Tit for tat? Computer networks at several South Korean banks and television stations crashed simultaneously today, an event experts say was no coincidence. South Korean officials have made no official accusations, but security analysts say a cyberattack from North Korea most likely caused the outage. Last week, North Korea accused its southern neighbor and the United States of launching their own cyberattack. Experts said Chinese hackers were the more likely culprits. This is beginning to sound like the plot of a James Bond movie.
Shalom. President Barack Obama arrived in Israel today for his first visit to the Holy Land since taking office in 2009. The president pledged America’s support for Israel, especially in light of nuclear threats made by Iran. But Obama’s main goal is to jumpstart the peace process. During his three-day trip, the president plans to address the Israeli people directly. He may get a chilly response—Israelis are suspicious of Obama’s hesitant response to Iran’s threats and the conflict in Syria, which threatens to spill across the Israeli border.
Marines mourned. The Marine Corps announced late Tuesday it would halt all use of 60mm mortar shells following a training accident that killed seven Marines and injured seven others. All of those injured and killed in the blast at Nevada’s Hawthorne Army Depot came from the 2nd Marine Division, stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. At the time of the explosion, the Marines were participating in a mountain training exercise that included live ammunition. Officials are still trying to figure out what happened.
Weapons ban holstered. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced late Tuesday he would drop the military-style assault weapons ban from the package of gun control measures currently moving through Congress. The measure had just 40 votes of support in the Democrat-controlled Senate and no chance of making it through the Republican-controlled House. Reid said he would rather have a chance of getting something passed than nothing. But senators likely will get a chance to vote on the measure separately. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., plans to offer the ban as an amendment.
A national birthday present. New York officials announced yesterday they would reopen the Statue of Liberty to tourists on July 4. The national icon has been off-limits since Hurricane Sandy submerged much of its Liberty Island base, crippling its infrastructure and destroying a dock used by ferries. The statue itself was not damaged. Neighboring Ellis Island, which suffered much more serious damage, will remain closed for now.