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Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston Cleared In Conduct Hearing, According To Documents

KAREEM COPELAND, Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was cleared of the accusations he faced at a student code of conduct hearing involving an alleged sexual assault two years ago, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press on Sunday.

Former Florida Supreme Court judge Major Harding wrote in a letter to Winston that the evidence was “insufficient to satisfy the burden of proof.” A prosecutor made a similar decision a year ago when he decided not to criminally charge Winston, citing a lack of evidence.

This month, the hearing was to determine whether Winston violated four sections of the code of conduct — two for sexual misconduct and two for endangerment.

The ramifications for Winston ranged from a reprimand to expulsion from school.

The woman can request an appeal within five days.

Florida State president John Thrasher said in a statement that the university selected Harding to remove any doubt about the integrity of the process.

“He conducted a thorough Student Conduct Code hearing and reviewed more than 1,000 pages of evidence generated by three other investigations, and we would like to thank him sincerely for his service,” Thrasher said.

The woman’s lawyers did not immediately respond to messages left by AP.

Florida State faces Oregon in the College Football Playoffs semifinal on Jan. 1.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Could North Korea Take Over the Internet?


The cyber attacks on Sony have given rise to much commentary on the sophistication of the North Korean state’s cybersecurity program. The hermit kingdom is far from alone in its offensive and defensive cyber build up with numerous nations around the world seeking to join the list of the cyber powers. But just how much damage could North Korea do? To help answer that question, let’s go to Dr. Charlie Miller, who says that he can crash the Internet and take control of some of the most protected computer systems in the world.

Miller, now a cybersecurity analyst at Twitter, was the first person to break into Apple’s iPhone; he discovered a software flaw that would have allowed him to take control of every iPhone on the planet. He has won the prestigious Black Hat cybersecurity competition, among numerous other awards, and worked for the NSA for five years. In 2010, while presenting at a NATO Committee of Excellence conference on cyber conflict in Tallinn, Estonia, Miller conducted a thought experiment — if he was forced to, how would he go about crashing the Internet and taking control of well-defended computer systems? In the scenario that he imagined, former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il had kidnapped and induced him to “hack the planet” — to control as many protected systems and Internet hosts as possible so as to dominate cyberspace. Miller then cataloged all of the steps that would be required to meet this audacious and dastardly goal.

He would need people — roughly 600 working throughout the world, and a way to communicate with them. The trick would be identifying them — a task made easier if Miller or another expert in the field was a willing co-conspirator with a North Korean intelligence agency like the Cabinet General Intelligence Bureau.

Miller’s army would need funding and “weapons” like botnets, distributed denial of service attacks, bots, and — above all — zero-day exploits that take advantage of fundamental flaws in programs. These weapons would often use the Internet, but to complete his hack, Miller would also need to compromise hard, protected targets that are often “air gapped,” or not connected to the Internet. High-profile attacks like Stuxnet, the exfiltrated documents published by WikiLeaks, and the 2008 breach of classified U.S. government systems are examples of these types of attacks on supposedly isolated targets. Attackers look for entry points that are poorly defended with the goal of using one host to infect others on the closed network. This could be accomplished by low-tech means, such as through a simple flash drive.

Lastly, Miller would need time. For the first three months, his cyber army would search for vulnerabilities. From three to nine months, zero-day exploits would be identified and used to take over routers. After one year, some hard, protected targets would be compromised. At eighteen months, sufficient zero-day exploits would be found and air-gapped systems compromised to begin final planning. Finally, after two years, the attack could start manifesting itself assuming that no law enforcement agency or other group identified the attackers in the meantime, which is a rather large assumption.

The bottom line, according to Miller, is that the Internet and even air-gapped computer systems may be controlled or crashed for roughly $50 million, which is reportedly less than what North Korea spends on cybersecurity annually. Richard Clarke, among others, has warned that North Korea will not shy away from using its cyber warfare capabilities in a conflict. This danger is posed by other isolated regimes as well, and there is “anecdotal evidence that unknown parties have explored the possibility of disrupting the global network.”

Sound ripe for a spy thriller? What is good for genre-writing enthusiasts is rarely an ideal starting point for policymakers. According to some commentators, such narratives merely serve to inflate fears and undermine constructive efforts to enhance cybersecurity, and it is true that such a scenario is highly unlikely. But there is some value to be extracted from this tale. The vulnerabilities that Miller points to are real and require our attention if we are to ensure that fiction does not become reality, and that the most recent cyber attacks on Sony are the end and not the beginning of a new era in state-sponsored cyber attacks.

This post is an excerpt of Scott Shackelford, Managing Cyber Attacks in International Law, Business, and Relations: In Search of Cyber Peace (Cambridge University Press, 2014), available here.

