Gold Selloff Resumes, SPX 500 Loses Steam at December High – DailyFX

Talking Points:

  • US Dollar Hits Five-Year High But Reversal Risk Remains
  • S&P 500 Stalling at December Top, May Turn Downward
  • Crude Oil Range-Bound Above $58, Gold Selloff Resumes

Can’t access the Dow Jones FXCM US Dollar Index? Try the USD basket on Mirror Trader. **

US DOLLAR TECHNICAL ANALYSIS – Prices edged past December’s swing top to establish a new five-year high. Near-term resistance is at 11577, the 38.2% Fibonacci expansion, with a break above that on a daily closing basis exposing the 50% level at 11648. Negative RSI divergence warns of ebbing upside momentum and hints a downturn may be brewing ahead. A push below the 11489-522 area marked by the December 8 top and the 23.6% Fib clears the way for a test of the 14.6% expansion at 11434.

Gold Selloff Resumes, SPX 500 Loses Steam at December High

Daily Chart – Created Using FXCM Marketscope

** The Dow Jones FXCM US Dollar Index and the Mirror Trader USD basket are not the same product.

S&P 500 TECHNICAL ANALYSIS – Prices are testing resistance in the 2067.90-79.60 area marked by the 38.2% Fibonacci expansion and the December 5 high. A daily close above this barrier exposes the 50% level at 2098.60. Negative RSI divergence warns of ebbing upside momentum however and hints a reversal lower may be in the cards. A move below the 23.6% Fib at 2029.80 targets the 14.6% expansion at 2006.40.

Gold Selloff Resumes, SPX 500 Loses Steam at December High

Daily Chart – Created Using FXCM Marketscope

GOLD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS – Prices resumed downward momentum, with sellers now aiming to challenge the 38.2% Fibonacci expansion at 1156.00. A break below this boundary on a daily closing basis exposes the 50% level at 1130.64. Alternatively, a reversal above the 23.6% Fib at 1187.39 targets the 14.6% expansion at 1206.74.

Gold Selloff Resumes, SPX 500 Loses Steam at December High

Daily Chart – Created Using FXCM Marketscope

CRUDE OIL TECHNICAL ANALYSIS – Prices are in consolidation mode above the $58.00/barrel figure. A break below the 23.6% Fibonacci expansion at 58.20 exposes the 38.2% level at 54.83. Alternatively, a bounce above the 23.6% Fib retracement at 63.94 targets the 38.2% threshold at 67.31.

Gold Selloff Resumes, SPX 500 Loses Steam at December High

Daily Chart – Created Using FXCM Marketscope

— Written by Ilya Spivak, Currency Strategist for DailyFX.com

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DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.
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North Korea Internet Partially Restored Following Outage – Voice of America

North Korea has regained partial Internet access, following a widespread outage that occurred days after the U.S. vowed to respond to a cyberattack on Sony that was blamed on Pyongyang.

The Korean Central News Agency and the Rodong Sinmun newspaper were back online Tuesday after earlier being inaccessible. It was unclear whether wider Internet service in the North has been restored to its previous levels.

The reason for the massive outage is not yet clear, but it comes just days after President Barack Obama warned the U.S. would retaliate against the North. A State Department spokeswoman, when asked about the situation, declined comment.

However, she did say the U.S. government is discussing a range of options in response to the Sony hacking, some of which, she said, will be “seen” and some that “may not be seen.”

Doug Madory, a spokesman for the U.S.-based Internet analysis firm Dyn Research, said the Internet problems in North Korea could be the result of an attack.

Earlier, North Korea had called on the United States to apologize for implicating Pyongyang in the hacking of Sony Pictures and threatened to fight back in a variety of ways, including cyberwarfare.

The National Defense Commission for Pyongyang said in state media late Sunday that the U.S. government was wrong to blame North Korea for the hacking. It also said the claims are groundless.

Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry said it does not have enough information to determine whether reports that North Korea used Chinese facilities to stage a cyberattack on Sony Pictures are true.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Monday China is “opposed to all forms of cyberattacks” and would not reach any conclusions without having “enough facts.”  

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However, Hua said China is opposed to attacks on a third party “through making use of the facilities of another country” and is ready to have a “dialogue with other countries.” 

The United States is in talks with China to possibly help block cyberattacks from Pyongyang.

Cyber theft

The request could be problematical because Washington has long said Chinese cyber theft has threatened U.S. defense secrets, hurt American companies’ competitiveness and cost American workers jobs.

President Barack Obama said the United States is reviewing whether to put North Korea back onto its lists of state sponsors of terrorism following the cyberattack on Sony Pictures, which U.S. officials blame on Pyongyang.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Nation, Obama said he did not consider the hack an act of war, but a very costly, very expensive example of cyber vandalism.

