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Florida city agrees to pay $600,000 ransom to hackers

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A Florida town has agreed to pay a $600,000 ransom in Bitcoin after hackers paralyzed its computer systems.

The payment was authorized this week by the city council of Riviera Beach, which is located north of Miami and has a population of around 32,500, the Palm Beach Post reported.

According to the newspaper, the virus that shut down the city’s computer systems was unleashed on May 29 by an employee of the city’s police department who opened a phishing email.

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The city posted a notice to the public on its website on June 5 stating it had “experienced a data security event” and was “working with our internal management team and third party consultants to address all issues.”

According to the Palm Beach Post, the malware cut off email and disrupted 911 emergency services. The city’s payroll department was forced to issue paychecks by hand instead of direct deposit. Traffic tickets had to be handwritten.

About half of the payment of 65 Bitcoin worth nearly $600,000 will reportedly be covered by the city’s insurance policy.

The computer infrastructure of a number of US cities has been targeted by hackers recently including that of Baltimore, which refused to make a ransom payment.

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2020 Election

Trump slams ‘partisan’ whistleblower, Biden pushes back

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US President Donald Trump on Friday vigorously rejected a whistleblower's claim of wrongdoing, amid reports he used a call with Ukraine's president to pressure him to investigate the son of Trump's Democratic rival Joe Biden.

The whistleblower's secret complaint has triggered a tense showdown between Congress, whose Democratic leaders are demanding to review the complaint, and the executive branch which has barred them from doing so.

It has also raised concerns Trump sought to strong-arm Ukraine into providing damaging information on the president's possible 2020 challenger, which would represent dangerous foreign meddling in the US election -- similar to the interference blamed on Russia in 2016, when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.

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Dem senator accuses the FBI of a carrying out a ‘cover-up’ for Brett Kavanaugh — and calls for an investigation

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angry Brett Kavanaugh

Old wounds were reopened this week when a New York Times article, written by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, focused on Deborah Ramirez — one of the women who, in 2018, accused U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. And Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, in a USA Today op-ed published on Friday, argued that Kavanaugh wasn’t adequately vetted as he should have been.

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Millions around the world joined #ClimateStrike — demanding bold climate action

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Masses of children skipped school Friday to join a global strike against climate change that teen activist Greta Thunberg said was "only the beginning" in the fight against environmental disaster.

Some four million people filled city streets around the world, organizers said, in what was billed as the biggest ever protest against the threat posed to the planet by rising temperatures.

Youngsters and adults alike chanted slogans and waved placards in demonstrations that started in Asia and the Pacific, spread across Africa, Europe and Latin America, before culminating in the United States where Thunberg rallied.

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