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News Wrap: Hackers break into federal personnel office

In our news wrap Thursday, suspected Chinese hackers reportedly broke into the Interior Department as well as the office that handles security clearances. Data for 4 million people may have been compromised. Also, at least 150 people were killed in Accra when a gas station exploded. Flames spread to fuel that had spilled into flood water. In addition, others are said to have drowned.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    There’s word this evening of an extensive new government data breach.

    It’s widely reported that suspected Chinese hackers broke into the Interior Department and the Office of Personnel Management, which handles security clearances. OPM says data for four million people may be compromised.

    Meanwhile, The New York Times and ProPublica report that the National Security Agency expanded its Internet spying in 2012 to cover foreign cyber-attacks. The surveillance is not regulated by the USA Freedom Act just signed into law.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Floods and fire rocked the West African state of Ghana early today, killing at least 150 people. The victims were sheltering at a gas station in the capital city of Accra. It exploded when flames from a nearby fire reached fuel that spilled into the floodwaters. Cell phone footage showed fires burning out of control.

    Ghana’s president blamed the disaster partly on homes that blocked drainage systems and led to the flooding.

  • PRESIDENT JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA, Ghana:

    We will have to take some measures to be able to avoid this happening in the future. And, often, when these measures are drastic, you have a lot of sympathy and pressure not to take those measures. But I think that the time has come, you know, for us to remove houses out of water waste.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    In addition to those killed in the explosion, local accounts said many others drowned in the high water.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In China, recovery teams began work to right a cruise ship that capsized Monday on the Yangtze River. More than 200 divers have searched the ship, and recovered 77 bodies, including some pulled from holes cut into the hull. But more than 360 people are still missing.

  • XU CHENGGUANG, Chinese Ministry of Transportation spokesman (through interpreter):

    The reason why we have decided to upright the ship is that, first, we haven’t been able to find any more survivors after the recent rescue work, and, second, according to experts’ analysis, there is very slim hope of finding any survivors in the ship.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Communist Party leaders promised today there will be no cover-up in the disaster. But they also directed police to — quote — “safeguard social stability,” all of this as thousands in Hong Kong marked 26 years since government tanks and troops crushed protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. It is the only place in China where such vigils are allowed.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Back in this country, the family of a Boston man killed by police said reports that he’d become an Islamist radical are a complete shock. They called for a thorough investigation of his fatal shooting. Usaama Rahim had been under surveillance in a terror investigation. Police say they fired when he came at them with a knife.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Public tributes began in Delaware today for Beau Biden, the vice president’s eldest son. He died last weekend of brain cancer. The former state attorney general lay in honor in the Delaware Senate chamber.

    Vice President Biden and other family members attended a brief service and spent much of the afternoon greeting mourners. The funeral will be held Saturday.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Former Texas Governor Rick Perry today formally opened his second bid for the Republican presidential nomination. His first attempt collapsed in 2012 after a series of gaffes. Perry made his declaration at an airport hangar in Addison, Texas. Perry was flanked by former Navy SEALs as he declared the end of an era of failed leadership.

  • FORMER GOV. RICK PERRY, Republican Presidential Candidate:

    We don’t have to accept slow growth that leaves behind the middle class, that leaves millions of Americans out of work. We don’t have to settle for crumbling bureaucracies that target taxpayers and harm our veterans. We don’t have to resign ourselves to debt and decay and slow growth. We have the power to make things new again.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Also today, aides to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush confirmed he will formally announce his own presidential run June 15. And on the campaign trail, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton called for automatic voter registration for 18-year-olds, while denouncing Republican efforts to enact voter I.D. laws.

    The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to keep restrictions on travel to Cuba. Majority Republicans attached the provision to a transportation bill. It’s a direct rebuff to President Obama’s diplomatic opening to Havana, and the White House has threatened a veto, if the bill gets through the Senate.

    The government has concluded that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, doesn’t do widespread harm to drinking water. That’s in a draft report today from the Environmental Protection Agency. The study tracked water injected deep underground, in fracking, to open oil and gas deposits.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Doctors in Texas have performed the world’s first partial skull and scalp transplant. The recipient was Jim Boysen, a 55-year-old cancer patient from Austin. Radiation treatments had destroyed part of his skull, and he also needed a new kidney and pancreas because of diabetes.

    At a Houston hospital today, he said he opted for an experimental 15-hour operation to do everything at once.

  • JIM BOYSEN, Transplant Patient:

    I mean, I couldn’t get transplant surgery I needed for the organs without fixing my scalp, but I couldn’t fix my scalp because of the failure of the organs. So I was in a catch-22, like between a rock and a hard place. And so I said, sure, I’m open to that.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The operation was performed on May 22.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    And it was a long day on Wall Street. Stocks fell after Greece announced it won’t make a payment due tomorrow to the IMF and other creditors, this after days of talks that seemed to be headed to a resolution.

    The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 170 points to close back near 17900. The Nasdaq fell 40 points, and the S&P 500 was down 18.

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