Japan is also condemning the recent hacking attack. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday Japan is maintaining close contact with Washington on the matter.

A member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, Democrat Brad Sherman of California, is calling on his colleagues to double the budget for Voice of America and Radio Free Asia’s Korean broadcasts, in response to what he calls “vandalism and threats of violence to suppress speech in the United States.” VOA and RFA broadcast 11 hours of news and information programming in Korean daily. Sherman says that should be increased to 24 hours per day.

National security issue

Suga said cyberattacks also pose a serious problem to the national security of Japan.  

“Regarding this case, our nation is coordinating closely with the United States and we support the measures taken by the United States in this regard. Cyberattacks are a serious problem related to the national security of our nation also, and we strongly criticize the hacking that took place,” Suga said.

North Korea denies it was responsible for hacking Sony Pictures’ computer network and posting embarrassing e-mails and other private data.  

The hackers call themselves the Guardians of Peace and warned there would be a “bitter fate” for anyone attending a public showing of the movie “The Interview,” a film in which the CIA hires two journalists to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Sony has canceled the scheduled December 25 release of the satirical comedy.

Launched a ‘counteraction’

On Sunday, North Korean state media reported the country’s Policy Department of the National Defense Commission issued a statement saying it is not aware of the country of residence of the hackers.

It said it has evidence the Obama administration was involved in the making of “The Interview” and warned that North Korea has already launched a “counteraction.”

Obama has criticized the film’s cancellation and warned such digital attacks are something the country will have to adapt to.

Pyongyang has said it can prove it was not involved in the attacks and has warned of “grave consequences” if Washington fails to accept the invitation for a joint investigation.

The United States has rejected the offer.

Sony Pictures chairman Michael Lynton told reporters Friday that the studio had no choice but to cancel the film’s release because American theaters were unwilling to show it.

Lynton did, however, tell interviewers that Sony did not give in to the hackers, and is trying to find some format for people to view the film, possibly through a video-on-demand service or over the Internet. 

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N.Y. mayor pleads for calm – Philly.com

Jonathan Lemire and Colleen Long, Associated Press

Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2014, 1:08 AM

NEW YORK – As the New York Police Department mourns two of its own, Mayor Bill de Blasio pleaded for a pause in protests and rancor amid a widening rift with those in a grieving force who accuse him of creating a climate of mistrust that contributed to the executions of two officers.

De Blasio called on Monday for a halt of political statements until after the funerals of the slain officers, an appeal to both sides in a roiling dispute centered on the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers.

“We are in a very difficult moment. Our focus has to be on these families,” de Blasio said at police headquarters. “I think it’s a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in all due time.”

De Blasio’s relations with the city’s police unions have tumbled to an extraordinary new low following Saturday’s shooting, an ambush the gunman claimed was retaliation for the police-involved deaths of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

In a display of defiance, dozens of police officers turned their backs to de Blasio at the hospital where the officers died, and union leaders said the mayor had “blood on his hands” for enabling the protesters who have swept the streets of New York this month since a grand jury declined to indict an officer in Garner’s chokehold death.

De Blasio, though he said he did not agree with the union leaders’ comments, largely tried to strike a unifying note in his first extensive question-and-answer session since the shooting. He said he was confident the city was “working toward a day where we can achieve greater harmony toward policing and community.”

Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were ambushed Saturday afternoon by a man who vowed in an Instagram post to put “wings on pigs.” The suspect, Ismaaiyl Brinsley was black; the slain officers were Asian and Hispanic.

De Blasio and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton met with the officers’ grieving families Monday. De Blasio said he would attend both funerals.

“There’s a lot of pain. It’s so hard to make sense of it – how one deeply troubled, violent individual could do this to these good families,” a somber de Blasio said. “And I think it’s a time for everyone to take stock that there are things that unite us, there are things that we hold dear as New Yorkers, as Americans.”

But the Rev. Al Sharpton, a close de Blasio ally, and other protest leaders said Monday that they would not heed the mayor’s call to suspend demonstrations.

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Key developments in case of 2 slain NYPD officers – MiamiHerald.com

New York police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were ambushed Saturday by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the final act in a rampage that began when he shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend at her home outside Baltimore, then made threatening posts online, including a vow to put “wings on pigs” and references to high-profile cases of white police officers killing unarmed black men. After shooting the officers, Brinsley ran into a subway station and committed suicide.

The killings have raised concerns and tempers in the already tense nationwide debate surrounding police conduct. Some key developments after the weekend shooting in New York:

ABOUT THE VICTIMS

Ramos, who celebrated his 40th birthday this month, joined the New York Police Department in 2012 after working as a school security officer. He was a lifelong Brooklyn resident, living in the Cypress Hills section where he grew up.

