Today's Intel

Sep. 14, 2017

BLOOMBERG

The U.S. government banned all use of Kaspersky Lab Inc. software in federal information systems, citing concerns about the Moscow-based security firm's links to the Russian government and espionage efforts.

The last time Vladimir Putin sent thousands of troops into Belarus to defend against an imaginary invasion from the west, a real war erupted on Russia's periphery within months -- in Ukraine in 2014. So the latest iteration of the week-long Zapad, or West, bilateral war game, which kicked off Thursday, is alarming officials across Europe, particularly now that Russia is in the middle of a historic arms buildup and its relations with the U.S.-led NATO military alliance are the tensest since the height of the Cold War.

Russian security services believe Islamic State is behind a wave of hoax bomb threats that have forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from government buildings, shopping malls and airports across the country.

Nearly 100,000 people have been evacuated from airports, schools and government buildings across Russia, including an iconic department store on Red Square, amid a wave of fake bomb threats that officials called unprecedented. "There's never been anything like this before, it's 100 percent organized telephone terrorism."

The U.S. is investigating lenders for allegedly pressuring veterans and members of the military into unneeded mortgage refinances -- unsavory conduct that not only leads to higher consumer costs but has consequences for one of the world's largest bond markets.

Ten months after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari declared a victory over Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group is stepping up attacks in the far northeast of the country. Boko Haram militants deployed at least 80 children as "human bombs" this year.

Halimah Yacob, 63, will become Singapore's first female president when she is sworn in Thursday as the city's eighth head of state. She was named president-elect as the only eligible candidate this week, after two others were disqualified in an election reserved for minority ethnic Malay candidates.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds his 10th summit with India's leader Narendra Modi on Thursday, underscoring the importance of strategic ties between the countries as the two face an increasingly assertive China. Supplying submarine technology would lock Japan and India into an even tighter defense relationship for years to come.

Japan's effort to rein in soaring health-care costs threatens to become a source of tension in economic relations with the U.S. after running into opposition from the American pharmaceutical industry.

North Korea threatened to use a nuclear weapon against Japan and turn the U.S. into "ashes and darkness" for agreeing on fresh United Nations sanctions this week -- rhetoric that is likely to exacerbate tensions in North Asia.

AP Top Stories

The death toll from Hurricane Irma in the United States continued to climb Thursday, with at least 31 dead across three states.

The United Nations appealed on Thursday for massive help for nearly 400,000 Muslims from Myanmar who have fled to Bangladesh, with concern growing that the number could keep rising, unless Myanmar ends what critics denounce as "ethnic cleansing".

The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday awarded Boeing a contract worth just less than $600 million to begin the preliminary design of the next Air Force One planes.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R.-Calif., called Wednesday for tough new sanctions on Chinese banks that do business with North Korea. Royce also said the Stalinist regime in Pyongyang has been losing its totalitarian grip on a population increasingly getting information from short-wave radio and contraband South Korean movies.

One student is dead and three others are injured after a shooting at Freeman High School in Rockford, Washington, on Wednesday morning.

Former President Obama announced in a video Wednesday morning that civic leaders from around the world will meet next month in Chicago for the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit.

NASA scientists are preparing to kill off the Cassini space probe with a spectacular 70,000mph suicidal dive into Saturn's atmosphere on Friday.

BBC

At least 50 people have been killed in two attacks in southern Iraq, health officials say.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has devised a "rabbit plan" to counter the economic war he says is being waged against his government by "imperialist forces". The president urged crisis-hit Venezuelans to breed rabbits and eat them as a source of animal protein.

Lucia Topolansky, senator and wife of ex-President Jose Mujica, has become Uruguay's first female vice-president. A former left-wing guerrilla like her husband, she escaped prison, spent 13 years in jail, and survived torture.

At least 23 students and teachers have died in a fire at a religious school in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The trial of two teachers on terror-related charges has opened in Turkey - marked by the absence of the accused. They have been on hunger strike for six months in protest at their dismissal from their jobs. Authorities prevented them from appearing in court, saying they could attempt to escape. But supporters said the government did not want them to be seen in their emaciated state.

WND

An independent investigation of a mosque in New Hampshire's capital city that found evidence of "extremist" teaching has prompted counter-charges of bigotry and "Islamophobia" from the police chief and city council members.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un has apparently been using old Google earth photos to "pinpoint" his targets.

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