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Canada cyber-spy agency expects hacktivist attacks in 2019 vote

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 Canada’s electronic spy agency said on Friday it was “very likely” that hackers will try to influence Canada’s 2019 elections and it planned to advise political parties next week on how to guard against cyber threats.

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) agency said it had not detected any nation-state attempts to interfere in prior Canadian elections but saw risk from hacktivists.

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CSE said Canada’s 2015 federal election, which brought Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to power, was targeted by “low-sophistication cyber threat activity” that did not affect the outcome of the election, according to a report it released on Friday.

“CSE will be offering cyber advice and guidance to parliamentarians and to Canada’s political parties,” CSE chief Greta Bossenmaier told a news conference. “Cyber security is a team imperative; no one organization can go it alone,” she added.

Worries about interference in democratic processes have come to the fore amid allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election last November and the French election in May.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded last year that Russia hacked and leaked Democratic Party emails as part of an effort to tilt the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, something Russia denies.

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A British intelligence agency in March told political parties to protect themselves against potential cyber attacks, while the French government in March dropped plans to let its citizens abroad vote electronically in this month’s legislative elections because of concern about the risk of cyber attacks.

CSE said federal political parties, politicians and the media are more vulnerable to cyber threats than elections themselves, given that federal elections are largely paper-based.

Cyber security lawyer Imran Ahmed of Miller Thomson said engaging with political parties was “a good first step” but the spy agency should have already had a plan in place including expected standards for political parties to meet.

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“We’re two years away from 2019 and there’s no timeline for what the next steps will be,” he said.

CSE said it expects some hacktivist efforts in 2019 will be well-planned, with targets ranging from voter suppression and stealing party information to trying to discredit candidates.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr in Ottawa and Alastair Sharp in Toronto; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘No comment’: Emails show the VA took no action to spare veterans from a harsh Trump immigration policy

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The VA’s approach differs sharply from the Pentagon’s, which won an exemption for active-duty members of the military.

Top officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs declined to step in to try to exempt veterans and their families from a new immigration rule that would make it far easier to deny green cards to low-income immigrants, according to documents obtained by ProPublica under a Freedom of Information Act request.

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Pilgrims gather for cosmic-like ritual in Bulgaria’s mountains

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Thousands of pilgrims gathered Monday in Bulgaria's Rila mountains to welcome their "spiritual" new year with a cosmic-like dance performed in concentric circles, creating a striking image on the verdant mountain plain.

The white-clad dancers hiked up to Bulgaria's Seven Rila Lakes at an altitude of 2,100 metres (6,900 feet) and performed a special meditative dance known as "paneurhythmy" for more than an hour under the sound of singing and violins.

They are followers of the Universal White Brotherhood -- an esoteric society that combines Christianity and Indian mysticism and was founded by Bulgarian theologian Peter Deunov back in 1897 but banned during communism and still considered a sect by the country's Christian Orthodox Church.

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NBA star Stephen Curry finances college golf team for six years

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Three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors said Monday he will support the creation of Howard University's first top-level golf program for the next six years.

Curry, a six-time NBA All-Star guard and avid golfer, was inspired to make the contribution by Otis Ferguson IV, a senior at the Washington DC university who Curry met during a campus visit earlier this year.

Ferguson had been campaigning to establish a golf team at Howard. He found a backer in Curry, who decided establish men's and women's golf at the historically black college.

Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Curry also persuaded golf equipment manufacturer Callaway to promise equipment and sport apparel giant Under Armour, who are one of his sponsors, to provide uniforms.

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