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A Prayer From the Mall of America


The chants of several thousand people rang through the rotunda at the Mall of America. “While you’re on your shopping spree, Black people can’t breathe!” Or, “No Santa for Tamir! That is why we’re here!”

And then, at a moment indicated by leaders, hundreds of protestors fell to the ground for a four and a half minute die-in — each minute signifying one of the hours that Michael Brown’s body lay in the steamy streets of Ferguson, Missouri, last August.

During the die-in, clergy were encouraged to hold hands, stand in a circle in the center of the protestors, and pray. We each prayed silently, so I don’t know what others prayed. Here is the content of my own prayer, in spirit if not in the exact words:

Spirit of life and love and justice, I thank you for this day. I thank you for this day when thousands of people of all races stand together longing for justice, longing for a time when Black Lives Matter, and living our intention to turn that longing into reality. I thank you for the courage of each one of these nonviolent protestors, who each overcame fears of their own to be here.

I pray for the families of all those who have been killed by police, who have been destroyed by people who should have protected them, for the grieving parents whose aching hearts will never overcome their losses. May they see their loved ones’ value resurrected in these actions.

I thank you for the black and brown people who are here today, for they are most at risk taking this action. They are most at risk everyday, in schools and stores, workplaces and city streets. I pray for their well-being. May they be free from harm.

I grieve for the young people who are not here, whose lives have been shriveled by violence and racism, whose school experience is more like prison, whose support for bold living is minimal, who have not found their way to belief that anything they do matters. May they find the arms of loving community, of elders who encourage and support their strength, and thrive in it.

I thank you especially for the amazing leadership of this action, young Black activists, whose courage gave courage to the thousands who are here, whose wisdom structured a safe and effective action, whose love gives voice to our collective cries for justice. May all that they give to the world be returned to them over and over.

I thank you for the courage of white people, who showed up today in trust and in hope that our speaking up could make a difference, who committed ourselves to justice and peace for all. May we know a strength and hope far deeper than the comfort and privilege which is afforded to us simply for being white, a strength and hope grounded in unity and truth and compassion.

I thank you for the Bloomington Police Department, and the Mall of America Security Force, for their willingness to keep things calm and peaceful. May their humanity continue to shine in the difficult months ahead, as we work towards systemic change when police are accountable to the same laws as other citizens.

I thank you for the children who are here, children learning in the cradle that the adults they trust can be trusted to speak and work for justice, children inheriting a new understanding of what it means to grow up as part of a diverse people, united in commitment to the well-being of all.

Spirit of love and justice, my heart is broken for all of the killing, for all of the oppression, for all of the destruction of life’s potential. My heart is healed by the resistance, by the courage to take action, by the leadership which I experience today. May this day wake us all up, help us all to know more clearly what it means to be human.

Amen.

As I write this the next day, in the early morning light of the Solstice, I pray that our nation is turning towards the light. And this morning, with sadness in my heart, I add the grieving families of killed police officers in Brooklyn to my prayers, knowing that these families will now, too, face a lifetime with a hole in their hearts.

May we all find peace together. May we all find justice together. May we be one nation together.
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Court Rules Orangutan Held In Argentina Zoo Is 'Non-Human Person' And Can Be Freed


By Richard Lough

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 21 (Reuters) – An orangutan held in an Argentine zoo can be freed and transferred to a sanctuary after a court recognized the ape as a “non-human person” unlawfully deprived of its freedom, local media reported on Sunday.

Animal rights campaigners filed a habeas corpus petition – a document more typically used to challenge the legality of a person’s detention or imprisonment – in November on behalf of Sandra, a 29-year-old Sumatran orangutan at the Buenos Aires zoo.

In a landmark ruling that could pave the way for more lawsuits, the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA) argued the ape had sufficient cognitive functions and should not be treated as an object.

The court agreed Sandra, born into captivity in Germany before being transferred to Argentina two decades ago, deserved the basic rights of a “non-human person.”

“This opens the way not only for other Great Apes, but also for other sentient beings which are unfairly and arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in zoos, circuses, water parks and scientific laboratories,” the daily La Nacion newspaper quoted AFADA lawyer Paul Buompadre as saying.

Orangutan is a word from the Malay and Indonesian languages that means “forest man.”

Sandra’s case is not the first time activists have sought to use the habeas corpus writ to secure the release of wild animals from captivity.

A U.S. court this month tossed out a similar bid for the freedom of ‘Tommy’ the chimpanzee, privately owned in New York state, ruling the chimp was not a “person” entitled to the rights and protections afforded by habeas corpus.

In 2011, the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a lawsuit against marine park operator SeaWorld, alleging five wild-captured orca whales were treated like slaves. A San Diego court dismissed the case.

The Buenos Aires zoo has 10 working days to seek an appeal.

