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In our news wrap Thursday, The New York Times reported Chinese hackers accessed the Office of Personnel Management system, focusing on applications for top-secret clearances. In Beijing, a foreign ministry spokesman called the reports “irresponsible.” Meanwhile, the Pakistani military claimed major progress in a bid to drive militant fighters out of their stronghold near the Afghan border.
New allegations emerged today of Chinese cyber-hacking into U.S. government personnel files. The New York Times reported hackers accessed the Office of Personnel Management's online system, focusing on applications for top-secret clearances.
In Beijing, a Foreign Ministry spokesman called the reports irresponsible.
HONG LEI, Spokesman, Chinese Foreign Ministry (through interpreter):
We have consistently stressed that China resolutely opposes Internet hacking. On this issue, China does what it says. Some of the American media and cyber-security firms are making constant efforts to smear China and create the so-called China cyber-threat.
The allegations came as Secretary of State John Kerry was visiting China. He said there's no indication the hackers obtained any sensitive material. From China, Kerry flew on to Afghanistan to try to resolve that country's disputed presidential election.
The Federal Trade Commission sued Web retailer Amazon today for letting kids run up millions of dollars in charges without their parents' permission. The charges usually involve mobile apps, like games. The FTC wants Amazon to refund any money spent without parental approval on its Kindle devices.
A 4-year-old Mississippi girl who once appeared to be cured of the AIDS virus is no longer in remission. Her case had initially raised hopes for babies born to mothers with HIV. But federal health officials said today that new tests found signs of the virus in the child last week, after two years of clean results.
In Iraq, the rift between Kurds and Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki deepened today. Kurdish ministers announced they will boycott weekly cabinet meetings after Maliki accused them of harboring Sunni militants who've captured Iraqi territory.
ROZ NOURI SHAWEZ, Deputy Prime Minister, Iraq (through interpreter):
We declare that we will not take part in the upcoming cabinet sessions to show our protest, and we cannot endure any more such behavior, statements and stances.
The Kurds have infuriated Maliki by seizing Kirkuk and its oil reserves and moving toward a referendum on independence from Iraq.
The Pakistani military claimed major progress today in a bid to drive militant fighters out of a longtime stronghold. Army leaders said their forces now control 80 percent of Miranshah, the largest town in North Waziristan. The news came as Pakistani intelligence reported that a U.S. drone strike killed six militants in the same region.
A financial scare at a major bank in Portugal sent European markets down today, and Wall Street followed. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 70 points to close at 16,915; the Nasdaq fell more than 22 points to close at 4,396; and the S&P 500 dropped eight to 1,964.
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