Headlines from Around the World – Week of 2/1/15

Kurdish forces inside of the city of Kobane have announced that after 134 days of fighting, Kobane is under the control of Peshmerga and there are no longer any ISIS militants within the city. There are reports of ISIS militants in surrounding villages. However, Peoples Protection Units (YPG) and Peshmerga forces are preparing to retake the surrounding villages. Muslih Zebari, a Peshmerga commander, reports minimal Kurdish losses and the acquisition of a large amount of ammunition as well as a tank that had previously been used by ISIS.


Through his lawyer, Edward Snowden has made a claim that iPhones contain spyware that allow governments to secretly track the phone’s user. The claim comes from leaked NSA documents that show that the Government Communications Headquarters, a  British intelligence agency, used UDIDs which are unique identifiers for iPhones to track their users. The leaked documents do not make reference to any specific software, but there is currently speculation on how many documents have not been published as of yet.


The FBI has announced that they have uncovered the activity of a Russian spy in Manhattan. The alleged spy was a “deep cover” spy working for Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service to acquire details regarding US economic activity and sanctions on Russian banks. The alleged spy, Evgeny Buryakov, is being charged with “conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign government” and “acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government”. In addition to his own intelligence gathering, the FBI report also states Buryakov has, along with others, attempted to recruit New York residents to gather intelligence for the Russian Federation.


Following an open meeting where public opinions on laws regarding the internet were being proposed and discussed, the FCC has announced that broadband will be redefined as 25 Mbps (megabits per second) for downstream speeds and 3 Mbps for upstream speeds. This is a change from the 2010 standard of 4 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up. The FCC decision is being considered a response to the apparent abandonment of investments by telecommunication firms after laying down copper and DSL lines.
The mother of a 17 year old girl who was shot by Denver police following a car theft is seeking an independent autopsy to dispute the statement given by police. The 17 year old suspect was allegedly trying to run over the officers and the police report that they fired on the stolen vehicle because of this. The incident marks the fourth time in seven months that Denver police have fired upon a vehicle after perceiving it a physical threat. The order of events is important in understanding this case because of a Supreme Court decision that states that police can only respond to a fleeing suspect with deadly force if the suspect poses a physical danger.

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