He was married with two sons: a 13-year-old who attends middle school in Brooklyn and another at Bowdoin College in Maine. The younger son, Jaden, posted on Facebook about how much Ramos meant to him.

“He was the best father I could ask for,” Jaden Ramos wrote. “It’s horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad.”

The 32-year-old Liu, whose family moved from China when he was a teenager, had been a member of the police force for seven years, after serving in the police auxiliary. He moved this year to a home in Brooklyn’s Gravesend section and got married two months ago.

Liu’s parents, from the city of Toishan in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, are limited in their English. A police sergeant who served as an interpreter for them said a lot of Chinese families want their children to become doctors and lawyers but Liu “came here and wanted to become a police officer.”

FUNERALS AND HELP FOR FAMILIES

A wake for Ramos will be held Friday at Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, Police Commissioner William Bratton said. Ramos’ family says he was deeply religious and heavily involved in the church. The funeral will be held there Saturday.

Liu’s family is traveling to the U.S. from China and will decide on arrangements after it arrives, Bratton said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder directed the Department of Justice to expedite death benefits to the officers’ families.

CALLS FOR RESTRAINT

New York’s governor, the city’s mayor and others called for restraint amid the heated rhetoric surrounding the shooting of the two officers.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called Monday for a pause in protests over police conduct. He faces a widening rift with those in a grieving police force who accuse him of creating a climate of mistrust that contributed to the killings of the officers. He called for “everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in all due time.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged calm through the holidays and respecting families’ grief. He told WNYC Radio that people are angry on both sides and that it’s time to lower the rhetoric, followed by “rational, sober conversation” to consider “systemic reform.”

ABOUT THE GUNMAN

Emerging details on Brinsley are clarifying a portrait of him as a mentally disturbed loner.

He was accused of firing a stolen gun into a car in an apartment complex parking lot in the Atlanta area in 2011 after a female acquaintance refused to let him inside. In a police report, the woman said she didn’t know him well but her sister was friends with him.

Officers wrote that Brinsley ran when he spotted patrol cars nearing the complex, setting off a foot chase that ended when one officer used a stun gun. Officers said Brinsley wouldn’t raise his right hand, keeping it near his waist after being told to put his hands in the air. Police later found a gun in a storm drain matching the bullet found in the car.

Daniel McCall, an attorney appointed to represent Brinsley, said his client took responsibility for damaging the car.

“Some people (appointed an attorney) are difficult to represent because they don’t trust you or don’t like the system,” McCall said. “He was not hard to represent in that sense at all.”

In one court document, Brinsley answered “yes” when asked whether he had been a “patient in a mental institution or under the care of a psychiatrist or psychologist.” McCall said he doesn’t remember any friends or relatives being involved in his client’s defense or noticing any psychiatric problems at the time.

A plea deal required Brinsley to complete a boot camp followed by five years’ probation. He failed to complete drug and alcohol or anger and violence evaluations or check in with probation officers.

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North Korea and the Sony hack: The war of words escalates – CNN

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • North Korea claims the U.S. government involved in making “The Interview”
  • It warns the United States of “counteraction” against its “citadels”
  • President Obama says the Sony hack was an act of “cybervandalism” not war
  • Sony has defended its actions, saying it had to pull the film as theaters backed out

(CNN) — The blame game over “The Interview” is intensifying.

At the heart of the widening controversy are North Korea’s role in the devastating cyberattack on Sony Pictures and the studio’s decision to pull the film amid threats against moviegoers.

The crisis has rippled out into international relations, business plans, Hollywood gossip and party politics.

The different sides kept up their sparring over the weekend, with President Barack Obama accusing North Korea of “cybervandalism” and Pyongyang claiming that the U.S. government was behind the making of the movie.

Here’s the lowdown on who’s saying what:

North Korea

‘The Interview’ showing in North Korea?

North Korea’s rage over the Seth Rogen film about a plot to assassinate its leader, Kim Jong Un, continues to boil.

After the FBI’s assertions that North Korea was responsible for a hack into Sony’s computer systems, Kim’s regime is still steadfastly denying involvement. On Saturday, it said the U.S. accusations were “an attempt to frame us for this crime” and suggested the two countries work together to investigate the hacking.

But by Sunday, it was making less conciliatory noises, offering the bizarre claim that it had “clear evidence that the U.S. administration was deeply involved in the making of such dishonest reactionary movie.”

North Korea also stepped up its threatening rhetoric, warning the United States that it is targeting its “citadels.”

“Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism,” the statement carried by North Korean state media said.

