Daily Dispatches
Alcoa headquarters building in Pittsburgh.
Associated Press/Photo by Gene J. Puskar, File
Alcoa headquarters building in Pittsburgh.

Midday Roundup: U.S. chastises China for cyberspying

Newsworthy

Hacked. The United States outed five Chinese military officials for hacking into U.S. companies in state-sponsored cyberattacks. A federal court indictment announced Monday accuses the hackers of stealing trade secrets from companies such as U.S. Steel Corp., Westinghouse Electric Co., and Alcoa. There is virtually no chance the Chinese government would hand over the accused officials for prosecution, but the indictment calls attention to the problem of cyberespionage and the vulnerability of U.S. information.

Pomp and circumstance. A college dropout is accused of calling in bomb threats to Quinnipiac University when her plan to fake her graduation fell apart over the weekend. Danielle Shea of Quincy, Mass., didn’t go to college last year, but her mother paid thousands of dollars for what she thought was her daughter’s education. When Shea’s family showed up to graduation and didn’t see her name in the program, she panicked. Police quickly traced the threats to her and arrested her in the campus arena. She was wearing a cap and gown.

Lights, camera, action. Move over, Tupac, there is a new hologram in town. A cyber-version of Michael Jackson appeared last night at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. The digitized King of Pop (the real one died five years ago) danced and sang to his most recent posthumous release, “Slave to the Rhythm.” The pelvic-thrusting, moonwalking image brought some in the audience to tears, while others looked on in confusion and discomfort.

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Rising star. President Barack Obama plans to shuffle his second-term cabinet, possibly elevating San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to the position of Housing Secretary. Obama picked Castro to deliver the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and the 39-year-old is considered a possible vice presidential pick in 2016. If Castro is nominated to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development and is confirmed by the Senate, he would become one of the highest-ranking Hispanic officials in the Obama administration.

Long, hot summer. Firefighters who conquered a series of wildfires in San Diego County expect they will have little time to rest before the next blaze ignites in drought-plagued California. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has already responded to more than 1,500 fires this year, compared with about 800 during an average year. “Normally, I don’t even put wildfire gear in my vehicle until the end of April. This year I never took it out,” Kirk Kushen, battalion chief of the Kern County Fire Department, said at a base camp in Escondido. California Gov. Jerry Brown said Sunday the state is preparing for what could be its worst fire season ever.

Lynde Langdon
Lynde Langdon

Lynde lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. She holds degrees from the University of Missouri in journalism, Russian, and business administration. She is in a long-term, committed relationship with the Lutheran church. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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