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May 15, 2017

The White House and federal cybersecurity officials scrambled over the weekend to grapple with a "ransomware" cyberattack that hit 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, according to the European police agency Europol. But while a few U.S. institutions are known to have been affected by the malware, believed to have exploited stolen NSA cyber tools, most of the damage has been reported in Europe and Asia, including freezing up many British National Health Service hospital systems. The biggest victim, however, was Russia, according to the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab. And Russian officials are pretty upset.

"Humanity is dealing here with cyberterrorism," Frants Klintsevich, a top official on the Russian Senate's defense committee, told Russia's state-run Tass news agency. "It's an alarming signal, and not just a signal but a direct threat to the normal functioning of society, and important life-support systems." The goal of the attack, which freezes hard drives and servers until a ransom is paid, was possibly "frightening the whole world," he added. "The attacks hit hospitals, railroad transport, and police." Older and unlicensed versions of the Windows operating system were particularly vulnerable to the attack.

Russia experts were split on whether the U.S. government carried out the attack, presumably in retaliation for Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election — a charge Russia denies by all U.S. intelligence agencies agree happened. "I respect the honesty of the United States," Mikhail Delyagin, director of the Institute of Problems of Globalization in Russia, tells The New York Times. "They threaten us with a cyberattack, and a cyberattack follows. It's logical." Igor Ashmanov, a member of the state Council for Digital Economy, argued that "special state cyberforces evidently would not exercise such a stupid attack," adding that such an attack by the U.S. or another government would be considered an act or war.

You can learn more about the cyberattack in the BBC News report below. Peter Weber

11:49 a.m. ET

Authorities are searching for a University of Iowa student named Mollie Tibbetts, 20, who disappeared Wednesday while out for an evening jog. Tibbetts was running in Brooklyn, a small town about halfway between Iowa City and Des Moines. She gave no indication anything was wrong before her jog, her boyfriend said.

"Everything's on the table, unfortunately," said Poweshiek County Sheriff Thomas Kriegel. "We're hoping that she's somewhere with a friend, and she'll show up Monday or Tuesday, and everything will get back to normal." Bonnie Kristian

11:36 a.m. ET
Alex Halada

"America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday, "and war with Iran is the mother of all wars."

Rouhani issued his warning to the Trump administration at a meeting of Iranian diplomats, arguing that attempts to undermine Tehran among the Iranian public would not be successful. "You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran's security and interests," he said. In 1953, the U.S. helped engineer a coup to overthrow Iran's democratically elected government and support a pro-Western monarchy.

The Iranian president also addressed President Trump's June demand, since softened, that nations including China, India, and Turkey stop purchasing oil from Iran by early November. "Anyone who understands the rudiments of politics doesn't say, 'We will stop Iran's oil exports,'" Rouhani said.

Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year, claiming future negotiations will lead to a better arrangement. That has yet to materialize. Bonnie Kristian

11:02 a.m. ET
Omar Jaj Kadour/Getty Images

Israeli troops evacuated 422 people from Syria to Jordan overnight Saturday and Sunday at the request of the United States and several European countries. The original plan was to evacuate 800, but complications including gains by the Islamic State hindered the rescue mission.

The evacuees were "White Helmet" volunteers, a civil defense group that conducts search and rescue operations, evacuations, and medical work in rebel-held areas of Syria. The group and their families were located in the Golan Heights area. Syrian government troops are advancing into the region, and the Bashar al-Assad regime considers the White Helmets a terrorist organization though they are credited with saving more than 100,000 lives.

The evacuees will be granted asylum and resettled in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada. "Humanity dictates that many of these brave first-aiders should now find protection and refuge, some of them in Germany," said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The Canadian Foreign Ministry likewise expressed a "deep moral responsibility to these brave and selfless people." Bonnie Kristian

10:19 a.m. ET
Robyn Beck/Getty Images

When his Los Angeles Trader Joe's store became the site of a three-hour standoff with police Saturday, an employee named Sean Gerace sprang into action.

After hearing gunshots and screams, Gerace took several of his coworkers to the store's upper level. "I grabbed an emergency ladder, barricaded the hallway, grabbed a weapon, put the ladder out the window, and just tried to get the attention of a SWAT officer," he told a local TV station. Once he got the okay from the police, Gerace helped his group escape the store.

The standoff ended with one woman dead and six people injured. The suspect was being chased by police when he crashed his car outside the store, fired a gun at police pursuing him, and then barricaded himself inside the Trader Joe's.

The suspect has not been identified, but he was being chased by authorities after critically injuring his grandmother by shooting her seven times. He eventually surrendered to police custody, handcuffing himself for arrest. Bonnie Kristian

8:36 a.m. ET

President Trump raged on Twitter in response to the Justice Department's publication of the FBI's applications for warrants to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in connection to Russian election interference. Saturday evening, Trump claimed the entire Russia probe is a Democratic attempt to undermine the GOP in the 2018 midterms, repeating all his usual refrains:

On Sunday, Trump pivoted to accusing the DOJ and FBI of illegal actions and partisan aims:

The four "judges who signed off on this stuff" were all appointed by Republican presidents. Bonnie Kristian

8:13 a.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Saturday made public the FBI's applications for warrants to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in connection to Russian election interference.

The 412-page release says the FBI "believe[d] Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government ... to undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law." Page denies such accusations and has not been charged. "I'm having trouble finding any small bit of this document that rises above complete ignorance and/or insanity," he told The Hill.

The heavily redacted applications were made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA court, and were published thanks to information requests from media outlets and advocacy groups like the conservative Judicial Watch.

The warrants obtained from this application were the subject of dueling memos released by the Democratic and Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee earlier this year. The memo from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) alleged these FISA applications were illicitly based on the Steele dossier, which was created with funding from a Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer, not telling the court the information's source. A counter-memo released by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the dossier was only narrowly used in the surveillance application, with proper identification of its political provenance.

Read Saturday's publication here. Bonnie Kristian

July 21, 2018
Bashar Taleb/Getty Images

Hamas on Saturday announced it has accepted a ceasefire deal in the contested Gaza Strip after fighting on Friday left four Palestinians and one Israeli soldier dead. The temporary peace was brokered by officials from Egypt and the United Nations.

Israel has yet to confirm its acceptance of the agreement, but the Israeli military said in a statement Saturday it has "decided to maintain a full civilian routine in the communities close to the Gaza Strip," suggesting a cessation in hostilities. Nevertheless, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also reported an Israeli tank targeted a Hamas outpost Saturday morning after "a number of suspects" allegedly crossed a border fence into Israel for a brief time.

This is the second ceasefire in a week, punctuating the worst conflict in Gaza since 2014. Palestinians have been protesting at the Gaza border fence since March, and about 140 Palestinians — including protesters, militants, and medical workers — have been killed in that span. Thousands more have been wounded, including journalists. One IDF soldier has been killed and 10 Israelis injured. Bonnie Kristian

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