President Obama

The U.S. President told CNN on Sunday that the hack was “an act of cybervandalism that was very costly, very expensive” but that he doesn’t consider it an act of war.

Obama said in the interview that the United States is going review whether to put North Korea back on a list of states that sponsor terrorism.

The President had previously said at a news conference Friday that the United States will “respond proportionally” to the attack on Sony without giving specifics.

Obama has also chided Sony for its actions, saying he that thinks the studio made “a mistake” in pulling the movie and that he wished the company had called him first.

He expressed concerns to CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday about the broader implications of pulling “The Interview.”

“If we set a precedent in which a dictator in another country can disrupt through cyber, a company’s distribution chain or its products, and as a consequence we start censoring ourselves, that’s a problem,” Obama said.

Sony

Sony Entertainment Chief Executive Michael Lynton has defended the company’s actions, denying that the studio had “caved” by scrapping the planned release of “The Interview” in theaters.

He told CNN that Obama and the public “are mistaken as to what actually happened.”

In an interview with Fareed Zakaria that aired Sunday, he blamed movie theater companies that opted not to show the film, saying they forced Sony’s hand.

“We do not own movie theaters,” Lynton said. “We cannot determine whether or not a movie will be played in movie theaters.”

He also opened the door to a future release of the controversial comedy, saying the company is considering some sort of release on the Internet.

“We have always have had every desire to have the American public see this movie,” Lynton said.

In a statement released Sunday, the company said: “No decisions have been made. Sony is still exploring options for distribution.”

The hackers

On Saturday, the Guardians of Peace, the group of hackers who claim responsibility for the cyberattack on Sony, mocked the FBI in a new statement.

“The result of investigation by FBI is so excellent that you might have seen what we were doing with your own eye,” said the statement posted on the file-sharing website pastebin. “We congratulate you (sic) success. FBI is the BEST in the world. You will find the gift for FBI at the following address. Enjoy!”

The link provided in the message leads to a YouTube video titled “You Are An Idiot.”

The FBI investigation linked the malware, infrastructure and techniques used by the Guardians of Peace in the Sony hack to previous North Korean cyberattacks.

In its comments Sunday, North Korea said that “fighters for justice” including the Guardians of Peace “are sharpening bayonets not only in the U.S. mainland but in all other parts of the world.”

China

North Korea’s closest ally has so far been staying out of the fray.

But a senior Obama administration official told CNN on Saturday that United States has asked China for help battling North Korean hacking.

North Korea’s Internet traffic goes through China. Obama has said there’s no indication that North Korea “was acting in conjunction with another country.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke by phone with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday night, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its website Monday.

Wang stressed that China opposes all forms of cyberattacks and cyberterrorism, the statement said, omitting any mention of North Korea.

U.S. Republicans

McCain: North Korea hack is “warfare”

In Washington, Republican Sen. John McCain criticized Obama’s response to the Sony hacking.

He rejected Obama’s characterization of the North Korean hack as “an act of cybervandelism,” instead calling it “a new form of warfare” on CNN’s State of the Union.

The President does not understand that this is a manifestation of a new form of warfare when you destroy economies, when you are able to impose censorship,” McCain, a Republican from Arizona, said. “It’s more than vandalism. It’s a new form of warfare that we’re involved in and we need to react and we need to react vigorously.”

The Republican National Committee urged cinema chains to show the movie.

In a letter to their CEOs, RNC chairman Reince Priebus wrote: “As a sign of my commitment, if you agree to show this movie, I will send a note to the Republican Party’s millions of donors and supporters urging them to buy a ticket — not to support one movie or Hollywood, but to show North Korea we cannot be bullied into giving up our freedom.”

CNN’s Josh Levs contributed to this report.

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North Korean Internet Goes Dark; A US Government Attack 'Would Be Way Worse' – Businessweek

North Korea

North Korea’s limited access to the Internet was restored after being cut off for hours, days after the U.S. government accused the country of hacking into Sony Corp.’s files.

The connection, which can be patchy, was restored after a nearly 10-hour outage, Dyn Research said on Twitter today. Two state-run news websites were working as of 11:30 a.m. local time, including that of the Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun, which showed leader Kim Jong Un touring a catfish farm.

North Korea, which has four official networks connecting the country to the Internet — all of which route through China — began experiencing intermittent problems yesterday and today went completely dark, according to Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research in Hanover, New Hampshire.

“I don’t know that someone is launching a cyber-attack against North Korea, but this isn’t normal for them,” Madory said. “It is kind of out of the ordinary. This is not like anything I’ve seen before.”

