Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 5, 2015

A massive cyber attack affects four million federal workers, Rick Perry launches another presidential bid, and more

1

Cyber attack blamed on China affects four million federal workers

Hackers infiltrated federal government servers holding personal data on four million former and current federal employees, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Thursday. The cyber attack targeted Social Security numbers and other "personal identifying information" held by the Office of Personnel Management, which handles security checks and employee records. Investigators suspect China, although it is unclear whether the motive was spying or financial crimes. China called the accusation "counterproductive."

2

Rick Perry launches his second presidential bid

Former Texas governor Rick Perry formally joined the crowded 2016 presidential race on Thursday. His first White House bid unraveled in 2012 after a debate gaffe and other setbacks in the Republican primaries. The three-term governor launched his campaign at an event in Addison, Texas, with attacks on the Obama administration's economic and foreign policy, as well as both parties' "grave mistakes" in Iraq. "The truth is we are at the end of an era of failed leadership," he said.

3

Hillary Clinton calls for universal voter registration

Hillary Clinton on Thursday called for automatic, universal voter registration for all citizens when they turn 18. Clinton, the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, accused Republicans of "systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting" with state GOP restrictions. Republican lawmakers say the rules are needed to stamp out voter fraud, but critics say they are a thinly veiled effort to prevent largely Democratic supporters from voting. The Republican National Committee said Clinton was being "misleading and divisive." 

4

Mourners pay respects at memorial service for Beau Biden

Hundreds of mourners on Thursday lined up to pay their respects to former Delaware attorney general Beau Biden, the eldest son of Vice President Joe Biden, at a memorial service in the Delaware Legislative State House. Beau Biden died Saturday of brain cancer at age 46. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell awarded the Delaware Conspicuous Service Cross to the late Biden, who served more than a decade in the Army National Guard. A viewing will be held Friday followed by a Saturday funeral mass where President Obama will deliver the eulogy.

5

FDA advisors recommend approving "Viagra for women"

An advisory panel recommended Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration approve flibanserin as the first drug made available to treat lack of sexual desire in women. The 18 to 6 vote came after the FDA twice rejected the drug — made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals — due to side effects such as dizziness and nausea, which regulators said outweighed the limited benefits of the pink pill, billed as Viagra for women. The panel said approval should come with a requirement that Sprout reduce the risks of side effects.

6

U.S. expanded NSA internet surveillance in 2012

The U.S. Department of Justice authorized the NSA to expand surveillance of international internet traffic in mid-2012, according to documents provided by Edward Snowden to The New York Times and ProPublica. The secret DOJ memos direct the agency to "begin hunting on internet cables, without a warrant and on American soil, for data linked to computer intrusions originating abroad." The revelation came days after Congress restored much of the post-9/11 Patriot Act, but rolled back provisions allowing warrantless bulk phone data collection.

7

Death toll rises as Chinese crews right overturned ship

Chinese authorities turned a capsized passenger ship upright on Friday, allowing crews to recover more bodies. The official death toll rose to 97, with 345 people still missing. Only 14 survivors have been found since the ship tipped over in the Yangtze river during a freak storm. The decision to right the ship came after authorities gave up hope of finding any more survivors.

8

Third trial ordered for Mubarak for deaths during 2011 revolt

Egypt's highest criminal court on Thursday overturned a decision to drop charges against former president Hosni Mubarak over the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that ended his rule. The court said it would hold a retrial. Mubarak's third trial will be the last one on the charges, because the high court's rulings are not subject to appeal. Mubarak, 87, was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for complicity in deaths during the revolt, but an appeals court ordered a retrial that ended with charges against him being dropped. Seven others were acquitted.

9

At least 150 dead in Ghana explosion and flooding

Ghana's president, John Mahama, said Thursday that the death toll from a gas station explosion and flooding in the capital city of Accra has increased to 175 people. Dozens of people had sought shelter at the gas station during torrential rain, when a nearby fire ignited water contaminated with fuel, triggering the blast. Mahama said the government would spend $14 million to help flood victims, and impose measures to keep people from building in waterways, which he said contributed to the disaster.

10

Warriors beat Cavaliers in first game of NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors won Game 1 of the NBA Finals by a score of 108-100 in overtime on Thursday. Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James scored 44 points, firing off 38 shots — the most he has ever taken in an NBA game. Warriors players said their team's strategy was to "ice out" the rest of the Cavaliers and put all of the pressure on James. "We'll live with him shooting a lot of shots and scoring 40," Warriors center Andrew Bogut said, "because we feel like the other guys are the key to them winning the series."

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