A spokesman for the zoo declined to comment to Reuters. The zoo’s head of biology, Adrian Sestelo, told La Nacion that orangutans were by nature calm, solitary animals which come together only to mate and care for their young.

“When you don’t know the biology of a species, to unjustifiably claim it suffers abuse, is stressed or depressed, is to make one of man’s most common mistakes, which is to humanize animal behavior,” Sestelo told the daily. (Editing by Eric Walsh)
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The Rabbi and the Christmas Tree


“Mom, can we get a Christmas tree this year for you in Windham?” asked my oldest daughter Isabelle, who was 8 at the time.

“Honey, we aren’t going to be having a Christmas tree in Windham. It’s so sweet you to want that for me, but it’s your grandparents’ home, and I am sure a Christmas tree in their home is out of the question. Don’t worry, we’ll find other ways for you to help me celebrate Christmas.”

“C’mon, Mom, it’ll just be a little one to sit on top of your bedside table. It’ll be nice. I know you are missing being in Savannah this year for Christmas and missing Mimi. Can’t we just ask them?”

Just before Christmas the previous year, my mother (“Mimi” to her grandchildren) had died in my childhood home in Savannah, Georgia. For the first time in my life I had decided to spend Christmas away from my family of origin, away from Savannah. It was not an uncomplicated decision, but I had made peace with it. I was, however, confused about how to celebrate Christmas as the only Christian in the country house of my husbands’ parents, aka Sweetie and Salty, and several other aunties, uncles, cousins, and my husband and children — all of whom are Jewish.

Our Christmases in Savannah came and went with well-worn family rituals: opening stockings hung over the fire place first thing in the morning, eating sweet coffeecake for breakfast, bursting into the living room and tearing through presents with Mom pleading, “wait, let me write that down, wait, you need to slow down, what about the thank you notes,” a grand family dinner with grandparents and cousins, followed by a family football game. Mom decorated the house so that it felt saturated with the warmth many associate with Christmas: garlands up the bannister and over the door, an Advent wreath on the dining room table made from our Boxwood hedge, and of course a Christmas tree decorated with fancy ornaments (on the top away from little fingers) and years of homemade ornaments made by three little and not so little daughters (on the bottom). It’s not that I loved everything associated with the holiday season. There were some things that had even become onerous to me. But the tradition was there. Like an anchor.

This year I had no anchor. I had confusion and grief.

Isabelle, however, was not confused. In fact, she was very clear, and in her Isabelle-way, she had begun to plan Christmas for me. It started with the first night of Chanukah when she and her sister Sophia presented their Chanukah gift to me. It was a small branch of a Christmas tree stuck into a slice of a Christmas tree trunk. A plastic ornament with the words “Merry Christmas” dangled from the bough. “Here Mommy, we bought it with our own money, Sophia paid 25 cents and I paid 75 cents. Happy Chanukah!” I nearly fell over with the layers of thoughtfulness wrapped up in this gift.

Then the pressure to get a Christmas tree began. It built for two weeks. In New York City you have to walk through four different Christmas tree vendors to get to a school only 7 blocks away. Each walk to and from their Jewish day school involved multiple conversations with vendors, longingly looking at the trees, and discussions about the politics of having a tree in the Windham house which usually ending with my saying, “It isn’t going to happen.” But Isabelle pushed. Negotiated. Pleaded.

You might say I didn’t have enough parental backbone – that if “no” was the answer, I should have said clearly, once and for all, “No.” But I wasn’t sure what I needed at that point to celebrate Christmas as I was still so driven by the grief of losing my mother. I was asking myself the questions few of us ask anymore: “What is the true meaning of Christmas? And without family traditions to anchor me, how do I celebrate whatever that true meaning is, from scratch?” I wasn’t coming up with many answers, but Isabelle was.

After consulting with Peter, I called my mother-in-law, Sweetie.

“It’s going to be in your room, right?” Sweetie asked.

“Yes.”

“I don’t see any reason why not. It will help you celebrate your holiday, especially without your mother, you are away from home, and it’s in your room.”

With great surprise, I turned to Isabelle and said, “OK. We’ll have a little Christmas tree in my room.”

For the next several days, Isabelle worked those Christmas tree vendors harder than I am sure they have been worked in a long time. Day one: she found a sweet little “sit on top of a table” tree for $15. Day two: she asked the man to set it aside for her. Day three: she told him there was a larger tree down the street for $15 she could get and would he put this other larger one aside for her? Day four: she asked him to throw in a stand for free. He did.

On the day we left, we packed up the minivan, drove over to Amsterdam and 86th street, and Peter and Isabelle hopped out to get the tree. Ten minutes later they appeared at my window and ask me to open the doors. The “sit on top of the table” tree had grown 5 feet and wouldn’t fit in the back of the minivan. It had to go in between the seats squished between coolers and backpacks and children.