U.S. President Barack Obama said last week that Sony Pictures Entertainment (CPEI:US) had suffered significant damage and vowed to respond. North Korea warned yesterday that any U.S. punishment over the hacking attack on would lead to a retaliation “thousands of times greater.” North Korea has said it doesn’t know the identity of the hackers — who call themselves “Guardians of Peace” — claiming responsibility for breaking into Sony’s computer network.

Sony Attack

The attack on Sony’s computers destroyed data, exposed Hollywood secrets and caused the studio to cancel the release of “The Interview,” a comedy about a fictional assassination of Kim Jong Un. The hackers rendered thousands of computers inoperable and forced Sony to take its entire computer network offline.

The outage probably isn’t a cut of a fiber-optic cable, which would be shown in an immediate loss of connectivity, and other possible explanations include a software meltdown on North Korea’s Web routers or denial-of-service hacking attacks, Madory said.

Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, told reporters in Washington today she can’t confirm reports of cyber-attacks on North Korea and won’t say what steps the U.S. may take in response to the Sony attack.

“We are considering a range of options in response,” Harf said at a State Department briefing. “Some will be seen. Some may not be seen.”

While North Korea has four networks connected to the Internet, the U.S. has more than 152,000 such networks, according to Dyn Research.

Flooding Servers

North Korea appears to be suffering from a relatively simple distributed denial-of-service attack that is causing temporary Internet outages, said Dan Holden, director of security research for Arbor Networks Inc., based in Burlington, Massachusetts.

Such attacks flood Internet servers with traffic to knock infrastructure offline. In North Korea’s case, the attack appears to be aimed at the country’s domain-name service system, preventing websites from being able to resolve Internet addresses, Holden said.

It’s unlikely the attack is being carried out by the U.S., as any hacker could probably spend $200 to do it, Holden said.

“If the U.S. government was going to do something, it would not be so blatant and it would be way worse,” he said. “This could just be someone in the U.S. who is ticked off because they’re unable to see the movie.”

Limited Impact

The small number of computers connecting North Korea to the Internet makes disabling them straightforward, said Jose Nazario, chief scientist at Invincea Inc., a Fairfax, Virginia-based security-software company.

“It’s actually pretty easy,” he said. “There are only a handful of hosts. It’s relatively easy to attack just those hosts or the pipes that are present there. There’s not that much bandwidth there. It’s very, very accessible to anyone who wanted to attack them.”

The impact of the outages will probably be limited, because so few people in North Korea have access to the Internet, and North Korea uses outposts in other countries to perform cyber-attacks, Nazario said.

“It may not interfere with any cyber-operations they have going on,” he said. “It’s probably more symbolic and patting yourself on the back to launch these kinds of attacks than to disrupt any of their cyber-activities.”

Preliminary Probe

China has started an investigation into a possible North Korean role in the Sony hacking following a request from the U.S. government, a person with direct knowledge of the matter has said. The foreign ministry will cooperate with other Chinese agencies including the Cyberspace Administration to conduct a preliminary investigation, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the probe hasn’t been made public.

“We have no new information regarding North Korea today,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan wrote in an e-mail today. “If in fact North Korea’s Internet has gone down, we’d refer you to that government for comment.”

North Korea’s Internet outage was earlier reported by the North Korea Tech blog.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jordan Robertson in Washington at [email protected]; Chris Strohm in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Stevenson at [email protected] Andy Sharp, Neil Western

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Bill de Blasio must still fix broken relationship with NYPD – New York Daily News

This was a day, another terrible day in the shadow of what happened to two of the city’s police officers on Saturday afternoon, when Bill de Blasio somehow managed to stand behind the NYPD, and its commissioner, as he spoke tragedy and loss and mourning and duty.

The mayor said so many good and right things on Monday, starting with his speech at a Police Athletic League luncheon, and did absolutely nothing to make things right between him and his own police force.

The candidate who ran behind his tale of two cities, and the straw man of racial divide, still seems to exist in a New York other than the one kept safe by his own cops. There is something in here about a self-fulfilling prophecy, because now de Blasio has created his own divide.

The mayor said the time for “debate” will come later, once we have buried Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu, heroes of their city. Fair enough. But you wondered what debate the mayor was referring to on this day.

Because there does not seem to be much debate about the fact that so many of those who serve and protect this city feel that even though no one forced de Blasio to choose up sides after a Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict a New York City cop after the death of Eric Garner, de Blasio did that anyway. And seemed more concerned about demonstrators than about his own cops.

All this time later, after weeks of demonstrations and so much anti-cop sentiment to come out of them, you wonder just whom the mayor of the city thinks the people were demonstrating against — grand jury members?

Now the mayor acts as if this is just a normal part of doing business in the big city, as if this kind of distrust between the NYPD and the city’s mayor happens all the time.

