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‘Stuxnet’ worm could cause ‘Chernobyl-like disaster’ in Iran, intel assessment warns

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A recent Russian intelligence assessment warned that the “Stuxnet” computer worm that’s embedded itself into Iran’s Russian-built Bushehr nuclear plant could cause a “Chernobyl-like disaster” should the site be switched on.

The document was obtained exclusively by the Associated Press, which cited Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s envoy to NATO, as worrying that the Bushehr facility could end up like the Ukrainian nuclear site that experienced a nuclear disaster in 1986, rendering the city virtually uninhabitable.

The “Stuxnet” worm is malicious software code that makes nuclear centrifuges spin out of control. It targets computer control systems made by German industrial giant Siemens, commonly used to manage water supplies, oil rigs, power plants and other facilities.

Stuxnet is able to recognize a specific facility’s control network and then destroy it, according to German computer security researcher Ralph Langner, who has been analyzing Stuxnet since it was discovered in June.

Were a device such as a nuclear reactor ever switched on and the operators were unable to turn it off, it could produce the fallout equivalent to a “small nuclear bomb,” the Russian assessment warned, according to the AP.

Iran has denied that the worm was actually affecting the Bushehr facility, but admitted that it did make its way onto workers’ laptops, the AP added.

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To the contrary, Rogozin reportedly said that workers at Bushehr “saw on their screens that the systems were functioning normally, when in fact they were running out of control.”

Cybersecurity experts have warned that the worm could affect even more than just nuclear centrifuges: critical industries worldwide, from water and power plants to auto manufacturers, also stand to lose big if their equipment were to begin operating out of control.

“The real-world implications of Stuxnet are beyond any threat we have seen in the past,” Dean Turner, director of Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network, told a US Senate panel last year.

The worm has been found lurking on Siemens systems in India, Indonesia, Pakistan and elsewhere, but the heaviest infiltration appears to be in Iran, according to software security researchers.

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In a joint press conference Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, declaring that Iran’s nuclear program was “a threat to Israel and the whole world.”

Iran has maintained that its nuclear program was to generate energy, not weapons.

With AFP.

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Who are the four men charged with downing of MH17?

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International investigators have charged three Russians and one Ukrainian with murder over the 2014 shooting down of flight MH17 above rebel-held eastern Ukraine in which 298 people were killed.

Here are the four suspects named by the Dutch-led team on Wednesday.

- Igor Girkin -

Igor Girkin -- also known by his pseudonym "Strelkov" -- is the most high-profile suspect.

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Viewers revolt after Meghan McCain slurs Joy Behar: ‘Go back to Fox News’

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Meghan McCain dropped the B-word on air during an argument with Joy Behar, and social media users were just as shocked as the "The View" studio audience.

She and co-host Joy Behar were arguing over Trump supporters when McCain blew up.

“Being the sacrificial Republican every day,” she said. “I’m just trying to — don’t feel bad for me, bitch. I’m paid to do this, okay? Don’t feel bad for me.”

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Ex-French President Nicolas Sarkozy to stand trial for corruption, influence-peddling

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Nicolas Sarkozy is set to face trial on charges of corruption and influence peddling after his last appeal was rejected by France's highest court, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Sarkozy will likely have to appear in court in the coming months, sources close to the case told AFP on June 19, a day after the country's Court of Cassation - which rules on questions of law - ruled that a trial was justified for Sarkozy as well as his lawyer Thierry Herzog and a former judge, Gilbert Azibert.

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