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Australia suspects China or Russia of cyber attack on lawmakers

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A cyber attack on Australian lawmakers that breached the networks of major political parties was probably carried out by a foreign government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, but did not name any suspects.

As Australia heads for an election due by May, lawmakers were told this month told to urgently change their passwords after the cyber intelligence agency detected an attack on the national parliament’s computer network.

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The hackers breached the networks of major political parties, Morrison said, as he issued an initial assessment by investigators.

“Our cyber experts believe that a sophisticated state actor is responsible for this malicious activity,” he told parliament.

“We also became aware that the networks of some political parties, Liberal, Labor and Nationals have also been affected.”

Morrison did not reveal what information was accessed, but he said there was no evidence of election interference.

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Investors are still securing local networks, said Alastair MacGibbon, head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, the government department responsible for online security.

“Our political institutions represent high-value targets,” MacGibbon told reporters in the capital, Canberra.

“We will continue to work with our friends and colleagues, both here and overseas, to work out who is behind it and hopefully their intent.”

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Analysts have said China, Russia and Iran were the most likely culprits.

“When you consider motivation, you would have to say that China is the leading suspect, while you wouldn’t rule out Russia either,” said Fergus Hanson, head of the International Cyber Policy Centre at think-tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

“It is the honey pot of juicy political gossip that has been hoovered up. Emails showing everything from the dirty laundry of internal fights through to who supported a policy could be on display.”

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Ties with China have deteriorated since 2017, after Canberra accused Beijing of meddling in its domestic affairs. Both countries have since sought to mend relations, but Australia remains wary of China.

Tension rose this month after Australia rescinded the visa of a prominent Chinese businessman, just months after barring Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies from supplying equipment to its 5G broadband network.

Officers of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency covertly monitored computers of U.S. Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and campaign committees, and stole large amounts of data, U.S. investigators have concluded.

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Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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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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GOP lawmaker cut the mic on black woman’s facts — but let white men spew ‘lunacy and lies’: report

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The Republican chair of a Tennessee legislative committee is under fire for cutting off the microphone while a woman of color was speaking -- but allowing white men to spew "lunacy."

"It took all of five minutes for Sen. Mike Bell, chairman of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, to prove Cherisse Scott’s point. Scott is founder and CEO of Sister Reach, a Memphis organization that fights for reproductive freedom and health for rural women and girls of color struggling with poverty," Memphis Commercial Appeal columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee explained.

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The list of confidants and friends who were fêted by the late financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein included a number of prominent scientists. Among the eye-popping names that appeared on the list: the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, physicist Frank Wilczek, neurologist Oliver Sacks, and geneticist George M. Church.

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Trump just humiliated his own son with an absurd tweet about Greenland

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President Donald Trump confirmed multiple reports this weekend when he said that he does, indeed, hope to buy Greenland and make it part of the United States.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said that the country, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is “not for sale”: “Greenland belongs to Greenland.” Which should be the end of the story. Unfortunately, it’s not.

On Monday, Trump sent the following tweet, apparently trying to quell suspicions that the president just regards Greenland as another place to expand his business empire:

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