“There are 35,000 people, almost, in uniform in the NYPD — I think they are, like every other part of our society, a group of people with a lot of different viewpoints, a lot of different backgrounds,” de Blasio said. “I’ve said repeatedly — many, many journalists have said, do you think police officers think — and I always stop them and say, there are 35,000 individuals. They all have their own views.”

And Bill Bratton, providing as much cover for de Blasio as he ever has, followed that up by saying this: “The idea that, you know, some cops don’t like this mayor, some cops don’t like their boss, some cops don’t — that’s life. I have 35,000. They’re great cops.”

They act as if there are as many opinions about what has been happening in this city since Eric Garner as there are cops. Only there are not. The mayor knows it. So does the police commissioner. They are both too obsessed about what people think not to know. The narrative about de Blasio and the NYPD did not change on this day. It was only postponed.

I was walking up from Broadway Monday, before de Blasio’s remarks, and ended up talking to a retired cop about Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, because it is all anybody in New York has been talking about for the past two days, because these were shots fired not just into that squad car in Bedford-Stuyvesant, but into the heart and soul of the city.

The Daily News has created a fund to help the families of the slain cops. Here's how to donate.The Daily News has created a fund to help the families of the slain cops. Here’s how to donate.

“There’s only one guy who can make this right,” the cop said. “That guy is the mayor. And he’s going to have to do it with more than just talk.”

A couple of hours later Bill de Blasio spoke movingly about the families of the two dead policemen, and also spoke of his dream for a “fairer” city, as he has before. But too many of his cops think they’re the ones who haven’t been treated fairly in the time they have been in the barrel since the grand jury in Staten Island.

“The experience of this mayor, in terms of some cops not liking him, there’s nothing new,” Bill Bratton said. “It’s part of life, part of politics.”

Maybe Bratton actually believes that, or maybe this was just the top cop of the city thinking this is how a top, stand-up guy is supposed to act. Maybe Bratton can even remember another scene like the one at Woodhull Hospital on Saturday night, when all those cops turned their backs on the mayor. But he is too savvy a political animal to ignore the politics of those demonstrations over the last month, and the clear, loud anti-cop sentiment behind them.

Again: So many of the right things were said on this day. None fixed what has felt like a broken city recently; what is clearly a broken relationship between de Blasio and the police officers he both mourned on Monday, and celebrated, in his speech.

Maybe he can fix things, with something more than speeches next year, because the city needs him to. It is what a real mayor would do.

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Rep. Michael Grimm Is Said to Agree to Tax Fraud Guilty Plea – New York Times

Representative Michael G. Grimm, a Republican, was easily re-elected last month to his third term in Congress despite a pending federal indictment.
By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM
December 22, 2014

Representative Michael G. Grimm, a Republican from Staten Island who was easily re-elected to his third term in Congress last month despite a pending federal indictment, has agreed to plead guilty to a single felony charge of tax fraud, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

A former Marine and agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who first ran for office as a law-and-order corruption fighter, Mr. Grimm, 44, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday for a plea hearing, according to the docket sheet in his case, which provides no further detail. His trial was scheduled to start Feb. 2.

A guilty plea by the congressman, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence, would almost certainly put him under tremendous pressure to resign. One of his lawyers, Stuart N. Kaplan, said in an email that he could confirm only that there was “a change of plea hearing” scheduled for Tuesday.

Mr. Grimm was charged in a 20-count indictment in April after an investigation by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, the Internal Revenue Service and the F.B.I. focused on accusations of campaign finance fraud and other improprieties. The indictment charged him with underreporting wages and revenue while he ran a fast-food restaurant called Healthalicious on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He ran the business after the F.B.I. and before serving in Congress.

Mr. Grimm is expected to plead guilty to a single count of aiding or assisting in the preparation of a false or fraudulent tax return, said one person with knowledge of the matter, who, like the two others, spoke only on the condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced. If he does plead guilty, he will most likely face 24 to 30 months in prison when he is sentenced by Judge Pamela K. Chen of United States District Court. His lawyers can also seek a lesser sentence, including one with no jail time.

A guilty plea by the combative congressman, who in a televised encounter in the gallery of the Capitol rotunda this year threatened to throw a reporter off the balcony, would bring an end to the exhaustive four-year inquiry that Mr. Grimm has contended was rooted in politics and old grudges.

The investigation grew out of the congressman’s fund-raising for his first run for office in 2010, when a substantial portion of the money he raised came from supporters of a Sephardic rabbi and mystic, Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto. Some of the donors said they gave sizable illegal contributions.

The money had been solicited by one of the rabbi’s senior aides, Ofer Biton, who was charged, in connection with the case, with immigration fraud and later pleaded guilty to visa fraud. Another of Mr. Grimm’s fund-raisers, Diana K. Durand, was also charged and pleaded guilty to illegally funneling money into his 2010 campaign.

