speaking users was leaked and published on a Russian-language Bitcoin security online forum. The posters said about 60% of the accounts were active.

In a statement sent to TIME, Google said it had “no evidence that our systems have been compromised.”

“The security of our users’ information is a top priority for us,” the statement reads. The company said that whenever it is alerted that accounts may have been compromised, “we take steps to help those users secure their accounts.” Email users are encouraged to utilize two-step verification when logging into accounts, as well as to create strong passwords.

According to Russian news service RIA Novosti, this leak followed another large hack of Russian email accounts. Several million accounts of Russia-based email services were also posted in a Bitcoin security forum.

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