World briefs – June 21

Internet hackers say they have compromised the security of more than 1,000 accounts at an FBI partner organization.

FBI partner website hacked

HARTFORD, Conn. — Internet hackers say they have compromised the security of more than 1,000 accounts at an FBI partner organization.

The online hacking collective Lulz Security says it attacked a local section of InfraGard, a partnership between the FBI and the private sector to share security information. Connecticut-based InfraGard’s website is down.

FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer in Washington says the agency is aware of the attack and that the website is shut down as a precaution. She declined to comment on the extent of any damage.

The anonymous group takes credit for an April security breach of Sony Corp’s PlayStation Network. The hackers also say they are responsible for attacks on the CIA webpage and the U.S. Senate system.


Chile hit with 6.5 earthquake

SANTIAGO, Chile — A 6.5-magnitude earthquake rattled a sparsely populated area of northern Chile on Monday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The quake’s epicenter was located about 90 km west of Calama in northern Chile, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The earthquake at 12:35 p.m. local time lasted about a minute and was felt most strongly in northern cities including Iquique, Alto Hospicio and Pica.

In the port city of Iquique, some people fled from shaking buildings into the streets, but there were no reports of victims or damage, state television reported. The Chilean navy’s oceanography service said that the quake did not pose any tsunami threat.


Tunisian ex-president convicted

TUNIS, Tunisia — Tunisia’s former ruler and his wife were convicted in absentia on embezzlement and other charges on Monday after $27 million (C18.97 million) in jewels and public funds were found in one of his palaces. They were sentenced to 35 years each in prison, and fined.

The conviction of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Leila Trabelsi followed a day-long trial before the Tunis court. The couple went into exile Jan. 14 in Saudi Arabia after a month-long uprising that sparked a string of uprisings in the Arab world.


44 killed, eight survive jet crash

MOSCOW — Forty-four people were killed when a passenger jet crashed late Monday in northwestern Russia, news agencies said.

RIA Novosti and ITAR-Tass, citing Emergencies Ministry officials, reported that the RusAir plane crash-landed on a highway en route from Moscow to the city of Petrozavodsk. They reported eight people who survived the crash were hospitalized in critical condition in Petrozavodsk.

There was no immediate explanation for the crash. Russian news agencies said the plane crashed on its final approach to the airport in Petrozavodsk, landing a few hundred meters short of the runway. Petrozavodsk is in the in the province of Karelia, 640 km northwest of Moscow.

The plane was a Russian-made Tu-134 jet, the Emergencies Ministry said, carrying 52 people, nine of whom were crew, the agencies said.


Portland flushes reservoir man peed in

PORTLAND, Ore. — Call it the big flush.

Because a 21-year-old man was caught on a security camera urinating into a city reservoir, Oregon’s biggest city is sending 8 million gallons of treated drinking water down the drain.

Portland officials defended the decision Monday, saying they didn’t want to send city residents water laced, however infinitesimally, with urine.

Public health officials say, however, that urine is sterile in healthy people and that the urine in the reservoir was so diluted — perhaps a half pint in millions of gallons — that it posed little risk.

Some people in the city, in the suburbs and around the world called the flush an overreaction, especially since animals such as ducks contribute waste routinely and, sometimes, die in the water.

“More than 1 billion people worldwide do not have reliable access to clean drinking water, and here we are tossing away nearly 8 million gallons of water just to appease the ignorant residents who believe their tap water will otherwise turn yellow,” read one comment posted on The Oregonian’s website.

Water from the city’s five open air reservoirs, all in parks, goes directly to customers. The reservoirs are due to be replaced by underground storage within a decade, a result of federal requirements.

The reservoirs distribute water that flows from glaciers on Mount Hood. It is treated before it goes to the reservoirs for distribution, and then goes directly to consumers.

The reservoirs are drained twice a year for cleaning, and workers have found animal carcasses, paint cans, construction material, fireworks debris and even the plastic bags people use to scoop up after their dogs, said David Shaff, administrator of the city water bureau.

Even so, Shaff said, the yuck factor was the primary reason for the decision to drain the 8 million gallons, at a cost of less than $8,000 to treat it as sewage.

“Nobody wants to drink pee, and I don’t want to deal with the 100 people who would be unhappy that I’m serving them pee in their water,” he said. Shaff said the security cameras also showed something that’s still unidentified was thrown in the water, heightening concern about potential risks.

City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who is in charge of the water bureau, defended the decision, citing a potential public health risk. He said he worried about the possibility of chlamydia or AIDS from blood in urine. “I’m for taking the most conservative approach,” he said.

Dr. Gary Oxman, the county health officer, said the risk was so close to nil that it falls in the “never say never” range. Even with the uncertainty over an object thrown in the water, “that’s still a very small risk,” he said.

The young man, Josh Seater, told KATU-TV he’d been drinking, was with friends and thought that the reservoir was a sewage treatment plant.

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