The indictment against Mr. Grimm alleged that he essentially kept two sets of records and provided his accountant with doctored books, leading to inaccurate tax forms being filed with the government.

Prosecutors said Mr. Grimm concealed more than $1 million in gross receipts for the restaurant and failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in employee wages, thus fraudulently lowering his federal and state tax payments. The indictment said he also lied under oath in a deposition taken in January 2013, while he was a member of Congress.

In addition to investigating the congressman’s campaign finances and his business, F.B.I. agents and prosecutors looked into a variety of activity involving the possible mob ties of one of his business associates and the illegal doings of another.

While the state has laws that apply to legislators in Albany, there are no federal statutes that require members of Congress to forfeit their offices when convicted of a felony, according to the Congressional Research Service. House rules, however, instruct members not to vote in committee or on the floor once they have been convicted of a crime for which the punishment may be two or more years’ imprisonment.

Conviction of some crimes can subject House members to internal disciplinary proceedings that may result in resolutions including reprimand, censure or — upon approval of two-thirds of the members — expulsion. But the fate of the newly re-elected congressman, if he pleads guilty as expected, remains unclear.

Correction: December 22, 2014

An earlier version of this article misstated the number of terms Mr. Grimm has served in Congress. He was re-elected last month to his third term, not his second. The error was repeated in a picture caption.

Marc Santora contributed reporting.

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North Korea's Internet links restored amid US hacking dispute – Reuters

A hand is silhouetted in front of a computer screen in this picture illustration taken in Berlin May 21, 2013.  REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

A hand is silhouetted in front of a computer screen in this picture illustration taken in Berlin May 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski


(Reuters) – North Korea, at the center of a confrontation with the United States over the hacking of Sony Pictures, experienced a complete Internet outage for hours before links were restored on Tuesday, a U.S. company that monitors Internet infrastructure said.

New Hampshire-based Dyn said the reason for the outage was not known but could range from technological glitches to a hacking attack. Several U.S. officials close to the investigations of the attack on Sony Pictures said the U.S. government was not involved in any cyber action against Pyongyang.

U.S. President Barack Obama had vowed on Friday to respond to the major cyber attack, which he blamed on North Korea, “in a place and time and manner that we choose.”

Dyn said North Korea’s Internet links were unstable on Monday and the country later went completely offline.

“We’re yet to see how stable the new connection is,” Jim Cowie, chief scientist for the company, said in a telephone call after the services were restored.

“The question for the next few hours is whether it will return to the unstable fluctuations we saw before the outage.”

Meanwhile South Korea, which remains technically at war with the North, said it could not rule out the involvement of its isolated neighbor in a cyberattack on its nuclear power plant operator. It said only non-critical data was stolen and operations were not at risk, but had asked for U.S. help in investigating.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on Tuesday the leak of data from the nuclear operator was a “grave situation” that was unacceptable as a matter of national security, but she did not mention any involvement of North Korea.

North Korea is one of the most isolated nations in the world, and the effects of the Internet outage there were not fully clear.

Very few of its 24 million people have access to the Internet. However, major websites, including those of the KCNA state news agency, the main Rodong Sinmun newspaper and the main external public relations company went down for hours.

Almost all its Internet links and traffic pass through China, except, possibly, for some satellite links.

“North Korea has significantly less Internet to lose, compared to other countries with similar populations: Yemen (47 networks), Afghanistan (370 networks), or Taiwan (5,030 networks),” Dyn Research said in a report.

“And unlike these countries, North Korea maintains dependence on a single international provider, China Unicom.”

NO PROOF, CHINA SAYS

The United States requested China’s help last Thursday, asking it to shut down servers and routers used by North Korea that run through Chinese networks, senior administration officials told Reuters.

The United States also asked China to identify any North Korean hackers operating in China and, if found, send them back to North Korea. It wants China to send a strong message to Pyongyang that such acts will not be tolerated, the officials said.

By Monday, China had not responded directly to the U.S. requests, the officials added.

In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday it opposed all forms of cyberattacks and that there was no proof that North Korea was responsible for the Sony hacking.

North Korea has denied it was behind the cyberattack on Sony and has vowed to hit back against any U.S. retaliation, threatening the White House and the Pentagon..

The hackers said they were incensed by a Sony comedy about a fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which the movie studio has now pulled from general release.

Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research, said of the outage in North Korea:

“There’s either a benign explanation – their routers are perhaps having a software glitch; that’s possible. It also seems possible that somebody can be directing some sort of an attack against them and they’re having trouble staying online.”