As we headed down West End Avenue towards the 96th street entrance to the West Side Highway, the phone rang. My screen said it was the Rabbi from the Chabad Early Learning Center, our son’s Jewish nursery school. But I was not in the mood to talk to anyone. I just wanted to get out of the city and get on the road. I let it go into voicemail. He called back one more time. Again, to voicemail. On his third try, I got worried and answered.

“Hi Eleanor! Have you left the city? Your brothers and sisters-in-law have left already and I have the mezuzahs for your mother-in-law’s house in Windham. I really want to get them to Windham as soon as I can.” A mezuzah is a familiar portion of the Hebrew Bible (“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…”) held in a decorative case that is attached to the doorways in many Jewish homes – and in addition to the halakhic or legal reasons for being affixed to the doorways, for many Jews it also functions as a sort of protective talisman of the household. Very important, in other words, to get them up on a newly renovated house as soon as possible.

“We’re just about to get on the highway… literally,” I reply. “Can it wait till the new year?”

“No, no, I really want to get them to Windham for your mother-in-law. Just stay right there. I’ll run to your car from here. I’ll be right there.”

We were only a few blocks from the school so I sighed and told him, “It’s fine, no need, no need, we’ll come to you. Be there in a sec.” He had already hung up. As we headed away from the highway on 96th street, I remembered we had a Christmas tree in our car, and I was suddenly overcome with guilt. I felt like I was about to be caught.

“Kids, Daniel’s school Rabbi is about to meet us to give us the mezuzot for Windham. Let’s be a little quiet about the Christmas tree, ok?” I heard Isabelle turn back to her siblings, Daniel and Sophia, and say:

“Quiet about the Christmas tree! We don’t want the Rabbi to see it!”

When I heard her echo me, I realized what I was doing. I was acting as if I was committing some crime. I saw myself cowering, making myself smaller, so that I could avoid the disapproval of a Jewish authority figure in our life. And I was teaching my kids to do the same.

It took me a second to register all of this, to feel the shame of disapproval, then the anger that I was hiding myself. It was a microcosm of how I had felt off and on for years with respect to Judaism and Jewish authority figures in my life. A torrent of words fell out of my mouth.

“Forget what I just said, it’s my Christmas tree, I am a Christian minister, it’s absolutely fine, we have nothing to hide! Dammit! I am not going to hide!!” My kids looked quizzically at me, as if to say, “What’s her problem?!” Suddenly Daniel shouted, “wabbi chime, wabbi chime!” It took me a minute to realize he was shouting “Rabbi Chayyim,” and that Rabbi Chayyim was running down the sidewalk in the opposite direction, presumably to catch us before we turned onto the West Side Highway.

After yelling from our car, he did an about-face. As he approached the car, despite my righteous anger, I still felt like a person caught speeding. Like I needed to give a speech as I rolled down my window: “I know I am a Christian minister but my kids really are Jewish, they were converted by orthodox Rabbis, and I really am doing my best to raise them Jewish, I didn’t mean to have a Christmas tree in my car, it just sort of happened, I mean I know I put it there but, ummm, ok, it’s long story. I’ll be sure to put up the mezuzahs, I promise…can I get off with just a warning this time? Please, sir?”

“Shabbat Shalom,” the Rabbi exclaimed as he passed me the mezuzot and dashed off, hardly looking at me, much less inside of our car.

“Wow, that was no big deal,” I said to Peter. “I’m not sure he even noticed the tree.”

“So what if he did?! It’s your tree, and we your Jewish family want you to have one this Christmas.”

When we got to Windham, I went upstairs to prepare dinner – Shabbat dinner, by the way. An hour later I returned downstairs to our room and found the most beautiful gift I could have received that Christmas. The tree was decorated with all kinds of ornaments that I didn’t even know we had.

“Isabelle, where did you get all of these ornaments?”

“When I went to the Nutcracker with Mrs. Smith, she asked if I wanted anything from the gift shop, and I asked for the nutcracker ornaments…and I asked my teacher to teach me how to make the origami ornaments, and the card at the base of the tree I made with Orly.” Orly, her Hebrew tutor. When I opened the card, one side said, “Merry Christmas, Mommy,” and on the other side it said the same thing – in Hebrew script that I needed her to translate!

Words can not describe my feelings of gratitude for Isabelle in that moment, for her care, her ingenuity, her perseverance, her ability to envision what I — and she – needed that Christmas even and especially when I could not…and for the way in which she did not get caught up in the meshuganah about Christmas trees like the rest of us. She saw what truly mattered about Christmas for me – love incarnate – and birthed a small family miracle.
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