Other experts said it was possible North Korea was attacked by hackers using a botnet, a cluster of infected computers controlled remotely.

“It would be possible that a patriotic actor could achieve the same results with a botnet, however the President promised a proportional response,” said Tom Kellermann, Chief Cybersecurity Officer at Trend Micro.

“The real issue here is that nonstate actors and rogue regimes will adopt this modus operandi in 2015. The use of destructive cyberattacks will become mainstream.”

China is North Korea’s only major ally and would be central to any U.S. efforts to crack down on the isolated state. But the United States has also accused China of cyber spying in the past and a U.S. official has said the attack on Sony could have used Chinese servers to mask its origin.

(Additional reporting by Meeyoung Cho in Seoul; David Brunnstrom and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Ben Blanchard and Megha Rajagopalan in Beijing; Jeremy Wagstaff in Singapore; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Was North Korea's Internet outage the result of a cyberattack? – Los Angeles Times

North Korea experienced a major Internet outage on Tuesday, according to companies that monitor global networks, raising suspicion that the country may have been the target of a cyberattack.

The loss of service came just days after President Obama warned that the U.S. would respond to the recent computer hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which the FBI has blamed on North Korea. But U.S. officials declined to say whether the government was responsible.

Researchers at Dyn, an Internet performance management company based in New Hampshire, began noticing increasing amounts of instability in North Korea’s connection over the weekend.

Networks that govern how traffic is supposed to reach North Korea “began to appear and disappear, sort of flickering on and off,” said James Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn. “That’s a very typical thing to see when an end site is under a large attack and it’s having trouble staying connected to the Internet. But it can also be consistent with something like a power outage.”

At about 2 a.m. Tuesday, (9 a.m. Monday in Los Angeles), North Korea’s Internet connection went down, Dyn reported.  It was restored after nine hours and 31 minutes, the company tweeted.

San Francisco-based CloudFlare confirmed the outage, but neither company could say what caused it.

North Korea may have decided to take itself off the Internet, CloudFlare’s co-founder, Matthew Prince, said in an email. Countries with low levels of connectivity and a high degree of government control over telecommunications have been known to do this when they feel threatened, as Egypt did during the 2011 uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

A decision could also have been made in China to terminate North Korea’s access to the Internet. The four networks that North Korea uses rely on a single provider, China Unicom, the state-run telecommunications company, Cowie said.

Or there may have been an attack by a third party. Experts said that it would not require the involvement of a state actor to overwhelm North Korea’s connection with traffic until it collapsed.

“While we don’t know how much capacity there is coming in and out of North Korea, it is unlikely to be more than 10s of gigabits per second,” Prince wrote. “It’s worth remembering that just a few weeks ago a teenager in the UK plead guilty for single handedly generating a 300-Gbps attack against Spamhaus.”

North Korea’s Internet problems could also be the result of a technical fault, such as a hardware failure or a severed cable.

“It’s unlikely that North Korea has an up-to-date Cisco support contract, and a critical resource may have failed for innocuous reasons,” Prince said.

Such loss of connectivity is not without precedent in North Korea.

“We have seen instability, and we’ve even seen multi-hour outages in the past because it is a kind of end-of-the-road, fragile connection,” Cowie said. “But I think the timing and the duration of this one are causing us to look a little harder at it.”

Obama on Friday said the U.S. would respond to the cyberattack on Sony, which led to a massive leak of sensitive information, and threats that prompted the studio to cancel the release of “The Interview,” a comedy centered on a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“They caused a lot of damage. And we will respond,” he said. “We will respond proportionally, and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose.”

U.S. officials did not elaborate on what the U.S. might do.

“We aren’t going to discuss publicly operational details about the possible response options, or comment on those kind of reports in any way, except to say that as we implement our responses, some will be seen, some may not be seen,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters  Monday.

The U.S. has discussed the issue with Chinese officials and asked for their cooperation.  On Monday, a Chinese official told reporters that the country’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, had assured Secretary of State John F. Kerry in a phone conversation the previous day that Beijing “opposes all forms of cyberattacks and cyber terrorism.”

But ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying cautioned against “making any conclusions” about who was responsible for the cyberattack against Sony before there has been a full accounting of the facts.

North Korea has denied responsibility and reacted angrily to the U.S. accusations. On Sunday, the country’s defense department threatened to “blow up” the White House, the Pentagon and other U.S. targets if Washington retaliated against North Korea.

For more international news, follow @alexzavis on Twitter

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

7:00 p.m.: This post was updated with North Korea’s Internet connection reportedly restored.

6:44 p.m.: This post was updated with comment from CloudFlare co-founder Matthew Prince.

This post was originally published at 5: 30 p.m.

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